Council sets aside further £100,000 for Heathrow legal battle

A further £100,000 will be set aside to fund the Royal Borough’s legal challenge against a third runway at Heathrow Airport, according to the council leader.

Cllr Simon Dudley announced on Friday that, following a meeting with legal counsel and a vote within the ruling Conservative Group, councillors had overwhelmingly agreed to take a stand against the proposed expansion.

The Royal Borough will now line-up alongside local authorities including Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham to challenge the Government’s decision.

Cllr Dudley (Con, Riverside) said: “It’s quite a line-up, maybe even stronger than the England side.”

“We’re putting another £100,000 in which is right at the top end of what we’ll need.

“We don’t put spending taxpayer’s money lightly and I have been clear that we won’t be caught up in frivolous legal action.”

The additional money will be taken from the council’s cash reserves and will be added on to the £50,000 that has already been set aside for a potential legal challenge.

The council leader added that the Government had left itself ‘wide open’ over its air quality obligations and demanded evidence over how the construction of a third runway would comply with air quality.

“We’ve got obligations to meet with air quality standards and that can be driven by surface transport movements,” he said.

“When people talk about expansion, it’s like putting a Gatwick next to Heathrow.

“How are they going to achieve the level of surface transport movements to ensure they comply with air quality?”

Any legal challenge, which could also involve charity Greenpeace and the Mayor of London, will need to be lodged by the first week of August.

The airport is currently developing an application for development consent which could see construction begin in 2021.

But progress could be derailed in the event of a pending judicial review.

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