Sadiq Khan backs councils’ legal action against Heathrow 3rd runway – and TfL will offer help

Sadiq Khan has announced at Mayor’s Question Time that he was officially supporting legal action against a 3rd Heathrow runway.  He has instructed Transport for London (TfL) to help 4 local councils (Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead) and Greenpeace, which are together bringing the case against expansion.  The involvement of TfL was met with delight from many Assembly Members.  TfL is expected to be named as an “interested party” in the action. It is believed that the intervention of TfL will strengthen the case of the local authorities’ challenge.  In the previous Mayor’s Question Time, Mr Khan said he wasn’t able answer the question on legal action until the government decision had been made. It was made on 25th October. Though Sadiq Khan had in the past backed a Heathrow runway, he changed his mind in 2015 when the extent of the noise and air pollution impacts became clear. He has now said, addressing the full London Assembly: “I promised I wouldn’t just stand by and see hundreds of thousands suffer from the additional noise and air pollution a third runway would cause.  That’s why I’ve directed TfL to provide their expert advice and assistance to support” the councils.. “and why I will be ready for us to play an active role in the action if required.”  TfL has the most expertise on matters relating to impacts of Heathrow expansion on London’s transport network.
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Sadiq Khan backs councils’ legal action against third runway at Heathrow Airport

By PIPPA CRERAR (Evening Standard)

16.11.2016

Sadiq Khan today announced that he was officially supporting legal action against a third runway at Heathrow.

The Mayor has instructed Transport for London to help four local councils and Greenpeace which are bringing the case against expansion.

The transport body is expected to be named as an “interested party” in the action, which insiders believe will strengthen their hand. Mr Khan will then decide whether City Hall, at the taxpayers’ expense, will formally join the legal challenge.

At City Hall question time, the Mayor hit out at the “devastating environmental consequences” of the Government’s decision last month to back a third runway at Heathrow.

“I promised I wouldn’t just stand by and see hundreds of thousands suffer from the additional noise and air pollution a third runway would cause,” he said. “That’s why I’ve directed TfL to provide their expert advice and assistance to support Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, and Greenpeace, as they prepare for a joint legal challenge, and why I will be ready for us to play an active role in the action if required.”

The Mayor said expansion would mean the “intolerable” prospect of an extra 200,000 Londoners, including 43,200 schoolchildren, being exposed to an unacceptable level of noise every day, leading to health problems related to stress and sleep disturbance.

The runway would also lead to higher levels of toxic air in an area where pollution is already well above legal levels for NO2 emissions, Mr Khan claimed.

Ministers have argued that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within air quality requirements. However, the High Court rejected the Government’s air quality plan two weeks ago.

The Mayor also raised concerns over how the Government would find billions of pounds to improve road and rail connections to Heathrow.

Welcoming the decision, Wandsworth council leader Ravi Govindia said: “Transport for London’s resources and technical expertise will be hugely helpful to developing our case and exposing the deeply flawed logic supporting Heathrow expansion.”

Greenpeace’s John Sauven said: “A third runway at Heathrow will inevitably heap more misery on hundreds of thousands of Londoners already suffering from illegal levels of air pollution. It will also drive the UK’s climate-warning emissions through the roof.

“Ministers are already on the run from a court ruling that has exposed their current air pollution plan as a sham.”

Mr Khan, who U-turned on his original support for Heathrow after the air quality evidence changed, was in favour of expanding Gatwick, which he said could boost the economy without causing air pollution problems.

It was also said Gatwick would be cheaper and quicker to expand than Heathrow.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/sadiq-khan-backs-councils-legal-action-against-third-runway-at-heathrow-a3396941.html

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Sadiq Khan agrees to back legal action against Heathrow Airport Third Runway decision

16.11.2016 (Get West London)

The Mayor of London, who has openly backed Gatwick Airport, has said he will support legal action against the government decision

Sadiq Khan has said he will step in and support legal action taken by council against the Heathrow Third Runway decision.

In an announcement made during the Mayor’s Question Time in City Hall on Wednesday November 16, the Labour Mayor said he “will fully support” boroughs such as Hillingdon and Richmond as they fight against the government’s expansion choice .

Addressing the full London Assembly, he said: “I promised I wouldn’t just stand by and see hundreds of thousands suffer from the additional noise and air pollution a third runway would cause.

“That’s why I’ve directed Transport for London (TfL) to provide their expert advice and assistance to support Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, and Greenpeace, as they prepare for a joint legal challenge, and why I will be ready for us to play an active role in the action if required.”

Greenpeace has already joined forces with Hillingdon council to take legal action against the proposals.

In the previous Mayor’s Question Time, Mr Khan said he wasn’t able answer the question on legal action until the decision had been made , but the official announcement was met with delight from many Assembly Members.

Heathrow Airport told getwestlondon: “The Airports Commission’s detailed work represents a solid foundation to support a Government decision for the third runway, and we are confident that any legal challenge would be unsuccessful and would not affect the timeline for delivering a third runway.

“We want to work with the Mayor to ensure that Heathrow expansion helps London thrive as a global hub for talent, tourism and trade.”

It has been proposed a the third runway could be built over the M25.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling previously said it would be a “cheaper and quicker” option rather than building a tunnel for the M25 underneath the new runway.

“I am, of course, very concerned to make sure that, as this runway is built, it doesn’t cause massive disruption on the M25, so I think this is a sensible way,” Mr Grayling said.

