Caroline Pidgeon: Case against Heathrow expansion as strong as ever

Caroline Pidgeon, like all Liberal Democrats, has always campaigned against a third runway at Heathrow. The picture shows her speaking against expansion at a demo in Parliament Square last year.

This is her reaction to yesterday’s announcement that the Government has, inexplicably, decided to back the project:

After an incredibly expensive lobbying campaign the Government has ‎foolishly accepted the myth that what is good for the overseas owners of Heathrow is also good for the UK economy.

The reality is that airports such as Luton and Stansted have spare capacity.   And in time HS2 will also allow easy access ‎to Birmingham airport for many Londoners.

We can improve the UK’s international links through better use of all our airports.  It is the triumph of vested interests for this Government to claim that the environmental wreckage created by a third Heathrow runway‎ is a price worth paying.

The case against a third Heathrow runway is as strong as when Theresa May actively opposed it and when David Cameron once promised ‘no ifs, no buts, no third runway’.

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  • If I remember correctly all the big airline alliances want Heathrow, if you want to attract the customers you have to give them what they want. Not sure whether saying that would help the by-election campaign though.

  • If I remember correctly all the big airline alliances want Heathrow
    Hardly surprising given the vested interests of their major members who in the main already have operations at Heathrow and hence will directly benefit from any expansion at Heathrow. It would also help to squeeze out those cheeky startups, like EasyJet, Ryan Air etc. I mean the public might want cheap fares but what they really want is the expense and hassle of using a big impersonal airline and airport…

  • @ Simon Shaw…… ““Caroline Pidgeon, like all Liberal Democrats, has always campaigned against a third runway at Heathrow.” Really? I can’t honestly say I’ve ever campaigned against it.”…………

    Well, Simon, maybe a Government move to site an international airport with 250,000 flights per annum between Formby and Royal Birkdale might just stir you from your torpor.

    But….. it would do wonders for the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, be a bit more upmarket than John Lennon Airport, it could take off over the sea, it would do wonders for Southport taxis and double glazing firms…..and Sefton would raise a mint in business rates..

    What is there not to like about that ?

  • Peter Watson 26th Oct '16 - 4:28pm

    “Caroline Pidgeon, like all Liberal Democrats, has always campaigned against a third runway at Heathrow.”
    Or perhaps, when asked, less than 80% opposed it:

  • @ Simon Shaw ……… You’re a great one for asking questions rather than answering them. Would you like to explain what the point of your original comment was ?

  • The critical point in Caroline’s comments is that both Luton & Stansted have SPARE capacity, hence there is no need to expand Heathrow until such capacity is being fully utilised. Rather there is a strong case of interconnect all four London airports by a very rapid rail system so that a passenger can land at one and seamlessly transfer to another for a flight onwards. Very many passengers through Heathrow are transnitting on to another destination, so whether they transit at Heathrow or not is largely irrelevant to them, just so long as they can do so relatively quickly.

  • Catherine Royce 27th Oct '16 - 10:21am

    The radical solution would be Birmingham; in the centre of the country, tons of space, will be connected with fast trains to all major cities by HS2 and no residents complaining about noise, pollution and congestion. It would certainly make a good campaign for the Richmond by-election!

  • Simon Freeman 27th Oct '16 - 10:23am

    As i don’t live near Heathrow it’s difficult for me to comment. I’ve never flown either but I appreciate other people do.

    From the clips on TV last night it sounds very noisy and a lot of houses will have to be demolished which has a human cost. But in South Yorkshire/North Derbyshire we flooded villages to build reservoirs. Sometimes it’s greatest good for greatest number.

    What nobody has said though is why couldn’t a second runway be built at Gatwick instead? and if there is spare capacity at Luton and Stanstead why not use that? And if Some of the extra flights are going to be domestic why not boost Rail?( I think if we oppose third runway at Heathrow-and I’m coming off the fence to think we should then I think we have to support HS2.

    And the again, why does the extra runway have to be in the South? Would extending Doncaster/Sheffield be an option? We might like the jobs up here?

    in any event best of luck to the LibDems in the Richmond Park by-election. Who is the candidate? Vince Cable or Carolyn Pidgeon would be good choices.

  • Many here are making a false assumption about HS2 – it won’t actual serve Birmingham airport, in spite of there being a station labelled “Birmingham Airport”!
    The plans have it running several miles to the east, on the other side of the NEC to the airport and thus will require, at additional expense, a shuttle service to connect the two and so eroding the time gains of HS2.

    The daft thing about the intended HS2 route is that there is no practical reason why the line could not directly serve the airport (just as HS1/Eurostar directly serves Charles de Gaulle airport). The sole reason for not doing so seems to be about attempting to reduce the headline cost of the initial trackbed build and shift expenditure to other capex and opex budgets…

  • “Surely it’s not too late to change the HS2 plans, Roland?”

    Well the problem is, HS2 was and remains a political vanity and virility project and thus suffers from all the problems that go with such projects, like admitting the plans could be improved…

    I suggest because the daftness is obvious from any review of the detailed plans that the current plans are deliberately daft. This conclusion becomes more credible when you understand that originally it was never intended to link HS2 with HS1 and the solution proposed was a convoluted section of track that would require 250mph trains to run at 30mph…

  • Like several previous commenters, I have never campaigned against a third runway at Heathrow – because I believe that extra runway capacity is needed, and this is the least worst option (see my comment the article by Jenny Randerson).

    I do agree with Caroline Pidgeon on one thing – that the case against a third Heathrow runway is ‘as strong’ as when Theresa May and David Cameron made their comments. However, they made those comments for tactical political advantage and not on the basis of the case.

    I understand the difficult position of Lib Dems in West London, but I cannot help worrying that some of them might be following down the same path.

  • Add me to the list of Lib Dems who supports a third runway at Heathrow.

    I’ve been a Lib Dem supporter for over 15 years (and a member since June), but I’ve always been supportive of the principle of airport expansion and have been content for the best candidate for that expansion to be decided by independent commission. As two out of the three options shortlisted by the Independent Airports Commission set up by the Coalition were for a new runway at Heathrow, and one of those has now been chosen, I support it.

    Don’t get me wrong; I accept that mine is minority view within the party and that in itself doesn’t reduce my enthusiasm for the cause (because I consider opposing Brexit to be a far more pressing issue). I’m just not comfortable with the position on opposing Heathrow expansion being presented as a position shared by “all” Lib Dems, as that would include me (and I suspect many others).

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