The High Court has rejected a challenge by campaigners against the government’s approval of plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
The case against the runway was brought by environmental charities including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, five councils, local residents, and Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.
The claimants argued that the government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) did not properly account for the impact of the third runway in relation to air pollution, noise pollution, congestion and climate change.
However, the judges ruled than the plans were lawful.
Lord Justice Hickinbottom said in the ruling: “We understand that these claims involve underlying issues upon which the parties – and indeed many members of the public – hold strong and sincere views.”
Credit: Sebastian Grochowicz
However, he added: “There was a tendency for the substance of parties’ positions to take more of a centre stage than perhaps it should have done, in a hearing that was only concerned with the legality, and not the merits, of the Airports National Policy Statement.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling reiterated the government’s view that Heathrow would provide a massive economic boost for the country and urged the campaigners “not to waste any more taxpayers’ money or to seek to further delay this vital project.”
Greenpeace responded: “This verdict will not reduce the impact on local communities from increased noise and air pollution, nor will it resolve Heathrow Ltd’s financial difficulties or the economic weakness in their expansion plans.”
As a result of the ruling, the government will not be required to release an alternative NPS.
Source: BBC News