On 13 March 2009, the application to quash the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to grant planning permission for the expansion of London’s Stansted airport was refused. The planning permission provides for the annual throughput of passengers at the airport to increase from 25 million to 35 million per annum and the number of air traffic movements to increase to a figure not exceeding 264,000.
The claimants, members of campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion, appealed against the decision to grant permission on a number of grounds including that the Secretaries of State had failed to take proper account of the environmental impact and economic effects such as the resultant noise pollution, the balance of trade deficit and the greenhouse gas emissions. In refusing the application, the Court held that the Secretaries of State had not misapplied the transport policy and had in fact taken account of all of the material considerations.
Whilst the decision is not controversial in terms of the application of legal principles, it has received considerable press attention in the United Kingdom because of the proposals for expansion at London’s Heathrow Airport.