Comment by Heathrow on government runway statement: it has “full confidence” in its runway plan “within environmental limits”
Heathrow responded to the announcement that the government will postpone a runway decision till summer with a typical example of its PR-speak: “…it has full confidence in its new expansion plan and pledged to work with Government to deliver Britain the hub capacity it needs within tough environmental limits.” There is a page full of Heathrow’s usual claims about economic benefits, jobs, “linking the regions to global growth” and the same stuff that has been trotted out again and again. This is one of the statements, as full of holes as a Swiss cheese: “The Commission confirmed that expanding Heathrow would have the biggest economic benefits for the UK and can be done while reducing noise for local communities and within EU air quality limits.” Really not a brilliantly persuasive response. It is copied below, with a few links to the actual facts and figures, other than Heathrow spin. Another gem to appreciate (avoiding mention of economic benefit at its most exaggerated, and over 60 YEARS, and jobs by 2050): the runway will “result in up to £211bn of economic growth, 180,000 jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships spread across the whole of Britain.” Seems government has not been taken in by this stuff ….
Heathrow responds to Government announcement on airport expansion
“UPDATE, 7:35pm: Heathrow said today that it has full confidence in its new expansion plan and pledged to work with Government to deliver Britain the hub capacity it needs within tough environmental limits.
Government’s announcement to progress Heathrow’s expansion [what Patrick McLoughlin actually said was: “We will continue work on all the shortlisted locations,” not only Heathrow. AW note] and undertake further environmental research follows the unanimous and unambiguous recommendation of the Airports Commission this summer after a two and a half year, £20m study – the deepest ever into UK aviation capacity.
The Commission confirmed that expanding Heathrow would have the biggest economic benefits for the UK and can be done while reducing noise for local communities and within EU air quality limits. [This statement is full of ambiguities and unjustifiable claims. AW note].
Expanding Heathrow will give Britain up to 40 more long haul destinations, such as Wuhan, Osaka and Panama City, making it the best connected country in the world. [The Airports Commission actually said “up to 12”. Link AW note].
It will more than double the number of domestic routes served, ensuring every region and nation of the UK [the Airports Commission report actually said there would be fewer links to domestic airports with a new runway than now. Link. AW note] can get to global markets and, increase cargo capacity, supporting Britain’s exporters. [By tonnage and by value, Heathrow imports more than it exports. Link. AW note]
This will result in up to £211bn of economic growth, 180,000 jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships spread across the whole of Britain. [The £211 billion, over 60 years over all the UK, is the most optimistic figure produced by the Commission. Others show numbers like £11 billion over 60 years. Link to economic critique. The Quod report is a flimsy 4 page thing, done for Heathrow. No date, almost no references, no authorship or contact details etc. Quod report. AW note]
[Note how this table does not mention that these optimistic numbers are by 2050. That is over 35 years. AW note]
Expansion of Heathrow is backed by business, trade unions, politicians and airlines as the best solution to Britain’s aviation capacity crunch. Supporters include the CBI, BCC, chambers of commerce across the country, Unite, the GMB, 37 British airports and airlines such as easyJet, which plans to operate from an expanded Heathrow. [It does not include British Airways, the main airline using Heathrow. AW note]
Independent polling has shown that expansion has strong support in local constituencies. [Not very strong. Under 50% at the best. Survey scripts etc never published. Link to one UK poll. Link to a Populus poll AW note]
Heathrow is confident that its plans meet tough environmental conditions and will move into the delivery phase. [Heathrow is always confident. But that may be foolish, unless it can force the government into a very unwise, financially and environmentally damaging decision. AW note]
The news [wot news??] will put in motion billions of pounds of contracts for British companies, including SMEs, to deliver the largest privately financed infrastructure project in the country.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye responding to the announcement..
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport said: “The Airports Commission, announced by the Prime Minister three years ago, made a unanimous and unambiguous recommendation in June for Heathrow expansion.”
“Our new plan will connect the whole nation to global growth while providing opportunities for the local community and making Heathrow the most environmentally responsible hub airport in the world. I am confident we can meet tough environmental standards.”
“We have support locally and nationally from politicians, business, trade unions and the aviation industry for Heathrow expansion. Let’s get on and build a better future for Britain.” [Classic example of Heathrow attempting, in a series of tediously repeated sound bites, to persuade people that what is good for Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd is the same as what is good for Britain. They are two very different things. AW note].
10 December 2015, 7.30pm: Heathrow has released the following initial statement in response to the Government announcement on airport expansion this evening. “
Government statement 7pm this evening: Delay runway decision till summer, after a package of further work. Including on CO2, air pollution and noise.
Government confirms support for airport expansion in the south-east
From: Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP10 December 2015
Government statement on airport expansion in the south-east.
– location decision subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures
– government agrees with the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options, all of which it concluded were viableThe government has accepted the case for airport expansion in the south-east and the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options for expansion. It has also identified the most appropriate way of delivering planning consents for new capacity, it was decided today (10 December 2015) at the Airports Sub Committee.The government will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.The government will do this quickly so that the timetable for delivering capacity set out by the Airports Commission can be met.The Airports Commission published a large amount of very detailed analysis on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions for their 3 shortlisted schemes. The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.
The Airports Commission’s air quality analysis will be tested using the latest projected future concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.
The next step is to continue to develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people and the environment. This will include a package for local communities to include compensation, maximising local economic opportunities through new jobs and apprenticeships, and measures to tackle noise.
More work will be done on environmental impacts. The government expects the airports to put forward ambitious solutions.
The mechanism for delivering planning consents for airport expansion will be an ‘Airports national policy statement’ (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:
“The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come. We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.
“We must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people. We will continue work on all the shortlisted locations, so that the timetable for more capacity set out by Sir Howard is met.
“At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans.”