Campaigners win court challenge to block Heathrow expansion

Campaigners have won a court ruling to block the plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport on environmental grounds

LONDON —
Campaigners have won a court ruling to block the controversial plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport on environmental grounds.

Thursday’s ruling by Britain’s Court of Appeal could stall the 14 billion-pound ($18 billion) plan to expand Heathrow Airport amid concerns about climate change, pollution and noise.

Heathrow Airport said it will appeal to the Supreme Court and says it is “confident that we will be successful.”

The case pits local governments and environmentalists against Heathrow, which plans to build a third runway to meet increasing demand for air travel.

Parliament approved the plan in 2018, triggering a challenge from environmental groups who say the project conflicts with Britain’s commitments to fight global warming. Local residents also complain about noise, pollution and increased congestion.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has long been an opponent of the expansion, and the ruling opens the possibility that he will use the decision as reason to reconsider the matter, and perhaps try to kill it. A spokesman for Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that Heathrow must still meet high environmental standards and demonstrate a “realistic” business case for the project.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, another longtime opponent of the project, described the decision as a victory for future generations.

“The government must now finally see sense and abandon plans for a third runway at Heathrow,” Khan said. “We really are facing a climate emergency and it’s about time the government started taking action to address this.”