Judicial review launched against third runway
A group of local authorities, environmental organisation Greenpeace and the Mayor of London announced on 6th August that they have issued judicial review proceedings in the High Court against the Secretary of State for Transport, on the basis that he has unlawfully designated the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) under the Planning Act 2008.
The NPS is part of the planning process for Heathrow's proposed north-west runway, which would totally destroy the village of Longford and, ultimately, do the same to the village of Harmondsworth. Heathrow acknowledges that homes in Sipson, Harlington and Cranford Cross would probably be considered unliveable. Residents in Stanwell Moor, Stanwell, Poyle and Colnbrook also expect to be severely affected by the airport development while areas further afield, people are expecting to suffer increased noise and pollution from increased air and road traffic if the runway is ever built and operated (which is far from certain if assurances are kept).
The proceedings challenging the expansion of Heathrow have been brought by the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham plus the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. They are joined by Greenpeace, which has been a long-standing and active opponent of airport expansion. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is a very welcome addition to the group as he has been particularly outspoken about the need to dramatically reduce the levels of pollution in London.
Despite the legal action, Heathrow continues to add to the millions of pounds already pumped into promoting its runway ambitions (it won't divulge the actual figure) and is working behind the scenes on boreholes, surveys and assessing land it aims to grab (whether it gets a runway or not). Despite the airport's debt, it continues to throw cash at the Back Heathrow campaign so it can hammer the local authorities in the media for going to court to protect residents, even though the councils are using a fraction of the amount Heathrow is spending trying to wreck the lives of those same residents.
Lawyers acting for the consortium will be challenging on the following grounds:
- air quality
- inadequate environmental assessment
- climate change
- surface access
- breach of the habitats directive
- flawed consultation process
The Leader of Hillingdon Council, Cllr Ray Puddifoot, whose borough encompasses the entire airport, all the properties proposed to be destroyed in the first wave of demolition and most of the homes that what Heathrow calls the "wider compensation zone", has for many years supported the local campaigns to fight a third runway. He makes it clear that the council is not prepared to stand back and do nothing. The council believes it must submit the many flaws in this project to the rigorous scrutiny of the High Court and beyond, if necessary.