HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc35-6WS
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Alistair Darling)

In October, Kent County Council and Medway Council applied for a judicial review of the Government's decision not to include any options for new runways at Gatwick airport in the consultation on airport capacity. The Government had taken that decision after careful consideration of various factors, including our conclusion that it would be wrong to seek to overturn the legal agreement entered into by West Sussex County Council and BAA (then in government ownership), preventing construction of a further runway at Gatwick before 2019.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Maurice Kay held that the Government were wrong not to have included any options for new runways at Gatwick. However, the Court granted permission for the Government to appeal against this decision. Having considered the matter, I believe it would be wrong to extend the uncertainty that would inevitably result from a lengthy appeal process, and so I have therefore decided to accept the judgment. As a result we will include Gatwick in the consultation. This will regrettably mean that the publication of the White Paper will be delayed.

I will make a further statement setting out how we intend to proceed shortly.