Court rules Government policy on 3rd Runway illegal

28/2/20

The Court of Appeal  ruled that the Government’s policy on a third runway at Heathrow was illegal. It found that the Department for Transport should have taken the climate change implications of the Paris Agreement into account when drawing up the National Policy Statement which outlined its plans for a third runway. The court invited the Government to review the climate section of the National Policy Statement.

What the court ruling means

(This is a longer piece than we normally put up but we feel the potential importance of the decision justifies it – if you want to send this story as a link, use https://hacan.org.uk/?p=5971 )

The National Policy Statement on Airports (NPS), drawn up by the Department for Transport, put forward the case for a third runway at Heathrow.

In June 2018 the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in favour of the NPS by 415 votes to 119.

That gave Heathrow the green light to draw up detailed plans for the new runway.  Those plans would need to be put to be put to a Public Inquiry but the principle of a third runway had been agreed by Parliament.

What the Court of Appeal found was that the NPS was unlawful because it had not taken into consideration the Paris Agreement and the commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Here is the key paragraph of the judgement:

” Our decision should be properly understood. We have not decided, and could not decide, that there will be no third runway at Heathrow. We have not found that a national policy statement supporting this project is necessarily incompatible with the United Kingdom’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change under the Paris Agreement, or with any other policy the Government may adopt or international obligation it may undertake. The consequence of our decision is that the Government will now have the opportunity to reconsider the ANPS in accordance with the clear statutory requirements that Parliament has imposed (paragraph 285).”

The Court has not said there will be no third runway but is inviting the Government to reconsider and amend what the NPS about the third runway in order to take account of the Paris Agreement.

In normal circumstances that it what a Government would do so that the project would be delayed rather than abandoned.  But it is widely assumed that the Prime Minister Boris Johnston, a long-standing opponent of Heathrow, will amend the NPS to kill off a third runway. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a statement to Parliament yesterday, said: “The court’s judgment is complex and requires careful consideration. We will set out our next steps in due course”.

The NPS, for example, could be amended to allow expansion at other airports instead of the third runway at Heathrow.  That is what Grant Shapps hinted at in his statement.

“We fully recognise the importance of the aviation sector for the whole of the UK economy. The UK’s airports support connections to over 370 overseas destinations in more than 100 countries facilitating trade, investment and tourism. It facilitates £95.2 billion of UK’s non-EU trade exports; contributes at least £14 billion directly to GDP; supports over half a million jobs and underpins the competitiveness and global reach of our national and our regional economies. Under our wider “making best use” policy, airports across the UK are already coming forward with ambitious proposals to invest in their infrastructure”.

The Government has said that it will not appeal to the Supreme Court to get yesterday’s decision overturned.

Heathrow will appeal to the Supreme Court but might struggle to overturn yesterday’s decision without Government backing.

It is expected that Heathrow will continue to draw up, and consult on, its detailed plans for a third runway while the appeal is being taken to the Supreme Court.

Except for the ruling on climate change, the Court found all other aspects of the NPS – on noise, air pollution etc – were lawful.

Appeal Court’s summary of its Judgement:  https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Heathrow-summary-of-judgments-26-February-2020-online-version.pdf

Full Judgement:-  https://www.judiciary.uk/judgments/r-friends-of-the-earth-v-secretary-of-state-for-transport-and-others/

What will the Government do if it drops a third runway? It is clear from Shapps statement to Parliament that it will encourage expansion to take place at other airports.  I suspect, too, that Heathrow will come back with plans to increase the number of flights using the airport by abandoning/reducing the half day’s runway alternation enjoyed by communities in West London.  There might also be a push from the airlines for more night flights.

The re-organisation of Heathrow’s flight paths will continue as it has been driven by new technology not by the third runway.

The ruling could have implications for other large projects.  The Court has ruled that projects must be assessed to ensure they adhere to the Paris Agreement and ate compatible with achieving a zero-carbon target by 2050. There are being questions raised today over the Government’s £28bn road building programme.   And, although the Paris Agreement regulations are carried out on a national basis, other countries will be looking with interest at this judgement. 

COURT RULES GOVERNMENT POLICY ON HEATHROW THIRD RUNWAY ILLEGAL

PRESS RELEASE

27/2/20 for immediate use

COURT RULES GOVERNMENT POLICY ON HEATHROW THIRD RUNWAY ILLEGAL

The Court of Appeal today ruled that the Government’s policy on a third runway at Heathrow was illegal.  It found that the Department for Transport should have taken the climate change implications of the Paris Agreement into account when drawing up the National Policy Statement which outlined its plans for a third runway.  The court invited the Government to review the climate section of the National Policy Statement.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, the residents’ organisation which has been campaigning against a third runway since 2003, said, “It does look as if this is the end of the road for a third runway.  It is hard to see a Government lead by Boris Johnson, who has always been against the runway, appealing against this decision.  In fact, it probably gives the Prime Minister the opportunity he was looking for to drop the runway.”

The challenge had been brought by a number of local authorities (Hammersmith, Richmond, Windsor & Maidenhead, Hillingdon and Wandsworth), the Mayor of London, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Plan B.

The Government is expected to make a statement later today.

