Heathrow expansion legal appeal begins

Viewpoint letters (June 27, 2019)

The proposed third runway at Heathrow

A fresh legal challenge against the Government’s decision to back Heathrow expansion kicked off today.

A coalition of councils, including the Royal Borough, and environmental groups are back in court to appeal a decision not to grant a judicial review into the Government’s choice to support a third runway.

Outside the court, borough leader Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams) said opponents were united in a ‘common cause’.

He said: “That is, to expose the flawed process the Government has followed in terms of making the decision it has made, to expose the flaws surrounding air quality, the detrimental impact on biodiversity, the huge, massive blight of air pollution that not only will affect the Royal Borough but also residents across west London.”

He added: “We’re here today, we fight, we fight to win, the fight goes on and every penny that we’ve spent has been well worth it, exposing this flawed decision.”

The anti-expansion parties are hoping to overturn a decision not to grant a judicial review that was made at the Royal Courts of Justice in May.

The borough, which has set aside £150,000 for the case, was among groups which had put forward grounds to oppose the Government’s decision to support the third runway. But the judges found the challenges, which focused on climate change, air quality and noise issues, were insufficient.

Legal proceedings at the Court of Appeal in London began with counsel for the anti-expansion parties taking judges through environmental issues yesterday morning.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “Judicial reviews are common in infrastructure projects of this size.

“Our plans remain on track and we will support the Department for Transport throughout this process.

“We remain totally confident in the robust process that has got us to this point, including the extensive evidence gathered by the independent Airports Commission, multiple rounds of public consultation and the overwhelming cross-party support of Parliament.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman declined to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

The case is expected to last six days.

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