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Heathrow: more lies emerge

GW | 15.12.2007 00:45 | Climate Camp 2007 | Climate Chaos | London

Heathrow 3rd runway consultation prospectus exposed over number of threatened homes and cost attributed to CO2 emissions


Public 'misled' on number of homes lost for Heathrow
Jason Beattie, Chief Political Correspondent

Ministers have been accused of misleading the public over the number of homes to be destroyed to make way for Heathrow expansion.

A consultation document on the plans says no more than 700 properties would need to be bulldozed to make way for the third runway and sixth terminal.

But MPs say the actual figure could be as high as 4,000, forcing as many as 10,000 people to find new places to live.

During a heated Commons debate about the Government's proposals to expand the airport, a succession of MPs lined up to condemn them and the "biased" consultation process.

Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell said the figures used in the consultation document were out of line with a previous study, Runway Capacity to Serve the South-East, which had concluded at least 3,300 homes would have to be obliterated if a third runway went ahead.

He said that if development since then was taken into account then as many as 4,000 homes would need to be razed.

"Whole communities will be wiped out," said the Labour MP.

"The assessment has been doctored, the consultation process has been fixed and the planning policy has been rigged."

John Randall, Tory MP for Uxbridge, said plans to bulldoze homes near the airport were akin to the Highland clearances, when thousands of tenant farmers were evicted by rich landowners.

He described expansion as "potty" and asked the Government to explain where the evicted families would live given there was no available housing in the area.

He added that BAA, the airport's operator, had reneged on its promise when seeking permission for Terminal Five that there would be no further expansion.

"It seems to me that having Heathrow next door is like having a bully there," Mr Randall told MPs.

He also took the Government to task for looking to increase the number of flights from 420,000 a year to more than 700,000 at the same time it was preaching the importance of curbing carbon emissions.

"If [the Government] is really serious about curbing all these emissions and trying to stop climate change, they should show leadership and say, 'enough is enough'," he said.

Nick Hurd, the Conservative MP for Ruislip-Northwood, questioned the Government's claim that the business community in London was wholly in favour of expansion. He pointed to a recent survey by the Institute of Directors which found only a tiny minority of its members backed a bigger Heathrow.

"The point we hear is people want a better airport, not a bigger airport," he said.

Aviation minister Jim Fitzpatrick defended the plans, saying anyone evicted from their home as a result of expansion would be fully compensated.

London Evening Standard


Climate costs 'fiddled' for third runway at Heathrow
By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent
Published: 13 December 2007
A "bogus accounting trick" has been used to justify building a third runway at Heathrow and ministers have seriously underestimated the environmental impact of the development, it was claimed yesterday.

Campaigners and opposition MPs warned that a cost analysis of the project's impact on the climate came up with a figure which was only a third of that set out in a global warming study for the Government by the former Treasury official Sir Nicholas Stern.

The consultation paper on the expansion of Heathrow, published last month, said the cost of climate change caused by the project would be £4.8bn. But Friends of the Earth insisted that the true figure, based on Sir Nicholas's estimate, was £13.4bn.

The Department for Transport claims building a third runway will increase the number of flights to and from Heathrow from 473,000 a year to 700,000-plus by 2030, and generate an extra 181 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2080.

Simon Bullock, of Friends of the Earth, said: "The Government is using a bogus accounting trick to force through its massively damaging Heathrow expansion. The economic and social damage from climate change far outweighs the benefits to rich passengers 30 years from now getting slightly cheaper flights.

"If the Government is as serious as it claims to be about tackling climate change, it would announce a halt to new runways, at Heathrow and elsewhere."

Martin Horwood, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, added: "This is a disgrace. The Government has massaged the figures to hide the impact of this unwanted and unnecessary expansion. As a result, it has given the green light to one of the very projects that will stop it meeting its own carbon reduction targets. The cost to the environment and the economy will be dreadful."

The consultation claims the net benefit of the scheme will be £5bn, "even after taking account of climate change and noise costs". But Friends of the Earth said that if ministers used a less optimistic figure for the cost of climate change, any economic benefits of the runway would be wiped out by its environmental consequences. Guidance from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, published in July, estimated that the cost of Heathrow's extra C02 emissions would be £19 per tonne at 2000 prices. The Stern review, by contrast, quoted £53 per tonne, based on the price of carbon if the world did not curb emissions, Mr Bullock said.

The public has until 27 February to respond to the proposals for a third runway, a sixth terminal and changes to take-off and landing patterns and aircraft approach routes.

Edward Lister, the leader of Wandsworth Council and a spokesman for the 2M group, which represents 12 local authorities affected by the development, said yesterday: "The assumptions in the consultation are totally flawed. This whole thing will end up in court."

The Independent



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  1. The Heathrow Madness — pam hardyment


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