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Runway ruling highlights transport secrecy


MINISTERS THIS week faced more pressure to be open about transport policy plans after last week's High Court judgement that parts of the government's UK-wide Aviation White Paper were unlawful.

One senior lawyer said the ruling would force ministers and offi als to make decision making more transparent when planning major announcements.

Last week's High Court ruling follows a campaign by anti airport expansion groups.

Mr Justice Sullivan ruled that the Department for Transport acted unlawfully in specifying the precise location of the proposed second runway for Stansted airport.

Paul Dacam, a partner at law fi m Lovells, said the case could encourage other interest groups to challenge the government.

'Almost without doubt it will make the government think twice about consultation processes and ensure they are much more transparent at the White Paper stage, ' he said.

The ruling said that extra consultation was needed on plans for Stansted, but transport secretary Alistair Darling said implementation of the project would not be delayed.

Two London boroughs and fi local authorities from Hertfordshire and Essex also joined groups fi ghting expansion plans at Stansted, Luton and Heathrow.

top Stansted Expansion campaigners said the judgement confi med that the government had 'jumped the gun'.

Proposals for extending the runway at Luton did not appear in original plans and the judge ruled that fresh consultation is required.

he government has always accepted that the exact positioning and capacity of the runways at Stansted and Luton will be decided by the normal planning process, ' Darling said.

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