Monday, August 31, 2009

BAA caught lying... again.

The list of BAA lies is very very long, Terminal 4 was going to be the last one, then it was Terminal 5 to be the last expansion, the planes noise data is based on theoritical levels and future emissions calculations are based on planes that don't exist.

The Advertising Standards Authority has caught them for the last one:
BBC NEWS | England | London | Heathrow noise claim 'misleading'

According to BAA, the Government said that a third runway would "would have to result in a Heathrow noise footprint no larger than with two runways in 2002, and that concentrations of nitrogen dioxide around Heathrow would have to be within the future EU limit."

So BAA would buy a brand new runway but not put extra planes on? Give me a break...

Read on this article on why they get away with it: BAA's close links with the DfT.

Concerns over their influence have been heightened by the presence of Tom Kelly, formerly the official spokesman for Tony Blair when he was prime minister, who has taken charge of "all aspects of BAA's communication activity" since being appointed as group director of corporate and public affairs for the company in late 2007, when the campaign for a third runway was in full swing. Kelly heads a network that plugs BAA directly into government and Labour, several of whose senior figures are involved in the pro-runway campaign. Julia Simpson, another former adviser to Blair, left Downing Street in 2007 for BA.

On the other side of the fence is Joe Irvin, former head of corporate affairs at BAA, who has switched to Number 10 to be a key adviser to Gordon Brown. Irvin was also involved with one of the main aviation lobby groups, Freedom to Fly, which was funded by BAA and BA - as was Stephen Hardwick, a former adviser to John Prescott and ex-head of public affairs at BAA. BAA also employs financial PR company Finsbury, which is headed by Roland Rudd, a close friend of business secretary Peter Mandelson, who was in favour of the third runway.

BA has fostered close links with government for years through PR firms Brunswick, headed by Gordon Brown's friend Alan Parker, and Lexington Communications, run by Mike Craven, a former Labour press chief. Senior Labour figures, paid to help the runway lobby funded by BAA, include Lord Soley, a former chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, who has appeared in the media to promote the runway for Future Heathrow, one of the BAA-backed successors to Freedom to Fly.

The issue of Heathrow was tackled in a recent report on lobbying by the public administration select committee. After the inquiry, MPs concluded that lobbying needed to be open to public scrutiny. The report said: "There has also been widespread public concern that some areas of government policy have effectively been captured at an early stage by interest groups, usually within industry, and that public consultations have been unbalanced in the favour of these interests." It named Heathrow as an example of this.

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