Plans for a controversial third runway at Heathrow airport were ruled to be illegal by the court of appeal on Thursday because it would violate the UK’s climate commitments.


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The government has enshrined in law the target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The ruling does not mean future plans could not go ahead, however. It means any proposal will need to be in line with current UK law.

“The consequence of our decision is that the government will now have the opportunity to reconsider the NPS [national policy statement] in accordance with the clear statutory requirements that parliament has imposed,” said the judge Lord Justice Lindblom.

“The Paris Agreement ought to have been taken into account by the Secretary of State. The National Planning Statement was not produced as the law requires.”

Anti-runway campaigners celebrated outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after the ruling was handed down.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted out the news. “Imagine when we all start taking the Paris Agreement into account…,” she commented.