Heathrow Given Leave to Appeal Blocking of Third Runway

Can challenge ruling that stopped plan on environmental grounds

Picture: Ian Wylie

Heathrow Airport has been given permission to appeal a block on its plans for a third runway.

The Supreme Court granted permission for the company that owns the airport to challenge the Court of Appeal ruling in February, that said the government’s plan for Heathrow expansion was unlawful on climate change grounds.

A coalition of local authorities including Wandsworth, the Mayor of London and environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace brought the case against the airport.

Some local councils and environmental groups fear it will have “detrimental consequences” for the health and environment of residents.

The government decided not to pursue further legal action in February, but Heathrow continued with the move.

The Supreme Court granted approval to the airport’s legal challenge on Wednesday, May 6.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Responding to the impacts of Covid-19 is our priority right now. We do believe that once the benefits of air travel and connectivity have been restored in years to come, an expanded Heathrow will be required.

“This privately funded project will see billions of pounds pumped into the UK’s economy, stimulating sectors across the country and creating tens of thousands of new jobs. To that end, we are pleased to have been granted permission by the Supreme Court to appeal.

“Heathrow is more than just an airport, it is the cornerstone of the UK economy and will be the engine room that powers our regions back to growth in the future.”

But speaking to Parliament’s transport select committee on Wednesday, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye suggested the runway could be on the backburner while the economy recovers from coronavirus.

“In 10 to 15 years, if we are successful in rebooting the UK economy and getting back to full swing, then I think we will still need a third runway at that point,” he said.

Paul McGuinness, chair of No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “While we expected the legal process to roll on, because it relates to an important aspect of developing law, we remain confident that this highly disruptive airport’s attempts to expand its operations over the country’s most densely populated region will always fail, whether it be for environmental, political or legal reasons, or any combination of the three.”

Anahita Hossein-Pour– Local Democracy Reporter

May 7, 2020