Government will be challenged in the courts over Heathrow decision

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, together with Greenpeace and a resident of Hillingdon, have today served legal papers on the government for unlawfully supporting the expansion of Heathrow.

News release: 08 December 2016

In a legal submission to the High Court, the ‘coalition’ is seeking a Judicial Review of the government’s decision to support the expansion of the airport – something that the government previously promised would never happen.

Harrison Grant Solicitors, on behalf of the ‘coalition’ have filed a formal request for a judicial review. If successful, it is hoped the case will be heard in the High Court early next year.

Together, the claimants argue that the government has failed to recognise the project’s unlawful air quality impacts and that the consultation held to make the decision was fundamentally flawed. Therefore, the expansion of the airport cannot go ahead. In addition, the legal challenge seeks to hold government to the promise that a third runway would never be built.

If the request is successful, and the coalition wins the judicial review, the decision to proceed with the runway would be overturned. 

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said:

“The government has stubbornly refused to accept that it is breaking the law on the very important issue of air quality in relation to Heathrow. Therefore, this Council, together with the London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Richmond upon Thames, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Greenpeace and a Hillingdon resident, have had no option other than to issue judicial review proceedings in the High Court. 

“There are two grounds of challenge at this stage. In addition to our claim that there as been a significant breach of established air quality laws, we have also claimed that the government has acted contrary to our legitimate expectation that it would honour its repeated promises not to expand Heathrow. However, it has been made very clear to the government that we have fully reserved our position in relation to other matters of complaint such as climate change, equalities, noise pollution and the economic case for Heathrow expansion and that, if necessary, further legal proceedings will be brought in the future.”

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“The expansion of Heathrow would be the worst action of any government in modern times. And, the process in which Ministers have made their decision is dishonest,incompetent and goes back on a six year commitment never to expand the airport.

“Millions of people have already told the government that they won’t stand for any expansion. Indeed – 100,000 people voted NO in the referendum run by us and Hillingdon. Their objections have so far fallen on deaf ears. We have given the government every opportunity to change their minds, to relook at the evidence that clearly shows expansion is not feasible. Instead they seem hell-bent on driving through an expansion that will create further havoc for the environment and way heavily on the public purse.

“Therefore we have no choice. We will take every available step to fight the expansion – in the courts and every other forum available to us. And stop it.”

Leader of Wandsworth Council, Cllr Ravi Govindia said:

“This feels like Groundhog Day for many of us. Back in 2010 we overturned the Brown Government’s plans for a third runway on environmental grounds and we’re now heading back to the same court to do it all over again. Six years later and we now know that air pollution is far more damaging to health and this expansion proposal is far bigger and more polluting than the last. It beggars belief that our government has backed a plan which is so clearly untenable in law and common sense and we have been left with no choice but to defend our residents interests in the courts.”

Cllr Simon Dudley, Leader of The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, said:

“The Royal Borough has been very consistent in saying it will hold government to account for its decision and seek to protect our residents from the public health risks of an expanded Heathrow Airport. Our involvement in this legal action seeks to achieve those objectives, and in addition our long standing objections to and manifesto commitments to resist the expansion of Heathrow Airport and protect our residents.”

reenpeace UK executive director John Sauven, said: “Ministers have been clutching at straws to avoid admitting one simple fact – that it’s practically impossible to expand Heathrow without breaking air pollution rules and busting our climate targets. The government’s own advisers have warned that without steeper carbon cuts on the rest of the economy a third runway would breach the UK’s climate targets. The government’s air pollution plans have also been found wanting by a damning High Court ruling. It’s clear that ministers greenlighted the third runway without thinking through its repercussions for people and the environment. This is reckless and unlawful. If ministers are hell bent on disregarding the laws that protect us from pollution, a courtroom is where we’re going to hold them to account. We have stopped a third runway once before, and we can do it again.”

Christine Taylor, who lives in Harlington, close to Heathrow airport, and is a co-claimant in the Judicial Review, said:

“We lived under the shadow of a third runway for decades. Then we were promised over and over again that it wouldn’t go ahead, and now the nightmare has started all over again. This is hugely unfair on local residents who were also promised that they wouldn’t still be suffering the high levels of noise and air pollution that Heathrow generates. Many people around here have made crucial choices like buying a home or taking up a job based on ministers’ promises. Now their life plans have been shattered. If ministers want to go through with this injustice, we’re ready to go to court to stop them.”

 

ENDS

 

Judicial review is a process by which the courts review the lawfulness of a decision made (or sometimes lack of a decision made) or action taken (or sometimes failure to act) by a public body. It is mechanism by which a judge considers whether a public body has acted in accordance with its legal obligations and if not, can declare a decision taken by it invalid.

