The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has signalled his support for a potential legal challenge of the Government’s decision by a group of local authorities.
The Mayor has directed Transport for London to provide advice and assistance to affected borough councils, including Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead, as they prepare for a joint legal challenge with Greenpeace against a third runway at Heathrow.
It is likely that TfL will be named in this action as an interested party. As and when that is the case, the Mayor says he will take a decision on joining the legal challenge.
The Mayor is “completely at odds” with the Government’s decision to back expansion at Heathrow as the best solution to the UK’s aviation capacity crisis. He cites “the significant environmental impact” of a third runway.
The Mayor frames his opposition in terms of aircraft noise and levels of toxins in the air – things that pro-expansion campaigners would argue will change significantly for the better through improved technologies and airspace management before the new runway would open. Indeed Heathrow maintain, and the Government believes, that a third runway could open without breaching current air quality limits.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I promised I wouldn’t just stand-by and see hundreds of thousands suffer from the additional noise and air pollution that a third runway would cause. These decisions show that I’m ready to help ensure that this misery isn’t inflicted on Londoners.
“That’s why I’ve directed TfL to provide their expert advice and assistance to support Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead Councils, and Greenpeace as they prepare for a joint legal challenge, and why I will be ready for us to play an active role in the action if required.”
Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said: “The Mayor’s commitment is very good news and will significantly strengthen our legal arguments. Transport for London’s resources and technical expertise will be hugely helpful to developing our case and exposing the deeply flawed logic supporting Heathrow expansion.”