The 2M Group: against Heathrow expansion
Councils win High Court Challenge
A High Court judge ruled that the Government's stance on Heathrow's third runway was 'untenable in law and common sense' (March 26).
Ministers had tried to prevent fresh consideration of its economic and climate change impacts. But Lord Justice Carnwath said the policy could not be set in stone.
He said the claimants had made a 'powerful demonstration of the potential significance of developments in climate change policy since the 2003 Airports White Paper.'
As such 'it made no sense to treat the economic arguments as settled in 2003.'
He said he would now invite the Government to sign a legally-binding undertaking not to base future aviation policy on its 2003 white paper.
The ruling is a victory for campiagners who argued that the world had changed since the original policy support for a third runway. It means expansion cannot now go ahead without a fresh examination of its full economic and environmental impacts.
Campaigners believe the cost of carbon and additional transport infrastructure costs around the airport will combine to wipe out the economic case.
The judge said he would 'surprised' if the recent tripling of carbon emission costs did not have a 'significant effect' on the economic case for the runway.
He also noted that pressure on the Piccadilly Line would be worse in 2020 even without a third runway.
The case was brought by a coalition of local councils, environmental organisations and residents groups. The councils are all members of the 2M Group and are concerned at the prospect of increased noise, worsening air pollution and added road and rail congestion.
The councils involved are Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead. The residents groups are NOTRAG and HACAN and the environmental groups World Wildlife Fund UK, Campaign to Protect Rural England, and Greenpeace. The challenge is also supported by Royal Society for Protection of Birds, Kensington and Chelsea Council, Transport for London and the Mayor of London.