What does the Supreme Court judgement on Heathrow’s runway plans mean for the campaign to stop the 3rd runway?
A briefing note from the No 3rd Runway Coalition on what comes next, after the Supreme Court judgement (16th December) sets out some key issues. The Coalition says the judgement does NOT give Heathrow the green light; it us simply one hurdle cleared. Expansion faces: 1. Legal challenges. Plan B Earth intends to take proceedings to the European Court of Human Rights, on the danger to future generations from climate change. 2. Government can commit to reviewing the ANPS under Section 6 of the Planning Act 2008. This can refer to all or part of the statement. The Act enables the Secretary of State to consider any significant change in any circumstances on the basis of which any policy in the statement was decided. It can be argued that the Net Zero commitments, noise, air pollution, assessment of health impacts, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economics provide legitimate reasons for review. The ANPS could be withdrawn. 3. Though Heathrow can now proceed to submit an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate, this has to consider current climate obligations, including the UK’s net zero by 2050 target. And Heathrow has been seriously damaged financially by Covid. See the full briefing note. .Tweet WHAT DOES TODAY’S RULING MEAN FOR THE CAMPAIGN TO STOP HEATHROW EXPANSION? Briefing by the No 3rd Runway Coalition, December 2020 Heathrow Campaign – Next steps On 16th December 2020, the Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeal ruling which means that the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) is legal once again. The Supreme Court’s verdict does not mean Heathrow expansion now has the green light. It’s simply one hurdle cleared. Expansion faces the following further hurdles. . Legal avenues Plan B Earth have announced they will launch proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the basis that Chris Grayling’s reliance on the dangerous and discredited 2˚C temperature limit is inconsistent with the right to life, protected by Article 2 of the Convention. ECtHR has nothing to do with EU or Brexit. It was set up by Churchill and others post WWII. . Government – Airports National Policy Statement The onus is now on the Government to rule out Heathrow expansion, as continuing to allow it to happen would be committing a massive retrograde step for our environment ahead of the UK’s hosting of the COP26 summit in Glasgow next year. Government can commit to reviewing the ANPS under Section 6 of the Planning Act 2008. This can refer to all or part of the statement. The Act enables the Secretary of State to consider any significant change in any circumstances on the basis of which any policy in the statement was decided. It can be argued that the Net Zero commitments and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic provide legitimate reasons for review. Further, the economic, noise, air pollution and health assessments undertaken as part of the ANPS are now very out of date and require reassessing. For example, the ANPS assessed economic benefits of the scheme as being based on the third runway being constructed and opening in 2028. It suggested any delay would eliminate the economic benefits of the scheme. Once a review is complete the Secretary of State can withdraw the statement, amend the statement or leave it unchanged. . Climate change agenda The Climate Change Committee advised that there should be no net expansion of airports. This means that if a 3rd runway goes ahead that there will need to be operational restrictions at regional airports and potentially closure of