What do west Lon­don politi­cians say?

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

THE Cab­i­net may have ap­proved Heathrow Air­port ‘s plans for a third runway, but judg­ing by the re­sponse of many west Lon­don MPs they are go­ing to have a bat­tle to get it ac­cepted in Par­lia­ment.

MPs rep­re­sent­ing the bor­oughs which will take the big­gest hit from noise and air pol­lu­tion as­so­ci­ated with the third runway – Houn­slow, Hillingdon and Eal­ing – con­demned the an­nounce­ment made in the House of Com­mons by Transport Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling on Tues­day.

MP for Hayes and Har­ling­ton and shadow chan­cel­lor John McDon­nell tweeted shortly after the an­nounce­ment: “So that my con­stituents are fully aware, I re­main im­pla­ca­bly op­posed to ex­pan­sion at Heathrow and, after lis­ten­ing to the transport min­is­ter Chris Grayling to­day, I am even more con­vinced that this would be a costly, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial dis­as­ter that will never be built.”

Eal­ing Cen­tral and Ac­ton MP Rupa Huq spoke in the House crit­i­cis­ing what she called a govern­ment U-turn over the third runway.

She said: “It may be long over­due but this is the wrong de­ci­sion. At a time when 9,000 Lon­don­ers die pre­ma­turely be­cause of toxic air, this demon­strates the govern­ment’s... green dal­liance is well and truly over.”

Brent­ford and Isle­worth MP Ruth Cad­bury, who was also present at the Com­mons, told BBC Ra­dio 4: “Lon­don has five air­ports and some haven’t even reached capacity.

“Most of the growth that will oc­cur will be from out­bound leisure pas­sen­gers so the ar­gu­ment that this is about eco­nomic ben­e­fit doesn’t stack up. Two mil­lion peo­ple in Lon­don and the south-east will suf­fer far worse noise and con­ges­tion on roads that are al­ready con­gested.”

How­ever, Southall MP Viren­dra Sharma who once op­posed the ex­pan­sion plans, re­sponded favourably, say­ing: “The air­port has worked closely with lo­cal res­i­dents in de­vel­op­ing pro­pos­als that will de­liver sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits to the lo­cal econ­omy, and min­imise the im­pact on Heathrow’s neigh­bours.”

In lo­cal pol­i­tics, the Labour group in Hillingdon – where Heathrow lies – said it sup­ported the Tory-run coun­cil’s un­equiv­o­cal op­po­si­tion to the ex­pan­sion.

In 2013, Hillingdon Coun­cil con­ducted a lo­cal ref­er­en­dum with 66% of those who took part op­pos­ing Heathrow ex­pan­sion. It plans to mount a le­gal chal­lenge to the scheme if it is ap­proved by Par­lia­ment.

Labour group leader in Hillingdon, Coun­cil­lor Peter Curl­ing, said: “It comes as no real sur­prise to me that this Govern­ment has de­cided to push ahead with Heathrow ex­pan­sion de­spite fig­ures within their own party strongly op­pos­ing it.

“The po­lit­i­cal par­ties across Hillingdon are united in our op­po­si­tion to a third runway, and we will work to­gether with res­i­dents how­ever we can to voice and demon­strate this op­po­si­tion.

“Peo­ple’s homes and com­mu­ni­ties face be­ing de­stroyed, not to mention in­crease noise, con­ges­tion and pol­lu­tion in the area. We stand by our com­mit­ment to a bet­ter Heathrow, not a big­ger one.”

The plans will go be­fore the House of Com­mons later this month. Some com­men­ta­tors have called for MPs to have a free vote.

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