Tania Mathias MP calls for Grayling to step in over proposed £3 billion cuts to Heathrow plan – re-consultation necessary?
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been asked by Dr Tania Mathias MP to intervene on Heathrow’s £3 billion cost-cutting proposals it announced last week. In order to cut costs, and perhaps get a runway built faster, Heathrow’s Chairman Lord Deighton suggested that changes to plans would be made – though nothing has been put forward yet, but they might be in the next weeks. The cuts would mean scrapping plans to (expensively) tunnel the 14 lane M25 under the runway, and a transit rail system around the airport. Conservative MP Tania Mathias, whose Twickenham constituency is under Heathrow flight paths, said the new plan had caused local people “considerable anxiety.” She has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to demand the plan goes back out to public consultation and scrutiny by the Airports Commission (though that has been disbanded). Dr Mathias also wants Chris Grayling to make public any official talks on the late changes, between the airport and government departments. Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith also wrote to Lord Deighton that the revised plan would cause Londoners “more environmental misery”. The changes to the roads are not clear, and cutting cost could lead to gridlock on the busiest stretch of the M25. The DfT just said the Government “will continue to consider the commission’s evidence.”
Call for Grayling to step in over proposed £3 billion cuts to Heathrow plan
15.9.2016 (Evening Standard)
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is being asked to intervene in Heathrow’s £3 billion cost-cutting proposals announced ahead of the long-awaited decision on airport expansion.
Environmentally friendly plans to re-route the M25 through a tunnel and create a transit system around the site have been axed, airport chairman Lord Deighton has revealed in a bid to show the Government that a 3rd runway could be built quickly.
Tory MP Tania Mathias, whose Twickenham constituency is on the flight paths, said the new plan had caused local people “considerable anxiety.”
She has written to Mr Grayling today, asking him to demand the plan goes back out to public consultation and scrutiny by the Airports Commission.
She also wants him to make public any official talks on the late changes.
Richmond Park Tory MP Zac Goldsmith wrote in a letter to Lord Deighton that the revised plan would cause Londoners “more environmental misery”.
He claims the changes are not transparent and could cause gridlock on the busiest stretch of the M25.
and then a bit on the Cabinet …
The DfT said the Government will continue to consider the commission’s evidence.
Evening Standard (paper version)
Times reports that Heathrow plans to offer to cut costs and build runway scheme faster
The Times reports that it has learned how Heathrow is planning to cut up to £3 billion (out of about £17.6 billion) from its plans for a 3rd runway, in order to persuade Theresa May and the Cabinet that the runway could be delivered – and delivered a year earlier. Revised plans include potentially scrapping plans to tunnel the M25 under the 3rd runway, not building a transit system to carry passengers around the airport (using buses instead) and smaller terminal buildings. The aim is not only to get the runway working by 2024 but also -with reduced costs – keeping charges for passengers a bit lower. The Airports Commission estimated the cost per passenger would need to rise from £20 now to £29. Airlines like British Airways are not prepared to pay such high costs, and especially not before the runway opens. BA’s Willie Walsh has described Heathrow’s runway plans as “gold-plated”. The Times expects that Heathrow will announce its new “cheaper, faster” plans by the end of September. There is no mention of the “Heathrow Hub” option of extending the northern runway – a slightly cheaper scheme than the airport’s preferred new north west runway. There is no clarity on quite what Heathrow plans for the M25, if they cannot afford to tunnel all 14 lanes (at least £ 5 billion). Lord Deighton said it might be “diverted” or have “some form of bridge.”
Times reveals, from leaked document, members of Cabinet sub-committee on runway issue
The Times says it has seen a leaked document showing the membership of the Cabinet sub-committee, the “Economy and Industrial Strategy (Airports)” sub-committee, that would make a decision on a runway. The list omits Ministers most critical of Heathrow’s expansion, Boris Johnson, (Foreign Secretary, and Justine Greening, Education Secretary). But Sajid Javid (Communities Secretary), who is a Heathrow supporter, keeps his place on the sub-committee, as does Patrick McLoughlin, (Conservative Party Chairman) – who as Transport Secretary was a strong supporter of Heathrow. Theresa May herself will chair the sub-committee, (David Cameron chaired it previously). Other Ministers on the sub-committee are Philip Hammond, (Chancellor), Greg Clark, (Business and Energy Secretary), Andrea Leadsom, (Environment Secretary), David Mundell, (Scottish Secretary), and the chief whip Gavin Williamson. [The previous members were: David Cameron, George Osborne, Sajid Javid, Patrick McLoughlin, Liz Truss, David Mundell, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd, Oliver Letwin and Mark Harper.] It is not known if there will be a free vote on the issue, suspending the normal Cabinet “collective responsibility” as was suggested last week, to overcome the problem of so much opposition to Heathrow. The Times believes that the announcement might be on Tuesday18th October.