The Labour Party has revealed that it believes the Government’s final proposal for an Airports National Policy Statement, laid before Parliament earlier this month, fails to meet their tests for Heathrow expansion.
Their statement says they are opposed to the current Heathrow expansion plans, but they call for a free vote in parliament, which is likely to produce a vote in favour of a third runway.
Labour say their support for Heathrow expansion has always been conditional on four tests being met:
1. That increased capacity will be delivered
2. That the UK can meet its CO2 reduction commitments
3. That noise and local environmental impact is minimised
4. That the benefits of expansion would be felt across the U.K.
Labour now say that their analysis of the National Policy Statement finds that none of these tests have been met.
As a result they say they officially oppose this expansion plan. However, they go on to call for a “free vote for all parties on the National Policy Statement (New Runway Capacity and Infrastructure At Airports in the South of England) when it comes to Parliament very soon.
It is considered likely that in a fre vote many Labour MPs would vote in favour, along with the SNP and most Conservatives, with only those in the immediate neighbourhood of the Airport voting against. Recent Heathrow Airport polling of MPs suggest around three-quarters want to see action taken now, and will vote in favour.
Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Labour has always argued that airport expansion must meet our four tests. After careful and rigorous consideration, we are clear that they have not been met.
“Heathrow expansion is incompatible with our environmental and climate change obligations and cannot be achieved without unacceptable impacts on local residents. The improved connectivity to the regions of the UK cannot be guaranteed and there are unanswered questions on the costs to the public purse and the deliverability of the project.
“We support vital investment in our country’s transport infrastructure, but every investment must be tested on whether it provides real value for money and sustainability. A third runway at Heathrow fails this test.”