Campaigners lose High Court challenge against government’s approval of third runway at Heathrow Airport.

A High Court challenge against the government’s approval of a third runway at Heathrow Airport has failed.

The coalition of local councils, included Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead, together with Greenpeace UK and a Hillingdon resident.

Those campaigning against the third runway were hoping to have the decision declared unlawful, with the argument that the government had failed to consult local communities or recognise the project’s unlawful impact on air quality.

The Transport Secretary argued that the judicial review could not go ahead until after the consultation on the National Policy Statement (NPS).

The judge said his decision followed from the language of the relevant section of the Planning Act 2008.

“Once the Secretary of State adopts and publishes an NPS the court will have jurisdiction to entertain the challenges the claimants advance. For the present this claim must be struck out,” he said.

The expansion at Heathrow was favoured over Gatwick in October, and was quickly opposed by protesters and legal challenges.

Greenpeace UK executive director, John Sauven, said: “Expanding Heathrow will heap more misery on thousands of Londoners already breathing illegal levels of air pollution and make it impossible for the Government to comply with air quality laws.

“The Government should ditch this project as they have promised to do many times in the past.”

Analysis by the Airports Commission, which investigated the merits of Heathrow’s case, estimated that the airport’s expansion will create up to 180,000 jobs and provide £211Bn in economic benefits and growth across the UK by 2050.