The government’s airport expansion plans for Heathrow and Gatwick severely undermine efforts to cut air pollution and carbon emissions, and are completely at odds with the UK’s role as chair of this year’s COP, according to Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley.
Bartley reiterated: ‘It makes no sense to talk about climate ambition as a priority and carry on down this damaging path. Allowing the expansion of airports shows up the government’s alleged climate ambition for what it is – nothing more than greenwashing.’
A 2020 New Economics Foundation report showed that Heathrow third runway expansion would introduce an additional 3 to 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the economy. In response, Caroline Russell, London Assembly member and list candidate in the upcoming Assembly elections, highlighted that ‘not only would the third runway make it harder to meet our climate commitments but it would also worsen regional economic inequality.’
‘At a time when the Prime Minister is talking about “levelling up” regions across the UK, this is yet another clear example where the government’s words and actions just do not match up.’
Jonathan and Caroline’s comments carry even greater weight in a post-Covid London. The past twelve months have proven that we can work differently, travel more wisely and take fewer flights, and that going forward London’s transport requires a fresh start and fresh thinking.
Projects that encourage high carbon-emitting means of transport should be cancelled, and, Russell stresses, the focus should instead be on ‘green and affordable transport so communities have clean, safe and convenient options for their journeys.‘