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GLENDA JACKSON: Why I support a third runway at Heathrow

PUBLISHED: 16:34 29 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 07 September 2010

MY post bag has been weighed down this week with letters on the issues of Gaza and the third runway at Heathrow. I wrote of Gaza last month so this month I want to tell you my views on the third runway. The Government has of course at long last made the

MY post bag has been weighed down this week with letters on the issues of Gaza and the third runway at Heathrow. I wrote of Gaza last month so this month I want to tell you my views on the third runway.

The Government has of course at long last made the decision for expansion, a decision I support.

In my opinion the economic future of the UK does require an international hub airport and without an additional runway, Heathrow could not maintain its present position and would inevitably lose its status and market share, bringing with it not only unemployment for the airport and its environs, but the country as a whole.

It would also reduce the capacity of developing third world economies to deliver their products and services to the widest world markets.

Heathrow itself has recognised concerns over environmental impact and is embracing the potential for a high speed railway, as well as the appointment of the CAA and Department of the Environment, as legally empowered independent monitors who can monitor the situation on a regular basis.

The aviation industry has committed itself to meeting the ambitious targets set out by the Government in noise pollution, emissions and pollution.

If the runway does not go ahead the planes will continue to fly using Schipol, de Gaulle, Frankfurt airports, etc, so our economy - needed for research and developments into cleaner, greener technologies in aviation, as in all other industries - would reduce and the environment would have seen zero benefit.

The airline industry is already predicting that at least 500,000 jobs would be lost if the airport does not expand. As someone who came in to politics as a result of mass unemployment under Margaret Thatcher, this is something I cannot contemplate; especially given the current economic climate.

I firmly believe that a thriving economy is essential to support the developments in technology we so desperately need to combat climate change.

And a strong economic standing will give us the necessary leeway in public spending to support projects which assist us in the fight against climate change - which is a far bigger issue than just aviation.

In fact aviation only makes up 0.4 per cent of our emissions total, with public electricity and heat making up 31.1 per cent in 2005.

I am pleased by the Government's attempts to reduce our emissions so far and I will continue to support and chivvy them in equal measures in the future.

I know some of you will be disappointed by my stance, but I hold my views as strongly as you hold yours and I trust we can exercise mutual respect, though there can be no meeting of minds.

On a more general note, if you are interested in meeting and speaking to your MP on a more informal basis, I will be holding a series of coffee evenings throughout the year so do please check my website for more details.

Glenda Jackson is

the Labour MP for

Hampstead & Highgate


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