Expansion rebellion

Using the law to fight a runway and save the planet

Author: Celeste Hicks

Can the UK expand Heathrow Airport, bringing in an extra 700 planes a day, and still stay within ambitious carbon budgets? One legal case sought to answer this question. Campaigning lawyers argued that plans for a third runway at one of the world’s busiest airports would jeopardise the UK’s ability to meet its commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The judicial review was the first time the ambitious 1.5°C temperature limit had been tested in court. In February 2020 the campaigners won at the Court of Appeal, but in December that year the Supreme Court threw out that judgment. This book traces the dramatic story of how the case was prepared at a time that the UK sought to project itself as a climate leader. An analysis of its legal significance as the UK strives for Net Zero, the book asks why international aviation has for so long avoided meaningful restrictions on its greenhouse gas emissions.

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