Candidates in Uxbridge & South Ruislip pledge to oppose Heathrow runway, though Labour candidate doubtful

Prospective parliamentary candidates for Uxbridge and South Ruislip made promises – if they got in to parliament  – about how they would vote on HS2 and Heathrow Airport at a hustings debate.  Candidates from 4 of the 5 main political parties took part – but not the Conservative candidate, Boris Johnson.  All four candidates said they would vote against any bill seeking to approve a Heathrow runway. However, there were doubts about the position of the Labour candidate, Chris Summers (a councillor in Ealing).  Mr Summers suggested that any future government should follow whatever recommendation is published in June by the Airports Commission. He said: “I think it is right we have this Davies Commission that’s looking into the issue, and I think there is something to be argued that they are the experts, and if they recommend a certain way, then it does seem that it will be a basic political decision if whichever government rejects that…”  The constituency contains much of Hillingdon, which is one of the councils most deeply opposed to a new runway. In a Hillingdon borough referendum in May 2013 66% were against a third runway. The ballot also showed the same number (66.3 per cent) do not want see any more flights in and out of the airport. The extent to which Mr Summers is listening to his residents, or just following Labour party policy, is questioned.

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MP candidates for Uxbridge and South Ruislip make HS2 and Heathrow vows

By Will Ackermann (Get West London)
20.3.2015

Prospective parliamentary candidates for Uxbridge and South Ruislip made promises about how they would vote on HS2 and Heathrow Airport at a hustings debate this week.

Candidates from four of the five main political parties addressed an audience and answered questions at Brunel University on Thursday (March 19). They made promises about how they would vote if elected to parliament

Conservative candidate Boris Johnson skipped the session – the first of three planned for the borough – as it clashed with a People’s Question Time he was legally obligated to attend as London mayor.

Those who did take part discussed national policies, ranging from immigration to women’s shortlists, as well as local issues, including HS2 and Heathrow Airport’s proposed expansion.

Labour’s Chris Summers, the Green Party’s Graham Lee and UKIP’s Jack Duffin all vowed to vote against HS2 outright if elected to parliament in May’s General Election, while Liberal Democrat Mike Cox said he supported the project.

Speaking after the meeting, however, Mr Cox clarified that, if elected, he would seek to propose amending the HS2 bill such that the rail line would have to bypass the Hillingdon borough completely.

During the 90-minute session, all four candidates said they would vote against any bill seeking to expand Heathrow Airport.

Addressing this topic earlier in the meeting, however, Mr Summers suggested that any future government should follow whatever recommendation is published in June by the Airports Commission, which has been tasked with deciding whether it would be better to expand Heathrow Airport or Gatwick Airport.

Mr Summers, who during the course of the evening also said MPs who failed to vote as they promised to should have to resign, said: “I think it is right we have this Davies Commission that’s looking into the issue, and I think there is something to be argued that they are the experts, and if they recommend a certain way, then it does seem that it will be a basic political decision if whichever government rejects that, but it will be interesting to see what happens in that report in June.”

Mr Johnson, who was ’empty-chaired’ at the debate and came under fire from all sides, has previously said he would “oppose” HS2 unless certain conditions are met.

These, he has said, would include ensuring the track follows a tunnel underneath Ruislip and Harefield, as well as creating a “suitable” link to the existing HS1 line, which joins London to the Channel Tunnel.

The London mayor has said building a third runway at Heathrow Airport would be a “disaster”, but has never explicitly promised to vote against it, or the alternative Heathrow Hub option, given the opportunity.

Previously he had suggested demolishing the airport completely, before his hopes for building a ‘Boris Island’ hub on the Thames Estuary were dashed.

Mr Johnson is booked to attend the next hustings, taking place at St Margaret’s Church, in Windsor Street, Uxbridge, on April 10.

However, Mr Johnson, who rival candidates have accused of taking voters for granted, will not attend the third and final debate, to be held at Yiewsley Baptist Church, in Colham Avenue, on April 26.

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/mp-candidates-uxbridge-south-ruislip-8880041

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The constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip contains a large part of Hillingdon Borough.

