General Election 2019: Voters told the expansion of Heathrow could mean surges in noise levels

BY TOBY PORTER
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

Voters have been told the expansion of Heathrow, which campaigners say could mean a surge in noise levels in South-east London.

Camberwell-based campaign group Plane Hell action has circulated questions to ask candidates at hustings.

The two main parties’ manifestos state either complete opposition to the creation of a new terminal there or phrasing that suggests it could be dropped if they win the general election on December 12.

Published on November 24, the Conservative Party manifesto said that “Parliament has voted in principle to support a third runway at Heathrow, but it is a private sector project.

“It is for Heathrow to demonstrate that it can meet its air quality and noise obligations, that the project can be financed and built and that the business case is realistic. The scheme will receive no new public money”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have stated that they will be watching the current judicial review procedures “very closely”.

Heathrow Airport

This is in contrast to their 2017 manifesto that referred to their party’s “programme of strategic national investments, including. the expansion of Heathrow Airport”.

The Labour Party has also indicated it won’t support the plans, stating that “any expansion of airports must pass our tests on air quality, noise pollution, climate change obligations and countrywide benefits.

We will examine fiscal and regulatory options to ensure a response to the climate crisis in a way that is fair to consumers and protects the economy.”

Labour state that Heathrow cannot meet any of these tests. This was confirmed by the shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald when the vote went to Parliament in 2018.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto also published last week, said that the party would be “opposing any expansion of Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and any new airport in the Thames Estuary, and introducing a zero-carbon fuels blending requirement for domestic flights”

The Scottish National Party, who published their Westminster manifesto on November 27, called for better rail connectivity between Scotland and London and stated that “aviation emissions should be counted within national emissions and targets.

“Aviation emissions in Scotland count towards our carbon reduction targets and the same approach should be taken across the UK”.

The party abstained in the Parliamentary vote on Heathrow expansion and Nicola Sturgeon announced earlier this year that the Scottish Government are currently reviewing its policy on Heathrow expansion in light of their declaration to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

Plaid Cymru are opposing Heathrow expansion, citing the costs of the project as a key reason, stating that they “oppose the construction of a third runway at Heathrow.

Although Heathrow has put a £14billion figure on its expansion costs, others say the true figure will be nearer £30billion”.

The Green Party has long opposed the expansion of Heathrow and other airports.

The Brexit Party made no reference to Heathrow or any other aviation policies in its manifesto.

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