UK Conservatives Back Up New Runway Opposition

Greenpeace anti Heathrow runway campaign image

Image credit: Greenpeace
UK Opposition Party Continues Stance Against Aviation Expansion
The UK Conservative Party is not necessarily thought of by many as the party of protest, but it has already come out strongly against airport expansion, pledging instead to build a high-speed rail link between London and Manchester. And unless Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent efforts to rectify the global economy give him a significant boost in the polls, the Conservative's chances of winning the next election are looking pretty good. So it is significant that, according to The Guardian, the party's leaders are backing up their opposition to new runways by strongly warning potential contractors that they would not honour commitments on these projects, should they be elected to power. Needless to say, the British Airport Authority (BAA) is likely to be less than happy:

Theresa Villiers, shadow transport secretary, also warned any firm considering working on the proposed third runway at Heathrow to be "very, very careful" about signing contracts. The Tories have pledged to replace a new runway at the UK's largest airport with a high-speed rail link. BAA's planning application for a new runway at Stansted will be heard at a public inquiry next year and the final verdict is expected in 2010 - at about the time of a general election. Asked about BAA's Stansted application, Villiers said: "I would advise them to drop it. We do not want a second runway at Stansted."

BAA has invested £160m in a second runway at Stansted - £80m on buying 73 properties for demolition if it goes ahead and £80m on drawing up the application. BAA declined to comment, but it is understood that the airport group is still planning to open the runway in 2015.
The Guardian, via site visit.

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