Hillingdon has been vociferous in its opposition to a new Heathrow runway.  Its residents voted definitively against a new runway, in 2013. See below.

 

Heathrow referendum: Hillingdon votes against expansion

The residents of Hillingdon have voted overwhelmingly against expansion of Heathrow airport.

21 May 2013  (Hillingdon Borough Council)

In the first referendum held by Hillingdon Council, 66 per cent of those who voted were against a third runway. The ballot also showed the same number (66.3 per cent) do not want see any more flights in and out of the airport.

The Leader of Hillingdon Council, Cllr Ray Puddifoot, said the emphatic ‘no’ vote should be respected by the government and airport lobby.

In a huge exercise in local democracy, over 81,000 Hillingdon residents took part in the poll.

They had the option to vote online, by post or at their nearest library or council building over a four week period using their polling card and unique reference number. Voting closed last Thursday (16 May) with the results announced today alongside those of  neighbouring Richmond upon Thames Council which held the same ballot.

Cllr Puddifoot said:  “The council has always been clear about our opposition to expansion at Heathrow and this emphatic result shows that the majority of our residents agree with us.

“Today the people of Hillingdon have sent a clear message to the Prime Minister and the Government.

“At the last general election we were promised by David Cameron that there would be no third  runway at Heathrow, as it was unsuitable for expansion and that an alternative solution had to be found.

“I believed him, and so did many of the residents of Hillingdon. The strength of this vote is an indication that they now expect him to be as good as his word.”

Two questions were asked:

  1. Should a third runway be built at Heathrow? Yes/no
  2. Are you in favour of more flights into and out of Heathrow? Yes/no

The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames’ referendum asked the same questions. In  total, 140,516 residents across the two boroughs responded with more than 100,000 saying  no to both questions.

Full results table:

Borough Number of ballots distributed Overall turnout Question one Question two
Hillingdon 205,634 39.41%  (81,050) Yes: 34%      (27,377)No: 66%        (53,235) Yes: 33.7%    (27,115)No: 66.3%      (53,342)
Richmond upon Thames 136,880 43%      (59,466) Yes: 20%      (12,055)No: 80%        (47,031) Yes: 18%        (10,853)No: 82%         (48,100)
Combined Total 342,514 40.75% (140,516) Yes: 28.2%    (39,432)No: 71.8%    (100,266) Yes: 27.2%     (37,968)No: 72.8%      (101,442)

 

 

http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/26825/Heathrow-referendum-Hillingdon-votes-against-expansion

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And

Hollow promises of Heathrow expansion revealed

Serious flaws in proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport have been laid bare by Hillingdon Council in its detailed response to the Airports Commission consultation on expanding airport capacity in London.

27 January 2015  (By Hillingdon Borough Council)

Last week (Thursday 22 January) the council’s Cabinet approved the response, which included a specially commissioned report on the impact of Heathrow expansion on the health and quality of life of people living nearby. It will now be sent to the Airports Commission.

The Airports Commission is currently considering three airport expansion options, one at Gatwick Airport and two at Heathrow.

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said:

“Despite spending considerable time and resources on publicity demonstrating the benefits of building a third runway, Heathrow Airport’s proposals are full of hollow promises and gaping holes, lacking any realistic assessment of the impact Heathrow expansion would have on our community.

“It beggars belief that increased noise levels, heightened flood risk, public transport pressures, reduction of air quality, not to mention the trauma of uprooting families who have lived locally for decades, are being glossed over by Heathrow. We are also concerned that the so-called economic benefits of expanding this airport do not stand up to closer scrutiny and ultimately would not benefit Hillingdon residents.

“The recent activities of Heathrow and its PR machine have demonstrated that neither they nor their incredibly dubious survey results can be believed or taken seriously. Our detailed response to the Airport Commission’s consultation lays bare these vitally important concerns, which demand to be taken seriously.”

The consultation period ends on 3 February 2015. After this, the Airports Commission will look at all responses and publish its final recommendations in summer 2015.

For more information, visit  www.hillingdon.gov.uk/heathrow.

http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/29537/Hollow-promises-of-Heathrow-expansion-revealed

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