'Morally wrong' Heathrow expansion case loses legal challenge

2019-05-02 12:49
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Campaigners fighting British government plans to expand Heathrow Airport lost a challenge in one of the country's highest courts on Wednesday. But campaign groups are resolved to continue their opposition.

They believe the introduction of a third runway at the west London airport would have "negative impacts on noise and air pollution, habitat destruction, transport congestion, and climate change".

AFP report the High Court dismissed the legal challenges against Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

The hearing “was only concerned with the legality, and not the merits, of the Airports National Policy Statement,” judge Gary Hickinbottom, sitting with judge David Holgate, said in the ruling.

Grayling has now called for “public bodies not to waste any more taxpayers’ money” in delaying the “vital” project further.

In a joint statement on behalf of the legal charity Plan B and Extinction Rebellion, an environmental campaign movement that has been holding protests across the capital, Plan B director Tim Crosland said the ruling was “disappointing”.

“But it is increasingly difficult to see how the government’s reckless plans to expand Heathrow Airport can proceed,” he said. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also backed the lawsuit.

The environmental group Greenpeace says "Chris Grayling has won a court case over whether the third runway is legally permissible, but he’s lost the argument over whether it's morally justifiable."  

Plans for the third runway were approved with by the UK parliament as one of "the most important transportation project in a generation". Prime Minister Theresa May has said the expansion will boost economic growth. 

May’s Conservative government argues that the £14 billion ($18.3 billion, 16.3 billion euros) plan will provide a major boost to Britain’s post-Brexit economy and could create up to 114,000 local jobs by 2030.

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