Edward Davey MP writes: Liberal Democrats continue to oppose Heathrow expansion

The Davies Commission’s interim report published yesterday has elicited many column inches in the newspapers but little clarity from the other two major parties as to the basis on which they will judge the final report.

In contrast, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats made our approach to the Davies Commission clear yesterday. We will not endorse an expansion in airport capacity which would increase noise pollution for the hundreds of thousands of residents living beneath the flight path or break the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations on aviation. Of course we will look at what the final Davies Report recommends, but we are a party which believes in evidence-based policy making and we have not seen any evidence that expansion at Heathrow could be done without increasing current noise and air pollution; as such the Liberal Democrats continue to oppose Heathrow expansion.

As someone who has campaigned for many years against Heathrow expansion alongside my colleagues in Richmond Park constituency, I am delighted that working together with Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrats in Government have adopted this approach, as it is the basis on which we have always opposed the expansion of Heathrow and continue to do so as a party.

* Ed Davey was the MP for Kingston and Surbiton and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

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8 Comments

  • Edward Davey Wed 18th December 2013 – 6:20 pm

    ” We will not endorse an expansion in airport capacity which would increase noise pollution for the hundreds of thousands of residents living beneath the flight path or break the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations on aviation. ”

    And we will not endorse it for one hundred and one other reasons.

    ” airport capacity which would increase noise pollution ”
    Please tell me that these are not weasel words carefully chosen to provide a get out clause at some future date when it can be claimed that expansion would not increase noise pollution ??

    Liberal opposition to Heathrow expansion has not been confined just to noise pollution.
    There was a long established Liberal campaign against Heathrow expansion long before anyone used the term Climate Change.
    Just tell that all the other reasons for opposing the expansion have not been jettisoned on the advice of some ultra rich lobbyists.

  • Will Griffiths 18th Dec '13 - 7:05pm

    I was really disappointed that the idea of making Cardiff Airport into a hub was thrown out by the Davies Commission. I believe there is a strong case for this as it would benefit South Wales with improved transport links. Benefit those in the Heathrow’s flightpath, and help reduce the London-centricness of the UK.

    The electrification of the Great Western Line and perhaps a link to Cardiff Airport in such a plan could have worked wonders.

    Of course, couldn’t agree with you more about standing against the Third Runway at Heathrow. Sure it would bring economic benefits, but probably only for London, at the severe cost of many Londoners and the rest of the UK would once again miss out.

  • Chris Manners 18th Dec '13 - 8:12pm

    ” we have not seen any evidence that expansion at Heathrow could be done without increasing current noise and air pollution; as such the Liberal Democrats continue to oppose Heathrow expansion.”

    You must think we’re stupid. You’re waiting for the full report, and then you’ll say “Oh look, there’s a promise it won’t be too bad”

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/96784586-6733-11e3-a5f9-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2nrKCZht0

    “But on Tuesday the party struck a different note on aviation by referring to this policy in the past tense. “Our position has always been against airport expansion in the southeast,” said a spokesman.

    Asked to explain what this meant, he added: “The door was nailed shut, it is no longer nailed shut, but it is hardly open.”

    Another senior Lib Dem said the new position was not “glorious”, but added: “All parties are using this report as an opportunity to reposition themselves, this is not any party’s finest hour.”

    Nick Clegg’s party now says it wants to see reassurances about environmental considerations – whether carbon emissions or local air and noise pollution – written into the final Davies report.

  • ” Whether or not it’s Heathrow, airport expansion is just another glamorous project for the rich ”
    Simon Jenkins The Guardian, Tuesday 17 December

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/17/heathrow-expansion-glamorous-project-for-rich

    ” Davies seems to regard every plane traveller as equally “in need” of a runway, making them all equally entitled to his “predict and provide” approach to airport capacity. That cannot be sensible. If we all took that view of public investment we would be building new roads, houses and hospitals by the hour.”

    ” When the beneficiaries claim that this loot is not for them but for “UK plc”, the chancellor, George Osborne, seems to go weak at the knees, … … Poor people’s infrastructure, such as buses, new roads, rail upgrades and urban renewal, is cut instead.

    Cameron’s initial U-turn to put Heathrow back in play was a classic of this syndrome, capitulating to the toughest corporate lobby of recent times.”

  • ErnstRemarx 19th Dec '13 - 6:30pm

    “The statement above is equivocal and vague compared to party policy as enshrine in the 2010 Manifesto”

    That should tell you pretty much what’ll happen to that particular ‘pledge’ in fairly short order – it’ll reside on the huge ‘pledge’ mountain that the LibDems have been building since 2010.

    I’m just surprised that members didn’t see this one coming.

  • Still waiting for a response from Ed “I’e changed my mind” Davey?
    Read Robin Meltzeristead –
    http://www.robinmeltzer.com/heathrow_as_the_conservatives_brief_flirtation

  • Sorry, pesky keyboard malfunction, that should read –

    Read Robin Meltzer instead –
    http://www.robinmeltzer.com/heathrow_as_the_conservatives_brief_flirtation

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