Climate Emergency: Heathrow Expansion Decision to be Reviewed

British Airways Aircraft at Heathrow Airport
British Airways Aircraft at Heathrow Airport. By, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Britain’s reputation for regulatory stability just took a hit.

Climate emergency edict in UK to shape decision on Heathrow expansion review

Britain’s net zero by 2050 goal may have impact on whether existing policies are reassessed

Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
Sat 11 May 2019 15.00 AEST

Britain’s move to “net zero” carbon and the declaration of a climate emergency in parliament will be “given careful consideration” in deciding whether to grant a review of Heathrow airport’s expansion, the government has said.

The new approach falls well short of any commitment to review Heathrow’s expansion, but means the decision on whether to grant campaigners’ request for a review will include the net zero target and the climate emergency among its criteria.

Green campaigners welcomed the pledge, which came in a letter to environmental group Plan B. Tim Crosland, director of Plan B, said:

We’re pleased to see the government is taking seriously our request to review the expansion of Heathrow airport. The government can either take the necessary action to avoid climate breakdown or it can stick to business as usual and expand aviation, but it can’t have it both ways.”

In the letter to Plan B, seen by the Guardian, Caroline Low, the director of Heathrow expansion and aviation and maritime analysis at the Department for Transport (DfT), wrote: “I can confirm that the department will carefully consider this request [for a review of the airports national policy statement, which includes Heathrow].

“As well as giving careful consideration to the net zero report and the declaration of environment and climate emergency, mentioned in the request, it may be necessary to consider the committee on climate change’s recommended policy approach for aviation … and any relevant decisions taken by the government in the coming months as a result.”

Read more:

The message is clear – The British Government no longer welcomes job creating business investment which might lead to greater national CO2 emissions.

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May 11, 2019 4:24 pm

I can confirm that the department will carefully consider this request [for a review of the airports national policy statement, which includes Heathrow].

Before kicking it into touch.

The British government may be many things, stupid, deceptive, prevaricating etc. but it also wholly mercenary. They are playing the game with extinction rebellion and all the climate nutters because they know the whole thing will fizzle out.

If not, why would they devote at the very least £5bn (more likely £10bn according to contractors) to refurbish Westminster Palace (the Houses of Parliament) which sits on the banks of the river Thames, mere feet from it’s high tide, when we are assured climate change will swamp it in a few years time.

There is not one single British politician who believes in climate change. The subject is nothing more than a voter magnet and a tax raising excuse to pay off the national debt (but it never will because politicians don’t care about how much debt they leave the country in) that politicians have run up in the first place.

Climate change has reached ‘peak hysteria’ (or the ‘tipping point’) in the UK. It has no where else to go. There is around eight years of AOC’s green new deal to run and our government, conventional media, and our good old BBC simply don’t have the stamina to see it out.

The British public will be climate exhausted in a year or two.

Reply to  HotScot
May 11, 2019 5:35 pm

Odds are they already skip to the next paragraph the moment they read climate anything. Too many climate whatevers and they look for another article.

Christopher Simpson
Reply to  HotScot
May 11, 2019 8:56 pm

The problem is, while governments may (well, do) glom onto the current popular bandwagon simply for the votes. Sometimes, however, the bandwagon is too massive and has too much momentum with the result being a suicidal spiral they can’t pull out of. I’m very afraid that with climate change (along with several other popular causes at the moment) they’ve hopped onto a behemoth from which there is no way to disembark.

dodgy geezer
Reply to  Christopher Simpson
May 11, 2019 11:50 pm

I fear you are right. If there was anyone sensible making decisions, we would not have ruined our electricity generation system…

Reply to  HotScot
May 12, 2019 12:14 am

You are completely wrong… only this year the govt approved plans to move to 30% of electricity from offshore wind alone by 2030 and proposed to ban gas for new houses by 2025… we shall shortly see a revision to the net zero carbon date…

and this from the least supportive party for climate initiatives…

Every single UK politician outside the lunatic fringe gets this… more importantly so does local govt, industry and finance.

and if the HOP goes under, so does UK capital: they aren’t going to let that happen – there will be a Thames barrier replacement. (You did note the environment agency statement on flood spending this week?)

