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Heathrow: expansion plans will scupper UK's climate change commitments, say Greens (photo: Panhard/Wikimedia Creative Commons).

Heathrow airport: expansion plans will scupper UK’s climate change commitments, say Greens (photo: Panhard/Wikimedia Creative Commons).

Greens call on Labour to oppose third runway

Claiming that construction of a third runway at Heathrow will make it impossible for the UK to meet its climate change targets, Hastings Green Party has called on the local Labour Party to put pressure on its national leadership to oppose the project. Nick Terdre reports.

Hastings Green Party (HGP) condemns the recent government decision to give the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow which, they say, will make it impossible for the UK to meet its climate change commitments.

The Greens call on Hastings and Rye Labour Party to take a stand against the expansion, and to put pressure on the Labour leadership to do likewise. They say that after they reminded council leader Peter Chowney of his commitment, when standing as parliamentary candidate last year, to vote against any airport expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick if elected, he has written a private letter to Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Chowney confirmed to HOT that he had been contacted by the Greens and that he had written to Mr Corbyn encouraging him to oppose the Heathrow expansion. He said he was “opposed to air travel expansion on environmental grounds and the disproportionate impact it has on climate change…I agree with the Greens on that.”

The Greens had expressed concern that in a recent interview Mr Corbyn, while stressing that the issue had to be looked at in the context of tests demanded by the transport select committee, had not mentioned the issue of climate change.

Labour to vote against

However, Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald has since confirmed that the Labour Party will oppose the proposal in the Commons.

“We’ve always said our support for expansion is conditional to our four tests,” he told BBC Radio’s Today programme today (Wednesday 20th). “That the capacity would be delivered by virtue of this proposal, that it would meet our CO2 reduction commitments, that it would deal with noise and air quality issues, and that it would be of benefit to the entire United Kingdom.

”Going through each of those tests and going through the transport select committee’s recommendations, we conclude that those tests have not been met and therefore that is why we will not be supporting this vote when it comes before the House, in all likelihood on Monday.”

He agreed, however, that many Labour MPs favour expansion and confirmed that the leadership will not use the whip to oblige members to follow its lead.

Plan “incompatible” with commitments

The Greens say that a 2016 report on Heathrow expansion by the Campaign for Better Transport concluded that building a third runway was incompatible with meeting the UK’s commitment under the Climate Change Act to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

“Parliament will be voting any day now on whether to allow a third runway at Heathrow,” Julia Hilton, HGP spokesperson, said. “The only party which can make sure this vote goes the right way is the Labour party, and we urge Hastings Labour to put pressure on the leadership to demand they vote against airport expansion.

“Expanding Heathrow would mean that the UK would not meet its climate change obligations. At a time when we are already seeing catastrophic impacts around the world from climate change, it is time for serious action rather than just words. Labour must vote against Heathrow expansion.”


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Posted 12:08 Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018 In: The HOT Planet

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