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Heathrow Airport: Plans for third runway plans in tatters after legal defeat

Heathrow Airport's plans to build a third runway have been thrown into turmoil after opponents won a legal appeal against it on environmental grounds.

The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Hillingdon Council and environmental groups.

They argued that Chris Grayling, while transport secretary, ignored factors such as air quality, noise pollution and traffic congestion when he gave the go-ahead in 2018.

The judgment, which was celebrated by campaigners outside the court on Thursday morning, throws Heathrow's expansion plans up in the air as the judge confirmed the government has not sought to appeal the ruling.

Boris Johnson was a vocal critic of the project before he became PM, especially when he was mayor of London, and vowed on several occasion to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop work at the site.

Sky News' business correspondent Paul Kelso said Mr Johnson "may be breathing a sigh of relief", as the decision on whether to go ahead with construction had "been taken out of his hands, at least for now".

The much-delayed expansion plans date back to 2003, when a Labour government White Paper first recommended a third runway was built, but has been mired by political indecision and local opposition ever since.

Alternatives have been sought and cast aside during that time, and Heathrow bosses had hoped to start work on the runway as soon as next year.

Businesses had argued it is crucial to the economy as the airport is already operating at full capacity, leaving the UK at risk of being left behind, and most recent estimates had put completion of the new runway at 2029.

Source: Sky News

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