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Green Liberal Democrats - Party Leadership Election Environmental Q&A 6) Airports

June 22, 2015 9:11 PM
By Tim Farron and Norman Lamb

The Green Liberal Democrats have sent the two leadership candidates a series of questions, to inform party members, through their responses, about their green credentials.

In the run up to our annual conference in Manchester on June 27th, we will be publishing their answers, one question at a time.

Q6. Given the clear will of the party to continue our policy of no new runways in the south east, will you support it by making the case against airport expansion, in favour of lower emissions forms of travel and greater use of telecommunications as an alternative to travel?

Tim FarronTim Farron

Norman Lamb Norman Lamb

Party policy is clear on the issue of new runways in the south east. Emissions from aviation are increasing faster than from almost any other sector. If the UK is to meet ambitious emissions targets, we have to make a strong case for greener travel that gives us a hope of tackling climate change. It's the biggest threat to our survival that we currently face.

Yes I will support the party's policy. Compared with other developed economies, Britain's rail system is totally archaic. Britain's public borrowing costs have never been lower. We should use this opportunity for a massive one-off investment in high speed rail - not just HS2. And we need investment across the network. Just look at high speed lines in France, Germany and Japan and how far behind we are. We should make sure that every train in the country has good-quality free wifi so people can keep working while they travel, massively reducing the incentive to use airplanes for domestic business travel. And we should campaign for every part of the country to set out a plan for 99% of houses to be connected not just to broadband, but to fibre broadband. This is an investment that will keep paying back for decades - and one that we can't afford not to make.