Heathrow will launch a legal appeal to build a third runway, despite the airport’s chief executive admitting it will be “years” before an expansion is required.
John Holland-Kaye stated this that the £14 billion project was likely to be 10 to 15 years away because the coronavirus pandemic means “we’re all in a different world”.
However, the Supreme Court on Thursday granted the airport and the developer Aurora Holdings the right to appeal against February’s ruling which found the project “unlawful”.
On hearing the decision, Heathrow signalled its intention to launch a fresh legal challenge, insisting an expansion will be “required” in the “years to come”.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Responding to the impacts of Covid-19 is our priority right now. We do believe that once the benefits of air travel and connectivity have been restored in years to come, an expanded Heathrow will be required.
“This privately funded project will see billions of pounds pumped into the UK’s economy, stimulating sectors across the country and creating tens of thousands of new jobs.
“To that end, we are pleased to have been granted permission by the Supreme Court to appeal.”
In February the Government’s decision to expand Heathrow Airport was deemed “unlawful” by the Court of Appeal, after a legal challenge was brought by Friends of the Earth.
The ruling found that the project could not go ahead as currently envisaged because it failed to adhere to the Government’s climate commitments.
The environmental campaigners say they will “resist” any attempts from Heathrow to overturn the verdict.
Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth, said: “We’ll resist the appeal brought by Heathrow Airport and the Developer Aurora Holdings, in the Supreme Court.
“Climate change must be front and centre in all planning and infrastructure decisions, and it is irresponsible for them to try and avoid the Court of Appeal’s verdict against them on climate change by this appeal.
“We are pleased that the Supreme Court will now make an authoritative and determinative ruling on these matters and feel confident they will affirm that the Paris Agreement and all the damaging climate impacts in Heathrow expansion must be fully considered.”