The Court of Appeal has ruled expansion plans for Heathrow airport are “unlawful” because they do not take into account the UK’s climate change commitments.
Friends of the Earth hailed the ruling as “an absolutely ground-breaking result for climate justice” with their head of legal, Will Rundle saying the “judgment has exciting wider implications for keeping climate change at the heart of all planning decisions.
“It’s time for developers and public authorities to be held to account when it comes to the climate impact of their damaging developments.”
Heathrow will appeal to Supreme Court
The government said it will not appeal against the court’s decision – announced this morning (Thursday) following a hearing in October – but the decades long saga about a third runway at Europe’s leading hub airport is not over.
A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said: “We will appeal to the Supreme Court on this one issue and are confident that we will be successful. In the meantime, we are ready to work with the government to fix the issue that the court has raised.”
The British Chambers of Commerce said it is “bitterly disappointed” with the ruling, while the chief executive of West London Business, Andrew Dakers told the BBC it was “disappointing news for Heathrow, the business community and for many west Londoners that are employed directly by the airport or the wider supply chain.”
Paris-CDG is becoming the hub for the UK
Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye warned the airport’s status as “Europe’s leading aviation hub” will be eclipsed by Paris Charles de Gaulle within 18 months.
“We are being overtaken by the French,” Holland-Kaye told the Independent. “That is the reality of the situation.
“Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris has more connections to long-haul markets than Heathrow has, and twice as many connections to UK cities than Heathrow has. Charles de Gaulle is becoming the hub for the UK.”
No Heathrow expansion, no global Britain
Heathrow’s boss said the airport “handles 40% of all the UK’s exports” and asked how post-Brexit Britain could “possibly rely on the French to provide our trading links?”
Without expansion “we will be…relying for the future of the economy on the French and the will of the French government” who be rivals not EU partners, said Holland-Kaye.
“No prime minister could possibly allow this to happen. No Heathrow expansion, no global Britain.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “Airport expansion is core to boosting global connectivity. We also take seriously our commitment to the environment. This Govt won’t appeal today’s judgement given our manifesto makes clear any #Heathrow expansion will be industry led.
MPs voted overwhelmingly for a third runway at Heathrow – 415 for and 119 against – in June 2018 which was then hailed by the CBI as “a truly historic decision that will open the doors to a new era in the UK’s global trading relationships”.