The councils are challenging the government on the grounds of air quality, climate change, strategic environmental assessment including failing properly to deal with the noise consequences and surface access impacts.
On air quality they say, among other things, that the government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality.
On surface access the councils say, among other things, that the NPS fails to recognise the scale of the challenge to accommodate additional trips without unacceptable effects on the transport network and unacceptable effects from traffic pollution.
The litigants comprise the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond and Hammersmith & Fulham, along with the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. The group has also been joined by the Mayor of London and Greenpeace.
Councillor Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “The councils have shown extraordinary patience. We have given the government numerous opportunities to address our concerns and answer our questions. All the evidence shows that a new Heathrow runway will be bad for the environment in our boroughs and bad for the health of our residents.”