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Lib Dems dismiss ‘Boris Island’ airport plan
Originally published on businesstraveller.com 16/08/2012
The Liberal Democrats want to rule out any new runways at the south-east’s major airports as well as plans for a new hub in the Thames estuary.
The coalition’s junior partner will call for plans for a so-called “Boris Island” airport in the Thames to be “firmly rejected” as well as no extra runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted.
The government has already twice delayed its planned consultation process into how to expand airport capacity in the south-east, amidst reports of rows between the coalition’s two parties over the issue.
The Lib Dems have now drawn up a new airport strategy which will be put before the party’s annual conference next month.
The key proposals are:
- “Pushing for better use of existing capacity in the south-east and at regional airports to meet short to medium-term demand”
- “Firmly rejecting Boris Johnson’s Thames estuary airport”
- “No new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted”
- “An independent, evidence-based study to find a location for a hub airport or a suitable airport to expand into a hub for the long-term”
- “No airport capacity expansion which could allow for aircraft movements above the carbon emissions cap set by the independent Committee on Climate Change”
The driving force behind the party's aviation policy is Julian Huppert, who is co-chair of the Lib Dem MPs' committee on transport.
“Liberal Democrats have always opposed a new runway at Heathrow because it is in an appallingly bad location, with a quarter of all those in Europe affected by aircraft noise living under the Heathrow flight path,” said Huppert.
“In the same vein, mixed-mode and night flights would cause unacceptable noise levels and air pollution for thousands of Londoners. You can’t have one of the world’s noisiest and busiest airports in the heart of west London’s suburbs.”
Huppert added that there were other options to raise capacity, apart from further expansion at Heathrow.
“With Birmingham looking to expand, Stansted only half full and Gatwick expanding into emerging markets, regional airports and other airports within London can meet demand for the short to medium-term,” he said.
“Especially if we provide them with the transport links they so desperately need.”
The Lib Dems' aviation policy will be discussed and voted upon during the party's conference in Brighton from September 22-26.
Report by Rob Gill
This report was originally published on Business Traveller's sister website abtn.co.uk.