Campaign group questions Airport Commission’s intentions in recommending third runway at Heathrow

5 August 2015 (Last Updated August 5th, 2015 18:30)

Teddington Action Group (TAG) has questioned the fairness of the UK Airports Commission in recommending a third runway at the Heathrow Airport to expand the country’s aviation capacity.

heathrow

Teddington Action Group (TAG) has questioned the fairness of the UK Airports Commission in recommending a third runway at the Heathrow Airport to expand the country's aviation capacity.

TAG alleges that commission chairman Howard Davies is simultaneously holding a position on the board of Prudential Assurance that spent around £300m on properties around the airport.

TThe commission's lawyers had confirmed that Davies has been a non-executive director of Prudential Assurance since 2010 and that the company acquired the Hilton and Shiva Hotels around Heathrow in 2013 through its investment subsidiary M&G Real Estates.

The campaign group has further stated that Davies was an advisor to Singapore-based GIC Private, which owned a 11.2% stake in Heathrow Airport Holdings as of 2014.

"The commission's work has been held up by the government as a truly independent review of the country's future aviation strategy."

However, he had given up his role in GIC in 2012, when he became the chairman of the Airports Commission.

A TAG spokesperson said: "The commission's work has been held up by the government as a truly independent review of the country's future aviation strategy.

"For communities living in the shadow of Heathrow who face even more noise and toxic pollution if Heathrow expands, the revelations that the chair of the commission has links to a number of companies who stand to gain from an expanded Heathrow is astonishing.

"£20m of taxpayer's money has been spent on the Commission and we now demand answers: what information did Sir Howard declare prior to his appointment and how much did the government know when they appointed him?"

The group had previously launched a legal action against the commission challenging its methods of public consultation over air quality issues regarding Heathrow's expansion.

The commission had made its recommendation while rejecting proposals for the extension of an existing runway at Heathrow, and construction of a new second runway at Gatwick Airport.


Image: The Airports Commission had recommended the construction of a third runway at the Heathrow Airport. Photo: courtesy of LHR Airports.