Heathrow: Judges to hear le­gal chal­lenge

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

HIGH Court judges will hear a le­gal chal­lenge over con­tro­ver­sial plans to ex­pand Heathrow Air­port next year.

A coali­tion of coun­cils, res­i­dents, en­vi­ron­men­tal char­i­ties and Mayor of Lon­don Sadiq Khan are chal­leng­ing the govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to ap­prove the build­ing of a third run­way.

At a hear­ing on Thurs­day last week, Mr Jus­tice Hol­gate dealt with pre­lim­i­nary is­sues in the case, which is due to be heard over two weeks in March.

The case is be­ing brought against Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and res­i­dents in Lon­don af­fected by the ex­pan­sion and char­i­ties in­clud­ing Friends of the Earth and Plan B.

The coali­tion claims the govern­ment’s Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment (NPS), set­ting out its sup­port for the project, fails to prop­erly deal with the im­pact on air qual­ity, cli­mate change, noise and con­ges­tion.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: “One of the mayor’s top pri­or­i­ties is clean­ing up the toxic air in our city, which causes thou­sands of pre­ma­ture deaths ev­ery year.

“He is greatly con­cerned about the im­pact of a third run­way on air qual­ity, noise pol­lu­tion and also on pub­lic trans­port.”

Be­fore the hear­ing, a crowd of about 50 demon­stra­tors gath­ered out­side court to hear speeches from prom­i­nent op­po­nents of the ex­pan­sion in­clud­ing shadow chan­cel­lor John McDon­nell and Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bart­ley.

Mr McDon­nell, whose Hayes and Har­ling­ton con­stituency is one of those af­fected by the plans, said up to 4,000 homes could be dam­aged or lost if the third run­way goes ahead.

“It isn’t just our homes, it isn’t just our com­mu­nity, this is our planet it­self,” he added. “This will be such a ret­ro­grade step in the cam­paign that we have to en­sure cli­mate change is halted.”

Sup­port from Labour MPs helped push through the pro­pos­als to ex­pand Europe’s busiest air­port with an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of 296 in a Com­mons vote last month.

Mr Grayling said the new run­way would set a “clear path to our fu­ture as a global na­tion in the post-Brexit world”.

Con­struc­tion could be­gin in 2021, with the third run­way op­er­a­tional by 2026.

Oliver Hayes, cli­mate change cam­paigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Heathrow is al­ready the sin­gle big­gest source of emis­sions in the UK.

“Ad­ding a third run­way will make it vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble for us to meet our cli­mate change tar­gets and demon­strates a shock­ing will­ing­ness to leave fu­ture gen­er­a­tions stranded with cli­mate-dam­ag­ing in­fra­struc­ture.”

Plan B di­rec­tor Tim Crosland said: “The broad coali­tion of de­volved govern­ment and civil so­ci­ety lin­ing up against the govern­ment is proof that this is not a po­lit­i­cal is­sue. It’s a coali­tion for the fu­ture of life on earth – one that ev­ery­one can get be­hind.”

A Depart­ment for Trans­port spokesman said: “Ex­pan­sion at Heathrow is a crit­i­cal pro­gramme, which will pro­vide a boost to the econ­omy, in­crease our in­ter­na­tional links and cre­ate tens of thou­sands of new jobs.

“As with any ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture project, we have been an­tic­i­pat­ing le­gal chal­lenges and will ro­bustly de­fend our po­si­tion.”

He added: “To­day’s hear­ing does not im­pact on the work Heathrow is un­der­tak­ing on its ap­pli­ca­tion for plan­ning con­sent or the timetable to de­liver this much-needed run­way.”

A spokesman for Heathrow said: “We are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the le­gal chal­lenges as an in­ter­ested party, given our role as the pro­moter of this crit­i­cally im­por­tant, na­tional project.

“Our work in de­liv­er­ing Bri­tain’s new run­way will con­tinue in tan­dem with this process fol­low­ing over­whelm­ing sup­port in Par­lia­ment.

“We re­main fo­cused on the work needed for our de­vel­op­ment con­sent or­der sub­mis­sion in 2020 and we are get­ting on with the de­liv­ery of this project, which will ben­e­fit the whole of the UK.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.