Richmond Council will have to pay a portion of the £625,000 costs resulting from failed legal challenges to Heathrow expansion.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman revealed today that Councils involved in the challenge to the controversial third runway will have to foot the Government's substantial legal bill, after a fourth judicial review failed in the High Court earlier this month.

Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead will also contribute, and the Mayor of London is liable for a sum  of the costs.

Parmjit Dhanda executive director of Back Heathrow, a group lobbying for a third runway, said: “This is embarrassing for local council leaders, who have played fast and loose with tax-payers’ money, when they could have been negotiating how their boroughs would benefit from new jobs and apprenticeships.

"They should now get around the table and engage in the consultation process to help develop a regeneration project for local communities to be proud of, whilst also tackling noise and reducing our carbon footprint.”

The legal case was brought against Transport Secretary Chris Grayling by local authorities and residents in London affected by the expansion, including charities Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and Plan B.

The campaigners claimed the Government's National Policy Statement (NPS) setting out its support for the project failed to properly deal with the impact on air quality, climate change, noise and congestion.

Support from Labour MPs helped push through the proposals to expand Europe's busiest airport with an overwhelming majority of 296 in a Commons vote in June last year.

Richmond Council have hit back at Back Heathrow, who argue a third runway will be good for jobs and business, questioning their funding sources and legitimacy as a grassroots campaign.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “This is another PR stunt from Heathrow Airport! Richmond residents have repeatedly voiced their opposition to any expansion at Heathrow, and our job is to represent their views and challenge this decision by the Government to back a third runway.

“Back Heathrow masquerade as a grassroots campaign group, when in fact it is bankrolled by Heathrow Airport's coffers. And, as they well know, the court has capped our legal costs, which would be shared across all claimants who brought the legal action. This includes a number of organisations, not just the five councils but also the Mayor of London and TfL.

“In the meantime we will continue to do everything we can to highlight the devastating impact that a third runway will have on our communities.

"We have always been open about our opposition. We have always been open about our funding legal action, with all reports in the public domain.

"The same can’t be said for Back Heathrow. I invite them to finally come clean about how they are funded.”