Plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport have been derailed after campaigners won an appeal against the controversial expansion plans.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that plans to expand the London airport did not take climate commitments into account.

Heathrow Airport has announced it will appeal today's decision.

A campaign group, which includes several London councils, environmental charities, politicians and celebrities, brought legal action over the government’s approval of the plans.

The group appealed against a High Court ruling in May, which rejected four separate judicial reviews of the government’s decision to approve the plans.

They argued that the government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) setting out its support for the project failed to properly deal with the impact on air quality, climate change, noise and congestion.

And today, Lords Justice Lindblom, Singh and Haddon-Cave said the government failed to take account of its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change when setting out its support for the airport expansion in its NPS.

In a summary of the ruling, Lord Justice Lindblom told a packed court: “The Paris Agreement ought to have been taken into account by the Secretary of State in the preparation of the NPS and an explanation given as to how it was taken into account, but it was not.”

Heathrow Airport in west London
Heathrow Airport in west London

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who supported the legal action, welcomed the decision.

He said: “We won! Today we blocked the Tory government plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Today’s judgment is a major victory for all Londoners who are passionate about tackling the climate emergency and cleaning up our air.”

A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “The Court of Appeal dismissed all appeals against the Government – including on noise and air quality – apart from one which is eminently fixable.

“We will appeal to the Supreme Court on this one issue and are confident that we will be successful.

“In the meantime, we are ready to work with the Government to fix the issue that the court has raised.

“Heathrow has taken a lead in getting the UK aviation sector to commit to a plan to get to net zero emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Accord.

“Expanding Heathrow, Britain’s biggest port and only hub, is essential to achieving the Prime Minister’s vision of global Britain.

“We will get it done the right way, without jeopardising the planet’s future. Let’s get Heathrow done.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after campaigners won their appeal

Heathrow Airport had said it could open the third runway “between early 2028 and late 2029”.

Prime minister Boris Johnson opposed the expansion of Heathrow Airport when he was London’s mayor and promised to “lie down … in front of those bulldozers” to stop the runway being built.

Earlier this month, he said there was “no immediate prospect” of construction beginning.

Following today's ruling, a spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said: “The Court of Appeal dismissed all appeals against the Government – including on noise and air quality – apart from one which is eminently fixable.

“We will appeal to the Supreme Court on this one issue and are confident that we will be successful.

“In the meantime, we are ready to work with the Government to fix the issue that the court has raised.

“Heathrow has taken a lead in getting the UK aviation sector to commit to a plan to get to net zero emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Accord.

“Expanding Heathrow, Britain’s biggest port and only hub, is essential to achieving the Prime Minister’s vision of global Britain.

“We will get it done the right way, without jeopardising the planet’s future. Let’s get Heathrow done.”

If you are on the go, the M.E.N. app helps bring you closer to the latest news where you live. Available on iPhone and Android , the app can be tailor-made to bring you the latest on what matters to you.

Breaking news, the latest on your football club, the pick of the week’s events and the latest travel - you can tailor the app to suit you.

Our push notifications help highlight the biggest stories to you first. Download it on iPhone and Android here