Robin's letter in Richmond & Twickenham Times on Heathrow

Robin Meltzer's letter about Heathrow expansion and the Conservative division on the issue was published in the Richmond and Twickenham Times on 23rd August 2013.

You can download the letters page as a PDF.

You can also read the entire edition online (page 23).

The letter is as follows:

Sir,
The UK needs an aviation policy that will stand the test of time. Of course London must be connected to the world - and especially to the fast growing emerging markets. But Heathrow expansion is not the answer.
 
What we need is a forward-thinking aviation strategy that combines the existing and under-used capacity of Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick - and indeed regional airports so that passengers stop having to go via Heathrow to get to Europe. The environmentally sustainable and economically viable option is to put investment into public transport links between London’s airports.  
 
This was all supposed to have been settled at the last election when the Conservatives, nationally, came out against Heathrow expansion. So it is unacceptable that residents in South West London are again being placed in a holding pattern, so to speak, as we approach a General Election. 
 
Let us be in no doubt why the Heathrow expansion issue is back on the table. It's because the Conservatives are all over the place: divided and chaotic on an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of residents. The Conservative Mayor of London says he would like Heathrow to shut down altogether. Meanwhile, senior Conservatives in Parliament say we should actually be building not just a third but a fourth runway there.
 
Mention this to local Conservative representatives and you get the rather feeble claim that if it wasn't for the Liberal Democrats in Government, there would be no Davies Commission looking into aviation policy.
 
In fact, the uncomfortable truth for local Tories is that if it wasn't for the Liberal Democrats in Government, there would already be a third runway being prepared, because the Conservatives nationally are not listening to local concerns. A Tory government would have just gone ahead and done it. Senior Conservatives from George Osborne down are champing at the bit to expand Heathrow. I'd rather have the Commission than the runway, and that is one of the ways that the Liberal Democrats have stopped the rush to expansion.

The Liberal Democrats continue to provide the only rational and consistent approach: we are opposed to a third runway, we have blocked it in this Parliament, 
we were the only Party to vote against it in the Select Committee this year, and we continue to oppose all night flights. 
 
Locally, people from all parties and from none need to keep the pressure up on both the Conservative and Labour parties to join with the Liberal Democrats in ruling out Heathrow expansion and (except, of course, in emergencies) banning night flights.


 
Robin Meltzer
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Campaigner,
Richmond Park & North Kingston