Heathrow's Supreme Court showstopper

12 May 2015

“Supreme Court ruling means air quality could be the showstopper for Heathrow expansion” - Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO

“The importance of air quality to the airport expansion debate is now clear to all following today’s ruling by the Supreme Court”, Stewart Wingate said today. 

“Today's ruling by the Supreme Court is one of the most significant developments in the runway debate since the Davies Commission was set up. It means that the issue of air quality cannot be ignored with the Government now required to prepare a new air quality plan to meet EU air quality regulations. The Court has today made it clear that any dispute as to whether the new plan complies with the requirement to remedy the exceedances as soon as possible should come before it speedily.

“This may now be a showstopper for Heathrow expansion as the next Government battles to meet EU air quality standards. Heathrow currently breaches legal air quality limits so it defies common sense to pretend that a third runway with more car journeys around West London is consistent with the obligation to keep exceedances as short as possible. It will obviously make things worse.  If Heathrow were serious about mitigation they would be doing things today to address the problem rather than promising action in the future. Gatwick has never breached air quality limits and has guaranteed that it never will. We can say this with confidence because of our location.  

“The choice is becoming increasingly clear.  Expansion at Heathrow is environmentally toxic and as a result will never happen.  Expansion at Gatwick brings the economic benefit we need at an environmental cost the country can afford. Gatwick may not be everyone's choice but what all supporters of expansion can unite around is that something needs to happen. After today it is increasingly clear that can only mean Gatwick.”

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