The High Court has today ruled against a challenge made by campaigners to controversial plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
Judges gave their ruling on Wednesday following separate judicial reviews of the UK Government’s decision to approve the plans, brought by a group of councils, residents, environmental charities and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
Commenting on today’s High Court ruling on the expansion judicial review claims, 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.”
Some of the claimants had argued at a hearing in March the plans would effectively create a “new airport” with the capacity of Gatwick and have “severe” consequences for Londoners. Lawyers for the government said the case was “unarguable”.
The case was brought against Transport Secretary Chris Grayling by local authorities and residents in London affected by the expansion and charities including Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and Plan B.
The campaigners claimed the Government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) setting out its support for the project fails to properly deal with the impact on air quality, climate change, noise and congestion.
Support from Labour MPs helped push through the proposals to expand Europe’s busiest airport with a majority of 296 in a House of Commons vote in June last year.
Construction could begin in 2021, with the third runway operational by 2026.
The Freight Transport Association’s head of multimodal policy, Alex Veitch welcomed the news: “Today’s High Court ruling, which permits the government’s Heathrow expansion policy to proceed, will reinforce the nation’s position as a global trading hub after Brexit, according to FTA, the business organisation which represents the logistics sector.
“Heathrow is already Britain’s largest port by value, and more capacity is needed to enable British businesses and consumers to thrive in our global economy.
“Expansion should of course proceed within environmental constraints, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to support a sustainable aviation sector for the future.”