A Legal Argument not an Environmental One The High Court backed up its decision by saying that the hearing was only concerned with the legality behind building a third runway and not with its merits or environmental impact. “[The] hearing was only concerned with the legality, and not the merits, of the airport’s national policy statement,” said Lord Justice Hickinbottom, sitting with Mr Justice Holgate, in the ruling. However, had the British government adopted the Paris climate agreement into UK law, it might have been a different story entirely and the expansion may have been successfully challenged. “What I find extraordinary in the judgment is that, on the issues with regard to climate change, the government gets off the hook simply because it has not adopted the Paris agreement into UK law,” said the shadow chancellor, John McDonnel, speaking after the ruling. Although in a free vote in the house of commons last year, it was labour MPs that helped push through the decision to expand Heathrow by a huge majority of 296.

Huge Economic Benefits

Chris Grayling insisted that the expansion of Heathrow which is already Britain’s busiest airport was vital and that it would bring economic benefits to every part of the country. “I now call on all public bodies not to waste any more taxpayers’ money or seek to further delay this vital project, which will benefit every corner of the United Kingdom,” insisted Grayling. But many aviation experts believe the economic benefits are overstated and that many of the extra passengers using Heathrow would in fact be transit passengers who would spend no time in the UK. There is also a concern that Heathrow airport is badly located. It is only 14 miles from central London and as such it is one of the only major cities in the world with aeroplanes constantly landing over it. This is booth potential dangerous and poses an air and noise pollution problem to those people living under the flight path. Various governments have been dithering over increasing airport capacity in the South East of the UK for almost half a century. Under the current plan, the third runway would cost £14 billion and construction is due to begin 2021.]]>

Edward Cowley