London Heathrow third runway ruled unlawful over climate change

Britain’s Court of Appeal on Thursday blocked a multi-billion dollar plan for a third runway at London Heathrow Airport, citing government’s failure to adequately take into account climate change commitments.

“The Paris Agreement ought to have been taken into account by the Secretary of State. The National Planning Statement was not produced as the law requires,” said judge Lord Justice Lindblom.

The judge said the government had seen the court ruling in advance but did not seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest court in Britain.

“Any Heathrow expansion will be industry led. Airport expansion is core to boosting global connectivity. We also take seriously our commitment to the environment,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

While the result at the Court of Appeal was hailed by climate campaigners, the owners of Britain’s biggest and busiest airport said it will appeal to the Supreme Court and is confident of overturning the decision, adding that it is “ready to work with the government to fix the issue that the court has raised.”

According to Heathrow, a three-runway airport will provide up to 740,000 flights a year, enough for the airport to compete on an equal footing with Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. It would also provide sufficient hub-airport capacity until at least 2040.

Britain pledges to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.