Plan B Earth, a charity with the mission to realize the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, has filed a climate change lawsuit against the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling in regards to the expansion of Heathrow International Airport. Claimants allege that the Secretary’s national policy statement supporting the expansion of Heathrow Airport violated Section 10 of the Planning Act 2008 (“the 2008 Act”).
Claimants argue that since the 2008 Act requires the Secretary to pursue the objective of sustainable development and consider the desirability of mitigating and adapting to climate change, it further gives rise to implicit obligations to consider the advice of the Committee on Climate Change (“the CCC”), the government’s obligations under the Paris Agreement and commitment to review its national climate change targets in light of the Paris Agreement. Claimants maintain that the Secretary violated these implicit obligations by supporting the airport expansion without adequate consideration of the insufficiency of the current UK 2050 climate target (“2050 Target”), the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement, the CCC’s recommendations to review the 2050 Target, and government’s recent agreement to review the 2050 Target. Accordingly, they assert the Secretary’s actions were both ultra vires and irrational.
Plaintiffs additionally allege violations of Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. Claimants seek declaratory relief, specifically a declaration that the Secretary of State acted unlawfully in violation of section 5 of the 2008 Act.
A full trial is scheduled for March 11, 2019.