Mayor opposes Heathrow expansion plans


London mayor Ken Livingstone has voiced his opposition to government plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The government’s consultation, Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport, was announced by transport secretary Ruth Kelly recently – and it aims to look into whether another 200,000 flights could be introduced at Heathrow on an annual basis.

It covers a range of different proposals for the future development of the airport, including building a third runway and adding a sixth terminal.

"Let me make myself absolutely clear – I am firmly opposed to this expansion of Heathrow Airport as it runs contrary to all the growing evidence we now have on the impact of aviation on climate change," Mr Livingstone commented.

"Only last week the latest United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned of the very real threat of abrupt and irreversible climate change if we continue to allow carbon emissions to grow."

He added: "Half of the population never fly at all from one year to the next, and of course it is vital to maintain business and long haul air travel, but a small proportion of people are taking ever more short haul leisure flights.

"The government will need to demonstrate why demand for such trips couldn’t be better met by investing in rail infrastructure, and if this happened why additional runway capacity would still be needed."