Supreme Court officially gives Heathrow Airport the go-ahead to expand

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Today, the Supreme Court has officially given Heathrow Airport the go-ahead to expand.


The decision overturns February’s Court of Judgment ruling which said that Heathrow expansion was unlawful. The Court had rejected expansion on the grounds that Chris Grayling, the then Secretary of State for Transport, had not assessed the project against the 1.5˚C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.

The Supreme Court ruled that Grayling did in fact act lawfully and as required in relation to the Paris Agreement when drawing up the Third Runway National Policy Statement.

The Court's decision was widely expected after yesterday Tim Crosland, a Lawyer from Plan B, broke a court embargo to release the news early in an act of "civil disobedience".


Following the judgement, Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth which brought the legal challenge, emphasised the Supreme Court's ruling is by no means the end of the legal battle.


With ever stronger climate policy commitments that Heathrow must meet, it remains unlikely it will ever get planning permission for the third runway. Friends of the Earth will fight it all the way.”


John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, emphasised the need for Government action, calling on the Prime Minster Boris Johnson to act to halt expansion:


"It is now down to Boris Johnson to fulfil his promise to oppose a 3rd runway if he’s to have any credibility as a local MP or as a Prime Minister seeking to tackle climate change. Whether in the courts, in Parliament or in demos or occupations I will continue to fight against it".


A Heathrow Airport spokesman said today’s ruling is “the right result for the country which will allow global Britain to become a reality”.


Only by expanding the UK’s hub airport can we connect all of Britain to all of the growing markets of the world, helping to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in every nation and region of our country".