Thursday 22 November 2007

Heathrow Expansion: Climate Change Betrayal.

I have set out below the press release I have sent out this morning on the Government's decision to go ahead with the expansion of Heathrow airport. This isn't just a local issue for me as a local MP, it has national and global implications because it undermines the Government's proclaimed cimmitment to tackling climate change.
Press Release

Labour MP John McDonnell accuses Government Betrayal over Heathrow Expansion Plans

Labour MP, John McDonnell, whose constituency includes Heathrow airport, has accused the Government of betrayal over its announcement today that it will back a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow.

John said The Government has betrayed the communities that will be devastated by this massive expansion of Heathrow airport and betrayed all those who believed the Prime Minister’s promises this week to tackle climate change. The Government’s proposals go well beyond the plans set out in the original aviation white paper and will double the size of the airport. This will result in the forced clearance of up to 10.000 people from their homes with the demolition of whole communities, homes, schools, and churches. People feel betrayed on every count.

Betrayed because the Government promised a short runway, but they have now come forward with a full length runway with a sixth terminal wiping out even more homes and communities.

Betrayed because it has now been revealed that BAA has been allowed to dictate the Government’s drafting of the consultation paper. The credibility of the consultation document has been rendered laughable by the Government’s argument that a doubling of the size of the airport will have no impact on increasing air and noise pollution and climate change.

Betrayed because the consultation has been curtailed and fixed in advance by the Government is refusing to even have a consultation exhibition in Sipson, the very village they acknowledge will be demolished.

Betrayed because in the week Gordon Brown made his main speech on climate change his government announces an expansion of aviation which will undermine any attempt to meet emission reduction targets and is to introduce new planning legislation to prevent local people having an effective say in the planning process to determine this expansion proposal.

I warn the Government that it now faces against it the biggest environmental campaign that we have seen in our history, which will permanently destroy its environmental credentials.