Yesterday Ruth Cadbury MP spoke in the House of Commons, to debate the findings and content of the Airports commission. She secured this debate with other South West London MPs, Dr Tania Matthias and Zac Goldsmith.
‘The Heathrow Runway 3 option is the most costly, most complex and highest risk of the 3 schemes that the Airport Commissions believes are deliverable.’
‘Heathrow should be Better, not Bigger. I recognise the significant local and national benefits Heathrow brings to the economy, I oppose expansion there because I want to see no increase in the noise and pollution the airport already causes, and I want to work with the airport on reducing those negative impacts.’
Ms Cadbury outlined the day to day reality for many of her constituents:
‘The noise starts around 4.15 every morning with, on average, 16 flights before 6am. Then it’s continuous, for an hour. From 7am until 3pm those under the approach of one runway get continuous noise before the planes switch to the other runway, until the airport finally closes down around 11.30pm’.
‘Last night I met Armel, a resident for 46 years of Harmondsworth village. 90 minutes after the Davies Commission report was published she and her husband received a hand-delivered letter from the Chief Executive of Heathrow telling them about the arrangements to be made for buying their home – for a price that wouldn’t buy a flat in most of West London. Her husband fell ill as a result of the pressure this letter caused, and within 8 weeks he sadly passed away.’
Ms Cadbury argued that ‘Heathrow’s tactics are getting more desperate as former allies peel away’, referring to British Airways withdrawal of support for a third runway, and quoted Mr Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, the parent company of British Airways, who said ‘The infrastructure is not fit for purpose. The price tag is excessive and cannot be justified on any basis. We didn’t ask for it and we’re not paying for it’.
Ms Cadbury has vocally opposed Heathrow for over 15 years as a Hounslow Councillor and now as an MP, often citing the flaws in the business case surrounding Heathrow.
“A figure often repeated by pro-Heathrow expansion lobby is that a new runway at Heathrow would deliver "up to £147 billion" benefit to the UK, a figure taken from the Airports Commission report but in fact challenged by the commissions’ own specialist experts elsewhere in the report who have criticised the analysis for double counting and questionable assumptions in relation to the indirect benefits. “There are several serious flaws in this figure due to the novel way it was arrived at. This figure takes no account of the environmental or surface access costs of expansion.”
“A very different picture emerges when the Commisions figures are run using the Governments cost benefit analysis methodology - WebTAG. These suggest that a third runway at Heathrow would, once all environmental and surface access costs are included, and in a carbon-capped scenario result, in a net £9bn LOSS to the UK. Add in some "wider economic benefits" and the 60 year estimated benefit would still only be £1.4bn, as the Commission's final report in fact quoted but in the small print. And using the same methodology the net benefit of Gatwick's second airport would be £5.5bn.”