Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Heathrow Airport Expansion Legal Challenge

The proposed expansion at London Heathrow Airport could be subject to a legal challenge from opponents to the development of the hub.

A coalition of local councils, environmental groups and local lobby groups are currently consulting lawyers over whether they will be able to launch a judicial review of the government's public consultation into the planned development of Heathrow.

The consultation period - launched at the end of November, following the government's announcement of the proposals to build a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow - is ending at the end of February.

Last week the groups opposed to Heathrow expansion said they want the consultation extended because some local residents have only just received the mailshots containing the consultation, and also because the very wording of the document itself is confusing.

Now, the opponents have followed this up by pursuing the matter through the legal system.

The objectors claim they could launch a legal challenge to the consultation as soon as this week.
Heathrow Airport Protesters Step Up Campaign

John Stewart, chairman of Hacan - a local lobby group opposed to the expansion - said: "We're very close to a decision, we expect an announcement within days. We believe we can win a legal challenge, because the process of consultation appears to have been so weak and so muddled."

The anti-development campaigners are using their claim that the consultation documents are difficult to understand, and the fact that local residents around Heathrow have only just received their copies of the consultation, as the basis of their legal challenge.

The objectors also claim the government have proceeded with the consultation before authorities have worked out the possible implications on flight routings and noise should a third runway be built, and that they have not included "alarming evidence" about the runway's possible impact on air quality.

They are using documents obtained from Justine Greening, a Conservative MP for Putney, which allegedly show that projected emissions of nitrogen dioxide were not included in the consultation.

If the coalition were to win a final review, ministers could have to review and relaunch the consultation.

Source - Airport International's London Reporter

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