On 25 October 2016 the Government announced to Parliament its support for a third runway at Heathrow, following years of indecision over the issue of airport expansion.
The Opposition has set out a number of tests for the Government’s proposals. There must be robust and convincing evidence that the Airports Commission’s recommendations will provide sufficient capacity; that local noise and environmental impacts can be managed and minimised; and that the benefits of any expansion are not confined to London and the South East; and, most importantly, that the UK’s legal climate change obligations can still be met. I will study the Government’s proposals carefully on the basis of the tests set out by my Shadow Frontbench colleagues.
I’m aware that on 22 November 2016 the Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), Lord Deben, wrote to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to express concerns that plans to build a third runway at Heathrow may breach the Government’s own climate change legislation.
Whatever happens now, a new runway will take a decade or more to implement. There are, however, a number of challenges facing aviation now and I believe the Government must develop a coherent strategy to utilise existing capacity.