Plans for a third runway at London Heathrow Airport have been torn up by the UK High Court because not enough consideration was given to impacts on climate change.
Greenpeace and 65,000 others have been working on plans to physically obstruct the expansion of London Heathrow Airport if the UK government tries to move forward on this idea. But it looks like they can throw those plans in the trash and send the foot-soldiers home. A High Court judge, Lord Justice Carnwath, has ruled that the government's idea to build a third runway needs to be re-examined taking environmental concerns into consideration more.
In particular, the government needs to take a closer look at the climate change implications of building this runway, the judge ruled.
Justice Carnwath did not mince any words either, saying that the Government's claims that it had adequately reviewed all environmental issues and that aviation policy was divorced from the the 2008 Climate Change Act were "untenable in law and common sense."
He said that the government's whole aviation policy should probably be revisited in the face of climate change and the 2008 Climate Change Act, which has set legally binding targets for the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.
The judge added that the UK Government should be more economically cautious as well, pointing out that the economic cost of emitting carbon had tripled recently and he would be surprised if that didn't make the expansion economically risky as well.
Ruling 'deals blow' to Heathrow expansion
Environmental activist organizations like Greenpeace and WWF were thrilled with the ruling.
"The third runway was already on life support, but with this ruling it's hard to even find a pulse," Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said. "This shows that David Cameron and Nick Clegg backed the right horse when they pledged to scrap the third runway, and it makes any Conservative U-turn after the election all but politically impossible."
WWF officials also expressed enthusiastic support for the High Court decision. David Nussbaum, CEO of WWF-UK pointed to the importance of the 2008 Climate Change Act. "It deals a body blow to the third runway," said Nusbaum.
But Nusbaum said that even more important than that, the decision 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."