2007 - 2022

Climate Change and Disrupting Westminster

How does anyone in Scotland benefit from a third runway at Heathrow? How is this in anyway in alignment with Scotland’s (much vaunted) climate change emission targets? Why would the SNP ally themselves with the DUP and the Tories?  The government’s latest figures foresee aviation emissions rising by 7.3 million tonnes CO2 by 2030 if a third runway is developed at Heathrow airport — equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from Cyprus. If the SNP MPs at Westminster want to be disruptive they should take the opportunity to skewer the Tories on Heathrow and deliver a massive victory for the environment.

MPs are expected to vote on the UK government proposals next Monday and ministers at Holyrood are going along with the Conservatives in the widely debunked claim that “a new third runway is deliverable within its international carbon commitments”.

Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation, said:

“The Government’s own forecasts show Heathrow expansion sending UK aviation CO2 emissions well beyond the limit that the CCC recommends. She said: “It’s impossible to see how any increase in airport capacity could be compatible with the more ambitious target set by the Paris Agreement.”

Glasgow’s Green MSP Patrick Harvie said:

“The SNP now finds itself in a situation at Westminster where only they, the DUP and the Tories have a policy of supporting a new runway at Heathrow. Rarely do we find Scottish ministers in complete agreement with their UK counterparts, but bizarrely in this instance the Scottish Government admits it is relying on, and is satisfied with, the UK government’s complacent view of the carbon emissions that will come from expanding Heathrow Airport.”

“Green MP Caroline Lucas has shown, and now Labour’s shadow transport secretary agrees, that constructing a new runway at the London airport would be ‘incompatible with our environmental and climate change obligations’. We know the Tories can’t be trusted on climate change, so why are SNP MPs ready to vote with them?”

Carbon emissions from the aviation industry must not rise if the UK is to meet its legally-binding climate change targets, according to the government’s independent climate advisers.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling following his statement on the government’s airport policy, the chair and deputy chair of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) wrote:

“Aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050 means other sectors must reduce emissions by more than 80%, and in many cases will likely need to reach zero. Higher levels of aviation emissions in 2050 must not be planned for, since this would place an unreasonably large burden on other sectors.”

Heathrow expansion flies in the face of efforts to tackle climate change. As Friends of the Earth Scotland have said:

“The UK Government’s proposal now needs to be approved by the Westminster Parliament. The Government has a minority of MPs and many Conservatives oppose this disastrous scheme. The votes of the 35 SNP MPs are likely to be crucial in the final decision.”

Go here to back their campaign and ask Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford to tell SNP MPs to vote against these plans. 

Photo credit by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

Comments (34)

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  1. Bert Logan says:

    I am more or less ambivalent on this.
    If you go ‘with’ the proposal, its ‘SNP bad’.
    If you don’t go with it, its SNP ignored and ‘SNP bad’.

    Between a rock and a hard place effectively.

    The obvious answer is that come independence, we can tell our government to be more/less green (more for me tbh). Otherwise, its about dragging business into Scotland, which requires air/road/rail.

    We cannot do ‘more road’. We cannot do ‘more rail’. We can support ‘more air’.

    There is no ‘leftwing’ while in the UK, moreso, there is no green while in the UK. We cannot dictate macro-policy in the UK, so get the best possible outcome until we can do our own macro-policy.

    Or stay with Tory ‘anti-green / anti-society’?

    1. The SNP could win-win and win big.

      There’s no electoral advantage in a 3rd runway, they’d cause a hefty blow to the Tory govt, their Westminster disruptions tactics were wildly popular and – its the right thing to do for the environment. Where’s the problem?

      1. Bert Logan says:

        Its the disruption thats popular – the palpable change after that ‘walk out’ – yes, you are right, but simply ‘voting against’ it – its just does nothing but ‘SNP bad’.

        To destroy it? Given that ministers are resigning over it, the house will be packed for the vote. So implement your disruption for that. No loss – they are being bad for a reason.

        Electoral advantage is impossible to gain, when every media source would note that the SNP did ‘this or that’.

        1. Point of fact: No. Voting against it means massive MASSIVE carbon emission savings which we need to do NOW.

          Memo: there are issues more important than the SNP.

