Commenting on today’s London Assembly Q&A session with the Chair of the Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies, Labour’s London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, Val Shawcross AM said:
“It is clear that the case for the expansion of Heathrow has not yet been proven and there remain serious questions about the environmental, noise and public transport impact. Whilst not insurmountable, Government would have to insist on far stronger measures to tackle air pollution and to manage the dramatic impact expansion would have on the transport network.
“Although important for economic growth, the Government cannot just nod Heathrow expansion through without proper scrutiny. There’s a long list of concerns which need to be addressed before I could see Heathrow’s expansion going ahead.”
- At today’s plenary meeting of the London Assembly, Val Shawcross proposed the following motion setting out her concerns and those of her colleagues.
While accepting the need for expansion of airport capacity in the South East, this Assembly believes that the case for the expansion of Heathrow has not yet been proven.
This Assembly notes the longstanding position of this body against Heathrow expansion and that the 3 year and £13.4m review carried out by Sir Howard Davies has provided vast amounts of new information and analysis which has now been passed to Government to scrutinise, and examine fully.
This Assembly notes that airport expansion is a matter of great importance to the future economic growth of the capital and the wider UK and that any decisions and positions should be reached as a result of evidence based analysis.
The Assembly notes that airport expansion remains an incredibly emotive subject and that many legitimate concerns have been raised with regards to Davies’ conclusions, both by those in favour and opposing the expansion of Heathrow. In light of these concerns we call on Government to be diligent, evidence based and even handed in its scrutiny of the Davies review.
This Assembly is concerned that the Department for Transport makes clear that the traffic model used by the Airports Commission should not be used as a basis for capacity decisions
This Assembly is concerned that the Airports Commission’s economic forecasting methodology has been described by its own peer review as “unique or at least very unusual”.
This Assembly is concerned that Heathrow will not be able to achieve its 50% commitment to public transport access, given the Airports Commission’s own report says “it is not clear whether this is deliverable.
This Assembly is concerned that the Airports Commission has recommended that the number of people affected by noise if Heathrow has an additional runway will remain at around 750,000, rather than looking to reduce this number
This Assembly is concerned that the Airports Commission’s interpretation of the Air Quality Directive is not supported by a number of stakeholders and that an alternative interpretation would leave Heathrow unable to expand.
This Assembly is concerned that the Airports Commission’s Air Quality Local Assessment concludes that a number of air quality mitigations proposed by Heathrow do not actually work.
This Assembly is concerned that the Airports Commission’s estimates of carbon emissions are at great variance with the Government’s own projections.
This Assembly therefore calls on the Government to address each of these issues with the Airport Commission report before it makes its decision on how to proceed with Airport Expansion in the UK.