Thursday, 16 October 2008

Benn fibs back

Paul Waugh's blog has more on our story about Hilary Benn wrongly claiming that there is no connection between trying to delay EU quality rules and Heathrow expansion plans.

Benn's spokeswoman has moved the goalposts on his statement to parliament.

"Hilary Benn’s answer was completely accurate. He was referring to the fact that the UK is likely – along with a number of other European countries – to apply for more time to meet the requirements of the new air quality directive.

"This is because, despite the improvement we have seen in recent years, we are unlikely to meet the 2010 deadline in respect of nitrogen dioxide. The problem is mainly about existing pollution from traffic in London, including around Heathrow, and in other major cities across the UK. The likelihood of the UK applying for more time is not to do with any decision that may be taken in future about a possible third runway."

Quite disingenuous. No-one said it was to do with the third runway. The delay - for five years from 2010 - will be to allow more flights from around 2012. The new runway will come in around 2020.

Waugh's blog also has a letter from Norman Baker, requesting an apology.

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