High Court Ruling throws expansion plans at Southend airport into question

26.3.2010   (SAEN press release – Stop Airport Expansion Now at Southend)

PLANS to expand Southend airport were thrown into serious doubt today when a
High Court Judge said that the Government’s 2003 aviation policy didn’t fully
take into account the effects of climate change.

In a damning ruling handed down at the Royal Courts of Justice today, Lord Justice
Carnwath said that the Government’s 2003 Aviation White Paper – the basis for
expansion at Heathrow airport and dozens of other airports around the country,
including Southend – needs to be re-thought in the light of climate change and
the UK’s climate change laws. This effectively means that the white paper must
now be radically over-hauled so that it is in line with the Climate Change Act

Climate Campaigner Anna Jones, of Greenpeace, said "Today’s ruling exposes a Government airport expansion policy that is
out of control. This country needs a better railway system, not new runways. The
Government cannot continue to ignore the impact of aviation on climate change.
They should shelve all airport expansion plans now; every increase in capacity
makes our problems worse."

Press officer for SAEN[1], Denis Walker, added     "It has been obvious to us all along that as well as blighting the
lives of thousands of local residents, the expansion of Southend Airport would
be disastrous for the environment. Lord Justice Carnwath has today totally vindicated
this position and the Airport can expect to see us in court soon."

The judgment was delivered in response to a Judicial Review brought by Greenpeace
and 12 other groups, including local councils, residents groups and other leading
green groups. They argued that the consultation process which led to the decision
to allow a 3rd runway at Heathrow to be built was fundamentally flawed and that
the decision to expand Heathrow is at odds with the UK’s overall climate change

The Climate Change Committee – an independent watchdog created by the act – recently
advised the Government that around half of the planned airport expansion in the
UK would have to be scrapped if the Government’s own aviation emissions target
is to be met and that therefore it needed to review its 2003 aviation expansion


Notes to Editors

  1. "Stop Airport Extension Now" (SAEN) was formed to campaign against the runway
    extension at Southend Airport. The group is not opposed to the Airport itself,
    which has co-existed with the residents of Southend for many years. SAEN is against
    the runway extension, which would lead to a massive increase in flights and destroy
    the lives of the people living, working or going to school anywhere near the flightpath.

For further information:

  • Call Denis Walker, Press Officer SAEN (Stop Airport Extension Now)
  • Visit the SAEN website – http://saen.org.uk




For more details of the High Court  Heathrow ruling, see



The Government’s Heathrow policy is in tatters this morning after the High Court
ruled that ministers’ decision to give a green light to the proposed 3rd runway
at Heathrow does not hold any weight. The judge dismissed the Government’s claims
to the contrary as ‘untenable in law and common sense’. If the Government wants
to pursue its plans for Heathrow expansion it must now go back to square one and
reconsider the entire case for the runway. The implications of today’s ruling
are profound, not just for Heathrow but for airport expansion plans across the
UK. Lord Justice Carnwath ruled that the 2003 Air Transport White Paper – the
foundation of expansion plans across the country – is obsolete because it is inconsistent
with the Climate Change Act 2008.         26.3.2010   More …..