30TH June 2016
The Green Party claims the case for airport expansion in the South East is built on sand and should now come crashing down following the decision to leave the EU.
Today the Transport Secretary announced to the Commons that the decision on a new runway will be delayed until at least October .
In response, the Green Party is reiterating its call for all plans for new runways to be dropped.
The Airports Commission, the body tasked with advising the Government on the decision on airport expansion, had previously recommended that expansion go ahead in the South East, citin the apparent economic benefits to the region . The Green Party argues that, in light of the current uncertain economic forecast following the decision to leave the EU, the economic case must be dismissed.
The Green Party, alongside campaign groups from both Heathrow and Gatwick and major environmental NGOs, are also reiterating their opposition to new runways in the region based on the dramatically negative impact expansion would have on carbon emissions, air quality and noise levels .
Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East region said
"This postponement is for political reasons; the government is in total disarray. It is time to recognise the case for expansion is built on sand. It is, and always has been, a myth that the UK faces an airport capacity crisis; we already fly more than any other country, yet the huge budgets of the airport and pro-expansion lobbies are busy trying to convince us otherwise. All but one UK airport is under-capacity and demand is likely to fall, rather than rise, following Britain's decision to leave the EU.
Furthermore, nine of the ten most popular destinations from Heathrow are short haul flights. Existing rail services could offer workable alternatives on most of these routes, thus freeing up landing slots for longer haul flights. As trains are ten times less polluting than planes, this would also be better for the environment.
We cannot hope to meet vital climate change targets while building major new runways – the two policies are wholly incompatible. I am reiterating my call for the Government, in whatever form it might take, to be bold, and reject the environmentally detrimental proposals, not just at Heathrow, but at Gatwick too."
Caroline Russell, London Assembly Member for the Green Party said:
“If we are genuinely serious about the long term interests of Londoners and London’s economy, reducing the real risks posed by climate change and more extreme weather must be our priority.
"Further aviation expansion whether at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere else means reneging on our climate change commitments and letting down our neighbours in Europe and across the world.
“With the dire noise and pollution implications of a third runway at Heathrow, this option should never had seen the light of day."
3) Airlines have already reported the impacts of the economic instability with many facing plummeting shares since Friday’s result, including IAG whose shares lowered by a third since Friday, and Easyjet: http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2016/06/negotiating-storm
Campaigners are gathering near Gatwick Airport tomorrow to launch a report on the impact on local ancient buildings if expansion went ahead there: 12.30pm, Friday 1st July, Rowley, RH10 9SL. For more info, contact Sally Pavey 07831 632537/ [email protected]
To arrange an interview with Green Party spokespeople, or for further information, please contact Emma Leigh on 07800550317