Blogs

Heathrow third runway: carbon emissions still the elephant in the room

The Transport Select Committee recently released their report on the government's plans to build a third runway at Heathrow. If you read the report in full, it is clear why this plan is completely incompatible with our climate obligations. Yet carbon budgets are given the briefest of mentions in the summary, and crucial issues tucked away in the ninth and final annex to the report, entitled 'Carbon'. Unsurprisingly, media coverage focused on those issues which were given more prominence, including air pollution, noise and public transport limitations.

But the committee's evidence-gathering can shine a light on some of the more extraordinary 'assumptions' being used by the government in its calculations around climate impact. These 'assumptions' are being used to avoid discussion of the damaging impact a third Heathrow runway would have on our climate targets, keeping MPs in the dark in the run up to this summer's Parliamentary vote on the scheme.

New consultation proposes stripping fracking decisions from local councils

Fracking has a serious public relations problem. The latest government opinion poll found that just 16% support fracking, with 32% opposed. And the more heavily industry pushes, the more local communities dig their feet in. Recently, Conservative-controlled Derbyshire county council planning committee voted nine to one not to support a fracking application by Ineos - the fourth example in less than fortnight of English councils opposing onshore gas plans.

But will councils in the future have the chance to vote on fracking applications or will the decision be taken out of their hands?

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