Councillor Andrew Achilleos, an environmental campaigner, has today written in the Havering Daily following the landmark ruling yesterday that has currently stopped the third runway at Heathrow being built.
The decision taken by the courts this week was a triumph not only for our environment but also for common sense. The government can’t declare a climate and environment emergency one year then approve airport expansion the next. It doesn’t add up.
Whilst the aviation industry only produces 2-3% of global CO2 output it accounts for more emissions than entire countries such as Germany! Many arguing for expansion will tell us that airlines are investing in green energy, but the fact of the matter is that biofuel only makes up 0.01% of fuel used in aviation and electric or hybrid planes are 20-40 years away.
I hope the same approach will be taken with City Airport. In 2010 when Eyjafjallajokull erupted in Iceland and air travel was suspended people held business meetings online, supermarkets stocked local alternatives and the Norwegian PM ran the country via an iPad from New York.
This week’s decision makes a bold statement that dealing with the climate crisis must be a national priority.
A Friend of the Earth spokesperson said : “This ruling is an absolutely ground-breaking result for climate justice. We were fighting a project that would have had dire implications for present and future generations.”
Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth said: “The government’s decision to expand Heathrow Airport has been ruled “unlawful” by the Court of Appeal, on climate change grounds, in one of the most important environmental law cases in this country for over a generation. This follows a successful legal challenge by environmental organisation Friends of the Earth, represented by Leigh Day, in a victory for local campaigners who have been battling against the third runway for years.
Mr Rundle added: “We are delighted with The Court of Appeal’s ruling, which goes to show the massive importance of the legal system to check the clear abuse of state power by government, such as in this case.
“Shockingly, this case revealed that the government accepted legal advice that it should not consider the Paris Agreement when giving the third runway the go-ahead. The Court has said very clearly that was illegal.
“This judgment has exciting wider implications for keeping climate change at the heart of all planning decisions. It’s time for developers and public authorities to be held to account when it comes to the climate impact of their damaging developments.”