Reacting to the news that the Scottish Government has reaffirmed its commitment to a third runway being built at Heathrow, despite the climate impacts, Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon commented,

“It beggars belief that the Scottish Government have not even considered withdrawing from their backroom deal with Heathrow Airport. The High Court ruled in February 2020 that the UK government’s decision to expand Heathrow was illegal on climate grounds. “

“The Scottish Government cannot continue to support this climate-wrecking project which is opposed by those residents living nearby as well anyone who is serious about bringing down emissions in line with climate science.”

“There were hopeful signs when SNP MPs abstained on the Westminster vote on a third runway, and the First Minister committed to looking at the third runway through a “lens of climate change”. But clearly, despite their fine words on climate change and the legal ruling, the Scottish Government have reverted to their previous unquestioning support for Heathrow expansion.”

“Coronavirus has decimated the international air travel market so it is pure folly to believe that this project will ever get off the ground. We should instead be investing our time and resources into a green recovery that prioritises public transport and bringing down climate emissions from the most polluting sector of transport.”

Notes to Editors

The Scottish Government’s current position was confirmed in an answer by Michael Matheson to a written question from Willie Rennie MSP https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S5W-30436&ResultsPerPage=10

Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland won a high court case in Feb 2020 opposing the plans for Heathrow’s Third Runway due to its impact on the climate. https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/friends-earth-wins-campaign-protect-climate-heathrow-third-runway

Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland briefing on that decision and its implications https://cdn.friendsoftheearth.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/Friends%20of%20the%20Earth%20Legal%20Briefing%20-%20Heathrow%20Judgment%20-%2027%20Feb%202020%20final.pdf

Scottish Government Memorandum of Understanding setting out support for a Third Runway at Heathrow https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/foi-eir-release/2019/05/foi-19-01055/documents/foi-19-01055-mou-heathrow-and-scottish-government—heathrow-expansion/foi-19-01055-mou-heathrow-and-scottish-government—heathrow-expansion/govscot%3Adocument/FOI-19-01055%2BMoU%2BHeathrow%2Band%2BScottish%2BGovernment%2B%25E2%2580%2593%2BHeathrow%2BExpansion.pdf

SNP MPs abstained on the vote to expand Heathrow airport, helping hand a victory to the Government and Labour rebels in June 2018 https://foe.scot/press-release/heathrow-expansion/

Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.