Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

ICE president Jean Venables speaks out against Heathrow expansion

Institution of Civil Engineers president Jean Venables today spoke out against expansion of Heathrow airport and instead backed Tory plans for high speed rail. Listen to the interview here.

Venables was speaking to NCE at the Civils 2008 event co-sponsored by NCE and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

She said: "Engineers need to get at the heart of infrastructure policy making, and particularly those policies that are going to make a real impact on climate change, and especially meeting carbon dioxide targets.

On plans for a third runway at Heathrow she said:

"We have got to urgently change the way we look at transport. "We
have got to look at transport policy as a whole and that means integrating airports with rail and roads.

"I firmly believe the High Speed rail option is the most attractive one."

There has been a backlash against the expansion of Heathrow which started at grass roots level and worked its way into the Houses of Parliament last week.

Much of the indignation stems from the fact that transport secretary Geoff Hoon and the Government looks to have made their mind up at Heathrow, with shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers declaring the recently closed consultation on the airport’s expansion “a complete sham”.

The Government made clear its views in the 2003 White Paper "The Future of Air Transport", which supported the case for future development of Heathrow, including a further new runway and additional terminal capacity. The consultation which was launched in November last year consulted on how this extra capacity should be delivered.

It invited views on three different options:
• a third runway with a new terminal around 2020;
• mixed-mode landing and take-off patterns within existing capacity around 2010 and a third runway with a new terminal around 2020;
• mixed-mode within existing capacity around 2010, full mixed-mode around 2015 and a third runway with a new terminal around 2020

What is now being queried is whether the white paper which was produced five years ago still holds valid - since then Britain has become the first country in the world to make emissions reduction targets legally binding after MPs voted in favour of passing the Climate Change Bill. The country will now be committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

Some MPs say that the continued commitment to aviation expansion undermines the good work that has been done with regards to climate change.

"We need an 80% target, because the climate change challenge that we face is enormous," said Liberal Democrats shadow transport secretary Norman Baker. "But how can it possibly square with the construction of an extra runway at Heathrow? How does it square with the predict and provide policy that the Government seems so determined to maintain?"

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.