Joint letter from Green NGOs in the Guardian about Conservative policy on Heathrow

4.10.2008   (Letter to the Guardian)

Dear Sir,

The reaction of the airline industry to the Conservative Party’s proposal to
scrap plans for a third runway at Heathrow is predictable but flawed (Guardian
2/10.08).   BAA and British Airways are bound to lobby on behalf of their own interests,
but their economic arguments don’t add up.   The evidence is now clear that the
prosperity of the entire UK economy does not hinge on the expansion of one airport
in South East England.   Over the past decade, as other European airports have
expanded more quickly than Heathrow, business has come to London in record numbers.

Hundreds of flights leave Heathrow every day for cities like Paris, Manchester,
and Brussels, and these could easily be cut if our railways were improved across
the board. The experience of countries such as France shows that a sensibly-priced,
high-speed rail system does attract a significant number of air passengers.   The
Conservatives are right to expect something similar would happen at Heathrow,
negating any need for a third runway.

Government’s job is to put the UK’s long term interests first. In years to come,
David Cameron’s decision will be seen as a moment when our political leaders faced
up to the urgency of action on climate change.

John Stewart, Chair HACAN

Tim Johnson, Director Aviation Environment Federation

Stephen Joseph, Director Campaign for Better Transport

Stephen Hale, Director Green Alliance

John Sauven, Director Greenpeace

Benedict Southwark, Director World Development Movement

David Norman, Director of Campaigns WWF – UK