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Legal battles begin for Heathrow expansion

3113984 heathrow taxiways

Anti-third runway campaigners have vowed to carry on the fight against Heathrow expansion by launching a legal challenge following Monday’s vote.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to join London boroughs Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Richmond and Hammersmith & Fullham in their legal battle against Heathrow’s third runway. Law firm Harrison Grant confirmed it is representing the four boroughs.

Transport for London (TfL) has said it will support any legal action taken by City Hall, as has environmental campaign group Greenpeace.

As the Commons vote on Heathrow expansion was passed with a comfortable majority on Monday (25 June), council leaders came together and promised to continue the fight.

“Heathrow already makes life intolerable for people of all sides of the airport,” said Wandsworth council leader Ravi Govindia.

“We will fight this proposal through the courts and we will win because the alternative is to condemn thousands of people to premature deaths from dangerous levels of air pollution.

“We will use all the tools at our disposal to end this third runway nightmare once and for all.”

Once the government has officially designated the newly approved Airports National Policy statement, expected within the next few days, objectors will have six weeks to set out their legal challenges.

New Civil Engineer understands a legal battle would most likely rest on the air quality issue. The UK government has a legal obligation to meet EU air quality targets and must not pass any project which delays compliance.

Despite significant uncertainty over support, Heathrow’s £14bn expansion plans won political backing with 415 votes for the scheme and 119 votes against it.

The privately funded scheme will now start to finalise its designs before applying for a development consent order (DCO) in 2020.

After the vote, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Parliament has ended 50 years of debate by deciding that Heathrow expansion will go ahead.

“This vote will see us deliver more jobs, create a lasting legacy of skills for future generations and guarantee expansion is delivered responsibly. We are grateful that MPs have made the right choice for Britain and today we start work to create the best connected hub airport in the world.”

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