PAUL LUSHION, our environment correspondent, on how Croydon’s politicians have a Trump-like capacity for ignoring the rapidly impending threat of Global Warming
The Croydon political duopoly had some cross-party consensus this morning, as senior Labour and Tory figures almost knocked one another over in their rush to greet the announcement by Gatwick Airport that it is to go ahead with a scheme to double its number of runways.
“Gatwick Airport just announced plans to bring its standby runway into full use as a second runway,” tweeted Chris Philp, the Conservative MP for Croydon South, which is barely 10 miles up the M23 from London’s second airport.
“It is not too costly and requires no government funding. It will increase capacity by 40 to 50 per cent. Provided they contribute to local infrastructure (eg Brighton mainline), I’m 100 per cent behind this.”
And Tony Newman, the £55,000 per year Labour-lite leader of Croydon Council, also spared no public expense by getting a Town Hall press officer to push out his self-important opinion on the matter.
“I warmly welcome the news of this significant expansion plan at Gatwick, as Croydon has a crucial position as an economic and transport centre linking London and the South East corridor,” Newman was transcribed as saying by the council flunky.
“The airport’s announcement today is good news for Croydon because it promises a major boost for the regional economy and thousands of jobs for residents in our borough and beyond.”
Newman claimed that “this proposal would make Croydon an even more attractive place to live, work and invest”.
Though not if you can’t breathe because local air quality is so polluted…
Labour in Croydon has long supported runway expansion at Gatwick, despite the obvious environmental considerations. This just might be connected to Sarah Jones, now the MP for Croydon Central, whose previous job was in public relations for… Gatwick Airport.
Newman, Philp and others appear prepared to ignore all environmental considerations because of the economic benefits, which claim that the increased air traffic to Gatwick could boost the regional economy by £2billion, providing 8,000 new jobs at the airport and a very weasle-like boast of “up to 20,000 for the wider region”, where “up to” can cover any number from one…
Suffice to say, not everyone in Croydon has such short memories as to have forgotten the Doomsday report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which warned there is just 12 years for the global population to take meaningful action to prevent irreversible climate change. That report was only published 10 days ago.
One Croydon South resident responded to Philp’s tweet: “That’s our MP completely ignoring the contribution that the aviation industry makes to climate change.”
Another resident drew attention to the fact that Gatwick Airport was making its announcement in something called “Green Great Britain Week”, an initiative by Philp’s own government.
Green Great Britain Week “is your chance to learn about how clean growth is helping to provide new job opportunities, grow our economy for the benefit of us all and help tackle climate change. And to get involved in building a cleaner, green future,” the government website states. More airport runways, and more jet flights, is generally regarded as incompatible with such objectives.
Perhaps Philp never got the memo?
Philp was challenged on the matter by someone who works for an environmental charity. “Not a great look on the Government’s Green Great Britain Week!” they wrote on social media. “How do the carbon emissions look on that?” was the question put by Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party’s youth officer, Daniel Jones.
That Gatwick realises that Croydon can be affected by its expansion plans is demonstrated by it staging a public consultation event on its runway proposals in the Centrale shopping centre on November 8.
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