Surprise! None of the Transport Select Committee members, wanting rapid Heathrow decision, live anywhere affected by a vast airport
“Colnbrook Views” has pointed out that, while the Commons Transport Select Committee is very eager to get a new runway built at Heathrow as soon as possible, none of its members live anywhere at all near London. The Committee have asked the government to make a rapid decision, to back a Heathrow runway, apparently not having much grasp of the extent of the environmental (or social, or even economic) problems involved. Their attitude is that: “We accept that the package of measures to mitigate environmental impacts needs careful consideration and further work. We do not accept that all of this needs to be done before a decision is taken on location. In fact a decision on location would give more focus and impetus to this work.” ie. decide first. – see if the problems can be sorted out afterwards. None of the MPs on the Committee themselves experience the problems of living near an airport of the scale of Heathrow. The Chair is Louise Ellman, the MP for Liverpool. The constituencies of the others are: Stoke on Trent South; North Tyneside; Lincoln; Glasgow South; Fylde; Bexhill and Battle; Colchester; Milton Keynes South; Blackley and Broughton; Cleethorpes. Perhaps if the problems facing the Heathrow Villages were in any of these constituencies, they might not be so gung-ho?
INFOGRAPHIC: Where the Transport Select Committee live
Yesterday’s demand by the Transport Select Committee to get moving on Heathrow even before the further work on air quality promised by the Government is completed might have had more weight if any of its members had any experience of life under a busy flight path.
Where they come from: the eleven members of the Transport Select Committee live all over the country, but nowhere near the Heathrow catchment.
The Transport Select Committee yesterday rebuked the Government for “dithering” for failing to make clear its support for Heathrow expansion before it has fulfilled its promise to do further work on the environmental consequences of expansion.
However it could, perhaps, be excused for such bombastic language – given none of its members live anywhere near the Heathrow flight path. As our analysis shows, “the UK” is geographically well represented on the committee (bar an over-representation of the “Northern Powerhouse”). But the swathes of the South East currently blighted by aircraft noise are not.
The committee said yesterday that it recognises that local residents and environmental campaigners have raised “legitimate concerns” and that these deserve “serious consideration”.
We accept that the package of measures to mitigate environmental impacts needs careful consideration and further work. We do not accept that all of this needs to be done before a decision is taken on location. In fact a decision on location would give more focus and impetus to this work.
But while the 11-strong committee of Conservative, Labour and SNP MPs says it does not under-estimate the scale of the challenge ahead it nevertheless believes that noise, environmental effects, surface access, and compensation for residents are all matters that can be decided after the Government has confirmed that Heathrow is its preferred choice for expansion.
Transport Committee – members
Mrs Louise Ellman was elected as Chair of the Transport Committee on 17 June 2015.
The remaining members of the Committee were formally appointed on 8 July 2015.
Transport Select Committee wants rapid decision on runway location – then sort out the problems later …..
The Commons Transport Select Committee, chaired by Louise Ellman (for years a strong advocate of a larger Heathrow) has published a report that wants the government to make a rapid decision on the location of a new south east runway. Ms Ellman says Patrick Mcloughlin should set out a clear timetable of the decision making process. He should also set out what research the government has already done and what remains to be done. The Committee wants a decision in order to, in its view, remove uncertainty for business so companies can be planning and investing. The report is entirely of the view that a runway is needed for links to emerging markets. It ignores the reality that most journeys are for leisure, and it ignores the huge costs to the taxpayer, of either scheme. The Committee wants a location decision, and somehow believes that all other environmental and infrastructure problems will then (magically?) be sorted out. They say: “… we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access.” So decide first – with what is likely to be a bad decision – and work out how to deal with the intractable, and inevitable, problems later. Is that a sensible course of action for a responsible government?
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