Councils pursue judicial review into Heathrow expansion

7 Aug 18

Local authorities are continuing with a legal challenge against the decision to expand Heathrow airport and have lodged a judicial review bid with the High Court.

The challenge has been brought by a coalition of five councils local to Heathrow together with London mayor Sadiq Khan and the NGO Greenpeace.

Their case cites air quality, inadequate environmental assessment and a flawed consultation process as reasons why approval of the expansion was unlawful.

It also argues that the Airports National Policy Statement, a policy framework specific to Heathrow expansion, conflicts with the Planning Act’s commitments to sustainable development.

Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon Council, one of the councils taking the action, said the government was “trying to avoid applying both the correct legal process and common sense to the question of airport expansion”.

He added: “The abject failure to address the far-reaching consequences for both the environment and the health and wellbeing of tens of thousands of residents across London is simply not acceptable.”

Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the councils involved in proceedings, have previously spent upwards of £350,000 on legal proceedings to challenge Heathrow’s expansion.

Puddifoot said: “I have confidence in the judicial process and am hopeful, that as with the previous judicial review challenge which was heard back in 2010, that the court will expose the many failings of this ill-thought-through project.”

Meanwhile, climate change charity Plan B has started separate legal action against the transport secretary in relation to his decision on Heathrow Airport.

Tim Crosland, director of the charity, said: “The government has an express obligation under the Planning Act to promote sustainable development, with specific reference to the impacts of climate change.

“The NPS designated by [transport secretary] Chris Grayling in June does not even consider the government’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change or the fact that in April this year, the government committed to a review of its climate targets in light of the Paris Agreement.”

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.”

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