UK
23/03/2018 00:01 GMT | Updated 23/03/2018 01:43 GMT

Heathrow Report Welcomed By Anti-Third Runway Groups

Groups opposed to Heathrow Airport expansion have welcomed a report by the Transport Select Committee.

John Stewart, chairman of anti-expansion group Hacan, praised the MPs for recommending a series of “tougher conditions” before the third runway was given the go-ahead.

“In particular, we welcome the committee’s recommendation that the night-time ban be extended to seven hours,” he said.

Cait Hewitt, deputy director of campaign group the Aviation Environment Federation, said the committee concluded that the scheme was “beset with a list of problems as long as your arm”.

It was “hard to see” how the Government could find solutions to the issues raised before a vote by this summer, she claimed.

Paul McGuinness, chairman of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said a Parliamentary vote was “unlikely to happen in 2018 if the Government implements all the committee’s recommendations”.

Jock Lowe, director of Heathrow Hub, the independent proposal for extending one of the airport’s existing runways, said: “By putting so many conditions on the third runway and exposing its many flaws, the Transport Select Committee has damned it with faint praise.”

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said the Government and the airport must address a “real lack of detail” on a number of key areas.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, said it was “critical” that the Government followed the recommendation that the NPS included a detailed cost breakdown and a condition that charges were held flat in real terms.

He went on: “Heathrow is the world’s most expensive hub airport and its current costs proposal is exorbitant and unacceptably vague.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry association that represents UK-registered carriers, said the Government must bulk up the “wholly inadequate section on cost” in its National Policy Statement.

Airlines “reserve the right to withdraw support” if they judge that the third runway will lead to increased landing fees, he warned.

Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, which advises the Government on long-term infrastructure projects, urged ministers to get the third runway scheme “off the ground this year”.

He said: “Today’s call by MPs for Parliament to approve the airports statement subject to some additional safeguards removes an important barrier to doing so.

“There now can be no excuse for not having a Parliamentary vote on expanding Heathrow by the summer.”

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of business group London First, said “every effort” should be made to minimise the “inevitable impact” of airport expansion.

“But the case is proven,” she added.

Tim Hawkins, corporate affairs director at Manchester Airports Group, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, said the committee highlighted the “immense challenges and risks” associated with expanding Heathrow, with a new runway “more than a decade away”.

The Government must “actively support” airports that can increase connectivity now, he added.