Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

Heathrow third runway reaction

Greenpeace protest near Heathrow
A Greenpeace coalition bought land near the airport to frustrate expansion plans

Controversial plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport have been given the go-ahead.

Here supporters and critics give their reaction.

GEOFF HOON, TRANSPORT SECRETARY

Mr Hoon told the Commons that a new runway at Heathrow was "the best way to maximise efficiency" at an expanded airport.

He said that initially the number of flights allowed to use the new runway would be limited to half the original proposal and incentives put in place for the use of cleaner and quieter aircraft.

He said: "We intend that new slots at Heathrow will have to be 'green slots'.

"Only the cleanest planes will be allowed to use the new slots that will be made available.

"We will establish a new target to limit aviation emissions in the UK to below 2005 levels by 2050.

"Taken together this gives us the toughest climate change regime for aviation of any country in the world."

Mr Hoon said he also saw a "strong case" for a new high speed rail hub at Heathrow and had created a new company to explore the creation of a high speed line between London and Scotland.

THERESA VILLIERS, SHADOW TRANSPORT SECRETARY

Speaking for the Conservatives, Ms Villiers said the go-ahead was a "bleak day" for the environment.

She added that the runway plans would "inflict devastating damage on the environment and quality of life and the Conservatives will fight them every step of the way".

She added: "The world has moved on when it comes to Heathrow but Labour just haven't moved with it.

"They are on the wrong side of the argument: their environmental credibility is in tatters.

"It is time for Labour to scrap their plans for a third runway and if they won't do that it is time for them to call a general election so the country can elect a Conservative government that will stop this environmental disaster from going ahead."

EMMA THOMPSON

The Oscar winning actress said plans to expand Heathrow airport were 'insane' and said she was "incandescent with rage" about the government's decision.

She said: "I call that a real slap in the face to every citizen in this country who has been doing their best to cut back on their own emissions.

"I think it's the most egregious piece of hypocrisy I've seen in a long time."

Ms Thompson legally owns a plot of land on the site of the proposed runway along with fellow celebrity Alistair McGowan, Greenpeace and others.

BORIS JOHNSON, MAYOR OF LONDON

Mr Johnson said he was considering legal action against the government to stop the runway being built.

He said: "I am deeply concerned that the proper processes of coming to this decision may not have been followed, and will support a legal challenge should this prove to be the case."

He described the government's decision as a "devastating blow" for Londoners, whose lives would be blighted by increases in air pollution and noise.

He added: "The Government has singularly failed to deliver a convincing case for expansion throughout or adequate solutions for the nightmare problems this would cause."

RICHARD LAMBERT, CBI DIRECTOR GENERAL

Mr Lambert said the decision to approve a third runway would balance the needs of the environment and those of the economy.

He said: "This approach to expanding Heathrow's capacity makes real sense.

"It will create the integrated transport system necessary for an economy that needs to grow in an environmentally sustainable fashion.

"It's right that full use of the new runway capacity should be dependent on Heathrow meeting strict environmental requirements.

"Linking Heathrow to a high-speed rail network will increase the proportion of passengers who arrive by public transport and vastly improve connections to London and the rest of the UK."

DEREK SIMPSON, UNITE UNION

Mr Simpson welcomed the runway announcement on behalf of his union members, many of whom work at Heathrow.

He said it was "the best decision, taken in the best interests of this country.

He added: "There are 172,000 people and their families who depend on Heathrow for their livelihoods.

"There are also thousands more workers in other UK airports who need Heathrow to thrive so that their airport thrives, who will breathe a sigh of relief now that this decision has been made."

LORD SMITH, ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

As chairman of the body charged with enforcing pollution limits around Heathrow airport, Lord Smith said the building of a new runway filled him with "deep concern."

He said: "Air quality in the area is already at breaking point. However, this decision does put strict legal limits on air pollution.

"Under the new powers given to the Environment Agency as the independent regulator, we will make sure these limits are strongly and rigorously enforced.

"The CO2 and global warming impacts from increased aviation need to be taken into account.

"Serious questions must be asked about how the aim of reaching an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 can still be achieved in light of this decision."

JOHN SAUVEN, GREENPEACE

The Greenpeace executive director said the movement against the third runway was "huge and growing".

He added: "If Gordon Brown thinks this is a green runway then he must be colour-blind.

"This package is designed to patch up a cabinet split and will do very little to reduce the huge environmental impact of an expanded Heathrow, which will now become the single biggest emitter of carbon-dioxide in the country."

Mr Sauven said using more fuel efficient planes will not solve the problem of climate change.

"Crucially Geoff Hoon accepted in his statement that there would be a sizable increase in CO2 emissions from a new runway."

MILES TEMPLEMAN , INSTITUTE OF DIRECTORS

The IoD director general said with current airport operating at 99% of capacity, Heathrow's status as a global hub was under threat.

He added: "A third runway is vital to maintaining the UK's economic competitiveness.

"It will put us in a good position to win business from the key markets such as India and China when the upturn comes."

JOHN STEWART, HACAN CLEARSKIES

HACAN ClearSkies campaigner John Stewart said the decision did not factor in the four other airports located in London.

Calling the argument for the runway "nonsense", he said: "One hundred and thirty-nine million people used [the other airports] last year, much higher than the nearest European competitor.

"We shouldn't be comparing Heathrow with these other cities.

"We should be looking at all the facilities, all the airports in London, and then making the comparison.

"And in my view, then, the economic arguments for the expansion of Heathrow don't stand up."

EDWARD LISTER, 2M GROUP

A spokesman for a group representing local councils opposed to expansion said there was deep distrust of the government's environmental promises.

Mr Lister, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: "Promises that environmental impacts will be regulated will be taken with a pinch of a salt by many people around the airport.

"Air pollution levels here already exceed EU limits, yet the Government does nothing. The reality is that once a third runway is in place, it will be used to the full.

"Too many promises have been broken already. Those responsible for the decision won't be around when the runway is built and we learn that the so-called 'less polluting' planes haven't materialised."

IAN GODDEN, SOCIETY OF BRITISH AEROSPACE COMPANIES

But Mr Godden said the Government should be congratulated for taking this decision based on the "facts" about aviation.

He added: "Aircraft are 75% quieter than they were 30 years ago as well as 70% more fuel efficient than 50 years ago and new technology will drive further improvements by the time of the opening of the new runway.

"This decision will allow the UK to continue to compete with other nations in Europe."



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