Posts Tagged ‘David Cameron’


[Guardian] Proposals for night flights at Heathrow could be back on the agenda after the government said it had told the independent commission into aviation capacity to produce an interim report next year recommending “immediate actions”.

Government call for interim recommendations on airport capacity revives speculation over possible actions

Government call for interim recommendations on airport capacity revives speculation over possible actions. Photo: Wikipedia

The announcement will help David Cameron deflect claims he is continuing to dither over airport capacity. But the new timetable will reignite controversy over Heathrow well before the 2015 election and has fuelled speculation that night flights, or even dual use of Heathrow runways for both landing and takeoff – known as “mixed mode” –  may be put back on the agenda.

Sir Howard Davies, who is leading the inquiry, insisted he was “genuinely undecided” and “logically could not deny” speculation over any option, but said no one had asked him to examine specific questions about mixed mode, which would bring huge increases in air traffic and noise. He said he would be scrutinising even the government’s own forecasts for growing airport demand.

The former boss of the Financial Services Authority and the CBI industry group , who resigned as head of the London School of Economics last year, said he believed the key to a successful inquiry was formulating the right questions. He said he would start holding hearings in the spring. According to the announcement from the new transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, his task is “identifying and recommending to government options for maintaining this country’s status as an international hub for aviation”.

Davies said he would be recruiting no more than three or four members for the commission, including a “transport economist, but otherwise you’ll probably want people of judgment from a decent balance of backgrounds”. Names would be confirmed within seven to 10 days, he said.

The coalition agreement rules out a third runway at Heathrow. But Cameron’s removal of Justine Greening from the transport portfolio in this week’s cabinet reshuffle, and the apparent shelving of her own planned “call for evidence”, has been taken by many as a signal that a Conservative U-turn over the building of a third Heathrow runway is in motion – albeit slowly enough and sufficiently at arm’s length to avoid the electoral fallout. Davies’s ultimate conclusions will not be delivered until 2015, after the next election.

Labour supported expansion at the last election, but proposed the commission to the government a year ago, in part to overcome its own internal difficulties on the issue. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said Labour would “engage constructively”.

Davies said: “The issue is the extent to which they are committed to receiving its findings.”

He said he was under no illusions that his findings would……

Read the full story at The Guardian…..


&  – Guardian.co.uk,
September 2012



[Daily Mail] Transport Secretary Justine Greening was demoted  today as the Government prepared for a U-turn on building a controversial third runway at Heathrow.

Ms Greening was today moved by the PM to International Development - a week after she threatened to quit over Heathrow. Photo Wikipedia

Ms Greening was today moved by the PM to International Development – a week after she threatened to quit over Heathrow. Photo Wikipedia

She was moved to the International Development portfolio just a week after she threatened to quit the Cabinet if  David Cameron pursued the unpopular expansion of Britain’s biggest airport. If the Prime Minister decided to back a third  runway it would go against one of his key election pledges in  2010.

Ms Greening was pictured looking glum as she left Downing Street this morning after Mr Cameron told her she was out of the Transport job and would be replaced by Patrick McLoughlin.

She had been in the Prime Minister’s office  for more than an hour before rushing out of the door and into a waiting car  without speaking to reporters. Soon afterwards Boris Johnson, who is more  popular than rival David Cameron according to opinion polls, weighed in and said  Greening’s demotion shows the Prime Minister is intent on the ‘simply mad’  expansion of Heathrow Airport.

The Mayor of London warned he would fight any moves to build a new runway ‘all the way’ and accused ministers of failing to be straight. Calling Greening a ‘first-rate transport  secretary’ he said: ‘There can be only one reason to move her – and that is to  expand  Heathrow airport.

Downing Street insists the Government's position is unchanged since the coalition agreement of 2010, which committed ministers to scrapping extra runway plans drawn up under Labour. Photo Wikipedia

Downing Street insists the Government’s position is unchanged since the coalition agreement of 2010, which committed ministers to scrapping extra runway plans drawn up under Labour. Photo Wikipedia

‘It is simply mad to build a new runway in the middle of West London. Nearly a third of the victims of aircraft noise in the whole of Europe live in the vicinity of Heathrow.

‘Now it is clear that the Government wants to ditch its promises and send yet more planes over central London…..

Read the full story at The Daily Mail…..


Daily Mail
4th Sept, 2012



[Economist] How a row over Heathrow has become a test of David Cameron’s political manhood.

