Heathrow expansion

October 2020 in the Supreme Court

Back in February, with your support, we scored a huge victory for the planet when the Court of Appeal agreed that plans to build a third runway were illegal. We won on the basis that the plans didn’t properly consider the UK’s climate commitments. But even though the government decided not to challenge the decision, the airport chose to appeal. Press play and watch Friends of the Earth lawyers Will Rundle and Katie de Kauwe talk through the latest news, including the October 2020 hearing in the Supreme Court.

With your support, we'll continue to fight planet-wrecking decisions like Heathrow.

October 2020 in the Supreme Court

Back in February, with your support, we scored a huge victory for the planet when the Court of Appeal agreed that plans to build a third runway were illegal. We won on the basis that the plans didn’t properly consider the UK’s climate commitments. But even though the government decided not to challenge the decision, the airport chose to appeal. Press play and watch Friends of the Earth lawyers Will Rundle and Katie de Kauwe talk through the latest news, including the October 2020 hearing in the Supreme Court.

With your support, we'll continue to fight planet-wrecking decisions like Heathrow.

Heathrow announcement Royal Courts Justice 2020

Victory in Court of Appeal

In February 2020, the government’s decision to expand Heathrow Airport was ruled "unlawful" by the Court of Appeal on climate grounds. The ruling was the result of a tireless campaign by our legal team and local campaigners, who have been battling against the third runway for years.

The airport is already one of the biggest single sources of greenhouse gases in the UK, and the proposal would have led to around 700 extra flights per day.

At a time when the government should be investing in sustainable transport to address the climate emergency, it was a massive win for our local groups, our legal team, and all our supporters. But the case isn't over yet.

Heathrow announcement Royal Courts Justice 2020

More planes, more traffic, more pollution - and who wins?

Why Heathrow expansion is a bad idea

1) We can't stop climate breakdown by building runways

Heathrow is already the biggest single source of greenhouse gases in the UK. A third runway will all but blow our chances of meeting our targets for cutting emissions.

2) More flights for the few

Just 15% of the UK’s population take the majority (70%) of all flights. A bigger airport would mainly serve the interests of frequent flyers.

3) Filthy air, more noise

Already local people have to endure 1,300 noisy planes landing and taking off at Heathrow every day. Air pollution locally is way above legal limits.

4) The economic argument doesn't stack up

The government claims a third runway will be good for the economy – but there are no guarantees. And they haven’t factored in the true costs of climate change.

5) Transport on the wrong track

A bigger climate-wrecking airport is a massive distraction. 

We urgently need to invest in our rail and public transport networks – they’re simply not good enough for 21st century Britain. 

Why Heathrow expansion is a bad idea

1) We can't stop climate breakdown by building runways

Heathrow is already the biggest single source of greenhouse gases in the UK. A third runway will all but blow our chances of meeting our targets for cutting emissions.

2) More flights for the few

Just 15% of the UK’s population take the majority (70%) of all flights. A bigger airport would mainly serve the interests of frequent flyers.

3) Filthy air, more noise

Already local people have to endure 1,300 noisy planes landing and taking off at Heathrow every day. Air pollution locally is way above legal limits.

4) The economic argument doesn't stack up

The government claims a third runway will be good for the economy – but there are no guarantees. And they haven’t factored in the true costs of climate change.

5) Transport on the wrong track

A bigger climate-wrecking airport is a massive distraction. 

We urgently need to invest in our rail and public transport networks – they’re simply not good enough for 21st century Britain. 

Get the latest from our campaigns, including our fight against the third runway

Close-up of Friends of the Earth supporters outside the High Court campaigning against a third Heathrow runway.

Many local people don't want a bigger Heathrow

Meet the local campaigners working to protect their communities from airport expansion.

Close-up of Friends of the Earth supporters outside the High Court campaigning against a third Heathrow runway.
An aeroplane coming into land at Heathrow airport, London, UK. 2010.

Our legal challenge to Heathrow expansion explained

Friends of the Earth believes the decision to allow a third runway is unlawful because it:

  • ignores the impact of all those extra planes and traffic on the climate
  • ignores the huge consequences for future generations.

So we appealed the decision to give Heathrow expansion the go-ahead – and won!

The ruling has huge implications for other projects too, as lawyer Katie explains.

An aeroplane coming into land at Heathrow airport, London, UK. 2010.

With your support, we'll continue to fight planet-wrecking decisions like Heathrow

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