An appeal seeking a judicial review on the third runway at Heathrow Airport has been delayed by the High Court.
The High Court put off the legal challenge by a coalition of local councils and Greenpeace UK (plus one Hillingdon resident, saying it cannot be heard until after a National Policy Statement (NPS) on aviation has been designated next year.
The expansion of Heathrow Airport, which includes building a controversial third runway, was given the green light in October last year.
Today Heathrow said the new runway will be a "major boost for Britain's economy".
“The government is expected to issue and begin consulting on a draft National Policy Statement shortly, which will be followed by two separate Heathrow consultations providing extensive opportunity to further refine our plans," a spokesperson said.
"Heathrow is committed to ensuring our expansion plans deliver for the economy and meet tough environmental conditions.”
But the coalition of councils, which includes Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth, Windsor and Maidenhead, accused the government of "putting off the inevitable".
"The government has taken a colossal gamble by delaying this legal action for at least a year," said Ravi Govindia, the leader of Wandsworth Council.
"The country is now going to waste more time developing a scheme that will never pass a simple legal test on air quality. Nothing is going to change between now and 2018 to make this scheme any less polluting so they should face this challenge now or abandon the third runway.”
Among those criticising the decision when it was first announced was Sadiq Khan, who warned it will be "devastating for air quality across London".
Govt must set out a meaningful plan to ensure Londoners do not suffer from the additional air & noise pollution from Heathrow expansion. 5/6
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) October 25, 2016