‘Delight’ for Back Heathrow
NEW CHIEF SAYS POSTPONEMENT OF RUNWAY DECISION SHOWS GOVERNMENT HAS REAFFIRMED ITS SUPPORT
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