23/7/15 for immediate use
Research reveals Cabinet sub-committee on Heathrow contains leading supporters of expansion
Research by campaign group HACAN has revealed that key members of the Cabinet sub-committee appointed by David Cameron to assess the Airport Commission’s recommendation that a third runway should be built at Heathrow have been outspoken supporters of a new runway. The revelation comes the day after the news leaked out that all cabinet critics of Heathrow expansion have been excluded from the committee.
HACAN, the residents’ group which opposes expansion, has revealed that both business secretary Sajid Javid and environment Secretary Liz Truss have backed a report that called for two new runways at Heathrow. The 2012 report (1), published by the Free Enterprise Group founded by Truss, argued, “The government should grant planning permission for both a third and fourth runway at Heathrow. Britain’s hub airport, Heathrow is currently at 99% capacity, and London’s other airports are nearly as full”
Truss said, “”We do need a hub airport in the south-east of England. If you want to have a hub airport three runways probably isn’t enough. If we’re imaginative about Heathrow, I don’t see why we can’t build four runways there. (2)”
Sajid Javid gave his public backing to the report the year it was published (3).
Communities Secretary Greg Clark is also a member of the sub-committee. While he appears not to have expressed a view on Heathrow expansion, his Tunbridge Wells constituency would be impacted by a second runway at Gatwick.
HACAN chair John Stewart said, “Quite clearly David Cameron has not thought this through. In what looks like a panic move to sideline known opponents of a third runway, he has cobbled together a committee containing some strident supporters of expansion. He’s simply storing up trouble for the future. To exclude the foreign secretary from a decision of such international importance makes no sense at all. ”
In addition to foreign secretary Philip Hammond, also excluded from the committee are Theresa May, Theresa Villiers, Justine Greening, Greg Hands and Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister is expected to make an announcement on airports in November followed by a period of consultation.
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