Adam Afriyie: Govt refusal to pay £5-20bn surface access costs means Third Runway “already dead in the water”
The likelihood of a Third Runway is greatly diminished today following the Government’s insistence that it will not spend taxpayers’ money on motorway and railway upgrades. The news follows a parliamentary question tabled by Colnbrook’s MP Adam Afriyie.
The Government has today delivered a huge blow to Heathrow’s plans for a Third Runway, insisting it will be up to the airport itself to find the cash for the necessary changes to the M4 and M25, among other critical infrastructure changes to support the expanded airport.
The statement was made by Transport Minister Robert Goodwill in response to a parliamentary question raised by Colnbrook and Windsor MP Adam Afriyie. Afriyie took part in the protest at Parliament Square last Saturday.
The surface access costs for Heathrow expansion are estimated at £5 billion by the Airports Commission, although Transport for London has put the figure at closer to £15-20 billion.
In April Heathrow said it expected the Government to pay for its plans, which include a new 14-lane, M25 partially tunnelled under the existing runways.
Mr Goodwill said:
“In terms of surface access proposals, the Government has been clear that it expects the scheme promoter to meet the costs of any surface access proposals that are required as a direct result of airport expansion and from which they will directly benefit.”
Mr Afriyie commented on the announcement, saying:
“It is welcome news that the Government has ruled out paying the costs of upgrading the railways and local roads or moving or tunnelling the M25”
If Heathrow won’t pay and the Government won’t pay, then the third runway is already dead in the water and it would be foolhardy for the Government to choose Heathrow expansion.
Twitter is tonight abuzz with comment and speculation on what today’s announcement could mean.
There has been no response from Heathrow so far, although it has published new computer generated images today of how the expanded airport will look.