De­lay on third runway de­ci­sion ‘dis­ap­point­ing’

Coun­cil leader says it is un­fair for res­i­dents to live with un­cer­tainty for an­other six months

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Clemen­tine kather­ine.clemen­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HILLING­DON Coun­cil leader Ray Pud­di­foot has said he is ‘deeply dis­ap­pointed’ at the gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment to de­lay the de­ci­sion over a third runway at Heathrow for six months.

Re­fer­ring to David Cameron’s now in­fa­mous ‘ no ifs, no buts’ prom­ise ahead of the 2010 gen­eral elec­tion, he said: “The gov­ern­ment should rule out Heathrow ex­pan­sion now, not in six months’ time. No ifs, no buts.

“It has been proven yet again that it can­not be ac­com­mo­dated with­out re­sult­ing in un­ac­cept­able lev­els of noise, air pol­lu­tion and de­stroy­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“It’s deeply dis­ap­point­ing that our res­i­dents have to live with more un­cer­tainly and dis­tress while this fu­tile de­bate rum­bles on.”

Res­i­dents of Har­mondsworth were ‘not sur­prised’ at the an­nounce­ment last Thurs­day, hav­ing pre­dicted a de­lay.

Christine Tay­lor, a Stop Heathrow Ex­pan­sion com­mit­tee mem­ber who faces los­ing her home, said: “The fact that Gatwick has not been ruled out in­di­cates that the gov­ern­ment knows Heathrow can­not meet pol­lu­tion tar­gets.

“We are con­fi­dent that a third runway will never be built, but it is dev­as­tat­ing for many res­i­dents that we have more months of de­lay and blight.”

Neil Kev­eren, from Har­mondsworth, called on the Prime Min­is­ter to hon­our his orig­i­nal pledge and save Heathrow vil­lages from the bull­doz­ers.

But Matt Gor­man, en­vi­ron­ment and sus­tain­abil­ity di­rec­tor for Heathrow Air­port Ltd, said he is ‘fully con­fi­dent’ the air­port will meet the en­vi­ron­men­tal test the gov­ern­ment has set.

He added that Heathrow had made a ‘gen­er­ous’ of­fer to vil­lagers who stand to lose their homes.

Mr Gor­man told the Gazette: “Like those res­i­dents, we want a de­ci­sion and we want cer­tainty as soon as pos­si­ble.

“For those res­i­dents where we might need to buy homes, we put for­ward a gen­er­ous com­pen­sa­tion of­fer for buy­ing homes 25 per cent above mar­ket value.

“We have of­fered one-to-one surgery ses­sions to understand more about where we are and our plans for com­pen­sa­tion in fu­ture but that doesn’t sub­sti­tute for a clear gov­ern­ment de­ci­sio de­ci­sion, so I think the chal­lenge really is for the gov­ern­ment to make that de­ci­sion as soon as pos­si­ble.”

He added that H Heathrow has put for­ward a plan to re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple af­fected by air­cra air­craft noise while also meet­ing a air qual­ity tar­gets.

HEATHROW’S en­vi­ron­ment and sus­tain­abil­ity di­rec­tor ar­gued this week that the air­port is on course to meet pol­lu­tion tar­gets that have stalled gov­ern­ment ap­proval for a third runway.

Matt Gor­man said: “The area within 2km of Heathrow, which in­cludes Har­mondsworth, al­ready meets Euro­pean pol­lu­tion lim­its that we need to.

“You have to move 2km away from the air­port to the M4 mo­tor­way to find it doesn’t meet those lim­its. 85% of the pol­lu­tion there and more is not re­lated to the air­port.”

But Christine Tay­lor, a lead­ing cam­paigner for Stop Heathrow Ex­pan­sion, said Mr Gor­man’s no­tion that 85% of the traf­fic on lo­cal roads is noth­ing to do with the air­port was “a non­sense”.

She said: “We were promised that th­ese pol­lu­tion lim­its would be reached in 2015, be­cause when we fought last time, the runway was due to be op­er­a­tional in 2015.

“Even Heathrow talks about the amount of freight they ship in and out of the air­port. You only have to look at Colnbrook to see the num­ber of heavy goods ve­hi­cles we have on our roads.”

Speak­ing about Mr Gor­man’s as­sur­ances that vil­lagers would re­ceive “gen­er­ous” com­pen­sa­tion, Ms Tay­lor said: “They have not put any­thing into writ­ing.”

“There’s no doc­u­ment for com­pen­sa­tion - they don’t say who will get it - where is this gen­er­ous com­pen­sa­tion scheme?

“Let’s get Matt Gor­man to find me one per­son in Har­mondsworth who thinks that the com­pen­sa­tion is gen­er­ous.”

n DIS­TRESS:DISTR Hilling­donHilling Coun­cilCounc leader Ray Pud­di­footP says the gov­ern­ment­gove should­shou rule out Heathrow ex­pan­sion­exp

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