Rival Heathrow expansion scheme Heathrow Hub is preparing a legal challenge should parliament approve plans for a third runway.
Heathrow Hub is urging MPs to reject plans for the third runway due to “errors” in the National Policy Statement (NPS), and threatening to launch a legal challenge after next week’s vote.
MPs are expected to vote on the government’s Airports NPS by next Tuesday, after cabinet gave Heathrow Airport Ltd’s (HAL) expansion plans the go-ahead earlier this month. If the NPS passes, HAL will begin revising its current expansion designs.
But rival campaign Heathrow Hub, which wants to extend the existing north runway by around 600m rather than build a new runway, believes transport secretary Chris Grayling has “bungled the details” which include errors on capacity within the NPS.
The scheme’s bosses claim that the Department for Transport (DfT) has “ignored” new evidence on capacity in order to push through the third runway plans.
Heathrow Hub director Jock Lowe said: “Parliament is due to vote on the NPS in a couple of weeks and MPs should not vote for it. If they approve the NPS in its current form, there will be a judicial challenge soon after.
“The errors the DfT have made in relation to capacity are fundamental and explain why passengers and airlines are being saddled with Heathrow Airport’s expensive, complicated third runway instead of our cheaper, simpler, quieter plan.
“Chris Grayling should be under no illusion that, not for the first time, his department has bungled the details of a critical transport project. He should withdraw or amend the NPS before it is too late.”
Grayling effectively silenced backers for alternative proposals when he gave HAL’s scheme the green light two weeks ago, describing HAL as “the only credible promoter who could deliver this transformational scheme in its entirety”.
Several London boroughs and Transport for London have already said that they could mount a legal challenge against expansion due to environmental and surface access concerns.
A DfT spokesperson said: “We are confident that our process for decision-making is robust and will strongly defend any challenges.”