Richmond, Wandsworth and Hillingdon council leaders write to Chris Grayling to warn legal action threatened if Heathrow expansion is approved

Three Conservative local authorities – Richmond, Wandsworth and Hillingdon – have written to the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, warning that court proceedings will be launched if a Heathrow 3rd runway is approved.  The 3 council leaders, Lord True, Ravi Govindia and Ray Puddifoot, say any approval given to Heathrow would create “severe political and social rupture” at a time when unity is needed. It is also undeliverable and unlawful. They are already preparing a “substantial and strong legal challenge” and say “We must also be very clear that we intend to launch a legal challenge against the government in the unfortunate event that it resolves to support Heathrow expansion or to carry out any further investigatory works into these projects,” The reasons for the challenge are that bad air quality around the airport already breaches legal limits, and with a  3rd runway, the extra planes and cars in west London would “blight the lives” of millions of people. The  council leaders say, in their letter to Chris Grayling, that the runway “would be an environmental disaster for our communities”. Unfortunately they also urge government to back a 2nd Gatwick runway instead, content to  push the misery that they are keen to avoid for their own residents onto others.
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Legal action threatened if Heathrow expansion is approved – Richmond, Wandsworth and Hillingdon council leaders write to transport secretary

25 July 2016  (Epsom Guardian)

By Ben Weich, Reporter – Richmond + Twickenham
The leaders of Richmond, Wandsworth and Hillingdon councils have written to the new transport secretary to threaten legal action if the Heathrow expansion is approved.

Following reports a decision could be made as early as September, Lord True and Ravi Govindia, as well as Hillingdon council leader Ray Puddifoot told Chris Grayling they would launch a ‘legal challenge’.

In their letter the three argue a Heathrow expansion would be a slower and more costly option, with Gatwick representing a ‘far better option on every level’.

Lord True said: “Heathrow expansion – in either the form of the new north-west runway or the extension of the existing northern runway – would be an environmental disaster for our communities.

“Under both scenarios the costs far outweigh the benefits and we urge the Government to dismiss the inflated and implausible case made by the slick PR promoters of these schemes.

“The Prime Minister has spoken of her concern to protect communities and listen to the concerns of ordinary people. I have no doubt she will be true to her word.”

Ravi Govindia said Wandsworth residents had lived with the threat of a Heathrow expansion for too long – as he appealed for a swift decision.

The aversion to a Heathrow expansion in west London is such that Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith threatened to resign in 2015 if it was given the green light.

http://www.epsomguardian.co.uk/news/14640614.Legal_action_threatened_if_Heathrow_expansion_is_approved___Richmond__Wandsworth_and_Hillingdon_council_leaders_write_to_transport_secretary/

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We will go to court to block Heathrow, Tory councils warn

Three Conservative local authorities have written to the transport secretary warning that court proceedings will be launched if a third runway is approved

Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent (Times)
July 23rd 2016

Tory councils are threatening legal action to block the proposed expansion of Heathrow, The Times has learnt.

Three Conservative local authorities beneath the airport’s flight path have written to the transport secretary warning that court proceedings will be launched if a third runway is approved.

In the letter to Chris Grayling, council chiefs claimed that any approval given to Heathrow would create “severe political and social rupture” at a time when unity is needed.

 

………and the full article is at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/we-will-go-to-court-to-block-heathrow-tory-councils-warn-2kx9vc3nc

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Earlier:

Four councils affected by Heathrow threaten to take legal action against Government if it backs Heathrow runway

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.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/03/four-councils-affected-by-heathrow-threaten-to-take-legal-action-against-government-if-it-backs-heathrow-runway/

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Earlier:

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.”

https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/30331/Flightpath-consultation-must-come-before-runway-decision