Reaction to Airports Decision Delay

Responding to the Secretary of State for Transport’s statement that the government has delayed its decision on future air capacity, Paul McGuinness, spokesman for Teddington Action Group (TAG) said:

“We’re very disappointed that a third Heathrow runway hasn’t been ruled out, once and for all.

Heathrow is crammed between two immovable motorways, and expansion means building over the M25 and villages. It’s already the UK’s largest noise polluter and, even now, breaches air quality pollution targets.

It’s situated in the middle of one of the UK’s most populated residential areas and it’s implausible that 250,000 extra plane movements won’t increase noise and pollution and make yet more dangerous the already full skies over our capital city.

It’s simply in the wrong place to be growing what is already Europe’s busiest airport.

The economic case has been found to be overstated, and Heathrow are refusing to accept environmental protections such as night flight bans and are refusing to rule out a fourth runway. We shouldn’t forget that the current proposal for the north west runway has been designed to occupy sufficient space to allow for the building of a fourth runway.

If the government believes extra capacity is required, they should look elsewhere. And if the Government were serious about the sector it would be seeking to spread the business across airports, rather than undermining the future of Heathrow’s competitors such as Gatwick who, as easyjet have made clear, would necessarily lose business to an expanded Heathrow, moving Heathrow towards a monopoly position.

We believe that Heathrow expansion was only recommended because Sir Howard Davies was predisposed towards Heathrow before he chaired the Airports Commission. He only resigned from one of GIC Private Limited’s boards on being appointed to the supposedly “independent” Airports Commission. GIC Private Limited is one of Heathrow’s owners, for goodness sake.

In the longer term, the government needs to bite the bullet and construct a purpose built facility away from where people live (like they do in the rest of the world). This is just another example of the government’s short sighted and piecemeal approach towards infrastructure. This project is ill conceived and the Airports Commission was compromised from the start”.

Notes:

1The current proposal allows for a fourth runway

In an unreported internal document (“Airports Commission: Long-term hub capacity options Heathrow Airport Limited response” – dated 17th July 2013), prepared in advance of their submission to the Airports Commission, Heathrow wrote the following:

“All of the options we are putting forward for three runways have been designed to evolve to four runways” (Page 36 – attached)

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2. Sir Howard Davies’ career at Heathrow owner GIC Private Ltd 

From 2009, Sir Howard Davies was an adviser to the Investment Strategy Committee of GIC Private Limited (formerly known as the Singapore Government Investment Co).

In 2011, he was appointed to the International Advisory Board of GIC Private Ltd, on which he was still sitting on the day of his appointment to chair the “independent” Airports Commission.

He only resigned this remunerated position upon accepting the unremunerated position of Chair of the Airports Commission.

GIC Private Ltd owns 11.2 % of Heathrow.

Despite claiming to have looked at up to 50 schemes, the Airports Commissions finalised just three for consideration, weighting it very much in Heathrow’s favour: two were at Heathrow (the other being at Gatwick).

 

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One Comment

  1. Robert Buick
    12th December 2015
    Reply

    I am shocked that Howard Davies could have ever been considered for the Airports Commission role with those credentials. I know it is now history but it would be interesting to know how this appointment was arrived at, as on the surface it has an undeniably bad smell.

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