Is the ex­pan­sion of Heathrow a pos­i­tive move?

HEATHROW or Gatwick? The Cab­i­net is to de­cide this month which of the south-east’s two air­ports should be al­lowed to ex­pand. Some say an en­larged Heathrow with a third runway would boost jobs and the econ­omy, while for oth­ers it would be an en­vi­ron­men­tal

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

GREED is the driver for Heathrow ex­pan­sion. The air­port’s for­eign own­ers have sold the other for­mer BAA air­ports and now want Bri­tish tax­pay­ers to help boost the value of their re­main­ing as­set.

No gov­ern­ment should con­tem­plate adding 260,000 flights to the crowded skies over

HEATHROW Air­port is a vi­tal as­set for com­mu­ni­ties in West Lon­don, the Thames Val­ley and for the whole coun­try.

It’s not sur­pris­ing that so many lo­cal peo­ple want to en­sure it is pro­tected and equipped to grow in the fu­ture so that it re­mains the UK’s premier air­port, able to match its for­eign com­peti­tors.

There is mas­sive sup­port for Heathrow ex­pan­sion from across all po­lit­i­cal par­ties, the ma­jor­ity of UK busi­nesses, in­ter­na­tional air­lines, lo­cal firms and, most im­por­tantly, from lo­cal res­i­dents.

In the Air­ports Com­mis­sion pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion [Nov 2014 Jan 2015], 82 per cent of the 70,591 re­sponses backed Heathrow ex­pan­sion, mostly from res­i­dents near the air­port.

And a re­cent Pop­u­lus poll of more than 12,000 res­i­dents in the con­stituen­cies and densely pop­u­lated ar­eas.

Lon­don is al­ready the most over­flown city in Europe. It makes sense that all the can­di­dates for next May’s elec­tion for Lon­don mayor are op­posed to Heathrow ex­pan­sion.

The Air­ports Com­mis­sion re­port favoured Heathrow, but its fig­ures and con­clu­sions are dis­puted. Some rec­om­men­da­tions, such as rul­ing out a fourth runway and end­ing night flights, could never be im­ple­mented. The au­thor ad­mit­ted they were a ploy to ap­pease op­po­nents.

In July, Heathrow’s CEO said the de­ci­sion had been made once and for all. That wasn’t true ei­ther.

Last year, Akbar al-Baker of Qatar Hold­ings, which owns 20 per cent, said he wanted flights 24/7 at Heathrow and felt that lo­cals had ‘ex­ces­sive free­doms’.

Surely ev­ery­one has the right to breathe air bor­oughs close to Heathrow found many more res­i­dents (50 per cent) sup­ported Heathrow ex­pan­sion than op­posed it (33 per cent).

Peo­ple in the lo­cal area are rightly proud of the air­port and those that work there are par­tic­u­larly proud that Heathrow car­ries 78 per cent of the UK’s long haul flights, a quar­ter of UK ex­ports by value and is our coun­try’s largest port. with­out fear that it is short­en­ing their lives and the right to respite from noise.

Re­search shows that air pol­lu­tion stunts the de­vel­op­ment of chil­dren’s lungs and ex­ces­sive noise in­creases the risk of heart dis­ease and dam­age to the car­dio-vas­cu­lar sys­tem. Our NHS spends around £20bn a year treat­ing pol­lu­tion-re­lated ill­ness.

If Heathrow can’t clean up the air with two run­ways, it won’t do it with three.

It en­cour­ages car jour­neys be­cause air­port park­ing makes money.

Fifty-five mil­lion more pas­sen­gers cre­ate the need for ma­jor road and rail projects, re­quir­ing long-term main­te­nance. Tax­pay­ers’ cash again.

In­creas­ing freight in pas­sen­ger air­craft makes them heav­ier and nois­ier on take off and gen­er­ates more pol­lut­ing HGVs on the road. In this crazy

Clearly Heathrow is a huge suc­cess story, yet this suc­cess is at risk if ex­pan­sion doesn’t go ahead. Heathrow is cur­rently op­er­at­ing at full ca­pac­ity and it has to grow to meet de­mand. The UK’s only hub air­port is the front door to Bri­tain, yet it is cur­rently closed to new busi­ness.

If Heathrow isn’t ex­panded then new flights will op­er­ate from a dif­fer­ent hub air­port abroad that has spare ca­pac­ity, like Paris or Am­s­ter­dam. In­vest­ment, jobs and ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties for the lo­cal area and across the UK will be lost and could cause ir­re­vo­ca­ble long term eco­nomic dam­age.

That’s why we need to se­cure the 114,000 jobs in the lo­cal com­mu­nity and a fur­ther 250,000 jobs in the wider re­gion that rely on a thriv­ing Heathrow Air­port. world, Heathrow ex­ports tonnes of Scot­tish salmon while lo­cal su­per­mar­kets sell im­ported Nor­we­gian salmon.

And what mad­men would de­stroy up to 3,750 homes dur­ing a hous­ing

cri­sis? Heathrow wants ‘shov­els in the ground’ for a runway in 2019, yet no homes are be­ing planned for the thou­sands dis­placed. Fun­da­men­tal is­sues are pushed aside.

Pre­dic­tions of ben­e­fits are fan­ci­ful. Job gains look ahead to 2050, while eco­nomic growth of £147bn is over 60 years, yes 60 years! That’s a fee­ble an­nual ben­e­fit and those pre­dict­ing it will be long gone by then.

Heathrow won’t say how many long-term jobs, if any, were gained by build­ing T5.

This Oc­to­ber, Heathrow re­vealed that

If Heathrow is to suc­ceed in the fu­ture then it is es­sen­tial that we build ex­tra runway ca­pac­ity and of­fer new flights to emerg­ing mar­kets.

This will pro­tect ex­ist­ing jobs and cre­ate 77,000 new jobs in the lo­cal re­gion, in­clud­ing 10,000 ap­pren­tice­ships from the bor­oughs neigh­bour­ing the air­port which would help erad­i­cate lo­cal youth un­em­ploy­ment.

In to­tal, 180,000 jobs will be cre­ated across the UK and the ben­e­fits to the coun­try are pre­dicted to be worth £211bil­lion. The in­de­pen­dent ex­perts at the Air­ports Com­mis­sion re­port that an ex­panded Heathrow can be big­ger, bet­ter and qui­eter. “We have a golden op­por­tu­nity to se­cure the jobs and in­vest­ment for the lo­cal area that come from ex­pand­ing Heathrow. We must take it. em­ployee cost cut­ting in­cludes a ‘rede­fined’ pen­sion scheme and a 2018 tar­get to have about a third of its work­force on salary pack­ages 30 per cent lower than to­day.

One in five work­ers in Heathrow Vil­lages is in the low­est grade of em­ploy­ment and the ward has Hilling­don’s low­est per­cent­age of pro­fes­sion­als.

Let’s give the next gen­er­a­tion a bet­ter fu­ture, not an­other runway.

n FU­TURE OF AIR TRAVEL?: A com­puter gen­er­ated im­age show­ing how the pro­posed third runway at Heathrow would look

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