Release Date: 12/11/2012
Richmond Council’s Leader, Lord True, has again slammed the ambitions of big business and other lobbyists in wanting to ride roughshod over people’s lives and expand Heathrow to not just a possible three runways, but to four.
The news broke earlier this week that Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly BAA) are calling for an inquiry to look at the possibility of a four runway expansion to the airport. This validates the fears put forward since the spectre of Heathrow’s expansion first entered the spotlight that any expansion at all, even if only specifying a third runway, is but a preamble to a four-runway Heathrow.
The Council took the opportunity to respond to the Government’s Draft Aviation Policy Framework, and rejects arguments by the industry that the airport has to expand to serve more destinations. Instead they could serve more destinations within the current number of aircraft movements (flights) through better use of the aircraft slot system (the way companies decide where flights will fly). The slots need to be properly managed and this, coupled with better, more efficient, load factors (how full each plane is) mean that there is capacity for growth in passenger and destination numbers within the current limit of 480,000 flights annually.
Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said “The Heathrow lobby have finally shown their true colours, revealing the full extent of their plans to blight London communities with not just three, but four runways. Patently this is ridiculous. For an airport that even proponents agree is unfit-for-purpose, the fix isn’t to tack a few extra runways on the side and call it a hub, people's lives be damned.
“Rather, we need a considered and comprehensive look at all the other options available in the UK for the effective use and, if necessary, expansion of our air capacity that would not involve ruining the quality of life for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of west London residents.
“We have pledged to give local residents the chance to fight back at the lobbyists and vote on this nonsense in a referendum-style vote next year. I think it would be fair and reasonable for some of the ‘Superhub’s’ supporters to come during that campaign and explain their ideas to the people who pay their Parliamentary wages and who would have to live with the consequences of their profiteering. It should be a lively occasion.”
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