Councils formally notified the Secretary of State for Transport that they intend to seek judicial review of the government’s decision to support a third Heathrow runway.

The local authorities are challenging the Government on the grounds of air quality, climate change, strategic environmental assessment including failing properly to deal with the noise consequences and surface access impacts.

On air quality they say, amongst other things, that the Government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality.

Councillor Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “The Government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality despite having been taken to court and lost many times. Its decision in favour of the third runway should therefore be quashed.”

Councillor Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, added: “The councils have shown extraordinary patience. We have given the Government numerous opportunities to address our concerns and answer our questions. All the evidence shows that a new Heathrow runway will be bad for the environment in our boroughs and bad for the health of our residents.”

The Government must now respond to the councils’ formal letter before action. The local authority group comprises of the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Windsor and Maidenhead Council, and Hammersmith and Fulham.

The group has also been joined by the Mayor of London and Greenpeace.