‘We’re consultation weary’: Ruth Cadbury’s still not on board with Heathrow expansion

By Sophie Donovan
January 17 2020, 13.00

Brentford and Isleworth’s MP hopes people express the ‘incredible’ local costs of a third runway during Heathrow’s recently announced public consultation.

Ruth Cadbury said: “We’re always having rounds of consultation, either by the government or by Heathrow.

“Local councillors, community groups and local residents, we’re getting consultation weary.”

The airport’s plan follows the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s decision to cap early spending on the project.

The eight-week public consultation will run from April through to June, with responses feeding into the final planning application to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate towards the end of 2020.

While Ms Cadbury’s position on the expansion has not wavered from her time as councillor, there is a change of attitude she is hoping the discussions will show.

“We last had a vote in Parliament, and it was a free vote on the Labour side, but that was in the middle of 2018 and since then we’ve had the declaration of the climate crisis, initiated by Labour and agreed upon by government.”

She added: “What was already a marginal case of national benefit to expand Heathrow becomes even less credible.”

Another of the Labour MP’s concerns is the need for further infrastructure development on top of a new runway and terminal.

She said: “They say they want to double the cargo. The road system at Heathrow can’t cope with that.

“Work is being done by local authorities and so on a Western Rail link in from Reading that is so badly needed, and then a Southern Rail link coming in from Staines or Feltham.

“At the moment Heathrow are putting in a planning application for a runway, a terminal, the roads in and out and I think they might be providing a rail platform.”

She joked how generous this was.

Yet her biggest fear is what happens if the runway fails to materialise: “My worry is that down the line we’ll get an announcement saying ‘oh actually we’re not going to go ahead with runway three, so we’re going to put more flights on the current two runways,” she said.

This would, in her opinion, only lead to further issues for Hounslow residents, such as the loss of the eight-hour respite period, where flights alternate between runways and airspace.

This would not come as a surprise to the reinstated MP, who had reservations following the 2019 General Election: “I think the Conservatives, they sometimes think more about short-term business decisions than long-term what’s good for the UK.”

She also had clear views on the Labour leadership race, nominating Jess Phillips to be put on the ballot paper.

“I think she brings a really fresh, exciting and honest take on leadership.

“What’s important is that we win those voters back, not just in 2019, but we’ve been losing them since 2010.

“With Jess on the ballot paper, does her freshness, her honesty, and her articulacy, how does that go down with those voters that we lost?”

To compliment Ms Phillip’s passion and focus on policy, she says she nominated Ian Murray for deputy.

“I thought he really asked the detailed questions and asked things about the role of deputy leader, so practicable solutions of what he would do and how he would use that role,” she said.

She was keen to share that she was not campaigning for any one individual.

“Who you’d like to be your leader is one thing, who the people trust to be the next Labour prime minister is a different thing,” she said.

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