A legal challenge against Heathrow has officially begun, with City Hall and five London boroughs attacking the “short-sighted decision” to sign off the third runway.
Worsening air quality, poor surface access provision and rising noise levels associated with Heathrow expansion have prompted the judicial review, which was officially launched with a pre-qualification letter submitted to government.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said it was standing “ready to defend” expansion against legal action.
Law firm Harrison Grant is representing the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead, along with the mayor.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was disappointed the third runway was voted through by MPs last month, noting the “dire consequences” of expansion.
“Heathrow expansion will result in hundreds of thousands of people being blighted by intolerable noise levels and worsening air quality in an area where pollution is already well above legal levels. The government has failed to demonstrate how it will fund the billions of pounds needed to improve road and rail connections to the airport,” Khan said.
“I remain committed to opposing such a short-sighted decision which would have dire consequences for the health and quality of life of Londoners.”
A DfT spokesperson added: “As the Secretary of State has made clear, we are confident in the decision-making process which led to designation of the Airports National Policy Statement, and stand ready to defend it robustly against legal challenge.”
Khan added that although he accepted more airport capacity is need in the South East, Gatwick Airport would be a better choice for expansion.
He said: “It’s cheaper, it would be far quicker, there are nowhere near the air quality and noise pollution issues there are with Heathrow. There is an alternative there which the government could pursue.”
Gatwick is looking to build a second runway, expected to cost between £3bn - £7.8bn with US engineering firm Bechtel in charge of delivery.
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