Today, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal and ruled in favour of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
I am bitterly disappointed after the hope given by the Court of Appeal’s ruling earlier this year. This is a blow for Putney residents who put up with enough noise and pollution from Heathrow in normal times, and do not want it to be increased. I fundamentally disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision. This is a sad day for Putney and a sad day for climate justice.
I hope that given the impact of COVID on the travel industry, Heathrow will now scrap the expansion plans.
In February this year, I was at the High Court for the judgement that the UK Government had failed to take into account the commitments it made under the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change when assessing Heathrow’s expansion plan. It described the oversight at ‘legally fatal’. I simply do not understand how the Supreme Court has not come to the same view.
The expansion of Heathrow is fundamentally at odds with the Government’s own climate commitments and the Environment Bill that it hopes to pass next year. It surely cannot go ahead with this in the same year as it is holding the COP26 International Environment Conference.
An expanded Heathrow will increase the UK’s carbon emissions by 8-9 megatonnes of CO2 per year and result in an additional 260,000 flights each year – nearly 700 per day. Alongside 46,000 extra car parking places – the biggest carpark in Europe.
For my constituents in Putney these effects are going to be acutely felt. Putney residents will not have any day-time respite at all from aircraft noise on half of all days that planes are operating in a westerly direction, and we would have planes flying overhead almost continually for approximately three days out of four. This will put an unbearable strain on the sleeping patterns and wellbeing of my constituents.
The increased carbon dump is also being deliberately directed over our green spaces – including Putney Heath, and will inevitably worsen air pollution levels in Putney. Putney suffers from some of the highest levels of air pollution in the country, so this is the last thing we need here. It will also almost certainly not comply with legal limits for air pollution.
The campaign continues and I will continue to work with other MPs, local councils, environment groups and residents to oppose the expansion.
As the third runway proceeds to the planning stage, it will continued to be met with unequivocal opposition by me at every stage of the planning process.