Legal fight grows over Heathrow plans

August 8 2018  

Legal fight grows over Heathrow plans

Fresh legal challenges are being brought over the Government’s support for a third runway at Heathrow Airport, including an application for a judicial review by one of the scheme’s main rivals.

Heathrow Hub – the group behind proposals for an extension to the airport’s northern runway – seeks a review of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s decision to designate the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS). Parliament voted in favour of the NPS in June, granting approval to a new north west runway.

But the claimant says the process run by the Department for Transport which commenced when it set up the Airports Commission in 2013 and culminated in the NPS being placed before Parliament was flawed.

For example it argues that the Secretary of State acted unlawfully by making it an ‘effective precondition’ of selecting the extended northern runway option that Heathrow Airport must agree to deliver the scheme. This, Heathrow Hub adds, effectively gave the airport a veto over its proposal.

Due to the allegedly flawed process it is claimed that “the most expensive, complex, disruptive expansion plan” for Heathrow expansion was chosen.

Heathrow Hub’s application for a judicial review comes just two weeks after a group of local councils, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Greenpeace launched their own challenge over the third runway plans.

Environmental campaign group Plan B has also started legal action over Heathrow expansion on the grounds that the plans breach climate change obligations.

“The National Policy Statement designated by Chris Grayling in June does not even consider the Government’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” said the group’s director Tim Crosland.

Responding to the challenges, a spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “As the Secretary of State has made clear, we are confident in the decision making process which led to designation of the Airports National Policy Statement, and stand ready to defend it robustly against legal challenge.”

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We will support the Department for Transport in its response. We are confident in the process that has taken place so far, meaning that legal challenges are unlikely to be successful: the Airports National Policy Statement is supported by extensive evidence prepared by both the Department for Transport and the Airports Commission and has been subject to multiple rounds of public consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny.

“Judicial reviews are a completely normal process in infrastructure projects of this size and our work on our planning application continues, to ensure the timeline for the delivery of an expanded Heathrow is not affected.”

(Photo: Heathrow Hub)

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