London mayor Sadiq Khan has backed a potential legal challenge to a third runway at Heathrow, citing environmental grounds and a lack of funding for surface transport improvements.
Mr Khan has directed Transport for London (TfL) to provide advice and assistance to councils such as Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead, as they prepare a joint legal challenge with Greenpeace.
London mayor Sadiq Khan
The mayor’s office said it is likely that TfL will be named in this action as an interested party and that if this happens he will take a decision on joining the legal challenge.
Mr Khan said: ‘I promised I wouldn’t just stand-by and see hundreds of thousands suffer from the additional noise and air pollution that a third runway would cause. These decisions show that I’m ready to help ensure that this misery isn’t inflicted on Londoners.
‘That’s why I’ve directed TfL to provide their expert advice and assistance to support Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead Councils, and Greenpeace as they prepare for a joint legal challenge, and why I will be ready for us to play an active role in the action if required.’
Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said: ‘The mayor’s commitment is very good news and will significantly strengthen our legal arguments. Transport for London’s resources and technical expertise will be hugely helpful to developing our case and exposing the deeply flawed logic supporting Heathrow expansion.’
The mayor’s office cited ministers’ claims that Heathrow can be expanded within air quality requirements but pointed to the High Court ruling earlier this month that the Government’s national air quality plan is inadequate and illegal.
It said a revised plan would be ‘likely to demonstrate that a third runway is just not compatible with the Government’s duty to achieve – and sustain – legal levels of air quality’.
The mayor’s office added that ministers need to show how billions of pounds can be found to improve road and rail connections to the airport.