London Mayor Sadiq Khan is backing legal action to stop a third runway from being built at Heathrow Airport.
The Mayor has told Transport for London (TfL) to help four London councils who have launched legal action, along with the campaign group Greenpeace, in a bid to prevent the airport from expanding.
Labour politician Mr Khan believes that another runway would lead to “devastating environmental consequences” for the capital.
He said: “I promised I wouldn’t just stand-by and see hundreds of thousands suffer from the additional noise and air pollution that a third runway would cause.
“These decisions show that I’m ready to help ensure that this misery isn’t inflicted on Londoners. I will be ready for us to play an active role in the action if required.”
Four Conservative councils in the capital – Richmond, Wandsworth, Hillingdon and Windsor – have all indicated that they will be launching legal action. Meanwhile, Greenpeace said earlier it would join forces with the quartet of councils if the Government approved Heathrow plans.
The Mayor’s backing was welcomed by Wandsworth Council who said that his support would “significantly strengthen” the councils’ legal arguments.
He added: “TfL’s resources and technical expertise will be hugely helpful to developing our case and exposing the deeply flawed logic supporting Heathrow expansion.”
Campaigners say that a third runway will lead to even higher levels of toxic emissions in an already polluted London.
According to estimates, a third runway would affect 200,000 local residents, including more than 40,000 pupils at 124 schools.
Former Richmond Park and north Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith, who resigned from his position in protest at the decision to expand Heathrow said it was “very good news” that Mr Khan had announced his involvement.
He added: “We need this campaign to be as cross-party as possible, and this helps enormously.”
The Department for Transport, meanwhile said that a new runway would lead to an economic boost for the British economy which could be worth as much as £61 billion. It would also lead to 77,000 new jobs over the next 14 years, including in construction.
While Gatwick Airport has hit out at the expansion, saying it is not the right solution for Britain, Heathrow says a new runway will mean it can offer more direct flights which will be beneficial to both business and tourism.