Heathrow’s third runway damned with faint praise by Transport Committee

LLB Reporter

Source: ©Photoshot

Here’s what you need to know

The influential Transport Select Committee of the House of Commons has today damned Heathrow’s third runway with faint praise by simultaneously endorsing it but imposing conditions on it, which cannot be met. 

In a report published today, the Committee has given a lukewarm endorsement of the third runway, “provided it can deliver the expected capacity, at the costs outlined….and on the timetable projected.” As the scheme cannot deliver on these, it should now be dropped.

The Committee has also recommended additional conditions, in relation to air quality, surface access, airport charges, community impacts and waste management, which it is almost impossible for Heathrow Airport’s flawed scheme to fulfil.

The best option for passengers and for business is for Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, to admit a mistake has been made and to replace this flawed scheme with our cheaper, simpler, quieter Extended Runway proposal. This would simply require Mr. Grayling to revise the National Policy Statement before it is placed before Parliament for approval.

Jock Lowe, Director of Heathrow Hub, the independent proposal for the Extended Runway, said: “By putting so many conditions on the third runway and exposing its many flaws, the Transport Select Committee has damned it with faint praise.

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“Our Extended Runway is cheaper, simpler and quieter. And unlike Heathrow Airport’s scheme it is a fully worked out design, which does not destroy three villages and does not cause months, if not years, of disruption on the M25.

 “Rather than waste any more time, Secretary of State Chris Grayling should tell Heathrow Airport to drop its expensive and complicated plan and adopt ours instead.

“The National Policy Statement can easily be amended to include the option of the Extended Runway before being voted on by Parliament.

“The sole reason the third runway is clinging to life is that it supposedly delivers more capacity. But this is incorrect. Heathrow has failed to do a Safety Case and our modelling has shown, that once operation safeguards are taken into account, the third runway actually has less capacity than claimed. The Committee has rightly asked why the DfT has ignored this important evidence.”

One significant omission by the Transport Select Committee is it failed to investigate fully why our cheaper, simpler, quieter scheme has been vetoed by Heathrow Airport Ltd. Mr Grayling himself noted before the Committee that the main reason our scheme has not been taken forward hitherto is that Heathrow itself has refused to implement it. As it is cheaper, its shareholders would make less money.

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