          1. Bert Logan says:

            In another point of fact.

            Voting against it has no impact in Westminster. Scotland is ignored, and we can’t ‘do green properly’ with England’s love of Tory.

            But thats my straw man. When we have independence, then I can vote for the party that fixes more than air travel.

          2. Sorry Bert, simple arithmetic, the Tories have no majority, if Labour and the SNP vote together the bill fails. Its not just ‘air travel’ its huge emissions’. Have you actually read the article?

  2. Jamsie says:

    I think at this stage having already declared their support for the third runway as it will give economic benefit to Scotland ( I am not sure how ) it will be difficult for the SNP to change tack.
    Another of those little contradictions?
    Meanwhile Prestwick sits at about 5% capacity soaking up money with no real business plan in place.

    1. milgram says:

      A cynic might note that Prestwick issue in conjunction with voting the way that international airport owning companies would like.
      It will be hard to take the SNP seriously if they follow through with this wilfully blind expansion idiocy.

  3. David Stevenson says:

    60 years ago UK government stopped KLM and SAS making Prestwick their hub for flights between Europe & North America. UK govt wanted business for UK airlines & London. KLM & SAS withdrew from Prestwick & got hubs at Schiphol and Copenhagen. Scotland got shafted !

  4. SleepingDog says:

    The party political system does support (sometimes secretive) horsetrading which goes back a long way and is sometimes presented as the cost of two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back reforms. For instance, the SNP may or may not have an agreement that they will get a reward or concession for supporting the government here. Or the SNP could be in hoc to lobbyists. Neither is democratic, nor the only way to do politics. I am not aware of any political party in the UK that has repudiated horse trading:

  5. tartanfever says:

    If Mike Small is truly against a third runway and wishes it to be defeated in Parliament, then where are his calls on the Labour Party to withdraw their ‘free vote’ for their 258 MP’s and align behind their supposed party line of opposing expansion ?

    That’s a much bigger voting block than the SNP’s 35 MP’s.

    1. Labour are voting against it.

      That’s. The. Point.

      1. Bert Logan says:

        “Labour are voting against it.”

        Labstainers? There is no Labour majority – with everyone and their SNP dog! There is only Tory/DUP and backstreet bungs.

        Its the UK.

        1. Bert Logan says:

          Just to clarify: Labour!!!

          It doesn’t make SNP support right, its simply they can explain why.

          1. Can they?

            What is the explanation of SNP support for Heathrow?

          2. Bert Logan says:

            The SNP support for Runway 3 is expansion produced more business for Scotland.

            The irony of Labour going ‘free vote’ is simply that the Labour MPs in the north of England, and in Scotland are citing the same reason. Those in the south are pandering to their constituencies.

            Is that too hard to understand?

          3. Yeah its completely baffling to understand.

            I guess you wont complain the next time Labour votes with the Tories and the DUP.

          4. Bert Logan says:

            Well if you can understand something that simple! Politics is beyond you.

          5. Yes, I fear it is Bert.

            I’m sure there will be celebrations in the streets of Scotland as the SNP vote with their DUP and Tory colleagues to increase emissions for decades to come!

      2. tartanfever says:

        ‘Labour are voting against it.

        That’s. The. Point.’

        No, Labour Party policy is to oppose the runway on environmental grounds, their MP’s have a free vote, which means they can vote anyway they like.

        Without the entire Labour Party voting against the proposal, there is nothing the 35 SNP MP’s can do. It’s simple voting arithmetic.

        By all means lambast the SNP on environmental grounds, but to only call out SNP MP’s and not the MP’s of other parties doesn’t make any sense if you want to win the vote. Why aren’t you tweeting Ian Murray to make sure Labour MP’s vote against the proposal ?

        Bert makes a good point. At least the SNP are honest. Let’s see how many Labour MP’s vote for the expansion and I’ll look forward to the article lambasting the Labour Party for their U-turn.

        1. Jamsie says:

          So let me see…….the SNP are in support of the third runway which will result in horrendous levels of emissions alongside the tories and the DUP but against their green allies.
          But that is ok because they are being honest!??
          And labour are bad because they have allowed a free vote but are against it.
          Seems the Tartan Tories are alive and well spouting contradiction after contradiction.
          Will this be enough to cause green Pat to withdraw support at Holyrood?
          It should be!