Reply to  griff
May 12, 2019 4:07 am

“only this year the govt approved plans to move to 30% of electricity from offshore wind alone by 2030”
Griff had better go back to minding his business, and stop talking utter bollox about the little island, or he will get his little fingers burnt.

If he had ever heard of George Orwell, he would understand a little more of the native penchant for double speak.
I’m a great admirer of the author of Animal farm to say it like it is.

Having grown up on the island and gone to a grammar school run by ex Oxbridge dons, I can assure you the words of my history teacher were as true today as they were 30-40yrs ago….

HISTORY = Not what really happened but what people BELIEVE happened.

Hence the “we’re gonna die of a new ice age”, from the same MM (BBC – Guardian welcome!) as who are now filling the young generation with endless bollox about boiling alive and dissappearance of half the species in the next 20yrs.

Griff is just another one repeating endless guff which resulted in the “I-AM-VERY -DISAPPOINTED-I-DID-NOT-DELIVER-MY-CRAP-VERSION-OF-THE-BREXIT-SELLOUT” Mrs MAY double talk. bla dee bla

All this stuff is being choreographed by the banks, the city, the establishment, the tory party at prayer and who knows what in the wonderful country which wrote the Magna Carta…

Hey and Magna Carta another case of what people believe happened rather than what ACTUALLY happened, like the crusades, the wars of the roses, the acts of Union making Scotland part of a very unified K, northern ireland, and who know what.

…in other words Griff once again posturing and gesticulating without the slightest clue what he is on about (as usual)….

Reply to  griff
May 12, 2019 5:58 am


You are completely wrong… only this year the govt approved plans to move to 30% of electricity from offshore wind alone by 2030 and proposed to ban gas for new houses by 2025… we shall shortly see a revision to the net zero carbon date…

and this from the least supportive party for climate initiatives…

Every single UK politician outside the lunatic fringe gets this… more importantly so does local govt, industry and finance.

Writing a public “law” is easy – particularly when it is meaningless hype based on 20 years of propaganda feeding off of a publicity-enhanced media and academic and social barrage also 20 years long.

Now, paying for the facilities to actually do that energy production? Still impossible to do that economically. So, the economic laws MUST BE either replaced: by government tax money being taken from the citizens to artificially raise money to be spent where it is unneeded for supposed energy generation methods that are NOT economically viable without the government requirement and government sponsorship, or by forcing prices higher to pay for the unneeded not-useful not-productive facilities.

Or, as will most likely prove to be the case, by “forcing” the law now, not being able to actually do the job of replacing the energy production methods that now work, then – when the failure is proven in the far future – ignoring the failure and publicizing the “intent” of the law in the past. In the 12 years between, continue to pass new legislation and new funding to pay those very groups that are demanding the laws be passed and the “research” money be spent!

Thus, in the 50’s and 60’s, the governments spent billions on “artificial” housing blocks and massive construction projects worldwide that were blown up as decrepit slums and eyesores in the 90’s and 2000’s.
Or the billions spent on “homeless” support networks and care caused by government-forced decisions to release the truly mentally insane from care, because it “did not feel right” to force them in asylums, rather they should be “free” to sleep in the streets and mindlessly defecate in public.

But the true intent of these laws is do destroy today’s western capitalistic economies and cultures. And, perhaps, in that goal they will succeed. With your efforts leading them on in hypocrisy and deceit.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  RACookPE1978
May 12, 2019 8:05 am

Or the billions spent on “homeless” support networks and care caused by government-forced decisions to release the truly mentally insane from care, because it “did not feel right” to force them in asylums, rather they should be “free” to sleep in the streets and mindlessly defecate in public.

“YUP”, the irony of it all.

