Council stands united on anti-Heathrow expansion

Release Date: 29 November 2017

Councillors were once again united last night in their opposition of the expansion of Heathrow Airport – agreeing that Gatwick would have less negative impact.

In a cross-party motion the Council last night unanimously reaffirmed its position to resist any proposals to expand Heathrow, confirming that Gatwick can be expanded with less impact on air quality, congestion, quality of life, competition and lower prices, and public investment.

This motion comes following the announcement that the Government has been forced to launch a consultation for a second time on its proposed ‘National Policy Statement’ (NPS) for airports. This followed complaints from councils, that they had withheld important new information back from the public.

Now, thanks the campaigning and legal efforts led by the four local councils, the latest consultation now includes information on long-term aviation forecasts and the new national air quality plan – both missing from the original consultation. This extra evidence reveals that the Government’s case for Heathrow has simply ebbed away, with expansion at Gatwick , now making more economic and environmental sense.

Richmond Council, along with a number of other London boroughs have been campaigning for more than a decade that the expansion of Heathrow is untenable.. They argue that expanding the airport will have a major impact on West London. The expansion will cause irreconcilable damage to the environment and people’s health, costing tax payers as much as £15bn.

There is still time to have your say in the Government consultation – the deadline for feedback is 19 December 2017.

At last night’s Council meeting, Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond Council, proposed the motion. He said:

“This newly published data weakens the case for further expansion of Heathrow. The Government’s own data shows an expansion won’t be better for the economy, it won’t be quieter and it can’t be done within the air quality requirements.

“Expanding Gatwick can deliver more domestic routes, more competition and better results for people locally and nationally. The only argument the Government has left is that Heathrow and the country needs a hub. This is a trophy project and that’s not good enough for us, our residents or the country.

“On behalf of our residents, who so clearly oppose Heathrow expansion, it is right that we, along with our Council partners, reaffirm our opposition and we will continue to make this known to the Government.

“We will continue to press the case for a strong Heathrow, a better Heathrow but the better option nationally. There is a better decision and the current decision is just not backed by evidence.”

The motion was seconded by Cllr Gareth Roberts, who said:

“It has been a long established principle that whatever our differences on other matters we, as a Council, stand united in our implacable opposition to further expansion at Heathrow. On an almost daily basis the case against Heathrow grows stronger; it is entirely proper therefore, and in keeping with office entrusted to us by borough residents, that whenever the opportunity presents itself to reaffirm our united, cross party opposition to the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow that we do so.”

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P555/17

Updated: 1 December 2017