Heathrow 3rd runway ‘buried’: how the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition affects London
12.5.2010 (Evening Standard)
by Nicholas Cecil and Pippa Crerar
Heathrow’s third runway was "dead and buried" today after Labour was ousted from power.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats sealed their opposition to expansion at the west London airport in the coalition pact agreed last night.
The written agreement covers a string of issues crucial to the City and other
Londoners which could influence Mayor Boris Johnson’s chances of re-election in
On Heathrow, the Standard understands that Labour even offered to ditch the third
runway plans as Gordon Brown sought desperately to strike a deal with Nick Clegg to remain in government.
John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion group HACAN, said: "The third runway is
firmly dead and buried. "There will be rejoicing amongst the residents of west London and beyond. There is no possibility of a U-turn because of the coalition and also because
both parties were so vocal in their opposition to it during the campaign."
Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, one of the most ardent parliamentary opponents of Heathrow growth, said: "This
is perhaps for people in London the first fruit of the agreement."
Wealthy residents in the capital will be relieved that the Lib-Dem "mansion tax"
on homes worth at least £2 million has been ditched.
The Tories have also promised to hold reviews before closing hospital departments in London
and other parts of the country.
Proposed parking charges in Richmond Park and Bushy Park, both in south-west
London, are now set to be dropped as they were opposed by both the Conservatives
and the Lib-Dems.
How the capital will be affected
Boris Johnson has already launched a campaign to protect London’s £39 billion 10-year transport
This covers Crossrail and the Tube, so any cuts could mean delays to repairs
on the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Northern lines. But Chancellor George Osborne will have to find major cuts to tackle Britain’s debt mountain. Business bosses
have stressed the vital importance of upgrading key lines used by millions of
Business leaders in London were today looking for Chancellor George Osborne to
confirm funding for Crossrail. Before the election, the Tories said they backed
the west-to-east cross-London rail line.
But they stopped short of guaranteeing funds for the £16 billion scheme to ensure
it is delivered by 2017. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats’ Treasury expert, has already committed his party to
Crossrail provided it does not run over budget.
London Mayor Boris Johnson, left, was today in line to gain new powers. Under
Tory plans he would become responsible for the capital’s £1.1 housing billion
budget and be handed control of Olympicslegacy and the Royal Parks. City Hall would be able to appoint two directors of the Port of London Authority and have an "enhanced" role in rail franchises. The Tories want to hand the Metropolitan Police Authority‘s scrutiny role to the London Assembly.
from Guardian article, 12.5.2010
Both parties oppose Heathrow expansion and agree on the need to develop high-speed
rail. Plans for a third runway at Heathrow will be formally shelved. [There is]
…still a question mark over whether the new government would allow or oppose
expansion at other airports. The Lib Dems oppose such expansion but the Tories
left the door open to more airport capacity. Both today ruled out additional
runways at Gatwick and Stansted.
The new government is also backing a Lib Dem policy of replacing air passenger
duty with a per flight duty, which means empty planes are taxed as highly as full
Comment from an AirportWatch member:
For residents at Sipson, they can not assume that their battle against the third
runway is won. After a stagnant housing market in Sipson for the past 8 years
(and to a lesser extent Harmondsworth), BAA offered to buy eligible (owner-occupied) homes
in the demolition zone (up until October). As people who need to move sold up,
this had a domino effect with neighbours fearing the sudden influx of BAA tenants.
About a hundred people in the small village are likely to move in the coming months.
No one can face any more uncertainty.
We need to stop the blight caused by being under threat. This applies to everyone
threatened by airport expansion. Even if they never build any extra runways,
they can still damage established communities by holding the threat of expansion