London mayor in court to stop Heathrow airport expansion

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and other local leaders and environmentalists argue that a third runway can be built only by demolishing thousands of homes and making life noisier and unhealthier for millions in London and neighbouring areas.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and other local leaders and environmentalists argue that a third runway can be built only by demolishing thousands of homes and making life noisier and unhealthier for millions in London and neighbouring areas.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - London Mayor Sadiq Khan, along with environmentalists Greenpeace and local councils, heads to court on Monday (March 11) to try and prevent a British government expansion of the capital's Heathrow Airport, Europe's busiest.

"Lawyers representing a coalition of local authorities opposed to Heathrow expansion will make the case in the High Court on Monday that the government's Airport National Policy Statement... should be quashed," according to a joint statement.

Mr Khan, Greenpeace and five councils, including four in the capital close to Heathrow, will argue that a third runway can be built only "by demolishing thousands of homes and making life noisier and unhealthier for millions of people living in London" and neighbouring areas.

Mr John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said in the statement: "Governments are very happy to talk the talk when it comes to protecting the air we breathe and the climate we all share, but unfortunately, getting them to walk the walk often takes legal action."

Four of the councils heading to court comprise Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Richmond upon Thames - all in west London.

They are joined by the council for nearby Windsor and Maidenhead - an area that is home to royal residence Windsor Castle and the prestigious Eton College, and Prime Minister Theresa May's MP seat in Parliament.

British lawmakers in June overwhelmingly approved long-delayed plans to build a third runway at Heathrow in west London after decades of acrimonious debate over its potential impact.

 

Mrs May's Conservative government argues that the £14 billion (S$24.7 billion) plan will provide a major boost to Britain's post-Brexit economy and could create up to 114,000 local jobs by 2030.