Case starts against Heathrow runway

PROTESTORS against Heathrow’s proposed third runway have launched a legal appeal. A group of 23 local authorities, local residents groups and environmental organsisations are claiming that the government’s decision was irrational and its consultation process was unlawful.

They argue that transport minister Geoff Hoon’s decision to go ahead with a half-capacity runway was directly against the consultation discussion of a fully operational one.

The case is being backed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who is pushing for development of a Thames estuary airport instead. Johnson used to be the member of Parliament for the prosperous Henley-on-Thames, which sits underneath a flightpath for Heathrow.

In addition, there is concern over how BAA’s public relations representative – Roland Rudd – was able to gain direct access to the government for five meetings over 10 days prior to the decision, a degree of access unknown to any other interested parties. The Secretary of State for Business – “Prince of Darkness” Peter Mandelson – is a long-term friend of Rudd and is godfather to his son.

BAA said: “It is entirely appropriate that BAA holds discussions with government, as we do with politicians of all parties, in the interest of Britain’s airports. Government and government alone makes the critical judgments that affect airport growth.”

Lord Mandelson has let it be known that he had “never spoken to Mr Rudd about the third runway” nor had helped set up the meetings.

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