MAYOR URGED TO STEP IN OVER NORTHOLT DEBATE
ASSEMBLY MEMBERS BACK RESIDENTS’ CONCERNS OVER COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS
THE London Assembly took aim at the Ministry of Defence over the alleged commercialisation of RAF Northolt.
The west London military airbase is currently undergoing runway improvements but some residents are concerned about the number of commercial flights at the site.
On Thursday September 7 a motion passed unanimously at a meeting which called on Sadiq Khan to work with local residents and campaign against RAF Northolt becoming a commercial airport.
Conservative Assembly Member Andrew Boff, who proposed the motion, said: “People were tolerant of the airport when they believed it was used for military purposes but they are not going to put up with these flights.”
Speaking of what was branded “change of use by stealth commercialisation” of the airbase, he added “there is not the same level of scrutiny that normal airports have”.
Labour Assembly Member Navin Shah added: “This is clearly unacceptable.
“If there were going to be any change there has to be proper consultation across the board with local residents and groups.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence told the Gazette: “Civilian commercial flights at RAF Northolt will continue to utilise spare capacity to ensure we get the best return for the taxpayer, the closure of the airfield for renovation has no association with commercialisation.”
The full motion accepted unanimously in the Chamber read: “This Assembly notes that in recent years the Ministry of Defence has been steadily reducing the numbers of military flights from RAF Northolt, so that most flights from Northolt are now commercial.
“This Assembly further notes that due to RAF Northolt’s military status, this has happened without the normal process of planning and consultation that would have been required if it were a commercial airport.
“Recently the runway has been closed for strengthening in order to enable it to take larger jets.
“This Assembly believes that these developments are unacceptable.
“This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor to work with local residents in doing everything possible to campaign against RAF Northolt becoming a commercial airport.”