Tories making "biggest mistake ever"
Willie Walsh has slammed the UK Conservative Party for its opposition to a runway at London Heathrow Airport.
He accused the Tories of making their "biggest mistake ever" in opposing the development, according to reports in the UK press.
Mr Walsh, speaking at a press conference organised by the UK Airport Operators Association (AOA),was quoted as saying: "I want to know, if the Conservatives don't want to build a third runway, how are they going to position the UK economy to compete on a global scale in the future?"
He added: "We will look back years from now and say, what a disgrace."
"We expect governments to have policies that are coherent. I don't see this as coherent."
The attack came after the UK Committee for Climate Change (CCC), while recommending restrictions on aviation growth, said a new runway at Heathrow plus second runways at Stansted and Edinburgh were compatible with such growth.
The criticism of the Conservatives was joined by Steve Ridgway, ceo of Virgin Atlantic and Colin Matthews, ceo of BAA, which owns the three airports earmarked for expansion.
Mr Ridgway was quoted as saying:"It is very difficult where they (the Tories) are at the moment.
"It is wrong in terms of what this country needs and there is a job to be done in terms of convincing them that this is the right thing to do. Somehow we have to find a way to convince them."
Mr Matthews said that Heathrow has needed a new runway for many years.
But the Conservatives stuck to their policy with Theresa Villiers, its shadow transport spokesperson, saying a third runway would damage the environment.
"People will have a clear choice at the general election. If they vote Conservative there will be no third runway at Heathrow.
"We are absolutely convinced that the environmental costs of Runway Three, in terms of air pollution, noise and carbon emissions, significantly outweigh the alleged economic benefits.
"The economic case for a third runway simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
"We are aware that BA does not share our view but we are part of a widening coalition of business leaders, local authorities, charities, environmentalists and community groups who realise that Heathrow should be better not bigger," Ms Villiers said.
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