In February of last year, Labour gave the go ahead for a third runway at Heathrow and committed despite mounting opposition.
On Tuesday, a group of seven London councils, three environmental groups, two local groups and the Mayor of London challenged this decision in the High Court.
Labour’s support for a third runway leaves them increasingly isolated. They ignored key advisers-like the Environment Agency. They reverse engineered figures to get the answers ministers wanted. They pressed ahead despite a chorus of local and national opposition. It was only a matter of time before a serious legal challenge was made on Labour’s flawed decision to support a third runway at Heathrow.
Let me be clear about our position: we would scrap Labour’s plans for a third runway at Heathrow. There should be no room for doubt: a Conservative Government will mean no third runway. We will ensure the right decisions are made to make Heathrow a better-not bigger-airport which is why connectivity with Heathrow is a crucial part of our plans for a high speed rail line. Before we made the decision to block a third runway at Heathrow, we examined the evidence-and the Government’s case simply did not stack up.
After careful consideration of the environmental, social and economic impacts of a third runway, we concluded that the costs of the expansion Labour propose significantly outweigh the supposed benefits. We now have the support of a broad coalition of businesses, community groups, environmentalists, local authorities and mass membership organisations such as the National Trust backing our stance.
It is clear that the 222,000 extra flights at Heathrow which would come with a third runway would blight the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with increased levels of congestion, aircraft noise and pollution, damaging the health and quality of life of local communities and significantly undermining our efforts to meet our national targets on climate change.
According to the Times, a judge is expected to reach a decision by the end of next week. While the outcome of the case is uncertain, one thing remains clear: a Conservative Government will ensure that the third runway does not go ahead.