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ICE attacks Heathrow expansion plans

Director General of ICE Tom Foulkes has spoken out against proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow airport.

Controversial proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow airport have been given the green light by the government, in spite of widespread opposition over environmental concerns.

However, even with assurances from the transport secretary, Geoff Hoon, that construction of an additional runway would not hinder the UK's ability to meet ambitious carbon reduction targets, Foulkes is still not convinced the project should go ahead.

"Despite the obvious boom for the engineering professions, we simply cannot support the Heathrow expansion plans in their current form," said Foulkes.

"The government seems to have got itself into a political mess over this project – largely because it lacks a coherent national transport policy that demonstrates how it intends to balance the UK's transport needs to meet growing demand with the need to reduce carbon emissions. We need to take a longer term view and commit to delivering a fully integrated transport system, and not just focus on isolated quick fixes.

"Talking tough on reducing emissions is not enough, and going ahead with expansion as currently proposed is certain to have a negative impact on the environment and make reaching our ambitious environmental targets very hard indeed."

In his statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday, Hoon also announced plans to:

  • Introduce a programme of hard shoulder running on the most congested parts of our motorways, including the M1, M25, M62, M3 and M4

  • Investigate the case for further electrification of the national rail network

  • Look into the potential for new high-speed rail services from London to Scotland via a new Heathrow International rail hub

The Institution's newly formed aviation expert panel will be looking at the Heathrow proposals carefully over the coming months and investigating how expansion should proceed, if at all.

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