By Chris Wickham (on Richard Buxton, Lawyers, website)
SOURCE: Richmond and Twickenham Times
A High Court judge has rejected an appeal calling for a reduction in the number of night flights at Heathrow.
Justice Jeremy Sullivan delivered his verdict this afternoon after Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils took the Department for Transport (DfT) to a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice earlier this week to seek a reduction in the number of aircraft allowed to arrive at Heathrow before 6am.
He ruled in favour of the Government, rejecting the review on all grounds.
Mr Sullivan said that while the Government had a policy of bearing down on night noise this did not necessarily mean that it had to make things better. He added that the policy was, therefore, “vacuous.”
The councils argued half the planes in this early morning period had been placed in the wrong noise category and if they had been correctly classified they would not have been able to fly.
But the Government argued that because the night flights scheme pooled noise data over the three London airports it did not have to take specific action on what was a Heathrow problem.
Speaking after the verdict, Richmond Council leader Councillor Serge Lourie said he was disappointed with the ruling but pledged to fight on.
“Residents will be astonished to learn that, provided the numbers stack up at Gatwick and Stansted, Ministers do not have to do anything about night-noise at Heathrow,” he said.
“It will be difficult now for residents to have any confidence that Ministers will make a proper assessment of the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion.
“All the Councils will now step up their call for a complete ban on night-flights. This is our ultimate goal – to end this continuing noise misery for our residents.”
And he urged as many people as possible to join the Heathrow protest rally on Saturday, May 31, to show the strength of opposition to plans for a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow.
On average there are around 16 early morning arrivals each day at Heathrow between 4.30am and 6am. Eight of these are ranked in a QC2 category when subsequent noise tests showed they should have been in a higher band (QC4) for which there is a scheduling ban at this time of night.
I have appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, the former Senior President of Tribunals, to provide independent oversight of the draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation process and ensure best practice is upheld.
On 25 October 2016 the Secretary of State for Transport appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan to provide independent oversight of the consultation process on the draft Airports National Policy Statement.
Education and career
Sir Jeremy was born in 1945 and educated at Framlingham College and King’s College, London.
Sir Jeremy was called to the Bar at Inner Temple in 1968. He specialised in planning, environmental, local government and administrative law throughout his career as an advocate and a judge.
He was made a QC in 1982, and later a judge of the High Court of Justice (Queens Bench Division) in 1997. He became Lord Justice of Appeal in January 2009, and was appointed Senior President of Tribunals in 2012.
Sir Jeremy retired from the judiciary in September 2015.
Independent consultation adviser to the draft Airports National Policy Statement
The Secretary of State for Transport appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan to oversee the consultation process on the draft Airports National Policy Statement and ensure best practice is upheld.
Sir Jeremy’s role will be to:
- consider the government’s plans for raising awareness of the consultation and for stakeholder and public engagement during this period, challenging these where necessary
- monitor the delivery of the consultation and make recommendations for improvements to the Secretary of State for Transport
- produce a report to the Secretary of State for Transport on the government’s approach to and delivery of the consultation
If you have any comments on the consultation process, please contact Sir Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sir Jeremy will not comment or respond on any issue relating to government policy on airport expansion, but will consider all comments he receives on the consultation process.