ASLEF joins the fight against Heathrow expansion

14 October 2008

ASLEF today joined five other unions and nine organizations including the Campaign for Better Transport to condemn plans for airport expansion. The groups say that if the Government pushes ahead with expanding our airports, the UK will never be able to meet the new target of cutting emissions by 80% by 2050 and play its part in fighting climate change.


The report ‘Alternatives to Aviation’ launched today (14 October) finds that UK businesses do not need bigger airports in order to thrive. With business travel accounting for a quarter of passenger trips by plane the research reveals that businesses already attribute many benefits to alternatives to air travel such as rail travel and teleconferencing. By improving these alternatives, the new Transport Secretary can create jobs, generate business and help in the fight against climate change.


The research found that part of the 80% cut can be achieved by tempting air passengers onto low-carbon alternatives such as trains. A north-south high-speed rail line, for instance, would be particularly effective in cutting short-haul business flights, as business travellers are concerned about journey time, choosing to fly if the same journey would take more than three hours by train. It also found that more and better on-board facilities for business people, such as Wi-Fi services and power points, as well as airport-style lounges at stations, would also make rail travel more attractive.


Keith Norman, General Secretary of ASLEF said:


"This research highlights the environmental perils of airport expansion and demonstrates yet again that rail is the most sustainable and lowest carbon domestic travel option. It is also a timely reminder that the government must urgently invest in alternatives to air travel such as high speed lines and an electrified rail network to ensure we see the modal shift from air to rail so vital to our future economic and environmental prosperity.’


Click here to download advert which appeared in the Times.


Click here for Campaign for Better Transport 2 page summary document.


Notes for editors


Organizations supporting the advert are ASLEF, Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Connect, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, Greenpeace, HACAN ClearSkies, NoTRAG, Public and Commercial Services Union, Restore UK, RMT, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, UNISON, World Development Movement and 2M group.

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