From Edward Heath in the 1970s to Labour in the past decade, leaders have tried to resolve London’s aviation dilemma. Picture: Economist/CAA

From Edward Heath in the 1970s to Labour in the past decade, leaders have tried to resolve London’s aviation dilemma. Picture: Economist/CAA

AS AN opposition Tory leader anxious to throw off his party’s image as the home of rapacious Gradgrinds, David Cameron made an eye-catching pledge in October 2009. “The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead, no ifs, no buts,” he declared, setting his party against Labour’s plans for airport expansion. Homeowners around London’s western fringe cheered.

The move enhanced Mr Cameron’s green credentials—a key part of his strategy to reposition the Conservative Party as more socially aware. It also boosted the Tories’ electoral prospects in marginal seats like Richmond Park and Brentford, which are already uncomfortably noisy (see map).

Alas, the days when making Conservatism sound nice was a priority are long gone. As politicians return to Westminster for a new term, the prime minister is focused on the stubbornly lagging economy, which is a drag on the coalition’s popularity and his own.

Backbenchers and businessfolk think they have a solution: grant the capital’s main airport room to grow so the country can attract more business from China and other emerging economies. Tim Yeo, Tory chairman of Parliament’s energy committee, has changed his mind to favour a new runway and is loudly urging Mr Cameron to do likewise. Powerful backers like Sir Michael Spencer, a City broker, also support a U-turn.

Few MPs are convinced that building a new runway at Heathrow would…….

Read this full article at the Economist…..


The Economist
Sept 1st, 2012



[Independent] Justine Greening could become the first Cabinet Minister to be removed from her job because she supports Government policy, it was suggested yesterday.

Transport Secretary's opposition to runway makes her position in Cabinet 'untenable'

Transport Secretary‘s opposition to runway makes her position in Cabinet ‘untenable’. Photo: Wikipedia

Some senior Conservatives, who are in favour of building a third runway at Heathrow to boost economic growth, said that Ms Greening’s long-held opposition to the plan meant that she could not remain in her position as Transport Secretary.

They suggested that with Chancellor George Osborne now in favour of a third runway it would be necessary to move Ms Greening in the planned September reshuffle to allow a U-turn to take place. However, others in Government dismissed the idea, pointing out that opposing the runway was Government policy.

They added that the Liberal Democrats had been clear that they would block the move and that David Cameron said last month that Government policy would not be changing. But Richard Wellings, head of transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank, said Ms Greening’s position was “untenable”.

Richard Harrington, a Tory backbencher, said he backed "anything that will increase capacity" at Heathrow.

Richard Harrington, a Tory backbencher, said he backed “anything that will increase capacity” at Heathrow. Photo: Wikipedia

“It is a problem having her as Transport Secretary with such a local interest in the issue; given her critical views on Heathrow expansion, it would make sense to replace her,” Mr Wellings told the Financial Times.

One senior Tory added: “It would be bizarre to keep her in that job when her position over aviation is now the polar opposite of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.”

The Government is expected to publish its long-awaited consultation into airport expansion in the South-east in the next couple of months. While that will not specifically rule out a third runway – and ask for supporters to make a case for it – it will make clear that Government policy is to look for other…….

Read the full story at The Independent…..


The Independent
25th Aug, 2012



[Telegraph] Boris Johnson has called for a second runway to be built at Stansted as the gulf between the London Mayor and David Cameron widened on aviation.

”Boris thinks it is time that we looked at all the options around London because the Heathrow option is politically undeliverable"

”Boris thinks it is time that we looked at all the options around London because the Heathrow option is politically undeliverable”. Photo: Wikikpedia

Mr Johnson rounded on the Prime Minister and the Coalition which has refused to consider expanding Heathrow as well as vetoing proposals for new runways at Gatwick and Stansted.

Having earlier pushed for the building of a new airport in the Thames Estuary, Mr Johnson called for a second runway at Stansted to be built as a short term fix.

He also said that £14.8 billion Crossrail scheme, which will link the City to Heathrow, should be extended to Stansted.

“It would be a good interim solution,” he said. “A lot of money is now moving on to Stansted and the possibility of a high-speed rail link up there. You could be just as fast, if not faster, than at Heathrow.

”I think it is time that we looked at all the options around London because the Heathrow option is politically undeliverable and would be an environmental disaster.

Read the full story at The Telegraph…….


By
6:12PM BST 18 Jun 2012



[Financial Times] David Cameron has paved the way for a U-turn on building a third runway at  Heathrow airport, amid signs that Downing Street is cooling to the idea of  building a new  hub in the Thames Estuary.

Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne were initially attracted to the idea of building a  hub airport with four runways in the Thames estuary

Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne were initially attracted to the idea of building a hub airport with four runways in the Thames estuary. Photo: Wikipedia

Mr Cameron left open the prospect that the Conservatives would campaign at the  2015 election in favour of expanding Heathrow – a move that would please the  business lobby but infuriate environmentalists and Londoners living under the  flight path.

Although the coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats excludes building  another runway at Heathrow, the prime minister believes there is an urgent need  to develop London’s air links with emerging markets.

Questioned in the Commons, Mr Cameron refused to rule out a change of heart.  While restating the coalition’s position, he said: “We must not be blind to two  important considerations: how we expand airport capacity overall and how we  ensure Heathrow operates better.”

Government insiders confirmed that both Mr Cameron and George Osborne, the  chancellor, had an open mind on expanding Heathrow, although any change of  policy would not come before the election.

Zac Goldsmith, the environmentalist and Tory MP for Richmond Park, said that  up to 2m people living under the flight path – including his constituents – would resist a new runway, adding: “I could not stand on a Conservative platform  that included an expansion of Heathrow.”

Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne were initially attracted to the idea of building a  hub airport with four runways in the Thames estuary. But their enthusiasm has  waned as details have emerged on…..

Read the full story at the Financial Times


George Parker and Andrew Parker
14th June, 2012

Additional reporting by James Pickford and Jim Pickard



[Evening Standard] Britain will miss out on more than £100 billion over the next two decades if the Government ignores London’s “shocking” airport crisis, ministers were warned today.

Chinese passenger jet manufacturer COMAC decided to locate its European base in Paris, not London, because of superior links at Charles de Gaulle airport.

Chinese passenger jet manufacturer COMAC decided to locate its European base in Paris, not London, because of superior links at Charles de Gaulle airport. Photo: Wikipedia

Failure to build more runways to link the capital with the world’s rising economic powers will wreak huge damage on the country’s already stretched finances, according to new analysis.

The report, originally commissioned by Heathrow owner BAA, is the most in-depth on the subject so far. It comes amid growing alarm that London could become “cut off” from countries such as China and Brazil.

The Standard has learned Chinese passenger jet manufacturer COMAC decided to locate its European base in Paris, not London, because of superior links at Charles de Gaulle airport.

David Cameron and George Osborne are under pressure to sort out the issue. On Thursday, a group of Conservative MPs will publish a book, The Growth Factory, on the need for an industrial strategy, devoting a chapter to the danger of leaving aviation as it is. And a senior economist warned: “if you don’t have the capacity, you’re stuffed.”

The detail of the report, by consultancy Oxford Economics, has emerged as the Government prepares a consultation on aviation policy. The study concludes British economic growth will lag far behind its full potential if no new runways are built, and there will be “a substantial economic impact in both the long and medium terms.” This “GDP gap” would reach £8.5 billion a year by 2021, it is claimed.

And even if the gap gets no worse in the 2020s, the cumulative loss of national income by 2028 would top £100 billion, the study predicts. That is twice the estimated £50 billion cost of building a new airport in the Thames estuary, and more than……

Read the full story at The Evening Standard….


Evening Standard
21 May 2012



[Independent] UK growth is being “undermined by Government policy”, the head of British Airways’ parent company said today.

Walsh "it's a terrible shame that Government policy in the UK is damaging our ability to connect with these Asian markets."

Walsh "it's a terrible shame that Government policy in the UK is damaging our ability to connect with these Asian markets."

Airlines were facilitating growth but the Government had to understand that it was hampering growth, said Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airline Group (IAG).

Speaking at Heathrow airport today, Mr Walsh said Prime Minister David Cameron had been promoting UK trade in Asia of late.

Mr Walsh went on: “While the Prime Minister talks about the fantastic opportunities for Britain, it’s a terrible shame that Government policy in the UK is damaging our ability to connect with these Asian markets.”

Mr Walsh went on: “UK growth is being undermined by Government policy and that’s a terrible thing to have to say.

Mr Walsh is keen to see the Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax scrapped as well as Heathrow being expanded so that Britain can connect with vital Asian markets.

However, the Government has ruled out a third runway at Heathrow.

He said today: “It’s a nonsense to say that British business can be competitive if we can’t fly to these (Asian) destinations.”

Mr Walsh went on: “This is a Government of contradictions. They talk about the importance of competitiveness yet we have APD.”

Asked about the ability of Heathrow to cope with the Olympic Games traffic this summer, Mr Walsh said the problem of immigration queues was not just about Heathrow but about “inadequate resources”.

He said Heathrow was a “fantastic airport” but efforts to improve things there were being “undermined” by this lack of resources.

Read the full story at The Independent….


PETER WOODMAN
MONDAY 23 APRIL 2012