Today transport minister Chris Grayling’s decision to give the green light to the controversial third runway to be built at Heathrow was subject to four separate legal challenges at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, with a fifth immediately following them.
The cases cover various issues related to the impact the runway would have on road traffic volumes, local air pollution, nature habitats, changed flight paths, noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It also includes the processes of consultation and consideration the Secretary of State was required to go through to address them.
One of the five cases has been brought jointly by Greenpeace, the Mayor of London, and five Boroughs which expect to be particularly affected by the local impacts of the new runway. The other three cases starting today have been brought by Friends of the Earth, Plan B and Neil Spurrier, with the fifth case brought by Heathrow Hub Ltd.
This morning representatives from all of the plaintiff organisations, local residents from parts of London impacted by Heathrow’s flight paths and environmentalists opposed to the new runway gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand to express their concern.
John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, the leaders of the five councils, a spokesperson for the Mayor of London and others outlined on the steps of the high court the problems a third runway would create. Banners, placards and paper planes were all aloft outside the court.
John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, said –
“Of all Chis Grayling’s bad decisions as transport minister, this one will cost us the most. We have an air pollution crisis that’s killing thousands and costing the NHS billions every year. We have a climate emergency which is of another order of magnitude altogether. And we have a capital city which is already served by five international airports with six runways between them. The idea that yet another runway might be worth the environmental and health costs we’ll all have to pay is ludicrous. This reckless decision must be reversed. As David Cameron, the prime minister who made Chris Grayling a minister, once said: ‘No ifs, no buts, no third runway’.”
The five Judicial Reviews are expected to take two weeks to be heard in court, and a decision will be made on the legality of Grayling’s Aviation National Policy Statement by the judges after deliberations following the hearings.
Pictures from Greenpeace’s long-running campaign against a third runway are here –
Greenpeace UK Press Office – firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7865 8255