An alliance between Greenpeace and local councils successfully overturned the Brown Government’s backing for a third runway in the High Court in 2010, which prompted the incoming Cameron Government to emphatically rule it out.

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New Authorised Vehicle Area !

Dear Fellow Residents,

Good news if you are having to deal with the hoards of inconsiderate taxi drivers plaguing our residential streets. A new Authorised Vehicle Area (AVA) is opening for private hire vehicles and licensed taxis on the 15th June 2016. Hopefully this will alleviate some of the pressure of our streets.

Cllr Peter Money

 

“Heathrow Homeless” deliver runway to airport bosses

Villagers under threat of losing their homes if Heathrow gets the go-ahead for expansion took their protest to houses owned by two airport bosses on Bank Holiday Monday to deliver a roll-out plastic version of the third runway.

A group calling themselves Residents Against Expansion, organised and funded a “Heathrow Homeless Coach Tour”, inviting residents and their supporters to bring a suitcase to highlight the plight of thousands of people who would be forced to look for alternative places to live. Their destination was kept a secret until everyone was on the coach ready for departure from Harmondsworth Village at 9.30am.

The first stopping point was Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye’s £3m house in Oxford. As the coach pulled up nearby it was evident that the detached, four-storey property was undergoing a major renovation and expansion programme of its own and was unoccupied. Undeterred, the residents quickly unrolled a 4m x 25m plastic version of the third runway bearing the slogan “No If, No Buts”, a reminder of David Cameron’s anti-expansion stance before the 2010 General Election.

After a brief group photo with their suitcases, the group repacked the coach and headed off to David Cameron’s constituency office in Witney, Oxfordshire.

On reaching Witney’s high street, Harmondsworth resident Armelle Thomas (69) went over to the solitary door, which is sandwiched between two shops. She clutched an old photograph of her husband Tommy as a young member of the RAF during the Second World War. Tommy had died on Friday morning, aged 93, but Armelle was determined to join the coach party to voice her disgust that her husband’s last months had been made a misery by the news on 1st July that Sir Howard Davies had recommended Heathrow and the destruction of their longtime home.

John Holland Kaye told reporters on that day that “the argument was settled once and for all” (even though it wasn’t and the government has yet to make a decision) and later said Heathrow could get “shovels in the ground in 2019″. The CEO’s ridiculous and insensitive boasting demonstrated that it was business as usual at Heathrow after years of trying to convince the public that it would not adopt the untrustworthy and deceitful behaviour typical of BAA. Holland Kaye’s comments to the press destroyed years of attempts to improve community relations.

On route to the next destination, a road sign declared that Witney is twinned with Le Touquet in France, which added to Armelle’s sense that her late husband was with the group in spirit; Le Touquet was Tommy’s birthplace.

Pouring rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the protesters and they stepped out of the coach at the third and final stop in Henley-on-Thames, the home of Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability and Environment. The house was unmistakable from the road as there was a large “Proud to Back Heathrow” poster in the window and a sticker in the back window of the car on the drive. Mr Gorman doesn’t keep a low profile. On reading these public declarations of support for the third runway proposals, the residents decided to deliver Mr Gorman something he might like – a runway outside his front door.

Later online research showed that the 5-bed detached house was bought in 2008 for £1,025,000 and could now be worth £1,365,000. If that estimate is accurate, Matt Gorman’s profit alone in the past 8 years is greater than the full valuation of many homes in the Heathrow villages. Little wonder that wealthy bosses at Heathrow don’t understand the fears of people living in blighted homes. No plans are being made to create new housing for displaced people. No schemes have been put into legal documents. No support is planned for tenants made homeless. These are issues that need to be addressed BEFORE a decision is made on Heathrow expansion.

At the Henley house, a calm and confident young woman came to the front door and talked to two villagers. They reassured her that this was a short peaceful protest and they’d soon be on their way. It was a good-natured conversation, as was the protest until half a dozen neighbours decided to come out of their houses to vent their anger about having protesters in their street. Their behaviour was a marked contrast to the sympathetic response from people in Oxford and Witney. Mr Gorman’s neighbours found it acceptable to make provocative, threatening and offensive remarks to people who had arrived to conduct a peaceful protest about their situation.

Soon afterwards, as protesters were preparing to leave, Mr Gorman arrived followed by a police officer.

Armelle Thomas with photo of her late war-hero husband shows what it means to be proud. Sheila Taylor (84), a lifelong Sipson resident, stands with her. Sheila’s home will effectively be INSIDE the airport’s proposed new boundary with her road enclosed on three sides by airport fencing. As proposals stand, Heathrow will NOT buy her house to build a runway and will instead leave her sandwiched between two runways and car parks.

