Heathrow expansion abandoned by government as Boris Johnson spokesman says it will not appeal court ruling

Ashley Cowburn, Rob Merrick

Heathrow expansion looks doomed after the government announced it would not challenge a devastating court ruling against the controversial project.

The judgement – that the third runway is “unlawful” by failing to take into account the UK’s climate change commitments – now looks likely to give Boris Johnson a convenient exit route from the scheme.

Asked whether the government would appeal the decision, the prime minister’s spokesman replied: “It is not.”

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, is expected to set out the detailed reasons for ministers giving up in interviews later today

However, the saga is not over, because Heathrow Airport announced it would mount an appeal – despite not being a party to the Court of Appeal case.

“We will appeal to the Supreme Court on this one issue and are confident that we will be successful. In the meantime, we are ready to work with the government to fix the issue that the court has raised,” a spokesperson said.

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Rather than expand Heathrow, why not use capacity elsewhere in the UK?