‘De­light’ for Back Heathrow

NEW CHIEF SAYS POST­PONE­MENT OF RUN­WAY DE­CI­SION SHOWS GOV­ERN­MENT HAS REAF­FIRMED ITS SUP­PORT

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - lois.swin­ner­ton@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Lois Swin­ner­ton

LOIS SWIN­NER­TON IT was re­cently an­nounced the fi­nal de­ci­sion on the third run­way at Heathrow Air­port had been post­poned un­til 2018.

Blam­ing the snap Gen­eral Elec­tion, trans­port sec­re­tary Chris Grayling re­vealed the fi­nal House of Com­mons vote will not take place un­til the first half of next year.

It was a de­light to the ears of newly ap­pointed ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Back Heathrow, Par­ma­jit Dhanda, who at the time said: “It’s great news that the gov­ern­ment has reaf­firmed its sup­port for ex­pand­ing Heathrow.

“It’s the big­gest pri­vately funded in­fra­struc­ture project in Europe.

“This is the part of the world where I grew up and where so many of my fam­ily were em­ployed, in­clud­ing my grand­fa­ther when he first came to this coun­try back in the 1960s.

“This is a huge in­sti­tu­tion. It mat­ters a lot to peo­ple around here. It’s great to be able to get my teeth stuck into this and to help try to de­liver it.”

Back Heathrow is a com­mu­nity cam­paign lead­ing the case for a third run­way at Heathrow Air­port and has the sup­port of more than 100,000 res­i­dents, lo­cal com­mu­nity groups and busi­nesses.

The for­mer Hillingdon coun­cil­lor said 77,000 peo­ple are al­ready em­ployed at the air­port with a po­ten­tial, he claims, for a fur­ther 76,000 jobs for those in the lo­cal area, as well as 10,000 ap­pren­ti­ships.

“This will ef­fec­tively erad­i­cate youth un­em­ploy­ment in west Lon­don and the Thames Val­ley,” claims Mr Dhanda, who re­flected on a time grow­ing up in Southall when he said youth un­em­ploy­ment was high across west Lon­don.

Adding to his case for ex­pan­sion, he said: “We are well into the 90% cat­e­gory here in terms of ca­pac­ity, we need that ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity. It’s go­ing to bring in an aw­ful lot of wealth for the coun­try, some­thing like £61bil­lion.”

Heathrow is the UK’s busiest air­port serv­ing 194 des­ti­na­tions, with a daily av­er­age of al­most 1,300 flights.

For many op­pos­ing the air­port’s ex­pan­sion, ques­tions have been raised around the in­crease of traf­fic on the roads and the in­crease in pol­lu­tion a larger Heathrow could bring.

“We have to en­cour­age more peo­ple to use public trans­port” ar­gued Mr Dhanda.

“It’s not the air­craft that are caus­ing the pol­lu­tion, not the bulk of it any­way.

“Air­crafts have got much, much cleaner and qui­eter over the years. What we do want to see though is more work on the ground, in terms of public trans­port in­vest­ment.”

He said he wants to see fewer diesel en­gines on the road, specif­i­cally around the Heathrow area.

“The gov­ern­ment has been very, very clear on this. They be­lieve the air­port can ex­pand and meet all of the Euro­pean reg­u­la­tions in terms of pol­lu­tion and noise, and that’s re­ally im­por­tant that we hold the gov­ern­ment to that,” he said.

Some peo­ple are wor­ried about an in­crease in pol­lu­tion if the air­port ex­pands, al­though new ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Back Heathrow Par­ma­jit Dhanda (left) says air­craft are not to blame

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