Council moves against Heathrow expansion

Thu 1 November 2012, 5:40 pm

Ealing Council has moved to eliminate Heathrow Airport from the list of potential sites for new runways in the South East of England.

Working as part of a west London alliance of local authorities opposed to Heathrow’s expansion, Ealing has presented officials at the Department of Transport with a combination of environmental factors and physical constraints that make further expansion at the airport untenable now and in the future.

The councils - all members of the 2M campaign group that includes Hounslow, Hammersmith & Fulham, Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Richmond, and Kingston - say new runways at Heathrow would not guarantee better connections between the UK and emerging trading partners.

They argue that subjecting the most densely-populated part of the country to new flightpaths and environmental damage without a secure economic benefit would be “a reckless gamble".

In particular, they point out that the airport’s competitor hubs have four or more runways, rather than the maximum of three Heathrow would have if its expansion were approved.

The councils say that ruling Heathrow out of the debate now would bring any decision about alternative sites forward by at least two years and end uncertainly currently hampering the industry.

Ealing Council leader Julian Bell said the creation of a third runway at Heathrow would have a devastating effect on west London.

“A third runway at Heathrow would bring more disruption, noise and pollution to the residents of west London,” he said.

“As well as the harmful effects on people’s health, the number of flights across the borough would rocket and the already stretched road network would buckle under the strain of more traffic.”

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