Councils embark on Heathrow legal challenge

20 Jul 18

Councils to the west of London have started pursuing a judicial review against the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Five councils – Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead, Richmond and Wandsworth – together with London mayor Sadiq Khan and campaigning group Greenpeace sent a letter to transport secretary Chris Grayling.

It argues that plans to construct a third runway at the airport breach air quality laws and demands that the project be scrapped.

The government must now respond to the councils’ formal letter before action is taken.

If the government does not reverse its support for Heathrow expansion the authorities say they will bring judicial review proceedings.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “We have given the government numerous opportunities to address our concerns and answer our questions.

“All the evidence shows that a new Heathrow runway will be bad for the environment in our boroughs and bad for health of our residents.”

Khan has supported legal action against the airport’s expansion calling the decision to build a third runway “short-sighted”.

“Heathrow expansion will result in hundreds of thousands of people being blighted by intolerable noise levels and worsening air quality in an area where pollution is already above legal levels,” he said.

“I remain committed to opposing such short-sighted decisions, which would have dire consequences for the health and quality of life of Londoners.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “As the secretary of state has made clear, we are confident in the decision-making process which led to designation of the Airports National Policy Statement, and stand ready to defend it robustly against legal challenge.”

The cabinet approved plans for a third runway at Heathrow in June 2018. Grayling estimated that the project would cost £14bn and would be completed by 2026.

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