Airport expansion hopes dealt another blow

Heathrow Airport Limited’s plans for a third runway have been dealt another blow this week following a Government announcement and widespread opposition from the leading London mayoral candidates.

On April 20, the UK Government announced that it will enshrine its target to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 into law. Significantly, for the first time, the Government has included the UK's share of international aviation within this target, further reducing the viability of building a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Statements from the leading candidates for London Mayor have also raised more question marks over expansion.

Speaking to the No 3rd Runway Coalition, current mayor (and Labour candidate) Sadiq Khan said emphasised the “disastrous consequences” expansion would have for the environment.

Liberal Democrat candidate Luisa Porritt said she will “fight it all the way” while Conservative hopeful Shaun Bailey said a third runway was “never the answer”.

Green Candidate Sian Berry emphasised her party’s long-held opposition to the project, saying it had “been at the heart of campaigning against Heathrow expansion for decades”.

In January this year, Heathrow Airport had overcome a significant hurdle in their fight for expansion when the Supreme Court had ruled that the Government had acted lawfully in relation to the Paris Agreement when drawing up the Third Runway National Policy Statement. However, events this week have cast fresh clouds over the

Paul McGuiness, chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: "Heathrow expansion is dead. It is simply not compatible with the UK Government's commitment to do our part in protecting the climate."

"With aviation now having to live within carbon emissions limits, and the Government's position being that there can be no net expansion of UK aviation, the expansion of activity at one airport will need to be offset by the restriction of activity at another."

He added: "I don't think it's likely that anyone, other than Heathrow's foreign based shareholders, will be foolish enough to advocate for a relegation of economic opportunity in the regions, and an abandonment of the government's levelling-up agenda."