As the announcement over the future of Heathrow’s proposed third runway draws ever closer, BAA are trying to calm public fears by requesting that the government allows for an independent assessment of the environmental impacts of any increased capacity.
Colin Matthews, BAA’s beleaguered Chief Executive says:
“Although the economic case (for a third runway) remains compelling, we understand that we can only increase the number of flights if we can safeguard levels of noise and air quality.
“By calling on an independent assessor to scrutinise the airport’s performance against these limits, we are providing and uncompromising assurance that we will operate Heathrow Airport within the limits laid down by the Government.”
Matthews will not have time on his side if he hopes to turn to the tide of opinion that remains strongly antithetical to another runway at Heathrow. The Conservative Party continue to resist publicly, with Theresa Villiers saying yesterday:
“We have seen this all before. What BAA needs to realise is that people do not want a third runway, we do not need a third runway, and under a Conservative Government there will not be a third runway”.
As Londonunlocked reported on the 14th October, Villiers has stated publicly that any moves towards a third runway made under the current government will be scrapped by a Conservative administration, and any associated contracts will not be honoured. If BAA is to succeed in its bid, and actually get the runway built, it will have to work quickly and surely to allay the legitimate fears of environmentalists and campaigners.
An independent assessment would bring objectivity to a debate that has been hijacked by entrenched campaigners and allow for a more informed discussion, which can only be a good thing.