Conservatives firm up opposition to Heathrow expansion as 6 trade unions come out against 3rd runway

14.10.2008 (HACAN and NoTRAG press release)
See the advert  signed by the unions:   The advert (PDF, 670K)

Conservative Transport Spokeswoman Theresa Villiers has warned any firm considering
working on the proposed third runway at Heathrow to be "very, very careful" about
signing contracts.  She has said the Conservatives will not consider themselves
bound by any decision taken by the current Government.   She also said that the
Conservatives would scrap a second runway at Stansted.

Further opposition to a third runway emerged today when, for the first time,
six trade unions called for it to scrapped.  In a full page advert in today’s
Times UNISON, TSSA, ASLEF, the RMT, PCS and Connect called for investment in improved
rail instead.

John Stewart, Chair of the campaign group HACAN, said, "These are two very significant

The Conservatives could not have made it clearer to business that they will not
proceed with a third runway.   And it is now obvious that trade union support for
a third runway is nowhere near as strong as pro-expansion groups such as Future
Heathrow and Flying Matters like to make out.   The announcements heap the pressure
on the Government to abandon its plans for Heathrow expansion."

Geraldine Nicholson, the Chair of the No Third Runway Action Group, said, "The
tide is turning against the Government.   Organisations from both the right and
left are saying that the third runway makes no sense in economic or environmental


 For further information contact:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641; 07957385650  

 Geraldine Nicholson on 01895 854519 or 07710523369  


See also the Campaign For Better Transport Press release:

Unions join the fight against Heathrow expansion

10 October 2008

Campaign for Better Transport [1] today joined with six unions and nine organisations
[2] to condemn plans for airport expansion. The groups say that if the Government
pushes ahead with expanding our airports, the UK will never be able to meet the
new target of cutting emissions by 80% by 2050 [3] and play its part in fighting
climate change.

What’s more, UK businesses do not need bigger airports in order to thrive. Business
travel accounts for a quarter of passenger trips by plane, but research into alternatives
to aviation [4] launched today (14 October) by Campaign for Better Transport reveals
that businesses already attribute many benefits to alternatives to air travel
such as rail travel and teleconferencing. By improving these alternatives, the
new Transport Secretary can create jobs, generate business and help in the fight
against climate change.

The research found that part of the 80% cut can be achieved by tempting air passengers
onto low-carbon alternatives such as trains.  A north-south high-speed rail line
would be particularly effective in cutting short-haul business flights, as business
travellers are concerned about journey time, choosing to fly if the same journey
would take more than three hours by train. More and better on-board facilities
for business people, such as Wi-Fi services and power points, as well as airport-style
lounges at stations, would also make rail travel more attractive.

The need for many business trips can be removed by advances in teleconferencing
technology. In the past, it was thought that teleconferencing increased business
flights. But all of the businesses surveyed for Campaign for Better Transport’s
report said that teleconferencing can reduce the need to travel. This shift highlights
the necessity for Government to rethink the supposed need for airport expansion.
This need could be reduced still further if the Government worked closely with
businesses to increase the take-up of teleconferencing technology.

Jason Torrance, campaigns director at Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“The Government must scrap plans for airport expansion and assist businesses
in moving towards a low-carbon economy. If we are to have any hope of reducing
emissions by 80% by 2050 investment must be put into alternatives to air travel
to give people and businesses real choice.”

Notes for editors

[1] Campaign for Better Transport works to secure transport policies and programmes
that improve people’s quality of life whilst reducing environmental impact.

[2] Campaign for Better Transport has been joined by UNISON, five other unions
and nine organisations in placing an advert in the national press (14 October).
Organisations supporting the advert are ASLEF, Campaign for Better Transport,
Campaign to Protect Rural England, Connect, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance,
Greenpeace, HACAN ClearSkies, NoTRAG, Public and Commercial Services Union, Restore
UK, RMT, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, UNISON, World Development Movement
and 2M group.


[4]  The research in full (PDF, 1.23MB) or a two-page summary (PDF, 36K).


See also

Tories warn they will not honour decisions over Heathrow or Stansted expansion

News Item added: 14th October 2008

The Conservative party told BAA to abandon a £160m planning application for a
2nd runway at Stansted airport yesterday after warning that the project would
be scrapped by a Tory government. Theresa Villiers also warned any firm considering
working on the proposed 3rd runway at Heathrow to be “very, very careful” about
signing contracts. The Tories have pledged to replace a new runway at Heatrow
with a high-speed rail link. (Guardian)


Tories warn firms off Heathrow

News Item added: 14th October 2008

The Conservative Party has warned firms not to get involved in any plans for
a 3rd runway at Heathrow. They warned they would stop its expansion if they won
power at the election. “Anyone getting involved in any contract for a 3rd runway
should be very, very careful,” said Theresa Villiers. “We will not consider ourselves
bound by any decision taken by this government”. Meanwhile, women activists gathered
in Parliament Square to opposite expansion. (BBC)


Airports see 5% fall in passengers in September

News Item added: 14th October 2008

Britain’s leading airports handled 5% fewer passengers than a year ago in September
as the financial crisis began to bite. BAA blamed the decline partly on the collapse
of XL Airways. Heathrow saw 3.6% fewer passengers. Stansted saw a 4.7% drop in
passengers confirming a year-long slowdown at the UK’s biggest low-cost airport.
See the CAA provisional figures for September. (Travel Weekly)