Groups pin hopes on May snub­bing a third run­way

PM pre­vi­ously op­posed ex­pan­sion

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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