Residents face a hike to get details of airport bid
MP voices indignation at decision not to hold consultation events in affected villages
RESIDENTS of the Heathrow villages set for demolition to make way for a third runway say it is “completely unacceptable” consultation events on the project will not be held near them.
People in Harmondsworth and Longford whose villages will be wiped out to expand Heathrow Airport with a north-west runway are on the warpath as an MP said the “government [is] having a laugh by not holding a consultation event in the Heathrow villages”.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling launched a 16-week public consultation on the government’s draft National Policy Statement on Heathrow expansion on Thursday. National Policy Statements set out government policy on national infrastructure projects.
Harmondsworth resident Roy Barwick said: “I think it is completely unacceptable the village of Harmondsworth, which will be demolished and its residents evicted, should be excluded as a venue for the consultation by the Department for Transport.”
Of 20 planned ‘local’ and 13 regional consultation events, none will take place in Harmondsworth, Longford, neighbouring Sipson or Harlington, which would be at the end of a new runway.
Instead the two borough events will be held in a community centre in Uxbridge and West Drayton.
The outrage has riled MP for Hayes and Harlington John McDonnell, who will be organising public meetings across the constituency in coming weeks to ensure people are fully informed about the consultation process.
Mr McDonnell, said: “Quite frankly, the government [is] having a laugh by not holding a consultation event in the Heathrow villages.
“My constituents face losing their homes, schools, community centre and village if this runway goes ahead. Every consultation on airport expansion at Heathrow over the last decade has told us what we already know; a third runway is undeliverable because of air pollution, noise and climate change concerns.”
Jackie Clark-Basten, chairman of the Stop Heathrow Expansion pressure group, said the lack of village consultation events is a “disgrace”. “Residents face having to attend an event in West Drayton, making multiple bus trips as neither Longford or Harlington have any bus links to this location,” said Ms Clarke-Basten. “Previous consultations have included events for those who would lose their homes.”
For more on the planned consultation,
THIRD runway plans at Heathrow reached a milestone as the government launched a four month public consultation today.
The proposals are outlined in a draft airports national policy statement (NPS) which sets out the need for additional airport capacity and reasons why the government believes a north-west runway at Heathrow is the best option.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling has highlighted the importance of a new runway to the post-Brexit economy, but the proposal continues to attract wide-spread criticism.
He said: “Leaving the EU is a new chapter for Britain and provides us with a great opportunity to forge a new role in the world. We are determined to seize that opportunity and having the right infrastructure in place will allow us to build a more global Britain.”
The statement places a number of conditions that must be met by Heathrow:
Six domestic routes to be added across the UK by 2030.
Compensation to communities affected by the expansion including noise insulation for homes and schools.
Honour its commitment to pay home owners 25% above market value plus costs for homes which are compulsory purchased.
Measures to mitigate the impact of noise including a ban on scheduled night flights for six-and-a-half hours.
Get more than half of airport users onto public transport to meet its pledge of no more airport-related road traffic with expansion.
Implement measures to limit carbon and air quality impacts during construction and operation.
Prove the scheme can be delivered within the legal requirements on air quality.
Six UK airports set to be served by Heathrow following the opening of a third runway have been named.
The Department for Transport said it “expects” Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley to be added to the west London hub’s domestic network by 2030.
Heathrow executive director for expansion, Emma Gilthorpe, said: “The launch of the government’s national policy statement consultation is an important milestone in the delivery of Heathrow’s expansion plans.
“We look forward to working with the government, our local communities and our airlines throughout this consultation period to ensure Heathrow expansion is affordable and benefits all of Britain.”
MP for Ealing Southall Virendra Sharma added: “The need for additional airport capacity has become even more critical following the decision to leave the European Union.
“Heathrow expansion will provide unrivalled connectivity to new and emerging markets, boosting international trade and cementing London’s role as a true outward-looking global city.
“Heathrow’s new plan for expansion can be delivered responsibly with clear safeguards in place, it has the potential to eradicate local youth unemployment, it will deliver the skills required to build and operate the expanded airport, and it is one that I along with a majority of constituents support.”
A Back Heathrow spokesman added: “It is fantastic that the government is forging ahead with plans for a new Heathrow runway.
“This news will be welcomed by huge numbers of local people near the airport because they know that expansion will bring new jobs and greater prosperity to the area.
“We urge everyone who backs this nationally important project to make sure the government hears their views.”
Meanwhile campaign group HACAN has urged ministers to “be bold enough” to reject the additional runway if the consultation reveals ‘real problems’ with the proposal.
HACAN chairman, John Stewart, said: “There is no way that a quarter of a million extra planes a year cannot but have a severe impact on many people’s lives. A third runway will also mean the demolition of many homes and could add to London’s air pollution problems.
“The government must be even-handed in assessing the consultation and reject a third runway if, as we believe, its downsides are simply too high.”
Jackie Clark-Basten, chairman of Stop Heathrow Expansion, said: “The government says they are “creating an economy that works for everyone”, but it certainly wouldn’t work for us, or indeed for many other people around the UK, if a third runway were allowed to go ahead.
“The stark reality is that while our community would be destroyed, the local road network at a standstill and our air quality toxic, communities in other parts of the UK continue to feel left behind by the government’s obsession with spending money on one airport in London.
“The consequences would be felt far and wide.”
A final National Policy Statement is expected to be voted on by Parliament in winter 2017/18 and if approved will become a government policy.
If the project is given the green light, next year Heathrow will draw up detailed plans for the new runway for consultation which will go to a planning inquiry in 2019.
The runway is not expected to get final approval until 2020 or 2021 and will not be operational until around 2025.
A second consultation has also been launched by the government on changes to airspace with the chance more communities will come under a flight path.
Both consultations close on May 27 2017.
VILLAGE FURY: their communities. Residents of the villages that would be bulldozed for a third runway at heathrow are furious consultation events on the possible expansion will not be held in Picture: Jack taylor/Getty Images
CONSULTATION: Above, the CGI vision of the third runway; (left) Transport Secretary Chris Grayling