The Government has delayed facing a legal challenge against its decision to back Heathrow expansion.
A High Court ruling, released yesterday, ruled that any judicial review examining the legality of the third runway scheme, including its air quality impacts, cannot be heard until after designation of a National Policy Statement (NPS) on aviation, anticipated in 2018.
The Department for Transport’s move to delay a legal challenge has been condemned by a coalition of local councils, including Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead, together with Greenpeace UK and a Hillingdon resident, who had started judicial review proceeding against the third runway.
The local public claim that the case should be heard now before more money is spent on developing a scheme which they believe will never be able to comply with air quality law.
Local residents face another period, which could be years, of uncertainty over a scheme which they believe will never get planning permission.
The coalition claim that the Government’s October 2016 decision to back plans for the third runway is unlawful because it frustrates the legitimate expectations of local residents who have received clear and repeated promises from ministers over the years that it would never be built.
Despite these promises, residents have not been granted an official consultation and fear that the intolerable noise which they suffered during testing, will become a permanent reality.
Zac Goldsmith, campaign spokesman for the four councils involved in the legal campaign, added:
“In effect, the decision has merely delayed the inevitable legal challenges which will stop the 3rd runway going ahead, and I hope that the Government will re-think before then to avoid wasting vast sums of public money on a project that will never get off the ground.”