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Cameron urged to ‘man-up’ on Heathrow expansion

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The Conservative chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee has admitted that environmental objections to a third runway at Heathrow are ‘disappearing’ and urged the prime minister to push ahead with the controversial scheme

Writing for the The Daily Telegraph, former third runway critic Tim Yeo MP said ‘an immediate go-ahead for a third runway will symbolise the start of a new era, the moment the Cameron government found its sense of mission. Let’s go for it’.

Housing minister Grant Shapps and chancellor George Osborne are among the senior Conservatives believed to be in favour of considering a third runway at Heathrow, however transport secretary Justine Greening repeated her claim on BBC’s Today programme that the government needs to look at what’s needed for aviation capacity in 30,40 or 50 years’ time, reported sister title Construction News.

Opponents to the third runway fear Greening, herself a vocal opponent to the proposed scheme, will be moved from the transport portfolio as part of an expected cabinet reshuffle in the autumn with a campaign to keep her in the post appearing on trains on the London underground in recent weeks.

Yeo said: ‘The Prime Minister must ask himself whether he is a man or a mouse. Does he want to be another Harold Macmillan, presiding over a dignified slide towards insignificance.’

He added: ‘The environmental objections are disappearing. Last January, greenhouse gas emissions from flying were brought within the EU cap.

‘Indeed we could cover the whole of Surrey with runways and not increase emissions by a single kilogram: if Heathrow expands, so remaining the European destination of choice, airlines will fly their newest and quietest aircraft to it.”

Tory backbenchers are already pressing for two new runways at Heathrow, while Mayor of London Boris Johnson has urged the PM to ‘stop pussyfooting around’ on Heathrow and UK infrastructure.

High-profile figures including ODA chairman John Armitt have also weighed in on the debate, after John told CN the government needed to take action quicker before the aviation market is lost.




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