Heathrow Airport expansion ruled illegal by UK court

Passengers queue to check-in for their flights at Heathrow Airport | Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Heathrow Airport expansion ruled illegal by UK court

British government failed to consider climate commitments in planning for third runway, judges conclude.


2/27/20, 11:56 AM CET

Updated 2/27/20, 1:13 PM CET

LONDON — The expansion of London’s Heathrow Airport has been ruled illegal by a U.K. court on the basis that the project did not adequately take into consideration the country’s climate commitments.

Judges at the Court of Appeal of the High Court of England and Wales on Thursday ruled that former Transport Secretary Chris Grayling did not take sufficient account of the U.K.’s climate pledges under the Paris Agreement when considering the plan to build a third runway at Heathrow. The Paris deal requires countries to work to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.

However, the judges declined to overturn the High Court’s dismissal of other challenges on air and noise pollution, traffic and the costs of the runway.

The court said a review of the project should now follow. The remit and the timeline of the review will be decided by the current transport secretary, Grant Shapps.

The U.K. government said on Thursday it would not appeal the decision.

The U.K. parliament gave consent to the private multibillion-pound expansion of the airport in 2018. Heathrow estimates the cost of building the new runway by 2028 would be about £14 billion.

The airport argues the expansion is necessary because of a lack of capacity in the southeast of England,

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