Groups pin hopes on May snubbing a third runway
PM previously opposed expansion
CAMPAIGN groups from across west London opposed to building a third runway at Heathrow Airport have voiced their hopes that plans will be scrapped after Theresa May took over as Prime Minister last week.
Archive speeches dug out by campaign group HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) show the new leader of the Conservative Party, Mrs May has previously opposed the west London airport’s expansion.
The appointments to her cabinet of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and new transport minister Chris Grayling, none of whom have expressed support for expanding Heathrow, has also given fresh hope to campaigners.
Chairman of HACAN, John Stewart, said: “There must now be a real question mark over a third runway. These archives make it very clear that we have a prime minister who has expressed strong opposition to Heathrow expansion.”
HACAN recently hosted a seminar in Westminster on the impact of aircraft noise on mental health.
In September last year, Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP Boris Johnson attacked the Airport Commission recommendation to back Heathrow’s third runway.
During his election speech, Johnson also said that he would lay down ‘in front of the bulldozers and stop the building, stop the construction of that third runway’.
The former Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling has taken over the reigns as Secretary of State for Transport in Theresa May’s reshuffled cabinet.
Former transport minister Patrick McLoughlin, who recently announced an airport expansion decision would be delayed, has now taken on the role of chairman of the Conservative Party.
The newly-appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, who moved from the Foreign Office, publicly backed expanding Gatwick Airport over Heathrow in 2013.
The new PM spoke out against the Labour government’s plans to expand Heathrow in 2009, saying it would result in ‘increased noise and more pollution for thousands of people’.
She said: “As I suspected all along, the government paid no attention to the opinions expressed by members of the public and have decided to push ahead with expansion despite all the environmental warnings.
“We need a better Heathrow, not a bigger Heathrow.”
The decision on expanding an airport in the south east was delayed until October in the wake of Brexit and the Tory leadership contest.
A new prime minister was due to be elected in September and the decision was to be made after that, however since Mrs May took over from David Cameron two months earlier than originally planned a decision could be made sooner.
n ANTI-EXPANSION: An artist’s impression of an expanded Heathrow; (inset) new prime minister Theresa May