Boris may follow Heathrow legal case “with lively interest” – while business lobby insists 3rd runway must go ahead
The Sun reports that Boris hinted, in a reply to a question by Caroline Lucas, that he might change government policy on Heathrow. The Sun says Mr Johnson told MPs he will “study the outcome of the court cases” on the Heathrow 3rd runway plans, with a “lively interest.” This is especially relevant now that the Appeal Court has permitted appeals by all the legal challenges, which were rejected on 1st May. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion) asked if the Prime Minister would scrap the third runway given his opposition to the scheme as London mayor. She said: “Few will forget his pledge to lie down in front of the bulldozers to stop the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Luckily for him, luckily for us all, he is now at the steering wheel and can turn those bulldozers around.” Boris replied: “Of course, the bulldozers are some way off but I am following with lively interest the court cases.” Business groups will shortly be writing to Boris, to put pressure on him not to cancel the runway, pushing the line that failing to support a third runway will “prevent us all from successfully building a global Britain”.
The question by Caroline Lucas, and reply by Boris Johnson on 25th July, can be seen at https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2019-07-25a.1456.8&s=Runway#g1472.4
HEATHROW HINT Boris Johnson hints he may scrap Heathrow third runway in expansion U-turn
By Steve Hawkes (The Sun)
26 Jul 2019,
THE PM hinted yesterday he might change Government policy on a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
Mr Johnson told MPs he will “study the outcome of the court cases” in relation to the expansion of the west London airport with a “lively interest.”
Last year MPs backed a third runway at Heathrow Airport, however, several environmental groups are challenging that decision in the courts.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion) asked if the Prime Minister would scrap the third runway given his opposition to the scheme as London mayor.
She said: “The UK’s air pollution is at illegal levels and scientists are clear that we need to do a lot more to address the growing climate crisis.
“Few will forget the Prime Minister’s pledge to lie down in front of the bulldozers to stop the construction of a third runway at Heathrow airport.
“Luckily for him—luckily for us all—he is now at the steering wheel and can turn those bulldozers around.
“Will he do it? Will he scrap the third runway?” Link
Responding, Mr Johnson said: “Of course, the bulldozers are some way off, but I am following the court cases with a lively interest because I share the hon. Lady’s concerns about air quality and pollution.
“However, I would point out parenthetically that NOx pollution has in fact fallen by 29% under this Conservative Government. The hon. Lady did not point that out.
“I will study the outcome of the court cases with a lively interest.
Mr Johnson also said the Northern Powerhouse Rail project – also known as HS3 – is something that should “definitely” happen.
Business groups challenge PM to ditch Heathrow opposition
25.7.2019 (Sky News)
A letter from major business groups to Boris Johnson will urge the new PM to support the airport’s expansion, Sky News learns.
By Mark Kleinman, City editor
Boris Johnson is facing his first substantive challenge from Britain’s business community with a demand that he ditches his long-standing opposition to the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
Sky News has learned that five major UK business groups, including the CBI and British Chambers of Commerce, have signed a letter to Mr Johnson in which he will be warned that failing to support a third runway will “prevent us all from successfully building a global Britain”.
The letter will be sent in the coming days, soon after the new prime minister stood in Downing Street and pledged to back major infrastructure projects across Britain with billions of pounds of new investment.
However, the intervention from some of the UK’s most influential business groups on Mr Johnson’s first full day as prime minister will throw the spotlight on to an issue which has been politically toxic for the former London mayor.
In 2015, he vowed as the MP for Uxbridge – a constituency which is close to the UK’s busiest aviation hub – to “lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway”.
When MPs voted on the expansion of Heathrow last year, the then foreign secretary opted to fly to Afghanistan in order to avoid voting against the government of which he was a member.