Embargoed until 00:01 on 4 October 2018

Plan B supporting climate change charge against Heathrow expansion

Today, 4 October, a broad range of parties, including the Charity Plan B, are set to find out whether their legal challenges to the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow Airport proceed to a full trial – with the impact on climate change a prominent ground of claim.

Plan B argues that Chris Grayling, the Transport Minister, has failed to give proper consideration to the impact Heathrow expansion would have on the Government’s ability to meet targets for avoiding catastrophic climate change. Grounds of claim brought by others include noise and air pollution.

Tim Crosland, Director of Plan B, states:

“This Government seems to believe that tackling the climate crisis means sticking to ‘business as usual’ with a sprinkling of ‘greenwash’ promises that improved future technology will come to the rescue. That’s fantasy politics and it’s grossly irresponsible. If we want to safeguard the climate stability on which we all depend, we need less emissions, not more; and we need a Government committed to investing in the cleanest forms of transport, not the most polluting kind. The broad coalition of devolved government and civil society lining up against the Government is proof that this is not a political issue, it’s a coalition for the future of life on earth – one that everyone can get behind.”

There will be a ‘solidarity event’ outside the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, starting at 9am, with speakers including Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, and Caroline Russell, London Assembly Member.


Notes to editors:

  • While a number of other parties are bringing similar claims, Plan B can not speak for those parties in this press release.
  • The Court hearing is likely to start at either 10:00 or 10:30hrs. It is a ‘permission and directions’ hearing, which will determine which claims if any, proceed to a full trial, and assuming there is a full trial, the necessary procedural steps.
  • The Court has already indicated that it is likely to order a full hearing for March 2019 in which case the focus on 4 October will be the practical directions for such a hearing
  • On 26 June 2018, Chris Grayling, the Transport Minister, designated plans to expand Heathrow Airport as a National Policy Statement under the Planning Act 2008.
  • The Planning Act 2008, s. 10 requires the Secretary of State to exercise his functions under the Act “with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development”, with specific reference to Climate Change.
  • Plan B’s legal challenge to UK Government’s failure to amend its climate change targets to align to science and international law is currently before the Court of Appeal.
  • On 14 June 2018, Lord Deben and Baroness Brown, the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Committee on Climate Change (the CCC), wrote to Chris Grayling in the following terms to say: “Dear Secretary of State, The UK has a legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Change Act. The Government has also committed, through the Paris Agreement, to limit the rise in global temperature to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. We were surprised that your statement to the House of Commons on the National Policy Statement on 5 June 20181 made no mention of either of these commitments. It is essential that aviation’s place in the overall strategy for UK emissions reduction is considered and planned fully by your Department …”. The letter in full is published here: https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CCC-letter-to-DfT-on-Airports-National-Policy-Statement.pdf 

For more information, contact

Tim Crosland 07795 316164 [email protected];

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