Saying No to new runways

Gatwick-X-sky-smallWe have responded to the Airports Commission’s consultation on proposals for a new runway in the South East.

The Commission – which is set to advise the new Government after the General Election – had set out three options – a new runway at Gatwick, and two alternatives for a new runway at Heathrow. Greens oppose all three.

Expansion at either Gatwick or Heathrow would have catastrophic impacts on the local communities, the environment (in terms of air quality, noise, congestion on all forms of transport, loss of biodiversity, impacts on water quality and supply and increased risk of flooding, landscape), demand for housing (already a problem in Surrey) and cultural heritage (including destruction of homes and historic buildings).

It would also be in direct conflict with the Government’s responsibility to reduce UK carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels.

And it would exacerbate the regional inequalities which already see economic activity concentrated in the South East, while other parts of the country miss out on much-needed jobs.

Nicola Dodgson, Green candidate for East Surrey, said, “Our local Conservative MPs have spoken out against Gatwick expansion, but have failed to note that the Airports Commission consultation didn’t offer analysis of whether there is a ‘need’ for any expansion at all.

“The framing of the consultation was flawed, in that its stated aim was to keep the South East of the UK as a competitive international ‘hub’. If we want a future for our planet, then it clearly should have been framed within our legally binding carbon emissions targets.”

Read the submission by Mole Valley Green Party

Read the submission by Reigate & Banstead Green Party



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  1. Simon
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I am an environmental scientist whos work involves frequent air travel, mostly long distance. Travel is vital to the world economy. High speed rail will help reduce short haul flying so if you are against airport expansion then you should be pro HS rail development. However the expansion of airport capacity in London is vitally needed. This is an unavoidable reality. Thus careful consideration should be given to the options. easiest is for LHR to expand as world hub and improve HS links to rest of country. less ideal but with less local impact is expand Gatwick. I live very near Gatwick and would not object to this. Though I don’t think it best located for links to rest of country.

    • admin
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comments, Simon.

      We agree that many short-haul journeys could be replaced by rail and we call for investment in the rail network. Nine of the ten most popular destinations from Heathrow are short-haul flights.

      However we don’t agree that London needs more airport capacity. London’s five airports serve more routes than any other European city already. And every airport in the country apart from Heathrow is underused. Stansted, Luton and Birmingham are not forecast to be full until the late 2040s. We believe effective use of existing infrastructure should be given preference over building new capacity.

      And various trends mean there will be no need for a new runway – such as the trend for more passengers per plane, and higher costs due to carbon pricing and changes in the tax regime. The aviation industry is currently exempt from VAT and fuel tax. Aviation’s public subsidies combined with exemptions from excise duty and VAT amounts to €40 billion a year across the EU. If this subsidy regime is dismantled, the demand for flights will fall.

      Any expansion of flights in the South East would have big impacts in terms of noise, pollution, traffic, infrastructure and climate, which is why we are against new runways at Heathrow OR Gatwick.

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