Heathrow is dealt a blow in air­port ex­pan­sion battle

Gatwick dis­trib­utes leaflets warn­ing res­i­dents of in­creased noise

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

GATWICK Air­port is to dis­trib­ute hun­dreds of thou­sands of leaflets in west Lon­don warn­ing of the noise im­pact that build­ing a third run­way at ri­val Heathrow would have.

Both air­ports are vy­ing to be cho­sen by the next gov­ern­ment for ex­pan­sion, to in­crease flight ca­pac­ity in south east Eng­land.

The leaflets hit door­mats from Mon­day, with Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip be­ing tar­geted more ag­gres­sively than any other west Lon­don con­stituency, re­ceiv­ing 86,000 leaflets.

The leaflets will claim that 683,000 peo­ple and 362 schools would be im­pacted by noise if a third run­way were to be built at Heathrow, while only 36,000 peo­ple and 15 schools would be af­fected were Gatwick to ex­pand.

Once again, the move has pro­voked a slang­ing match be­tween the two air­ports, with both sides claim­ing the other has cherry-picked data. A NEW sup­port group is be­ing launched to help peo­ple with sight loss in Uxbridge.

The group, or­gan­ised by The Mac­u­lar So­ci­ety, will meet for the first time on Fri­day, April 17.

It aims to of­fer, en­cour­age­ment, friend­ship and in­for­ma­tion to peo­ple who are af­fected by mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion.

Tom McInulty, The Mac­u­lar So­ci­ety’s re­gional sup­port and devel­op­ment manager, said: “This new group is here for any­body af­fected by mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion. We want to en­cour­age peo­ple to come along. Friends and fam­ily are also very wel­come.”

The group will in­vite guest speak­ers on a va­ri­ety of sub­jects, in­clud­ing mac­u­lar con­di­tions and their im­pact on the daily lives of those af­fected.

The first meet­ing will take place on Fri­day from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at Christ Church, Red­ford Way, Uxbridge.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call The Mac­u­lar So­ci­ety’s helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email help@ mac­u­lar­so­ci­ety.org.

Gatwick CEO Ste­wart Win­gate said the in­for­ma­tion re­lated to the pro­posed third run­way op­tion for ex­pand­ing Heathrow, rather than the so-called Heathrow Hub op­tion.

He said: “We felt it was quite im­por­tant that we shone a light on this is­sue, in the west of Lon­don par­tic­u­larly and the area sur­round­ing Heathrow, be­cause we are not sure that this is fully un­der­stood by the res­i­dents, par­tic­u­larly those who would be newly im­pacted by noise.”

Gatwick claims the fig­ures in its leaflets come from in­for­ma­tion given by both air­ports to the Air­ports Com­mis­sion, which has been tasked with choos­ing which air­port should ex­pand.

The num­bers, it says, re­late to those who would ex­pe­ri­ence an av­er­age noise level by 2050 of at least 55 deci­bels, a thresh­old recog­nised by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. Heathrow points out that it has of­fered to in­su­late homes within this con­tour.

Heathrow has pointed out that the Air­ports Com­mis­sion has said that were Heathrow to im­ple­ment its plans for a third run­way, which also in­volves var­i­ous tech­no­log­i­cal mit­i­ga­tions, fewer peo­ple would be af­fected by noise than are cur­rently.

But, the com­mis­sion has said that build­ing an ex­tra run­way at Gatwick would in­crease the num­ber of res­i­dents im­pacted by noise, com­pared to cur­rent lev­els.

But Gatwick says the com­mis­sion’s phras­ing did not make clear that hun­dreds of thou­sands living near to Heathrow would no longer be im­pacted by noise in the fu­ture, even with­out any ex­pan­sion, be­cause of tech­no­log­i­cal im­prove­ments and al­tered flight paths.

A Heathrow spokes­woman said: “Our plans de­liver vast eco­nomic and so­cial benefits, while re­duc­ing Heathrow’s neg­a­tive im­pacts, and have been de­vel­oped by lis­ten­ing to our com­mu­ni­ties.

“As a re­sult, over 300,000 peo­ple could be taken out of the air­port’s noise foot­print with ex­pan­sion.

“In ad­di­tion, we are propos­ing a £700 mil­lion schools and homes noise in­su­la­tion scheme, which goes above and be­yond gov­ern­ment pol­icy.”

Gatwick would not re­veal how much it plans to spend print­ing and de­liv­er­ing the 400,000 leaflets, in what could be its fi­nal PR of­fen­sive ahead of the Gen­eral Elec­tion on May 7.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.