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Trio of legal fights 'won't delay' Heathrow expansion

3113984 heathrow taxiways

A trio of legal challenges against Heathrow expansion have not damaged bosses’ confidence that the third runway will be delivered on time. 

Environmental charity Plan B is the latest to start legal proceedings against expansion, focusing on alleged flaws in transport secretary Chris Grayling’s Airports National Policy Statement (NPS).

It joins rival expansion firm Heathrow Hub which started a judicial review last week and a third challenge from London mayor Sadiq Khan, five London boroughs and Greenpeace.

Despite the growing number of attempts to block expansion, Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) said that the third runway “would not be delayed” as it had factored legal opposition into its timeline.

A HAL spokesperson said: “We will support the Department for Transport in its response. We are confident in the process that has taken place so far, meaning that legal challenges are unlikely to be successful: the Airports National Policy Statement is supported by extensive evidence prepared by both the Department for Transport and the Airports Commission and has been subject to multiple rounds of public consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny.

“Judicial reviews are a completely normal process in infrastructure projects of this size and our work on our planning application continues, to ensure the timeline for the delivery of an expanded Heathrow is not affected.”

Unlike the other two challenges, which focus on the NPS and air and noise pollution respectively, Plan B is concerned with climate change exclusively.

Plan B director Tim Crosland said: “The National Policy Statement designated by Chris Grayling in June does not even consider the Government’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change or the fact that in April this year, the Government committed to a review of its climate targets in light of the Paris Agreement.

“We consider that to be an obvious and serious breach of the Act, which renders the plans to expand Heathrow airport unlawful”.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would be inappropriate to comment on individual legal claims.

A DfT spokesperson said: “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.”

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