The British government should completely rethink its aviation policy and shelve plans to expand Heathrow and Stansted airports, according to its own influential advisory body.

The Sustainable Development Commission, chaired by leading environmentalist Sir Jonathon Porritt, said there were big question marks over the environmental and economic arguments underpinning the proposals for British airport expansion.

The report warned that the unresolved debate over the environmental and economic impacts of aviation was “not in the interest of government, the public, or the aviation industry”. It added: “It undermines government plans for aviation, delays decision-making, and diverts the efforts of government and industry to mitigate the environmental impacts of aviation.”

“A lot of basic data upon which important decisions will be made is heavily contested. Our recommendation is that an independent assessment is undertaken,” said Hugh Raven, a SDC member.

This one looks like it is headed for the courts…