A year later the fight still goes on


Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by SALINA PA­TEL salina.pa­tel@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Sali­naPa­tel1

IT has been nearly one year since the Prime Min­is­ter de­clared Heathrow Air­port as the govern­ment’s choice for air­port ex­pan­sion in the south east.

To mark the first an­niver­sary of the an­nounce­ment, which was met with mixed re­ac­tions across Lon­don and its home coun­ties, a protest against a third run­way will take place today (Wed­nes­day).

MPs in­clud­ing John McDon­nell, Ruth Cad­bury and Zac Gold­smith will join cam­paign­ers by “plant­ing” 700 model red planes in Col­lege Green, op­po­site the Houses of Par­lia­ment, and will hold up a red plane in protest.

The num­ber of planes rep­re­sents the ex­tra flights which would op­er­ate each day from the west Lon­don hub air­port if ex­pan­sion goes ahead.

On Oc­to­ber 25 last year, Theresa May an­nounced the govern­ment’s pre­ferred op­tion for air­port ex­pan­sion, which kick-started the process for a third run­way at Heathrow.

Mean­while, MP for Brent­ford and Isle­worth Ruth Cad­bury has se­cured an ad­journ­ment de­bate in Par­lia­ment, also on Wed­nes­day.

Protest events will be held across Lon­don and Sur­rey, in Eal­ing, Oster­ley, Ham­mer­smith, Ted­ding­ton, Har­mondsworth, Sip­son, Ken­ning­ton, Light­wa­ter and En­gle­field Green.

John Ste­wart, chair of HACAN (Heathrow As­so­ci­a­tion for the Con­trol of Air­craft Noise) which gives a voice to res­i­dents un­der the Heathrow flight paths, said: “We have a simple mes­sage: 700 ex­tra planes a day can only mean a lot more noise for a lot more peo­ple.

“In to­tal over 2,000 planes will be us­ing Heathrow every day fly­ing over some of the most densely-pop­u­lated ar­eas in Europe.”

The govern­ment pub­lished a draft Air­ports Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment (NPS) on Fe­bru­ary 2 and a 16-week public con­sul­ta­tion was held.

The feed­back is now be­ing an­a­lysed.

In Septem­ber this year, the govern­ment an­nounced a fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion to in­clude up­dated ev­i­dence on re­vised avi­a­tion de­mand fore­casts and air qual­ity.

Ear­lier this month, Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling sig­nalled at the Con­ser­va­tive Party Con­fer­ence that Par­lia­ment will vote on the pro­posal for a third run­way in spring of 2018.

The Depart­ment for Trans­port is due to an­nounce a con­sul­ta­tion on up­dated air pol­lu­tion fig­ures and pas­sen­ger fore­casts.

If Par­lia­ment votes in favour of a third run­way next year it will be­come govern­ment pol­icy, giv­ing Heathrow the go-ahead to draw up de­tailed plans to go to public con­sul­ta­tion.

Fi­nal ap­proval will be de­ter­mined at a plan­ning in­quiry and, if ap­proved, con­struc­tion could be­gin in early 2021.



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