The Court of Appeal is due to rule this morning on a case that could see the end of plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
A coalition of local authorities and environmental groups is appealing against a High Court decision that the Government’s support for airport expansion is lawful.
Commentators have suggested that the Court of Appeal could rule the expansion plans to be in breach of the Government’s plans to cut carbon emissions.
The Times reported that prime minister Boris Johnson ‘is likely to refuse to sanction an appeal to the Supreme Court if, as feared, the ruling is made in favour of Heathrow’s opponents’.
It added that Whitehall sources had said that Mr Johnson was considering alternative plans to kill off the proposed runway even if legal challenges are dismissed.
Theresa Villiers, who was a member of Mr Johnson’s cabinet minister until the reshuffle two weeks ago, told the Independent that supporters of the third runway have failed to present a ‘convincing’ enough case for it to go ahead.
On Thursday, the airport, which is owned by Spanish firm Ferrovial, reported a nine consecutive year of growth in 2019, with a record record 80.9 million passengers in 2019, up 1% on 2018.
This is despite an assertion in 2015 from the Airports Commission, which recommended expanding the airport, that: ‘Heathrow has been effectively full for many years’.
However, the airport claimed that the case for expansion ‘was strengthened as new figures revealed that growth at EU competitor Charles de Gaulle is set to overtake Heathrow’.