June 13, 2024

Heathrow expansion survives legal challenge

The High Court has thrown out a series of challenges to major expansion at London's Heathrow Airport.

Put forward by local authorities and environmental campaigners, the challenges said plans for a third runway – approved by MPs last summer – did not properly account for the impact on noise, congestion, air quality and climate change.

“The government welcomes today’s (May 1) judgements from the High Court in the judicial review of the Airports National Policy Statement,” said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

“Heathrow expansion is more important than ever as we plan to exit the EU. Connectivity to our only aviation hub airport is vital to productivity, and expansion is critical if global Britain is to attract inward investment and increase trade with new and fast growing overseas markets.”

Grayling added that airport expansion “cannot be at any cost” and would only take place in compliance with air quality legal limits.

“For those communities impacted by the scheme, a world class package of mitigations would be provided and, despite the third runway, a future Heathrow would be quieter than it was in 2013 as new, quieter, planes come online and robust noise mitigations are rolled out,” he added.

Construction on the third runway could commence in 2021 and be completed by 2026.

A spokesperson for Heathrow said: “We are delighted with today’s ruling which is a further demonstration that the debate on Heathrow expansion has been had and won, not only in Parliament, but in the courts also.

“We are getting on with delivering the once-in-a-generation project that will connect Britain to global growth, providing thousands of new jobs and an economic boost for this country and its future generations.”

The airport posted its 29th consecutive month of growth this spring and welcomed a record 17.9 million passengers in Q1 2019.