Release Date: 15 November 2017
Residents have just five weeks left to let the Government know that expanding Heathrow should be off the table for good in the latest consultation on the future of the airport.
Last month the Government was 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 lobbying and legal efforts from four local councils, the latest consultation finally includes information on long-term aviation forecasts and the new national air quality plan – both missing from the original consultation. In addition, for the first time, the Government has been forced to admit that expanding Gatwick airport makes financial and environmental sense.
Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils have been campaigning against Heathrow expansion for more than a decade. 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. It will cost tax payers as much as £20bn.
Residents are encouraged to go online and have their say, even if they took part in the consultation earlier this year. The deadline for feedback is 19 December 2017.
Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
“As we said at the time, the Government’s left out key information in their first consultation that sheds new light on whether expanding Heathrow is the best option. So, they have to re-open the consultation.
“This time around they have been forced to admit – there is evidence which confirms that an extra runway at Gatwick provides greater economic benefit and less damage to health and the environment. This isn’t just about residents under the flight path. Why should people around the country pay higher prices to a near monopoly, which would also require more public investment that should be used elsewhere? This is all about having a single trophy airport, instead of a network of airports that brings greater benefit.
“Over the past ten years people in Richmond upon Thames have voiced their concerns about the possible expansion of Heathrow in their thousands.
“We must not stop telling the Government that Heathrow expansion is the wrong choice. There are better options. This cannot be dragged out any further. I encourage everyone, go online now and have your say.”
Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said:
“We have been very clear from day one about our objection to this expansion. The facts speak for themselves and aren’t going to change – the people of Wandsworth are not prepared to stand idly by and allow a scheme to take place that is going to have such a serious impact on the environment of our borough and the health of our residents.
“It is clear that expansion at Gatwick would cause less damage than Heathrow and it’s now time for all of us to have our say through this latest round of consultation, and ensure that the message goes out in no uncertain terms that Wandsworth is firmly against these proposals.”
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, added:
“As we have said from the very beginning, Gatwick is a more sustainable option and one which can be delivered at a much reduced cost to the taxpayer, with far less damage to the environment and wellbeing of people.
“The previous consultation was a sham, and the government has finally admitted that expansion at Gatwick would be more economically beneficial. A third runway at Heathrow would be disastrous for Londoners, and I’d encourage all residents to have their say in the latest consultation now.”
Cllr Simon Dudley, Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, said:
“We have always said we believe Gatwick is the best place for airport expansion in the south east and this has been confirmed in the re-opened consultation.
“Not only would a third runway at Heathrow blight our residents’ lives but it is clearly not the best option on the table.
“I would encourage residents to once again make their voices heard during this extended round of consultation.”
If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.
Updated: 1 December 2017