Tory MP set to quit over Heathrow decision

Today's announcement by the government that it is backing a new runway for Heathrow has been slammed by Conservative MP Zac Golsmith, who called the decision 'catastrophic' and that it would become a "millstone around this government's neck for many many years to come".

He has in the past said that he would resign should such a decision be made and his local Conservative association has, according to the BBC, confirmed he would be honouring this promise so forcing a by-election in his Richmond Park constituency.

The government's decision has drawn many comments, a few of which are below:

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Right location, wrong scheme says Heathrow Hub

Heathrow Hub, the independent proposal to expand Heathrow by extending the northern runway, has responded to the UK Government's decision to expand Heathrow Airport by building the third runway as the best solution to the UK's aviation capacity challenge.

Our view is the Government has selected the right location but the wrong scheme. Our proposal is cheaper, simpler, less disruptive and quicker to construct than Heathrow Airport's 3rd Runway. The decision will result in substantially higher passenger charges and opposition from airlines, passengers and those affected in the Heathrow area.

Anthony Clake, principal investor in the Heathrow Hub scheme, said:

"Jock Lowe and the team have done a superb job in developing the extended runway concept during the past 4 years. They were shortlisted by the Government, have obtained a patent for its design and recognition from the CAA that it is safe. While we have been unsuccessful in our quest to apply the design to help solve the UK's airport capacity problem, we look forward to promoting our concept around the world."

Captain William 'Jock' Lowe, Director of Heathrow Hub, commented:

"Our economy, our national transport infrastructure and our international connectivity will be much improved by the expansion of Heathrow Airport rather than Gatwick. While we obviously believe that our own concept to extend the northern runway remains vastly superior to Heathrow Airport Ltd.'s third runway option, we congratulate John Holland-Kaye and his team.

"We are relieved that the Government has made the correct decision in terms of location. Heathrow is where the airlines want to be; it's where the demand is."

Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Transport Secretary, said:

"We welcome any decision that will finally give certainty on airport expansion, much needed in terms of investment and growth in our country. However the Government's announcement today is not the end: it is yet another step in the process, rather than the final detail. As such we still need vital reassurance on a number of areas.

"Labour has consistently been in favour of building an additional runway in the South East of England. But this support has always been conditional on four tests being met: on capacity, climate change, noise and air quality and the wider national benefits. Today's announcement, heralding another consultation, does not yet do that.

"The Government's proposals on Heathrow have highlighted the urgent need for a comprehensive transport and infrastructure strategy, which is sadly lacking. Not only would this increase investment and growth across the whole country, but it would also address the aviation issues – from effective use of existing capacity through to noise and emissions – that needs consistent and long term commitment and support from Government.

"The Tories have dithered for far too long. Had Ministers not done so, the UK could be much further on in addressing these issues by now. That is why they must now commit to dealing with their proposal's environmental and infrastructure issues without further delay."

UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour said:

"I've always been opposed to this blinkered idea that building a third runway at Heathrow is the only real solution to our aviation issues.

"We should be expanding capacity at all of our regional airports across the UK instead – places such as Birmingham, for example, which has plenty of capacity for growth without the need for an extra runway.

"But whatever people's views about the expansion of Heathrow, it's vital now that the Government cracks on with delivering what we seem to have been talking about for years.

"Other countries have built entire new airports while the UK Government has been pontificating about what to do over the Heathrow third runway issue. It's been a case of too much talk, and not enough action."

She added: "I feel for the people living around the Heathrow area, who have been watching and waiting for nearly 20 years now, uncertain about what the future holds for them. To make them wait another year before this comes to Parliament is a complete dereliction of care towards all of those whose lives are being impacted.

"No, UKIP doesn't support Heathrow, but like a Remain supporter after the referendum, we accept the decision and demand that the Government get on with it."

David Kurten AM, who speaks on Transport for the UKIP Group in the London Assembly, added:

"As a Londoner I feel passionately about this. Gatwick was by far the best choice for a new runway in London, and has cross-party support on the London Assembly. A new runway at Gatwick will not cost anything to taxpayers, and is already well linked in to existing roads and railways. It can be built far more quickly that a new runway at Heathrow, and the opening of the new Thameslink tracks through central London in 2018 will make it even more widely accessible with direct links to Cambridge and the Midlands.

"On the other hand, Heathrow will cause devastating noise and air pollution problems for hundreds of thousands of residents of densely populated areas of London and Berkshire. It is ridiculous to build a new runway to improve a city if you are going to make life in that city a permanent hell for residents who live under its flight path. It will also cost up to £20 billion to the taxpayer in building new roads to access the airport.

