Pressure on Heathrow should be relieved by improving links to underused airports such as Stansted and developing a two-hub approach, according to a leading London MP.
Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith told the Financial Times that voters in west London would punish the coalition at the ballot box if ministers reneged on their promise not to allow a third runway at Heathrow.
He described the renewed pressure on the government to change its course as “scaremongering” given that Heathrow already had more flights to business destinations than any other European airport.
“Simply calling on government to double the size of Heathrow is lazy half-thinking by people who ought to know better, but who have been captured by vested interest and are allowing them to do their thinking for them,” Goldsmith said.
The co-author of an environmentally friendly “Quality of Life” report for the Conservative party five years ago, has said he will not stand as an MP for the party at the next election if it supports Heathrow’s third runway.
Goldsmith told the newspaper: “We are well connected, and we have ample capacity. The problem is that we don’t use it well.
“If we want to preserve Heathrow’s hub status, we need to stop clogging it up with point-to-point flights to places like Cyprus and Greece that contribute nothing to overall connectivity.”
Heathrow owner BAA rejected his claims saying that moving short haul flights would strangle the transfer traffic on which long haul services from the airport depend.
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