Standard speculates whether Labour cabinet tend towards backing Gatwick runway

The Standard says Labour was moving towards backing a 2nd runway at Gatwick before the Airports Commission was set up. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has already publicly ruled out a 3rd runway at Heathrow, and Ed Miliband is”sceptical” about it. Maria Eagle has also rejected Boris’s idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary, largely on cost grounds, branding it an “unworkable fantasy”. A 2nd runway at Gatwick cannot be built before 2019 under a legal agreement, but the Standard says Ms Eagle is understood to have seen a Gatwick runway as a stronger contender than expanding Stansted, if the South-East needed extra aviation capacity. Gatwick is opening new routes, including to the Far East, as it seeks to become a rival to Heathrow while Stansted still has spare capacity. Labour says it will await the Commission’s conclusions before drawing up its new policy. Supporting expansion at Gatwick, or Stansted, had also not been agreed by the shadow cabinet.

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Labour warms to Gatwick expansion

Labour was moving towards backing a second runway at Gatwick before a review was set up into Britain’s airport needs, the Standard reveals today.

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has already publicly ruled out a third runway at Heathrow, doing a U-turn on Gordon Brown’s firm support for expanding the airport.

She has also rejected Boris Johnson’s idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary, largely on cost grounds, branding it an “unworkable fantasy”. A second runway at Gatwick cannot be built before 2019 under a planning agreement.

Ms Eagle, though, is understood to have seen such a development at the Sussex airport as a stronger contender than expanding Stansted, if the South-East needed extra aviation capacity.

Gatwick is opening new routes, including to the Far East, as it seeks to become a rival to Heathrow while Stansted still has spare capacity.

The shadow cabinet minister is adamant that the Davies Commission into the UK’s airport capacity should not be pre-empted. While Labour wanted Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the London School of Economics leading the review, to publish its final report before the 2015 election, it will await its conclusions before drawing up its new policy. Supporting expansion at Gatwick, or Stansted, had also not been agreed by the shadow cabinet.

However, both party leader Ed Miliband and Ms Eagle remain “sceptical” about another runway at Heathrow.Labour, like the Conservatives, is divided over the future of the west London airport.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/labour-warms-to-gatwick-expansion-8585741.html

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Earlier:

Labour leader Ed Miliband warns Sir Howard over risks of extra Heathrow runways

23.9.2013

Ed Miliband has had talks with Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission. Ed has expressed concern about the possibility of a 3rd runway at Heathrow, which would  put at risk Labour’s chances of winning several key marginal seats, including Battersea, Brentford and Isleworth, Ealing Central and Acton. Labour understands that a 3rd runway, or 4th, at Heathrow would cause more noise and pollution misery for hundreds of thousands of Londoners. Labour also insists that any airport expansion will have to meet the target of cutting aviation CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, as the Committee on Climate Change advise. However, the Standard says: “Labour is not ruling out supporting a bigger Heathrow but it is likely to demand convincing evidence that extra noise and pollution can be sufficiently mitigated.”  It adds: “Labour could be tempted to reject Heathrow expansion before the election” to boost its electoral chances. It also says: “Aviation sources said Sir Howard … was concerned that Ms Eagle was moving towards favouring a 2nd runway at Gatwick

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17527

 

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Labour denies Heathrow third runway U-turn – but there has been a shift away from opposition

12.12.2013Labour has played down reports that Ed Miliband is set to abandon his opposition to a 3rd Heathrow runway. But he is under pressure from the shadow chancellor Ed Balls to be more supportive when the Airports Commission reports next week  (though the report has been leaked already). A parliamentary row has been brewing over claims that No 10 has pressured the Commission into keeping a broader shortlist to avoid an early row focused on Heathrow  – though Heathrow appears to be the main focus.  Ed Balls in a recent speech to the CBI said he would like to see the Airports Commission make recommendations before the general election. The party’s previous shadow transport secretary, Maria Eagle, was shifted in the recent shadow cabinet reshuffle partly due to disagreements with Balls over HS2 and Heathrow. Eagle’s replacement as shadow transport secretary, Mary Creagh, has tried to be non-committal towards the Airports Commission, saying: “No party can say now that it will implement its recommendations when we simply don’t know what the costs of any proposals will be. Obviously the Conservatives and Lib Dems haven’t made any such commitments.” She said Labour would not rule any runway options in or out while the Commission was still deliberating.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18759.

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Full text of Maria Eagle’s speech, on Labour’s ideas on future aviation policy

31.10.2011

This is the full text of the speech by Maria Eagle, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, to the Airport Operators’ Association. This confirms Labour will not press for a 3rd Heathrow runway. However, she says “Any serious strategy for aviation and its crucial role in the UK economy cannot start from a position that rules out additional capacity in the South East.” This favours expansion at airports other than Heathrow. And also deeper aviation carbon cuts by 2050.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=4659

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Labour joins call to fast-track airports review – to get Davies to report before 2015 election

23.10.2012

Labour has joined  Boris in demanding that a review into London’s airports be completed before the next election. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has warned that delaying the report of the independent commission to be headed by Sir Howard Davies until after 2015 risked “kicking the issue into the long grass.” Maria Eagle said  “There will therefore be no possibility of cross-party talks in advance of the election to establish whether consensus can be reached to support Sir Howard’s recommendations — and no opportunity to make the manifesto commitments that mean these are significantly more likely to become a reality.”  Labour has shifted its post-election position from being against a 3rd runway at Heathrow to being “sceptical” about  it.  Ms Eagle also said (at the AOA conference) that the delay in the review would make it harder to form a policy on the proposed high-speed rail route.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=3138

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