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The UK court of appeal has ruled that plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport are illegal because they did not adequately account for the government’s climate change commitments.

Citing the government’s target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Lord Justice Lindblom, presiding, said: “The Paris Agreement ought to have been taken into account by the Secretary of State. The National Planning Statement was not produced as the law requires.”

The case was brought against the government by Plan B, a charity supporting legal action against climate change, and was one of a number of challenges to the third runway plans.

The government said it will not appeal the verdict.

Third runway plans at Heathrow ruled illegal due to climate change commitments
Credit: Simone Hutsch

Prime Minister Boris Johnson famously opposed the third runway, saying he would lie down in front of bulldozers to prevent construction, though he was out of the country when a parliamentary vote on the expansion took place in 2018, when he was Foreign Secretary.

Parliament voted in favour of the government’s proposal by a majority of 296, with support from across the aisle and the backing of trade unions GMB and Unite.

The latest ruling, however, is the first in the world to be made based on the Paris Agreement, and may set a global precedent for legal action against government policy on carbon-intensive industries and investments.

Source: The Guardian

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