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Travel industry news

01 May 2019

BY James Chapple


Heathrow campaigners lose High Court challenge over third runway plans

Campaigners fighting Heathrow airport’s proposed expansion plans have had their High Court challenge against a third runway dismissed.

british airways heathrow

Heathrow campaigners lose High Court challenge over third runway plans

A joint judicial review, challenging Heathrow’s plans to expand the west London hub via a third runway, was lodged last year.


However, the bid, split across five claims, was dismissed at the High Court on Wednesday morning (1 May).


A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are delighted with today’s ruling, which is a further demonstration that the debate on Heathrow expansion has been had and won, not only in Parliament, but in the courts also.


"We are getting on with delivering the once-in-a-generation project that will connect Britain to global growth, providing thousands of new jobs and an economic boost for this country and its future generations.”


Justin Francis, founder of operator Responsible Travel, said: “Rejecting the science and the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets to build a third runway at Heathrow is utter madness.


"The new runway will be regarded as the worst decision ever made by the Department for Transport (DfT), and the ultimate signal that modern politics favours current generations over future ones.


"It will inevitably be cancelled as the climate crisis worsens and public pressure increases. When this happens billions of taxpayers’ money will be wasted."


In total, five claims for judicial review challenging the Department for Transport’s decision to pursue expansion at Heathrow through a third runway, set out in a new Airports National Policy Statement approved last June, were lodged in the High Court.


The first four comprised the London Borough of Hillingdon, in which Heathrow sits, and four neighbouring boroughs, as well as the office of the Mayor of London, a number of NGOs and various environmental pressure groups, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.


A fifth claim was brought by rival Heathrow expansion scheme, Heathrow Hub, which proposed instead to achieve expansion by extending the airport’s existing north runway and operating it as two independent runways.


The court was tasked with adjudicating on whether such a claim was feasible and could amount to a substantive claim. The first four claims presented 22 grounds of challenge and the fifth another five. All claims were dismissed by the court.


Tanzer: Urgent progress required on expansion

Tanzer: Urgent progress required on expansion

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said it was now time for "urgent progress" to deliver "the additional capacity the UK economy requires".


"Forecasts show our airports are quickly reaching capacity, especially at Heathrow – the UK's main international gateway," said Tanzer.


"Additional airport capacity in the south east is vital to the UK's future economic prospects and enhancing our global competitiveness, and all the more important following the decision to leave the EU.


"Abta supports expansion, but we are clear full consideration must be given to the environmental impact on local communities. This is why we supported the government's commitment to deliver expansion at Heathrow within legal air quality requirements, as well as the inclusion of a package of mitigating measures.


"Abta believes it is vital for Heathrow and airlines to continue to work with local communities, and we support the establishment of the Heathrow Community Engagement Board, which will ensure Heathrow engages with local residents and stakeholders throughout the planning process and construction phase.


"We also welcome the establishment of the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise to produce guidance on the process for taking future airspace change decisions."

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