Friday, August 31, 2007

Redwood Warns Gummer over Policy Report

In an interview with the Sunday programme on GMTV John Redwood has warned John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith that “they need to steer a very careful course” when drawing up proposals for environmental policy in their Quality of Life Policy Report. He has also entered the debate about green taxes and airport expansion..

I think airports are particularly important to Britain’s economic growth because under this government over the last ten years the big success area has been the colossal growth in business and financial services, particularly the growth of London, and you wouldn’t be able to achieve that without sufficient airport capacity so that people can fly in and out when they’re making their deals and making their investments and having their meetings, and you couldn’t make it without very good telecommunications which fortunately liberalisation and privatisation has delivered in Britain and which allows those businesses to flourish.

“If you start to get either of those things wrong, not enough airport capacity, misery in moving through the airports, not good telecommunications and computer infrastructure, then you will start to lose the jewel in the crown of the British economy.

He also advocates carrots rather than sticks to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour...

I always think it’s easier to encourage people to green behaviour by giving tax breaks or tax reductions than it is to penalise people who may have made sensible decisions at the time and not give them time to adjust properly their spending patterns. It is, for example, a bit dangerous to tax fuel very heavily in a way which penalises people living in rural areas who simply don’t have access to public transport or to a decent alternative, so you have to be careful if you’re going the heavy tax route.

Redwood also warned that taxes on flights from Britain could cause “an economic loss” without “a green gain” since travellers could choose to fly from foreign airports...

My report is about having a Britain that can compete, and one of the most powerful arguments that we produce on airports is that if you tax too much and regulate too much in Britain, it won’t stop British businesses and British people flying. They will simply get on a train or plane to Schipol or to Charles de Gaulle and then take the main flight from there.

That’s already beginning to happen a bit because of the chaos at Heathrow, and that isn’t a green gain, it’s just an economic loss to Britain, so you need a balance, you need to accept that there is going to be some airport and air travel growth and if it doesn’t happen here it’ll happen somewhere else.
Bang on the money in all respects.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

there are no votes in green eco-babble

Anonymous said...

The idea that Redwood and Goldsmith can co-exist in the same party is absurd. Cameron is preparing the ground work for the inevitable split, that will tear the Tory Party in two.

Anonymous said...

"..so you need a balance, you need to accept that there is going to be some airport and air travel growth and if it doesn’t happen here it’ll happen somewhere else."

Fine. Let it happen somewhere else. Too many people's lives are blighted by airport noise already. This island is too small, we simply can't go on expanding air travel without the quality of life of significant numbers going down the plughole. And when did that become Conservative policy?

Anonymous said...

Tories split on policy again?

Shurely shome mishtake?

Anonymous said...

Redwood spot on.
PS-Why the pregnant silence about DT front page?

James said...

"if you tax too much... it won’t stop British businesses and British people flying. They will simply get on a train or plane to Schipol or to Charles de Gaulle and then take the main flight from there."

I think that's an assumption too far, yes some people may do that but, I think heavy taxes and/or regulation would have an significant impact on demand.

Newmania said...

Iain that’s just a load of crapola. Both Party’s are putting green garnish on an unholy stew of plans for huge increases in roads and airports. The facts dwarf the posturing as you know very well and it is to David Cameron`s great credit that he is discussing the real sacrifices required top bee good stewards of the land. Do you think Labour care ...of course not the Conservatives have to defend the spirit of the country
Forget climate change they are making the country look like a dump. Your attachment to Libertarian ideas leads you to support any old slash and burn development and in this case we are not talking about anything approaching normal competition.

The business loss (internally) is something we should sort out by getting rail transport sorted out at the moment we have an absurd situation where you can fly to Luton from your back garden to £2.50 whereas you have to mortgage to the house and wait for a week to get the train to Glasgow.

The domestic UK economy in which I travel frequently has no need to flights , the overseas flights do not need more facilities they can afford to pay extra . The truth is that Redwood , an academic not a business man , is so interested in winning his Libertarian argument he has lost sight entirely of what is valuable about the country.
Your argument about " If we don`t do it they will" could equally be made about weapons supplying( which continues)..and in fact any immoral activity you care to mention. IT IS NO ARGUEMENT AT ALL.

This incidentally is the subject of my ignored and derided blog today.

When do you stop Iain
1 You flood the country with immigrants to satisfy big business
2 You concrete over half the green areas of the country with roads houses and airports
3 For some reason rail is treated like a dirty word


Like many people from a farming background you have no appreciation of the value of this precious Island. You will not stop until we all live in Airport 1 like Winston Smith in a soulless agri factory yards from the nest concrete hell. Whats more this is a bit invertebrate of you as the economic arguments which were out to you on your previous support of airports have not been taken up. John Redwood says this and that ...well so what? I think you will find you are suprisijng ly out of touch with mainstream Conservative concerns with your barbaric assault on the well spring of our nation

Anon ...Tories are not split they are discussing priorities.How I detest the way reasoable people cannot disagree eg . on Grammar schools without the left sqauwking "Split!"

tapestry said...

I wouldn't bother with Charles de Gaulle. It's a joke airport, using buses to move people to and from gates, and terminals.

A friend works in lost luggage in Finland. The biggest source of lost luggage anywhere in the world to her knowledge is CDG. It scores high every day.

tapestry said...

John Redwood has an extensive business career as well as an academic background, Newmania. Not like you to get the details wrong.

It is economic growth that will drive the arrival of new technology - which will bring the end of the carbon economy. Let it grow.


Taxing fuel with flying makes sense as we do with cars - except if we tax flying, it will go overseas. Trains cannot leave the country - so they overprice. That's why flying internally is successful - because it is competitive.

Give people the choice. don't ban things or overtax things. Trains are less environmentally friendly than we have been told to believe.

Ordovicius said...

Dear me, I post a blog suggesting that Welsh Tories may do better than their English chums (and the subject of the Tory policy review is part of that reasoning) and I get accused of being a card-carrying member of the Conservative Party. You can't please some people.

Andrew Scadding said...

I have just filled in your survey and made exactly the same point, I now find, as John Redwood about people using Schipol and Charles de Gaulle. I never thought to find myself on the same side as John Redwood ever, so I am bit nonplussed.

Anonymous said...

I think "reasonable" Green Taxes on air fuel and flights is a positive direction, especially on internal flights where rail is the alternative. Planes get cleaner, quieter and more efficient on fuel. Green taxes need to go into faster, more capacity and comfortable rail/ Maglev travel!

I do not beleive in stopping air travel or airport expansion. This is Green Party stupidity.