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  1. ITV Report

'The project is now dead': Reaction as Heathrow third runway is ruled unlawful

Campaigners have won a Court of Appeal ruling over controversial plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport on environmental grounds.

  • Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon Council

Hillingdon Council has been fighting against Heathrow expansion for the past 20 years and was part of a coalition that defeated the Labour government's expansion plan 10 years ago and I am delighted that the Court of Appeal has today ruled that the Airports National Policy Statement designated by the Government in June 2018 is unlawful. Our residents have had to live for far too long with the possibility of homes and communities being destroyed and the detrimental consequences to their health and the environment caused by the proposed expansion. The current Government has a firm commitment to dealing positively with climate change issues and to equalising economic growth across the country and given that Heathrow expansion would damage both, I am pleased that the Government has decided not to appeal the court's decision. Hopefully the Government will, in the near future, announce that Heathrow expansion is off the agenda once and for all.

– Ray Puddifoot, Hillingdon Council
  • John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor

There's no way we can tackle climate change and allow Heathrow expansion to go ahead. I think that project is now dead.

– John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor
  • Nadine Houghton, national officer of the GMB union

Heathrow expansion is a complicated issue, but we have consistently backed it because the benefits more than outweigh any risks. Expansion would protect the existing 80,000 jobs, create a further 114,000 as well as 10,000 apprenticeships. Like everyone else, GMB members are very worried about climate change, but we would have held Heathrow Airport Ltd's feet to the fire on their target for zero carbon by the mid-2030s. The Government must now come up with a proper aviation strategy for the UK - and unions must be front and centre in those discussions.

– Nadine Houghton, national officer of the GMB union
  • Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Today’s landmark Heathrow judgment is a victory for Londoners and future generations.

We face a climate emergency and I’m delighted that the Court of Appeal has recognised that the Government cannot ignore its climate change responsibilities.

A new runway at Heathrow would have serious consequences on climate change, on air quality, on noise pollution, on road and rail networks and on the quality of life in our city. The government must now finally see sense and abandon plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

We really are facing a climate emergency and it’s about time the government started taking action to address this. I will continue to stand up for London by doing everything I can to stop a new runway at Heathrow airport.

– Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
  • Paul McGuinness, chairs the No 3rd Runway Coalition

Clearly the courts have found an irredeemably large hole in the Government's Airports National Policy Statement which will now have to be withdrawn. But this only scratches the surface. The errors of assessment behind the policy are perforated with mistakes on noise, air quality and several other major issues. And with both the Committee on Climate Change and economists suggesting that Heathrow expansion would have been an assault on the regions, the project is no longer politically acceptable either.

– Paul McGuinness, chairs the No 3rd Runway Coalition
  • John Stewart, chair of anti-expansion group Hacan

This ruling has killed off the third runway for good. Although it invites the Government to review its policy, I suspect that the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson doesn't want to review the policy and will use this as a way of killing off the third runway. A lot of Hacan members are very happy today because the noise over their heads will not be any worse.

– John Stewart, chair of anti-expansion group Hacan
  • Tanya Steele, chief executive of the WWF

This is a victory for the climate and for future generations who will have to live with the impacts of environmentally catastrophic infrastructure projects. No plan for net zero emissions, either from the UK Government or from Heathrow itself, can be credible if it includes a third runway.

– Tanya Steele, chief executive of the WWF
  • Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK

Today's decision is extremely disappointing.

The Sir Howard Davies Airports Commission spent several years looking at airport capacity in the South East and was clear Heathrow is the only game in town, with other schemes being considered and ultimately rejected.

The economic prize is enormous if expansion is done right, with airlines ready to respond to the unlocking of new capacity by creating new routes and helping to connect the UK to new markets and destinations, and Heathrow to regions across the country. UK aviation has committed to net zero carbon by 2050 and this factors in the emissions created by Heathrow expansion. It is not a question of being pro-aviation or pro-environment.

– Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK
  • Gareth Roberts, leader of Richmond Council

This judgment is nothing short of a victory. It leaves the Government's airports policy in tatters. It surely must be the final nail in the coffin for Heathrow's attempts to steamroll over local and national opposition to their disastrous third runway plans. The expansion of Heathrow would be catastrophe for our climate and environment and for the thousands of Londoners who would be forced to live with the huge disruption it will cause. If the Government wants to pursue its plans for Heathrow expansion, it must now go back and revisit its own airports policy. Rather than the Government attempting to battle on, I hope that they will now take a minute and realise that the only way forward is for them to focus their efforts into developing a sustainable transport policy that puts the health of residents and the environment front and centre of a proposal.

– Gareth Roberts, leader of Richmond Council
  • Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth

This ruling is an absolutely ground-breaking result for climate justice.

We were fighting a project that would have had dire implications for present and future generations.

We are delighted with the Court of Appeal's ruling, which goes to show the massive importance of the legal system to check the clear abuse of state power by Government, such as in this case.

Shockingly, this case revealed that the Government accepted legal advice that it should not consider the Paris Agreement when giving the third runway the go-ahead. The court has said very clearly that was illegal.

This judgment has exciting wider implications for keeping climate change at the heart of all planning decisions.

It's time for developers and public authorities to be held to account when it comes to the climate impact of their damaging developments.

– Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth
  • Cait Hewitt, Aviation Environment Federation deputy director

This is a huge win for the climate, and leaves Heathrow's third runway plans in tatters. In presenting plans for a third runway to MPs, the Government failed, the court has found, to assess whether this was compatible with the Paris Agreement.

The project would increase emissions at the UK's biggest airport, and the UK has since legislated to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, so it's very hard to see how the Government could now ever demonstrate that a third runway could be reconciled with the necessary scale of climate action.

This ruling should mark the end of plans for any new runways in the UK. The Government should stand up to the airports lobby, drop its support for airport expansion, and invest instead in low-carbon transport and supporting British tourism.

– Cait Hewitt, Aviation Environment Federation deputy director
  • John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK

The court has decided that the Airports National Policy Statement is fatally undermined by ignoring climate commitments, but we still need the Government to permanently ground Heathrow's expansion plans. The third runway is already on its knees over costs, noise, air pollution, habitat loss and lack of access, and now Heathrow Ltd has yet another impossibly high hurdle to clear. No amount of spin from Heathrow's PR machine can obscure the carbon logic of a new runway. Their plans would pollute as much as a small country.

Boris Johnson should now put Heathrow out of its misery and cancel the third runway once and for all. No ifs, no buts, no lies, no U-turns.

– John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK