Heathrow third runway

Is the expansion of Heathrow Airport justified?

H&F Council Leader, Stephen Cowan and fellow No Third Runway campaigners

H&F Council's Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan, addresses fellow campaigners outside the Royal Courts of Justice on 27 February ahead of the ruling

On Thursday 27 February, H&F Council along with fellow campaigners won their legal appeal against the government’s decision to endorse expansion at Heathrow Airport with the third runway.

“This is a landmark result for not just for our borough, but for London, the UK and the planet,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

He continued: “Fighting alongside neighbouring boroughs, Greenpeace and The Mayor of London, we’ve managed to halt what would have been the biggest single act of environmental vandalism for a generation. And in doing so, we’ve helped protect the health of millions of Londoners.

"The Prime Minister now needs to abandon the plan as he said he would, and that would leave the legacy of a cleaner world for the borough’s young people.

“We declared a climate emergency and this result keeps us on track for our target of being net carbon zero by 2030.”

View our High Court Appeal win (27 February) Flickr photo gallery

Letter to the government requesting review of the Airports National Poilcy Statement (pdf 4MB)

Here’s how we’ve been fighting

16 December 2020 - Supreme Court to deliver opinion on Heathrow Airport appeal

February 2020 - We win the legal appeal against the government’s decision.

October 2019 - High Court appeal proceedings.

July 2019 - We win permission to launch a legal appeal to challenge plans to expand Heathrow airport.

May 2019 - The High Court throws out our joint legal challenge, but we will continue to fight the expansion plans.

March 2019 - We joined the Mayor of London, Greenpeace and neighbouring boroughs to launch a legal challenge into the government’s decision to back a third runway in the High Court.

June 2018 - Commission Chair Christina Smyth spoke on how despite the government’s backing, the fight was not yet over, the new runway was ‘undeliverable’ and that the fight would go on.

January 2015 - The commission’s final report was sent to the government’s Airports Commission. Its conclusion was that the harm would outweigh any benefits to borough residents.

2014 - We supported an independent resident-led commission - called the H&F Commission on Airport Expansion (HFCAE) - which was tasked with investigating the potential effects of an extra runway.

View the HFCAE report online

Our consultation response

We also responded to the government’s consultation, raising concerns over the fear of further blight on residents’ lives.

The consultation was submitted to the Airports Commission in February 2015.

Long-term impact

Health, noise and environmental campaigners warn the impact on the surrounding area could pose long-term risks for residents living near the airport and under the flight paths.

Over 750,000 people are currently impacted by the noise created by Heathrow Airport. This would increase to over 950,000 people if a third runway was added.

76 million passengers pass through Heathrow every year. This would increase to around 140 million people with a third runway.

There are 475,000 aircraft movements a year. This would increase to at least 740,000 with a third runway.

“We’ve made our stance very clear; a third runway at Heathrow would mean more noise for residents already suffering noise disturbance, more pressure on our roads and an unacceptable increase in air pollution,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of H&F Council.

H&F has bolstered its campaign against a third runway by joining a legal challenge with four other councils neighbouring the airport:

  • Richmond
  • Wandsworth
  • Hillingdon
  • Windsor and Maidenhead.

Details of the legal challenge will be discussed between the five councils over the summer.

Recent press coverage

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