The truly mentally insane, …… burned out brain druggies …..and social miscreants …. should not be confined in asylums where they are “free” to sleep on the floors or in the hallways and mindlessly defecate anywhere within the asylum that they want to, …… which only effects themselves and the other asylum inmates ….. because they are humans too …… and therefore should not be confined to asylums, but permitted to run loose in the cities, sleeping and mindlessly defecating on the streets where their actions effect the lives of everyone living in or visiting the city.

“DUH”, most every “bleeding heart” liberal knows for a FACT that it is easier to keep a city clean …. than it is to hire a janitorial service to take care of an asylum.

Reply to  griff
May 12, 2019 10:10 am

Oil at around the 50 bucks a barrel mark for an extended, and extending period has eviscerated the ‘Big Six’ energy utilities to the point where they are unable to renew generation infrastructure that has a payback time of 30 years. Ergo, they are close to the point where the ‘Privatisation Scam’ runs out of steam. That is to say, replacement of generation capacity would have to be publicly funded, so think public funds to private companies, which could be a difficult sell to even the dimmest voter ?

At some point the rubber is going to meet the road, thats when the public will get ornery, remember the Yellow Vest gig in France ? And it would behove you to remember that politicians ultimately rely upon the public to get voted in. I’d have to think that most of the public given the choice between the fiscal pain that your version of Puritanism involves, and the option of easing the pain, will choose the latter.

Reply to  Fanakapan
May 12, 2019 2:03 pm

Let me see if I have this right?
According to you, buying energy at too low a price means that private power companies can’t make money.
However public power companies have no problems making money when the power they buy is cheap.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2019 6:12 pm

Thats right, they were boosting profits by playing ahead of the market at a time when the only way was up for prices. the fall in price explains why EDF and possibly others got a thinly disguised handout from the ECB’s quantitative malarkey. A demonstration of the old maxim that when the tide goes out you can see who’s been swimming naked.

You need to see that 6 big companies selling a commodity in what is essentially a limited market (everybody who wants it has it) is at this time a non runner ?

Same logic explains the reticence of the power bizz towards Fracking. If the estimates of recoverable resources are only half true, they are far bigger than the North Sea bonanza. And what happens to the price of a resource when the supply goes from scarce to abundant ? Fracking if developed will kill the utility business model as it exists at this time in the UK. It would show the existing setup to be the crock it always was, and involve a central pillar of the Conservative party being kicked away.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  MarkW
May 13, 2019 4:11 am

Fanakapan – May 12, 2019 at 6:12 pm

And what happens to the price of a resource when the supply goes from scarce to abundant?

And a prime example of that is, …… what happens to the price of a pound of sugar (resource) in the US iffen if the embargo is removed from Cuban exports to the US?

Cuba would “flood” the US market with cane sugar and the price would drop like a rock. (But the sugar producers in the US ain’t about to let that happen and the politicians are well paid to insure it doesn’t)

Sugar is the reason why Cuba is deemed a “bad” country by the US State Department.

Reply to  griff
May 12, 2019 1:59 pm

In griff’s mind, if a government says it’s going to do something, that is proof beyond proof that the something not only is possible, but is in fact the best possible thing.

Walt D.
Reply to  HotScot
May 12, 2019 4:06 pm

A tax for fools.

Patrick healy
Reply to  HotScot
May 12, 2019 10:56 pm

Eric Worrall, I love how you help us little people here in Britain expose the utter idiots who rule us.
But your lead “britians reputation for regulatory stability” What?? We cannot pick our noses over here without breaking some government regulation, please do not give credence to a rabid bunch of global warming alarmists running our asylum.
Thanks for your great articles never the less.

John Minich
May 11, 2019 4:31 pm

This is an interesting situation, when in here in the U.S. there are people calling for a “green new deal” which seems to require, with the banning of aircraft and other aspects, that oceans be crossed by sailing ships and travel on land be by horse back and horse drawn vehicles.

Bruce Cobb
May 11, 2019 4:52 pm

The loonies and kiddies are running the assylum.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 11, 2019 7:06 pm


You got that right.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2019 4:44 am

Freudian slap.