"But a decision has been made, and we need to get on with it. It will be my job to ensure that is done with the best safeguards possible for the local population".

GMB Welcomes Heathrow Expansion

This not only protects the 80,000 jobs directly employed at the airport but will increase to a further 114,000 jobs that will be needed says GMB

GMB, the union for airport workers, has welcomed reports that Heathrow expansion has been approved by ministers.  The project is set to have a huge impact on the UK steel sector and will create thousands of jobs in both construction and steel industries.

An analysis of the project by the Airports Commission in 2014 found that Heathrow expansion would create up to 180,000 jobs and provide £211bn in economic benefits across the UK by 2050.

Theresa May previously criticised delays in approval for Heathrow expansion. Responding to the announcement of a White Paper on air transport in 2003, May, then Shadow Secretary of State for Environment and Transport, stated: "Far from setting a clear way forward for air transport in the UK, today's announcement is a fudge from an incompetent Government, which will deliver only blight to millions of people living around airports across the country."

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for Transport and Distribution, said:

"GMB has a long standing policy of support for Heathrow expansion for the best part of a decade. Heathrow expansion has a clear cut case.

"The airport needs expansion if it is to retain its world class status as a global hub airport. In recent years because of this long standing process work has slowly drifted to European competitor hub airports. Heathrow expansion is not reliant on public money. It will be built to stringent environmental standards. Heathrow must now mean Heathrow."

"This not only protects the 80,000 jobs directly employed at the airport but will increase to a further 114,000 jobs that will be needed, and 10,000 local apprenticeship schemes. The boost to the economy, and the earnings potential for the surrounding boroughs in West London, can also be measured with the boost it guarantees to our regional economies. Expansion also means that the delays people experience in their current Heathrow travel experience, will be severely minimised.

"The majority of people who live and work near the airport, business, and all major trade unions, and the TUC who have members employed by the airport are supportive of expansion.  Heathrow expansion is a win, win for everyone. The time for dithering and political expediency has to stop, there is a clear cut case for Heathrow expansion, Heathrow expansion and the economy desperately needs decisiveness not delay."

Comment from Paul Wait, chief executive of the GTMC:

"Approval to expand Heathrow is the most positive economic step-change in recent times for the UK economy. Businesses either based in our island-nation, or wanting to operate in the UK, need greater air capacity. Without the routes to travel and expand, no business can make meaningful investment in the UK.

"Business travellers favour Heathrow as an international hub airport, and yet they crave more routes to more emerging and established economies, particularly in South America and throughout Asia. It is important to recognise that as well as the opportunities that expansion at Heathrow will bring, Gatwick Airport has invested in meeting the needs of the business traveller and carries significant potential if given the go-ahead to also expand. We believe that there is room in the UK's infrastructure needs for growth at each airport.

"Whilst this decision means that the UK is late to the party, it does at least mean that there are clear reasons for international businesses to invest in the UK and for UK-based businesses to realise incredible growth opportunities. We hope the Heathrow decision is a catalyst for other areas of transport investment.

"Our research, in partnership with Oxford Economics shows a direct link between business travel and economy prosperity. Not only do we know that international business air travel returning to pre-2008 levels within the next five years will add as much as £6.5 billion to the value of UK trade, but that greater air connectivity has a very vital role to play. A one per cent increase in air connectivity has the potential to increase trade by 0.09 per cent, the equivalent to around £600 million.

"With the great news that UK businesses will no longer have their wings clipped, we are excited about the economic potential. Greater wealth for UK Plc will mean step changes that impact all our lives positively for the future."

Paul Drechsler CBE, CBI President, said:

"The Prime Minister's green light to expand the UK's aviation capacity comes as an enormous relief to firms in every corner of the country.

"A new runway at Heathrow is really fantastic news, especially as the country has waited nearly 50 years for this decision. It will create the air links that will do so much to drive jobs and unlock growth across the UK, allowing even more of our innovative, ambitious and internationally focussed firms, from Bristol to Belfast, to take off and break into new markets.

"With contracts to tender for, apprentices to recruit and supply chains to build, this decision must be taken forward swiftly, giving businesses the confidence to invest. Our aviation capacity is set to run out as early as 2025, so it's crucial we get spades in the ground as soon as possible to reap the benefits for jobs and growth, precisely when the country needs them most.
"This project should form part of a long-term framework for aviation capacity for the whole of the UK. Pressing ahead with key infrastructure projects like this will provide not only a welcome economic stimulus, but will show the world that we are well and truly open for business as we negotiate our exit from the EU."

 

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