Plan B Earth case for Supreme Court appeal by Heathrow, against Appeal Court ruling that ANPS was illegal, due to Paris Agreement
On 7th and 8th October, there will be a Supreme Court hearing of the appeal, by Heathrow airport, against the ruling by the Appeal Court in February 2020 that the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) was illegal. Heathrow cannot proceed with plans for a 3rd runway, without a legal ANPS. The government itself decided not to challenge the Appeal Court decision – it is only Heathrow. Friends of the Earth and Plan B Earth are defending the case. The decision of the Appeal Court was due to the failure of the ANPS to properly take into account the UK’s commitment to the Paris Agreement (aiming to keep global climate warming to 1.5C) and thus its duty to keep carbon emissions from rising. Plan B Earth has published its response, challenging the Heathrow claim that the Paris Agreement is “not” government policy. It is a 29 page document, but the conclusion is copied here. It states that: “At the time of the designation of the ANPS in June 2018, the Secretary of State (SST) [Chris Grayling] knew, or ought to have known, that the Government had: a) rejected the 2˚C temperature limit as creating intolerable risks, in the UK and beyond b) committed instead to the Paris Agreement and the Paris Temperature Limit, and that it had c) committed to introducing a new net zero target in accordance with the Paris Agreement. These matters were fundamental to Government policy relating to climate change and it was irrational for the SST to treat them as irrelevant.
IN THE SUPREME COURT
ON APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEAL
 EWCA Civ 214
B E T W E E N:
(1) HEATHROW AIRPORT LIMITED
[Arora is no longer pursuing the appeal]
(1) FRIENDS OF THE EARTH LIMITED
(2) PLAN B. EARTH
CASE FOR PLAN B. EARTH
106. At the time of the designation of the ANPS in June 2018, the SST knew, or ought to have known, that the Government had:
a) rejected the 2˚C temperature limit as creating intolerable risks, in the UK and beyond
b) committed instead to the Paris Agreement and the Paris Temperature Limit, and that it had
c) committed to introducing a new net zero target in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
107. In reality these matters were fundamental to Government policy relating to climate change and it was irrational for the SST to treat them as irrelevant.
108. While PA 2008 s.5(8) does not require the SST to follow Government policy relating to climate change it does require that the SST communicate transparently the relationship between the ANPS and that policy, so that any tension arising can be debated openly and democratically. The SST’s failure in this regard was a fundamental flaw in the process.
109. This Appeal is misconceived and should be dismissed.
See the full document at
Supreme Court to hear Heathrow appeal, against judgement on the Airports NPS by the Appeal Court, on 7th and 8th October
The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear an appeal from Heathrow Airport and Arora Group [it appears Arora has now dropped out – Sept 2020 – update ] on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th October 2020 on the plans to expand Heathrow Airport by adding a third runway. The appeal was granted by the Supreme Court on 7th May, but the dates of the appeal were announced today. Granting of the appeal by the Supreme Court followed an earlier landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal at the end of February which stated that the government has not taken into account the Paris climate change agreement when drawing up its plans to expand Heathrow. Reacting to the news of the hearing dates, Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “These dates are sooner than some expected. Perhaps because the Supreme Court is as keen to clarify this important area of developing law, as our communities are anxious to see Heathrow expansion shelved, once and for all. “The sooner this misguided project is put of its misery, the better. So we welcome these dates.”
Supreme Court grants Heathrow and Arora permission to appeal against the Appeal Court ruling on the ANPS
In February, the Appeal Court ruled that the government’s Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) was illegal, because it had not taken properly into account the UK’s responsibilities on carbon emissions, or commitments under the Paris Agreement. For a Heathrow 3rd runway to go ahead, it has to be in line with the necessary policy document, the ANPS. That document is now invalid in law, and will remain so until it is amended to rectify its deficiencies. It is for the Secretary of State for Transport to do that, but the government declined to challenge the Appeal Court judgement. So Heathrow, and Arora Holdings (the two organisations hoping to get a 3rd runway built) asked the Supreme Court for permission to appeal the Appeal Court decision. That has now been granted, by the Supreme Court. The legal process is slow, and could take as much as a year. It will probably cost a lot of money, at a time when Heathrow is haemorrhaging money, with minimal income, due to Covid. Only a day earlier, CEO of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye admitted there would not be a need for a 3rd runway for 10-15 years. Heathrow wants this drag on and on and on …