The former Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has been given a pivotal role in helping four councils who are battling the proposed Heathrow Airport expansion in the courts.
Mr Goldsmith, who recently lost his Richmond Park constituency, has been given a new role as a spokesman and organiser for the four-council coalition.
Richmond Council announced the high-profile appointment on Wednesday (January 18) and Mr Goldsmith said he is “honoured” to support the campaign.
Backed by environmental campaign group Greenpeace and a Harlington resident, the councils have made a legal submissions to the High Court calling for the government's decision to expand Heathrow to be overturned.
Richmond, Wandsworth, Hillingdon and Windsor and Maidenhead councils are all involved in the legal challenge.
Mr Goldsmith, who was the Conservative candidate in the 2016 London mayoral election, said: “The arguments against Heathrow expansion are overwhelming, but alone they aren't going to win this campaign.
“That's why the legal action launched by the four heroic councils is so crucial.
“I am honoured to have been asked to support their campaign, and will do all I can to ensure we win.
“I am confident we will.”
The authorities are seeking a judicial review and hope the third runway expansion will be abandoned because of “unlawful air quality impacts, the consultation was fundamentally flawed”, and because of the government's promise not to build a third runway.
Ministers backed the expansion of Heathrow Airport to include a third runway at the end of October 2016, which sparked a warning from the group of councils that they would take legal action if the decision was not reversed.
Heathrow Airport has said it is confident the challenge will not stop the expansion.
The leader of Richmond Council, Lord Nicholas True, said: “It is absolutely right that we should commit our resources to fighting the expansion of Heathrow and it is our duty to the residents of this borough who voted no to a third runway.
“We have always been opposed to a third runway at Heathrow.
"We say no and we have always been united against this threat.
“We have launched legal action on a decision that is so flawed. This is the beginning of the fight.
“Everyone knows Heathrow fears Zac Goldsmith most of all.
“All of us must make our voices heard. I welcome the role of Zac Goldsmith – a great campaigner for green causes.”
Lord True said that Mr Goldsmith was approached by Hillingdon Council, supported by the other authorities in the group.
But the appointment of Mr Goldsmith has been dismissed by campaign group Back Heathrow, who criticised the councils for using tax payers money to oppose the third runway.
A Back Heathrow spokesman said: “There is huge support for Heathrow expansion in local communities around the airport.
“Zac Goldsmith has already rolled the dice and discovered that he does not even have a majority to oppose expansion in his own former constituency.
“He now joins four councils intent on wasting taxpayers' cash on legal challenges instead of supporting the many residents that back the jobs and prosperity that Heathrow expansion will bring.”
Back Heathrow released figures in December last year which revealed that Hillingdon Council had spent £154,219 on campaigning against the airport's expansion between January 2015 and August 2016.
This included £50,000 to fund anti-expansion group HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) and £45,800 for Stop Heathrow Expansion.
However, Back Heathrow refused to reveal how much money they received from Heathrow Airport when asked by getwestlondon .
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area