MP for Windsor
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Windsor MP welcomes CAA’s call for a ‘rethink’

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has called for a ‘complete rethink’ of the airspace patterns before either Heathrow or Gatwick is given permission for a new runway.

He has warned that unless air flight patterns are modernised the expanded airport may be unable to use any of this additional capacity due to lack of airspace.

Mr Haines compared the situation of expanding an airport without redesigning airspace to ‘building a brand new car park and forgetting to build the access road to it’.

 

The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie welcomed the announcement:

“Most sensible people realise that a third runway at Heathrow is nonsensical because it is already the most expensive airport in Europe, in breach of pollution regulations, requires billions of taxpayer subsidy and could only operate at half capacity. We now discover that it is not guaranteed that Heathrow can use any additional airport capacity.

“To remain a great trading nation we will need to be able to handle many more flights in the coming decades to keep up with demand. However, it is essential that the airspace we currently have is accessible and used as effectively as possible”

“Heathrow is permanently stymied by its archaic location; a relic of the day before mass air travel. This country will need 4 or more extra runways over the next 50 years to remain a great trading nation. That simply isn’t possible at Heathrow.”

ENDS

 

Adam’s Parliamentary Questions reveal Heathrow plans

I have been fighting non-stop against the calamitous proposals for a third runway, and the steady rise in aircraft noise from our neighbour Heathrow Airport Ltd, since I became an MP in 2005.

Over the past 11 years we’ve won some big battles. Ruling out expansion in 2010. Forcing restrictions on night flights. Bringing an end to invasive flight path trials. And so on.

The Government is expected to reach a final decision on airport expansion later this year and, while aircraft noise remains a real issue for all of us, this is the most important fight of all.

The colossal weight of evidence against Heathrow has been presented again and again.

Heathrow will not bring value for money, will not meet legally-binding environmental targets and will not cater to our long-term aviation capacity needs, and is thus not in our national interest.

Opposing Heathrow is not NIMBYism, it is a decision that will have a national impact.

In response to a recent Parliamentary Question I asked (44201) the Government confirmed that they will consider overall plans to improve air quality and its legal commitments before making a decision.

Given that Heathrow is already in breach of its legal commitments with two runways, the idea that it can reduce NO2 emissions in the local area whilst expanding its air capacity by 50% is clearly a nonsense.

If releasing the additional capacity from an additional runway is made dependent on meeting binding, real world air quality milestones, then we may soon find that an expansion at Heathrow won’t release any new capacity at all.

This alone means that expanding Heathrow would be questionable if it was the only choice. Combined with the fact that there are many clearly more cost-effective alternatives that are less damaging to local communities, it ought to be bottom of our list.

You have my commitment that I will continue to fight tooth and nail for the best deal for my constituents regardless of what decision is taken.

I am delighted that, in response to a further Parliamentary Question (44199), the Government has confirmed that they are considering a strong package of measures to mitigate the impact of runway expansion on communities.

This builds on a recommendation by the Environmental Audit Committee last year that, regardless of whether a third runaway is granted to them, a Community Engagement Board must be created to restore trust between Heathrow and the local communities that it blights.

Whilst it will come to a relief to residents that the Government is considering how to help  local communities deal with the costs of runway expansion – and the effects of noise pollution – this yet again demonstrates how cost ineffective expanding Heathrow is compared to Gatwick.

Heathrow’s noise pollution already affects 7 times more people than any other UK airport. Expanding Heathrow will affect 837,000 more people, expanding Gatwick will affect 37,000. Heathrow is permanently stymied by its archaic location from a time before mass air travel.

With our withdrawal from the EU it is more important now than ever before to demonstrate that Britain is open for business and increasing our long term air capacity must be integral to that aim. But it is more important to make the right decision that to make a hasty one.

I would urge the Government to make the right choice and back expansion at Gatwick.

 

Parliamentary report on airport expansion

Windsor MP welcomes parliamentary report on airport expansion

Today, the Windsor MP has welcomed the findings of a key parliamentary committee on airport expansion.

The report raised serious concerns about the ability of Heathrow to stick to legally binding emissions and air quality targets.

The report concluded that the third runway should not go ahead at Heathrow unless the Government could demonstrate how it could fit into the UK’s environmental targets and obligations.

Adam Afriyie, Windsor’s MP, commented:

“This report is yet another nail in the coffin for the case for Heathrow expansion.

