Tough Heathrow ques­tions

Politi­cians quiz Sir Howard Davies on ex­pan­sion de­ci­sion

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­

AIR­PORTS Com­mis­sion chair­man Sir Howard Davies was told the case for Heathrow Air­port has not been proven, as he faced a grilling from Lon­don Assem­bly mem­bers last week.

Sir Howard fielded ques­tions on his con­tro­ver­sial re­port which con­cluded that a third run­way should be built at Heathrow, at a Q&A ses­sion on Tues­day Septem­ber 8.

The ques­tions cov­ered ev­ery hot is­sue sur­round­ing the ex­pan­sion de­bate, in­clud­ing the rec­om­men­da­tion for night flights, noise and air pol­lu­tion, con­ges­tion and the econ­omy.

Val Shawcross, Labour AM for Lam­beth and South­wark said: “It is clear that the case for the ex­pan­sion of Heathrow has not yet been proven and there re­main se­ri­ous ques­tions about the en­vi­ron­men­tal, noise and public trans­port im­pact.

“Whilst not in­sur­mount­able, Gov­ern­ment would have to in­sist on far stronger mea­sures to tackle air pol­lu­tion and to man­age the dra­matic im­pact ex­pan­sion would have on the trans­port net­work. The Gov­ern­ment can­not just nod Heathrow ex­pan­sion through with­out proper scru­tiny.

“There’s a long list of con­cerns which need to be ad­dressed be­fore I could see Heathrow’s ex­pan­sion go­ing ahead.” Her mo­tion, that the case for Heathrow was not proven, was unan­i­mously agreed by 13 votes to none, but 11 Labour AMs ab­stained.

Hilling­don Coun­cil leader, Cllr Ray Pud­di­foot, said af­ter­wards: “Un­less you are liv­ing in a teapot and view­ing life through the spout then it is ob­vi­ous that ex­pand­ing Heathrow is not a vi­able op­tion.”

Speak­ing af­ter the vote, GLA Con­ser­va­tive, An­drew Boff, said: “By fudg­ing their po­si­tion on ex­pan­sion, Labour have sac­ri­ficed their prin­ci­ples by putting the in­ter­ests of their May­oral can­di­dates above Lon­don­ers.

“The truth is Tessa Jow­ell is for Heathrow ex­pan­sion, Sadiq Khan is against, and that leaves our Labour col­leagues on the Lon­don Assem­bly in a pickle. To­day they chose to worry about po­lit­i­cal power rather than the in­ter­ests of those they serve. We’ll carry on op­pos­ing a third run­way at Heathrow and fight­ing for the in­ter­ests of Lon­don­ers.”

Lon­don Mayor Boris John­son praised Tory Assem­bly Mem­bers as “demon­strated that they are rep­re­sent­ing Lon­don­ers” by op­pos­ing any ex­ten­sion of Heathrow, which he said would be an en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter. The Mayor, who is also the Uxbridge & South Ruis­lip MP added: “This U-turn from Lon­don Labour, who cam­paigned against ex­pan­sion at elec­tion time, shows why they can­not be trusted to run our city.”

When ques­tioned on his sug­ges­tion of a ban on night flights in re­turn for a third run­way, Sir Howard said: “What lo­cal peo­ple were say­ing to us sug­gested that the flight be­tween 4.30am and 6.30am were dis­pro­por­tion­al­ity trou­ble­some to com­mu­ni­ties.

“These were the flights peo­ple were most con­cerned about. We be­lieved that we should look care­fully at what should be done about it.

“Af­ter analysing the places that they came from, we be­lieved they could leave later. It would af­fect some pas­sen­gers, but largely trans­fer pas­sen­gers. But over­all we be­lieve the im­pact would be man­age­able by the air­port and air­lines.”

James Lee, of

the Avi­a­tion En­vi­ron­ment Fed­er­a­tion ( AEF) said: “Heathrow should be able to meet that ban quite easily, so the fact that they’re re­sist­ing is a par­tic­u­lar is­sue for those next to the air­port.”

John Stewart, chair­man of HACAN (Heathrow As­so­ci­a­tion for the Con­trol of Air­craft Noise), added: “It is clear from Howard Davies’ re­marks that the case for a third run­way is far from clear-cut.”

n VAR­IED VIEWS: Sir Howard Davies, chair­man of the Air­ports Com­mis­sion (left) with Dee Scott, head­teacher of Beavers Com­mu­nity Pri­mary School; Coun­cil­lor Ruth Cad­bury and deputy Houn­slow Coun­cil leader Am­rit Mann

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