BBC believes runway decision / announcement not on 18th but on 25th October

The BBC’s Kamal Ahmed reports that Theresa May is not going to make an announcement on runways on the 18th October, as many had expected. The decision instead may be on Tuesday 25th October – and the announcement the same day in Parliament. This will be to to allow Cabinet ministers to express their views. “Sources in Whitehall told the BBC that expansion at Heathrow is the clear front runner.”  The BBC believes Mrs May has made it clear she wants to hear the wide-ranging opinions of colleagues in Cabinet, and they will discuss the issue at tomorrow’s meeting. But no final decision is expected.  It will then be left to the Economic Affairs (Transport) sub-committee, [ie. runways sub-committee] chaired by Theresa May herself, to make the final choice on whether to back Heathrow or Gatwick – or both with one after the other – as those are the options the government has seemingly limited itself to. Boris Johnson and Justine Greening, in Cabinet, are fiercely against a 3rd Heathrow runway. Senior Treasury officials believe Heathrow is the better option for boosting UK economic growth (though the Airports Commission’s own reports show this could be as low as a total of £1.4 billion over all the UK over 60 years, taking all costs into account.  That is a vanishingly small figure]. Heathrow has the benefit of fitting in with HS2 for links to the rest of the UK.


Heathrow decision to await Cabinet view

By Kamal Ahmed – Economics editor (BBC)
Monday  17.10.2016
Theresa May is to allow a short pause on whether to give the go-ahead to a new runway at Heathrow so that Cabinet ministers can express their views.
Sources in Whitehall told the BBC that expansion at Heathrow is the clear front runner.
However, the prime minister has made it clear she wants to hear the wide-ranging opinions of colleagues. The BBC has been told the Cabinet will discuss the issue tomorrow but no final decision is expected.
It will then be left to the Economic Affairs (Transport) sub-committee, chaired by Mrs May, to make the final choice on whether to back Heathrow or Gatwick.
One option being looked at is for that committee to meet next Tuesday, 25 October, with an announcement on the same day.
Government officials believe that a third runway at Heathrow or an expansion of the existing runways are now the leading options, although it has been made very clear to me that no final decision has been taken.
Divided Cabinet
In the Cabinet there are splits. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, has been a long-time opponent of Heathrow, describing it as a “fantasy”.
Justine Greening, the education secretary, is also opposed.
Heavyweights who have previously been pro-Heathrow include Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and Sajid Javid, the communities secretary.
Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has been careful not to express a view, but senior Treasury officials have made it clear they believe Heathrow is the better option for boosting economic growth.
That is because it is closer to many more population centres in the UK compared to Gatwick, including Bristol and the South West, the Midlands and the north of England.
One other Cabinet minister told me: “I would do both Heathrow and Gatwick – that would tell the world Britain is open for business.”
That option is officially on the table, although if the government does back Heathrow, it could make positive noises about Gatwick expansion in the future.
It has been pointed out to me by Whitehall sources that expansion at Heathrow more easily fits with the government’s overall transport strategy.
It can be connected to High Speed 2, the fast rail link planned to run between London and Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.
The Scottish government also backs Heathrow, as does the business lobby group the CBI.
Labour is also expected to officially support Heathrow expansion, despite opposition from the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell.
Heathrow’s greatest challenge is on the environment and noise, and many within the government believe a myriad of legal challenges are inevitable from local groups and environmental organisations if a third runway is given the go-ahead.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that the prime minister has been warned by some ministers that there will be “chaos” if she backs Heathrow because of the legal challenges, which could last “for decades”.

BBC reporting Heathrow/Gatwick announcement won’t be this week: rumour is that they want to delay to deal with Witney by-election Thursday.

Nicholas Watt said on Newsnight.

17.10.2016: There will be a vote in the Commons within a week of the runway announcement. Though government are obliged for a National Infrastructure project to hold a vote within a few months, the government wants to hold a vote much earlier.  That is to prevent opponents “building up a head of steam” so even if Zac Goldsmith resigns and there is a by-election, they will have the numbers to support their runway in parliament already by then.


Airports Commission’s only data:   Only £1.4 billion benefit of Heathrow runway for all UK over 60 years

The table below, from P 147 of the Airports Commission final report shows the total benefit of a new NW Heathrow runway, over all the UK, over 60 years, to be just £1.4 billon in their “Assessment of Need” scenario (the one the Commission uses most)  with carbon capping (ie. keeping UK aviation inside its cap, that is consistent with responsibilities under the UK Climate Change Act of 2008.   [Or £11.8 billion carbon traded].

Table 7.1 of financial benefits of runway

This contrasts with the Commisison’s headline claim in its statements to the press etc, of benefits of “up to £147 billion” over 60 years. Those figures are all the benefits, but forgetting to subtract the costs.

Heathrow claims figures of £112 billion, or £211 billion – for all the UK over 60 years. These