Heathrow expansion ban lifted

The Supreme Court has lifted a ban on the Heathrow Airport third runway scheme, meaning the project team could seek planning permission for the megaproject.

The ban was issued by the Court of Appeal in February, when judges ruled that the plans had been unlawfully approved by government. They said that Chris Grayling, who approved the scheme as transport secretary in 2018, failed to take into account the UK’s carbon commitments as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

However the Supreme Court today ruled that Grayling did take the Paris Agreement into account and ensured that its obligations were included in the framework for the airport expansion. Judges at the UK’s highest court said that the framework, known as the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS), was structured carefully to ensure that when the project was put forward for development consent, it was compatible with the requirements of the Paris Agreement that were up to date at the time.

The ruling added that future applications for development consent for the scheme will be assessed against emissions targets and environmental policies at the time, rather than any original targets that may now be outdated.