Councils set for court challenge on Heathrow decision

Release Date: 19 July 2018

A group of local authorities has today formally notified the Secretary of State for Transport that it intends to seek judicial review of the Government’s decision to give policy support in the Airports National Policy Statement ('NPS') for a third Heathrow runway.

The councils are challenging the Government on the grounds of air quality, climate change, strategic environmental assessment including failing properly to deal with the noise consequences and surface access impacts.

On air quality they say, amongst other things, that the Government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality.

On surface access the councils say, amongst other things, that the NPS fails to recognise the scale of the challenge to accommodate additional trips without unacceptable effects on the transport network and unacceptable effects from traffic pollution.

Councillor Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“The Government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality despite having been taken to court and lost many times.  Its decision in favour of the third runway should therefore be quashed.”

Councillor Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, added:

“The councils have shown extraordinary patience. We have given the Government numerous opportunities to address our concerns and answer our questions. All the evidence shows that a new Heathrow runway will be bad for the environment in our boroughs and bad for the health of our residents.”

The Government must now respond to the councils’ formal letter before action. If the Transport Secretary does not agree to a quashing of the NPS, then the local authorities will bring judicial review proceedings.

The local authority group comprises of the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Windsor and Maidenhead Council, and Hammersmith and Fulham.

The group has also been joined by the Mayor of London and Greenpeace.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contactElinor Firthon 020 8487 5159.  

Reference: P357/18

Updated: 31 July 2018