Speaking after today’s ruling by the Court of Appeal in London in favour of campaigners challenging the legality of the UK government’s decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow Airport, Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said:
“The Lord Justices have made it clear that their judgment didn’t mean that there could never be a third runway at Heathrow, but that the government now has the opportunity to reconsider, in accordance with the clear statutory requirements that parliament has imposed.
“The owners of Heathrow Airport have made it clear that whilst it will appeal to the Supreme Court on the one issue that was not dismissed – the Airports National Policy Statement, which approved the project in its current form – it is ready to work with the Government to fix the issue that the court has raised.
“The government has announced it will not appeal today’s judgement. On behalf of BIFA member companies, which are keen for the greater number of flights and accompanying airfreight capacity that would result from a new runway, BIFA urges the government to revise the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) and work with Heathrow to solve the legal issues.
“In 2018, when the government gave approval for the 3rd runway, I said it would be nice to think that decision is a further nail in the coffin of procrastination over the expansion of UK aviation capacity, and another important step towards bringing fifty years of indecision and delay on expanding Heathrow to a welcome close.
“However, I also expressed a sense of foreboding that the likelihood of further legal challenges to an extra runway still left me questioning whether the spades will ever hit the ground. That sense of foreboding remains.
“A feeling that I suspect is shared by many of BIFA’s 1,500 member companies, which are dismayed over the ongoing delay on such a huge issue.”
For several years, the trade association that represents UK freight forwarding and logistics businesses has welcomed plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport, and criticised the years of argument and delay.