Councils that legally challenged Heathrow expansion say Supreme Court Heathrow ruling ‘changes nothing’
The group of Councils deeply opposed to Heathrow expansion said the Supreme Court ruling, that the ANPS is legal, changes nothing and called on the airport to abandon once and for all its bid for a 3rd runway. Residents in all these boroughs are badly affected by noise of Heathrow planes. Wandsworth Council urged Heathrow to concentrate on working with the aviation industry to achieve zero carbon emissions and an end to night flights. The Leader of Wandsworth Council, Cllr Ravi Govindia, said: “The ruling does not give Heathrow a green light for a third runway. It says nothing about how expansion could be delivered in the face of legally binding emissions targets. The world has changed since Chris Grayling’s decision in 2018. Heathrow will never be able to build a third runway. It’s time for the airport to admit defeat and put all its energy into working with the aviation industry to achieve the net zero goal. The Government must now as a matter of urgency produce a new aviation strategy for the UK which properly takes account of its legal commitment on emissions reductions. And Heathrow could put an end to the early morning arrivals, the noise of which causes so much upset, disturbing the sleep of thousands, putting their health at risk.
The group of local councils – Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Windsor and Maidenhead – together with the Mayor of London and Greenpeace, had challenged the ANPS alongside environmental groups Plan B and Friends of the Earth.
Supreme Court Heathrow ruling ‘changes nothing’
December 16, 2020
Wandsworth Council press release
Councils opposed to Heathrow expansion say today’s Supreme Court ruling changes nothing and called on the airport to abandon once and for all its bid for a third runway.
Communities living under the flightpath are already plagued by aircraft noise.
Wandsworth Council urged Heathrow to concentrate on working with the aviation industry to achieve zero carbon emissions and an end to night flights.
The ruling addresses the Transport Secretary’s decision in 2018 to press ahead with giving support to expansion at Heathrow when drafting the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) despite the recommendations on climate change contained in the 2016 Paris Agreement.
Judges said today he was entitled to do this as the Government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement setting out the emissions targets did not constitute government policy.
The Government subsequently adopted new targets in 2019 requiring net zero emissions by 2050.
Last week the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) heaped further pressure on aviation to reduce emissions. It said there should be no net expansion of UK airport capacity ‘until the sector is on track to sufficiently outperform its net emissions trajectory and can accommodate the additional demand.’ It further called for a net zero target for UK aviation.
Leader of Wandsworth Council, Cllr Ravi Govindia, said: “The ruling does not give Heathrow a green light for a third runway. It says nothing about how expansion could be delivered in the face of legally binding emissions targets.
“The world has changed since Chris Grayling’s decision in 2018. Heathrow will never be able to build a third runway. It’s time for the airport to admit defeat and put all its energy into working with the aviation industry to achieve the net zero goal.
“The Government must now as a matter of urgency produce a new aviation strategy for the UK which properly takes account of its legal commitment on emissions reductions.
“Local people have lived with the threat of expansion for years and the added noise, congestion and air pollution this would bring.
“The airport should own up to the damage it has caused to people’s lives and start making serious efforts to reduce the local noise impacts for people living under the flightpath.
“They could begin by telling the Government that is willing to phase out all early morning arrivals. These are the night flights that disrupt people’s sleep and put their health at risk.”
The Department for Transport launched a new night flights consultation last week. At this stage it is proposing no changes to the numbers of aircraft currently arriving before 6am.
The councils also called for a complete rethink of how noise is measured so that it can fairly reflect the annoyance suffered by individual communities.
The night flights consultation runs until March 3, 2022. The council will publish its detailed response early in the New Year.
The Supreme Court today agreed with Heathrow that the then Secretary of State acted lawfully when considering the impact of the Paris Agreement but confirmed that HAL would be now be bound to comply with the UK’s revised carbon targets when and if it seeks to obtain planning permission for a third runway.
A group of local councils – Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith and Fulham and Windsor and Maidenhead together with the Mayor of London and Greenpeace– had challenged the ANPS alongside environmental groups Plan B and Friends of the Earth.
Also on the Richmond Council website at https://www.richmond.gov.uk/heathrow_ruling_changes_nothing
Supreme Court rules that the Airports NPS is legal; climate issues of a Heathrow runway would have to be decided at the DCO stage
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Airports NPS is lawful. In February 2020 the Appeal Court had ruled that it was not, on climate grounds. The ANPS is the national policy framework which governs the construction of a Heathrow 3rd runway. Any future application for development consent to build this runway will be considered against the policy framework in the ANPS. The ANPS does not grant development consent in its own right. The Supreme Court rejected the legal challenges by Friends of the Earth, and Plan B Earth, that the then Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, had not taken climate properly into account, nor the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. These are tricky points of law, and definition of the term “government policy” rather than the reality of climate policy. Heathrow is now able to continue with plans to apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) which is the planning stage of the runway scheme.The Supreme Court said at the DCO stage, Heathrow would have to show “that the development would be compatible with the up-to-date requirements under the Paris Agreement and the CCA 2008 measures as revised to take account of those requirements” and “The Court further holds that future applications [for the runway] will be assessed against the emissions targets and environmental policies in force at that later date rather than those set out in the ANPS.”
“Heathrow expansion remains very far from certain”: Friends of the Earth reacts as Supreme Court rules on policy allowing third runway
Friends of the Earth UK (FoE) was one of the organisations that took their challenge of the High Court decision on Heathrow expansion, and the Airports NPS (ANPS), to the Court of Appeal. Heathrow took that judgement, that the ANPS was illegal (of no legal effect) to the Supreme Court, which has now ruled that the ANPS is valid and legal. Friends of the Earth say the judgement is “not a ‘green light’ for a 3rd Heathrow runway. It makes clear that full climate considerations remain to be addressed and resolved at the planning stage, where Friends of the Earth will continue the challenge against a 3rd runway. In addition, the Government has been recently warned by its own advisers (the CCC) against net airport expansion.” FoE also say green jobs, low-carbon travel and the health and wellbeing of everyone must be government priority for 2021 and beyond. A 3rd runway is far from certain, with many chances to block it in the planning stages. The UK’s obligations and targets have become much more challenging since the ANPS was designated and are only expected to get tougher, especially in light of the advice last week by the Committee on Climate Change that, in order to meet Net Zero Target, there should be no net increase in airport capacity.
and see much earlier
Wandsworth Council, and the other councils, to challenge latest efforts by Heathrow to revive plans for 3rd runway
Wandsworth Council is poised to support fresh legal efforts to cement its recent victory over plans to expand Heathrow Airport. The airport’s owners and the construction company involved are trying and rescue the plans with an appeal to the Supreme Court. So Wandsworth has indicated it wishes to join other councils and environmental groups in guaranteeing the Supreme Court judges hear both sides of the argument. The council is seeking permission to intervene as “an interested party” due to the importance it attaches to the outcome – and the negative impact a 3rd runway would have on tens of thousands of Wandsworth residents. Being represented at the hearing would mean the council and its allies can ensure that the strong arguments against Heathrow expansion are fully aired. The government has not sought to overturn the Appeal Court ruling. The councils that brought the case – Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith & Fulham and Windsor & Maidenhead, together with the Mayor of London and Greenpeace – are working together on the Supreme Court case.
In the end, only the case made by Friends of the Earth and Plan B Earth were considered by the Supreme Court, as it was their climate arguments that won at the Appeal Court. The other arguments, made by the councils (who had left the climate arguments to FoE and Plan B) were not upheld by the Appeal Court, in February 2020.
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 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 …