Spelthorne Council Leader admits Heathrow expansion ‘not an easy issue’ while continuing support for 3rd runway, not in his constituency

Support for the expansion of Heathrow has been reaffirmed by Spelthorne Borough Council.  The decision to maintain its stance, held since 2008, when the authority withdrew from the 2M group of councils including Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon who opposed Heathrow expansion, was made at an extraordinary council meeting on January 16th. The meeting was called following the publication of the Airports Commission interim report on 17th December, short-listing 2 runway options at Heathrow. for an extended northern runway and the airport’s own plan of demolishing medieval villages to the north to build a third runway. Heathrow’s own proposal is for a runway to the north-west, which does not affect Spelthorne (to the south) very much. It would mean demolition of Harmodsworth, or making it near impossible to live in. Spelthorne Council leader Robert Watts said: “Expanding airports is challenging. …. This is not an easy issue.” Spelthorne has always supported Heathrow expansion. In 2012 their own MP even advocated demolishing part of his borough, to build a runway – till he realised it was not a local vote-winner.

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Spelthorne Council Leader admits Heathrow expansion is ‘not an easy issue’ while continuing support

Council decides to maintain its pro-expansion stance at a meeting to discuss preferred options on the future of aviation 

Councillors have reasserted their backing for an expansion of Heathrow
Councillors have reasserted their backing for an expansion of Heathrow

Support for the expansion of Heathrow Airport has been reaffirmed by Spelthorne Borough Council.

The decision to maintain its stance, held since 2008, when the authority withdrew from the 2M group of councils including Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon who opposed expansion at the west London airport, was made at an extraordinary council meeting on January 16.

The meeting was called following the publication of the preferred options on the future of aviation by the Airports Commission on December 13 last year.

These options included plans published by Heathrow Hub, which called for the demolition of towns to the west of the airport to make way for an extended northern runway and the airport’s own plan of demolishing medieval villages to the north to build a third runway.

Heathrow also submitted plans for a runway to be built in Stanwell Moor but as yet this has not been approved by the commission.

Council leader Robert Watts said: “Expanding airports is challenging. We need to work closely with the appropriate parties to secure, not only the required improvements that will continue Heathrow’s status as a major international airport, but also to ensure environmental and transport issues are properly resolved and, above all, protect our residents’ interests.

“This is not an easy issue.”

Since leaving 2M the borough council has supported airport expansion in principle and during the meeting reaffirmed its support for a further runway to the north west of Heathrow, saying it would ‘best meet local and national economic interests’.

It believes the destruction of villages to the north of Heathrow would secure ‘the best outcome for residents’.

Airport capacity has been an issue for successive governments with previous plans to expand Heathrow failing after the last general election.

Since then Chancellor George Osborne has set up the Airports Commission which published two options for Heathrow, both of which are to the north west of the airport, and one at Gatwick. A final report is to be presented to the government no later than summer 2015.

Cllr Watts added: “We will continue to work with Heathrow to achieve this very difficult balance.”

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/heathrow-expansion-not-easy-issue-6535787

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 Earlier:

MP Kwasi Kwarteng’s Heathrow report suggests Stanwell runway – in his own constituency

12.7.2012

The lives of thousands of residents’ would be blighted if the Spelthorne MP’s plan to demolish parts of Stanwell to build a 4th runway at Heathrow go ahead, say those living under the threat of airport expansion. The report, co-written by MP Kwasi Kwarteng, advocates two more runways for Heathrow Airport, one on the traditional site of Sipson, to the north, and the other in his own constituency to the south. This has led to opponents labelling the proposals “political suicide”. Geraldine Nicholson is chairman of the No Third Runway Action Group explained that residents in Spelthorne could expect blighted lives, broken down communities and death to the soul of their towns, if the plans were taken seriously. Like Sipson, which has suffered from years of blight, and dismantling of the community, from threats of a 3rd runway. It is astonishing for an MP to want to ruin a large part of his own constituency.
.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1998

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In an interview on 27.9.2013 Kwarteng:

Initially a supporter of Heathrow expansion, which would closely affect his constituency, he’s now critical: “What I’m annoyed at is the fact they [Heathrow airport] keep changing their options; we can’t have endless different communities in Heathrow being blighted by the shadow of expansion. If we’re going to expand it, let’s just have a plan and go for it.

“But there has been a lot of delay on it, and actually frankly at the moment I don’t think Heathrow expansion is going to happen, that’s what I think… If I were a betting man, I’m not sure what I would bet on – I think that window has probably been shut now. But that’s just a private view.” ”

http://www.totalpolitics.com/articles/420432/kwasi-kwarteng-and39letand39sbe-the-same-as-new-labourand39.thtml

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and more recently from the Council:

Spelthorne Council’s reaction to Heathrow expansion proposals

Nov 2013

Spelthorne Council acknowledges the three proposals for a third runway which were put forward by Heathrow on Wednesday 17 July and is studying the proposals carefully before giving an informed view.

Whilst the Council continues to recognise the substantial economic benefits provided by Heathrow Airport, it also recognises the significant uncertainty and worry this will cause residents, particularly those living in Stanwell Moor.

The Council will work closely with Heathrow in the coming months to gain a full understanding of the potential implications of each of the three options and in particular, the South West (Stanwell Moor) option.

A briefing will also take place in due course to enable the Borough councillors to consider the implications of the proposals before coming to a longer term view on Heathrow.

The Council very much hopes the debate regarding the appropriateness of Stanwell Moor for expansion does not go on indefinitely as this could potentially blight the lives of our residents in Stanwell Moor.  [The council appears indifferent to the same blight happening to people in Harmondsworth and Sipson.  NIMBY ]

The Airports Commission is due to deliver an interim report in December 2013 which will set out the options to be taken forward for further consideration. It is then expected that the Government will make a final decision in summer 2015.

Roberto Tambini, Chief Executive
Spelthorne Borough Council

http://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/article/4280/Spelthorne-Councils-reaction-to-Heathrow-expansion-proposals

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