Lib Dem Pre-Manifesto 2014 – definite opposition to any new south east runway, taking account of climate impact
The Liberal Democrats have launched their Pre-Manifesto 2014, and it contains an emphatic statement against any new runway at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted – and no estuary airport. Their policy: “Ensure our airport infrastructure meets the needs of a modern and open economy, without allowing emissions from aviation to undermine our goal of a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. We will carefully consider the conclusions of the Davies Review into runway capacity and develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK in the light of those recommendations and advice from the Committee on Climate Change. We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary, because of local issues of air and noise pollution. We will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK as a whole by prohibiting the opening of any new runways unless others are closed elsewhere.” It is thought that this position will not be popular with big business, which wants expanded airport, and ever increasing aviation – with little consideration for the climate impacts.
This is the text, relating to runways, from the Lib Dem Pre-Manifesto 2014:
(Page 22 link )
“Ensure our airport infrastructure meets the needs of a modern
and open economy, without allowing emissions from aviation
to undermine our goal of a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. We will
carefully consider the conclusions of the Davies Review into runway
capacity and develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of
the UK in the light of those recommendations and advice from
the Committee on Climate Change. We remain opposed to any
expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport
in the Thames Estuary, because of local issues of air and noise
pollution. We will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK
as a whole by prohibiting the opening of any new runways unless
others are closed elsewhere.”
Nick Clegg rules out London air expansion plans
Kate McCann (City AM)
9th September 2014
LIBERAL Democrat leader Nick Clegg has ruled out airport expansion in London if his party is elected in 2015.
Launching the party’s draft manifesto yesterday, Clegg vowed to oppose any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick, as well as a new airport in the Thames Estuary because of air and noise pollution. The party is also against any net increase in the number of runways across the UK. The plans will cause concern among business leaders, who have been calling for airport expansion in London for years. On Monday, the Confederation of British Industry called the lack of capacity a “ticking time bomb”.
“We’ve learnt our lesson from tuition fees – and we’ve learnt it the hard way. There will be no repeat of that mistake,” the Lib Dem leader promised, adding that 75 per cent of his party’s previous manifesto pledges were successfully negotiated into the coalition agreement.
The manifesto includes around 300 pledges, some more controversial than others. Plans to move towards the legalisation of some drugs for personal use is a key proposal, as well as a plan to build 300,000 new homes a year and 10 new garden cities.
This manifesto commitment means, in effect, the LibDems would veto the expansion of any airport – whether Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted – during the next parliament if the Lib Dems formed part of another coalition government.
The Lib Dems have arrived at their position after a lengthy debate, on the basis of the impact of aviation on climate change and the effect of Heathrow’s expansion on voters in southwest London. The party has several seats in the area including Twickenham and Kingston & Surbiton and has previously held Richmond.
Before the 2010 election Nick Clegg warned: “A 3rd runway at Heathrow would be a disaster for the local area as well as a disaster for the whole country.”
There is thought to be some opposition to the no-runways position, within the party, from MPs who believe (rightly or wrongly) that planes will become “cleaner and quieter”. The reality is that planes will become very slightly more fuel efficient, and very slightly less noisy, but not enough to make much difference, and these improvements will be cancelled out by growth in air traffic.
Many LibDems are stuck between a desire to be environmentally responsible, and the ever-present push for economic growth, regardless of its consequences. One said: “I believe Lib Dem’s ambitions for a greener future must also fit with our vision for a stronger economy and a fairer society – and that means looking for opportunities for growth across the whole country. …. We don’t yet know how technology will improve air travel: carbon emissions may fall faster or slower than currently predicted, and our policy response must be flexible to accommodate the evidence as it emerges. . . There is a real chance we risk prejudicing decades of growth by nailing down excessively restrictive plans for airport growth now.”
The Lib Dems said at the time of the interim report from the Airports Commission in December 2013 that they were “not opposed in principle” to new runways in the south east.
But they are now back to opposing runways, in the so-called “pre-manifesto.”
Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt defies party over runway extensions
- 4.9.2014 (Birmingham Post)
Member for Solihull says she wants to leave the door open for expansion of sites such as Birmingham Airport
A Midland MP has put herself on collision course with her own party by rejecting calls for a ban on new airport runways.
Lorely Burt, Liberal Democrat MP for Solihull, has defied the party by saying she wants to leave the door open for the expansion of airports such as Birmingham Airport, which published proposals for a second runway last year.
She is to take on activists who want future governments to allow “no net growth” in runways, in a debate at the party’s conference in October.
The runway ban is to be included in the party’s pre-manifesto, launched by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.
This is an early draft of the General Election manifesto for next year’s poll.
It is due to be debated at the conference, to be held in Glasgow, where policy proposals will be put to a vote.
Ms Burt, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, is to propose an amendment to strike out the ban and highlight the importance of airports outside London for regional jobs and growth.
However, she is likely to face opposition from activists who argue that preventing new runways will protect the environment.
Writing for the Birmingham Post, Ms Burt said the Lib Dems’ ambitions for a greener future “must also fit with our vision for a stronger economy and a fairer society”.
“It would be short-sighted of us to rule out new routes for airlines offering a chance to explore new markets and encourage investment,” she added.
“There is a real chance we risk prejudicing decades of growth by nailing down excessively restrictive plans for airport growth now.”
Birmingham Airport last year published plans to build a second runway, allowing it to expand into a truly global airport capable of dealing with 70 million passengers each year – as many as Heathrow handles now.
The proposals were submitted to the Airports Commission addressing a shortage of capacity in the UK.
The commission last year decided not to shortlist proposals for expanding Birmingham but said there was likely to be a case for considering the airport as a potential option for expansion by 2050.
Under the plans submitted to the commission, the airport would also have an additional terminal and see up to 500,000 take-offs and landings annually.
The plan has a heavyweight coalition behind it, with business leaders, local councils and MPs all firmly on board including MP Mark Garnier (Con Wyre Forest), Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group.
An Aviation Commission set up by the Government is considering whether to allow a new runway at Heathrow or at Gatwick Airport.
Birmingham Airport has urged the commission to give a greater role to airports in other parts of the country.