High court judge to hear Heathrow case later this year

Posted by jamie — 7 August 2009 at 12:12pm - Comments

After this week's high speed rail blinder, there's more good news on the road towards halting airport expansion. In the lofty legal realms of the High Court, a decision has been made to give the case against a third runway at Heathrow a public hearing. The case is being brought by an unprecedented coalition of groups, including Greenpeace, local councils, CPRE, HACAN, NoTRAG and WWF.

Given the public interest element, the court ruled that the case will be heard in open court. This is significant as it will, in turn, put the government's shaky justification under intense scrutiny. The judge also said that the statement given by the then-transport minister Geoff Hoon when he announced the decision needs clarification.

When he gave the third runway the all-clear in January, Hoon made grand claims about reducing aviation emissions to 2005 levels by 2050 (so that even with runway number three, there would be a net CO2 reduction back to 2005 levels). Given that the UK is obliged to reduce CO2 output by 80 per cent in the same time frame, that's not very much.

Estimates show that a third runway will add another 8m tonnes of CO2 to Heathrow emissions, but no one in Whitehall seems to know how that positive figure will magically turn into a minus. So the DfT is now saying the 2005 by 2050 target is nothing to do with making the decision over Heathrow, and Hoon was just talking about government policy in general.

Which begs the question, what on earth was Hoon blathering on about when he made his statement? Was it just an attempt to throw a tint of greenwash over the whole dirty decision? With the number of porkies that seem to be flying around, I'm surprised there hasn't been a block ministerial booking for a programme of extreme rhinoplasty.

The court date hasn't been set yet, but we'll let you know the outcome as and when it happens.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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