Richmond ready for Heathrow expansion plan war


A local referendum will give residents a voice on expansion plans before May next year.


By Luke Gardener

All-out-war is promised by Richmond Council over the proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport.

A local referendum will give residents a voice on expansion plans before May next year. 

The decision was made as councillors from all political parties agreed that the borough should be able to send a strong message to Westminster.

It is hoped thousands of people will vote ‘NO’ to put the government under severe pressure.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s removal of Justine Greening as Secretary of State for Transport has seen the Heathrow issue re-emerge.

Greening was robust in her opposition to airport expansion, but replacement Patrick McLoughlin is considered to be less certain.

Richmond Council Leader, Lord True, said: “I deeply regret that the nightmare vision of Heathrow expansion that had been so wisely laid to rest by our coalition government has been resurrected.

“This time we must kill it off for good. As far as this council is concerned it will be all-out war with the big money interests and slick-suited PR men peddling this foolish project.”

Lord True said that he hoped his council’s united front would encourage others to do the same in the surrounding areas.

The consideration of a third runway and new terminal is no new idea.

In 2011 the airport dealt with an estimated 69.5 million passengers.

Despite overcrowding and Heathrow facilities being at full stretch, there is significant opposition to the idea.

“A decision to expand would be the wrong decision, on every level,” said Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston.

“If we do not have clarity on this issue before the election, residents will have to assume that represents a green light for the third runway.

“Always on the look-out for a quick answer, the government appears to have been seduced by vested interest.

“But it will pay a high price if it opts for the deeply unfair and unpopular non-solution that Heathrow expansion represents.”

Similarly, the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise are fighting for residents in South West London who would be affected.

HACAN Chair, John Stewart, speaking about the Conservative Party, said: “They need to be straight before the next election.”

However, Mr Stewart acknowledged that in 2003 Labour were in favour of a third runway and after an eight-year campaign they failed to achieve their goal.

He said he would be surprised if any political party whole-heartedly said they supported the third runway before the next election.

Heathrow expansion would mean increased noise and pollution, which would affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

A BAA spokesperson said: “It’s vital to the UK’s future that we examine objectively the pros and cons of all options.”

She added that 22 percent of jobs in local boroughs depend on Heathrow.

She said that it is vital to have a full debate on a number of options, as well as cross-party consensus on the issue.

For more information on Heathrow expansion in the Richmond area and how it will affect you visit or phone 08456 122660.

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