THE SNP is to be asked to change its policy to oppose the expansion of Heathrow Airport amid the growing climate emergency by a former minister.

Marco Biagi was communities minister until he stood down from the Scottish Parliament in 2016 and is now challenging Angus Robertson to get selected as the candidate for Edinburgh Central.

He wants his party to adopt “a presumption against any major airport expansion” at next month’s SNP Conference.

Since 2016 the Scottish Government has officially backed the proposed £14 billion expansion of London’s Heathrow airport. Despite this stance, in 2018 SNP MPs abstained in a vote on the subject in the Commons.

“All policies need to be reviewed in light of the growing climate emergency. The Scottish Government’s support for expansion of Heathrow airport dates back to autumn of 2016. It has never been debated by members at the SNP conference. We should have that chance,” said Biagi.

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“Aviation is one of the few sectors emitting more carbon dioxide than thirty years ago. Thanks to resolute action we are going in the right direction on energy, housing and industry, but aerospace has thus far had a free pass.

“Across Europe there is a growing realisation of the need for alternatives to ever-expanding air travel, especially on short-haul routes like those between Scotland and London. On this issue, do we want to follow the climate-wrecking Conservatives or be part of the European mainstream?”

A motion has been approved by the office-bearers of the Edinburgh Central branch and will be discussed at a full online branch meeting this Thursday. If approved there it will be submitted to the party’s conference agenda.

The resolution welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, and notes that the Scottish Government has set one of the toughest statutory targets in the world, namely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045.

But it adds “there is an inconsistency” between an ambition to reduce emissions while backing a third Heathrow runway that would increase flight numbers and emissions in Scotland.

It continues: “In light of the climate emergency, Conference therefore resolves that there should now be a policy presumption against any major airport expansion that would result in a significant rise in Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

The SNP’s virtual conference, with all events happening online, is to be held November 28 to 30.