green light from the British Supreme Court to the extension project

This huge project is supposed to allow Heathrow airport to eventually accommodate 130 million passengers per year.

The British Supreme Court ruled in favor, Wednesday, December 16, at Heathrow airport by authorizing its controversial third runway project and by contradicting an appeal judgment which had challenged it for environmental reasons.

The highest court in the United Kingdom validates this expansion, even though due to the legal process and the impact of the health crisis, Heathrow has decided to delay the construction of this runway by at least two years, including work was initially scheduled to start in 2022 and last for four years.

The Court of Appeal had nevertheless estimated in February that this project was not sufficiently respectful of the environment and that the previous Conservative government, which approved it in 2018, should have taken more account of the Paris agreement on global warming. She then agreed with environmentalists, borough councils and the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, opposed to the construction of a third track. The court of appeal had contradicted a first judgment of May 2017, which had proved wrong to environmental associations.

But the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the ruling by then-transport minister Chris Grayling was legal and that he did not ” no obligation “ to take into account the Paris agreements.

Read also In the name of the climate, British justice rejects the plan to extend Heathrow airport

A 14 billion pound project

Unlike Heathrow, which had seized the Supreme Court, the government had not appealed to him, while the conservative Boris Johnson has never hidden his opposition to this extension.

This huge project, costing 14 billion pounds (15.5 billion euros) for its first phase, is supposed to allow the airport to eventually accommodate 130 million passengers per year, against 78 million before let the pandemic strike. The project is to be financed by the consortium of investors who own the airport, including sovereign wealth funds from China, Singapore and Qatar.

Heathrow, located west of the British capital and which was one of the world’s main airport hubs before the pandemic, has seen air traffic collapse since the start of the pandemic, and has decided to keep its Terminal 4 closed until the end of 2021.

Faced with the historic crisis experienced by the airline sector and a recovery that could last several years, the airport has launched a savings program and announced a pause in its investment projects.

The World with AFP


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