The five legal challenges against the government’s decision to allow expansion at Heathrow airport will proceed to a full judicial review after a pre-trial hearing.
Five separate groups requested the review based on a number of concerns, namely the environmental impact of a third runway.
The High Court undertook a pre-trial hearing on Thursday to understand the concerns raised the claimants, with environmental groups organising a “solidarity” event outside the court.
Justice Holgate has confirmed that all five cases will proceed to a full judicial review, which is due to take place over ten days in March 2019.
The No 3rd Runway Coalition said hearings will be overseen by two judges and will take place in the largest courtroom at the Royal Courts of Justice due to “the size of the cases, amount of paperwork involved and the public interest in the case”.
The claimants have all expressed concerns over how the government’s National Policy Statement – which only included the possibility of expansion at Heathrow through a third runway – came to be supported by the Department for Transport and Parliament.
One of the claimants, Heathrow Hub Limited, had proposed an alternative scheme that involved extending the existing north-west runway of the airport. It claims this option would have been cheaper and better for the local environment.
John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, said: “The third runway project is increasingly recognised as a non-runner. The government needs to listen this time and time again and stop wasting taxpayers’ money in another failing Grayling project.
“A government that prevents Heathrow going ahead will send a message that we are serious about climate change, serious about creating a zero-carbon economy and the development of our transport network will not be concentrated in one part of the country.”
Paul McGuinness, chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, added: “These legal challenges are of the government’s own making. It is not insignificant that the judge has permitted all five claimants to proceed to judicial review. In addition to the claim from several councils and the London mayor, the four other claims raise some serious points of law.
“If the government had not ignored available evidence in their blinkered enthusiasm to expand this already highly disruptive airport, Parliament would not have supported the proposal, and these actions would not have been necessary.”