Hilary Benn - Member of Parliament for Leeds Central
The issue of a third runway at Heathrow Airport generates strong views on both sides.
On 5 June 2018, the Government presented its final proposal for an airports national policy statement (NPS), which outlined its support for plans to deliver a new runway at Heathrow, with a target date of 2026.
The Opposition has always argued that any airport expansion must meet four tests – that it can effectively deliver on capacity demands, that noise and air quality issues are fully addressed, that the UK’s climate change obligations are met in full and that growth across the country is supported. I believe we owe it to future generations to ensure that these factors are dealt with.
After careful consideration, I don’t believe that these tests have been met. My view is that Heathrow expansion is incompatible with our environmental and climate change obligations and cannot be achieved without unacceptable impacts on local residents. Furthermore, the improved connectivity to the regions of the UK cannot be guaranteed and there are unanswered questions on the costs to the public purse and the deliverability of the project.
I agree that we must support vital investment in our country’s transport infrastructure, but investment must be provide real value for money and sustainability. Unfortunately, I believe that a third runway at Heathrow fails this test.
It is expected that Parliament will debate and vote on the NPS today, Monday 25 June and the Opposition would like to have seen a free vote for all parties.
MP for Leeds Central