Councils take first step towards Heathrow legal challenge


An alliance of councils has threatened the transport secretary Chris Grayling with legal action over Heathrow expansion, demanding he withdraws Government support or face a judicial review.

A letter before action was sent today from Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead Councils, together with Greenpeace and a resident of Hillingdon, while London mayor Sadiq Khan recently said Transport for London could provide resources to support such legal action.


The letter gives ministers a period of 14 days in which to withdraw their decision to back a third runway and is said to have drawn 'on statute, legal precedent and promises and statements made by senior politicians confirming that the third runway would not be built'.

If Mr Grayling fails to comply, judicial review proceedings will be commenced in the High Court on the basis 'that the Government’s approach to air quality and noise is unlawful, and that it has failed to carry out a fair and lawful consultation exercise prior to issuing its decision' the councils said.

Cllr Ray Puddifoot Leader of Hillingdon Council said: 'I was in the High Court in March 2010 at the last JR on Heathrow expansion when the judge referred to the third runway plans as "untenable in law and common sense".

'Six years on it is unbelievable that the current Government are promoting an expansion that is still untenable in law and common sense and it is simply not acceptable in this country. This is the first round of this legal challenge and whilst we should win by a knockout in the first round we are prepared for a long fight if necessary.'

Lord True Leader of Richmond Council said: 'Heathrow expansion is one of the worst government decisions in modern times – dishonest, in that it reverses a clear commitment; incompetent, in that it took six years to get to Base A (from which it will never proceed); indefensible economically, in that it is the most costly and polluting option and the most likely to involve charges on public funds; illogical, in that it is the slowest to deliver and a staggering affront to every principle of competition and careless of the public good, in that is the most polluting and the most disruptive of the public. This legal challenge is only one route to block the Heathrow juggernaut. There will be others.'


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