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Judge to rule whether bid to block Heathrow expansion legal challenge can continue

Grace Witherden

Heathrow says it will reduce night flights if third runway plans go ahead

A judge will rule if a government motion to block the council’s legal challenge against a third runway at Heathrow will be allowed to continue.

In a hearing at the High Court today (Thursday), arguments were heard on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport and the opposing coalition of councils, Greenpeace and a Hillingdon resident.

The Royal Borough, along with Hillingdon, Richmond and Wandsworth, served legal papers to the Government over ‘unlawfully’ supporting the expansion of Heathrow airport in December.

Concerned Hillingdon residents and representatives from campaign groups packed into the courtroom for the proceedings, which were heard by Mr Justice Cranston.

Mr James Maurici QC, on behalf of the Secretary of State, argued a judicial review should not be heard until after the consultation on the National Policy Statement (NPS) on aviation is published.

He said a consultation was due to run at the end of the January, and concerns such as air quality could be made then.

Arguments were then heard from Mr Martin Chamberlain QC, representing the coalition, calling for an immediate judicial review.

Mr Justice Cranston said he had been given ‘a lot to think about’.

After the hearing, Rob Barnstone from campaign group Stop Heathrow Expansion said: “The two issues we believe are significant to be bought forward to judicial review are the air quality in London and the impact to residents that have had their lives and community destroyed.

“They are arguing that we’ve got the opportunity to put this forward in the consultation, which of course we will be doing anyway.

“We think it's important to put these issues forward right now.”

Leader of the Royal Borough council, Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) said: "All we’ve wanted to see is that there is proper scrutiny. We want to protect our residents. Air quality and noise pollution are important issues."

The hearing is expected to continue at the Royal Courts of Justice tomorrow.

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