Mayor Accused of Double Standards on Third Runway

London Development Agency Condemned for Supporting Heathrow Expansion

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Tony Arbour "We cannot have a public body, funded by London taxpayers, supporting a policy which will harm those self same taxpayers.”

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Conservative London Assembly members have accused Ken Livingstone of operation a double standard with regards to policy on Heathrow.

While he has come out against expansion, citing environmental grounds, the London Development Agency, which is funded by the Mayor's Office with a brief to foster economic development in the capital, now appears to be in favour.

The Conservative group asked for clarification of the LDA's position in a recent assembly meeting. Honor Chapman wrote to the Assembly confirming that the LDA supported the third runway on the grounds of net economic benefit. They felt that the environmental impact could be 'mitigated'.

After being questioned by Conservative Assembly Members on the LDA policy towards a third runway at Heathrow at the London Assembly, the Chairman of the LDA, Honor Chapman wrote to the Assembly to clarify its position. In her letter she stated that the LDA would support the expansion of Heathrow because "of the significant impact of effective air transport links on London's economy" and that "environmental issues arising could be mitigated."

Tony Arbour the Member of the London Assembly for South West London said: "The Mayor cannot have it both ways, he cannot be against a third runway at Heathrow on environmental grounds and at the same time have his regional development agency working behind the scenes to support a third runway on economic grounds. "

He said he would ask the Mayor to direct the LDA to change its policy in line with wishes of local residents and reject a third runway on environmental grounds. He concluded, "We cannot have a public body, funded by London taxpayers, supporting a policy which will harm those self same taxpayers.”

April 23, 2004