Lord Justice Carnwath of the High Court has ruled that if the UK Government decides to push ahead with the runway project it must now review the climate change implications of Heathrow expansion, the economic case for a third runway, and the issue of how additional passengers would get to a bigger airport. Government claims that the aviation policy was in some way divorced from requirements of the 2008 Climate Change Act were described as 'untenable in law and common sense'. On the economic case for Heathrow expansion the judge said that he would be 'surprised' if the recent tripling of the estimated cost to society of emitting carbon did not have 'a significant effect' on the economic case for the runway. The judge also said that "it makes no sense to treat the economic case as settled in 2003". "We are delighted with today's judgement," said David Nussbaum, CEO of WWF-UK. "It deals a body blow to the third runway, but more than that it makes it clear that the Government's whole policy of airport expansion must be reviewed in order to bring it into line with the Climate Change Act. "Today's landmark ruling has implications that could resonate far wider than the aviation sector. For a judge to tell the Government that it cannot build huge pieces of carbon-intensive infrastructure without considering the long-term consequences is a resounding win in the fight to tackle climate change. "It is also a further indication of the need for the UK to make a swift transition to a low carbon economy. WWF would now urge the Government to focus on green investment, encouraging alternative ways of connecting with people wherever possible, such as high speed rail and videoconferencing, rather than relying on carbon-heavy methods such as flying." The court was hearing a case brought by six local authorities in West London, a local residents group (NoTRAG) and the national campaigning group against airport expansion HACAN. WWF-UK, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Greenpeace were also claimants.


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