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Heathrow third runway legal challenges

Katie Coyne16/08/2018 - 13:06

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six legal challenges to Heathrow expansion
six legal challenges to Heathrow expansion

Six legal challenges to the Heathrow airport expansion plans were lodged before the 7 August deadline last week.

Among those challenging the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) plan were Friends of the Earth working with legal firm Leigh Day.

Friends of the Earth has argued that the NPS is unlawful because it amounts to a breach in the UK’s climate change policy and sustainable development duties.

Three of the challenges are from environmental groups, one is from a rival bidder who wanted to extend the northern runway, and two are from individuals.

Friends of the Earth in-house lawyer, Katie De Kauwe, said: ‘It shows, if nothing else, that there are numerous concerns from across the whole environmental movement.’

With regards to the two individuals challenging the expansion she added: ‘I don’t know what their grounds are but it shows the government that there is so much opposition.’

De Kauwe added: ‘We have real concerns about the impact on the climate and on sustainable development if this Heathrow expansion goes ahead.

‘We don’t take proceedings lightly, we don’t just fire from the hip. We feel we have a strong case and that’s why we want to bring it.’

FoE said the NPS will affect domestic targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction under the Climate Change Act 2008, and does not factor in the UK’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.

FoE is also concerned that the NPS fails to factor in the affect of gases other than C02 – such as nitrous oxide – on climate change.

De Kauwe said: ‘It’s about making sure we are living within our means and we are not jeopardising the opportunity of future generations to live in a healthy environment.’

Partner at Bircham Dyson Bell, Angus Walker, partner, wrote a blog on his firm’s website speculating that this may be the greatest number of challenges to a large government backed infrastructure project to-date.

He said just four parties challenged the Thames Tideway Tunnel Development Consent Order – two of which were unsuccessful because they were filed after the six week deadline. All the Heathrow challengers have filed by the deadline.

Walker also pointed out that several of the challenges to Heathrow are already joint, so in total there are around 12 organisations in opposition to the NPS.

Climate change campaigners Plan B lodged a challenge over concerns about climate change and also mentioned the Paris Agreement.

Greenpeace has also lodged a joint challenge with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the London boroughs under the flight path. The London boroughs include: Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond, and Hillingdon. They have also been joined by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire.

The Heathrow Hub has challenged the NPS on competition grounds, claiming Heathrow Airport had an unfair advantage.

Two individuals have also applied for a judicial review into the expansion. These are; Neil Spurrier, a lawyer and member of the Teddington Action Group that opposes the expansion of Heathrow; and Robin Clarke, a Birmingham resident.


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