Press Release


30 January 2017


For immediate use




A High Court ruling delivered on Monday afternoon stated that the legality of the proposed third runway at Heathrow will not be able to be challenged until a formal proposal is put forward by the Government in a national policy statement (1).


A coalition of four local authorities, Greenpeace and a local resident had begun judicial review proceedings against a third runway, arguing that the case should be heard now before more time and taxpayers’ money is wasted developing a scheme that will never be able to comply with air quality law. The claimants also argued that local residents should not have to face many years of further uncertainty over plans a runway that is likely never to be cleared for take-off.


Today’s ruling does not concern the merits of the grounds for complaint, only the timing of the judicial review process.  Lord Justice Cranston, delivering his verdict, said: “Once the Secretary of State adopts and publishes a National Policy Statement the court will have jurisdiction to entertain challenges the claimants advance.”


Christine Taylor, Harlington resident and co-claimant in the case, said: “This simply delays the inevitable. We will be making a legal challenge but this ruling means we have to wait until the end of the national policy statement process. For residents this means another year of stress and blight.”


The claimants state that the Government's announcement to support plans for a third runway is unlawful because it frustrates the legitimate expectations of local residents who have received clear and repeated promises from ministers over the years that it would never be built.  This gave them the right, at the very least, to consultation before the Government decided to back Heathrow.


Taylor added: “People made plans based on reassurances given by the Government. They tried to live the sort of lives that others take for granted. They looked ahead to a future in their villages and many worked hard to heal the communities ravaged by years of blight from the last third runway proposal. They celebrated and commemorated; they planted and painted. They wanted to take pride in what they'd saved.”


A draft national policy statement is expected to be published this week, which will form a 16-week public consultation before being put to Parliament at the end of 2017.



Reasons to reject a third runway include

×         783 homes (and most likely more) to be lost.

×         another 3,750 homes to be made "unliveable" due to noise, pollution and health impact.

×         loss of community, 900 year history, relationships, family lives, memories, local services etc.

×         people in the south of Hillingdon Borough (nearer Heathrow) die 7 years earlier than those in north Hillingdon.

×         Heathrow already overflys 3 times the number of people of Charles de Gaulle, Schiphol or Frankfurt, and with a third runway it would be 4 times as many.

×         Heathrow already has 480,000 flights per annum, and with a third runway it will have an additional 260,000 per annum or 54% more

×         more than half the proposed "additional business for Britain" will be absorbed in health cost due to bronchial problems, hypertension, depression, early death and slower learning in children, caused by noise, pollution, loss of sleep etc.

×         The Heathrow area already exceeds Climate Change limits, that is before additional flights, traffic and a 245% increase in cargo trucks.

×         It is in the wrong place for expansion - affecting the lives of 1 million people.

×         Improved use of other airports better supports the regions and renders a Heathrow third runway unnecessary.





(1)    Verdict available in a separate document. Please request.


For more information: Rob Barnstone on 07806 947050;