A legal bid to block the prospect of a third runway at Heathrow has been thrown out – for now.
An alliance of councils and Greenpeace UK were seeking clearance for a judicial review of the government’s support for the expansion which was announced in October.
The group, which included Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, claimed there was a failure to consult before it abandoned a previous promise that a third runway would never be built.
It also argued that ministers failed to recognise unlawful air quality impacts.
But Lord Justice Cranston struck out the case, on the basis that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the claim, Sky News reported.
Lawyers for the transport secretary Chris Grayling had argued a judicial review could not proceed in law as the case could not be heard until after the consultation on the National Policy Statement (NPS) on aviation is published – expected later this year.
The judge said: “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.”
But the councils involved in the case accused the government of “putting off the inevitable”.
“The government has taken a colossal gamble by delaying this legal action for at least a year,” said Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth council in London.
“The country is now going to waste more time developing a scheme that will never pass a simple legal test on air quality.
“Nothing is going to change between now and 2018 to make this scheme any less polluting so they should face this challenge now or abandon the third runway.”
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