Tomorrow (March 6th) BAA is expected to release a report it commissioned from Oxford Economics which will argue that the UK risks losing trade and inward investment if Heathrow does not expand. The report seeks to influence the Government’s draft aviation strategy which is expected to go out to public consultation towards the end of this month.
Campaign group HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight path, has dismissed BAA’s attempt to re-open the Heathrow debate as “fighting yesterday’s battles with the day before’s arguments.”
HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “The argument has been settled. There is no compelling economic case for a third runway at Heathrow. BAA will not accept that the current Government rejected both the environmental and economic case for Heathrow expansion. It’s a sign of its desperation that it has wheeled out Oxford Economics (1) to do the report. These were the consultants who provided the economic basis for the now discredited 2003 Air Transport White Paper.”
The Prime Minister has made it clear he does not accept there is an economic case for a third runway. In a speech to business leaders in 2008 (2) he said: “There are now increasing grounds to believe that the economic case is flawed, even without addressing the serious environmental concerns.”
All major parties have now ruled out expansion at Heathrow.
Notes for Editors
(1). Oxford Economics were previously called Oxford Economic Forecasting. They are regularly used by the aviation industry. Although based in Oxford, they are not part of Oxford University.
(2). As reported in the Financial Times, 17/6/08.