While the debate on Britain's aviation future won’t start in earnest until the final report from the Airport Commission is released in the summer, the fight against the third runway continues.
During the recent election campaigns, local MPs from the main parties won their seats on the back of a pledge to fight Heathrow expansion. This is good news because newly elected MPs must now live up to those pledges in Parliament by making the case that any airport expansion must not include a third runway at Heathrow.
A number of constituents have been in touch with me in the weeks following the Election asking what they can do to help.
What can you do to help?
To do your bit please:
1. Sign up to my " Receive Heathrow updates" email list on the sidebar at www.adamafriyie.org so that I can let you know what to do at key moments as well as keep you generally informed
2. Follow me on twitter @AdamAfriyie for instant alerts and updates
3. Undertake one or two other actions, such as supporting the Gatwick proposals at www.gatwickobviously.com or selecting an action from the Action Pack list on my website at http://adamafriyie.org/index.php/2014/11/10/heathrow-action-pack/#.VXbTaWDwvcs.
Whichever way you look at it, a third runway at Heathrow would be a disaster for the country. It would:
§ Breach air pollution limits (1).
§ Cause the demolition of local homes to fit the new runway (2).
§ Put hundreds of thousands more people under the flight path, inflicting considerable noise on almost four times as many people as any other airport in Europe (3).
§ Cause chaos to local roads through rerouting the M25 and imposing a congestion charge on airport users (4).
§ Strengthen Heathrow’s market dominance, leading to higher prices and less competition (5).
§ Need a taxpayer subsidy of around £20 billion at a time when we need to cut the deficit and Government over-spending (6).
The choice is between a costly, disruptive, sticking-plaster third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick that is deliverable, costs little to the British taxpayer and will affect far fewer residents.
These arguments are well known, so our job is to convince other MPs and the Government not to proceed with a third runway at Heathrow if the Davies commission were to recommend it, because Heathrow is not the answer to our aviation capacity challenge. The answer is clear.
Ultimately Parliament will decide whether Heathrow gets its third runway. It is still unclear when exactly this debate will take place.
I have been campaigning against a third runway for more than a decade and you have my commitment that I will continue to do so until the threat has passed. By working together we can make a difference.
1. Heathrow is already in breach of air pollution targets. By 2030, areas around Heathrow are projected to be the second worst polluted in the UK, even without a Third Runway. Details can be found here: http://www.aef.org.uk/2015/02/20/government-projections-reveal-a-two-runway-heathrow-would-be-second-worst-area-for-air-pollution-in-the-uk-by-2030/. The full data is here: http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/RFI_7162_Copy_of_Highest_50_modelledroads_NO2_amended_by_BH.pdf
2. Heathrow’s own plans include the demolition of 783 properties, but may apply to 4,000 homes: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/386011/heathrow-area-transcript.pdf
3. A third runway at Heathrow would affect over a million people, bringing 372,000 new people into the noise contours above the 55 decibel limit. This does not take into account population growth, so the real number will in fact be higher. Read the details here (page 38): https://tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/mayoroflondon-inner-thames-estuary-fs-reponse.pdf
4. Heathrow have already proposed a congestion charge and will have to reroute the M25 to avoid the Third Runway, causing inevitable chaos to local residents and motorists: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/13/heathrow-tunnel-m25-under-third-runway
5. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heathrow and the Wider Economy estimates that if a third runway goes ahead, it would increase Heathrow’s market share of flight passengers by 11% at the expense of regional airports, while having almost no effect on the overall number of passengers (pp. 11, 14): http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/APPG-Passenger-Report-3-Feb-Final.pdf
6. Transport for London estimate that surface-access costs for a third runway at Heathrow will be £15-20billion, all of which will come from taxpayer funding: http://www.mediafire.com/view/mq9eic1k716z0bm/TFL+Response+to+APPG+on+Surface+Access.pdf