Heathrow legal challenges cleared for take-off

Following this morning’s appearance in the High Court, Friends of the Earth and all 4 other claimants will go forward to a full trial
  Published:  04 Oct 2018    |      3 minute read

Following this morning’s first appearance in the High Court to challenge Heathrow’s third runway, Mr Justice Holgate has ordered that Friends of the Earth and all 4 other claimants go forward to a full trial. A so called ‘rolled-up’ hearing will now take place in March 2019.

The organisation argues that the decision to build the third runway is unlawful due to its failure to consider the climate change and sustainable development implications of the project and the consequences on future generations (see notes for full explanation).

Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth, said:

“The court has made it very clear that the government must defend itself at a full trial next Spring, and we are looking forward to the next step in the legal fight against the climate-damaging project that is Heathrow’s third runway.

"We think the government’s decision to go ahead with the project failed to consider current climate policy, including The Climate Change Act targets. Nor did it factor in the implications of the Paris Agreement.”

Oliver Hayes, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, added:

“An expanded Heathrow airport will come with a carbon emissions price tag that the whole planet will pay for.

“The UK government boasts of being a climate leader, while pushing on with a third runway that will make it almost impossible for the country to meet emissions targets.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Court session took place at The High Court before Mr Justice Holgate
  2. Friends of the Earth are taking the government to court in a bid to overturn the decision to build a third runway at Heathrow. We believe the decision taken by the government is unlawful because:
    • it does not explain how it takes account domestic targets (and current climate policy) for greenhouse gas emission reduction under the Climate Change Act 2008;
    • it does not lawfully and fully consider the likely impact on future generations of a third runway, who will be stranded with the climate-damaging infrastructure for many decades; including:
      • it does not factor in the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C;
      • it fails to factor in the non-CO2 climate impacts of a third runway, such as the emission of nitrogen oxides, which generate warming effects of a similar magnitude to CO2 emissions;
  3. The NPS was based on a strategic environmental assessment that inexplicably failed to incorporate and assess the implications of the Paris Agreement.