Councils launch Heathrow challenge

Members of 2M launch application for judicial review of approval of third runway

Authorities backing the challenge include Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond upon Thames and Windsor and Maidenhead councils. All are members of the 2M Group opposed to Heathrow expansion.

The case is also backed by the Mayor of London, Greenpeace, RSPB, WWF, CPRE, HACAN and the Sipson residents group NOTRAG where 700 families face losing their homes.

Geof Hoon the Transport Secretary announced his support for a third runway and sixth terminal on January 15. The decision was subject to a number of environmental conditions relating to noise, air quality, public transport and climate change.

The local authorities will argue that the Government failed to conduct a lawful consultation process and arrived at a decision on a potentially half-capacity third runway, which was different to the fully operational runway in the consultation.

They will claim that the decision was irrational in a number of areas including the economic case, noise, air quality and public transport impacts and the approach to climate change issues, and that the Transport Secretary failed to provide adequate reasons for his decision.

If permission is granted it is likely that a hearing would not take place until the early part of 2010.

Wandsworth Council leader Edward Lister said, "This is the last chance we have to get any meaningful protection for people whose lives are affected by the airport’s relentless expansion. We do not think the Government has played fair by the residents of west London. As local authorities we have an obligation to our residents to expose the shortcomings of the Government’s case."

Hounslow leader Peter Thompson added, "This consultation was deeply flawed because it failed to give local the people the opportunity to say NO to expansion. Our own research shows that 96% of local people say NO to a third runway, but the Government is trying to turn a deaf ear to their concerns about noise and pollution."

Hammersmith and Fulham leader Stephen Greenhalgh said, "This is the most important quality of life issue facing our residents. The proposed Heathrow expansion is the equivalent to building a new airport the size of Gatwick in the most densely populated part of the country. The arguments for the third runway are based on flimsy economic arguments that do not bear scrutiny. This is why we are supporting the Judicial Review. If the third runway is built it will introduce another flight path over Hammersmith & Fulham, disturbing even more residents with flights from early morning until late at night."

April 8, 2009