Opponents of a third runway at Heathrow will gather at the Hig Court in London on Thursday as a legal challenge against the proposed expansion of the airport continues.

A cross-party group of politicians will join campaigners and residents outside the court, with the government’s new target of net zero emission by 2050 a key element of the judicial review.

The Court of Appeal will be hearing the challenges from local councils, the mayor of London and Greenpeace as well as Friends of the Earth, Plan B Earth and alternative runway extension scheme Heathrow Hub.

A previous challenge was dismissed by the High Court in May on a technicality as the government had not incorporated the Paris Agreement into law.


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However, the Climate Change Act (2008) has now been amended to incorporate a target of Net Zero by 2050, which places a more pressing demand upon government to limit the expansion of carbon intensive infrastructure, protestors claim.

The Committee on Climate Change has also recently advised the government that aviation will become the biggest source of carbon in the UK by 2050 and that expansion at Heathrow leaves little room for growth at any other airport.

In a direct blow to aviation industry claims of technological solutions to aviation’s carbon problem, the CCC stated that zero-carbon aviation is highly unlikely to be feasible by 2050.

Paul McGuinness, chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “If the unavoidable increases in noise pollution and poorer air quality were not enough, the recent inclusion of a net zero carbon target in the Climate Change Act has tightened the noose around Heathrow expansion even further.

“The Committee on Climate Change has highlighted that demand for aviation must be limited and that a third runway at Heathrow would inevitably mean restrictions on capacity at other airports across the UK.

“It’s now vital for government to pause plans for Heathrow expansion, to re-assess airport capacity strategy for the whole country.”