Mr Gorman asked the police officer various questions to ascertain if there were laws to use against the people from the Heathrow communities who had visited him, who he had been told were taking photographs of the house and had walked on his driveway. No crime had been committed and the residents went happily on their way leaving the tiny cluster of Henley moaners to shuffle out of the rain and back into their expensive homes, free from aircraft noise and choking pollution.

One wonders how these people would react if Mr Gorman wanted to force them from their homes to build a real runway!

Mr Gorman has claimed to be interested in feedback from communities but on his day off from work he made it clear he had no interest in their views.

EMAIL: info@stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk

ILS Replacement – Heathrow Aircraft Noise

Dear Residents

I am writing to let you know that we have been notified by Heathrow Airport Ltd that they will be carrying out essential work this week which they consider may have an impact on some residents who are located very close to the western end of the northern runway.

Heathrow are replacing the Instrument Landing System (ILS) which is used by arriving aircraft to land at Heathrow. Work has begun on the northern runway known as 27R on westerly operations. This will mean that the ILS system for the northern runway will be out of use during westerly operations until the work is complete.

The current forecast predicts easterly winds for the next couple of days which should mean no change to normal operations. However, if they are forced to switch to westerly operations due to the wind direction, aircraft will use the southern runway (27L) as the main arrivals runway until the work is complete. Consequently, this will mean that the main runway for departing aircraft will be the northern runway (27R) for this period of time.

Heathrow anticipate the ILS will return to service on 16th August at 3pm and to be within their normal runway pattern on Monday 17th August 2015. Heathrow state that they have a limited period of time to complete the work as it needs to be carried out during the summer months when the weather is most favourable.

Heathrow apologise for any disturbance this may cause residents and have put together an information page on their website about the work, which can be accessed here: heathrow.com/noise.

Heathrow Hub Roadshows – Proposed Heathrow Expansion

Read the Full article here:

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/heathrow-hub-plans-go-show-8256775

Plans to double the size of one of Heathrow Airport’s existing runways will go on show at a series of public meetings in the new year.       

Heathrow Hub will display its vision in Harmondsworth, Ealing, Datchet, Staines, Iver, Windsor, Colnbrook and Cranford in January.

The plans involve extending the length of the airport’s northern runway to more than four miles, which campaigners say will reduce night-time noise over West London.

The proposal is one of three being considered by the Airports Commission. It is up against plans for building a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick.

Date

Venue

Time

12/01/15 

St Marys Church Harmondsworth, St Mary’s Vicarage, High Street, Harmondsworth, Middlesex. UB7 0AQ

13.00-20.00

13/01/15 

Datchet Village Hall, 3 Allen Way, Datchet, SL3 9HR

13.00-20.00

14/01/15

Wraysbury Village Hall, Wraysbury Village Halls, The Green, Wraysbury, Staines, TW19 5NA

13.00-20.00

15/01/15

Richings Park Sports Club, Richings Park, Wellesley Avenue, Iver, Buckinghamshire, SL0 9BN

13.00-20.00

19/01/15

Windsor Leisure Centre, Clewer Mead, Stovell Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5JB

13.00-20.00

20/01/15

Colnbrook Village Hall, Colnbrook Village Hall, Vicarage Way, Colnbrook, Berkshire, SL3 0RF 

13.00-20.00

21/01/15

Cranford Baptist Church Hall, 1 Firs Drive, Cranford, Middlesex, TW5 9TA

13.00-20.00

22/01/15

Christ the Saviour Parish Church Hall, Christ the Saviour Parish Church, New Broadway, Ealing, London, W5 2XA

13.00-20.00

Heathrow Property Compensation Annoucement

Dear LFF members

 I wanted to write and let you that that this morning we are announcing plans to extend our property compensation scheme should an additional runway be built at the airport.  

As you know in May we announced plans for 25% above unblighted market value compensation for 750 homes that would be subject to compulsory purchase.  In response to feedback we heard during our recent public consultation, Heathrow is now proposing to extend its offer to cover homes that will be in close proximity to a new runway but will not be compulsorily purchased.

 Under the improved scheme, residents living in communities close to the new runway will have the choice to either remain in their home or sell it at 25% above unblighted market value once the new runway is under construction. Homeowners in Colnbrook, Poyle, Brands Hill, Harmondsworth, Sipson, Harlington and Cranford Cross will be covered by the improved scheme.  Properties in Longford and parts of Sipson and Harmondsworth are covered by the previously announced compulsory purchase area scheme. 

 Attached (and below) is a copy of the press release that is being issued at 10am.  It includes more information including a map of the areas included in the new scheme.  We will be issuing our full response to the recent public consultation, including more details noise compensation and mitigation, in early 2015

 

Please give me a call if you would like to discuss.