          1. Bert Logan says:

            “Seems the Tartan Tories are alive and well”

            Wonder what kind of unionist you are.

            Leave the UK (SNP) and join the EU, pushing a unified green approach.
            Stay with the UK (Labour), leave the EU, work the the super-green USA, and keep the nukes et al.

            ROFL – you are the classic BritNat.
            Cant be green staying in the UK, or while you have no control. See FPTP and how well Green does in England.

            And note, saving a few ‘extra’ flights vs a full scale EU based approach … I wonder what the English Greens would sacrifice.

            Stop being naive.

  6. Jamsie says:

    One further contradiction occurred to me Mr Ed.
    Strange how things pan out sometimes but you and Boris are in agreement on this.

    1. David says:

      Do the emissions disappear or move. The environment does not care where they happen. Moving them solves nothing and reduces economic growth. The social and political aspects are another strand entirely.

      1. David says:

        So is it poor environmental policy driving politics again? Money is moving around the world as time goes on. Trying to manage the saving of the environment on a national allocation basis for what was happening 30 years ago is illogical in the extreme. And ignoring much of the problems growing in developing countries, just doubles that silly approach. As does pricing carbon when there is no alternative choice. Using the money on a neutral revenue basis and wholly to develop new green technologies makes much more sense.

  7. tartanfever says:

    The SNP abstained. Poor show but better than voting in favour of it.

    119 Labour MP’s voted for expansion to 94 against.

    So much for the SNP being the tartan tories.

    Looking forward to the article on another Labour failure for a bit of balance.

    Utterly startling that people actually believe Labour have any credible policies that they will vote unanimously on – except war, nukes, austerity etc.

    1. Bert Logan says:

      Ahh Mike, “tartanfever” got there before me.

      Labour voted for it, the SNP went the right way.

      The SNP made no difference, like they never will because Scotland will have no effect on England’s choices.

      Sad that you don’t get it.

      1. No. It was political failure across the board.

        1. Bert Logan says:

          Bella Editor –

          ‘Labour are voting against it.

          That’s. The. Point.’

          Sigh – tartanfever noted. SNPeeeBadorama

          1. Jamsie says:

            But the SNP are in favour of it!
            Their position has not changed.
            This was mendacity at its worst.

          2. Bert Logan says:

            So they voted for it? Facts please.

            To be honest, I don’t give a toss, as they make no difference in Westminster. Its what they do in Scotland that matters. Trying to convince the UK to be green when its ‘Brexiting’ and snuggling up to Trump … yeah.

            We leave the UK, and work with the large block called the EU to get greener, doing it alone, or not doing it in the UK … pointless.

          3. Jamsie says:

            When you say “so they voted for it. Facts please.” are you seriously disputing that this abstention was directly in contradiction of both wee Nicola’s and her party’s policy.
            How blinkered are you?
            Or are you just so out of touch with reality that you think everything the SNP do is for the good of all Scots in Scotland?
            Clearly the support for the third runway is an embarrassment which she is concerned will affect her support at Holyrood by green Pat.
            It is clear that his party want him to take action to recover the situation and extract further green measures which we Scots will need to pay for.
            The additional costs associated with green policies in Scotland are a factor in the poor economic growth as they are effectively an additional tax on people and businesses.
            The “tax” is not progressive in any way as it penalises all users of energy but has a greater detriment on the poorest given the share of income spent on energy.
            We know that no matter how hard she pushes Indy is a no hoper.
            We also know that the tactic to try to falsely claim a mandate for a further referendum has failed.
            Her last resort is to try to maintain a majority at Holyrood until the next election when she will almost certainly lose it to try to force some sort of deal out of Westminster but even that is slipping away.
            This tactic of abstaining was clearly designed to try to appease the greens and Pat but has it worked?
            I think people have seen through the tactic and have only contempt for the antics of the SNP at Westminster.
            Their dishonesty is shining through,

  8. tartanfever says:

    Bella Editor –

    ‘Labour are voting against it.

    That’s. The. Point.’

    Mike Small – the Hillary Clinton of Scottish media blogs.

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