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20 - Mar - 2019

High Court Hears Case against Heathrow Expansion Plans

The hearing of five separate legal challenges against Heathrow expansion plans at the High Court of England and Wales in London ended Tuesday.

The claimants include environmental campaign groups Friends of the Earth, Plan B and Greenpeace, local authorities near Heathrow airport, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and a private citizen. They believe that the government did not take into account climate change, noise and air pollution, and biodiversity impacts brought about by the expansion plans.

The government says building a third runway at Heathrow will increase capacity for up to 132million passengers by 2030, which will boost the economy and create jobs.

At the court hearing, the claimants said the Aviation National Policy Statement (ANPS) does not take into account international developments such as the Paris Agreement that was signed before ANPS approval, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report.

The Paris Agreement deals with greenhouse-gas-emission mitigation, adaptation and finance.  The agreement was made in December 2015 and aims to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees C. Plan B said the agreement is a “lynchpin of government and international policy”.

David Wolfe, attorney for Friends of the Earth said the government should have taken into account emerging discussions and evidence on climate change.

The activists also say the government did not take into account nitrogen oxide emissions and the impact of the emissions to future generations.

Government attorney James Maurici said that the government is not disputing the importance of climate change he however said that the government’s position is that any changes that have to be made on UK’s climate policy must go through the formal process under the Climate Change Act.

He added that the government has followed the right procedure in considering impacts aside from carbon emissions which remains “too uncertain to make any assessment”.

The government is awaiting expert advice from the Climate Change Committee on whether it needs to amend its carbon targets.

The court will rule on the challenges in the next few months.

By Airport Pickups London