Scottish Liberal Democrats today revealed that the SNP Government did not undertake any assessment of what impact the expansion of Heathrow would have upon Scotland’s environment before controversially announcing its support for a third runway.
Answers to Scottish Liberal Democrat parliamentary questions also uncovered that the Scottish Government is unable to say what impact the extra flights that will result will have upon the communities and environment around each Scottish airport. Ministers didn’t consult any environmental groups prior to giving its backing.
The party’s transport spokesperson, Mike Rumbles MSP, described the revelations as “staggering”.
At First Minister’s Questions this week, Nicola Sturgeon passed the buck, stating that it was for the UK Government “to answer questions and satisfy people” about the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion.
Mr Rumbles commented:
“It is staggering to learn that the SNP Government didn’t even check what impact Heathrow expansion will have upon the environment in Scotland before announcing its backing for the scheme.
“The answers to my parliamentary questions show ministers don’t have the faintest idea to what extent more short-haul flights will damage our environment and intrude upon the communities surrounding them.
"The First Minister recently lapped up a photo opportunity and endorsed a climate campaign that asked party leaders to do ‘everything they can to create a healthy planet for future generations’. But within weeks the SNP backed Heathrow, despite campaigners warning air travel is one of the worst offenders for CO2 emissions.
“Their backing for this destructive venture flies in the face of our climate change commitments. Combined with their plans to give a £250 million aviation tax cut through scrapping APD, the SNP’s policies neglect low carbon transport and amount to environmental vandalism.
“It is not good enough for the First Minister to pass the buck and claim it is the UK Government’s responsibility to address climate concerns when her government has pushed for a third runway in order to increase flights to Scotland.”