Ruth Kelly plays 20 questions

Ruth Kelly gets interviewed

The 2M Group - local authorities under the Heathrow flight path - have compiled a list of 20 questions for Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly, about the third runway.

Have you assessed the climate change impact of the extra 3 million tonnes per annum of CO2 admissions produced by the third runway alone?

Can you explain why the aviation industry, uniquely, can expect other industries to make its emissions reductions for it?

How do you reconcile the Government’s stated objectives for achieving emissions reductions with its advocacy of further expansion at Heathrow?

The latest noise attitudes survey (ANASE) showed that the same proportion of people previously annoyed by aircraft noise at 57 decibels were now affected at 50 or 51 decibels. Why was this
calculation not included in the noise impact assessment and why is the old 57decibel contour still being used to draw the boundaries of the areas which, you say, are affected by aircraft noise?

While you say that ANASE is flawed, is it not more robust than a study carried out 22 years ago (ANIS) which was never subjected to external review?

How can people sensibly comment on how the proposals will affect them when you are not telling them clearly where new or altered flightpaths would go?

Why does your economic assessment not take into account the £9bn subsidy the aviation industry receives from not paying VAT and the £18bn tourism deficit where UK travellers overseas spend more than visitors to this country?

If the extra 222,000 flights weren’t provided at Heathrow can you calculate the impact on the economy if these ‘displaced’ passengers a) made their overseas journey by rail, b) flew from another London airport or c) stayed in the UK?

Have you assessed the extra capacity that could be provided by high speed rail including the new link from St Pancras?

What benefit to the UK economy is provided by the 35 per cent of passengers at Heathrow who are simply changing planes?

Will you now commission an independent study of the economic impact of Heathrow?

According to your projections the numbers of people taking public transport to the airport will double to around 38 million by 2030. Numbers travelling by road will also double to 53 million. What new transport schemes will be in place by 2030 and what will be average traffic speeds on the roads?

What new aircraft other than the A380 and 787 will be flying once the third runway opens?

Why was data on aircraft fleet mixes kept secret from local authorities while you were assessing the environmental impacts - yet freely shared with the owners of Heathrow (BAA) who stand to gain most from its expansion?

Has the data provided by BAA including types of aircraft, their noise and air pollution characteristics - and assumptions on airlines' purchasing intentions - been independently vetted?

Can you guarantee that once the third runway is operating the two existing runways will return to segregated mode and restore the relief offered by runway alternation?

Will you guarantee that the third runway - which is already longer than proposed in the Air Transport White Paper - will not be extended again in the future to accommodate larger aircraft?

Will you introduce a requirement to cut back on the number of flights if it becomes clear that air quality and noise limits are being exceeded?

Have you measured the increased risk of air accidents from so many extra flights over London?

Can you explain why you announced your support for the ‘Adding capacity at Heathrow’ report to the Evening Standard six days before the consultation started?

Answers on a postcard, Ruth, to the usual address.