2M councils ‘ready for the challenge’
" We are not anti-Heathrow" says Wandsworth Council Leader Edward Lister
Council leaders say they are ready for the challenge of defending the quality of life of 2 million people affected by Heathrow expansion.
The Government is expect to give the green light this year to a series of measures which could lead to a 50 per cent increase in the number of flights at the airport.
Twelve local authorities in the Heathrow area have now formed a new environmental alliance to campaign against the threats presented by the continued growth of the airport.
Speaking at today’s launch of the new 2M Group of local authorities, Wandsworth Council leader Edward Lister said:
“We formed this group to give a voice to the 2 million people affected by the Government’s policy of uncontrolled expansion at Heathrow. We are a cross-party group representing all the local authorities directly affected by Heathrow – from west London to Berkshire and from south London to South Bucks.
“We are not anti-Heathrow – but we are concerned that the Government consistently understates the environmental impact of growth while cynically overplaying the benefits to the economy.
“Over the coming months we can expect a succession of Government announcements that will each add to the numbers of flights using the airport.In time this could lead to a 50 per cent increase in flight numbers which in turn can only mean more noise and worsening air quality.
“It is our duty as local authorities to raise awareness of these threats to our residents’ quality of life and ensure we are ready to challenge the proposals when they emerge.”
A number of key announcements are expected in the early summer which would all add to capacity at Heathrow. These include plans to end the practice of runway alternation which would allow aircraft to use both existing runways in parallel. It would bring to an end the relief that residents experience at 3pm when aircraft switch runways.
The Government is also expected to confirm that it has ‘overcome’ the air pollution issues which could stand in the way of the planned third runway.
February 26, 2007