The role of the Liberal Democrats in ensuring that this Government does not agree to the expansion of Heathrow airport is emphasised by an article in yesterday’s Independent.
It says that a group of right wing Tories with links to the Chancellor are drawing up plans to offer compensation to local residents who would be affected by increased noise from a third runway at Heathrow.
The Coalition agreement has ruled out giving approval to a third runway during this parliament and the Conservatives opposed the move at the last election. But some senior party figures, including the Chancellor, George Osborne, are pressing for a change of policy to boost airport capacity in the south-east. The most likely option is that the issue will be left open in the next Tory manifesto.
The Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs, which has close links with Mr Osborne, has called for a noise compensation scheme as a way of bringing around families affected by the extra noise.
I just wonder how many residents would consider any amount of money as sufficient compensation for the disturbance to their lives, not to say the effect on the value of their homes.
You can see how the Tories, governing alone, would find it easy to overcome the opposition to expansion of Transport Secretary Justine Greening and a few voices in the Parliamentary Party. The presence of five Liberal Democrat Cabinet ministers backing up the Coalition Agreement puts paid to the idea that expansion could get the go ahead this Parliament.
I wonder how long it will be before A View from Ham Common speculates on Zac Goldsmith’s future within the Conservative Party again.
You can read the article in full here.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings