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Heathrow judicial reviews proceed to full hearing next March

Earlier this month at the Royal Courts of Justice, the Hon. Mr Justice Holgate granted permisson for five judicial reviews of the NPS for Heathrow to be heard in a rolled-up hearing in March 2019.

In June, MPs voted in favour of the NPS, allowing the NPS to be ‘designated’, and giving permission for Heathrow to prepare a Development Consent Order for its proposed third runway to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. The designation triggered the start to a six-week period in which any applications for judicial reviews had to be lodged.  Six applications for judicial review were put forward initially, although one was subsequently disallowed before it reached the High Court.

The five remaining applications were granted permission in court on 4thOctober when the judge considered the timetable and process for a full hearing of all the grounds. Crowds had gathered outside the court to express opposition to the third runway. The cases will be heard over a 10-day period next March.

AEF will be acting as an expert witness in support of Friends of the Earth, which is taking legal action on the grounds that “the decision by the government to allow the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport is unlawful as it fails to address the UK’s climate change obligations”. Our witness statement addresses issues in relation to the Government’s aviation forecasts, compatibility with the Paris Agreement, carbon abatement options and non-CO2 impacts.

The other cases will be brought by: Plan B, also on climate change grounds; Greenpeace alongside London Councils and the Mayor of London, who are challenging the plans over air quality and other environmental and surface access concerns; Neil Spurrier, a lawyer and AEF member, on a wide range of environmental grounds; and finally Heathrow Hub, a rival expansion promoter, which claims the DfT’s process was ‘flawed’.