A Labour government would halt expansion of Heathrow because climate change is the party’s “number one priority”, the shadow chancellor has suggested.
John McDonnell said that Heathrow “clearly doesn’t qualify” for a third runway under tests that the party has set, including meeting carbon reduction targets and minimising noise.
Labour has pledged that Britain will be carbon-neutral by 2030, 20 years earlier than the government target, as the parties compete to offer green policies to an electorate increasingly concerned about the environment, The Times reported.
Asked on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One on Sunday whether this would mean cancelling Heathrow expansion, approved by the government last year, he said: “We set ourselves criteria, one of which is environmental impact, the other was also the economic impact and social impact.
“On the current criteria we’ve said very clearly Heathrow expansion doesn’t qualify.”
McDonnell, whose Hayes & Harlington constituency contains the airport has long been personally opposed to expanding Heathrow.
But Labour gave its MPs a free vote on the issue last year, allowing it to pass through the Commons.
McDonnell said: “I know Brexit’s important and we’ll deal with that – but actually our number one priority must be the survival of our planet.”
He said he would rewrite Treasury investment rules so that the “number one priority is climate change, the second is inequality, individual and regional, and the third is the fourth industrial revolution.”