Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Reading Joins Runaway Opposition to 3rd Runway

The people of Reading have spoken with resounding unity in opposition to the building of a third runway at Heathrow, and now this has been followed up by RBC's official move to join the 2M groupment of councils. 2M now comprises a coalition of 24 councils opposed to further expansion of the the transport hub.

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead council leader Cllr David Burbage welcomed the announcement, stating
"We are delighted to welcome Reading on board. It shows just how widely the impact of a third runway would be felt across the south east."

"We have built a broad coalition which comprises councils and MPs from every party, local authorities representing rural and urban areas as well as a host of environmental and residents groups. With support from so many different areas I am confident this is a battle we can win."

LibDem parliamentary spokesperson for Reading East, Cllr Gareth Epps said in a statement that it was a pity that it had taken so long for the ruling Labour group to face up to their responsibilities to represent the people of Reading, who oppose a third runway by an 'overwhelming majority', and explained the proposed third runway "makes a mockery of Labour's commitment to tackle climate change".

The move has been under discussion for several months as Reading's ruling Labour administration was criticised for putting forward an equivocal stance and refusing to stand up on behalf of residents against their party colleagues in government.

Abbey ward's Cllr Tony Page previously hoped to allay public anger by calling for a review designed to report back after the next general election, but he was criticised by LibDem transport spokesman Cllr Ricky Duveen for "shilly-shallying" around the subject.

The proposed expansion has recently come under increasing fire as the economic downturn has raised questions over the ability of private operator BAA to afford the massive investment required following the company's debt refinancing package only recently agreed in August 2008.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport confirmed that the government had "at no time" provided guarantees for financing of the project.

Meanwhile, BAA, the corporate owners of Heathrow, have announced that they are holding a 16-week consultation exercise to gather public concerns about the noise generated by aircraft flight paths - the consultation runs until October 5th 2009 and you can have your say online.


To find out more visit the Stop Heathrow Expansion and 2M Group websites.

For in-depth coverage of the plans' local relevance click here.


  1. Unsurprisingly you fail to mention it was passed only after a Conservative amendment by Rik Willis....

  2. Anon,
    you're right that it's not surprising (or shouldn't be) not to add reference to something which would only detract from the report.

    However for your benefit I will point out that Cllr Willis' amendment made clear the basis of Reading Conservative's opposition to building a third runway put economics ahead of the environment.

  3. Oranj me old mate. I admire your dedication, I like your style but you're better than this? More planes, bigger hub - it's progress.

    If we let Ade Windypops and his mates decide we'd all be down the livestock fair looking for a deal on a pony and trap - keep Heathrow small - that's pony and trap.

    Still a fan - Gid.

  4. Hi Gideon,
    don't do as Anonymous did above and jump to conclusions - I didn't realise that I had given my view on expansion at Heathrow, let alone on airtravel as a general subject!

    As it happens I'm agnostic on the subject because it depends on multiple factors and the wider strategy for adoption - would you swap expansion at Heathrow for expansion at Gatwick and Stansted?

    I also dispute the idea that 'bigger' is the only form of 'better' and suggest in some cases may actually be worse (eg bigger debt isn't progress). Surely efficiency is also vital. So is the third runway an efficient use of land and resources?

    Aero and fuel technology is also slowly advancing, making flying less carbon-intensive, so this should impact the volume of flights which can be tolerated from an environmental view.

    On the noise subject I still have a strong fondness for Concorde - you could set your watch by it and by comparison made everything else sound so much quieter. So if people were really worried about noise we'd also be doing something about the M4.

    I'll stop there, because otherwise it'd be possible to go on forever and time is on the march.

  5. the first Anon neglects to point out that it was an amendment jointly drafted by Tories and Liberal Democrats.

  6. I'm pro expansion but we need to provide more incentives for the industry to clean itself up; not expanding it will simply move the centre of economic gravity somewhere else (or at least help to do that) Without the income you don't get the technology to sort the issues out, so its a catch-22 we are either in the rat-race or we aren't.

  7. What's your grudge against RikW, orange-e? I think we should be told.

  8. No grudge Anon, just disagreements of substance and style.

    I find his attitude unattractive and off-putting, as though he isn't able to accept the validity of any disagreement or discuss them in a mature way. One might almost think he didn't respect democratic debate.

  9. So where's our favourite white supremacist's comment on the Tories losing a council seat in his old home of Sutton to the Lib Dems? Bad memories of 2006 Rik?


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