Climate activists win Heathrow airport legal battle | News | DW | 27.02.2020
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Climate activists win Heathrow airport legal battle

London Heathrow airport planned to build a third runway to cope with growing air travel. But environmental activists have successfully won a court case against the expansion of one of Europe's busiest airports.

Environmental campaigners won a court ruling on Thursday that is set to block London Heathrow airport from building a third runway.

The $18 billion (€16.4 billion) project got the go-ahead from the UK government in 2018. Environmental activists and local authorities have been fighting the decision in the courts amid concerns over noise and emissions pollution, as well as breaking government climate change commitments. 

The UK Court of Appeal ruled the government's agreement to the expansion was 'unlawful' as it did not comply with climate change commitments it made when it signed up to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

The UK government said it would not appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court. The judge on Thursday noted that the government had not sought permission to appeal the ruling.

The government will now have to re-write the policy statement or scrap the proposal.

Local government welcomes the ruling

London's mayor Sadiq Khan said: "The government must now finally see sense and abandon plans for
a third runway at Heathrow."

"We really are facing a climate emergency and it's about time the government started taking action to address this."

Leader of the local Richmond Council Gareth Roberts said: "It surely must be the final nail in the coffin for Heathrow's attempts to steamroll over local and national opposition to their disastrous third runway plans." The planned flight path for the third runway would be over his borough.

Heathrow said it plans to appeal to the Supreme Court and it is "confident it will be successful."

kmm/rc (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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