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Heathrow runway challenge reaches High Court

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A cross-party coalition of council leaders will today challenge the government’s decision to approve the expansion of Heathrow airport at the High Court.

The Leaders of Hillingdon, Wandsworth and Hammersmith & Fulham and Richmond upon Thames LBCs and Windsor & Maidenhead RBC will join the mayor of London Sadiq Khan (Lab) and Greenpeace in calling for the government’s airport national policy statement, which backed a third runway, to be quashed as part of a judicial review.

They will argue transport secretary Chris Grayling failed to publish a report detailing which communities would experience a rise in noise levels when approval was granted, as legally required. Instead, “indicative flightpaths” were provided which they claim are “almost meaningless”.

Richmond upon Thames leader Gareth Roberts (Lib Dem) accused the government of providing misleading information.

He said: “The flightpaths were drawn in such a way that the numbers of people affected were minimised. This meant the health and environmental costs of the north-west runway were understated.”

Hillingdon leader Ray Puddifoot (Con) said the consequences of a new runway would be “devastating” for residents.

He said: “More than 1,000 homes would be lost and 3,750 blighted, with older people and children who suffer from the consequences of air pollution particularly affected.

“Even without further expansion, pollution levels in the area which already exceed statutory levels will not be below legal limits for many years to come.”

The government has previously said it is confident in the decision-making process which led to it backing Heathrow expansion and will “defend it robustly against legal challenge”.

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