Heathrow plans deemed unlawful

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Heathrow Airport’s plans to build a third runway have hit another stumbling block following a new court ruling.

The UK government’s Heathrow expansion decision has been deemed unlawful by the country’s Court of Appeal, having failed to take climate commitments into account. The court revealed its decision regarding the case ‘R (Friends of the Earth) v Secretary of State for Transport and others’ on February 27, 2020.

“We have concluded that the designation of the ANPS [the ‘Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the south east of England’]was unlawful by reason of a failure to take into account the government’s commitment to the provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change, concluded in December 2015 and ratified by the United Kingdom in November 2016,” the Court said in a summary of its judgments.

Court of Appeal judges described the failure to take the climate commitments into account as “legally fatal”. They added that, having seen their judgment in draft, the government had not sought Supreme Court permission to appeal the decision.

Heathrow Airport responded with a statement that said, “The Court of Appeal dismissed all appeals against the government – including on noise and air quality –  apart from one which is eminently fixable. We will appeal to the Supreme Court on this one issue and are confident that we will be successful. In the meantime, we are ready to work with the government to fix the issue that the court has raised.”

The case was brought by environmental groups Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Plan B Earth, several local authorities and the Mayor of London.


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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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