The proposed construction of a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport will face a fresh legal challenge, with opposition groups claiming the consultation process was “fundamentally flawed”.
A coalition of local councils, residents and environmental groups presented their case to the High Court in London this morning, arguing government’s approval of the scheme was at odds with environmental targets.
Then transport secretary Geoff Hoon approved the expansion plans in January 2009.
The Conservative party has maintained its opposition to the project, suggesting a highspeed rail link across Britain as an alternative. However, business groups insist the development is essential to ensure economic growth.
Opposition groups include six local authorities, Greenpeace, residents of the village of Sipson – which will be destroyed if plans are implemented - and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
Speaking to the Associated Press on behalf of the councils, Hillingdon Council leader Ray Puddifoot explained: “We’ve had no choice but to go to court to sort out the mess left behind by a decision that was little more than a quick fix.
“From the moment Geoff Hoon announced his decision to the House it has steadily unravelled.”
Campaigners will also argue there is no evidence to support government claims there is sufficient public transport in place to support the proposed expansion.
In response to the latest legal challenge a Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Department stands fully behind the decisions on Heathrow announced last year and will be defending them robustly in court.”
A judge is expected to deliver a ruling on the legality of the proposed expansion by the end of next week.