COURT proceedings begin today challenging the Government’s controversial decision to give the go ahead to a third runway at Heathrow.

A coalition of thirteen organisations is backing the legal challenge. It is made up of local councils, leading green groups and residents’ groups, representing millions of people.

The coalition’s lawyers will be claiming in court that the consultation process was fundamentally flawed and that the decision to expand Heathrow is at odds with the UK’s overall climate change targets. If they win, the Government’s decision to proceed with the runway will be overturned.

Alistair McGowan, who is one of the owners of the 'Airplot' in Sipson, said: "I'm here today because, like the residents of Sipson, I'm enraged about the Government's seemingly unquenchable passion to tarmac over my land - land which I now own with over 65,000 people from around the world. I hope that the ministers who wouldn't listen to already suffering west Londoners, highly respected climate scientists or battling local councils will listen to the courts. I don't want to end up having to fend off BAA with a pitchfork and a large bull."

Speaking on behalf of the local councils leader of Hillingdon Council, Ray Puddifoot said: “We’ve had no choice but to go to court to sort out the mess left behind by a decision that was little more than a quick fix.

"From the moment Geoff Hoon announced his decision to the House it has steadily unravelled. We now have the Government’s lawyers telling us that what the Secretary of State told MPs was not what he really meant.

“So while Hoon was saying that expansion would be limited to a half-used runway because of climate change concerns, the civil servants now say that it is not dependent on reductions in carbon emissions and or so-called greener planes. If it’s only half a runway then that demolishes the economic case. But if the conditions which were meant to limit environmental damage are worthless and we are going to get a full capacity runway anyway, then we have all been duped."