Heathrow expansion will mean less direct international flights for Yorkshire, analysis shows
The Government faces considerable uncertainties in trying to push through the plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway, and get enough MPs to vote for it. Labour may oppose the plans, and analysis showed northern airports will lose out on thousands of international flights if Heathrow got a 3rd runway. The government hopes they can mislead the SNP with pledges of huge benefits from the runway, based on out-of-date figures for possible economic benefit from the runway, and crazily calculated (back of envelope, starting with the wrong number) calculations about possible future jobs. It is likely that Leeds Bradford Airport would see 4,449 fewer international flights a year by 2030 if the 3rd runway went ahead. Doncaster Sheffield Airport would lose 1,413 while the North’s major hub – Manchester – would lose 20,258. Keighley MP John Grogan, who requested the figures from the Commons Transport Committee, said Heathrow expansion would mean Britain’s regions losing out. The Labour MP also questioned the Government’s pledge to ring-fence 15% per cent of slots on the new runway for domestic connections to the rest of the UK. This can only happen if they are subsidised, and these flights almost always run at a loss.
Heathrow expansion will mean less direct international flights for Yorkshire, analysis shows
A vote on Heathrow expansion is due by the end of the month.
7 June 2018 (Yorkshire Post)
By Arj Singh
The Government was facing a fresh headache over a third runway at Heathrow Airport after Labour suggested it could oppose expansion and analysis showed northern airports will lose out on thousands of international flights if it went ahead.
Theresa May is already being challenged by several west London-based Tory MPs ready to oppose a third runway and may have to rely on votes from the SNP and DUP to get it through the Commons in the coming weeks. The decision to press ahead with expansion of the airport was announced on Tuesday after years of wrangling and delay. After Prime Minister’s Questions, a senior Labour source said the party was “sceptical” over whether the Government’s plans for Heathrow would meet its four tests for airport expansion in the South-East, revolving around capacity, noise, the environment and regional connectivity.
The source said Labour would have to examine full details of the proposals before deciding whether its MPs should vote for the third runway plans, but added: “It has to meet those four tests. So far, what we have seen looks like the existing proposals don’t do that.” Heathrow third runway vote for MPs expected within weeks Ministers also faced a potential backlash from northern MPs after a Commons committee’s analysis of official projections showed Leeds Bradford Airport would see 4,449 fewer international flights a year by 2030 if expansion went ahead.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport would lose 1,413 while the North’s major hub – Manchester – would lose 20,258. Keighley MP John Grogan, who requested the figures from the Commons Transport Committee, said Heathrow expansion would mean Britain’s regions losing out. The Labour MP also questioned the Government’s pledge to ringfence 15 per cent of slots on the new runway for domestic connections to the rest of the UK.
Mr Grogan told The Yorkshire Post: “These official figures clearly illustrate that Heathrow expansion will be at the cost of international flights to and from the other nations of the United Kingdom and English regions outside London and the South East. “More direct point to point international flights from the North are what is needed for growth.
“Ministers have offered no practical support for this. The £9bn benefit of Heathrow expansion “Furthermore empty promises of connections to Heathrow are worth little more than the paper they are written on as recent cuts in flights from Leeds Bradford to Heathrow indicate. “Frequent connections to Amsterdam from airports like Leeds Bradford in the North are now more important for onward connections than the handful of flights to Heathrow.”
Doncaster Sheffield Airport said there were “many variables” in the Department for Transport (DfT) forecasts which it said primarily focuses on national rather than regional demand. “Overall passenger demand for the UK will continue to increase and we feel that at DSA we are well placed to accommodate it.”
Yorkshire sites in the running to be named Heathrow Logistics Hub A DfT spokeswoman said overall passenger numbers would rise with the 15 per cent ring-fence. She said: “Our analysis shows that regional airports will continue to grow strongly with expansion at Heathrow and passenger numbers are expected to see an 80 per cent increase by 2050.”
