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Labour back benches signal Heathrow third runway disquiet

42 Labour back bench MPs have signalled that they oppose the building of a third runway at London's Heathrow airport, widely expected to be approved this week, citing environmental concerns.

The 42 MPs signed an 'early day' motion, tabled by Labour MP for Reading West, Martin Salter.

A further 28 Conservative MPs and 34 Liberal Democrat MPs have also signed the motion. Official Conservative policy opposes the building of the third runway at Heathrow.

The government's official announcement on whether to go ahead with the third runway is expected this week in a statement that will include other transport announcements.

London's Mayor Boris Johnson has also indicative that he opposes a third runway at Heathrow.
Meanwhile, pressure group Future Heathrow Group, which represents the interests of many large businesses in the UK have taken out full page advertisements in the press today, saying Heathrow's position as Europe's transport hub is at risk, and up to 172,000 jobs could be at risk if the third runway is not built.

The early day motion reads:

"That this House notes the Government's commitment given in the 2003 Aviation White Paper, The Future of Air Transport to reduce noise impacts and to ensure that air quality and environmental standards are met before proceeding with a third runway at Heathrow Airport; further notes the assurance given by the Prime Minister on 12 November 2008 that support for a third runway at Heathrow is subject to strict environmental conditions; further notes that Heathrow Airport is already in breach of the European Air Quality Directive to be implemented by 2010; welcomes the statement by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that these environmental commitments should be honoured; supports the Chairman of the Environment Agency's decision to oppose the third runway on environmental grounds; and calls upon the Government not to proceed with the third Heathrow runway or mixed-mode and to put the matter to a vote on the floor of the House."

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