» Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Asked about a meeting between Geoff Hoon, Ed Miliband, and Hilary Benn on a third runway for Heathrow, the PMS replied that people would not expect us to comment on meetings that may or may not have taken place between Cabinet Ministers.

Asked when an announcement was likely on this, the PMS replied that he could confirm that there would be an announcement in January, which was what we had always said.

Asked about these other transport and infrastructure projects, and asked if this included what Lord Adonis was talking about at the weekend, and was that why the announcement was slipping, the PMS replied that he did not accept the premise of the question at all. The commitment we made was to make an announcement in January.

Asked why BAA had spent a lot of money on newspaper advertisements earlier this week, and were they not wasting their money, the PMS replied that it was best to ask BAA that.

Asked what further discussions there would be on this issue, the PMS replied that there were a range of cross departmental issues that came out of this decision. We had always made clear that the Government favoured additional capacity at Heathrow, subject to meeting the conditions of air quality, noise, and access. But as Lord Adonis had been making clear, there were a number of other transport projects that we were looking at that were linked to the Heathrow announcement.

Put that the Prime Minister told backbench MPs that he was happy to have further meetings with them, and asked for more details on this, the PMS replied that he had no information on any meetings.

Asked to describe the tone of the questioning of the Prime Minister at the PLP last night, the PMS replied that he did not know as he was not there.

Put that the policy so far had been to recommend going ahead with the additional capacity for Heathrow, and asked if there were any problems with Greenpeace s decision to buy land on the proposed site, the PMS replied that there was clearly a debate about this. Of course people were going to express concerns from their own specific viewpoint, and in terms of the groups that they represented. But the Government had to take a decision that was in the overall national interest, balancing out these competing specific interests, and that was what we would do.

Asked if there had been any assessment as to whether the land-buy was a specific obstacle, the PMS replied that it was best to speak to DfT about that.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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