High Court rules against Royal Borough's Heathrow third runway challenge

Grace Witherden

Councils disappointed with Heathrow Airport decision delay

Campaigners have failed in a legal challenge against proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

The leader of the Royal Borough, Cllr Simon Dudley, said he is ‘disappointed for residents’ but ‘respects’ the decision after the High Court ruled against the challenge today.

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

In a statement following today's judgement, Cllr Dudley said: “The Royal Borough is disappointed for our residents but respects the decision of the courts.

"We will now participate in the upcoming public consultation process and would encourage all our residents to do likewise."

Speaking to the Advertiser and Express, he said the ruling means the 'window opens again for legal challenge' after a consultation period and a decision is made by MPs on the national policy statement for the proposals.

Cllr Dudley added: "What the judge is saying, is that now isn’t an appropriate time to hear this, it should come after the national policy statement, which is probably a year away.

"The most important thing now is for people to respond to the consultation, before the national policy statement is issued. For all the thousands of residents, we ask them to respond to express their concerns.

"We’ll still on their side."

At the hearing at the High Court, on Thursday, January 19, Mr Justice Cranston heard arguments on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport and the opposing coalition of councils, Greenpeace and a Hillingdon resident.

The Royal Borough had allocated £50,000 towards the challenge.

Following the decision, a Back Heathrow spokesman said: "Today's decision is welcome news for the majority of local communities near Heathrow who back the airport's expansion.

"A new runway has significant public and parliamentary support and can be safely delivered in the national interest.

"We urge the leaders of the four councils to immediately stop wasting any more taxpayers' money on legal challenges that are doomed to failure."

Updates to follow.


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