Third Runway at Heathrow

So the decision has been made – the new runway will be at Heathrow rather than Gatwick. This comes after months of wrangling over the decision and is incredibly useful for a variety of topics at AS Level.

Firstly, pressure groups lobbied hard on both sides (Back Heathrow; Gatwick Obviously; and more!) as well as against both sides (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign; Stop Heathrow Expansion; and more!). In the article above, Greenpeace commented that this decision would “be a waste of time, money and lives”. Such pressure group activity is useful for this topic as none gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee hearing, suggesting perhaps a lack of impact, and while decisions is a success for some it is clearly a defeat for others. This could be useful in looking at the growth in numbers of groups, especially as technology advances, and the role of opposition pressure groups. Ultimately, however, the decision remains with the government.

It is also useful as the Cabinet are openly split on the matter – Boris Johnson commenting that such a runway would be “deliverable”. This is a useful example when looking at Cabinet Collective Responsibility, especially in a government with such a small majority.

Parliament have tried to force the government to make this decision and complained back in May 2016 that the Government needed to announce it’s decision. This is useful when looking at the effectiveness of Parliament. The Transport Select Committee issued their report in July 2016 and yet it took until the end of October for the Government to act upon it. They tried to use the media to place pressure on the government (see the second link above) and yet still the government delayed it’s decision. This is a good example of the balance of power between Parliament and Government and could be used to show the weakness of Parliament in holding the Government accountable.