A high court challenge against a third runway at Heathrow has failed.

A group of campaigners from local councils including Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead along with Greenpeace UK claimed the decision to expand the airport was unlawful.

They argued the government failed on air quality grounds and consult local communities.

The government confirmed it would back expansion at Heathrow over Gatwick but have opened the debate to consultation for a year.

Lawyers for the Transport Secretary argued the judicial review could not proceed – saying it should not be heard until after the consultation on the National Policy Statement (NPS) on aviation is published either later this year or early next year.

The judge said: “Once the Secretary of State adopts and publishes an NPS the court will have jurisdiction to entertain the challenges the claimants advance.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, added: “The country is now going to waste more time developing a scheme that will never pass a simple legal test on air quality.

“Nothing is going to change between now and 2018 to make this scheme any less polluting so they should face this challenge now or abandon the third runway.”

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