Government "wobbling" over Heathrow

Posted by bex — 28 February 2008 at 6:35pm - Comments

Heathrow voices tour

Out and about on our Heathrow Voices tour last year.

If you're one of the many, many thousands of people involved in the opposition to Heathrow expansion, you may want to give yourself a pat on the back. The day after the 'consultation' closed, there's news that we're getting the message through to 'the highest levels of Labour'.

In one of two Heathrow stories in today's Evening Standard, the paper's chief political correspondent wrote:

Ministers are under increasing pressure to rethink plans for Heathrow expansion after 18,000 people lodged objections to the plans.

The scale of the protest is understood to have taken the government by surprise and is causing concern at the highest levels of Labour at the political fall-out if plans for a third runway are given the go-ahead.

One MP told the evening Standard there had been a "wobble" within the Department of Transport about BAA's proposals. "They are realising this could cost them votes," he said.

In an attempt to limit the damage, the DfT refused to publish any of the submissions to the consultation, which ended yesterday. Critics claim this is because they are embarrassed that the majority of the responses are opposed to expansion.

The DfT has said it is unlikely to make public the submissions until a final decision is made this summer. The outcome is at odds with other major consultations such as the Ofcom inquiry into children's television advertising which provided a running log on a website of responses.

Justine Greening, Conservative MP for Putney, said: "So far, given the ministers lack of interest in engaging with the public, the indicators are they will overrule the wishes of thousands of respondents to the consultation."

A spokesperson for the DfT said: "The DfT has gone to real effort to encourage as many people as possible to participate in this consultation by holding public exhibitions. We look forward to seeing the responses."


And it's not just government feeling the pressure of public opinion. A few days ago, we noticed a poll on Virgin's website asking people whether they agreed that the third runway was a fine thing (well, Virgin put it like this). Strangely enough, the vast majority - over 94 per cent the last time I checked - said no, and Virgin quietly pulled the poll.

Anyone who couldn't get into the Westminster rally on Monday because so many people turned up will know the feeling: the roar of opposition's growing fast, and we're making ourselves heard.

You see, we can make a difference.

I think the runway is fine. Go planes!

I wish I was as funny as you.

This is definitely great news although I have my doubts that the government will actually capitulate to the public pressure given their continuing 'free ride' policy for the 3 BA's - BA, BAA and BAE.

Also I think it's worth pointing out that as well as saying no to more planes, we should spend equal energy campaigning for more public investment in greener modes of transport. The fact that the government recenlty announced major cuts in Rail subsidies (that were passed on directly to consumers at the begining of the year) is a glaring example of how upside down the DfT's green agenda really is.

Fortunately Eurostar and European high speed rail links are developing at pace and there are a growing number of travel companies seeking to offer genuine and inspiring flight-free holidays (eg www.noflights.com).

why don't you lot grow up, get a job and move out of your mums attic.

You see, we can make a difference.

I think the runway is fine. Go planes!

I wish I was as funny as you.

This is definitely great news although I have my doubts that the government will actually capitulate to the public pressure given their continuing 'free ride' policy for the 3 BA's - BA, BAA and BAE. Also I think it's worth pointing out that as well as saying no to more planes, we should spend equal energy campaigning for more public investment in greener modes of transport. The fact that the government recenlty announced major cuts in Rail subsidies (that were passed on directly to consumers at the begining of the year) is a glaring example of how upside down the DfT's green agenda really is. Fortunately Eurostar and European high speed rail links are developing at pace and there are a growing number of travel companies seeking to offer genuine and inspiring flight-free holidays (eg www.noflights.com).

why don't you lot grow up, get a job and move out of your mums attic.

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