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Heathrow Hub, an independent proposal for expanding Heathrow airport, has been granted permission to appeal the High Court Judgement that rejected a legal review of the government’s decision to build a third runway at the airport.
The decision grants Heathrow Hub, which put forward plans to grow the airport by extending the existing northern runway, the right to take the case to the Court of Appeal. Proceedings are due to start on 21 October.
According to the group, the Court of Appeal noted the “considerable importance of the issue raised” as it handed down its decision.
Jock Lowe, director at Heathrow Hub, said: “We are delighted to have been granted permission to appeal. We didn’t agree with the previous judgement handed down on 1 May, which was legally flawed, at odds with the evidence the court itself heard and gave us strong grounds to appeal.
“We continue to believe that the Department for Transport bungled the decision-making process for Heathrow expansion. Our extended runway proposal is cheaper, quieter, simpler and greener to build than Heathrow’s north west runway, which is bedevilled with complexity, increasingly expensive and incompatible with the new net zero carbon by 2050 target. Phased construction has always been a critical element of our proposal, leaving the government and regulators in control of environmental, noise and capacity levels. Despite the ongoing legal proceedings, an extended runway could still be operational much sooner than Heathrow Airport Limited’s north west runway scheme.”
Heathrow Hub based its appeal on its belief that transport secretary Chris Grayling essentially allowed Heathrow airport to ‘veto’ the extended runway proposal by refusing to agree to such a scheme if MPs found it more favourable than a third runway.
The group also claims the High Court “failed to take into account the unlawfulness” of Grayling’s reason for such a decision and that the court was not impartial in looking at the evidence against Heathrow.
The High Court partially based its judgement on the finding that Heathrow Hub had no legitimate expectation that Grayling would not reject the extended runway proposal, which the group is contending.
The appeal has been welcomed by the No 3rd Runway Coalition, with policy director Paul Beckford saying: “Our fight will continue to end the plans that would blight our environment and fall flat in the face of our climate emergency. We expect to win.”
Meanwhile, Stop Heathrow Expansion coordinator Rob Barnstone added: “Boris Johnson knows that Heathrow expansion cannot meet environmental targets, including on noise and air pollution. Mr Johnson has indicated he will be following the legal and planning processes very carefully, then at the appropriate time the project can be cancelled. We don’t expect any gimmicks but remain confident that Mr Johnson will stop this disastrous project, albeit at the correct time in the process. The decision by the Court of Appeal today may make that time a little sooner than previously thought.”
Read Gareth Morgan’s Westminster Watch column on why having Boris Johnson as prime minister could change the outlook for projects such as Heathrow’s third runway and HS2.
Heathrow airport is currently undertaking a public consultation on its master plan for expansion, which closes on 13 September.
The news comes after Heathrow airport reported a 1.8 per cent increase in passenger numbers for the first half of 2019.