Cam­paign­ers claim more are ‘in favour of a third run­way’

Group chal­lenges MPs’ num­bers

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

A PRO-HEATHROW ex­pan­sion group have ac­cused Boris John­son of “de­lib­er­ately over­stat­ing the level of op­po­si­tion to a third run­way”.

The Back Heathrow cam­paign say they have ob­tained “shock fig­ures” which re­veal fresh doubts about the scale of op­po­si­tion to the ex­pan­sion of Heathrow Air­port, de­spite claims by the Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip MP as well as Zac Gold­smith MP.

Just TEN peo­ple are be­hind 13,055 of the noise com­plaints and the fig­ures show that a to­tal of 1,813 peo­ple made 27,339 com­plaints.

In Boris John­son’s con­stituency, Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip, seven peo­ple com­plained.

These fig­ures show the com­plaint sta­tis­tics from April to June 2015, which Back Heathrow say “re­veals a star­tling por­trait of the true num­ber of peo­ple af­fected by noise”.

Mr John­son re­it­er­ated his anti-third run­way stance in a Tele­graph col­umn, stat­ing: “It is in­cred­i­ble that we might be on the verge of tak­ing a shame­ful and above all short-ter­mist de­ci­sion about where to put a new run­way in the South East.”

He added: “And the en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age is mas­sive – another 250,000 peo­ple af­flicted by noise pol­lu­tion, tak­ing the to­tal to one mil­lion.

“No other so­ci­ety con­tem­plat­ing such step back­wards.”

There are cur­rently 725,000 peo­ple sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected by noise from air­craft us­ing Heathrow, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion.

Mr Gold­smith pre­vi­ously claimed that the fig­ure would in­crease to over a mil­lion with a third run­way, but bosses at Heathrow claim it would ac­tu­ally fall due to a com­bi­na­tion of qui­eter planes and other changes like steeper flight paths.

Back Heathrow cam­paign co-or­di­na­tor Rob Gray said: “Zac Gold­smith and Boris John­son have grossly over­stated the op­po­si­tion to Heathrow ex­pan­sion.

“They are wildly out of touch on this is­sue as is a all the ev­i­dence points to ma­jor­ity sup­port in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and across the UK for a new run­way.”

John Stewart, Chair of Heathrow As­so­ci­a­tion for the Con­trol of Air­craft Noise (HACAN), dis­agreed with the proHeathrow cam­paigner’s claims.

He said: “Zac and Boris have not plucked the 725,000 fig­ure out of the air.

“It is the of­fi­cial Euro­pean Com­mis­sion fig­ure. It puts Heathrow in a noise league of its own. 28% of all peo­ple af­fected by air­craft noise right across Europe live un­der the Heathrow flight paths.

“Back Heathrow knows full well that it is a ma­jor prob­lem for Lon­don and the South East.”

n GOOD OR BAD?: Pro-Heathrow cam­paigner Rob Gray, left, be­lieves the num­ber of peo­ple op­posed to ex­pan­sion has been ‘grossly over­stated’ while John Stewart of anti-Heathrow group HACAN, right, says the fig­ures have not been plucked out of the air

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