Councillors say no to Heathrow expansion

The corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee (June 25) was responding to the latest consultation on airport capacity proposals for the South East (SERAS) which closes on June 30.

DfT figures show that expansion at Heathrow is an expensive option. The council's and other independent studies have shown that there are huge 'invisible' extra costs at Heathrow as well, due to the effects of congestion, noise pollution and providing extra houses for the employment needed. Gatwick and Stansted both give more capacity for the costs involved in construction while neither has the hugely damaging environmental impact of Heathrow.

Councillors concluded that a single runway at Gatwick would be best placed to meet likely demand and have the least impact on the environment.

Council leader Edward Lister said the biggest concern of local people was increased noise:

"Aircraft noise is a real problem for residents in Battersea, Wandsworth and Putney. The council believes that any further runways should be sited away from densely populated areas.

"This is a straightforward test of the Government's loyalties. The aviation industry represents a powerful lobby that is used to getting its way. Ministers have to show that they are prepared to stand up for the interest of the millions of Londoners whose daily lives are blighted by aircraft noise……there can be no deals. On every count - noise, air pollution, road congestion and air safety - this cannot be allowed to go ahead. Our opposition to a third runway at Heathrow is non negotiable."

In a poll last year more than nine in ten local people said they were against a third runway at Heathrow. Of more than 1,000 local residents who returned a council questionnaire 92 per cent opposed further expansion at Heathrow.

Almost two in three objectors (64 per cent) said aircraft noise was their biggest concern. The next biggest issues were safety and air pollution - given top rating by 15 percent and 11 percent respectively.

Just under half of those responding came from Putney with a third from Battersea and the rest mainly from central Wandsworth.

26th June 2003

Associated article
Council urges expansion at Gatwick & development at the Cliffe site. 10.03.2003

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