Local authorities challenging plans for a second runway at Stansted Airport accuse the government of ignoring local plans.
Councils challenge Government expansion plans at Stansted Airport
Essex County Council is mounting a legal challenge to the proposals.
The authority is joining forces with other councils affected by plans for Stansted and Luton.
The group includes Essex and Hertfordshire county councils, and Uttlesford and East Herts district authorities.
Their combined aim is to put pressure on the government to rethink its proposals set out in the White Paper.
They have all signed a letter sent to Transport Secretary Alistair Darling raising their concerns about his White Paper on the future of aviation.
Lord Hanningfield, leader of Essex County Council, said: "We are particularly concerned about the 'land grab' aspects of the Stansted proposals.
"By spacing the runways so widely the current plans will provide space for two further runways on the same site.
"Whatever the capacity being suggested as part of the current development, the expanded airport will have the footprint of a major terminal with space to expand to 120 million passengers each year."
The councils are also challenging the White Paper's conclusions that additional runway capacity needed in the south east of the country should be provided at Stansted.
They also question the proposals for an extension of the runway at Luton will also provide capacity.
The government document sets out plans to create a second runway at Stansted before 2012.