Sunday, 25 March 2012

Coalition (Tories) to have a rethink on third runway at Heathrow

It has been reported that the government are urgently looking at options to increase airport capacity in the south-east amid fears that restricted options are choking off economic growth.

An undoubted sticking point is the coalition agreement which rules out a third runway at Heathrow and this is something that the pro-green Liberal Democrats would not tolerate. It is believed that the Tories now wish to get around this by including this policy in the next manifesto.

This means that if a new runway was to be approved it would realistically be ready by 2018. To their credit, the government have now sought to look at other options which would be ready within months, rather than years. One option would be to use RAF Northolt for business flights as it is located only 13 miles from Heathrow.

Ironically, one man who has done a policy u-turn is Tim Yeo, the Tory Chairman of the energy and climate change select committee who said: "We cannot wait around any longer. We have to get on with this. If we don't, the Chinese and others will take their business elsewhere. There is no time to delay."

He also ruled out 'Boris Island' as did Boris himself yesterday who said: "contrary to popular belief I am not the slightest bit wedded to some remote archipelago in the Thames estuary" along with expansion of Gatwick due to construction work at Gatwick not being able to start until 2019.

The change in tack is likely to create a furore with the Lib-Dems, particularly Vince Cable whose own constituency of Twickenham is under Heathrow's flight path along with one of their own, Zac Goldsmith who has said that he would resign as an MP if a third runway was granted approval.