Serge Wright
May 11, 2019 4:52 pm

If they consider a small expansion is such a risk, then the existing infrastructure must be a totally enormous concern, meaning they should close all airports along with the removal of their airforce and inform the public that air travel is no longer available. It also menas that they have given up on the idea of electric or hydrogen aircraft.

May 11, 2019 4:52 pm

Make the new runway 50 percent shorter to save on emissions and cement production.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
May 11, 2019 6:06 pm

Just rename the airport as Coolhrow and everybody will be happy.

May 11, 2019 4:56 pm

“Illinois residents could be charged $1,000 a year to own an electric vehicle under new legislation”


Reply to  Marcus
May 12, 2019 7:19 am


Eric Stevens
May 11, 2019 4:57 pm

I continue to be bemused at the ability of green governing bodies to throttle a link in the supply chain in the belief that it will throttle demand. Even there may be all sorts of reason why Heathrow should not be expanded, reducing demand for air travel is surely not one of them. All that will happen is that the pressure will increase on other airports.
In their desire to reduce greenhouse gases, the current government of New Zealand has done something equally silly. They have stopped issuing licenses for oil and gas exploration. This will have no effect on demand for hydrocarbons. All it will mean is that they have to be imported instead of produced locally.
Its all politics of the Grand Gesture.

Jimmy Haigh
Reply to  Eric Stevens
May 11, 2019 5:40 pm

Indeed. And imported from some other country which may not have such strict environmental laws as New Zealand…

May 11, 2019 5:03 pm

Appeasement to the protestors of air travel and the so called ‘climate emergency’ will just lead to further sacrifices for humanity until they come for your life. And then it will be too late because we already gave in to ignorance and evil by allowing the corruption of science for political and economical control.

Wiliam Haas
May 11, 2019 5:42 pm

The reality is that the climate change we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. There is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and there is plenty of scientific rationale to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. So all efforts to reduce CO2 emissions will have no effect on climate. But even if we could somehow stop the Earth’s climate from changing, extreme weather events and sea level rise would continue because they are both part of our current climate,

TG McCoy
May 11, 2019 6:00 pm

A.D. 980-1016

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: —
“We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: —
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: —

“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!”
Rudyard Kipling..

May 11, 2019 6:05 pm

Put AMLO in charge of the Heathrow project.

D. Anderson
May 11, 2019 6:08 pm

The British Government no longer welcomes job creating business investment which might lead to greater national CO2 emissions.

I believe this has been the unspoken policy of the US Federal Government for 20 years. How else explain the stagnate growth in that period? Has to be deliberate.

Robert of Texas
May 11, 2019 6:25 pm

Sigh. Was upon a time long ago when my own country was being B-ugly-Stupid I could at least pretend that I would pick up and move to a more enlightened place – New Zealand, Australia, and always England. Now all those places are acting more B-ugly-Stupid than we in the U.S. are. Sigh. Well, at least there is still Texas.

Drill, baby drill.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
May 12, 2019 7:06 am

Texas needs to build a wall to stop all of the Californians from morning in. Or, soon it will be another California.

Reply to  Brian
May 12, 2019 9:24 am

YES! America needs Texas. Not “Texafornia”.

May 11, 2019 7:00 pm

Eventually they will have to pass Directive 10-289.

May 11, 2019 7:00 pm

Meanwhile if the Chinese want an airport, or a coal plant, or whatever, they will happily level a few villages and not even blink. We make every infrastructure project 10x more expensive than it needs to be. California couldn’t even build one high speed rail line in the time China built out a complete nationwide network. Pretty sad.

Michael Keal
Reply to  WR2
May 12, 2019 1:29 pm

Yes but they produce Commie Carbon. Due to it’s cool, new, improved, warm-proof magic formula it has absolutely no effect on climate.

