(Photo Source: TransitionHeathrow)
On 28th August, I was invited on to BBC Newsnight to debate the economic case for or against a third runway (R3) at Heathrow. At the last minute, Nick Clegg’s unrequited call for a wealth tax became the focus for the programme, leaving little chance to debate the Heathrow issue.
On the panel with me was Emma Duncan, Deputy Editor of The Economist. She had that day announced her flightpath-to-Damascus conversion to the pro-R3 camp, joining Tim Yeo MP in what looks like an orchestrated campaign. The Coalition Government has insisted that it is not for turning, for the moment, but there are strong hints that at least the Conservative Party proposes to change its position for the next election. So the issue will not go away, we can be sure.
Jeremy Smith and I thought it worthwhile recording why – on economic as well as environmental grounds – we remain strongly against the Heathrow extension, and against building any new major airport in the London and south-east region. We therefore also disagree with those who oppose the Heathrow extension but favour a major new airport in say the Thames Estuary.
We have set out the issues and arguments in a Prime Position paper, downloadable here.