2M Wins Runway Alternation Pledges
As well as commitment to scrap plans for third runway from main opposition parties
The 2M campaign against further Heathrow expansion was given a boost after both main opposition parties confirmed that in addition to scrapping any proposal for a third runway, they would keep runway alternation.
MPs from all sides joined in criticism of plans for a 46 per cent increase in capacity at Heathrow during a major parliamentary debate.
For many people on both sides of the airport, the prospect of all-day flights on the two existing runways would be more damaging to their quality of life than a new third runway to the north of the airport.
Ending alternation would mean the current relief provided when aircraft switch runways at 3pm would be lost. There would be no 'quiet' time of the day for residents to enjoy outdoor events.
Local councils have consistently underlined their total opposition to all forms of expansion at the airport, which they argue has reached its maximum capacity.
Hounslow council leader Peter Thompson added,"Ministers may have been hoping they could sell increased use of existing runways as a 'pain-free' alternative to an extra runway. People in west London will not be fooled. They value the relief provided by the 3pm switch-around and will resist any move to take it way from them."
Wandsworth council leader Edward Lister said,"Every previous expansion was supposed to be the last. There can be no certainty that ministers and BAA would even stop at a third runway. We have to draw a line in the sand and say no more expansion. It really is time for some bold thinking about alternatives such as the 2M high speed rail plan."
HACAN chair John Stewart said,“The people of west London will be overjoyed at the growing support in all parties for retaining runway alternation. Tuesday's debate sent a clear message that Heathrow is big enough already."
The full text of the debate, which had contributions from all sides, is available at www.parliament.uk/publications.
You can view 2M's high speed rail plan at www.2MGroup.org.uk
November 19, 2008