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Heathrow runway decision ‘scandalous’

25 October 2016 

Campaign for Better Transport has called the Government’s decision to back the building of a new runway at Heathrow Airport ‘scandalous’.

Following today’s announcement, Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“We are extremely disappointed that the Government has decided to press ahead with a new runway at Heathrow, despite the mounting evidence that it will be hugely costly and massively environmentally damaging.

“It’s scandalous that the Government has completely ignored the environmental impact of a new runway, or the costs it will impose on people on lower incomes with the huge sums the Airports Commission proposes adding to the cost of plane tickets to allow a new runway to be built. There is also the huge cost to the taxpayer of providing the addition surface access to Heathrow, which Transport for London’s own research shows is likely to be at least £17 billion, and how this will siphon off money from other schemes to tackle London’s already overcrowded transport network.

“There is simply no need for a new runway, at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere else if a Frequent Flyer Levy was introduced. This would keep flights affordable for those who only fly occasionally, while making sure those who fly much more frequently properly contribute a price which reflects the impact of what they're doing." 

The charity is calling for a Frequent Flyer Levy to reduce the growth in demand for flights which is mainly coming from a small, wealthy minority of frequent business and leisure flyers - 70 per cent of flights by UK residents are taken by just 15 per cent of the population – and thereby remove the need for a new runway.

Stephen added: “We will be joining the many thousands of others who will be fighting this scheme in order to get a more sensible aviation policy.”


For further information contact Alice Ridley, Press Officer, Campaign for Better Transport on 020 7566 6495 / 07984 773468 or alice.ridley@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to editors

  1. Read our report on surface travel to Heathrow and in the Heathrow area here: Heathrow and Surface Access Stress
  2. A fairer frequent flyer levy could replace the air passenger duty and reduce the need for extra airport capacity. Further information is available here.
  3. A new runway at Heathrow could spell the end of budget flights from the UK’s airports. Read our report here - Air Traffic Controls: the hidden costs of a new London runway
  4. Transport for London’s own research highlighted a £17 billion gap in the official figures for the costs of road and rail improvements required by a third runway at Heathrow which taxpayers will have to meet.