Heathrow Expansion "Not Necessary"

Cross-party support for new reports that explodes myths about need for Heathrow expansion

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Over 70 people packed into committee room 9 of the House of Commons yesterday for the launch of a major new report from CE Delft which argued that airport expansion is not needed to improve the UK's business connections with the rest of the world.  The report was commissioned from the Dutch consultants by WWF, RSPB and HACAN.

At the launch, hosted by Richmond MP, there was cross-party support for the report.  Conservative MP Mark Reckless praised the honesty of the CE Delft and argued that, instead of looking for mega new runways and airports, the Government should let the market decide if new routes were needed to improve the UK’s connectivity with the rest of the world.

Murad Qureshi, the Labour chair of the London Assembly’s Environment Committee and Baroness Susan Kramer, part of the Liberal Democrat Treasury team, also spoke in support of the report.  Mary Macleod, the Conservative MP for Brentford and Isleworth, welcomed the report.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “We welcome the cross-party support for this report.  It really does explode the myth that further expansion at Heathrow is needed to improve our links with the expanding economies of places like China and India.”

CE Delft concluded its report: “many studies find a positive correlation between aviation and economic growth, but no causal relationship between connectivity and economic growth was found”.  Their analysis of the evidence shows that increasing connectivity is less beneficial for developed countries than for developing economies.  They also found that extra connectivity in cities that are already well-connected, like London, does not necessarily deliver measurable or substantial economic benefits.

The report also challenges the way that the costs and benefits of airport expansion have traditionally been measured. It points out gaps in the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) which should “provide an overview of current and future pros and cons of a particular project for society as a whole (public, private sector and government) as objectively as possible.” It argues that the DfT’s current Cost-Benefit Analysis method still omits key social or environmental costs, resulting in an overestimation of economic benefits. 


This report also looks at some of the economic arguments being used by proponents of airport expansion and finds them to be miscalculated and exaggerated, distorting the aviation debate (

April 23, 2013