Heathrow Airport expansion plans come to a halt
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
For almost a decade, the discussion about the expansion of Heathrow Airport has been on-going and a regular debate amongst politicians, climate activists and Londoners and locals in the surrounding area. After MPs had voted to go ahead with the creation of a third runway and Boris Johnson spoke in favour of the expansion project, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that the expansion plans were in fact ‘illegal’.
Plans to expand the airport with a third runway would have brought 260.000 additional flights, this would add 700 flights to the daily traffic of Europe’s largest airport by passenger volume.
Why would expansion of Heathrow Airport be illegal?
According to the court, an expansion at Heathrow Airport would, in fact, be illegal because it would disregard the government’s plan to reduce CO2 emissions and its bid to make the UK greener under the Paris agreement. The treaty was signed by all United Nation members in order to reach the goal of cutting carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
The government would have the opportunity to appeal the court’s decision, however, it has already stated that it was not interested in doing so.
Climate activists celebrate their victory
Members of environmental activist groups, such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, who had been following the project closely for more than a decade welcomed and celebrated their victory. Nonetheless, a Green Peace member also warned not to declare victory too soon. Although the government may not be planning to appeal the court’s decision, the airport owner Heathrow Airport Holdings may still do so.
MPs against Heathrow Airport expansion plans
Green MP, Caroline Lucas, stated that a third runway would mean more noise and pollution and that it “makes a mockery” of the government’s zero-emissions plan.
Significantly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had once said to campaigners: “I will lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway” during his time as London’s mayor.
Support and criticism towards the expansion plans
Those in favour of the construction of a third runway argue that if this does not happen for Heathrow, another European airport will do so instead. Arguments were made claiming that Amsterdam Schiphol, Frankfurt Airport or Paris Charles de Gaulle could expand and make huge profits. Furthermore, the defenders of the extension added to their argument that because of the certainty that a different European airport will expand, the goal of zero CO2 emission has already been compromised.
Popular airlines that arrive or depart from Heathrow Airport:
These are the airlines that fly to or from Heathrow the most:
Flight at Heathrow delayed or cancelled? You might be entitled to compensation
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