Greens lead kickback against ‘climate-wrecking’ plans for airport expansion
Campaigners are still refusing to take Heathrow or Gatwick for an answer.
The government has approved a third runway at Heathrow to expand UK airport capacity.
Tory MP Zac Goldsmith called the announcement "catastrophic", while cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and Justine Greening are also known to be against the plans to expand Heathrow.
Outside of Tory party, environmental campaigners are fiercely opposed to a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick.
The signs are that it is now too late to change the prime minister's mind. But nevertheless campaigners are giving it their best shot - and the co-leaders of the Green party have led the backlash.
Co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley spoke out this morning, with Lucas calling on ministers to consider other options to reduce the need for any new runway capacity.
She said: “The government is on the brink of announcing climate-wrecking plans for airport expansion in south east England. We know that that laying more tarmac at either Heathrow or Gatwick will bust any hope we have of meeting our climate change commitments, and inflict noise and air pollution on already blighted local communities.
“Instead of expanding these airports the government should introduce a frequent flyer levy to reduce the need for any new runway capacity and invest the money raised in further measures to offer climate-friendly alternatives to air travel. I urge ministers to look at this proposal – and hope that opposition parties can join together in opposing airport expansion and backing this sensible alternative.”
Lucas also showed up at the protest outside the Houses of Parliament to hammer home her message.
Bartley condemned Labour’s reported likely backing for a third runway at Heathrow.
He said: “The Labour party appears to have fallen into line with the government on airport expansion. Despite longstanding opposition to such a move from Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnnell it seems that the party may swing behind further expansion of the busiest airport in Europe. Such a cross party consensus on airport expansion is deeply disappointing.”
Elsewhere, Greenpeace reiterated that it will with link up with local councils to take legal action.
Executive director John Sauven said: “Is the May government about to repeat the error of the Brown government and assume both the laws of nature and the law of the land can be fudged to allow another runway? That was the mistake Gordon Brown made shortly before the High Court blocked his Heathrow plan.
“We stand ready, with four Conservative local authorities, including Theresa May’s own council, to bring a judicial review against a green light for a third runway.”
The review of airport capacity led by Sir Howard Davies, which reported last year, came down strongly in favour of a third runway at Heathrow.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph yesterday, Sir Howard criticised ministers for delaying making a decision, saying it was being seen as “a symbol of Britain’s inability to decide on its future as a trading nation”.