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Lib Dems would not allow new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick

A Liberal Democrat government would not allow expansion of Heathrow or Gatwick, the party declared today.

Its election manifesto also ruled out a new airport in the Thames Estuary and a further runway at Stansted.

The Sir Howard Davies-led Airports Commission is due to recommend this summer which of the two main London airports should be allowed a new runway to alleviate air capacity concerns in the South East.

But the Liberal Democrat manifesto said: “We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary, because of local issues of air and noise pollution. We will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK.”

The party did pledge to back HS2 and to extend the line to Scotland, as part of a raft of rail investment measures.

These included reopening small stations, upgrading major routes, improving rail links in the North, modernising lines in the South West and connecting Oxford and Cambridge.

Plans to attract more than £100bn private investment in low carbon energy infrastructure by 2020 were also set out. From 2030, all new gas stations would require carbon capture and storage technology.

Onshore wind and nuclear power would have a role to play.

The manifesto added: “In our Spending Review, we will set out long-term plans for capital expenditure, and ensure that investment in infrastructure, including in housing and energy efficiency, continues to rise both in absolute terms and as a share of the economy.

“We will grow a high-skill, low-carbon economy by supporting education, training, infrastructure, innovation and technology. With a stable, competitive business environment and investment in green industries and infrastructure, we will ensure growth is embedded in every part of the UK.”

The Liberal Democrats promised to devolve more economic decision-making to local areas, including the transfer of transport, housing and infrastructure funding. They would urge councils to consider trams and light rail systems in towns and cities.

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