Bill for Heathrow expansion vote passes first stage
airport should be expanded has passed its first stage through parliament with
a majority of 44.
Democrat MP Susan Kramer, parliamentary votes would be required for all major
airport expansion schemes.
– rather than ministers making the decision – and claimed that she is motivated
by a concern about the potential impact on the environment and the rights of parliament.
it will delay planning processes and affect the local economy around the airport.
by the government but have been opposed by some politicians and campaign groups.
need to create a second international airport in Belfast and greater investment
is needed instead at Belfast International Airport.
Airport Expansion (Parliamentary Approval)
parliamentary approval for proposals for the building of new major airports and
additional runways at existing major airports; and for connected purposes.
Act 2008, a voteâ€”the final sayâ€”on any new major airport in England or any new
runway at a major airport in England. There are three characteristics to this
Bill: it is motivated by concern about climate change; it is motivated by concern
about the democratic deficit and for the rights of this House, as balanced against
the authority of the Executive; and it is genuinely cross-party.
been triggered by proposals for a third runway at Heathrow and the Government’s
decision not to allow a full debate in Government time with a vote that will matter
so that this House can exercise its genuine opinion.
additional runway is proposed for Stansted airportâ€”that issue is being addressed
in the High Court today. The constraints on an additional runway at Gatwick expire
in 2019, and Hochtief, one of a number of bidders for Gatwick airport, which is
up for sale, has expressed its interestâ€”other bidders probably have, tooâ€”in an
additional runway at Gatwick. The Mayor of London has proposed a new estuary airport
which, from the current discussion, would involve four additional runways, in
addition to Heathrow, and the potential for expansion to six runwaysâ€”those would
be operated 24 hours a day. In addition, a number of regional airports up and
down the country have proposed an expansion of their capacityâ€”the airports at
Manchester, Bristol, Bournemouth and Birmingham all have various plans to add
various amounts of capacity.
for Energy and Climate Change told us that it was an issue about "half" a runway.
I suggest that he was being disingenuous, because this is a far broader issue.
We are facing one of the biggest expansion plans for aviation capacity ever considered
in this country, and we are doing so exactly when climate change is supposed to
be somewhere near to the top, or at the top, of our agenda.
of the importance of climate change as an issueâ€”there may be one or two hold-outs,
but in every region, and across every party, this is a major issue of concern.
The House has also accepted that we have only an extremely limited time in which
to act. Virtually every report that we receiveâ€”whether it is on the disappearance
of Arctic sea ice, the rate of melting of inland ice in Greenland or the quantity
of greenhouse gases emittedâ€”suggests that the past scenarios have woefully understated
the problem and that the urgency is far greater than we thought.
of extreme weather conditions in the UK and the rest of the developed world, but
we know that the impact on Africa and the developing world will be far more extreme.
The potential for conflict across the globe grows, as climate change leads to
issues of disappearance and allocation of resources.
change. At the moment, some 13 per cent. of the UK’s contribution to climate change
emissions comes from aviation, including some 6 per cent. of the UK’s CO2 emissions.
We know that that figure will rise to 25 per cent. by 2038 unless we drastically
change the direction of policy. Given the role that aviation plays in climate
change, are we really saying that we will never again allow Members of Parliament
to have a vote on such a significant issue? In effect, that is where Government
legislation has left us.
will require that aviation brings CO2 emissions back to 2005 levels by 2050."
But the question is how that will be achieved. The technologies do not exist and
the science is not in place, never mind the investment. The Government have also
said that aviation is a special case. The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate
Change has said:
as other sectors in the economy."â€”[ Official Report, 28 January 2009; Vol. 487, c. 404.]
our regions, and on jobs in our constituencies? Indeed, must we accept that without
a vote? On an issue that is crucial to the future of our country and our planet,
and when every strategy is untried and uncertain, what are we doing giving up
our right, and the right of this House, to decide?
has three Labour sponsors, three Conservative sponsors, a Plaid Cymru sponsor
and four Liberal Democrat sponsors. If I were able to add more sponsors, the list
would continue to reflect the make-up of this House very directly.
by the Conservatives. Fairly or unfairly, some Labour Members could not bring
themselves to vote for an Opposition motion. This Bill is not an Opposition motion,
so that inhibition disappears. Some Labour Members thought that the 28 January
motion was not clear enough, even though it was based on the early-day motion
tabled by the hon. Member for Selby (Mr. Grogan). The hon. Member for Islington,
South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry) said:
who want to halt the expansion of aviation".â€”[ Official Report, 28 January 2009; Vol. 487, c. 388.]
expansion but care about the rights of this House can see a way to support this
Bill, because it is about the democratic deficit as much as it is about climate
change and aviation.
facing the biggest challenge of our lifetime, when our knowledge is so
the Climate Change Committee will decide." We cannot say, "The Infrastructure
Planning Commission will decide." We cannot even say that the Government should
decide, unchallenged and unchallengeable by any vote. Our constituents expect
us to shoulder crucial responsibilities, and on that basis, I ask hon. Members
to support this Bill.
Mr. John Grogan, Justine Greening, Mr. Edward Davey, Martin Salter, Adam Afriyie,
Dr. Vincent Cable and Sarah Teather present the Bill.