Nicola Sturgeon defends just “reviewing” support for Heathrow 3rd runway, not yet opposing it
The Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding with London Heathrow Airport in 2016, backing a 3rd runway in exchange for commitments to Scotland, including creating up to 16,000 new jobs in England. [That figure was always absolute nonsense, based on incorrect extrapolations from incorrect data showing inflated alleged financial benefits of the runway]. Now Nicola Sturgeon has defended the Scottish Government’s stance on the runway, to just review its decision to support it – hoping Scotland would get some economic benefits, eventually. But in view of climate concerns, and the huge increase in aviation CO2 the 3rd runway would generate, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie raised the matter, and asked why Nicola Sturgeon is continuing to review the issue, instead of ending the SNP’s support. He said: “Climate change has brought Zambia to the brink of famine, Australia has been burning since September, the ice caps continue to melt. Yet the First Minister continues to support Heathrow expansion.” The Scottish Government will bring forward an updated draft climate change plan by the end of April.
Nicola Sturgeon defends stance on Heathrow Airport expansion
By National Newsdesk (The National)
9th January 2020
The Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding with London Heathrow Airport in 2016
NICOLA Sturgeon has defended the Scottish Government’s stance on the expansion of Heathrow Airport in the face of climate concerns.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie raised the matter at First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood.
The Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding with London Heathrow Airport in 2016, backing a third runway in exchange for commitments to Scotland, including creating up to 16,000 new jobs in England. [The number was given for jobs just in Scotland, which is total nonsense. See link]
Rennie asked the SNP leader why she is continuing to review the issue, instead of pulling support.
Rennie said: “This is urgent, this is a crisis right now. If her MPs haven’t supported it at Westminster, why is she still supporting Heathrow expansion here in Scotland?
“Climate change has brought Zambia to the brink of famine, Australia has been burning since September, the ice caps continue to melt.
“Yet the First Minister continues to support Heathrow expansion.”
Sturgeon said: “We took the view as the Scottish Government –because we’re not in control of the decision about a third runway at Heathrow – if it is going ahead then Scotland should seek to maximise economic impact and benefit from that.
“But the climate emergency, the updated advice from the Committee on Climate Change, our updated responsibilities, not just to meet but to exceed the obligations in the Paris Agreement, meant we need to review all of that.
“That’s exactly what the Government is doing.”
She added that having set a target for achieving net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045 “we have to take the action now to ensure that we can meet them”.
Sturgeon pointed out within recent weeks Rennie’s party backed legislation in the Scottish Parliament meaning the Scottish Government requires to bring forward an updated draft climate change plan by the end of April.
She said the Government is current doing this, and questioned why Rennie’s party opposes measures to tackle climate change such as the workplace parking levy aimed at encouraging workers to leave their cars at home.
SNP “promised” 16,000 new jobs if it backs 3rd runway – but that figure is crazily inflated – as Heathrow & DfT well know
The Conservative government may need the SNP’s support if some of its MPs rebel against the new Heathrow runway – which is likely. The SNP will demand guaranteed extra slots for Scottish flights into London in return for the party’s support for the 3rd runway. Ian Blackford, the head of the SNP’s parliamentary group in London, said the party had not taken a decision on runway yet – and would only do so if Scotland stood to benefit. Their backing may not be guaranteed, though that had been assumed – particularly after Keith Brown, Scotland’s infrastructure secretary, believed there might be 16,000 Scottish jobs, created by the project. That figure of 16,000 jobs is what Heathrow has, for several years, been peddling. Along with similarly inflated claims for all the regions. The number was derived by a consultancy called Quod, in a flimsy little 4 page paper, with no methodology, no date, no author etc. It is based on the assumption that Heathrow would provide an economic benefit (NPV) to the UK, over 60 years, of £147 billion. That number is now known to actually be about £3.3 billion, at best (if not a negative number). The SNP would be very ill-advised to believe Scotland will benefit; in reality its airports would be damaged by allowing the runway. Tragic if they vote in favour of it, because they have not checked out the facts properly.
FoI documents show Scottish airports would lose perhaps 220,000 passengers per year, if Heathrow got 3rd runway
Scottish airports could lose more than 220,000 passengers per year, if Heathrow got a 3rd runway. The regions have been led to believe the runway would benefit them, in terms of links to Heathrow and more jobs. The reality is different. The Scottish Government had backed the runway plans, hoping Scotland would benefit. But the DfT’s own data – revealed in emails – shows they expect number of passengers using Scottish airports would reduce, with the 3rd runway, as Heathrow would increasingly have a monopoly of lucrative long-haul routes. There might be more domestic flights to Heathrow from Newcastle, cutting demand from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. The Scottish government needs to consider their position on Heathrow very carefully. The figures on alleged jobs were based on very, very dodgy, out of date data, (assuming benefits of the runway to the UK over 60 years as £147 bn, when in reality they might at most be £3bn – or an actual cost) that cannot be believed. “Estimates of aviation emissions from an expanded Heathrow were redacted in the emails released.”