Top UK court overturns block on Heathrow's third runway

(The Guardian, 16 Dec 2020) Earlier ruling said expansion plan was illegal as government had not considered its climate commitments.

The supreme court has overturned a February judgment that a third runway at Heathrow airport was illegal. It means the project can now seek planning permission, but the ultimate completion of the runway remains uncertain.

The supreme court ruling marks the latest twist in years of legal and political wrangling over the climate impact and economic benefits of expanding the airport. The decision in February was seen as historic by environmental campaigners, as it was the first significant ruling in the world to be based on the Paris climate agreement, and related cases were subsequently brought against plans to build more roads and gas-fired power plants in the UK.

The court of appeal had found the government’s approval of the runway was illegal because ministers had failed to take into account the UK’s commitments under the 2015 Paris climate accord, which requires keeping global temperature rise as close to 1.5C as possible. But following arguments by Heathrow’s lawyers, the supreme court found this was not necessary and overturned the judgment.

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The Guardian, 16 Dec 2020: Top UK court overturns block on Heathrow's third runway