Wandsworth Council urge Government not to postpone decision on airport capacity

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia

First published in News

Wandsworth Council is calling on the Government to bring forward its decision on airport capacity from 2015.

In its response to a national consultation on aviation policy the authority says that ruling Heathrow expansion out of the debate will shorten the decision making process and is entirely consistent with Government policy.

In 2010 a High Court ruling blocked a third runway and nothing has changed that would make the environmental impact any less damaging.

The council claim the same noise, air quality and surface access constraints remain and that a third runway at Heathrow would not provide the extra capacity the UK needs.

Concerns have also been raised that if permission for a third runway is granted, a fresh demand for a fourth runway would quickly follow.

This, according to Wandsworth Council, would be an environmental disaster, creating new flight paths over the most densely populated area in the UK.

The consultation response also points out that Heathrow’s owner BAA has based the case for expansion on the need for increased connectivity between London and emerging economies - but the company does not have the means to ensure that extra capacity will be used in this way.

But the council argue airlines will always fly to the most profitable routes and not those which serve the best interests of the UK economy.

Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “If extra hub capacity is required in the South East then Heathrow must be ruled out. Its site is simply too constrained and every new runway would subject new parts of London to the misery of low flying planes.

“We want the Government to bring forward the timetable for the Davies Commission, remove the Heathrow expansion option from consideration and focus on a review of capacity at other locations in the southern half of the country that can be within easy reach of the capital.”

Wandsworth Council is a founding member of the 2M Group of councils opposed to Heathrow expansion. The all-party alliance includes more than 20 local authorities.

In 2010 the group led a successful High Court challenge against the previous Government's plan to add a third runway.

The group, which took its name from the two million residents of the original 12 authorities, now represents a combined population of five million people.

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