“A third runway at Heathrow is a sticking plaster that goes against the growing body of scientific evidence that Gatwick is the more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective option for a new runway.

“I’m delighted that the report recommends a ban on night flights if a third runway is built, but this just further proves that Heathrow is in the wrong place. To get the most out of a new runway we should be building it where it can be operational for as many hours a day as possible. This is simply not possible at Heathrow, which already inflicts substantial noise on sixty eight times more people than Gatwick.

“The Government has a clear obligation to answer the serious concerns about Heathrow’s case for expansion. I will continue to raise this regularly with Ministers.

“With threats of legal action, it would be unwise for the government to give Heathrow the green light without a proper strategy.”

Heathrow is the wrong solution to the problem of airport undercapacity. It is already Europe’s noisiest and worst polluting airport. The idea that expansion would alleviate this is ludicrous.

Government rules out funding surface access costs for airport expansion

Blow to Heathrow as Government rules out funding surface access costs

Today, the Government announced that public money would not be used for the related costs of airport expansion.

This is a huge blow to Heathrow whose so-called access costs were more than five times those of Gatwick’s proposal.

The surface access costs for Heathrow expansion are estimated at £5 billion by the Airports Commission, although Transport for London had put the predicted figure at £15-20 billion.

In response to a parliamentary question tabled by Conservative MP and prominent Third Runway opponent Adam Afriyie, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said:

“In terms of surface access proposals, the Government has been clear that it expects the scheme promoter to meet the costs of any surface access proposals that are required as a direct result of airport expansion and from which they will directly benefit.”

Mr Afriyie commented on this announcement, saying:

“It is welcome news that the Government has ruled out funding the costs of rail upgrades, moving the M25 and lengthy upgrades to nearby roads.

“The public should not be made to fork out up to 20 billion pounds’ worth of subsidies to a private company. It is disappointing that Heathrow and its shareholders are still refusing to consider paying for these costs.

“Heathrow’s proposals already fail on air quality targets, will impose noise pollution on far more people than any other airport in Europe and will not enable the UK to compete in the long term.

“Heathrow’s Third Runway is a sticking plaster to the UK’s aviation challenge. We need a strategic, long-term solution that will keep us at the forefront of world trade for decades to come.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  1. TfL’s responses on the costs and other consequences of Heathrow expansion can be found here: http://www.heathrowappg.com/tfl-response-to-appg-on-surface-access/ 
    1. Adam Afriyie is a long-standing opponent of Heathrow expansion. Details of his work can be found here: http://adamafriyie.org/index.php/heathrow/#.Vh49OflVhBc 
Thousands attend anti-expansion rally

Thousands of protestors attend rally against Heathrow expansion

Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor and long-time opponent of Heathrow expansion, joined thousands of protestors at a rally to speak out against proposals for a Third Runway at Heathrow.

Other speakers included the shadow Chancellor, John Mcdonnell, and the Conservative candidate for London Mayor, Zac Goldsmith.

The Government is due to lay out its position on airport expansion by the end of the year.

Mr Afriyie commented:

“Thousands of people turned out to show how strongly they opposed Heathrow’s Third Runway.

“Heathrow is the worst noise polluter in Europe by far, and its Third Runway will only make things worse. It will also impose road congestion, harmful air pollution and significant costs on the local area.

“This would barely be tolerable if the airport would revolutionise aviation in the UK. Heathrow’s main competitor [Schiphol airport] in Amsterdam has six runways, and Istanbul New Airport will have the same. The idea that a three runway airport with no potential for further growth is any kind of a solution to persistent under-capacity, is frankly ludicrous.

“What’s good for Heathrow’s shareholders and bosses is not what is good for the country as a whole. The Government should rule out this undeliverable plan for expansion once and for all.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  1. Mr Afriyie is a longstanding opponent of Heathrow expansion. Details of his activities can be found here: http://adamafriyie.org/index.php/heathrow/#.VhulDPlVhBc
  2. The Bow Group published a research paper written by Mr Afriyie. It can be found here: http://adamafriyie.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Bow-Group-Britain-needs-an-offshore-airport-Adam-Afriyie-MP.pdf
  3. The Coalition Against the Third Runway, of which Mr Afriyie is a founding member, has its website here: http://no3rdrunway.co.uk/