ENDS

For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 OR 07957385650

General Election: the constituencies impacted by proposed London City Expansion

At least 25 constituencies will be affected. We detail how:

Barking: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Barking-and-Dagenham.pdf

Bermondsey and Old Southwark: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Southwark.pdf

Bethnal Green & Bow: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-impact-the-London-Borough-of-Tower-Hamlets.pdf

Camberwell & Peckham:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Southwark.pdf

Chingford & Woodford Green: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Redbridge.pdf

and http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-borough-of-Waltham-Forest.pdf

Dagenham & Rainham: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-Expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Havering.pdf

and
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Barking-and-Dagenham.pdf

Dulwich & West Norwood: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Lambeth.pdf

and
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Southwark.pdf

East Ham: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-impact-on-Newham.pdf

Eltham: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-expansion-will-impact-on-the-London-Borough-of-Greenwich.pdf

Erith and Thamesmead:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-expansion-will-impact-on-the-London-Borough-of-Greenwich.pdf

and http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Bexley.pdf

Greenwich and Woolwich:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-expansion-will-impact-on-the-London-Borough-of-Greenwich.pdf

Hornchurch and Upminster:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-Expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Havering.pdf

Ilford North:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Redbridge.pdf

Ilford South:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Redbridge.pdf

Lewisham Deptford: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Expansion-will-impact-on-the-Borough-of-Lewisham.pdf

Lewisham East:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Expansion-will-impact-on-the-Borough-of-Lewisham.pdf

Lewisham West and Penge:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Expansion-will-impact-on-the-Borough-of-Lewisham.pdf

Old Bexley and Sidcup:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Bexley.pdf

Poplar & Limehouse:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-impact-the-London-Borough-of-Tower-Hamlets.pdf

Romford:
ttp://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-Expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Havering.pdf

Streatham:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Lambeth.pdf

Vauxhall:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Lambeth.pdf

Walthamstow:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-borough-of-Waltham-Forest.pdf

Wanstead & Leyton:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-borough-of-Waltham-Forest.pdf

and
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-affect-the-London-Borough-of-Redbridge.pdf

West Ham:
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-London-City-Airport-expansion-will-impact-on-Newham.pdf

Record number of local councils oppose London City expansion proposals

 19/10/19

The London City consultation closed yesterday. A record number of local authorities have objected to the expansion proposals in London City’s Master Plan. Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Havering and Lewisham have objected.  Never before has London City faced this level of opposition. The London Assembly has also objected.  We have not yet seen the responses from the Mayor of London or from Bexley, Greenwich or Barking and Dagenham.  We will put them up when we know them.

A final Master Plan is expected late 2019/early 2020, with a planning application on the proposals it wants to take forward submitted in Spring 2020.

For more details on the vibrant campaign against the expansion plans visit the site of our sister organisation HACAN East: www.hacaneast.org.uk 

Committee on Climate Change: growth needs to almost halve if aviation is to meet its climate targets by 2050

strictly embargoed until 00.01 24/9/19


The Committee on Climate Change(CCC), the Government’s official advisers, has said in a report out today that growth at UK airports needs to be almost half the predicted levels if aviation is to meet the government’s target of aviation being net-zero carbon by 2050.

The CCC, chaired by former Conservation minister Lord Deben, said, “In the absence of a true zero-carbon plane, demand cannot continue to grow unfettered over the long-term. Our scenario reflects a 25% growth in demand by 2050 compared to 2018 levels. This compares to current Government projections which are for up to a 49% increase in demand over the same period.”

It says that, if the growth currently planned for London’s airports went ahead, that would leave ‘at most very limited room for growth at non-London airports’.

The report explained, “The Government should assess its airport capacity strategy in the context of net zero. Specifically, investments will need to be demonstrated to make economic sense in a net-zero world and the transition towards it. Current planned additional airport capacity in London, including the third runway at Heathrow, is likely to leave at most very limited room for growth at non-London airports”.

The CCC comes up with a number of suggestions for managing demand: “Measures should be put in place to limit growth in demand to at most 25% above current levels by 2050. These could include carbon pricing, a frequent flyer levy, fiscal measures to ensure aviation is no under-taxed compared to other transport sectors (e.g. fuel duty, VAT), reforms to Air Passenger Duty, or management of airport capacity.”

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the campaign group which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said, “The big message of the report is that unfettered demand cannot continue.  The Committee on Climate Change is challenging the Government to find ways of managing demand.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

(1). Report
http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Letter-to-Prime-Minister.pdf 

For more information:

John Stewart on 07957385650

Committee on Climate Change: UK growth needs to almost halve

24/9/19

The Committee on Climate Change(CCC), the Government’s official advisers, has said in a report out today that growth at UK airports needs to be almost half the predicted levels if aviation is to meet the government’s target of aviation being net-zero carbon by 2050.

The CCC, chaired by former Conservation minister Lord Deben, said, “In the absence of a true zero-carbon plane, demand cannot continue to grow unfettered over the long-term. Our scenario reflects a 25% growth in demand by 2050 compared to 2018 levels. This compares to current Government projections which are for up to a 49% increase in demand over the same period.”

It says that, if the growth currently planned for London’s airports went ahead, that would leave ‘at most very limited room for growth at non-London airports’.

The report explained, “The Government should assess its airport capacity strategy in the context of net zero. Specifically, investments will need to be demonstrated to make economic sense in a net-zero world and the transition towards it. Current planned additional airport capacity in London, including the third runway at Heathrow, is likely to leave at most very limited room for growth at non-London airports”.

The CCC suggests a number of measures to manage demand.

see full report https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/letter-international-aviation-and-shipping/?fbclid=IwAR02ATq1zfIerOiPGwQZav7C5qyb1TFz8tJVGWTu08JRlMv7aocfYc97Mjs

see HACAN press release: https://hacan.org.uk/?p=5829

see HACAN article on why electric planes may do little for noise: electric planes

London City’s new planes much less quiet than claimed

Evidence has emerged that the new quieter planes which London City is relying on to manage future noise levels if its controversial expansion plans go through are much less quiet in reality than it has forecast.

The evidence is in a study which London City commissioned but which it has not yet published:https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A15b51eb7-0f32-4d3c-9317-c01ea1fae5c1.

Here is the link to the press release our sister organisation HACAN East has released:  https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A3a311ceb-3bc0-4bb4-946c-b91ee2881089