Hillingdon Labour Group rejects Government intent to move ahead with Heathrow Third Runway

The proposals to grant permission for Heathrow to build a third runway are wrong, misguided, and ignorant of local resident opinion, said the Hillingdon Labour Group today. The Secretary of State for Transport has revealed the plans that will allow further expansion of Heathrow airport, despite huge opposition from local groups who will be severely affected by it. 

Speaking out against the Government proposal, Labour Group Leader 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.”

 

In 2013, Hillingdon Council conducted a local referendum with 66% of those who took part opposing Heathrow expansion.

Now that the Heathrow plan has been laid out, MPs have 21 days to register objections or amend the plan, after which there will be a vote in the House of Commons.

 

Hillingdon Labour Group rejects Government intent to move ahead with Heathrow Third Runway

The proposals to grant permission for Heathrow to build a third runway are wrong, misguided, and ignorant of local resident opinion, said the Hillingdon Labour Group today. The Secretary of State for Transport has revealed the plans that will allow further expansion of Heathrow airport, despite huge opposition from local groups who will be severely affected by it.

Speaking out against the Government proposal, Labour Group Leader 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.”

 

In 2013, Hillingdon Council conducted a local referendum with 66% of those who took part opposing Heathrow expansion.

 

Now that the Heathrow plan has been laid out, MPs have 21 days to register objections or amend the plan, after which there will be a vote in the House of Commons.

 

Campaigners against Heathrow Airport third runway to ‘be heard’ at London rally

MPs and Mayoral candidates, national organisations and local people will be taking part in the rally in Westminster over the weekend.

Five Mayoral candidates vying for Boris Johnson‘s job, big name MPs and national organisations will address the “biggest ever” rally against Heathrow‘s third runway.

Mayoral candidates from the main political parties will speak at the mass rally which will take place in Parliament Square, opposite the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, on Saturday (October 10).

They will be joined by Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell, as well as a long-standing resident from the Heathrow villages who will lose her home if expansion goes ahead, and leading environmental organisations, such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the campaign group opposing the third runway and one of the main organisers of the rally, said: “Thousands are expected to send a clear message to the Prime Minister that they will fight any decision to give the green light to a new runway at Heathrow.

“And the message from all the key Mayoral candidates is equally clear. They stand united on this issue. They are all firmly against a third runway.”

Bryan Tomlinson, of Stop Heathrow Expansion, is urging those against the runway to make their stand and “be heard” this Saturday.

He said: “The Government may ignore public opinion and try to force Heathrow expansion on the people of London and the South East. We all need to remind Parliament that they for us and not tax avoiding offshore investors.

“We already suffer illegal levels of air pollution and more people are affected by excessive Heathrow noise than all comparable airports in Europe put together.

“We have to leave a planet fit for our children and future generations to live free from deadly air pollution and overflown by 260,000 extra flights which is a disaster waiting to happen”

“Please join us at Parliament Square this Saturday at 11am.”

The rally, which organisers believe will be the “biggest ever” against Heathrow expansion, will take place just weeks before David Cameron is expected to make an announcement on a new runway for London and the South East.

At present, the Cabinet is looking at the recommendation of the Airports Commission that the runway should be built at Heathrow.

However, over recent months, the owners of Gatwick have continued to make the case for a second runway at their airport.

The rally, which is not intended to be a march so it is suitable for all ages, will begin at 10.30am. The speakers will address the rally at 11am to be finished by 12.30pm.

The full list of speakers is confirmed as:

  • John Stewart, Chair HACAN (to welcome and introduce)
  • John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes & Harlington
  • Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond & North Kingston (and Conservative Mayoral candidate)
  • Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting (and Labour Mayoral candidate)
  • Sian Berry, Green Party Mayoral Candidate
  • Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate
  • Peter Whittle, UKIP Mayoral candidate
  • John Sauven, Chief executive of Greenpeace
  • Gina Parihar, Head of legal at Friends of the Earth
  • Tania Mathias, Conservative MP for Twickenham
  • A long-standing resident from the Heathrow villages who faces losing her home.

STOP HEATHROW EXPANSION PROTEST

HEATHROW EXPANSION PROTEST.
Parliament Square, London.
11am….10th October 2015.

Coalition Against Heathrow Expansion. The all party umbrella group of politicians, environmentalists and residents groups from around the country.

Bring your friends and family, bring banners and whistles and if you can, bring a couple of coach loads.

Grow Heathrow lives to fight another day . . . again!

Taken from our friends at: http://www.transitionheathrow.com

Grow Heathrow, who have occupied land in the Heathrow villages since 2010, were given a stay of execution as the court was adjourned until the summer of 2016.

