Heathrow Accused Of 'Jumping the Gun'

Three councils including Wandsworth say airport consultation premature

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The leaders of three councils including Wandsworth have slammed Heathrow for holding a consultation when the Government are yet to make a decision on whether or not the airport should be expanded at all.

The consultation invites the public to put forward their views on various factors of the expansion scheme. These include the design of the terminals and whether to bridge over or tunnel under the M25 to improve access. The consultation also looks at whether flights should be concentrated over a single area or spread out.

Parliamentary scrutiny on the Government's proposals is still underway, with a vote by MPs due to happen later this year. As part of this process, tens of thousands of people have already had their say, making it clear that expansion at Heathrow is not deliverable.

The leaders of Wandsworth, Richmond and Windsor & Maidenhead councils argue that any expansion of the airport would have a devastating impact on west London. They say expansion would cause immense damage to the environment and people’s health, tear communities apart, see an unacceptable rise in noise and air pollution, and all this at a potential cost to tax payers of £15bn.

This latest consultation is also seeking residents’ initial views on how airspace and flight paths should be designed in the future This is the first of several consultations, and presents scenarios on how severely communities might be affected.

The councils' view is that the noise burden is too high now and all efforts should be made to minimize the number of people impacted by noise. In addition, there appears to be no intention to provide any clarity over new flight paths, until after any planning process has been concluded. This means that residents will only understand the true impact of a third runway on their lives, when a decision has been made.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling. We know that this scheme is fatally flawed and if it went ahead would have a serious impact on our local environment and the health of our residents.

“I urge everyone who opposes this expansion to make their voices heard and get involved in this consultation process. The Gatwick option has great merit, we need to make sure that is the message that rings through loud and clear.”

Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond Council, said, "Even by the Government's own figures released recently, expansion at Gatwick brings more long term economic benefit, is cheaper, will require far less public subsidy, and of course has less impact on noise, air quality, congestion, and is a lower safety risk. All the evidence points to Gatwick.

“Residents should make it known that the information provided by Heathrow is not good enough. I’ve grown even more confident that in the end it will be Gatwick, not Heathrow.”

As part of the consultation, there will be a public consultation event in Putney on 16 February from 12-8pm at the Community Church on Werter Road. Putney's MP Justine Greening will be there to discuss concerns about an expanded Heathrow including respite hours and aircraft noise.

Justine Greening said: "It is also important to respond to Heathrow's consultations here. There are two at the moment, one on airspace and one on plans for the airport itself. It is critical that we make our community's views clear and outline the problems we already face from planes overhead and concerns over increased and expanded flightpaths, which may see areas of our community which are not particularly affected at the moment, become much worse in terms of noise. She continued. "I asked the Transport Secretary, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, if he would meet with me to discuss the decision to expand at Heathrow, which I believe is based on flawed evidence. We are due to meet in early February."

Have your say to the consultation here: www.heathrowconsultation.com

February 2, 2018

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