Heathrow manages to persuade SNP to back its runway, with hopes of 16,000 jobs (?)

Heathrow have received a boost after the Scottish government announced its backing for its runway plan, which it claimed would create up to 16,000 jobs across Scotland. Environmental campaigners and Green politicians decried the move as “a disaster for climate change”, and questioned whether the promised jobs would ever in fact materialise. The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown, believes there would be more benefits for Scotland from a Heathrow runway than a Gatwick one. A series of commitments, including on jobs, investigating the use of Glasgow Prestwick airport as a potential site for a logistics hub for building the 3rd runway, and a reduction of £10 per passenger on landing charges paid by airlines operating services from Heathrow to Scotland, are apparently included in a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Heathrow airport and the SNP government on Monday 10th.  Opponents are surprised by this move, as GIP owns both Gatwick and Edinburgh airports, and the SNP are behind the growth of Edinburgh airport.  What Scotland wants is more of direct international air routes, not necessarily routes via Heathrow, for business and for cargo (imports and exports). More flights will mean more money taken out of Scotland on leisure trips – something airport expansion advocates always ignore. The current Scottish tourism deficit is already around £1.5 billion per year. 


Support for Heathrow expansion

10.10 2016 (Transport Scotland – an agency of the Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government has announced its support for plans to build a third runway at London Heathrow Airport, after securing key commitments for Scotland.

The expansion plans offer the greatest strategic and economic benefits to Scotland, creating thousands of jobs and providing a significant boost to the country’s connectivity. The airport’s commitments include:

• The creation of up to 16,000 new jobs across Scotland from the new capacity.
• Heathrow will work with the Scottish Government to investigate Glasgow Prestwick Airport as a potential site for a logistics hub to support the building of the third runway.
• £200m of construction-related spend in Scotland during planning and construction.
• A £10m route development fund  to help support new domestic routes.
• From January 2017, a reduction of £10 per passenger on landing charges paid by airlines operating services from Heathrow to Scotland.  This will benefit existing services from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness and incentivise the introduction of new services.
• A significant, long term marketing campaign at Heathrow to promote all that Scotland has to offer.
• A procurement event in Glasgow to enhance opportunities for Scottish firms to win business with Tier 1 Heathrow suppliers.

London Heathrow Airport will make these commitments in a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed with the Scottish Government today.

…. and it continues …



Heathrow third runway expansion wins backing of Scottish government

Holyrood backs plan to extend London hub amid claims it will create 16,000 jobs across Scotland

Monday 10 October 2016

Plans for a third runway at Heathrow have received a significant boost after the Scottish government announced its backing for the scheme, which it claimed would create up to 16,000 jobs across Scotland.

Holyrood made the announcement amid mounting speculation that the Westminster government is
to back a third runway in the coming weeks, ending years of arguments over airport expansion.

Environmental campaigners and Green politicians decried the move as “a disaster for climate change”, and questioned whether the promised jobs stimulus would come to pass.

The cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown, called on Theresa May’s government to follow Scotland’s lead. “It’s now time for the UK government to end its costly prevarication on airport expansion and support Heathrow’s plans to ensure Scotland, and the United Kingdom as a whole, can begin to reap the rewards on offer,” he said.

A series of commitments, including on jobs, investigating the use of Glasgow Prestwick airport as a potential site for a logistics hub for building the third runway, and a reduction of £10 per passenger on landing charges paid by airlines operating services from Heathrow to Scotland, will be included in a memorandum of understanding signed between Heathrow airport and the SNP government on Monday. [So this reduction for passengers going to Scotland could be against competition regulations, and means all other passengers are having to effectively subsidise these flights? And they are going to fly concrete and steel down from Prestwick to Heathrow?? No good rail link?  AW note] 

Announcing the memorandum, Brown said the Scottish government had engaged extensively with Gatwick and Heathrow’s expansion proposals, and the latter’s offered the best deal for Scotland.

“We have been clear from the start of this process that we wanted the best deal for Scotland and building a third runway at Heathrow provides the most significant benefits to the country’s economy and connectivity,” he said.

“Growing the number of direct international air routes to and from Scotland remains a priority for this government, but the proposals from Heathrow offer all our airports a range of benefits that will help them grow passenger numbers and continue to build on their successes.”

John Holland-Kaye, the chief executive of Heathrow, said the partnership demonstrated how the expansion could work “for every region and nation of the UK”. He said an expanded Heathrow would create up to 16,000 jobs in Scotland.

“It would facilitate more airlines flying routes to Scottish airports, meaning more flights, more competition and choice for families and businesses across the nation. That also means more visitors to Scotland, more destinations for Scottish tourists and more opportunity for Scottish businesses to reach new export markets,” Holland-Kaye said.

Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, questioned the job creation figure, saying: “Every time there is discussion about airport expansion of any kind, it is accompanied by ridiculous jobs figures, but it is difficult to see how 16,000 new jobs could materialise with just a bit more direct traffic.”

Dixon said it was self-evident that any increase in flights would equally take people and money out of Scotland: “If it is easier to fly somewhere else then people will do their business elsewhere so that takes business out of Scotland too, and balances out any increase.”

He said his biggest concern was the impact on the environment. “The biggest disappointment is that the Scottish government talks a good game about climate change and here they are backing the expansion of one of our biggest airports, which will result in 70% more traffic and emissions. If we’re concerned about climate change we can’t possibly expand aviation even more.”

Throughout the Scottish National party’s conference, which begins in Glasgow on Thursday 13th, Heathrow will operate a “private, airport-style lounge” with a free bar to promote the benefits of the expansion to Scotland, as it did at last year’s event in Aberdeen.

There have been complaints that the SNP has priced non-corporate campaigners out of the event, with the cost of the cheapest, single stall for a charity this year rising to nearly £3,000. An alternative fringe, to run concurrently with the SNP conference at a nearby – and more affordable – venue, will include Friends of the Earth Scotland.

“Maintaining air links between cities as far apart as Inverness and London makes sense, but at the same time we must invest in improvements to our rail network and make it easy to use technology to do business from anywhere in Scotland. That’s where the Scottish government’s efforts should be focused. The growth of airports is a last-century idea and that’s where it should stay.”





Scottish Government announces its backing for airport expansion at Heathrow

10.10.2016 (Edinburgh Airport Watch press release)

Today Keith Brown finally lifted the veil on the Scottish Government’s support for a vastly polluting industry – this time not Fracking or UCG (underground coal gasification) – but the fossil fuel dependent Aviation industry.

In his announcement of the SNP Government’s support for an additional runway at Heathrow, Mr Brown said that this was the “best deal for Scotland”.

The many thousands of people across East Central Scotland who are currently suffering increased noise and pollution due to multiple changes in airspace use by Edinburgh Airport will not agree with him. Neither will the families living in the 783 homes that stand to be demolished to make way for an unnecessary third runway at Heathrow; or the 500,000 people who will be affected by increased aircraft noise at an expanded Heathrow.

This is a U-Turn from his previously announced policy of supporting the 3 hour train journey from Scotland to London on September 2015.


A commitment Mr Brown repeated in March 2016:

 “This plan will bring to life our target of 3 hours or less Glasgow and Edinburgh to London train journeys, which will lead to a significant move from air to rail, bringing big reductions in carbon emissions”


The reality of airport expansion is bigger planes, flying more frequently and creating huge and unwanted noise across previously tranquil communities with great lagoons of pollution around every airport. Aviation already accounts for 6% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. https://www.theccc.org.uk/charts-data/ukemissions-by-sector/aviation/

The impact of aviation on health and the environment is well documented. A 10dB increase in noise is associated with a 9% increase in depression. Living near an airport is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and dementia. Scotland simply cannot be expected to bear these additional hidden costs.

We should be flying less – not more.  A flight from Scotland to London emits 5 times more CO2 than the equivalent rail journey.  http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/09/08/50-reasons-campaign-references/

Scotland’s Tourism Deficit – the amount of cash that people travelling out of our country spend elsewhere versus the amount tourists spend here is now running at £1.6 billion. This is a direct drain on our economy and costs Scotland the equivalent of about 80,000 jobs.

We note the latest claim from the aviation industry that this plan will create 16,000 jobs for Scotland – as usual not backed up by any evidence of what these jobs might be, or when and where they may one day materialise.

While airport and flights expansion is clearly in the interests of the aviation industry, (much of it owned outside of the UK), when all costs are considered, it cannot be said to be in the interests of the people of Scotland.

Edinburgh Airport Watch said:

“We agree with the Minister, that our Government must act in the best interests of the people of Scotland. In this context his announcement today is fatally flawed.

In 2015, aviation emitted 781m tonnes of CO2. If it was a country, it would be the world’s sixth largest emitter. https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-aviation-finally-agree-climate-deal

By 2050, aviation emissions could consume 25% of the total CO2 reductions budget – a price we cannot afford.https://www.carbonbrief.org/aviation-consume-quarter-carbon-budget

The reality of unfettered airport expansion is an enormous cost to our country’s health, environment and economy. These are risks we do not need to take, and our government should think again on the level of support it proffers to a vastly polluting industry that sucks much needed cash out of our economy on a daily basis.”


Helena Paul  Email: edinburghairportwatch@gmail.com 

Website: www.edinburghairportwatch.com