Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by QASIM PERACHA qasim.peracha@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

WEST Lon­don MP and For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son has ne­go­ti­ated with cabi­net col­leagues to cap the num­ber of civil­ian flights at RAF Northolt.

The Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip MP waded into the de­bate over the fu­ture of RAF Northolt by de­mand­ing a limit to the num­ber of non-army flights to 12,000.

RAF Northolt lies within Boris John­son’s con­stituency and has been al­low­ing thou­sands of pri­vate planes to land and take off from the aero­drome ev­ery year.

Some res­i­dents are con­cerned that the air­field, which will close in spring 2018 for a £45 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion in­clud­ing run­way im­prove­ments, is a ploy to in­crease the num­ber of civil­ian flights at the RAF site.

The in­crease in the num­ber of non-mil­i­tary flights at RAF Northolt over the last decade has oc­curred with­out any lo­cal pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions.

Com­mer­cial air­line Flybe has made many pub­lic calls ask­ing the RAF to al­low com­mer­cial flights to use the spare ca­pac­ity at RAF Northolt, which gen­er­ates in­come for the MoD.

Mr John­son met with newly ap­pointed De­fence Sec­re­tary Gavin Wil­liamson and De­fence Min­is­ter To­bias Ell­wood to warned against com- mer­cial­i­sa­tion at the air­base.

Writ­ing to cam­paign group Stop Northolt, he said: “I am de­lighted to have se­cured a firm com­mit­ment from the Gov­ern­ment that the strict lim­its on the type and num­ber of com­mer­cial flights – 12,000 an­nual move­ments of civil reg­is­tered air­craft – will stay in place and that flights by sched­uled air­lines will re­main pro­hib­ited.”

The devel­op­ment came at the same time as Sadiq Khan hinted at reg­u­lat­ing growth of Northolt as a non-mil­i­tary air­field, in his draft Lon­don Plan, which states:

“Any sig­nif­i­cant shift in the mix of oper­a­tions us­ing an air­port – for ex­am­ple in­tro­duc­tion of sched­uled flights at air­ports not gen­er­ally of­fer­ing such flights – should nor­mally be re­fused.”

The Min­istry of De­fence has re­peat­edly main­tained that the ren­o­va­tion is part of reg­u­lar main­te­nance works and that there are no plans to com­mer­cialise RAF

Boris John­son told Stop Northolt cam­paign­ers that the Gov­ern­ment has put ‘strict lim­its’ on the type and num­ber of com­mer­cial flights at the air­field, no more than 12,000 a year will take place and sched­uled air­lines will not be able to use the base

Boris John­son, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip, has se­cured a limit on com­mer­cial flights at RAF Northolt

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