Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along?

Would the UK and the planet be better off with a third runway at Heathrow and a Labour government with Ed Miliband still at Dept. of Energy and Climate Change?

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Andrea Giesecke is a research assistant at the Fabian Society

Would the UK and the planet be better off with a third runway at Heathrow and a Labour government with Ed Miliband still at Department of Energy and Climate Change?

British-Airways-aircraft-on-runways-at-Heathrow-AirportThis was a question posed to Joss Garman, Greenpeace spokesman and anti-Heathrow expansion campaigner (and, of course, a Left Foot Forward writer) at a Fabian Society environment and citizenship conference last week.

Garman just about stopped short of answering yes. He did this by using his answer to list all the terrible things the coalition has done on climate and the wider environment agenda.

Garman went as far as to call last week’s budget the most terrible budget in history for the environment. Greenest government ever didn’t even get mentioned. Ouch.

Back in the golden age of 2009, when Miliband was heading up the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the third runway dominated environmental debates in the UK. Miliband famously clashed with Gordon Brown at Cabinet over this slab of concrete in West London.

Refusing to see UK ambition on climate mhange put at risk, Miliband secured a set of conditions that would be put in place along a third runway.

 


See also:

Heathrow: The whirlpool of uncertainty is playing to the aviation industry’s advantage 26 Mar 2012

Budget 2012: Will the coalition u-turn on its ‘no new runways’ pledge? 21 Mar 2012

Even if people prefer a 3rd runway to Boris Island, doesn’t mean they like either 29 Feb 2012

Expensive and ineffective: Boris Johnson’s island airport (even Tories think so) 21 Nov 2011

Boris’s airport arguments don’t stand up to scrutiny 18 Mar 2011


 

These included a ’green slot’ policy, which would have seen the runway only used by the newest, most efficient planes. The runway was also accompanied by a target for the UK that would see the industry’s emissions lower in 2050 than they were in 2005. Miliband called this ’constrained expansion’ for aviation with further measures on noise and air pollution that would have made Heathrow the greenest airport in the world.

Greenest in the real sense, not in the coalition sense.

Of course, Labour lost the 2010 election and thetThird runway plans were abandoned by the coalition government. Now, in classic Cameron u-turn style, suddenly aviation capacity in the South East is a problem that needs to be solved. The third runway is on the menu once again, but this time without Ed Miliband in government.

At the time, what looked like Labour selling out the environment was actually a fine example of pragmatism and realpolitik characterised by negotiation and compromise. Labour demonstrated it understood the difference between carbon emissions and local environmental airport impacts, agreeing to measures that would address both of these things.

There are no guarantees we’ll see anything like the same conditions attached to a third runway this time (or indeed any other expansion in the South East).

This illustrates a key difference between Ed Miliband and David Cameron. On the third runway, Ed Miliband got on top of the detail, understood the competing and at times contradictory goals of different stakeholders and then engaged in an exercise of negotiation and compromise to arrive at a strong policy position.

David Cameron used the controversial nature of the debate to position himself as a committed green activist and then performed a complete u-Turn.

The salt in the wounds of those environmental campaigners who once trusted David Cameron is to be found in the revelation that the prime minister hosted Michael Hintze, the funder of climate sceptic think tank The Global Warming Policy Foundation, for dinner in return for donations to the Conservative Party.

Forthcoming research by the Fabian Society shows the public wants growth in the aviation sector to create jobs and help kickstart the economy. But the public also wants strong action on climate impacts from flying. To square this circle, we need a sensible and grown-up debate about the future of aviation in the UK. This requires both the industry and politicians to take responsibility in facing up to the challenge of sustainable aviation growth.

There is a chance that all stakeholders may have cause to look back at 2009 with a sense of regret and missed opportunity. Or an a more positive note, perhaps another reason for replacing David Cameron with Ed Miliband at 10 Downing Street?

 


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23 Responses to “Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along?”

  1. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along? http://t.co/yc0991zv

  2. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along? http://t.co/mWTl5nmI

  3. Edward Vincent

    #Heathrow third runway: Was @Ed_Miliband right all along? http://t.co/qN9gELD5 asks @TheFabians’ @AndreaGiesecke

  4. ellispritchard

    #Heathrow third runway: Was @Ed_Miliband right all along? http://t.co/qN9gELD5 asks @TheFabians’ @AndreaGiesecke

  5. Alex Langrish

    Ed was actually a good climate change secretary RT @leftfootfwd:Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along? http://t.co/OcNNHrig

  6. Stephen Wigmore

    These weird Labour hatchet jobs are always hilarious.

    So wonderful Ed Miliband (Yay, yay) was going to cram another airport runway into Heathrow, but thank god he was going to protect us all with safeguards making this airport even greener than a hippy hand-weaving an organic garment. Reminds me of Gordon Brown and his golden rule for economic stability (HA HA HA).

