Legal challenge against Government's Heathrow expansion support begins

Will Taylor and Julia Gregory
Legal challenge against Government's Heathrow expansion support begins

Protesters outside the court

Legal action challenging the Government’s decision to back Heathrow’s third runway started today.

The Royal Borough is one of five councils challenging that decision in the High Court in London.

The group says key facts were ignored by transport secretary Chris Grayling, including advice about surface access provided by the Mayor of London.

They claim he did not produce a report showing which communities would be affected by noise, add say he was legally compelled to identify all areas at risk of being impacted.

Counsel for the authorities told Lord Justice Hickinbottom and Justice Holgate that projected passenger figures regarding the proposed third runway would in effect create ‘a new airport with the capacity of Gatwick to the north of Heathrow’.

He added: "There will be hundreds of thousands of additional flights each year across London, and also affecting the south east.”

He warned that it would mean “thousands of people’s homes will be demolished. Many more properties are currently blighted. Hundreds of thousands will experience increased noise, worsened traffic and harmful pollution.”

The Royal Borough is working with Wandsworth, Richmond, Hillingdon and Hammersmith and Fulham councils to oppose the Government’s support for the third runway.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Greenpeace are also challenging.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said ahead of the meeting: “Expansion at Heathrow is a critical programme which will boost the economy, increase our international connections and create tens of thousands of new jobs.

 “As with any major infrastructure project, the government has been anticipating legal challenges and will robustly defend our position. We recognise the local impact of any expansion, which is why a world class package of mitigations would need to be delivered.”

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