Anti-aircraft noise campaigners fear that if the current judgment is overturned this would remove any protection for local residents from night flights even before Heathrow's new fifth terminal is built.
The ECHR found in October that by putting economic arguments ahead of environmental and quality of life concerns the UK government had violated the European Convention on Human Rights. The court also found that the government had not properly investigated the effects of night flights on sleep prevention, nor whether they were essential in the economic interests of the country.
The night flights test case had been brought to Strasbourg by eight west London residents. They were backed by Wandsworth which helped to raise more than£50,000 towards their legal costs from other councils in London and the south east.
All-party support was received from Wandsworth, Richmond, Windsor, Tandridge, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Reigate and Banstead, Lambeth, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing, Kingston, Southwark, Surrey and the Mayor of London.
(The legal battle over night flights that could affect airports across Europe is unlikely to be resolved until next year, according to the Financial Times .)