A group of local authorities has formally notified the Secretary of State for Transport that it intends to seek judicial review of the government's decision to give policy support in the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) for a third Heathrow runway.
The council group – which includes Hammersmith & Fulham Council, along with The Mayor of London and Greenpeace – are challenging the government on the grounds of air quality, climate change, strategic environmental assessment including failing properly to deal with the noise consequences and surface access impacts.
On air quality they say, among other things, that the government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality.
On surface access the councils' concerns include that the NPS fails to recognise the scale of the challenge to accommodate additional traffic movements without unacceptable effects on the transport network and unacceptable effects from traffic pollution.
“We have given the government numerous opportunities to address our concerns and answer our questions and they have demonstrably failed to do so,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
“The government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality, despite having already lost recent legal challenges on this issue. The evidence of unacceptable damage to the environment and the health and wellbeing of many thousands of people is untenable in both law and common sense.”
The government must now respond to the councils’ formal letter before action. If the Transport Secretary does not agree to a quashing of the NPS, then the local authorities will bring judicial review proceedings.
The local authority group also includes Hillingdon Council, Wandsworth Council, Richmond Council, and Windsor and Maidenhead Council.
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