Heathrow rail link a ‘cynical ploy’

5.1.2009   (Independent)

By Michael McCarthye, Evironment Editor

Suggestions from a government minister that a high-speed rail link may be built
alongside a third runway at Heathrow were described last night as a “cynical ploy”.


The Transport minister Lord Adonis said at the weekend that an international
rail interchange could be built at Heathrow, in compensation for the environmental
damage a new runway would cause. He was taking over an idea produced by the Conservatives,
who said that they would build a new high-speed rail line to Birmingham, Manchester
and Leeds instead of the third runway – thus obviating the need for more short-haul
flights to provincial cities. The “Heathrow Hub”, costing £4.5bn, would extend
the high-speed rail network from the Channel Tunnel line at St Pancras station
into the rest of Britain.

John Stewart, of the campaign group Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft
Noise, said the Government was “in disarray” about the project. “They never talked
about a rail link until the Tories brought it up,” he added. “To add it on at
the last minute is just a cynical ploy.”