Heathrow Hub, an independent proposal for expansion at the airport, has officially filed papers at the High Court in London seeking a judicial review of the government’s decision to approve plans to build a third runway.

A letter from the group’s lawyer, which said Heathrow Hub would seek legal action in regards to the Parliamentary vote, leaked last week after it was seen by Sky News.

Heathrow Hub, which has proposed a ‘cheaper’ and less disruptive option to extend an existing runway rather than building a new one, claims the process by which transport secretary Chris Grayling came to release the final National Policy Statement that backed Heathrow’s plans to build a third runway was “flawed”.

It is requesting a judicial review under Section 13 of the Planning Act 2008 on five grounds, including:

  • Grayling gave Heathrow airport the power to veto Heathrow Hub’s proposal by making it a condition of considering the alternative that the airport would implement the plans if they were chosen. The airport declined to say whether it would do so.
  • Grayling acted “in breach of the Heathrow Hub’s legitimate expectation” that he would not reject the scheme solely based on the airport’s “failure” to give a guarantee that it would implement the extension of the existing northern runway if it should be chosen by the government.
  • Heathrow Hub claims Grayling wrongly made the assumption that a third runway would offer more capacity than its own scheme and that he ignored material evidence provided by the group pointing to the contrary.
  • The group also claims Grayling has failed to give “any adequate and/or intelligible reasons” for saying in the National Policy Statement that a new runway provided more capacity than a runway extension.
  • It says Grayling failed to provide reasons or evidence for his concerns about safety with a runway extension and neglected to bring his concerns to the attention of Heathrow Hub to provide them with an opportunity to respond.

Heathrow Hub is being advised by DAC Beachcroft LLP, Martin Kingston QC and Stnam Choongh of No 5 Chambers, as well as Robert O’Donoghue QC and Emma Mockford of Brick Court Chambers.

This is another in a line of legal challenges since discussions about expanding Heathrow began in the 1940s. It faces a battle on the environmental front after London mayor Sadiq Khan said he would join five councils and Greenpeace in a legal challenge.

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