Find­ings ‘un­der­mine case for ex­pan­sion’

Air­ports Com­mis­sion ‘ex­ag­ger­ated run­way suc­cess’

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

AN ‘in­flated’ eco­nomic case for a third run­way at Heathrow was pre­sented by the Air­ports Com­mis­sion, a new re­port claims.

The com­mit­tee, which rec­om­mended ex­pan­sion of the air­port in July, is also ac­cused of un­der­play­ing le­gal, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial fac­tors which make a new land­ing strip ‘un­de­liv­er­able’.

Hilling­don, Rich­mond, Wandsworth, and Wind­sor and Maiden­head coun­cils jointly pub­lished their of­fi­cial re­sponse to the com­mis­sion’s find­ings, which they claim un­der­mines the case for a big­ger Heathrow.

The coun­cils, which are mem­bers of the 2M Group of lo­cal author­i­ties op­posed to Heathrow ex­pan­sion, have sent the re­port to MPs as the gov­ern­ment pre­pares to an­nounce its plans for avi­a­tion ex­pan­sion.

Hilling­don Coun­cil leader Ray Pud­di­foot said: “The crit­i­cal fac­tors which present the big­gest chal­lenge to a po­ten­tial third run­way have been either avoided, or worse, mis­in­ter­preted by the com­mis­sion.

“There is a dis­tinct lack of in­for­ma­tion on air qual­ity and flight paths and in­stead there are in­flated claims about a colos­sal eco­nomic wind­fall that the com­mis­sion says will come from a hand­ful of new trade routes.

“It’s clear to me that the case for ex­pan­sion at Heathrow doesn’t add up and a third run­way will never hap­pen, no ifs or buts.”

The coun­cils’ re­port chal­lenges the com­mis­sion’s find­ings that a third run­way would add up to £147 bil­lion to Bri­tain’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP).

It claims the com­mis­sion’s own ex­pert ad­vi­sor panel dis­missed that fig­ure, point­ing to ‘ex­treme as­sump­tions’ and ‘ex­ag­ger­a­tion’.

A more ac­cu­rate fig­ure, it ar­gues, is the con­ven­tional Trea­sury growth fore­cast­ing model, which pre­dicts a boost to the econ­omy of £33.6bn-£54.8bn – sim­i­lar to the £27.2bn£47.1bn es­ti­mated for a sec­ond run­way at Gatwick.

The re­port also takesk is­sue with the com­mis­sion’s con­clu­sion that a big­ger Heathrow would be a ‘bet­ter neigh­bour for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties’.

It ques­tions how this can be the case when, ac­cord­ing to the coun­cils’ re­port, the com­mis­sion’s own mod­el­ling es­ti­mates 160,000 new peo­ple would be ex­posed to air­craft noise.

The air­port claims fewer peo­ple would be af­fected by noise with a third run­way than at present, due to qui­eter planes, steeper land­ing paths and other in­no­va­tions.

The com­mis­sion con­cluded that a new run­way would not in­crease noise above cur­rent lev­els.

Re­spond­ingdi to theh coun­cils’ re­port, a Heathrow spokes­woman said: “Fol­low­ing a £20mil­lion, two-and-a-half year de­tailed study of where the next run­way should be, the gov­ern­ment’s in­de­pen­dent Air­ports Com­mis­sion has unan­i­mously and un­am­bigu­ously con­firmed that a third run­way at Heathrow can make the air­port a bet­ter neigh­bour.

“The re­port made it clear that Heathrow can meet air qual­ity lim­its, re­main within car­bon tar­gets and re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple im­pacted by noise com­pared to to­day.”

You can read the coun­cils’ re­port in full at www.hilling­don.gov.uk/ heathrow.

R

■ CLAIMS: Anti-third run­way pro­test­ers in Par­lia­ment Square and (bot­tom) Hilling­don Coun­cil leader Ray Pud­di­foot with Boris John­son MP

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