For immediate release: 10am, 1 December 2014

 

Heathrow announces new proposals to support homeowners affected by airport expansion following local consultation

 

•        Enhanced package includes an offer to buy homes in villages in close proximity to a new runway at 25% above unblighted market value

•        New scheme shaped by feedback from local residents at consultation events

•        Homeowners will have the choice of remaining in their current home

 
Heathrow has announced plans to extend its property compensation scheme should an additional runway be built at the airport.  In May the airport announced plans for 25% above unblighted market value compensation for 750 homes that would be subject to compulsory purchase.  

 Having listened to local residents, Heathrow is now proposing to extend this offer to cover homes that will be in close proximity to a new runway but will not be compulsorily purchased.

 Under the improved scheme, residents living in communities close to a new runway will have the choice to either remain in their home or sell their home at 25% above unblighted market value once the new runway is under construction.  For a £250,000 property, homeowners would receive £312,500, plus £7,500 stamp duty costs and any legal fees.

 Homeowners in Poyle, Colnbrook, Brands Hill, Harmondsworth, Sipson, Harlington and Cranford Cross will be covered by the improved scheme.  Properties in Longford and parts of Sipson and Harmondsworth are covered by the previously announced compulsory purchase area scheme. 

 The proposal is in response to feedback heard at public consultations between 21st July and 12th October of this year.  Local people said they:

 
– Welcome the proposal to offer 25% above market value compensation plus legal fees and stamp duty costs on homes that will be compulsorily purchased

– Want the airport to recognise that a new runway will have an impact on homeowners close to the new boundary of the extended airport

– Are concerned that property prices will be blighted in the areas close to the boundary of the extended airport

– Want to avoid a situation where next door neighbours or homeowners on adjacent streets are entitled to different compensation

 Some people in this area will want to remain in their homes if the airport is expanded, others will want the option of moving out of the area.

 

In response to this public feedback, Heathrow is:

 

-Confirming its intention to offer 25% above unblighted market value compensation plus legal fees, plus stamp duty costs for anyone whose home will be compulsorily purchased

 
– Extending this scheme to cover homeowners in close proximity to the new airport boundary whose homes do not need to be compulsorily purchased

 
– Giving people the choice of remaining in their home or moving out of the area and receiving compensation

– Announcing the scheme now, and including a 25% above unblighted market value premium, to avoid blight to property prices and to keep the local property market buoyant

 
– Proposing a single, simple and easy-to-understand flat rate of 25% above unblighted market value compensation rather than different bands of compensation for different communities

 
– Applying the proposal to homeowners in Poyle, Colnbrook, Brands Hill, Harmondsworth, Sipson, Harlington and Cranford Cross rather than having scheme boundaries that cut across communities

 

People also said they want local villages to retain a vibrant local community feel.  Where Heathrow purchases a property from a homeowner it will refurbish and sound insulate the property before reselling it on the open market.  This will give those people who want to leave the area the option of doing so but ensure those who remain still live in a functioning community.

 

The offer is subject to regulatory approval by the CAA.  Approximately 3,750 homeowners’ properties would be eligible for compensation under the revised scheme.

 

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s Chief Executive said:

 

“Our proposals for expansion at Heathrow have been developed with input from local communities.  We are committed to treating people fairly.  People told us that we should extend our offer to local homeowners living close to the airport, and we have listened.”

 

“Now we want to work with local communities to ensure that local people secure the jobs and growth that expansion at Heathrow will bring.”

 

Heathrow will be issuing its full response to the recent public consultation, including more details on property compensation and noise compensation and mitigation, in early 2015. 

John McDonnell MP condemns Heathrow Airport’s non-payment of Corporation Tax

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Press Release: John McDonnell MP condemns Heathrow Airport’s non-payment of Corporation Tax

Heathrow airport has been found to have avoided paying £234 million worth of taxes.

Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee criticised Heathrow airport for not having paid corporation tax on company profits. Her Committee found that Heathrow airport had avoided paying taxes totalling £234 million by offsetting some of the costs of building Terminal 5.

Mrs Hodge said that for several years the company had “made a fortune” from its UK activities, which relied on public services, adding: “For them to pretend they are only in it for the benefit of the UK economy is a touch hypocritical.”

Local MP John McDonnell said “I am absolutely disgusted that Heathrow Airport that is now in foreign hands has got away with avoiding this huge amount of taxes. Just think how we could have invested this money locally. This could have paid for the new hospital that we need in order to replace the dilapidated buildings at Hillingdon Hospital and paid for the new homes we need to tackle our local housing crisis. I am calling upon Heathrow Airport Ltd to pay the money back. They have a moral duty to pay their way in our community.”

John McDonnell MP