Heathrow expansion ruled unlawful by Court of Appeal

On Thursday 27th February, the government’s Airports National Policy Statement, which set out the government’s justification for a third runway at Heathrow, was ruled illegal by the Court of Appeal for its failure to comply with the Paris Agreement. This renders Heathrow’s planned expansion illegal. This is the first major ruling in the world to be based on the Paris Climate Agreement, and sets a precedent for legal challenges to high-carbon projects across the world. EHID congratulates the many committed activists who have made this happen; may this victory give us all courage and energy for the fight going forward.

What does this ruling mean for EHID?

If the third runway does not go ahead, then in theory there will be no need for the new detention centre that we have been campaigning against. However, we are staying active and watchful for the following reasons:

  1. While the government confirmed that they would not challenge the ruling, Heathrow Airport Limited intend to appeal the decision in the High Court. Should they be successful, we must be ready to act.
  2. Hundreds of people are detained already in Colnbrook and Harmondsworth in the shadow of Heathrow, as well as inside a further seven detention centres across the country. These people are living in inhumane conditions right now, and continue to so regardless of the ruling. We will continue to act in solidarity with them – as well as resisting the plans to build a new centre, our campaign demands the closure of the existing centres too.
  3. 5 out of 9 detention centres in the UK are located near airports, because detention, border control and deportation go hand in hand. For as long as airports can be the site of free movement for some, and forced stillness (detention) or forced movement (deportation) for others, simply because of where they were born, EHID’s fight is ongoing.

We proceeded to hold a local public meeting the day after the announcement, to raise awareness of plans to build a detention centre on local Green Belt land, and make connections with residents, activists and councillors in the area. Watch this space for updates on the campaign and where it will go next.

You can read a report of the meeting here [link to article].