The London Assembly yesterday passed a motion reaffirming its opposition to the expansion of Heathrow Airport and suggesting more use could be made of spare capacity at other airports serving the South East. Every Conservative London Assembly member voted against the motion.
Robin Meltzer, the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Richmond Park, said:
"It's no longer even the case that the Tories are split on Heathrow. Now, almost everyone they have in elected office is in favour of mass expansion or, at best, isn't bothered. The few who are on our side of the argument are simply sidelined by their leadership."
Caroline Pidgeon AM, who proposed the motion, said: “I am really disappointed to see Heathrow back on the table. Airport capacity in London is currently under-used, in fact some London airports have more than half of their runway slots free. Rather than inflict further misery on the residents of West London, the Davies Commission should rule out expansion of Heathrow and focus on better use of capacity at other South East airports.”
The full text of the motion agreed at the meeting on 15th January reads as follows:
“This Assembly notes the interim report published by Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission and the options proposed for expanding Heathrow and Gatwick. The Assembly also notes that the Estuary Airport options have not made the shortlist, though more work will be done before a final decision on shortlisting is made in the New Year.
In particular, we welcome Sir Howard Davies’ recommendations on increasing surface access at our existing airports and we note that a number of projects are now contained within the National Infrastructure Plan. Namely:
· Committing £50 million towards a full redevelopment of the railway station at Gatwick;
· Setting up a new study into Southern Rail access to Heathrow;
· Accelerating a Network Rail study into the Brighton Mainline;
· Extending the scope of the East Anglian Mainline study to include access to Stansted;
· Including the Gatwick to London route on a planned trial of smart ticketing; and
· Including access to Gatwick in the Highways Agency study on local motorways.
The London Assembly also urges the Mayor to support Sir Howard Davies’ recommendation of the establishment of an independent noise regulator for London.
The Assembly recalls its recent Transport Committee report “Airport Capacity in London” which ruled out expansion of Heathrow and identified significant spare capacity at other airports in the South East.
The Assembly reaffirms its opposition to Heathrow expansion plans and calls on the Airports Commission to rethink its approach targeting the use of spare capacity at airports serving the South East.”