Councils have called on Heathrow to abandon its bid for a third runway, as the UK's busiest airport prepares to appeal a legal decision preventing its expansion.
Plans to expand the airport - which has four terminals and two runways for its 80 million visitors a year - have been on the cards for years.
But in February, the Court of Appeal ruled that the government’s Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS), which supported the expansion, did not comply with the UK’s environmental commitments.
The Court said that the ANPS is legally ineffective unless it is reviewed by the Government.
Though ministers have confirmed they will not be appealing the ruling, Heathrow bosses are due to challenge the decision this October in the Supreme Court.
But ahead of the appeal a group of councils, including Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames and Hammersmith and Fulham, have urged the airport to drop “fantasy runway” plans.
They say efforts should be redirected into achieving zero carbon admissions and reducing noise for flight path residents.
Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
“Covid has changed everything. This is a unique period when we are all rethinking traditional assumptions about how we work, travel and grow our economies.
"Even Heathrow’s chief executive has admitted that a new runway would not be needed for years due to the pandemic. Yet still the airport and its shareholders press on with the process and the prize of a planning permission for a runway that will never be built."
Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, added:
“Given the challenges that the aviation industry faces today it beggars belief that one airport should think its own demand for extra capacity should still be on the table.
“At a time when the sector is benefiting from tax-payer funded support – and indeed seeking further help through cuts in airport passenger duty – the priority should be to rebuild the entire aviation economy and set it on a more sustainable footing.