Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) pledged to take action after ministers backed the increase last month, taking passengers to 35 million and flights from 241,000 to 264,000 a year (Planning, 17 October, p6).
The group will argue that the government disregarded the increase in carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and the economic impact on the UK trade deficit.
It maintained that government wrongfully concluded that adverse noise impacts on residents could not amount to a reason for refusal just because to do so would frustrate its policy.
SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: "When the government is prepared to disregard climate change and noise impacts and even the interests of the UK economy to satisfy its obsession for expansion, it is time to ask the High Court to intervene."
The group is waiting for details on when the appeal will be heard. It is backed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, HACAN, Plane Stupid and the Woodland Trust.
However, the challenge will strain its resources because it is committed to opposing a second runway at an inquiry in April. It is appealing for funds.
If the challenge succeeds, plans for the second runway could be derailed. A DCLG spokesman said: "The decision to approve the increase was only given after a thorough public inquiry."