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Let Britain Fly: Pledge launch

This week saw the launch of the Let Britain Fly Pledge, which aims to engage the wider public on the issue of airport capacity expansion. Read more.

A recent survey by the Office for National Statistics found that 59% of the British public support the construction of new runways. The Pledge aims to mobilise the support of this ‘silent majority’ who all too often do not have their voices heard in the airports debate.

It aims to put pressure on the leaders of the UK’s political parties, calling on them to:

  • Make a public pledge to build more runway capacity and commit to this in their 2015 election manifestos
  • Ensure a Parliamentary vote on airports expansion in 2016 at the latest.

The Let Britain Fly Pledge was launched at a press conference in central London, where the heads of some of the UK’s top firms including Harrods, Kesslers International, Linklaters, Mace and SEGRO called on the public to take the opportunity to have their say on this important issue.

The Pledge is available to sign and share on the campaign’s website. Over the coming year, Let Britain Fly aims to engage with hundreds of thousands of people on this topic, and demonstrate to politicians the strength of support for maintaining and increasing the UK’s international connectivity and competitiveness. The Pledge calls on politicians to commit to airports expansion in their 2015 manifestos, and to ensure a Parliamentary vote on increased capacity by 2016 at the latest.

On the same day as the Let Britain Fly campaign launched its Pledge, the Airports Commission announced that it was not going to shortlist the Inner Estuary proposal, dubbed ‘Boris Island’, ahead of its Final Report next year. This was an announcement that proved controversial in some quarters, with the Mayor of London, the proposal’s strongest advocate, objecting particularly strongly to this conclusion.

The launch of the Pledge and our response to the Commission’s announcement received widespread media coverage including City AM, the Evening Standard, the FT, the Daily Mail, BBC London, BBC Radio Berkshire, Politics Home and Travel Weekly.

Let Britain Fly believes the Airports Commission process is the best way to examine the need for additional airport capacity in London and the South East. However, there is still a very pressing need to win political consensus on the Commission’s own verdict that one net additional runway will be required in the region before 2030.

Without the political will to implement the findings of the Commission’s Final Report in 2015, none of the options currently under consideration will ever get off the ground. This is why Let Britain Fly’s priority is to create cross-party political consensus on the need for expansion, and to not commit to any one solution. With the launch of the public Pledge, Let Britain Fly will send the message to Members of Parliament that wherever air capacity expansion takes place, there will need to be agreement from politicians to ensure that it is delivered.

The next milestone for Let Britain Fly is the Sustainable Airports Summit which will be held at City Hall on Wednesday 15 October, kindly hosted by Assembly Member Val Shawcross. This will examine issues of how surface access and public transport can be improved to cut pollution levels around airports, as well as a debate on carbon emissions. Mary Creagh MP, the Shadow Transport Secretary, has been confirmed as the keynote speaker.

Contact: Gavin Hayes, gavin@letbritainfly.com

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