LONDON- Britain’s Supreme Court will give Heathrow Airport the go-ahead to expand on Wednesday, a lawyer in the case said, a decision that would put the 14 billion pound ($19 billion) plan back on track after years of legal battles and political wrangling.
The plan to build a new runway was declared unlawful on environmental grounds by the Court of Appeal in February, but the country’s top court is set to overturn that earlier decision, said a lawyer involved in the campaign against the airport’s plans.
Heathrow, west of London, is Britain’s biggest airport and prior to the pandemic was the busiest hub in Europe. During the crisis it lost that crown to Paris but it still wants to expand, allowing it to benefit from the post-COVID-19 travel recovery.
The lawyer, Tim Crosland, said in a statement on Tuesday that the top court was due to rule in Heathrow’s favour and that he was acting in “contempt of court” by announcing the verdict before the court had officially handed it down.
“I am breaking the court embargo on Heathrow to protest against the injustice of the verdict, which is a betrayal of the younger generation and those on the frontline of the crisis in the UK and around the world,” Crosland told Reuters. The judge in the ruling in February had said that a failure to take into account the British government’s commitments on climate change was “legally fatal” to the plans.