Lib Dems insist on Heathrow expansion ban

Marion Dakers
LIBERAL Democrats maintained yesterday that a third runway at Heathrow will not be built while the party remains in the coalition.

Transport minister Justine Greening said “it would be very difficult for me” to continue in government if a new runway is put back on the table, noting that there is currently cross-party opposition to such a move.

She told the BBC that expanding Britain’s biggest airport would not be enough to satisfy the country’s long-term air transport needs.

Greening said this is partly because the new runway would be “a half runway essentially; it can’t take the new planes that are coming on to the market”.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg also chimed in, saying the coalition partners are not “going to stick our heads in the sand” but will honour 2010’s coalition agreement by eschewing Heathrow expansion. Downing Street backed this stance.

The comments came after Tory backbencher Tim Yeo called on Prime Minister David Cameron to look again at beefing up the airport, which is currently close to capacity. Writing in today’s City A.M., Institute of Directors head Simon Walker urges Cameron to at least consider a growth plan fuelled by a larger Heathrow.