In another twist to the long-running legal battle over Heathrow expansion in the time of climate crisis, the Government has today (6 September 2021) written to the climate charity, Plan B and others, indicating that the expansion of Heathrow Airport remains under review and that Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, will reconsider whether to conduct a statutory review once the Government’s “Jet Zero Strategy” has been finalised.

Responding to Plan B’s request that the Government review the Airports National Policy Statement (“ANPS”) under section 6 of the Planning Act, in light of a) Parliament’s declaration of a climate and environmental emergency on 1 May 2019; and b) the Government’s net zero target, introduced in June 2019, the letter from the Department of Transport states that these matters:

“represent a significant and unforeseen change in circumstances that was not anticipated at the time of designation of the ANPS.”

Tim Crosland, Director Plan B, said:

“The fact that the Department of Transport has written to us in these terms is a good indication the battle over Heathrow expansion (and airport expansion more generally) is far from over. It’s almost impossible to believe after the northern summer we’ve just had, and the devastating impacts of heatwaves, floods and wildfire that have claimed so many lives, that the Government will continue to betray its people and the international community by pouring petrol on the flames.

Press release

Government letter to Plan B