The House of Commons Transport Committee has published its report (23 March). To no-one’s surprise, it supports a new runway at Heathrow.
The committee took a good deal of evidence and, at times, was challenging of the witnesses. The report contained some devastating comments and criticisms, but nonetheless the committee duly gave its support to a third runway.
There is a strong suspicion that the challenges and criticisms were made primarily to alert the government of any pitfalls (including legal challenges) to the progress of building a new runway. We do not detect much genuine concern about the huge noise, air pollution and climate impacts that a new runway would have. Or the latest work from the Department of Transport that shows no net economic benefit from a new runway at Heathrow.
The House of Commons Transport Committee (previously a ‘Select Committee’) has been carrying out an inquiry into Heathrow expansion.
We are not particularly optimistic about what their conclusions will be because most of the MPs who sit on it have an inbuilt bias in favour of ever more transport everywhere.
However, West London Friends of the Earth has submitted evidence. This concentrates particularly on the government’s own evidence that shows negligible economic benefit of a third runway. Evidence that had been hidden away in turgid reports and not highlighted in the top level publications that MPs and the public would be likely to see.
Our final comment is: We ask members [of the Transport Committee] to consider the actual evidence, not be swayed by hype and sound bites such “A new runway shows Britain is open for business”.