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Airport Expansion

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:17 pm on 2nd March 2020.

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Photo of Alan Brown Alan Brown Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 4:17 pm, 2nd March 2020

In his letter to all MPs on Friday, the Secretary of State for Transport said that the Government lost in the Court “on only one aspect” and that that was climate change. That “only” suggests that he is kind of missing the point. The Government cannot argue that the development is private and that whether to appeal is therefore up to Heathrow, while at the same time saying that airport expansion is important to the Government. A key aspect of the ruling was that expansion did not comply with the Paris agreement, which is a Government responsibility. We know that there are splits in the Government over Heathrow; is it the Government’s plan to sit back, do nothing and let events take control of themselves, rather than actually having to make a decision?

Heathrow has its own net zero plans; have the Government reviewed those plans to see how realistic they are and how they comply with the Government’s net zero plans? The Government talk about decarbonising transport, but carbon-based aviation fuels are still duty free; how will that incentivise the use of biofuels and other carbon-reduction measures? If expansion goes ahead, what plans do the Government have to protect the extra slots for Scottish airports? Finally, when are we going to get a net zero plan that encompasses all of transport, including international aviation and international shipping?