Manchester City chief slams Heathrow’s ‘desperate’ attempt to woo Manchester business leaders
Heathrow has been working hard to try to get support for its 3rd runway from Chambers of Commerce across the country. It has been offering the Chambers in the north west around £3,000 to fund events to pitch their runway case. They want the regions to believe they risk losing their link to Heathrow if there is no new runway. Manchester Chamber of Commerce declined the offer, and Manchester Council leader Sir Richard Leese described Heathrow’s approach as ‘desperate’. He said: “I don’t think we should be supporting the Heathrow expansion plan. I think increasingly, evidence says that we don’t need the hub airport and what we ought to do is make better use of the network airports – including Manchester Airport…. What you see is both Heathrow and Gatwick increasingly losing the argument and getting increasingly desperate – as shown in this case. …. Why do our members want to traipse down to London when they can use the airport round the corner?” 25 Chambers have backed Heathrow, but Sir Richard Leese says of them they are getting an unbalanced view from Heathrow. “Perhaps I ought to write to London Chamber of Commerce to set up a meeting for Manchester Airport.”
City chief slams Heathrow’s ‘desperate’ attempt to woo Manchester business leaders
Heathrow Airport bosses have approached Greater Manchester business leaders to garner support for expansion in the south-east
Manchester’s town hall bosses have slammed a ‘desperate’ attempt by Heathrow bosses to get support for their expansion plans from Greater Manchester’s business community.
The country’s biggest airport has approached chambers of commerce across the north west offering each around £3,000 to fund events to pitch their case for a third runway.
Their bid is currently being considered by the Airports Commission against an option for Gatwick expansion.
A source at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce confirmed Heathrow had approached them hoping to woo up to 300 business leaders – but they declined the offer.
But 25 other chambers have agreed – costing Heathrow around £75,000 – before voting to support the country’s biggest hub’s bid for expansion.
Part of Heathrow’s pitch warned of the risk of losing connections from north west cities to Heathrow if expansion didn’t go ahead.
Manchester council leader Sir Richard Leese described Heathrow’s approach as ‘desperate’.
He said: “I don’t think we should be supporting the Heathrow expansion plan.
“I think increasingly, evidence says that we don’t need the hub airport and what we ought to do is make better use of the network airports – including Manchester Airport.
“What you see is both Heathrow and Gatwick increasingly losing the argument and getting increasingly desperate – as shown in this case.”
Manchester council leader Sir Richard LeeseManchester council leader Sir Richard Leese
He added: “From Greater Manchester Chamber’s point of view it’s a very simple argument. Why do our members want to traipse down to London when they can use the airpot round the corner?”
On the chambers who voted to support the Heathrow bid, he added: “It’s right for them to try to gather evidence but I don’t think it’s sensible to come to a decision based on the unbalanced view they will get from Heathrow.”
He added: “Perhaps I ought to write to London Chamber of Commerce to set up a meeting for Manchester Airport.”
A Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce source said: “We were approached by Heathrow Airport to run an event for a number of businesses explaining how the expansion of Heathrow would be good for this region.
“However, we declined that as we believe that flights directly from Manchester Airport would serve the business community within the region better.
“We are not against the expansion of Heathrow but choose to actively support further use of Manchester.”
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airport has blasted the ‘unprecedented’ levels of government funding potentially needed for expanding Heathrow and Gatwick.
Manchester Airport chief executive Charlie Cornish
But MP Graham Stringer, for Blackley and Broughton, said the chamber was wrong to decline Heathrow’s offer.
He said: “Heathrow should get a third runway. The country needs a major hub airport which benefits the whole economy, and as a result Manchester.
“Manchester is not competing with Heathrow. I think Charlie Cornish has made a mistake by changing the policy.
“Constraining Heathrow send trade to France, Holland and Germany and that’s in nobody’s interest. It’s the worst kind of attitude that will damage Manchester.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Heathrow does not decide what routes go where, that is ultimately a commercial decision for the airlines. We have consistently argued however that regional airports should benefit from direct links to Heathrow. Those routes could better connect regional businesses with growth markets around the world, creating jobs and growth across the country.
