Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ministers 'To Contest Night-Flight Ruling'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ministers 'To Contest Night-Flight Ruling'

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK SAWER

THE Government is preparing to appeal against a European court ruling on night flights at Heathrow which could cost taxpayers up to [pound]2 billion in compensation for people living around the airport.

Treasury ministers are understood to be strongly in favour of breaching the convention that European court rulings on human rights should remain unchallenged because of the potential cost.

A confidential letter from Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott obtained by today's Financial Times shows Andrew Smith, chief secretary to the Treasury, would "strongly support" an appeal.

Mr Smith believes the judgment has "significant cost implications", according to Mr Prescott's letter to Transport Secretary Stephen Byers. Last October's ruling that the human rights of residents living around Heathrow had been violated by the handful of night flights at the airport could result in up to 500,000 people being compensated for lost sleep. …

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