Fly-by-night consultation?

January 26, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Posted in 2M Group, 746, Business, Climate change, Consultations, DfT, Emissions, Heathrow, Heathrow airport, Heathrow expansion, Legal, Omissions, Traffic | Leave a comment

Legal threat to Heathrow plan

Marie Woolf

Times Online
January 27, 2008

GOVERNMENT proposals for a third runway at Heathrow airport are facing a possible legal challenge that could jeopardise the multi-billion-pound plan.

Residents living under the flight path, local councils and environmental groups are consulting lawyers.

Greenpeace is also seeking a judicial review.  They believe there are strong grounds for arguing that the Department for Transport (DfT) consultation process is so flawed that it is not valid.

Lawyers are examining evidence that the government may have broken the Cabinet Office code on consultations and omitted alarming evidence about the effect of the runway on climate change and air quality from extra traffic.

In addition, they are examining the decision by BAA, which runs Heathrow, to pour millions of pounds into the Crossrail train link across London.

Documents obtained by Justine Greening, Conservative MP for Putney, show that research into the effects of an extra runway on emissions of nitrogen dioxide, the greenhouse gas, was not included in the final consultation.

The impact on air quality of extra traffic generated by a new runway was also omitted in the consultation document, Adding Capacity at Heathrow airport.

The Cabinet Office code says consultation must be “clear, concise and widely accessible”.  But local people have complained that parts of the document, including maps and tables, are confusing.

The 2M Group campaign, which represents local councils in London, is also consulting lawyers about taking the government to judicial review.

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