Heathrow appeal upheld … but reprieve disguises…

Heathrow appeal upheld … but reprieve disguises impossibility of 3rd runway plan
2020-12-16 16:28:00
Commenting on the judgement by the Supreme Court today, upholding Heathrow’s appeal that the Airports NPS is legal, the Richmond Heathrow Campaign said the world has changed a lot since 2018. This is not least because of Covid-19. Climate change is the greatest risk to demand and last week the Climate Change Committee’s advice on the 6th Carbon Budget emphasised no net increase in UK airport capacity and that an increase at one airport means a reduction elsewhere – in other words levelling down (not up) the regions.  If Heathrow Airport Limited still wants a 3rd runway it will have to restart the already delayed planning process with diminishing chance of success. The pandemic has highlighted Heathrow’s lack of financial resilience and the improbability of raising finance for very expensive expansion in the face of demand constrained by climate risk. Heathrow should not waste billions of pounds on ill-judged expansion. Surely shareholders don’t want to replace a steady cash flow with the enormous project and financial risk from expansion under the evolving circumstances?  .Tweet     Heathrow Third Runway Appeal Upheld … but reprieve disguises impossible plan 16.12.2020 Comment by the Richmond Heathrow campaign The Supreme Court today upheld Heathrow’s appeal and concluded that the Transport Secretary was entitled in 2018 to ignore the UK’s climate change commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and that the decision to progress Heathrow’s expansion to the planning stage is lawful. Nevertheless, there were always major gaps in the arguments for Heathrow’s third runway and the world has changed so much since 2018, not least because of Covid-19. Climate change is the greatest risk to demand and last week the Climate Change Committee’s 6th Carbon Budget emphasised no net increase in UK airport capacity and that an increase at one airport means a reduction elsewhere – in other words levelling down the regions. Bio-fuels and carbon removal from the atmosphere are only partial solutions and demand will have to be constrained to achieve aviation’s net zero carbon. If Heathrow Airport Limited still wants a 3rd runway it will have to restart the already delayed planning process with diminishing chance of success. The pandemic has highlighted Heathrow’s lack of financial resilience and the improbability of raising finance for very expensive expansion in the face of demand constrained by climate risk. Heathrow should not waste billions of pounds on ill-judged expansion. Surely shareholders don’t want to replace a steady cash flow with the enormous project and financial risk from expansion under the evolving circumstances? HeathrowAirport Limited should give up what is an impossible ambition and focus on the substantial opportunity of making Heathrow a better airport and indeed re-enforcing London as the best served city in the world with its five airports. Better surface access, more passengers per flight and replacement of international-to-international transfer passe

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