Coun­cils urge PM to choose Gatwick

Let­ter sent to Theresa May high­lights the rea­sons Heathrow should not be ex­panded

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

A CROSS-party group of 11 Lon­don coun­cils has urged the prime min­is­ter to sup­port a new run­way at Gatwick Air­port and aban­don pro­pos­als to ex­pand Heathrow.

In a joint let­ter to Theresa May, the lead­ers of Croy­don, Ham­mer­smith & Ful­ham, Hilling­don, Kens­ing­ton & Chelsea, Kingston, Lam­beth, Lewisham, Mer­ton, Rich­mond, South­wark and Wandsworth coun­cils high­light the ‘broad and grow­ing con­sen­sus be­hind Gatwick ex­pan­sion’ and pledge to work with min­is­ters to sup­port this ‘bold and am­bi­tious project’.

The au­thor­i­ties rep­re­sent around 2.8 mil­lion Lon­don­ers and in­clude five Con­ser­va­tive and six Labour con­trolled bor­oughs.

The full let­ter reads:

Dear Prime Min­is­ter,

As a cross-party group of Lon­don coun­cils, we are writ­ing to high­light the broad and grow­ing con­sen­sus be­hind Gatwick ex­pan­sion across the cap­i­tal and to urge your gov­ern­ment to sup­port the con­struc­tion of the air­port’s sec­ond run­way.

Push­ing ahead with this de­liv­er­able and self fi­nanc­ing project would be a ma­jor driver for the new hous­ing, jobs and growth our coun­try needs. Your gov­ern­ment’s back­ing would also send a pow­er­ful and timely mes­sage to in­vestors around the world that Lon­don is an am­bi­tious and grow­ing city with real con­fi­dence in its fu­ture.

Over the last 20 years we have wit­nessed a suc­ces­sion of failed at­tempts to in­crease ca­pac­ity at Heathrow.

His­tory has taught us that this air­port’s lo­ca­tion within a densely pop­u­lated part of west Lon­don makes fur­ther ex­pan­sion im­pos­si­ble.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts, le­gal bar­ri­ers, tax­payer costs and po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion are just too great to over­come.

We now know that Gatwick ex­pan­sion of­fers a sim­i­lar eco­nomic stim­u­lus to Heathrow, but with no cost to the pub­lic purse and a frac­tion of the en­vi­ron­men­tal up­heaval.

It does not face the same le­gal ob­sta­cles and would cre­ate a more bal­anced, re­silient and com­pet­i­tive air­ports net­work rather than putting all of our eggs in the Heathrow bas­ket.

If your gov­ern­ment se­lects Gatwick as the lo­ca­tion for a new run­way, you can be as­sured of im­me­di­ate and con­struc­tive sup­port from this cross-party group of coun­cils.

We will work in part­ner­ship with you, your min­is­ters, Gatwick and the Lon­don mayor to sup­port the air­port’s growth and to un­lock the ben­e­fits it of­fers across the skills, em­ploy­ment, trans­port, re­gen­er­a­tion, hous­ing and in­ward in­vest­ment agen­das.

Lon­don is unit­ing be­hind Gatwick and we urge you to ap­prove this bold and am­bi­tious project.

The let­ter was signed by Croy­don Coun­cil Leader Tony New­man; Ham­mer­smith & Ful­ham Coun­cil Leader Stephen Cowan; Hilling­don Coun­cil Leader Ray Pud­di­foot; Kens­ing­ton & Chelsea Coun­cil Leader Ni­cholas Paget-Brown; Kingston Coun­cil Leader Kevin Davis; Lam­beth Coun­cil Leader Lib Peck; Lewisham Coun­cil Mayor Sir Steve Bul­lock; Mer­ton Coun­cil Leader Stephen Alambri­tis; Rich­mond Coun­cil Leader Lord Ni­cholas True; South­wark Coun­cil Leader Peter John; and Wandsworth Coun­cil Leader Ravi Govin­dia.

n CHOICES: (Left) An artist’s im­pres­sion of an ex­tended Heathrow Air­port; (above) the group wants Gatwick Air­port to be ex­panded

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