Future of third runway at Heathrow hangs in the balance as Boris Johnson urged to ditch it and level up regions instead


THE FUTURE of the third runway at Heathrow hangs in the balance today – as Boris Johnson being urged to ditch it and spend the money levelling up the regions instead.

Judges are set to rule on four legal challenges this morning which could block the expansion of the hub airport – and the Prime Minister has threatened to pull his support.

 The future of Heathrow is up in the air today as a crunch court ruling could scupper plans for a third runway

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The future of Heathrow is up in the air today as a crunch court ruling could scupper plans for a third runwayCredit: PA:Press Association

The Times revealed ahead of the hearing today that Boris is unlikely to appeal to the Supreme Court if the £14billion third runway is blocked over environmental concerns – leaving the expansion project in tatters.

A group of councils in London, environmental charities including Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and Plan B, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, brought legal action over the Government’s approval of the plans.

They accused ministers of failing to take into account climate change targets and the environmental impact of building a huge new runway.

Boris has long been anti-Heathrow expansion and once promised to “lie down in front of the bulldozers”.

As Foreign Secretary he was abroad on a foreign trip during the controversial vote to approve the third runway, which would impact on his Uxbridge constituency.

Under the plans a new runway would be set up northwest of the airport, with 950 acres of land being claimed and hundreds of homes demolished.

The PM’s official spokesman yesterday lashed out at Heathrow, and warned it must do more to convince the Government of its plans.

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Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “Parliament has voted in principle to support a third runway at Heathrow, but it is a private sector project.

“In order to proceed Heathrow must demonstrate it can meet its air quality and noise obligations, that the project can be financed and built and that the business case is realistic.”

And this morning ex-Tory minister Theresa De Villiers urged Boris to pull the plug on the project.

She said: “I think a new runway at Gatwick would have far less of an environmental impact.

“So yes, I hope the government will think again about Heathrow expansion. I don’t think it is the right way to address capacity needs in the aviation sector.”

 The M25 would be realigned under a tunnel, rivers diverted and local roads rerouted within the next decade as part of the first phase of expansion of London Heathrow

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The M25 would be realigned under a tunnel, rivers diverted and local roads rerouted within the next decade as part of the first phase of expansion of London HeathrowCredit: PA:Press Association
 Heathrow Airport wants to build a third runway

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Heathrow Airport wants to build a third runway

What will today’s court case mean for the third Heathrow runway?

  • If the case is thrown out, it’s likely the third runway at Heathrow will go ahead and be built
  • If the appeal succeeds, then ministers would have to restart the process of making the case again to build it
  • Judges could agree that not enough consultation on environmental issues has been done, leaving it to the Government to argue it would not impact on legal emissions targets and hurt the planet
  • It may go up to the Supreme Court for a final ruling
  • However, Boris Johnson may drop his opposition to the appeal – and argue they have scuppered the plans he has long been against anyway
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The boss of Heathrow John Holland-Kaye warned that if the expansion does not happen, that will drive traffic to fast-growing Paris-Charles De Gaulle airport which will then turn into the UK’s main hub.

He said: “There’s no global Britain without Heathrow expansion — it’s as simple as that. If we don’t expand our only hub airport, then we’re going to be flying through Paris to get to global markets.”

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Heathrow’s expansion was first improved by MPs in 2018, with then PM Theresa May enjoying a rare win.
The Government had a 296 majority with MPs voting 415 to 119 to give the go ahead for the expansion plan.

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