    And evil David Cameron (Boo Boo) cancelled the extra roundabout and has presided over record levels of subsidy in alternative energies and investment in Green technology (see green investment bank), green homes deal, increased budget of DECC etc, But he’s an evil villain because a single newspaper report has suggested that the government might be considering more airport capacity.

    You really have to be capable of some impressive newspeak doublethink to believe that one. I would be surprised if the Fabians were actually a reputable think tank, or had any intellectual honesty, rather than being a Labour spin machine and cheerleader party, but I’m not.

  7. Anonymous

    sadly Labour would come out with all the green protection but once built of course these planes could of been what ever, labour talks green when it suit but are no better then the Tories.

  8. Anonymous

    No, you’re just a troll.

    Thanks for not reading the article as usual, though.

  9. Mr. Sensible

    I still maintain that Labour was wrong to support Runway 3 in government, and that Cameron is considering this now is the final blow to his green credencials.

  10. Anonymous

    The air traffic WILL increase. The question is if it’ll come to the UK, or not.
    It’s that simple.

  11. Joss Garman

    If Ed M believed the b*llocks Brown made him parrot on #Heathrow, why has he disowned those arguments now? Bad piece: http://t.co/lmZOtj5C

  12. BevR

    Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along? http://t.co/zezZq7BG #telldaveeverything #democracybroken #corruption #spartacus

  13. Oxford Kevin

    If Ed M believed the b*llocks Brown made him parrot on #Heathrow, why has he disowned those arguments now? Bad piece: http://t.co/lmZOtj5C

  14. The Waterfront

    #Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along?
    http://t.co/tiNdpcVF

  15. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along? http://t.co/Yyjr8ibh

  16. Joss Garman

    This is a pretty misleading piece undermined by your central premise that the concessions Miliband won in his fight with Brown over runway 3 would “would have made Heathrow the greenest airport in the world. Greenest in the real sense, not in the coalition sense.”

    If I may say so, that is utter bollocks.

    So is this statement:

    “what looked like Labour selling out the environment was actually a fine example of pragmatism and realpolitik characterised by negotiation and compromise.”

    Er, wake up.

    When running for the leadership Ed Miliband made clear the Labour Party under his leadership would not allow Heathrow expansion – and as he and Maria Eagle have made clear since then, there would be no third runway under a Labour government now. That’s precisely because he never believed those “compromises” from Brown (so called ‘green slots’ and the like) were adequate.

    Heathrow expansion would blight the lives of millions with excessive levels of noise and air pollution, and would make the airport the single biggest source of climate changing emissions in the UK. It would also lead to the forced eviction of thousands of people from the homes and communities they love.

    The arguments have been had – and the case for expansion debunked. It’s over. Move on.

    More here:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2012/03/runway-heathrow-economic

  17. Tim Henderson

    Of course at the time Ed still believed the deeply flawed air quality modelling that supported the third runway consultation. The belief that new Euro standards for diesel vehicles would release headroom enabling more flights to take off was fashionable.

    How times change! As the recent GLA report Plane Speaking makes out, the local air quality with a two runway Heathrow is illegal and no government seems prepared to promote the transport measures which might tackle this on any reasonable timescale. Perhaps BAA should be pleased that they have been prevented from wasting their resources on an “asset” that could never be allowed to be used.

  18. Anonymous

    On the third runway, Ed Miliband got on top of the detail, understood the competing and at times contradictory goals of different stakeholders and then engaged in an exercise of negotiation and compromise to arrive at a strong policy position.

    ============

    So if Ed is on top of the detail, perhaps he can explain his cap on benefits policy with a little detail.

    What’s the cap going to be in Bradford or the Wirral?

  19. As Heathrow grows, noise and air pollution needs to be tackled | Left Foot Forward

    […] See also: • Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along? 2 Apr […]

  20. Anonymous

    “Debunked”. Ah right, is that your latest term for “No jobs, no hope”. Typical.

  21. robert morgan

    Very interesting my dear Holmes.
    RT @leftfootfwd: Heathrow third runway: Was Ed Miliband right all along? http://t.co/Tm8o1K0O

  22. Stephen Wigmore

    Wow, I see precisely how your one line response explains the blatant contradiction I’ve pointed out. Well done.

    Here’s a hint. Just accusing people of being trolls does not shut down the debate. Try actually answering the point that both myself and the others who have commented have raised.

    Namely that this is a cheap, party-political hatchet job that attempts to exonerate Ed Miliband based on unspecified ‘assurances’ despite the clear fact he supported this anti-environmental atrocity, and attempts to crucify David Cameron on the basis of a single unsubstantiated newspaper report, despite the actual things he’s done to stop the runway and protect the environment. And in other news, war is peace, truth is lies, and freedom is slavery.

    Unless you would actually like to answer that question then you have nothing to add.

  23. Anonymous

    Accusing? You ARE a troll.
    Next.

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