Transport minister rejects possibility of total rethink as government told to increase focus on environment

The government has been ordered to rethink its plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

The ruling, made today in the High Court by Lord Justice Carnwath, means the government will have to revisit the idea focusing particularly on the environment.

Justice Carnwath said new evidence of climate change, which emerged in 2008 – five years after the policy decision was made, would have to be taken into account.

Transport secretary Lord Adonis welcomed the decision but said the plans would not be taken back to the drawing board.

He added: “The airport is currently operating at full capacity. A new runway at Heathrow will help secure jobs and underpin economic growth as we come out of recession.”

A further court hearing is scheduled for April.