At the Transport Select Committee this afternoon we were discussing the draft report on the future of aviation. The Lib Dems have been very critical of the position taken by the Labour Government in blindly supporting the third runway for Heathrow, and we have ruled out supporting further runway expansion throughout the South East. The draft report is far too supportive of a third runway and I put down a lot of amendments to change the report. Unfortunately the vast majority were rejected, and so I voted against the overall report. All the Labour members voted in favour of the expansion plans, and the Tories were all over the place. The one Tory on the committee who is completely in favour of the third runway failed to turn up, one voted with me, and one abstained. In the end I lost the vote 3 to 2.
After the private part of the meeting we had evidence from the Secretary of State, Lord Adonis. I challenged him on why the excess revenue from Northern Rail couldn’t be reinvested in the North West to try and redress some of the imbalance of London and the South East having so much more investment per person than the regions. The Northern Rail franchise has overperformed, and surely the North West should see some of the benefits?