Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Another day, another Heathrow legal challenge

heathrow cropped

Environmental charity Friends of the Earth has begun High Court legal action against the government over its decision to give the third runway at Heathrow Airport the green light.

The charity claims the decision breaches the UK’s climate change policy and its sustainable development duties. It is challenging the legal basis of the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), published in June, which provides the framework for the airport’s expansion.

It is the fourth legal fight against the expansion plans: environmental charity Plan B is also starting legal proceedings against expansion. Rival expansion firm Heathrow Hub started a judicial review last week and London mayor Sadiq Khan, alongside five London boroughs and Greenpeace, is bringing another challenge.

Law firm Leigh Day, acting for Friends of the Earth, filed papers with the High Court on Monday, which called for the NPS to be quashed. 

Leigh Day public law solicitor Rowan Smith said: “In no sensible terms can this be described as sustainable development, when the additional costs of carbon-offsetting and the global warming potential of non-CO2 emissions from aviation do not feature in the government’s plans.

“The government has a legal duty to take into account climate change policy and the Paris Agreement it has committed to with the global community, the Airports National Policy Statement does not adequately consider those factors and we therefore will argue that it is unlawful.”

Heathrow has remained bullish in the face of the challenges, saying it has factored the legal fights into its timeframe and the runway won’t be delayed.

The High Court is expected to make a decision on whether there will be a full hearing in the autumn.

New Civil Engineer has contacted the Department for Transport for a response.

Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.



Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.