The High Court will rule on legal challenges against the government’s plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport in March 2019.
High Court judge Justice Holgate ruled that a judicial review will hear all legal challenges simultaneously in March.
Legal challengers of the government’s plans include the London boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith & Fulham, and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, which are being backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan and Greenpeace.
Heathrow Hub is also challenging the government. It has proposed a plan for Heathrow expansion that does not involve building a third runway.
There are also legal challenges to the third runway from environmental charities Friends of the Earth and Plan B.
The legal challenges were mounted after the House of Commons voted in favour of building the runway at the airport, by 415 votes to 119, in June.
Justice Holgate, a judge with expertise in planning law, told the court that he and another judge would oversee a full hearing next year.
A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said: “One of the mayor’s top priorities is cleaning up the toxic air in our city which causes thousands of premature deaths every year.
“He is greatly concerned about the impact of a third runway on air quality, noise pollution and also the impact of a third runway on public transport.
“That is why the mayor has joined councils and Greenpeace in taking legal action. He is hoping the government sees sense and does not proceed with the expansion of Heathrow that is not good for our city or for the wellbeing of Londoners.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Expansion at Heathrow is a critical programme which will provide a boost to the economy, increase our international links and create tens of thousands of new jobs.
“As with any major infrastructure project, we have been anticipating legal challenges and will robustly defend our position.
“Today’s hearing does not impact on the work Heathrow is undertaking on its application for planning consent or the timetable to deliver this much-needed runway.”
Friends of the Earth head of legal Will Rundle said: “The court has made it very clear that the government must defend itself at a full trial next Spring, and we are looking forward to the next step in the legal fight against the climate-damaging project that is Heathrow’s third runway.
”We think the government’s decision to go ahead with the project failed to consider current climate policy, including the Climate Change Act targets, nor did it factor in the implications of the Paris Agreement.”
Transport secretary Chris Grayling has argued a third runway at Heathrow would create “a clear path to our future as a global nation in the post-Brexit world”.
Heathrow Airport plans for construction of the third runway to begin in 2021.
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