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In the News

Heathrow Terminal Three - Government plans declared unlawful

Geoff Riley

28th February 2020

In the clash between growth and green, a Court of Appeal ruling seems to have made a decisive intervention.

Despite intense lobbying from the business community, climate change campaigners are celebrating the decision that the government's decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow to go ahead was unlawful because it failed to take into account the government's own legally binding commitments to the Paris Climate Change Accord.

No doubt there will be years of legal to and frowing and millions more for the lawyers to earn. But the government is now legally required to take into account climate change obligations when setting out infrastructure policy and projects.

Graham Watson's insight:

Yesterday's main story with climate change campaigners winning in the Court of Appeal and blocking the building of Heathrow's Third runway.

This appears to capture a fundamental change in the trade-off between growth and sustainability, with the courts placing the government's commitment to climate change targets above the need for more airport capacity if the economy wants to grow.

It might also be argued that because of the free rider problem there's a worry that other nations might be less stringent in upholding environmental obligations, knowing that the environmental costs won't exclusively fall upon them.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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