Jayne Dowle: Heathrow airport decision another snub to the North
7 June 2018
I crawled past Heathrow airport last Bank Holiday. The traffic jams on the M25 around the slipway added half an hour to what had otherwise been an uneventful Sunday morning journey from South Yorkshire to Surrey to visit family.
If there’s congestion here at this time on a quiet weekend, what’s it going to be like if the third Heathrow runway, heralded this week by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, receives full approval and goes ahead? Like a jumbo jet circling overhead, the debate over Heathrow expansion seems to have rumbled on for years. Yet now the national policy statement has been announced, the decision will be made at rapid speed.
Parliamentary protocol dictates that a Commons vote must follow within 21 days. Current political vibes suggest that Grayling is so frightened of losing control – and possibly his job – he is urging a snappy three-line Government whip. And then we wonder why our so-called national transport policy is so piecemeal and chaotic. If this is the way irrevocable decisions are made, it’s a wonder anyone reaches anywhere on time. I don’t want to hear another politician blaming Brexit for the haste either.
If this country is to remain cohesive in the face of future challenges, it cannot be weighted unfairly at the bottom. As we sat in the Heathrow-bound traffic I fell into conversation with the children about planes, funnily enough. If two kids can question why it’s not feasible to fly to many US destinations from airports in Yorkshire and the North, why can’t the Secretary of State for Transport take it on board too? My two made an excellent point. When we flew to Los Angeles a few years back, we endured the ridiculous situation of a four-hour car journey from South Yorkshire to Heathrow to catch the plane.
And now we have Doncaster-Sheffield airport on our doorstep, hoping for a multi-million pound international expansion and a proposed new rail link to connect with Leeds and Newcastle. Our forward-thinking regional airports do not deserve to be treated like second-class options; it’s here where the potential for growth really lies.
The Transport Secretary should be careful what he wishes for. This is more than a vote about an airport. It is a timely reminder of the Prime Minister’s 2017 General Election manifesto promise to listen to the North. Tomorrow marks a year since Mrs May was returned to Downing Street. So far, we are not impressed by her efforts. This newspaper, along with other regional titles, is petitioning the Prime Minister to address urgently the matter of chaotic rail services outside the capital. An announcement on Heathrow is a fine way to underline her commitment to getting the country moving.
And it also has the potential to cause serious damage to the Government. Rotherham-born Conservative MP Justine Greening, whose Putney constituency in west London would be adversely affected by increased aircraft noise and pollution, is urging a free Commons vote. “I’ve always been clear I can’t support this proposal going through parliament, even if it’s whipped,” she told Radio 4’s Today programme.
The prospect of a rebellion just before the summer recess is not one that the Prime Minister will welcome. The issue demands proper debate. Heathrow is an opportunity for all MPs to talk about transport. For too long now we have all been guilty of dividing up transport into neat little boxes; roads, rail, airports, cycling, walking. As this perfect storm of airport expansion in the South East and cancelled, withdrawn and over-crowded trains in the North gathers speed, surely the time has come to address the entire matter. Politicians must consider all the implications, instead of being forced to take a party political stance. For instance, what levels of chaos might motorists expect if the proposed tunnel – yes, a tunnel – is constructed under the M25 to accommodate the new runway?
If this happens, I think the only way we will be going to Surrey for the foreseeable future is via a plane from a regional airport to Southampton and then driving back up the M3. Sorry to bore you with my personal travel dilemmas, but this is the point that Grayling and many other politicians are totally missing – whether they are standing judge and jury over an extra runway at Heathrow or cutting vital train services across the North. Every journey taken, disrupted, delayed or not taken at all, is a personal one.
The decisions made on our behalf do not take into account the impact which inadequate or ill-placed transport has on the lives of millions of people. And neither do they appear to address the good of the country as a whole, or pay respect to the voices which press for fairer economic and employment opportunities for all. Transport is more than a means of getting from A to B. It’s the lifeblood of society, pumping prosperity through its veins. It’s time that all politicians took it seriously and considered exactly where their loyalties lie.