Air­port in­tegrity is still pie in the sky

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

AS Heathrow Air­port cel­e­brates its ‘70th birth­day’ next week, it is worth bear­ing in mind that from the time it was con­ceived to the present day it has been mired in de­cep­tion.

It was born in the war, when Churchill was conned by var­i­ous min­is­ters to think that it would be for a mil­i­tary fa­cil­ity – it was never used as such and never meant to be. It was built un­der wartime pro­vi­sions, so no plan­ning in­quiry was nec­es­sary and own­ers of sev­eral farms were sim­ply told to move out.

The du­plic­ity con­tin­ued with the build­ing of ter­mi­nals 4 and then 5, when residents were as­sured each time that there would be no fur­ther de­vel­op­ments at Heathrow if these were built.

Now a 3rd run­way is pro­posed all sorts of doubt­ful prom­ises are be­ing made. On air pol­lu­tion Heathrow says “new ca­pac­ity will not be re­leased un­less we can do so with­out de­lay­ing com­pli­ance with EU air qual­ity lim­its.” But if Heathrow has a hugely costly new run­way all ready for use, does any­one sup­pose it would be kept idle just be­cause of some EU reg­u­la­tions?

On noise Heathrow says there will be “a clear and legally bind­ing noise en­ve­lope”. The en­ve­lope could be what­ever suits. Oh, and the prom­ise there won’t be a 4th run­way. Does any­one be­lieve that? MAG­GIE THORBURN West Lon­don Friends of the Earth

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