PRESS RELEASE from Stop Heathrow Expansion|
16 DECEMBER 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE USE
SUPREME COURT IGNORES PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT
- Heathrow allowed to bring forward planning application for 3rd runway, but fight far from over say campaigners and residents
- Residents react with fury as their future and that of in their communities remains uncertain
The Supreme Court has overturned a ruling by the Court of Appeal who stated that the Government (and then Transport Secretary Chris Grayling) were wrong to not take into account the Paris climate change Agreement when presenting its plans to expand Heathrow to Parliament in 2018.
This fresh ruling means that although Heathrow are entitled to bring forward a planning application for its third runway plans, this Government and current Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will still have to make the final decision on whether or not to allow this project to go ahead, after any planning process - including a full planning inquiry - is complete. That process is not anticipated to take place any time soon. The Government decided not to appeal the earlier Court of Appeal ruling.
Heathrow have so far failed to provide information such as detailed plans showing how they would build a new runway over the M25, basic flight path information, the funding for essential public transport infrastructure, and how local air quality would be brought to within legal limits - on top of which Heathrow have totally failed to address the climate impacts of the additional flights their proposals envisage.
Climate targets and how to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050 will continue to remain a vital part of any proposals put forward by Heathrow - a hurdle they will find they will not be able to overcome later and which the Climate Change Committee, who advise the Government, state would lead to reductions in capacity, at levels that would require closures at other airports around the UK (1).
Reacting to the verdict, Richard Fremantle, Chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion, said:
'It is official - 2020 is the worst year ever. Our climate is in a desperate state, our communities are going into yet another Christmas with Heathrow's blight hanging over their heads.
'The onus is now on the Government to rule out Heathrow expansion, as continuing to allow it to happen would be committing a massive retrograde step for our environment ahead of the UK hosting the COP26 summit next year.
'Even the Government's climate advisers say that Heathrow expansion would mean a reduction in capacity elsewhere across the country, at levels that will require closures.
'The only people set to benefit from this project are Heathrow's overpaid directors, who are due huge bonuses were spades ever to set foot in the ground. It is now down to this Government to call Heathrow's bluff and end this miserable project once and for all.'
Justine Bayley, a resident of Harmondsworth who faces having to leave her home, said:
'I'm disappointed as I'd hoped sense would prevail and the Court of Appeal's judgement would be upheld. Heathrow may have won this particular ruling, but there are many more hurdles in their way before they have final approval to build a third runway. I'm not giving up and continue to believe that sense will prevail, and that Heathrow expansion will never actually happen.
'There have been many schemes for additional runways at Heathrow - some dating back to its earliest days in the late 1940s - but none have been built. I seriously expect this current proposal to join that long list of failed plans. It's time the relentless focus on Heathrow expansion ended.
'Heathrow should realise that they will never succeed and should actually do what they say: act as better neighbours to the communities across London and the south-east whose lives they have blighted for far too long.'
Eilish Stone, who has lived in the Heathrow Villages across five decades and now faces losing her home, said:
'I am devastated, and I am at a loss to understand why the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Heathrow and overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal. Do our climate laws mean nothing?
'My community will be decimated. I feel angry that I seem to have little rights to be able to live in my own home in the area I have raised a family and lived the majority of my life.
'Heathrow has some way to go to achieve Development Consent Order, but the Government still has the power to stop Heathrow expansion.
'I stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street in 2003 having delivered a petition to save my home and community and have given the best years of my life to fighting to save such a wonderful area. It is high time I am allowed to live my life in peace in my home and not constantly under threat of demolition. We fight on, but this will not be a happy Christmas.'