Tag Archives: heathrow airport

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.

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Reactions to the Heathrow decision

 

London Liberal Democrats organised a protest outside Downing Street today objecting to the expansion of Heathrow.

Tim Farron says the decision is a betrayal of the communities in West London:

The ‘No Ifs, No Buts’ pledge from the Conservatives has been thrown by the wayside in the rush to bulldoze homes and build a new runway.

Zac Goldsmith has failed Richmond Park on Heathrow and betrayed them on Brexit.

The turbulence in the Conservative Party is nothing compared to the anger felt by those they have betrayed by giving up their commitment to the environment and communities in West London.

Theresa May used to make this case, now she has ripped those words down from her website and scrubbed them from history.

Boris once said he would lay down in front of the bulldozer. Now he will find himself on the slow boat to China – anywhere to avoid having to stand up for his principles – or stand down from his seat at the cabinet table.

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++ BREAKING NEWS: Heathrow decision

 

As expected, the Government has favoured the expansion of Heathrow, over its rival Gatwick.

The Transport Minister will make an announcement at about 12.30pm today, but the BBC reports that the decision was approved by a Cabinet Committee earlier this morning.

The political interest in this will be to see how many Conservatives speak out against the decision.  Ministers will be allowed to state their opposition to the plans, but have to get permission from the Prime Minister first – these will include Justine Greening and Boris Johnson.

Down in Richmond all eyes are on Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park. He has said on a number of occasions that he will resign as an MP if Heathrow gets the go-ahead. He reiterated his promise again last week, and wrote:

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Farron: Heathrow free vote would be farcical

Dearie me. Twice in a week, the government has been caught on the hop a top secret documents have been photographed and have appeared in the press. Unless, of course, it was planned that way. You never know, these days. Perhaps people think The Thick of It was a documentary or something. First it was grammar schools and now it’s the possibility of a free vote on Heathrow expansion  as Channel 4 news revealed:

In the second security breach of its kind in a week, a London Underground passenger filmed a very senior Cabinet Office civil servant holding a paper that discussed “potential waiving of collective responsibility” ahead of “the forthcoming decision around airport capacity”.

The document discusses the possibility of “allowing Ministers to speak against the government’s position in the House” as they did in the EU referendum campaign.

If the vote goes ahead it could end decades of bitter argument over the best way to increase capacity in southeast England.

Tim Farron was unimpressed at this development. He said:

The suggestion that there might be a free vote on Heathrow is farcical – this is a huge decision and the Conservative government has to make a collective decision and take full responsibility.   If people disagree they can resign.

Liberal Democrats are the only party consistently opposed to a third runway at Heathrow and we will fight any plans to allow it to be built.

Two questions arise. The first, of course, is how Zac Goldsmith feels about all of this. He has long opposed a third runway and threatened to resign as MP and cause a by-election if the Tories gave the third runway the go-ahead. He said he regrets this pledge but will honour it.

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Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere else?

 

The decision about whether to expand Heathrow is imminent. In fact, it has been imminent for quite some time.

A year ago the Davies Commission recommended that a third runway should be built at Heathrow, not at Gatwick, the only other contender at the time.

We were expecting to hear an announcement from Government before Christmas, but then the Department of Transport said that the decision would be delayed until summer 2016, conveniently after the May elections. This delay was not unconnected with the fact that Zac Goldsmith was the Tory candidate for London Mayor. Zac has famously declared that he will resign as MP for Richmond Park if Heathrow is chosen. He has now said he regrets this but will still stick by his plan to resign as an MP.

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Jenny Randerson writes… The final decision on Heathrow is imminent and Lib Dems are standing firm

It feels as if we have been waiting for a decision on airport expansion for a very long time. And in fact we have been – it was 2012 when the Airports Commission was set up and asked to come up with a recommendation for how the UK can best meet its international connectivity needs. But we finally have the long awaited “Davies Report”, and it is now up to the Government to make the final decision.

They are facing a major political dilemma. The report has a very clear conclusion: Heathrow is the airport it wants to see expanded. But …

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The Independent View: The Liberal case for airport expansion is strong

Centre Forum aviationThe debate over airport expansion, particularly in the South East, has been raging for decades. Later this year, it is due to reach a crucial moment as Howard Davies and the Airports Commission publish their final report. Ahead of this, CentreForum has published a report looking at the liberal case for aviation and explaining how genuine concerns over environmental challenges, noise and regional growth should be addressed.

Though not directly concerned with Liberal Democrat policy, the report does raise questions over the wisdom of the party’s current position.

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The Airports Commission says ‘no’ to a Thames estuary airport, but Boris hasn’t given up

borisislandBoris Johnson’s proposal for a new London airport on the Isle of Grain in the inner Thames estuary, to replace Heathrow, is not dead in the water despite being rejected by the Airports Commission. The Commission’s decision on the proposal was published today.

Whilst acknowledging that a new (‘ITE’) airport on the Thames estuary would provide extra capacity and improve noise impact, the report cites the loss of protected habitats, the issues with being sited next to a Liquid Natural Gas storage facility, plus the costs of infrastructure, housing and access improvements. The cost of the airport could be anything from £67 billion to £120 billion depending on whether it had three or four runways.

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Airport expansion: 73% of Lib Dem members want to see it – but opinion divided on where it should happen

Airport terminalLib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 830 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

37% want London airport expansion; 36% want no-London airport expansion; 21% want no airport expansion

There is currently a discussion about how to expand airport capacity in the UK to meet future demand for air travel. Which one of the following do you think is the best option?

11% – Expand Heathrow airport

16% – Expand one or more of the other existing London airports (e.g. London Gatwick, Luton or Stansted)

10% – Build a new airport in the Thames Estuary to the east of London

36% – Expand other UK airports outside of London/the South East

21% – None of these – I would not like to see any expansion of the UK’s airport capacity

6% – Don’t know

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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 …

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LibLink: Vince Cable opposes Heathrow expansion

planeVince Cable’s constituency of Twickenham is already under the Heathrow flightpath, and he is strongly opposed to any further expansion of the airport.

He writes:

The Davies Commission interim report has put Heathrow at the front of its thinking which is questionable economically, damaging environmentally and probably undeliverable politically.

My strong view is that the Davies review should not decide to press ahead with Heathrow options and I will be making that view known in the strongest terms.

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Heathrow: As the Conservatives’ brief flirtation with anti-expansion comes to an end, the Lib Dem fight continues

Overheard at a bus stop on the Kew Road last week:

Visitor: “What’s the matter with that plane?”
Resident: “Nothing.”
Visitor: “But it’s so low and loud, is it in trouble?”
Resident: “No, this is Richmond.”

Overheard this morning on Sky News at 8:15:

Sir Howard Davies: “A relatively small proportion of the population are affected by noise.”

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Opinion: Heathrow expansion: big money versus public health

This week’s ‘advertorials’ from Heathrow Hub were just the latest example of the role big money plays in the so-called aviation ‘debate’ in West London.

Heathrow Hub, by the way, is not Heathrow airport. In fact the Heathrow Hub website is run by the Maitland PR firm on behalf of business men who have an option on the land around Heathrow. Heathrow’s rival PR team accuse Heathrow Hub (following so far?) of coming up with plans which fail to “provide respite from noise for local residents.” Which may well be true but would probably receive more sympathy from people in my …

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