Court of appeal hears case against Heathrow expansion brought by councils, Greenpeace and the Mayor of London

By Jack Howes
October 20 2019, 14.35

The Heathrow expansion would have ‘devastating consequences’ on the health of Londoners should it go ahead, the court of appeal heard on Thursday.

This is the view of the Leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, who is joined in the appeal by the councils of Richmond upon Thames, Hillingdon, Maidenhead and Hammersmith and Fulham and Windsor, all near to Heathrow.

The boroughs are supported in their appeal by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Greenpeace. A five-day hearing is expected to conclude on 23 October.

Mr Govindia said: “The third runway will have devastating consequences for the health of Londoners.”

He added: “It is also becoming clearer by the day that expansion will play havoc with the Government’s zero carbon targets.”

The High Court ruled in March that the Heathrow expansion was lawful, stating that agreement does not form part of UK law, and therefore the Government did not act unlawfully by not taking into account the details of climate change mitigation in the agreement.

However, lawyers will argue that the government deliberately failed to identify the whole area that could be affected by noise and air pollution when it approved the expansion. It could affect 200,000 Londoners, which includes 124 schools and more than 43,000 schoolchildren. It would mean 700 extra planes would leave Heathrow every day.

Friends of the Earth, claims the expansion is unlawful as it breached the Department for Transport’s sustainable development duties in failing to mitigate climate change for future generations.

This view has been supported by the executive director of Greenpeace UK, John Sauven.

Mr Sauven said: “The ongoing air pollution crisis, and the thousands of deaths it causes, the stress and ill health from the sound of constant overflights and the destructions of communities around Heathrow all make a third runway unacceptable”.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Judicial reviews are common in infrastructure projects of this size.

“Our plans remain on-track and we will support the Department for Transport throughout this process. We remain totally confident in the robust process that has got us to this point.”

A decision from the Court of Appeals is expected in December.

Feature image credit: Jack Taylor Gotch/Greenpeace

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