Richmond Council has spent tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees to oppose plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

Pro-expansion group Back Heathrow used a Freedom of Information request to discover that between August 2016 and August 2017 Richmond Council spent £56,000, excluding VAT, on lawyers.

Richmond Council's total expenditure for the year was estimated at 393,767,200, according to its budget book.

Back Heathrow's executive director Parmjit Dhanda described the expenditure as a 'waste', saying 'local taxpayers will be furious that their money is being squandered on expensive lawyers to challenge a government decision that will create 77,000 new local jobs and 5,000 new much-needed apprenticeships'.

The council has hit back and said the use of taxpayers’ money was a democratic decision made after consultation with the borough’s residents.

Council leader, councillor Paul Hodgins, said: “In 2013 this Council carried out a referendum where 60,000 residents had their say and the overwhelming majority were against expansion.

“Since then, we have been very public with our opposition to any expansion of Heathrow.

“In July last year, this Council reaffirmed its opposition, committing funds to oppose the decision in the Courts.

The Council claims that a Heathrow expansion would add intolerable noise, pollution, and traffic and those who would have their quality of life most impacted are on the edge of the flight paths now.

It said a second runway at Gatwick could be delivered faster, at less taxpayer cost, create more competition, and cause a fraction of the impact on quality of life.

Councillor Paul Hodgins added: "Until Heathrow is off the table we have a responsibility to continue to push the Government and indeed all MPs to see sense.”