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Conservatives opposition to new airport capacity 'baffling' says aerospace industry

The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) has today hit out at Tory opposition to UK plans for new runway capacity as 'baffling'.

The UK aerospace trade association is hoping to reverse the opposition by demonstrating industry progress in reducing aviation’s impact on the environment through manufacturing innovations.

At the Conservative Party conference and Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers made set out Conservative opposition to proposals for a third runway at Heathrow airport and a second runway at Stansted airport. Both are included in the 2003 Aviation White Paper that the Government is seeking to implement.

The SBAC said it supports an integrated transport policy as well as investment in high speed rail as part of the transport mix. However, it added that with aircraft being much greener and quieter than in the past the Conservatives’ opposition to new runways is not based on evidence-based policy making.

Further design improvements, greater use of more efficient air traffic management techniques and new aircraft are also in the pipeline to deliver an industry-imposed set of targets to cut noise and carbon dioxide emissions by 50% of 2000 levels by 2020.

The SBAC said it would be seeking an urgent meeting with Villiers to discuss the Tory stance and progress towards meetings green aviation targets.

SBAC Chief Executive Ian Godden said: "It is baffling that the Conservatives woud wish to restrict the growth of airports in the UK. Historically it has been a party that supports business and also claims to support economic growth so the policy to restrict airport capacity is very concerning.

"It would harm Briain’s competitiveness and does not recognise the real progress made by aerospace innovation to further cut aviation’s impact on the environment. We hope tha David Cameron is not proritising some marginal constituencies near airports above the wider national economic interest."

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