“It is a very gentle hill up which the planes would take off rather than a flat surface.

“It’s what happens at very many airports around the world.”

According to the airport’s timeline, it is unlikely that any new runway capacity would be operational before 2025.

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/sadiq-khan-agrees-back-legal-12183916

 


See earlier:

Greenpeace to join with 4 councils in legal challenge against Heathrow 3rd runway

Greenpeace UK has joined forces with Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils to prepare grounds for a joint legal challenge against Heathrow expansion.  More claimants could join the alliance in the coming days as media reports have suggested a final decision has now been delayed until 25th October.  Greenpeace and the four local authorities say both Heathrow expansion schemes would be unlawful due to their unrivalled environmental impacts, which include exacerbating illegal levels of air pollution, increasing Europe’s worst aircraft noise footprint and stretching the local transport network beyond breaking point. The councils jointly instructed Harrison Grant Solicitors to prepare their legal strategy last year and Greenpeace will now share costs and bring new environmental expertise to the partnership. The campaigners also worked together back in 2010 to successfully overturn the Brown Government’s backing for a 3rd runway in the High Court. Later that year the scheme was emphatically ruled out by the incoming Cameron Government.  Heathrow current expansion scheme is even bigger and has more severe environmental impacts than the 2010 proposal, and will fail the same legal tests. New evidence on the severe health impacts of air and noise pollution make the new scheme far less likely to pass judicial review.

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See earlier: 

Richmond, Merton, Kingston & Croydon councils write to PM to stop Heathrow runway, and choose Gatwick

In addition to the four councils that will legally challenge the government if it decides on a Heathrow runway (Windsor & Maidenhead, Richmond, Hillingdon and Wandsworth) now four councils have written to the Prime Minister to oppose a Heathrow runway decision. Richmond, Merton, Kingston and Croydon councils, calling themselves the South London Partnership, made the case to Theresa May to approve a Gatwick runway instead. All these councils know the highly adverse impact of the noise of Heathrow flights on their residents, and would prefer that noise burden to be pushed to others (who do not have the opportunity to vote them out – as with the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who also backs a Gatwick runway. They also say: “One thing in particular on which we want to contribute is ensuring the transport links to Gatwick and connectivity more widely, including into our area, central London and with other key corridors, are developed to support the full potential of airport expansion.” Presumably they appreciate that the transport links to Gatwick are very poor, and would not be able to cope with a doubling in the number of air passengers. Conservative Richmond Council leader Lord True said the government should “stand up for ordinary families, rather than ‘big business’”.

Click here to view full story…

Shock £17bn taxpayer’s bill for Heathrow expansion revealed through Freedom of Information request – from TfL  – by Greenpeace

Environmental and transport groups have used FoI to obtain details from Transport for London (TfL), of their estimates of the amount of money the UK taxpayer would be expected to pay, for Heathrow’s 3rd runway. This comes to a staggering £17 billion, to cover the costs of transport links needed to deal with a massive traffic surge from a 3rd Heathrow runway.  TfL say the actual cost would be around £18.4 billion – which is 4 times as high as estimated by the Airports Commission.  Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye reiterated, to the Environmental Audit Committee (4.11.2015) that the airport would pay only about £1 billion. The government made it clear (Oct 2015) that it expects aviation expansion promoters to cover any surface access costs.The vast amount of money required throws into question both the financing and feasibility of a crucial part of the project. The documents, released to Greenpeace through FoI, contain the first detailed comparison of the contrasting estimates by the Airport Commission and TfL. They show the figures published in the Commission’s report failed to take into account the costs of key rail schemes, extra buses, additional operational spending and road traffic management. The Treasury needs to properly assess the real costs of expanding Heathrow and guarantee taxpayers won’t be left to pick up the bill.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/04/shock-17bn-taxpayers-bill-for-heathrow-expansion-revealed-through-freedom-of-information-request-by-greenpeace/


Recent opponent of Heathrow runway, Sadiq Khan, appoints pro-Heathrow runway, Lord Adonis on transport

Until June 2015, Sadiq Khan (now London Mayor) backed a 3rd Heathrow runway.  He was Transport Minister under Gordon Brown, pushing for it. He then appreciated that he could not be elected Mayor if he backed the runway as it is so unpopular with millions of Londoners, who are adversely affected by it.  Ministers are saying his election, and his opposition to a 3rd runway, will not influence their runway decision.  The Mayor’s opinion on a runway carries some weight, though they cannot make the decision.  Worryingly, Sadiq will appoint former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, who strongly backs a Heathrow runway,  to run transport in London.  The Labour peer also heads the government’s National Infrastructure Commission.  Sadiq backs a 2nd runway at Gatwick to increase airport capacity, as people in areas adversely affected by Gatwick did not get to vote in the Mayoral election.  He also backs improved rail links to Stansted.  It would be easier for a Conservative government to resist the opposition of a Labour mayor, than a Tory one, to a Heathrow expansion. Transport Professor, David Metz, said: “There is a respectable case for deferring this difficult political decision, to see how a very competitive aviation sector copes with the growth of demand for air travel” … seeing how market forces displace leisure travellers from Heathrow to Stansted in future.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/05/recent-opponent-of-heathrow-runway-sadiq-khan-appoints-pro-heathrow-runway-lord-adonis-on-transport/

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