Mon, 3 Nov 2015
Heathrow's former Director of Media and Public Relations, Simon Baugh, is now Group Director of Communications at the Department for Transport and is preparing for the imminent government announcement that could mean a new runway for his former employer.
Simon Baugh- From promoting a third runway for Heathrow to advising Ministers in advance of the airport expansion announcement
Simon Baugh was responsible for group media relations, communications planning and crisis management at Heathrow from April 2011 until March 2015, when he moved to the Department for Transport.
Zac Goldsmith MP with villagers who could lose their homes to a third runway
At the end of February, Zac Goldsmith MP (Richmond Park) submitted a written question to query the recruitment process that had landed Baugh the job. Mr Goldsmith was given that information and told that because Mr Baugh was previously employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd, he would not be involved in advising Ministers on issues relating to the work of the Airports Commission for the 6 months following his appointment, which was to start on 30th March 2015. That time is now up.
There is no doubt that Baugh will have been preparing documents for Ministers. During the past couple of years at Heathrow, Baugh was responsible for three publications on Heathrow expansion-
- Best Placed for Britain (June 2013) Promoting Heathrow as the best location for the UK's hub;
- A New Approach (July 2013) 'Heathrow's options for connecting the UK to growth';
- Taking Britain Further (May 2014) Promotional material for the revised version of the third runway proposals.
Simon Baugh will clearly have extensive knowledge of the arguments Heathrow is using to get its desired third runway and associated development. He has never come to the Heathrow Villages to discuss the impact on people living near the airport or on those further afield who will suffer increased noise and pollution.
Before Mr Baugh was Director of Media and Public Relations at the airport, he was its Director of Airport Communications (Sept 2008-April 2011) and Head of Public Affairs (Feb 2006-Sept 2008), where he helped secure planning permission for Heathrow's new Terminal 2. In that period he was also communications lead on the Crisis Management Team during the 2006 liquid bomb plot and the (shambolic) opening of Terminal Five.
It's interesting to see that he joined Heathrow from AS Biss & Co, a corporate communications and public affairs consultancy with clients such as the Civil Aviation Authority.
From July 2001 to October 2002, he was Head of Media for the AEEU, the UK's second largest trade union (now part of Unite, which supports a third runway). This job put him in daily contact with business and lobby journalists and he ghost-authored comment featured in newspapers 'from The Sun to The Financial Times'.
Baugh had moved straight into that job from the role of Political Organiser at AEEU (joining in May 1999). He was responsible for relations between the union and the government. He says he led the union's campaign to retain the first past the post voting system.
It looks like Simon Baugh's connections with the government, Unite, national press and Heathrow will give him considerable influence in the Department for Transport.