Russ Wood
Reply to  WR2
May 13, 2019 6:25 am

And at the time that South Africa’s electrical (and maybe electoral) systems are in chaos, with new power stations breaking down even before they are finished, the Chinese are building their own little enclave in the North of SA, with their own factories, worker housing, and even their very own private coal-fired power station. No-one is completely sure about just what the country gets out of this, but one thing is certain – SOMEONE’S pocket will get quite full!

May 11, 2019 7:03 pm

How is any society supposed to function when mobs rule? That a tiny mob is able to take an airport– which serves millions of customers– by the balls is absurd.

May 11, 2019 7:06 pm

In the US a senator squashed a deal that would have given in a depressed area of New York eventually 25,000 jobs and mass amounts of taxes and commercial business because a company wasn’t supposedly paying enough taxes. OK, so 0% of nothing is more or less than any % of something? The whole wealth redistribution concept is lacking in logic.

Steve O
May 11, 2019 8:12 pm

Someday, history students will learn about The Great Climate Hysteria and will marvel at our collective stupidity, just like we marvel at the tulip bulb craze, and scientific practices of “bleeding a fever.”

Either that, or they’ll read about how The Great Government saved humanity with Central Planning, and why they must now sing a song to honor all their great leaders.

Reply to  Steve O
May 12, 2019 12:03 am

May 11, 2019 at 8:12 pm

Someday, history students will learn about The Great Climate Hysteria and will marvel at our collective stupidity, just like we marvel at the tulip bulb craze, and scientific practices of “bleeding a fever.”

They will be studying (and hopefully learning from) this for decades to come. I just hope I’m around to witness the squirming.

May 11, 2019 8:28 pm

Brilliant Bureaucracy. Ban flying by 2050. Thereafter all overseas travel will be wind-powered. All land transport will be by animals (freed up because eating them will be banned). After all, it’s an emergency. Next step – a one child policy?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Robber
May 11, 2019 11:02 pm

One child policy? You are being too kind. First, you will have to take citizenship lessons, be a “good citizen” during a “probation period”, then have your citizenship tested after which if one has passed all steps one is granted citizenship. Then, and only then, can you apply for a license to have one child. One’s contraceptive medication will be halted after which the female will be “artificially inseminated” (Source of DNA material is not known).

A brave new world.

Reply to  Robber
May 11, 2019 11:11 pm

All land transport will be by animals“.
No chance:
PETA is committed to a future in which people would not be able to own pets, claiming on their website “The selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering,” Their vision includes a future in such our dogs and cats would be successively neutered into extinction. [and be given only vegetarian food after the neutering].
OK, so a carriage horse isn’t exactly a pet, but what chance have you got of using one of them if you aren’t even allowed a pet dog or cat.

Patrick MJD
May 11, 2019 10:44 pm

Let them go for it and see the travel centre of Europe move to Frankfurt along with the financial centre.

Patrick MJD
May 11, 2019 10:53 pm

Heathrow is not the only airport that services London there is Gatwick, Stanstead and Biggin Hill too, so excess traffic will be diverted and maybe these airports will be expanded instead. The UK Govn’t will shoot the goose that lays the golden egg (The “square mile” in the centre of London which provides so much income for the Govn’t) if the expansion at Heathrow is restricted or even stopped.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2019 12:05 am

Always remember the objective of the COGS (Constantly Offended Green Socialists) is to destroy capitalism. By stopping aviation expansion in London, they are striking directly at the heart of the capitalists.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2019 6:46 am

It is certain that the HS2 link to Birmingham will be completed so Midland airports will be as easy to reach for London business people as Heathrow . The extension to Manchester is (IMO) far less certain , but even without it Manchester could come to rival London as a business centre.
The growth in Manchester in the last 20 years has been amazing and so has the growth of Manchester airport and the commercial Airport City around it. In the short time that we have been here Manchester has built a Metro system that links the centre to all parts of the area:, Altrincham, the airport , Oldham , Rochdale, Ashton and Bury and of course the yet to be developed Salford. It is an amazing city , and I speak as an ex Londoner. For business people wanting to relocate, commercial rents must be lower than the South East , property prices certainly are. In 1 hour you can be in the lake District , Yorkshire Dales, Peak District or the Clwyd Hills. In 1 hour from London you will be at: Box Hill.
I am not sure that Heathrow expansion is really necessary for the future business prospects of England, although I have no ideological objections to it.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2019 8:31 am

Erkkk, you forgot all the others!
Luton LTN, STANSTED STN, LCY….southend SEN.