The Shadow Chancellor arrived at Uxbridge County Court this morning to show his continued support for the anti-third runway occupation.

Mr. McDonnell handed in a statement which read “Members of Grow Heathrow have become part of the local community, making a valuable contribution to the life of the local villages. Grow Heathrow is part of a fierce community resistance to Heathrow’s expansion that won’t go away easily for any government. I commend this group to you and hope that its members will be able to continue to remain on this site and part of our community.”

Deadline For Responses to Airport Commission on Heathrow Expansion

Submission by John McDonnell MP for Hayes and Harlington

Whatever one feels about the expansion of Heathrow, there comes a time now when we have to have honesty.  Of every expansion, we have been told as a community that there would be no further expansion.  I have been in this area for 40 years.  I have represented in Parliament my constituency for 17 years.  Before that, I was a GLC councillor.  I held my first meetings about Heathrow expansion in the early 1970s. Over the years since then I have been at every public hearing announcing expansion proposals. I have been at every planning application inquiry, and at every one we have been told by Heathrow airport, ‘If we get this expansion, that will be the limit’.  On the last occasion at a specially convened public meeting in a local hotel a letter was read to us by a senior airport representative saying, ‘We do not need and we will not seek a third runway’.  With the greatest respect to Heathrow Ltd, as a corporate body Heathrow Limited like BAA before it just cannot be trusted.

I want to raise a number of questions that have come from my constituents, who have waded through the Commission’s documentation. I want to congratulate the Commission for the work it has done.  This is the first time we have had this detailed appraisal in this way.  In addition to that, this is the first time any commission has actually looked at issues around quality of life and community.  I commend Sir Howard Davies and his colleagues for doing that.

Housing
The question from my constituents whose homes are going to be affected is: ‘Where will we go?’  We were told first of all the numbers at risk started at about 300.  They then went to 783, then plus another 289.  That was about 3,000 who would lose their homes.  We were then told there would be others affected by the A4 relocation.  Now Heathrow Limited have come up with a compensation scheme that actually comes near to the figure we ourselves predicted, which is 4,000 homes which will either be demolished or rendered unliveable so that people will want to move.  That is nearly 8-10,000 of my constituents.  This will be the largest forced removal of a community in our peacetime history.  Where will they go?  

In May of this year the housing waiting list for Hillingdon Council was 12,000.  The council is housing only about 700 families a year.  The private market in our area has a limited supply in future years, which was revealed by the site survey by the council in its consultation on our local plan.  Like-for-like properties – in other words, in the Heathrow villages, houses with gardens – are almost impossible to find within the local area.  Where will they go?  Where will they be accommodated?  To be frank, to come up with a proposal without identifying the solution is just not acceptable.  

Schools
Our communities are living, breathing, thriving communities.  They comprise all the elements of a living community; schools and nurseries.  As a result of these proposals, Harmondsworth Primary School and the Harmondsworth and Longford nurseries will be demolished.  Heathrow Primary School, to be frank, will also be rendered unteachable.  We will lose two primary schools, and possibly three.  Where will our children go?  We have just gone through an expansion of our education system in the south of the borough.  We are desperately seeking places.  We have expanded virtually every local school.  The council, despite bitter opposition from the local community, has been forced to build on green belt for the first time in its history to accommodate a new school.  Where will we go?  Where will our children be taught in the future?  Where will the replacement schools and the replacement nurseries be located?  There has been no showing of the sites that are available, because there are none.  

Green Spaces
The Commission identifies some of the land that will be taken to accommodate a new runway including our local parks and our green belt.  It includes Sipson recreation ground, our community centre and parts of Colne Valley Regional Park.  It has been blithely promised in the community impact assessment these will be relocated.  I just ask the simple question: where?  Land is in desperate short supply in this part of the area.  It is designated for housing, largely.  Where are the sites available for relocation of our open spaces and our country park areas?  Are brownfield sites to be converted?  Where are these sites?  I have scoured the maps.  We have looked at the maps for alternatives and it is impossible to find.  We have already our open space or green belt and I cannot see this being expanded under these proposals, because there are no options that have been brought forward.  

Community Cohesion
The issue that has been brought forward for the first time by the Commission – and I congratulate it for it – is the examination of community cohesion.  It is the first time in any assessment of airport expansion it has been looked at.  We have a sense of community – a sense of place – grown over generations in our villages and settlements, which have existed not just for centuries but, in the case of Harmondsworth, for 1,000 years.  Families have lived together for generations.  This is a traditional Middlesex village.  So is Harlington.  So is Longford.  So is Sipson.  They still exist: the church; the school; the green; the pub; the village hall.  Names of families enjoined together on its war memorial.  These are all irreplaceable.  

