Councils mount legal challenge against Heathrow expansion

The campaign against a third runway at Heathrow Airport is shifting up a gear after 23 local councils have joined forces to launch a legal challenge against the government decision to approve the expansion.

At the High Court in London, the 2M group - representing the 23 authorities and backed by London Mayor Boris Johnson - is applying for a judicial review of the expansion decision granted in January by Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon.The local authorities will argue that the government failed to conduct a lawful consultation process, and that the decision was irrational in a number of areas including environmental harm, noise pollution and economic irrationality.

If permission is granted it is unlikely that a hearing would take place until the early part of 2010.

Hillingdon Council leader Ray Puddifoot, speaking on behalf of 2M told The Telegraph: “The number of organisations backing this challenge is unprecedented. It shows that just about everyone other than Geoff Hoon thinks the Government has got this wrong.

“For the local authorities the real concern is that the Government has not proved that a third runway can be operated without breaching air pollution limits, making noise worse or creating intolerable congestion on local roads and public transport.”
It is expected that papers will be served today and a full case will follow at some point in the future.

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The action is also being supported by green groups such as Greenpeace, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
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