I guess all these numtpies are suggesting they uproot our transatlantic > EU hub that works, employing a whole army of people in and around London, -give it to the Frogs and the Krauts over the channel?

Oh wow!
That will be as successful as all the people that destroyed CONCORDE, our once proud aviation industry that produced TSR2, Whittle, Avro, Sopwith, Vickers,etc (& once employing 1000s in Hatfield etc), remove all Airbus subcontracting, shut down Rolls Royce..and who knows what else to turn them into shopping malls and faceless housing estates…

The people advocating all this crap are just f..ckwits who deserve to see, feel, learn and get face to face with coal miners from Nottinghamshire, Steel workers from Port Talbot, old staff from West Yorkshire foundry, Tech staff from Rover cars Solihull, laid-off Aviation and nuclear industry specialists shown the door after hiving off BNFL to the Japs for peanuts and see how they get on faced with REAL not fake anger.

Blair, Brown should be in prison, the next against the wall would be all these total !&!~@*!@~ claiming to act in the name of the bl!!## dy planet, without a clue what keeps them in bread at the end of the week and pays the wages!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  pigs_in_space
May 12, 2019 9:25 pm

I forgot about Luton. How could I forget that song by Lorraine Chase? Well, it was in 1979.

Rod Evans
May 12, 2019 12:00 am

“The long March Through the Institutions” embarked upon by the Frankfurt School, knowing it would take generations to achieve, is all but complete. Starting in the thirties, now after three generations the “project’s” influence and successes are all around us.
When the latest generation of children, berate their parents for providing them with more comfort and security than any generation ever enjoyed, and those children are thanked by the establishment for their ingratitude, you can be sure we are in the final days of sanity.

E J Zuiderwijk
May 12, 2019 1:49 am

A word of caution. There are several good other reasons why the expansion now planned is a very bad idea. A serious lack of space on both the ground and in the air, for instance. The alternative of expanding the other 3 London airports, or a completely new one at a different location with ultra fast rail connections to the city may now gain currency. So, the greens now think they are on the road to a victory but it may well be pyrrhic one.

Reply to  E J Zuiderwijk
May 12, 2019 5:10 pm

Sounds like the Mexican solution.

May 12, 2019 2:30 am

Perhaps instead of using the words Climate Emergency in the headline, which only encourages the current lunacy, perhaps it could become SCCE (so-called CE))

Ben Vorlich
May 12, 2019 9:08 am

Why if there’s a Climate Change emergency is the UK spending a few billion £ renovating the Houses of Parliament? This building is on the banks of the Thames only a few feet above high tide water level. Surely a new location well above predicted sea levels is needed. Somewhere closer to deprived areas, around Skelmersdale perhaps

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
May 12, 2019 10:20 am

Skelmersdale ? That would be a tremendous fillip for the UK umbrella making industry 🙂

michael hart
May 12, 2019 2:57 pm

As alarming as it first seems, this letter from ‘the Government’ could well be just the standard bureaucratic reply to trouble makers whose case has already been dismissed, both in public and in private.

The article admitted as much when it conceeded that what the letter said was not binding in any way. Remember, politicians (and dependent bureaucrats) hate to actually have to deny or admit to anything that might cost them a single vote.

May 13, 2019 2:53 am

The Greenies should bar themselves from flying. They should be sailing in renewable wooden ships to travel on water. Land travel should be on foot, or maybe a bicycle made of bamboo or some other material that can be composted. Show us you really believe in saving the planet, not just talk about it.

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