In the Commission’s document on community impact it says: ‘At the very local level, it is difficult to see any existing community cohesion being maintained unless entire communities and their facilities were moved en masse at the same time’.  That is impossible, and this document accepts that.  Where is the land for that?  Where is it possible to actually overcome the destruction of a community like that?  Is it not just dishonest to even hold out that prospect?  

Environmental Issues
To be frank, we already live in an area where air pollution is at the edge of or exceeding European limits.  How can it be that an increase in the aircraft movements and the expansion of passenger numbers, vehicle movements and freight movements cannot make air pollution worse?  It is just not credible to argue so.  There is a proposal that there will be mitigation measures.  Why are those mitigation measures not in place now when in our area we lose 80-100 people who die each year as a result of air pollution and 3,000 across London? How can anyone tolerate a worsening of this situation?  

Noise
Noise similarly.  What assurances can be given to local residents currently affected, but especially those not affected currently by noise, when flight paths are so uncertain and not definitive at present?  What happens in the future, on both air pollution and noise, if the assurances given today are not adhered to?  On air pollution, does Heathrow Airport suddenly close for a few days until the air improves?  Does Heathrow Airport stop flying because they have gone beyond the noise limits?  Of course not.  We will be trapped in an environment which is polluted and noisy, with no recourse to action.  

Health
My constituents have expressed to me that the assessment of the health implications of airport expansion has been extremely limited.  What in-depth studies are to be commissioned to establish the health implications of expansion?  Is there to be, as we asked for, an independent, open public inquiry into the health implications of expanding Heathrow?  The consequences for residents living near the airport and people working at the airport are absolutely critical in health terms.

Deliverability
The Commission has looked at the whole range of factors on deliverability – the issues around air pollution, environment, economic impact, etc. – but I think there are other factors as well.  One of them is political deliverability.

To be credible in its recommendations the Commission must also take into account the political realities of the situation. There is no point in the Commission opting for a solution that is just politically undeliverable. Expansion at Heathrow is politically undeliverable.   

First, I do not believe that taking into account the party politics in the west of London any political party is going to risk the loss of the wide range of marginal seats that there is in the area.  There has not been a candidate elected in a marginal seat in West London proposing expansion of Heathrow Airport; in fact, all of them have stood on tickets of opposition to expansion.  That includes local council candidates as well. 

Second, although climate change may not be a critical issue at the moment because of the economic recession, it will grow again.  I believe that climate change and the impact on climate change of Heathrow Airport will be one of those factors that will be taken into account more readily in these coming months as we move towards a general election and then beyond.  

Third I urge the Commission not to underestimate the depth of anger that there is in my community.  Do not underestimate the depth of anger that there will be if there are proposals to expand Heathrow Airport.  We have been lied to by Heathrow Airport over the years, but I have to also say politicians have not been honest with us either.  Before the last election, there was no caveat that the commitment of ‘no ifs, no buts’ was only for the life of a Parliament.  Last time we had Heathrow threaten expansion, Climate Camp turned up and there was a direct action campaign. If there are proposals to go ahead with Heathrow Airport, Heathrow will be the iconic battleground not just for our local communities to fight for their villages but for the community across London, this country and maybe Europe to campaign against climate change.  I do not believe this is deliverable.  In fact, our community will make sure it is not deliverable.  If that comes by political action or direct action, be assured we will be there.

Ends 

Number of people disturbed by aircraft noise doubles in the last decade, according to Government survey

Number of people disturbed by aircraft noise doubles in the last decade, according to Government survey

The number of people ‘significantly affected’ by aircraft noise has doubled in the last decade, according to the Government’s recently published National Noise Attitude Survey.

Four per cent of the population – over 2 million people – now consider themselves badly affected by noise from aircraft.  Another 9% say they are ‘moderately’ affected.  DEFRA, the Government department responsible for noise, has called the increase ‘strongly statistically significant’.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the group which campaigns for noise reduction around Heathrow, said, “The results are revealing.  This dramatic increase in the numbers disturbed by aircraft took place during a decade when planes were becoming a little quieter.  It can only be accounted for by the rise in the number of aircraft using UK airports.”

Stewart added, “It should act as a warning to those who argue that the noise climate around Heathrow will improve even if a third runway is built because of the introduction of quieter planes and improved operational practices.”

Neighbour noise remains the biggest problem with 26% of people saying they are moderately or significantly affected by it.  Road noise impacts 25% of the population.


ENDS