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

(Senior) Environmental Health Officer/Enforcement Officer

Brent Council
£35,724 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
We are looking for Environmental Health Officers; EHRB registered and has current experience in food safety and health & safety enforcement. Brent, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Road worker/Ground worker

City of York Council
£10.30 per hour
Have you successfully worked as part of a team? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

HGV Relief Driver

North West Leicestershire District Council
Salary Band D, £21,589- £24,799 per year (pro rata to period of contract)
We are looking to recruit temporary HGV Relief Drivers with occasional loading duties to join NWLDC’s busy Waste Services Team. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Waste Services Worker (Loader)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band B, £18,795 - £19,171 per year (pro rata to the length of contract)
We are looking for Waste Operations Loaders to join our Waste Services Team to undertake waste collection and other related duties. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Chargehand/Ganger

City of York Council
£11.09 per hour
Do you have experience of excavation, reinstatement and footway maintenance schemes? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Sustainability & Resilience Manager (maternity cover)

Essex County Council
£51510.0 - £58752 per annum
This fixed-term contract will begin in August 2020 and is expected to last until October 2021 Interviews scheduled to be held Wednesday 10th June 2020 England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Civil Service Deputy Director Roles

GOV.UK
£70,000 - £117,800 & excellent rewards
We’re looking for significant experience of engaging at C-Suite and Board levels, excellent partnership-building and... England
Recuriter: GOV.UK

Engineer (Highways Scheme Design)

Medway Council
£31,888 - £37,646 per annum
The post-holder will be required to have highway engineering expertise in order to contribute to efficient and effective provision of... Medway City Estate, Rochester
Recuriter: Medway Council

Principal Flood Risk Officer

Lancashire County Council
£42,683-£46,566
We have an exciting opportunity for a Principal Floor Risk Officer Lancashire
Recuriter: Lancashire County Council

Resources and Waste Commercial and Contracts Manager

Northumberland County Council
£47,107 - £50,394
We are looking for a strategic, innovative and performance-focused leader to join us as Resources and Waste; Commercial and Contracts Manager. County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland
Recuriter: Northumberland County Council

SEN Travel Assessment Co-ordination Officer

London Borough of Bexley
£35,529 - £41,796
We are currently seeking an experienced officer administrator who will enjoy working as team and under their own initiative, with duties including... Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Principal Planning Liaison Officer X3

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
We have a number of fantastic opportunities in Somerset at various levels Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Principal Estate Roads Engineer

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
We have a number of fantastic opportunities in Somerset at various levels Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Principal Travel Plan Officer

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
We have a number of fantastic opportunities in Somerset at various levels Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Assistant Estate Roads Engineer x2

Somerset County Council
£25,295 to £28,785 per annum
We have 2 exciting opportunities for enthusiastic and committed individuals to join our Highways Development Management Team Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Design Services Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£50,430 - £55,503
We are a team of mixed experience and skills, proud to serve the people of Lincolnshire and have fun whilst doing so! Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Transport Planning Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£29,636 to £32,029
We are looking for a Transport Planning Officer to join our Highways and Transportation service. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Transforming Cities Fund - Project Delivery Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
£48,000 to £55,840
We are looking to appoint to the pivotal position of TCF Project Delivery Manager on a 3 year fixed-term contract, to... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Engineer (Drainage)

Medway Council
£31,888 - £37,646 per annum
The post holder will be expected to work closely with our term maintenance contractor to successfully complete schemes. Medway City Estate, Rochester
Recuriter: Medway Council

Senior Street Lighting Engineer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£35,246 - £45,704 depending on skills, knowledge and experience
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth