Government shells out £1m to DLA Piper for Heathrow expansion advice

DLA Piper has received the lion’s share of Government legal spend on plans to build a third runway at Heathrow, raking in £1.09m in fees from the Department of Transport in the 14 months until October 2016.

In total the Government department, led by Chris Grayling, has paid £3.8m to external law firms and consultants since the Airport Commission published a report in the summer of 2015 naming Heathrow Airport as the best option for a new London runway.

The bulk of the cash was paid to financial adviser N M Rothschild & Sons, which filed four invoices totalling £1.46m.

DLA was paid £1.09m for work between August 2015 and October 2016, while Allen & Overy received £152,955 in fees. The invoices were revealed following a freedom of information request.

The third runway was giving the go-ahead by the Government in October after plans to expand Gatwick were rejected. It will be put to a Commons vote at the end of this year, but has faced significant opposition from some MPs including former Richard Park MP Zac Goldsmith, who stepped down over the proposals.

Heathrow Airport general counsel Carol Hui instructed Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) planning and environmental partner Tim Smith to advise on its plan for expansion prior to the commission’s decision. Gatwick Airport legal chief Robert Herga was advised by Landmark Chambers’ Nail King QC, Reuben Taylor QC and Robert Walton.