The seemingly never-ending saga whether London-Heathrow (LHR) would get the so-desired third runway has hit another wall. The United Kingdom Court of Appeals has ruled that the Government’s decision to approve the expansion of the airport was unlawful. The government failed to take into account the British lawmaker’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and the UK’s goal to become an emissions-free country by 2050, the ruling read.
The Court of Appeals has also concluded that the current Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the southeast of England (“the ANPS”) in its form is doomed for failure in the courts. The primary reason is, of course, climate change concerns. Essentially, the British Government has cornered themselves in with the ANPS, which, according to Court of Appeals, does not include appropriate explanations on how the third runway expansion takes into account the Government’s policy to “the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change.”
“We have concluded that the ANPS was not produced as the law requires, and indeed as Parliament has expressly provided.”
Secretary of State of Transport Grant Shapps expressed publicly that while the expansion of the airport is core to boost connectivity, the Government takes its commitments to the environment seriously. Thus it would not “appeal today’s judgment given our manifesto makes clear any Heathrow expansion will be industry-led.”
Meanwhile, a Heathrow spokesperson publicly stated that the airport would appeal to the Supreme Court and that the company was “confident that we will be successful.”
“Expanding Heathrow, Britain’s biggest port and only hub is essential to achieving the Prime Minister’s vision of Global Britain. We will get it done the right way, without jeopardizing the planet’s future. Let’s get Heathrow done,” the spokesperson added.
The latest hitch potentially adds another delay to the airport’s expansion. Previously, in December 2019, the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) denied the company from increased spending, arguing that it would result in increased expenses for the passengers. The CAA’s decision delayed the project by another 12 months.