18 May 2010


Further to last week's post regarding areas in which constituent members of the new Con-Dem coalition both agree and disagree on transport policies, the first area where agreement has been reached was recently reported: Heathrow Airport will now no longer get its third runway.

Admittedly, little negotiation was required here as both parties featured this pledge in their respective manifestos. Both claimed High Speed Rail was a better provider for internal travel, though aviation claim so few people fly internally from Heathrow that HS2 will make not one jot of difference to Heathrow's popularity.

We understand that the first major climb down for one section of the coalition is on a new aircraft tax, as proposed by the LibDems. The Conservatives are understood to be ready to accept this. It could well have formed part of the negotiations that procured the coalition.

The coalition has agreed on the following proposals that relate to transport and the environment:

  1. The establishment of an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient CCS to meet the emissions performance standard.
  2. The establishment of a high-speed railway network.
  3. The provision of a floor price for carbon, as well as efforts to persuade the EU to move towards full auctioning of ETS permits.
  4. The refusal of additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.
  5. The cancellation of Heathrow's proposed third runway.
  6. The replacement of the Air Passenger Duty with a per flight duty.
Interestingly, the coalition has agreed a process that will allow LibDems to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while giving the green light to the government to bring forward the national planning statement for ratification by Parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.

Fascinating times ahead.

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