Councils tell government to review Heathrow expansion following climate change developments. | Local authorities opposed to Heathrow expansion say that changes in Government policy on climate change mean the case for a third runway should be reviewed urgently.

The national policy statement (ANPS) which included support for expansion at the airport was designated in June 2018 - at a time when the UK was committed to an 80 per cent reduction in emissions (by 2050).

In June this year following the advice of the Climate Change Committee (CCC) the Government amended the commitment to 100 per cent – the strengthening was based on ‘significant developments in climate change knowledge’.

Now campaigners say the same logic should be applied to the ANPS. Under planning legislation a national policy statement must be reviewed if there has been a ‘significant change in any circumstances on the basis of which any of the policy set out in the statement was decided.’

In September this year the CCC told the Government that the planning assumption for aviation should be to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It added that measures should be put in place that ‘limit growth in demand to at most 25 per cent above current levels by 2050.’

The CCC concluded that ‘current planned additional airport capacity in London, including the third runway at Heathrow, is likely to leave at most very limited room for growth at non-London airports.’

The councils which comprise of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith & Fulham and Windsor and Maidenhead have now formally written to the Secretary of State under section 6 of the Planning Act 2008 calling for the 2018 ANPS to be reviewed in the light of the significant changes since then.

They say the ANPS should be reviewed to see whether expansion can be delivered consistently with new policy on climate change – and whether it can be delivered fairly across the UK.

Cllr Andrew Johnson, Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, said:

“The effect on transport throughout the London area of three major airports adding tens of thousands of extra flights has not been taken into account. This is a significant area of change from 2018 and one which the Secretary of State must review.

“Expansion at three airports in the London area which all rely on the M25 will have far-reaching consequences. The increased pressure on rail and road networks in the capital will have major impacts on people’s ability to get to work and lead to worsening air quality. None of these cumulative effects have been assessed.”

The councils say that Heathrow expansion is never going to happen. The obstacles in its way including noise, air quality and now climate change, are insurmountable.