|Report Blasts "Myth's" about Heathrow and the Economy|
Friends of the Earth claim costs of airport expansion outweighs benefits
A new report by Friends of the Earth claims to have exploded the myths about aviation and the economy. The report entitled "Pie in the Sky: Why the costs of airport expansion outweigh the benefits" says that the benefits to the economy of expanding UK airports have been grossly exaggerated by the aviation industry and the Government while the real economic, social and environmental costs have been practically ignored.
Friends of the Earth's research found that claims that airport expansion will bring enormous economic benefits are flawed for three reasons. Firstly the economic benefits are exaggerated. Secondly the economic costs of environmental damage are ignored and lastly that the economic costs to other sectors of the economy have not been considered.
Local Conservatives and Lib Dems have expressed concerns about Government aviation policy and have described the report as a valuable contribution to the debate
Nic Ferriday, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth, said "When confronted with the huge impacts of Heathrow on local people and the environment, supporters of its expansion always cite its local and national economic benefits. This report shows that instead of benefits, there would be large economic and social costs from expanding Heathrow and other airports."
Aviation receives effective tax exemptions of £9 billion per annum and this acts as a subsidy for growth. If this tax was collected and distributed around the country in proportion to population, council areas around Heathrow would receive:
LB of Ealing £ 47 million pa
LB of Hammersmith £ 25 million pa
LB of Hounslow £ 33 million pa
LB of Kensington & Chelsea £ 25 million pa
LB of Kingston £ 23 million pa
LB of Richmond £ 27 million pa
LB of Wandsworth £ 41 million pa
Of this £9 billion subsidy, Heathrow alone accounts for £3.5 billion.
October 7, 2006