Labour continue to back Heathrow third runway

 09.02.10 (UK Airport News)

The Government’s decision to give the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow
has ‘stood the test of time’, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has said yesterday.
He added he was ‘confident’ an agreement would be reached with the European Commission
over pollution levels at the airport, which already exceed EU limits.

Conservative transport spokeswoman Baroness Hanham suggested a third runway would ‘make it impossible to improve the air quality
sufficiently to avoid this country being penalised’.   Her comments follow a report
last month by the London Assembly’s environment committee that there were ‘clear
inadequacies’ in the safeguards against air, noise and climate pollution imposed
on the proposed expansion.

Lord Adonis told peers at question time: ‘In respect of the decision to allow
a planning application to come forward for a third runway, subject to conditions
being met, that decision has stood the test of time. Despite two years of recession,
Heathrow is still running at nearly 100% capacity despite the downturn in business
at other airports.’

‘It is our main international hub airport, the lifeblood of our economy depends
upon it and this Government will not betray the national interest by refusing
to take a decision that is manifestly in the best interests of the country.’

Lord Adonis added: ‘We are in discussions with the European Commission [on emissions].
I’m confident that we will reach a satisfactory position, but in respect of nitrogen
dioxide – which is the particular issue of concern – combined aircraft and road
vehicle nitrogen dioxide emissions around Heathrow are expected to halve by 2030
compared to 2002 even with a fully utilised third runway.’