Who Knew Asphalt Was So Divisive

British Court Blocks Heathrow Runway Expansion

by Alex Hickey

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised almost $130 billion in infrastructure investments around Britain. But there’s one project he’s frostier on than a nice hairbrush: a third runway for London’s Heathrow Airport.

He got good news yesterday. A British court blocked the runway over concerns the airport failed to consider the U.K.’s Paris Agreement commitments and other climate pledges. The $18 billion expansion would’ve made space for 700 more planes a day. More planes = more emissions.

Heathrow tried building the runway a decade ago, but scrapped the plans when local residents protested the accompanying congestion and pollution. Years ago, Johnson pledged to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop the project from breaking ground.

  • The case for: Ferrying 80 million people a year, Heathrow is at capacity. As Johnson dreams of building a global Britain outside the EU, third runway supporters worry that without a Heathrow expansion, traffic (and economic growth) will divert to airports in Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt.

Looking ahead…the court’s decision wasn’t a hard no. Heathrow’s owner wants to address the court’s concerns and appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

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