Wandsworth To Be Pursued For Costs Over Heathrow Challenge

Government seeking £625,000 but Council claims figures incorrect as court capped costs

Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP has revealed that costs of £625,000 from legal challenges to Heathrow expansion will be recovered from the unsuccessful claimants.

London Borough of Wandsworth was one of five councils who were party to the challenge. The others are the London Boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Richmond and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. The Mayor of London will also be liable for a portion of the costs.

The cost to the councils is in addition to over £2 million of expenditure in legal fees, PR costs and funding of local ‘anti- Heathrow' groups over the last decade.

In response to a question asked by Putney's MP Justine Greening to the Secretary of State of Transport: 'What estimate he has been made of the (a) legal (b) other costs to the public purse of the judicial review of the Airports National Policy Statement.”

The Minister stated, 'The external costs to date to the Department of defending the judicial review claims are £1,608,642 for legal costs and £95,152 for other costs. Following the judgments in favour of the Secretary of State, the Department will seek to recover up to £625,000 in costs from the unsuccessful claimants.”

Executive Director of Back Heathrow, Parmjit Dhanda said, 'This is embarrassing for local council leaders, who have played fast and loose with tax-payers' money, and lost it all. They could have been negotiating how their boroughs would benefit from new jobs and apprenticeships.

'They should now get around the table and engage in the consultation process to help develop a regeneration project for local communities to be proud of, whilst also tackling noise and reducing our carbon footprint.”

However, Wandsworth Council has stated that these costs were capped by a court and that they have already appealed against the High Court judgmentthat went against them earlier this month.

A spokesman for the Council told this website: “The claims made by this Heathrow-funded lobbying outfit are factually incorrect. Our costs and those of The Mayor, TfL, and the other councils who joined forces with us on in this legal challenge have been capped by the court at much less than half the amount being wrongly claimed here.

“We have appealed the recent High Court judgment and maintain that the expansion is unlawful because of the damaging impact it will have on our communities, who already suffer from the noise nuisance and air pollution that emanates from Heathrow. We have a duty to act to try and prevent the catastrophic impact a third runway and the tens of thousands of extra flights a year will have on our residents.”

May 24, 2019