A series of legal challenges to the planned expansion of London Heathrow Airport has got underway in the UK High Court, with London mayor Sadiq Khan and environmental organization Greenpeace joining local authorities in a bid to stop plans to build a third runway.

In June 2018, the UK parliament approved the £14 billion ($18 billion) project to add an extra runway at Europe’s busiest airport by 2026 through the Aviation National Policy Statement (NPS) seeking to provide an answer to the question of how to keep up with growing demand for airport capacity in London. This has been a cause of debate for decades, with environmental concerns and noise levels for nearby residents set against economic benefits in the form of jobs and a boost to international trade.

Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, one of the local authorities bringing the first of a series of judicial reviews beginning on March 11 said in a video posted on Twitter: “We’re launching a judicial review to this disastrous decision which will make people’s lives worse, which will make our skies dirtier and our skies noisier. It’s the wrong decision. We need to stop it.” 

Friends of the Earth is also bringing a legal challenge, scheduled to be heard March 13, arguing that the NPS is unlawful as it breaches UK climate change policy.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk