12:07PM, Thursday 03 March 2016
‘Expect court action’ is the message from the Royal Borough to the Prime Minister if a third runway at Heathrow is not ruled out.
Harrison Grant Solicitors, which led the council's successful 2010 High Court challenge against Heathrow expansion, has written to David Cameron.
The company is acting on behalf of the Royal Borough, Hillingdon and Richmond councils.
It warns the Prime Minister that recommendations by the Airports Commission, which favoured building a third runway, ‘were based on a flawed assessment of the impacts on air quality and noise’.
The Harrison Grant letter said: “A decision to favour Heathrow is unlawful because it would frustrate the legitimate expectations of the residents of the boroughs, arising from years of clear and repeated promises by the Government that it had ruled out a third runway at Heathrow.
“In the absence of rational grounds for thwarting and frustrating the prior representations and promises, there is an abuse of power correctable by the courts.”
The letter adds that consultation ‘has been selective, inadequate and incomplete’.
Leader of the council, Cllr Burbage (Con, Bray), said: “The simple fact is that Heathrow expansion would be too noisy, polluting and damaging to local communities.
“It’s time for ministers to recognise the huge weight of evidence that shows that the third runway plan is impossible.”
A pro-Heathrow group has slammed the Royal Borough for boasting that a ‘legal war chest’ will be used to fight Heathrow expansion.
Robert Gray, Back Heathrow campaign director, said: "Thousands of taxpayers living in Windsor and Maidenhead will be furious that the council is spending their money preparing to sue the Government rather than on vital local services.
“It is a bizarre situation because RBWM did very well out of the allocation of transitional grants but is now threatening to use that same money to take legal action against the Government who awarded the funds in the first place. Talk about biting the hand that feeds.
“Residents will also be angry that their hard-earned money is being wasted on legal fees instead of on important public services that really benefit local people.
"Heathrow is a vital national asset and the Government should not be held to ransom by four councils when there is enormous support for expansion from local residents, businesses, communities and MPs across the UK.”
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.