In re Václav Havel Airport Expansion
Jurisdiction: Prague Regional Court
Side A: Three individuals (anonymous) (Individual)
Side B: Central Bohemia Region (Government)
Core objectives: Whether the plan for expansion of Václav Havel Airport in Prague is compatible with the Paris Agreement.
SummaryThree petitioners challenged the Principles of Territorial Development of the Central Bohemia Region (the tool for urban development of the region issued by the local self-governing authority), in relation to the approved expansion of an airport in Prague, specifically the definition of an area for a new parallel runway. On June 24, 2020, the Court granted the motion to annul the principles. The main reason for the annulment was the significant sources of noise and emissions (other than GHG).
In the supplementary submission from April 2020, the petitioners stated that the principles of territorial development also undermine the objectives of the Paris Agreement, as the expansion of the airport would create additional indirect GHG emissions. On June 24, 2020, the Prague Regional Court rejected this supplementary submission on procedural grounds (because extension to other points was not possible at this stage and the original petition mentioned only substances harmful to health such as benzo(a)pyrene) but decided to comment on it.
On the Paris Agreement, the Court stated that the state’s commitment to a gradual reduction of GHG emissions could not be invoked in any activity related to air traffic. All the more so given that the contracting authority of the principles of territorial development is not the state itself, but a local self-governing authority that is not bound by any national law to fulfill the state’s obligation under an international treaty.