Cable rules out Heathrow expansion
The Business Secretary categorically rejected any plans to expand Heathrow despite pressure from backbench Tories and business groups.
Vince Cable, speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 last Sunday, said the Heathrow expansion “will not happen” as per the coalition agreement between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
The 2010 coalition agreement had specifically spelt out that there would no additional runways in Heathrow and was in contradiction to the previous Labour government’s policy. Now even the Labour party has dropped the idea of a third runway in Heathrow.
But recently, many senior Tory backbenchers supported by business groups have urged and even mocked the Prime Minister David Cameron to stand up and push through the third runway. Many believe, Justine Greening, the then Transport Secretary, who remains opposed to a third runway in Heathrow, was moved to DFID to facilitate the process.
Greening, a MP for Putney in South West London shares the concerns of fellow MPs in the region including Zac Goldsmith as well as the London Mayor Boris Johnson – all of whom oppose the third runway in Heathrow due to air and noise pollution.
The Business Secretary also represents a South West London constituency, Twickenham agrees with Greening. "This is not a parochial little problem for south-west London. There are potentially two million people affected by this,” he said. "There's an absolute political commitment not to expand Heathrow."
He confirmed that the commission headed by former Financial Services Authority chief Sir Howard Davies would look at alternatives such as building an airport on the reclaimed land on the Thames estuary.
The new Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said that the Commission will provide the Prime Minister and the government with “options for maintaining this country's status as an international hub for aviation".
“This is a very difficult debate, but the reality is that since the 1960s Britain has failed to keep pace with our international competitors in addressing long-term aviation capacity and connectivity needs," the Secretary of State for Transport has said in a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons.