Ministers urged to come clean on third runway flightpath  

Campaigners opposed to further expansion at Heathrow have urged ministers and BAA to come clean on which new areas of London would fall under the flightpath for the proposed third runway.

Speakers at a special campaign briefing held by Wandsworth Council on October 3 warned that many communities were unaware that they could be hit by a huge increase in aircraft noise throughout the day and in the early morning.

People under the current flight path over Battersea, Putney and Richmond could also get bigger, noisier aircraft overhead as smaller planes switched to the shorter third runway.

Campaigners heard that future expansion plans could include a full-length third runway, a sixth terminal and more night flights as airlines rushed to take up the new early morning slots.

Wandsworth council chief executive Gerald Jones urged councils to join together to fund air pollution studies. It was estimated that up to 35,000 people living around Heathrow would suffer nitrogen dioxide pollution in excess of European limits if the runway went ahead.

He also criticised the outdated system used by the industry for measuring noise disturbance to residents. This takes indaequate account of the non-stop pattern of flights throughout the day and understated the impact on people living outside the immediate area around the airport.

He called for the Government's cost benefit calculations to be properly tested. The risk of a major accident would have to be assessed. Based on the Twin Towers experience the costs could be as high as £90 billion. He also called for more research into the effect of noise nuisance on house prices.

He urged all councils to become members of SASIG - the strategic aviation special interest group which currently advises around 90 local authorities on aviation issues.

He said that the sheer weight of technical information accompanying the consultation document meant it was essential councils were able to call on expert advice in preparing their responses.

Jim Bailey from SASIG said his analysis had concluded that the only way to address the demand for increased capacity was to plan over a 40 year period. Instead of short term measures like extra runways ministers should grasp the nettle and build a new 24 hour airport in a location where the environmental impact could be less severe.

He echoed safety concerns over the increased volume of flights over London - with a third runway these would rise to more than 655,000 a year compared with the 480,000 set when Terminal 5 was approved.

Wandsworth council leader Edward Lister who chaired the conference said campaigners believed they had a real chance of persuading the Government to think again:

"The strength of our campaign is that it is backed by so many different groups. Once people realise the full scale of the safety and environmental issues they will present an incredibly powerful lobby which no Government would dare ignore."

HACAN chairman John Stewart said he too was confident of success:

"A new runway could mean a complete redrawing of flightpaths over London. This will draw in communities who today are relatively unscathed by aircraft noise."

Last night's event was organised by Wandsworth council in association with HACAN ClearSkies. It was attended by MPs, MEPs and GLA members representing a broad swathe of south and west London. Councils present included Hounslow, Hillingdon, Richmond, Sutton, Ealing, Lambeth, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark, Wandsworth and Windsor.

Local amenity societies attending included those from Battersea, Wandsworth, Putney, Westminster, Ealing, Brixton, Dulwich, Fulham, Richmond and Harlington. HACAN members included representatives from Richmond, Chiswick, Fulham, Hounslow, Wandsworth, Hammersmith, Lambeth , Southwark and Lewisham.

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14th October 2002


Public meeting in Putney set for October 28th 2002 14.10.02

Wandsworth hosts meeting 13.09.02

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