‘SNP must review policy and reject Heathrow expansion’, former minister says – need SNP conference debate on it
The SNP has been asked to change its policy, to now oppose the expansion of Heathrow Airport, due to carbon emissions. Marco Biagi was communities minister until he stood down from the Scottish Parliament in 2016. He wants the SNP to adopt “a presumption against any major airport expansion” at next month’s SNP Conference, which is to be held virtually on 28th to 30th November. After intense lobbying from Heathrow, and suggestions of more routes and more jobs for Scotland if there was a 3rd runway, since 2016 the Scottish Government has officially backed the runway plans. But the SNP finally abstained in the Commons from voting for the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) in June 2018. Mr Biagi said the SNP’s support for the 3rd runway had never been debated at a SNP conference. Aviation CO2 emissions are rising, this is against Scottish policies on climate. He said: “Across Europe there is a growing realisation of the need for alternatives to ever-expanding air travel, especially on short-haul routes like those between Scotland and London. On this issue, do we want to follow the climate-wrecking Conservatives or be part of the European mainstream?”
‘SNP must review policy and reject Heathrow expansion’, former minister says
By Kathleen Nutt @kacnutt (The National, Scotland)
12th October 2020
THE SNP is to be asked to change its policy, to oppose the expansion of Heathrow Airport amid the growing climate emergency by a former minister.
Marco Biagi was communities minister until he stood down from the Scottish Parliament in 2016 and is now challenging Angus Robertson to get selected as the candidate for Edinburgh Central.
He wants his party to adopt “a presumption against any major airport expansion” at next month’s SNP Conference.
Since 2016 the Scottish Government has officially backed the proposed £14 billion expansion of London’s Heathrow airport. Despite this stance, in 2018 SNP MPs abstained in a vote on the subject in the Commons.
“All policies need to be reviewed in light of the growing climate emergency. The Scottish Government’s support for expansion of Heathrow airport dates back to autumn of 2016. It has never been debated by members at the SNP conference. We should have that chance,” said Biagi.
“Aviation is one of the few sectors emitting more carbon dioxide than thirty years ago. Thanks to resolute action we are going in the right direction on energy, housing and industry, but aerospace has thus far had a free pass.
“Across Europe there is a growing realisation of the need for alternatives to ever-expanding air travel, especially on short-haul routes like those between Scotland and London. On this issue, do we want to follow the climate-wrecking Conservatives or be part of the European mainstream?”
A motion has been approved by the office-bearers of the Edinburgh Central branch and will be discussed at a full online branch meeting this Thursday. If approved there it will be submitted to the party’s conference agenda.
The resolution welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, and notes that the Scottish Government has set one of the toughest statutory targets in the world, namely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045.
But it adds “there is an inconsistency” between an ambition to reduce emissions while backing a third Heathrow runway that would increase flight numbers and emissions in Scotland.
It continues: “In light of the climate emergency, Conference therefore resolves that there should now be a policy presumption against any major airport expansion that would result in a significant rise in Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
The SNP’s virtual conference, with all events happening online, is to be held November 28 to 30.
Nicola Sturgeon defends just “reviewing” support for Heathrow 3rd runway, not yet opposing it
January 11, 2020
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.
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.”