Battle over Heathrow expansion gets noisy

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By Teddington People | Thursday, December 12, 2013, 10:36

This week saw a ratcheting up of tensions over Heathrow's expansion with Richmond Council and Heathrow Airport issuing statements.

With the Davies Commission - in charge of making recommendations for increasing the country's air capacity - due to announce its interim findings in a week's time, leader of Richmond Council Lord True expressed his concerns that it will cave-in to what he calls "the big foreign interests that own Heathrow."

Lord True joined other London voices warning the government that if the Davies Commission pushes for a third or fourth runway at Heathrow, it will face a "gloves-off battle" from across the political spectrum.

He said: “100,000 long-suffering residents in this borough and Hillingdon turned out to say ‘No’ to Heathrow expansion in this year’s referendum – a massive majority of the tens of thousands of Londoners voting. Those ordinary Londoners cannot be ignored."

On whether anything can now be done, he continued: “The bulk of all aircraft noise nuisance in Europe is already faced by West and South-west London residents. The Government can still stop it. Local people expect David Cameron and Nick Clegg to stand by their word and do just that. They heard the promises. They can expect Richmond Council to stand four-square with them: we will not accept any expansion of Heathrow, by this Government or another.”

Meanwhile Heathrow Airport issued a statement today arguing that there is a strong business case for expansion at Heathrow even if the commission recommends another runway at Gatwick airport to solve growing capacity needs. A spokesperson said:

“Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport and competes with Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam for transfer passengers to support long haul routes. As the country’s most important point to point airport, Gatwick serves a different market.

"There is a clear business case for a third runway at Heathrow regardless of whether Gatwick is also permitted to expand. We do not agree with Gatwick’s stance that there can only be one new runway in the South East and we would welcome a solution in which both airports were allowed to grow to deliver choice for passengers and airlines.”

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