Four councils affected by Heathrow threaten to take legal action against Government if it backs Heathrow runway
Date added: March 3, 2016
Four Conservative controlled councils – Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead councils – are preparing to sue the government over a proposed 3rd Heathrow runway. The four councils are near Heathrow, and affected adversely by it. The warning to David Cameron, from their lawyers, says an escalation in the number of flights would be “irrational and unlawful”. The legal letter to No 10 says court proceedings will be launched unless the Prime Minister categorically rules out expansion of Heathrow. It says “insurmountable environmental problems” around the airport mean it can never be expanded without subjecting residents to excessive pollution and noise. The councils have believed, since the launch of the (government appointed) Airports Commission’s final report, that it made a “flawed assessment” of Heathrow’s ability to deal with environmental issues (noise, NO2, and carbon emissions among them). The councils also say David Cameron’s previous promise – “No ifs, No buts, no 3rd runway” – had created a “legitimate expectation” among residents that there would be no runway. The authorities have appointed Harrison Grant, the solicitors that led a successful High Court challenge in 2010 against the former Labour government’s attempt to expand Heathrow.
Tory councils to ‘sue Government over Heathrow expansion’
3.3.2016 (Politics home)
By Agnes Chambre
Conservative councils have threatened to take legal action against the Government if it gives the green light to a third runway at Heathrow.
The Government has delayed the long-awaited verdict on whether to support expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow until May’s London mayoral election has taken place.
The delay was announced despite repeated assurances from David Cameron that a conclusion would be reached at the end of 2015.
In a report in July, the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, recommended expanding Heathrow, arguing it would add £147bn to economic growth and 70,000 jobs by 2050.
Lawyers for Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils warned David Cameron that if he doesn’t conclusively rule out Heathrow, they will launch legal action.
The letter to Downing Street, quoted in The Times, said the “insurmountable environmental problems” will mean surrounding residents will be subjected to noise and pollution.
It also argued Sir Howard’s review was a “flawed assessment” and that Mr Cameron’s previous promise to block expansion had created “legitimate expectation”.
Conservative councils are preparing to sue the government over a proposed third runway at Heathrow.
Four Tory authorities close to the west London airport have issued a legal warning to David Cameron, saying that an escalation in the number of flights would be “irrational and unlawful”.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils have told the prime minister that court proceedings will be launched unless he categorically rules out expansion of Heathrow.
A legal letter to No 10 says that “insurmountable environmental problems” around the airport mean it can never be expanded without subjecting residents to excessive pollution and noise. The government-appointed airports commission made a “flawed assessment” of Heathrow’s green credentials when it made a recommendation in favour of a third runway, it said.
It says that Mr Cameron’s previous promise to block expansion had created a “legitimate expectation” among residents that the project would never go ahead. The authorities have appointed Harrison Grant, the solicitors that led a successful High Court challenge in 2010 against the former Labour government’s attempt to expand Heathrow.
Heathrow Villagers welcome legal warning to Cameron, by 4 councils, of legal threat if 3rd runway is approved
March 6, 2016
Four Conservative-run local authorities have appointed a legal team, (Harrison Grant Solicitors) warning that if the Government did not rule out a 3rd Heathrow runway, then legal action will be launched. The four are the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Richmond-upon-Thames, Wandsworth and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. All are long-standing opponents of a 3rd runway. The solicitors have written to the Prime Minister on their behalf explaining how “insurmountable environmental problems” would make government backing for a new runway “irrational or otherwise unlawful”. Local campaign group in the Heathrow Villages, “Stop Heathrow Expansion” representing residents in the south of Hillingdon whose lives would be directly impacted by the runway, welcomed the letter. Christine Taylor, Harlington resident and Stop Heathrow Expansion supporter, said: “Residents of the Heathrow Villages have had enough – we’ve been fighting this for over 30 years. We want to draw an end to the repeated threat of Heathrow expansion on our communities.” Rob Gray, the voice of the “Back Heathrow” group, complains residents will be furious that councils are spending money. He ignores the fact that residents could be equally furious that Heathrow has, yet again, put the councils in the position where they have little choice other than to defend themselves from the airport’s plans.
Flightpath consultation must come before runway decision
The Prime Minister has been warned that signalling Government support for a third Heathrow runway would be unlawful unless the new flightpaths needed to operate the landing strip are first subject to public consultation.
6 October 2015 (Hillingdon Council)
The warning comes from the leaders of Hillingdon, Richmond and Wandsworth councils who have written to Mr Cameron to highlight a series of flaws and omissions in the Airports Commission’s final report on aviation capacity.
They point out that by law, changes to London’s airspace require open consultation so a decision to expand Heathrow would pre-empt this statutory process. Approving a runway clearly infers the associated flightpaths will also be approved.
David Cameron is now considering the commission’s dossier which recommends expanding Heathrow. Despite scrutinising the new runway proposal for over two years the commissioners failed to identify the location of its new flightpaths, nor carry out the necessary consultation.
Instead, the final report, which costs tax payers in the region of £25m, asks ministers to approve a third runway at Heathrow without telling them where the planes will fly over London and the south east.
The local councils have now pointed out that the commission’s recommendation is pointing the Government down a legal cul-de-sac and has urged the PM to dismiss the report.
The letter concludes that the local authorities “reserve their rights to take whatever action is in their power to protect their residents and communities from the devastating impacts of a new runway at Heathrow.”
Leader of Hillingdon Council Ray Puddifoot said:
“Even the airports commission has to agree that runways need flightpaths. If you approve one you have to approve the other.
“It will be unlawful for any Government to approve a new runway without publishing detailed flightpath data so the communities affected can exercise their legal right to scrutinise the plans. This is a major obstacle that can’t be put off much longer.”
Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said:
“The law is very clear. Communities have to be consulted on air space changes and once those maps are finally published the backlash will completely change the course of this debate.
“It’s very hard to justify why a two year aviation investigation failed to unearth this key piece of information. We’ve made it very clear to the prime minister that the commission’s recommendation can’t be followed until it is out in the open for all to see.”