“It is normal for Chambers to ask for a small amount of money to sponsor an event to help them to cover their costs and allow their members to hear about interesting policy issues. Many other companies and government bodies also do this so they can hear views directly from firms. Sponsorship covers payment for a venue, catering, marketing and arranging the event. We look forward to continuing to engage businesses on an issue which is vital to the economic prosperity of the whole of the UK.”
He added: “We were disappointed not to be able to make our case to businesses in Manchester, but respect the decision of their chamber of commerce to decline.”
25 Chambers that have voted to support expansion at Heathrow
North & Western Lancashire
West London Business
West & North Yorkshire
West Cheshire & North Wales
Comment from an AirportWatch member: “If it wasn’t so important one might derive some enjoyment from watching the airport owners fighting like ferrets in a sack………..”
Expansion at Heathrow would block expansion of regional airports
The problem for the regional airports, including Manchester, is that if Heathrow or Gatwick is allowed a new runway, and it is used enough to repay its investors their money, that means – under the carbon target for UK aviation – there is very little ability for the regional airports (like Manchester) to expand in future.
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Plans to fit a new south east runway within UK climate targets are based on a ‘wing and a prayer’ – rather than reality
Two new reports have been produced, which seriously challenge the Airports Commission’s claim that it is possible to build a new runway and still meet the UK Government’s climate change targets. The reports also argue that building a new runway in the south east would worsen the north/south divide, as growth at the regional airports would need to be constrained in order to ensure CO2 emissions from aviation fall to their 2005 levels by 2050. The RSPB report, “Aviation, climate change and sharing the load” and the WWF report, by the AEF “The implications of a new South East runway on regional airport expansion” demonstrate that if a new runway is built, commitments under the Climate Change Act cannot be met unless significant constraints are imposed on the level of activity at regional airports. Both reports illustrate that if aviation emissions were allowed to soar, that would impose costs on the rest of the economy rising to perhaps between £1 billion and £8.4 billion per year by 2050 as non-aviation sectors would need to make even deeper emissions cuts. The regulatory regime for aviation carbon emissions is still just aspirational. Contrary to the impression given by the government and the Airports Commission, the issue of climate in relation to airport expansion has not been resolved.
Manchester Airports boss deeply critical of likelihood of large public subsidy aiding Heathrow or Gatwick runway
The CEO of Manchester Airports group, Charlie Cornish, has protested about the likelihood of public funds being used to assist a new south east runway. He says: “Given the private interests at stake, adopting a special set of rules that favours the delivery of new capacity over the use of existing capacity, will have profound adverse consequences for competition and consumers in the long-run.” More public funds for London airports does not help regional airports. The Commission, in its consultation documents on Heathrow and Gatwick runway plans, does not give specific figures on anticipated public subsidy. But it comments there “may be a case” for some funding by the public sector. Equally, if the airport benefits from surface transport paid for by the taxpayer “may mean that a contribution from the scheme promoter to these costs is justified.” State aid rules may also require an airport operator to make an appropriate payment, if it benefits from a surface access scheme. “The Government would need to reach its own view on the level of public investment that can be justified.”
Classic council nimbyism: Wandsworth Council backs Gatwick expansion – anything to avoid more Heathrow noise misery
Wandsworth Council has been a vociferous opponent of expansion at Heathrow, because its residents are badly affected by Heathrow aircraft noise. But now a motion has been voted on – unanimously – by the full Wandsworth Council, backing a new runway at Gatwick. This is a stunning example of Council nimbyism, and irresponsible self interest. Gatwick has spent a lot of money in lobbying west London councils, and this has paid off in Wandsworth. The Council rightly praises itself on its battle against Heathrow, expansion which “would deliver a devastating blow to hundreds of thousands of Londoners whose lives would be blighted by noise and pollution.” They appear not to appreciate that they are advocating inflicting the same misery on other people, in Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Wandsworth even hopes Gatwick expansion will benefit them financially. Their view is based on the opinions of their unfortunate residents, who suffer significantly from Heathrow, but Wandsworth also unquestioningly backs the myth of airport expansion in the south east being “badly needed.” You can email them your views: email@example.com