The controversial third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport has been given the go-ahead by the U.K.’s highest court, the Supreme Court. It has overturned a previous ruling by the Court of Appeal which had struck down an earlier approval for the runway on the grounds that the U.K. government had ignored climate change commitments when the runway was approved back in 2018.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the previous Conservative government had “no obligation” to consider the Paris climate agreement when it gave the green light to the extra runway. Climate activist group Greenpeace U.K. has maintained a high profile from when ideas for a third runway were first considered and believes that despite this latest ruling, Heathrow still has to address climate concerns. It is still urging the government to scrap the project.
“Now the ball is in the government’s court, it’s hard to imagine Boris Johnson wanting to resurrect a project that makes no business or environmental sense,” said Greenpeace executive director John Sauven.
Heathrow airport welcomed Wednesday’s ruling, which it felt would now allow Britain to compete with continental rivals following Brexit. “Only by expanding the U.K.’s hub airport can we connect all of Britain to all of the growing markets of the world, helping to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in every nation and region of our country,” it said in a statement. The airport added that it had “already committed” to net zero carbon emissions and that the latest ruling “recognizes the robust planning process that will require… expansion is compliant with the U.K.’s climate change obligations, including the Paris Climate Agreement.”