Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert Gains Lib Dem Conference Backing For Aviation Strategy

Julian Huppert MP Addressing The Liberal
Democrat Autumn Conference

Liberal Democrats have given their strong support to an aviation strategy, presented by MP Julian Huppert, which balances the industry’s benefits as a driver of jobs and growth with its environmental damage.

Julian presented the motion at the Lib Dems’ Brighton conference reinforcing the party’s opposition to new runways at London’s airports when there is already space at existing airports for a sixty per cent expansion.

The policy also makes it clear that the party has a long-term vision for a new hub airport - if an appropriate location can be found  - but without an increase in runways or total airport capacity. The party firmly rejects Boris Johnson’s Thames estuary airport.

“We acknowledge that there are benefits to aviation and we want to maximise those benefits while that the same time protecting our environment and meeting our carbon emission targets,” said Julian. “But we must not allow the total number of UK runways to expand. Flight movements above the Committee on Climate Change cap would pose an unacceptable risk.

“By voting so strongly for this motion our party members and supporters have left the public in no doubt where we stand on this crucial issue.”

The Lib Dems want to see UK aviation policy based on five key principles: accessibility from the north and south; growth within UK carbon budgets; minimal impact on the local population; minimal impact on the global environment and maximum hubbing potential.

“In stark contrast, the other parties have failed to be clear about where they stand on airport expansion,” said Julian. “The public is still not sure whether the Conservatives will decide to go-ahead with a third runway at Heathrow after the next elections. The party is wavering all over the place, it is astonishingly divided.

“And Labour does not even have a policy on a Heathrow 3rd runway. They refuse to support or oppose it; they have proved irresponsible in government, irresponsible out of government. We, on the other hand, have made our position absolutely clear.

The motion also calls for new noise limits over populated areas at certain times to incentivise quieter planes and tough requirements to make sure low emission vehicles are used at airports.