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LibDems demand SNP pulls support for Heathrow expansion


Heathrow: another runway opens up slots

The SNP government has been urged to withdraw its support for Heathrow’s expansion after it was revealed that extra Scottish flights alone would pump out an additional 600,000 tonnes of emissions by 2040.

A freedom of information request published on the Scottish Government website has revealed a third runway would result in 75,660 extra flights between Scotland and Heathrow, generating 599,578 tonnes of additional emissions.

It has emerged in a week when calls have grown for Heathrow’s expansion to go ahead to help regional airlines, and the UK government is considering a cut in air passenger duty.

Scottish Liberal Democrats are campaigning against an increase in air travel and previously revealed that the SNP Government did not assess the impact on Scotland’s environment of Heathrow expansion before it announced its support.

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “Heathrow expansion is environmental vandalism. The SNP must see sense and withdraw their support.

“We now know that the extra Scottish flights alone would release a staggering 600,000 tonnes of emissions into the environment. That’s more than the Central African Republic’s emissions for an entire year.

“The First Minister has been stubborn in her support for the third runway and her MPs only abstained at Westminster because they wanted more guarantees around these extra flights, not because they were worried about the climate.

“Liberal Democrats have already helped persuade the SNP to scrap their plans to slash aviation taxes. Ministers admitted that adding tens of thousands of tonnes of extra emissions was incompatible with declaring a climate emergency, so why is Heathrow expansion any different?

“Heathrow is already the single biggest emitter of emissions in the UK. It’s disgraceful for the SNP to continue to back its expansion now that they have belatedly assessed the environmental impact. They must immediately heed the evidence, change their tune and withdraw their support.”

The UK government this week pulled together a rescue deal for regional airline Flybe with a pledge to review air passenger duty. It camer amid calls for expansion of Heathrow to enable smaller carriers and airports to remain viable.

Comment: The Flybe crisis exposes the conflict between the green lobby and connectivity

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