LONDON (Reuters) – The planned expansion of London’s Heathrow Airport was declared unlawful on environmental grounds by a court on Thursday, a ruling that could sink the $18 billion project that has been dogged by decades of dispute and indecision.
FILE PHOTO: People wait inside Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport as IT problems caused delays in London, Britain August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
In a victory for climate change campaigners, an appeal court judge said that building a third runway at Europe’s busiest airport was “legally fatal” because it did not take into account the government’s commitments on climate change.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been a vociferous opponent of the expansion, which was approved under the previous government. During last year’s election campaign, he said he would have to find some way of honouring an old promise to lie down in front of bulldozers at Heathrow to halt the plans.
The government will not appeal the ruling, which could spell the end of a project that has been discussed in Britain for almost half a century.
However Heathrow Airport, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corp, said it would appeal the decision in the Supreme Court and added the climate change concerns could be addressed.
Heathrow argues that Brexit makes the project critical to ensuring Britain can increase trade with the rest of the world. The planned third runway would be the first full-length runway