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Environmentalists to continue fight against Heathrow expansion following Supreme Court ruling

CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to continue fighting against plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport after a Supreme Court ruling lifted the ban on the controversial project today.  

The runway was previously blocked by a court of appeal ruling, which found that the government had failed to take account of its own climate commitments when it approved the scheme.

But the Supreme Court found that this was not necessary as the decision was reached at a time when the previous climate targets were less stringent. 

The ruling means that Heathrow’s owners can seek planning permission.

Environmental and local campaigners have described the ruling as “disappointing,” but argue that the runway plans are “far from certain.”

Friends of the Earth head of legal Will Rundle said: “This judgment is no ‘green light’ for expansion. It makes clear that full climate considerations remain to be addressed and resolved at the planning stage. 

“Heathrow expansion remains very far from certain and we now look forward to stopping the third runway in the planning arena.”

The government has been recently warned by its own advisers against net airport expansion.

Its climate committee suggested that for Heathrow to expand, regional airports would have to contract. 

The final decision would also have to be approved by the government. 

Residents’ group Stop Heathrow Expansion chair Richard Fremantle urged ministers today to rule out the plans, describing them as a “massive retrograde step for our environment ahead of the UK hosting the COP26 summit next year.”

Residents who face losing their homes if the runway is built said that they were “devastated.”

Eilish Stone, who has lived in villages near Heathrow for 50 years, said: “I stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street in 2003 having delivered a petition to save my home and community and have given the best years of my life to fighting to save such a wonderful area. 

“It is high time I am allowed to live my life in peace in my home and not constantly under threat of demolition.”

A Heathrow spokesman said that the ruling was the “right decision for the country.”

He said: “Only by expanding the UK’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.”

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