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Tory manifesto confirms Heathrow runway plan

Tory manifesto confirms Heathrow runway plan

The Conservative Party election manifesto has made a commitment to the expansion of Heathrow Airport, one of several specific pledges made by the party on transport and infrastructure.

It listed the Heathrow expansion among its "strategic national investments", alongside HS2 and the development of new rail services in the Northern Powerhouse area. However, unlike in the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos, there was no specific commitment to Crossrail 2.

Further pledges included adding extra lanes to motorways and work to fix "pinch points" in the network, while the manifesto also said there would be new rail lines and stations, with new services being launched to serve areas without much rail connectivity at present, or where major new housing developments take place.

Although much of the infrastructure development in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the devolved administrations, the manifesto did state that some projects there would be supported. These include infrastructure projects in Scotland and a new borderlands growth deal aimed at boosting the economy on either side of the Anglo-Scottish border.

Wales is promised improved railways and more stations, as well as a vague commitment to "harness Welsh natural resources for the generation of power", which stops short of the firm commitment given by Labour and the Liberal Democrats to press ahead with the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project.

Another tantalising prospect is a pledge to create a UK-wide "shared prosperity fund" from the recouped money currently paid in EU contributions. This post-Brexit fund will be used to invest in the economic development of the country in a bid to reduce gaps between regions. It remains to be seen how this will manifest itself in terms of new infrastructure.

Labour's position on Heathrow has been to support it on the proviso that it meets certain environmental criteria, but the Liberal Democrats remained opposed to expanding it or any other London area airports. Instead, they want to see airport capacity expanding in other parts of the UK such as Birmingham and Manchester.

Image: Mark Pawlak for Adfero


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