Suspension and review of airports National Policy Statement

Dale Vince OBE, founder of renewable energy company Ecotricity and The Good Law Project have instructed Hausfeld to write to the Secretary of State for Transport to ask that the government (i) to review the Airports National Policy Statement on new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England (ANPS) pursuant to section 6 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA 2008); and (ii) to suspend all or part of the ANPS pursuant to section 11 of the PA 2008.  

The letter sets out in detail how the conditions for review and suspension under the PA 2008 are being met. Among the reasons quoted are the significant changes in the science and domestic policy on Climate Change since designation of the ANPS in June 2018, which were not envisaged at the time and Covid-19 impacting the likelihood of a need for additional capacity for airports.

For example, the CCC’s June 2020 Progress Report to Parliament entitled “Reducing UK emissions”, recommended that the UK’s airport capacity strategy be reviewed in the light of COVID-19 and also the government’s net-zero target. Further, the CCC has now published its Sixth Carbon Budget report which sets the UK on a path to net zero by 2050 and represents a significant shift in targets, reflecting the updated scientific understanding of the threat of climate change. In particular, it recommends no net expansion of UK airport capacity.

Our clients, along with George Monbiot, were recently successful in persuading the government to review the UK’s Energy National Policy Statements.

Lianne Craig, Head of Commercial Disputes at Hausfeld:

“This is an critical issue on which we are pleased to assist the Good Law Project and Dale Vince OBE. Should the Secretary of State’s position ultimately be that he will not suspend and review the ANPS, our clients will be considering further legal action though they very much hope it will not be necessary.”

Counsel Alex Goodman of Landmark Chambers and Phillippa Kaufmann Q.C. of Matrix Chambers have been instructed.

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