Expansion rebellion

Using the law to fight a runway and save the planet

By Celeste Hicks

Expansion rebellion
Paperback -
  • Price: £14.99
  • ISBN: 9781526162359
  • Publish Date: May 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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  • Price: £14.99
  • ISBN: 9781526162342
  • Publish Date: May 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: Paperback
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6235-9
    • Pages: 248
    • Price: £14.99
    • Published Date: May 2022


    This is a story of hope in the face of widespread consternation over the global climate crisis. For many people concerned about global warming, the 2018 vote by UK parliamentarians to proceed with the plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport was a devastating blow. Aviation was predicted to make up some 25% of the UK's carbon emissions by 2050 and so the decision seemed to fly in the face of the UK's commitment to be a climate leader.

    Can the UK expand Heathrow airport, bringing in 700 extra planes a day, and still stay within ambitious carbon budgets? One legal case sought to answer this question. Campaigning lawyers argued that plans for a third runway at one of the world's busiest airports would jeopardise the UK's ability to meet its commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. This book traces the dramatic story of how the case was prepared - and why international aviation has for so long avoided meaningful limits on its expansion.


    'The long, bitter battle to stop Heathrow airport growing has changed the way we think about climate change. This legal and social thriller tells the most important story of the age and gives heart to all communities fighting dangerous developments.'
    John Vidal, former Guardian environment editor

    'The climate movement would do well to spend as much time interrogating its successes as well as its failures - something Hicks does brilliantly here. An important contribution to the body of evidence on what works, and why, when it comes to campaigning on the climate crisis.'
    Leo Murray, co-founder and director of innovation at climate charity Possible

    'This is a fascinating and readable book from someone who has closely followed the twists and turns of the legal challenge against expanding Heathrow. Coming at a time when the government is all too keen to rely on technological fixes for the sector's climate responsibilities instead of addressing the demand for flying fuelled by tax breaks on aviation, the book sets out what's at stake and what to expect next in the iconic climate battle of our time.'
    Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth

    'The third runway at Heathrow is one of the toughest tests of the UK's climate commitments. This book unpacks the law, science and politics of the case in a clear and compelling way. Essential reading.'
    Megan Darby, editor of Climate Home News

    'Hicks does an excellent job of setting out why and how aviation found itself so elevated, why it can't be ignored, and the various ways that it can be addressed. What's particularly useful is to see how the totemic Heathrow case, despite being an unresolved story, has already shaped legal challenges to infrastructure in several ways.'
    Jeremy Williams, The Earthbound Report

    'Hicks' blend of legal analysis with first-hand interviews with residents makes for an illuminating and engaging account of the case and the wider difficulties of restricting aviation expansion'
    Christopher Shaw, LSE Review of Books


    1 Building the UK's climate change framework
    2 The story of Heathrow expansion
    3 Paris' day in court
    4 Eminently fixable
    5 Lose the battle, win the war



    Celeste Hicks is a freelance journalist and author. She was the BBC correspondent in Chad for many years and has lived in Chad, Mali, and Somalia.

    Expansion rebellion

    By Celeste Hicks

    Paperback £14.99 / $21.95

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