Lillian Greenwood, Chair of the Transport Committee, accuses Grayling of ignoring its Heathrow recommendations

The UK government has largely ignored recommendations from the Transport Select Committee, a key parliamentary body, about Heathrow’s 3rd runway scheme. The committee’s Chair, Lilian Greenwood, said this makes it more likely the courts will strike down the project. She said Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, “gave the impression that 24 of our 25 recommendations had been accepted”, but said his comments were just “rhetoric”. … “The reality was that only two or three of our recommendations were actually accepted. …“I suppose at best you could say that the government said they agreed with the spirit of our recommendations and would ensure those matters were dealt with in the [planning] process.” The committee’s recommendations, if the runway went ahead, included adopting stricter air-quality standards, setting a binding target to prevent more airport-related traffic and defining noise-pollution limits.  Now a Judicial Review of the government’s Airports NPS (ie. the Heathrow runway) by 5 local councils and Greenpeace, with the backing of the Mayor of London, is starting. If the courts overturn the government’s decision, it “make the economic case on which Heathrow expansion is predicated less favourable”.  ie. not good for investors.
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Grayling accused of snubbing MPs advice over Heathrow

Fears ignoring recommendations on new runway’s impact could imperil development

High Court is to consider a judicial review of government’s decision to support the £14bn Heathrow extension

By Josh Spero, Transport Correspondent (Financial Times)

AUGUST 5, 2018

The UK government has largely ignored recommendations from a key parliamentary committee about Heathrow airport’s third runway scheme, the committee’s chair has said, making it much more likely that courts will strike down the project.

Lilian Greenwood, the Labour MP who chairs the Commons transport select committee, said transport secretary Chris Grayling “gave the impression that 24 of our 25 recommendations had been accepted”, but said his comments were just “rhetoric”.

“The reality was that only two or three of our recommendations were actually accepted,” she said. “I suppose at best you could say that the government said they agreed with the spirit of our recommendations and would ensure those matters were dealt with in the [planning] process.”

The committee’s recommendations for Heathrow expansion included adopting stricter air-quality standards, setting a binding target to prevent more airport-related traffic and defining noise-pollution limits.

Later this year, the High Court will consider a judicial review against the government’s decision to support the £14bn Heathrow project. The judicial review has been brought by five local councils, with the backing of Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, and Greenpeace, the environmental campaigning organisation.

The councils are challenging the decision on the grounds of air quality, climate change, noise pollution and transport access.

Ms Greenwood said that if the courts overturned the government’s decision, it would “make the economic case on which Heathrow expansion is predicated less favourable” and mean “even greater extended uncertainty” for local communities.

Ms Greenwood’s committee has also been investigating the failure of the East Coast mainline franchise. In May, the government stripped the franchise from Virgin and Stagecoach.

It has also been looking into the disastrous introduction of new timetables in May, which has led to thousands of cancelled services and months of disruption.

Ms Greenwood criticised Mr Grayling over both affairs, saying both she and her colleagues on the cross-party committee felt “the secretary of state hasn’t been as candid as we would have liked around some of the decision-making in the department”.

Ms Greenwood added that Mr Grayling’s decision to make the East Coast franchise a public-private partnership was somewhat ad hoc, saying: “It certainly felt like it was a work in progress.”

“When Chris Grayling came in front of us it seemed pretty clear that he hasn’t decided what it was going to look like,” she said. “He’s pinning a lot on Andrew Haines as the [incoming] chief executive of Network Rail to deliver this new approach.”

https://www.ft.com/content/e7621a3c-96f7-11e8-b67b-b8205561c3fe

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