CONTROVERSIAL plans for a third runway at Heathrow are in tatters today after a successful court challenge by eco-warriors.
Judges this morning ruled that ministers had not done enough to tackle climate concerns when they gave it the green light – and the Government won’t appeal.
Campaigners won their fight in the Court of Appeal on environmental grounds – saying the Governments policy was unlawful as it failed to take into account the Paris Agreement targets to reduce emissions.
In a summary of the ruling, Lord Justice Lindblom told a packed court: “The Paris Agreement ought to have been taken into account by the Secretary of State in the preparation of the NPS and an explanation given as to how it was taken into account, but it was not.”
The government has not sought to appeal to the Supreme Court now the 14billion third runway has been blocked- leaving the expansion project grounded.
But Heathrow said they would take the fight to the Supreme Court anyway.
A spokesperson said they were “confident we will be successful” and added: “We will get it done the right way, without jeopardising the planets future. Lets get Heathrow done.
This gives the PM a convenient excuse to drop the Government’s support for the divisive project.
Boris once promised to “lie down in front of the bulldozers” to stop the expansion.
As Foreign Secretary he was abroad on a foreign trip during the controversial vote to approve the third runway, which would impact on his Uxbridge constituency.
Various alternatives to expanding the third runway at Heathrow have been touted over the years – including by adding more capacity at Gatwick and Stansted instead.
Both airports could get an extra runway there instead to ensure more flights are able to take off and land.
And there’s also a plan from Heathrow Hub to expand the existing Northern runway too – which they argue will be cheaper and greener.
A group of councils in London, environmental charities including Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and Plan B, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, brought legal action over the Government’s approval of the plans.
They accused ministers of failing to take into account climate change targets and the environmental impact of building a huge new runway.
Mr Khan, hailed the ruling today.
He said earlier: “This is huge. Im delighted that the Court of Appeal has recognised that the Government cannot ignore its climate change responsibilities.
“I will continue to stand up for Londoners concerns by doing everything I can to stop the Heathrow expansion.”
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the Court of Appeal’s judgement was a “tremendous victory” for campaigners.
He added: “There’s no way we can tackle climate change and allow Heathrow expansion to go ahead. I think that project is now dead.”
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “The court has decided that the Airports National Policy Statement is fatally undermined by ignoring climate commitments, but we still need the Government to permanently ground Heathrow’s expansion plans.
“No amount of spin from Heathrow’s PR machine can obscure the carbon logic of a new runway.”
Under the plans a new runway would have been set up northwest of the airport, with 950 acres of land being claimed and hundreds of homes demolished.
The PMs official spokesman yesterday lashed out at Heathrow, and warned it must do more to convince the Government of its plans.
Mr Johnsons spokesman said: Parliament has voted in principle to support a third runway at Heathrow, but it is a private sector project.
In order to proceed Heathrow must demonstrate it can meet its air quality and noise obligations, that the project can be financed and built and that the business case is realistic.
And this morning ex-Tory minister Theresa De Villiers urged Boris to pull the plug on the project.
She said: I think a new runway at Gatwick would have far less of an environmental impact.
So yes, I hope the government will think again about Heathrow expansion. I dont think it is the right way to address capacity needs in the aviation sector.
The boss of Heathrow John Holland-Kaye warned that if the expansion does not happen, that will drive traffic to fast-growing Paris-Charles De Gaulle airport which will then turn into the UKs main hub.
He said: Theres no global Britain without Heathrow expansion its as simple as that. If we dont expand our only hub airport, then were going to be flying through Paris to get to global markets.
Heathrows expansion was first improved by MPs in 2018, with then PM Theresa May enjoying a rare win.
The Government had a 296 majority with MPs voting 415 to 119 to give the go ahead for the expansion plan.