Heathrow Hub backers 'stand to make millions in land deal'

Reports that a group behind proposals for a four-runway Heathrow 'stands to make millions from options on nearby land' if the plans are approved feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports
that "Heathrow Hub is fronted by one of Britain's most influential civil engineers and a former Concorde pilot, and its newspaper adverts aim to persuade the public that its expansionist solution could mean ‘quieter Heathrow expansion’ despite almost doubling the number of planes over London". According to the newspaper, while Heathrow Hub’s commercials "focus on more runways, its solution also includes a terminal and transport hub to be built on a 200-acre site north of Heathrow that the group could buy for a fraction of its future value – and where it has also been lobbying to build a new station on the HS2 line on a revised route".

Britain needs more "mega farms" housing hundreds or thousands of animals to keep food prices down and improve animal welfare, according to a group of influential farming experts, the Guardian also reports. The paper says that, speaking at a conference, Toby Mottram, professor at the Royal Agricultural University, said herds of more than 1,000 cows had "significant economies of scale". This could reduce costs while allowing yields to rise. Many of the objections to mega farms centre on "the smells associated with them and the visual impact, as well as animal welfare", the newspaper reports.

The Financial Times reports that US billionaire Donald Trump’s legal action against the Scottish Government’s approval for an offshore wind project off the coast of his Aberdeenshire golf resort has opened in Edinburgh. According to the newspaper, "on the first day of an expected four days hearing, Mr Trump’s lawyers argued that Scottish government approval for the wind farm was illegal and that a public inquiry should have been held into the project". Trump claims the scheme will damage views from his golf resort.

A bid to end the popular Glaswegian practice of placing a traffic cone on the head of a statue of the Duke of Wellington outside the city’s Gallery of Modern Art "has been abandoned after a public outcry", the Telegraph reports. The newspaper says a city council report "complained this week that the tradition projected a ‘depressing’ image of Glasgow and pointed out that it cost £10,000 a year to remove around 100 cones from the statue". A planning application suggested raising the plinth by almost 3ft "in the hope of deterring late-night revellers from clambering on to the statue". But the local authority "backed down following an online backlash that saw a petition supporting the ‘cone head’ tradition attract 10,000 supporters in the space of a few hours, while a Facebook campaign had 45,000 ‘likes’", the newspaper says.

A Labour attempt to sink the coalition’s controversial ‘bedroom tax’ has failed in the House of Commons, the Independent reports. According to the newspaper, a vote on its abolition was lost by 26 votes and came after shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves launched an attack on the housing benefit change in Parliament. She said: "Let me be very clear – if I am secretary of state in 2015, this will be the first thing that I will do, reverse this unfair and pernicious tax." Under the policy, tenants would have their housing benefit reduced by 14 per cent if they have one spare bedroom and 25 per cent if they have two or more spare bedrooms.

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