Heathrow expansion ruled unlawful

The proposed third runway at Heathrow Airport now faces more time in the courts as the Court of Appeal has ruled that the previous government's Heathrow's expansion decision was unlawful because it did not adequately take into account climate change commitments.

The case was championed by Heathrow’s residents, affected councils, the mayor of London and environmental groups, including Greenpeace, who put forward the case that before the decision was made Ministers should accounted for Paris Accord.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The Court of Appeal dismissed all appeals against the government – including on “noise” and “air quality” – apart from one which is eminently fixable. We will appeal to the Supreme Court on this one issue and are confident that we will be successful. Heathrow has taken a lead in getting the UK aviation sector to commit to a plan to get to net-zero emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Accord.”

The ruling enshrines in law the Government’s commitment to climate goals – whether they want this or not. It means that all major infrastructure projects could face legal challenges if they do not comply with the Climate Change Act.

The wider implications of the ruling are significant, and still to be fully understood, but the ruling has set down a marker as the UK attempts to meet its pledge to be carbon neutral by 2050.

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