Heathrow runway clears High Court hurdle

 

The High Court has dismissed arguments against Heathrow expansion and found that the Government is free to ignore the Paris Agreement on climate action until it forms part of UK law.

The High Court rejected all five legal challenges against transport secretary Chris Grayling's decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow Airport. In response Mr Grayling called on local authorities not to waste any more public money pursuing legal challenges.

The collection of legal claims was brought by five councils, as well as London mayor Sadiq Khan, environmental campaign groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and a private individual - all of whom opposed any expansion of the airport. A case was also brought by the promoters of a rival Heathrow expansion scheme.

”Local
A computer generated image of the proposed runway

The judges dismissed objections to the transport secretary’s decision to approve the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS), which backs Heathrow expansion.

The claims were brought on the grounds of climate change, air quality, surface access, noise, and habitats and that Mr Grayling had been wrong to choose the North West Runway Scheme. However the judge ruled that these were not grounds to object to expansion.

Expansion of the airport will still require a development consent order (DCO) however and any application for a DCO will be subject to examination by independent inspectors.

‘It is open to parties to contend at the DCO stage that (e.g.) the particular proposed development should not be allowed because of its adverse effects on the environment. Any decision by the secretary of state to grant a DCO may also be the subject of a legal challenge on the grounds of error of law,’ the judges said.

On the issue of climate change, the claimants had argued that Mr Grayling had acted unlawfully by not taking into account the Paris Agreement but ‘faced an overarching difficulty which, in the event, they were unable to surmount’.

The judges pointed out that the agreement ‘does not form part of UK law and so, while the UK has ratified it, until Parliament decides if and how to incorporate the Paris Agreement target, it has no effect in domestic law’.

They added however, ‘at the DCO stage this issue will be re-visited on the basis of the then up-to date position’.

The claimants also argued the government was wrong to conclude expansion could be undertaken without breaching the UK’s obligations under the Air Quality Directive.

Mr Grayling had failed to apply the precautionary principle, had acted irrationally by adopting a policy that was probably undeliverable within the Directive, and relied upon unjustified assumptions about the deliverability of public transport schemes and the effectiveness of Clean Air Zones, the claimants said.

However judges found that none of these grounds was arguable

John Stewart, chair of campaign group HACAN, said that many local authorities and campaigners will be expected to challenge the expansion plans at the DCO public inquiry, which is likely to begin next year.

He said: ‘This ruling removes a significant hurdle in Heathrow's bid to get a third runway but campaigners have vowed that they will continue their fight to stop expansion at the airport.’

Friends of the Earth called the decision to dismiss its challenge 'legally and morally wrong and out of step with the world', adding that it is 'examining the judgement in detail and will consider all options'.

Mr Grayling said: 'I welcome the court’s judgment today. It makes clear we followed a robust and legally sound process throughout.

'I now call on all public bodies not to waste any more taxpayers’ money or seek to further delay this vital project which will benefit every corner of the United Kingdom.'

 

Also see

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part time, job share and flexible working basis. The salary is u England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director

Hounslow London Borough Council
Up to £82k
Working across a wide range of high profile direct services, the emphasis for this role is on partnership working. Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Head of Parks and Environmental Services

Harrogate Borough Council
£58,778 - £61,882
You will have experience at a senior level in the management and delivery of front line services relevant to the functions Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: Harrogate Borough Council

Programme Technician/Engineer

Norfolk County Council
£29,636 - £31,371 per annum
This is a challenging position which involves working across wide ranging activities. Norwich, Norfolk
Recuriter: Norfolk County Council

Principal Transport Planner – 2 posts (Warrington Waterfront Western Link)

Warrington Borough Council
£40,760 - £43,662 plus essential car user allowance
We are looking to form a new Warrington Waterfront Western Link Team and we are looking to fill a number of key posts Warrington, Cheshire
Recuriter: Warrington Borough Council

Director of Integrated Transport

Liverpool City Region
Salary up to £124,848
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is embarking on a search for an exceptional individual with the passion to deliver on our vision Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region

Highways Manager

Oxford Direct Services
G11
Oxford Direct Services
Recuriter: Oxford Direct Services

Data Entry Administrator

Telford & Wrekin Council
£18,795 - £19,171
Telford & Wrekin’s Public Protection Service is looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated Data Entry Administrator Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Transport Planner

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 to £38,423
You’ll have previous experience of working in a transport/planning/accessible transport environment Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Parking Business Administrator Level 3 Apprenticeship

Brent Council
£15,000 p.a. inc.
This role will support the Brent Parking Team work to provide administrative support for both the Notice Processing Team Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Principal Engineer (Development)

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683
Liverpool City Council wish to recruit a Principal Engineer (Development) to provide managerial and technical support. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Traffic Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
We are looking to recruit a Traffic Manager to join our Highways team Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Team Leader x2 - Passenger Transport

Redbridge London Borough Council
£27,228 - £28,215 per annum
You will be responsible for overseeing the duties of Passenger Transport drivers as well as providing support to the service and managers. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

UTMC Engineer

Warrington Borough Council
£31,371 - £34,788
You will support the UTMC Principal Engineer and work as part of a team responsible for all aspects of Urban Traffic Management and Control Warrington, Cheshire
Recuriter: Warrington Borough Council

Programme Assurance Manager Public Realm

Westminster City Council
£46,293 - £49,203 per annum
A graduate, or have equivalent experience, and you can show evidence of continued professional, managerial and personal development... City of Westminster, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Trading Standards Officer (Intellectual Property)

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 - £42,490 Per annum
Seeking to recruit highly motivated and experienced Trading Standards Officer’s to join our busy Business and Consumer Services team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Project Manager (LED Project)

Camden London Borough Council
£40,829 - £47,360
Seking a knowledgeable and engaging Project Manager to lead, shape and steer a professional engineering service.   Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Principal Planning Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£42,656 to £51,690
We have an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic Principal Planning Officer within our Development Management Team, based in Richmond.  Twickenham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Health and Safety Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 - £42,490 per annum
The Successful candidate will hold BSc/MSc or Diploma in Environmental Health and be EHRB registered as an... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Safety, Health and Environment Technician Apprentice

North Yorkshire County Council
£19,171 to £19,945
Are you a self-starter, have a willingness to learn and have a proactive approach? Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council