Good New & Bad News Says MP Martin Linton

Government rejects all-day flights but backs third runway

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Battersea MP Martin Linton welcomed the Government’s decision to reject all-day flights, but he said he will oppose the Government’s decision to press ahead with a third runway.

“It’s good news that the Government has rejected the idea of all-day flights, so we will still have planes landing either in the morning or the afternoon, but not both.

“I lobbied the aviation minister, the transport minister and the Prime Minister endlessly to stop all-day flights and I’m delighted that they finally gave way on this.

“But it’s bad news that the Government is going ahead with a third runway. Fortunately for us, the descent flight path for the third runway will be north of the river so we won’t hear the planes. But I’m against any expansion of Heathrow airport whether it affects us directly or not.”

Martin led a deputation of Battersea residents to lobby the aviation minister and joined a group of London MPs who lobbied the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street twice in the run-up to yesterday’s announcement.

He pressed the Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon several times in the Commons to reject the option of all-day flights, also known as ‘mixed mode’. Announcing the decision, Mr Hoon said: “ My honourable Friend (Martin Linton) has been assiduous in making the transport case for his constituency. I have had a number of meetings with him where he has argued it extremely effectively. I am pleased to be able to respond in the way that I have in relation to mixed mode.”

All planes approaching Heathrow from the east descend on a flightpath to the northern runway over Battersea Park for half the day and a flightpath to the southern runway over Clapham Common for the other half, a system known as runway alternation.

Mixed mode would have ended runway alternation and used both runways for arrivals and take-offs, so there could be aircraft noise at any time of day. It was coupled with a proposal to raise the Heathrow flights limit from 40 to 44 an hour.

“This is good news for people who live in the ‘noise corridor’ directly below the flightpaths because it means they will still have a period in the day when there are no flights. I’m still opposed to the third runway, but at least that won’t be built until 202o and won’t be fully operational until 2030 – if indeed it is ever built, which I doubt. I have got a beneficial interest in a plot of land on the site of the new runway too.

“The Government took the decision to build the third runway in 2003, so it’s not a new decision but it can only be brought into use if and when the planes using the runway reach certain noise and pollution targets.

“In this week’s announcement they said they will enshrine these conditions in law and limit they number of flights on the new runway unless it is clear we are on track to meet our 80% carbon reduction target by 2050.”

January 17, 2009