Noise comparison at UK airports, Click to enlarge.
One thing is for certain: Britain needs more aviation capacity to remain an open, globally-focussed trading nation. But the decision on expansion needs to take into account a range of issues, including the environment, local communities, feasibility and the needs of Britain’s aviation market.
The argument over noise is often dismissed as small-minded nimbyism. But airplane noise isn’t just a matter of irritation, it is linked to significant productivity losses and health complications such as hypertension, hearing loss, insomnia, mental health challenges and cognitive impairment. We must take this seriously.
While the debate on Britain’s aviation future won’t start in earnest until the final report from the Airport Commission is released in the summer, the fight against the third runway continues.
During the recent election campaigns, local MPs from the main parties won their seats on the back of a pledge to fight Heathrow expansion. This is good news because newly elected MPs must now live up to those pledges in Parliament by making the case that any airport expansion must not include a third runway at Heathrow.
It was a moving moment to be unanimously readopted as the candidate by the Windsor Conservative Association, back in 2013. To receive their endorsement means a lot to me, and has enabled me to continue focussing my energies on fighting for the things that matter to residents.
Having come from a pretty tough background in South East London it is a huge privilege to have served as the MP for Windsor since 2005. We’ve achieved a lot since then, but there is so much more to do and I am determined to see it through if re-elected in May.
The MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie, spoke up in Parliament to call for further reductions in the jobs tax.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, agreed with Adam’s suggestion, outlining plans to reduce national insurance on apprentices and young people.
As recorded in the House of Commons’ Hansard:
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): It seems to me that we would be wise as a nation to reduce taxation on the activities that we wish to encourage. I therefore very much welcome the reduction in employers’ national insurance, which has created jobs in my constituency, and I suspect in every constituency around the country. Does the Chancellor agree that we would do well to push on with these reductions in employers’ national insurance, which, to all intents and purposes, is a tax on jobs that discourages their creation?
George Osborne (The Chancellor of the Exchequer; Conservative): My hon. Friend is absolutely right that national insurance is a tax on jobs-
Edward Balls (Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer; Labour): He is a champion!
George Osborne (The Chancellor of the Exchequer; Conservative): My hon. Friend is a champion of businesses in his constituency. That is one of the reasons unemployment has fallen in Windsor and 2,000 businesses in Windsor are benefiting from our employment allowance. We are going to go on reducing national insurance on employing 21-year-olds and apprentices. The alternative path—the path offered by the Labour party—is to put the jobs tax up. That would increase unemployment and return Britain to the economic mess it was in when Labour was last in charge.
You can watch Adam speak from 18:35 on BBC Parliament at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b050zg8g/house-of-commons-live-treasury-questions
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps he has taken to improve transport connections between Windsor and Reading.
Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Transport): On 27 March, the Government and Transport for London announced that Crossrail services will be extended to serve Reading from 2019. Once Crossrail services begin across the whole line in 2019, passengers travelling to London from Windsor, Reading and other Thames Valley stations will be able to travel to more destinations across London without the need to change at Paddington. Construction of Crossrail is now more than half completed and electrification of the Great Western Main Line is also under way. Electrification of the Slough to Windsor route is approved and will improve local connectivity.
The transformation of Reading station was completed on time and under budget as part of the £850 million Reading Station Area Redevelopment programme and formally opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 17 July.
The Government continues to progress the M4 Junction 3–12 smart motorway project, the next step for which is formal public consultation in the autumn. The Highways Agency is also taking forward a £2.5 million pinch point scheme to increase capacity at the M4/A329 (M) junction.
On 7 July the Government agreed the £96.9 million Growth Deal with the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. This includes £94.6 million to support local transport improvements across the whole of Berkshire, including in and between Windsor and Reading.