Plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport have been ruled illegal by the Court of Appeal, because ‘ministers did not adequately take into account the Government’s commitments to tackle the climate crisis’ (the Government has set a target in law of net zero emissions by 2050).
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, could use the ruling to abandon the project, or the Government could draw up a new
policy document to approve the runway.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our manifesto makes clear that any Heathrow expansion will be industry-led. Airport expansion is core to boosting global connectivity and ‘levelling up’ across the UK.
"We also take seriously our commitment to the environment.”
Responding to the Court of Appeal’s announcement, Mike Cherry — national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB — www.fsb.org.uk
), said: “The Court of Appeal’s ruling is a set-back, and it will be disappointing to many small businesses.
"It is a blow to small firms that need greater regional and global connectivity, as well as more opportunities to export.
"Thousands also rely on air travel to develop new contacts and visit clients, and with two thirds of the UK’s air freight travelling via Heathrow — and the airport already running at full capacity — expansion would have boosted exports and connected our world-beating businesses to new markets.
"However, it is important that any decisions made have the climate in mind.”
BCC director general Adam Marshall (www.britishchambers.org.uk
) said: “Business communities across the UK will be bitterly disappointed that plans for a world-leading hub airport are now at risk.”
"Without expansion, firms risk losing crucial regional connectivity and access to key markets across the world. The benefits of a third runway would extend far beyond South East England.
"Hundreds of UK companies are already invested in the supply chain for expansion, and tens of thousands of jobs will be created if the project goes ahead.”