R v Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte Richmond-upon-Thames London Borough Council

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date29 September 1993
Date29 September 1993
CourtQueen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)

Queen's Bench Division

Before Mr Justice Laws

Secretary of State for Transport, Ex parte Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council and Others

Judicial review - aviation - night flight controls scheme

Night flight proposals unlawful

New rules for controlling night flying which the Secretary of State for Transport planned to introduce at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports were unlawful. They sought to determine the number of permissible flights by reference to a noise-based quota count assigned to each aircraft type, rather than by imposing a ceiling on the number of aircraft movements as required by section 78(3)(b) of the Civil Aviation Act 1982.

Mr Justice Laws so held in the Queen's Bench Division granting an application by Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council, Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough Council, Tandridge District Council, Hillingdon London Borough Council and Slough Borough Council, for judicial review of the decision to introduce the new rules.

His Lordship also observed that Order 53 of the Rules of the Supreme Court should be changed so that a judge hearing an application for leave to seek judicial review could at that stage reject unmeritorious grounds while granting leave on other grounds.

Section 78 of the 1982 Act provides:

"(3) If the secretary of state considers it appropriate, for the purpose of avoiding, limiting or mitigating the effect of noise and vibration connected with the taking off or landing of aircraft at a designated aerodrome, to prohibit aircraft from taking off or landing, or limit the number of occasions on which they may take off or land, at the aerodrome during certain periods, he may by a notice published in the prescribed manner do all or any of the following, that is to say: (a) prohibit aircraft of descriptions specified in the notice from taking off or landing at the aerodrome (otherwise than in an emergency of a description so specified) during periods so specified; (b) specify the maximum number of occasions on which aircraft of descriptions so specified may be permitted to take off or land at the aerodrome (otherwise than as aforesaid) during periods so specified…"

Mr Richard Gordon for the applicants; Mr Ian Burnett for the secretary of state.

MR JUSTICE LAWS said restrictions against night movements by aircraft had been in force at Heathrow since 1962 and a scheme which included Gatwick had been in force since 1988. That scheme was about to expire and the secretary of state...

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17 cases
  • Thomas (Tina Lee) Application
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Northern Ireland)
    • 12 September 2000
    ...a substantive benefit. Laws LJ has tended to espouse the former view eg R v Secretary of State for Transport ex parte Richmond LVC [1994] 1 All ER 577 – while the latter approach has been favoured by Sedley MJ eg R v Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food ex parte Hamble [1995] 2 All E......
  • R v Secretary of State for Transport ex parte Richmond upon Thames LBC (No.4)
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 26 July 1996
    ...was such that if all the new permitted movements were taken up, overall noise levels would increase significantly. Mr Justice Laws (The Times October 12, 1993; [1994] 1 WLR 74) set aside the secretary of state's decision, made later in 1993, because the new restrictions failed to specify th......
  • Treacy (Seamus) and Macdonald's (Barry) Application
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Northern Ireland)
    • 2 May 2000
    ...Review the authors refer to the two competing theories:- "…Laws J in Secretary of State for Transport, ex p. Richmond upon Thames L.B.C. [1994] 1 WLR 74 … felt that, because discretion could not be fettered, and therefore the decision-maker could always change a policy in the light of an ov......
  • R v Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods, ex parte Hamble (Offshore) Fisheries Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division
    • Invalid date
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