Richmond Council leader dismisses Heathrow’s claims that neighbouring boroughs support its expansion

Richmond Council leader Lord True has laughed off Heathrow’s suggestion there is support for the airport’s expansion in neighbouring boroughs as “nothing more than PR spin.” Heathrow has recently claimed that  in a new poll the majority of residents living in the 12 neighbouring constituencies support its 3rd runway.  Heathrow’s line is to ignore the serious environmental (noise, air pollution, CO2) impacts and the local congestion and social impacts, and focus on claims about jobs etc.  Heathrow hopes to persuade government that the runway will provide huge numbers of jobs in building and related to the airport, apprenticeships and also benefits to the regions. Heathrow also constantly repeats the mantra that it has “met or exceeded” the environmental conditions set by the Airports Commission  – which it actually has not.  Heathrow’s sound bite is that “people living nearby can feel confident that Heathrow can be bigger and better.” Lord True says only 34% in Richmond and 38% in Twickenham favour a 3rd runway. Both Heathrow and Gatwick have been polling, with each producing results claiming to show support for their runway in London. Both are trying to capitalise on the uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, and the UK’s future international links with EU and Non-EU countries.

.

 

Richmond Council leader dismisses Heathrow’s claims that neighbouring boroughs support airport’s expansion

By Seb Humphreys  (Richmond and Twickenham Times)
18.8.2016
.
Richmond Council leader Lord True has laughed off Heathrow’s suggestion there is support for the airport’s expansion in neighbouring boroughs as “nothing more than PR spin.”
The airport claimed this week that the majority of residents living in the 12 neighbouring constituencies support expansion according to a new poll.
Back Heathrow campaign director Rob Gray said: “It’s not surprising that most people living in the communities near Heathrow support expansion when you consider all the jobs, investment, apprenticeships and other benefits that will come from building a new runway at the UK’s only hub airport.”
.
He added: “These poll results reflect the important work Heathrow has carried out over the last few months to engage with local residents. The commitment to meet or exceed the environmental conditions set by the Airports Commission means that people living nearby can feel confident that Heathrow can be bigger and better.”
However, the leader of Richmond Council, Lord True, has said the release and its headline are completely misleading.
.
Referring to the breakdown of boroughs, which show that only 34 percent in the Richmond constituency and 38 percent in Twickenham said that they favoured an additional runway, he said: “Despite Bigger Heathrow’s suspect use of ‘facts’, the polling shows that the majority of both Richmond and Twickenham residents are actually against expansion at Heathrow.”
As well as Lord True’s comments, the proposed expansion faces further campaign opposition this week.
The campaign group HACAN have planned a protest at Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith on Thursday August 18 in the form of a ‘Noise Olympics’.
HACAN chairman John Stewart said: “Heathrow is the overwhelming favourite to win [the Noise Olympics]. Its planes fly over at least 725,000 people.”
He added: “That is three times second place Frankfurt. And 60 times more than Gatwick who has just been asked to join the race because it is a candidate for expansion.”
Gatwick’s expansion, meanwhile, has received the support of 63 percent of London councillors, compared to the 44 percent support for Heathrow according to a You Gov poll published Tuesday August 16.
.
The polls come after leaders of 11 London councils wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to expand Gatwick, with 50 percent of councillors saying that the certainty a runway scheme can be delivered has become more important since Brexit.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “Crucially Gatwick expansion is the only plan that can actually be delivered and – unlike Heathrow – it does not need £5 billion of taxpayer funding.”
http://www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/14688014.Richmond_Council_leader_dismisses_Heathrow_s_claims_that_neighbouring_boroughs_support_airport_s_expansion/
.

.

See earlier:

Lord True, Richmond Council leader and Conservative peer, describes Heathrow promises as ‘worthless’ and asks David Cameron to deny expansion immediately

The leader of Richmond Council, Lord True, has called Heathrow’s pledge to ban night flights a “feeble attempt to bribe London.”  He described Heathrow’s promises as “worthless” and said on the ending of night flights:  “This so-called pledge falls short of what the Davies Commission requests and the Heathrow PR men simply cannot be believed. If they can stop pre-5.30am flights, why don’t they do it now? Rather than spending billions of pounds doing it?”  On Heathrow’s claims about air quality improvements, Lord True commented:: “They cannot comply with EU air quality limits and their ‘jam’ promises are worthless…..if people’s health comes first – big Heathrow is dead in the water.”  He said Heathrow had just made some token alterations to their original proposals.  Richmond Council, along with Wandsworth, Hillingdon and Windsor & Maidenhead councils, have already made it clear that should the Government give a 3rd Heathrow runway the go-ahead – they would together launch legal action opposing the plans. Lord True: “I say to Mr Cameron – hundreds of thousands of Londoners remember your promise – “no ifs, no buts,” ….We expect our Prime Minister to keep his promise….”   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/05/lord-true-richmond-council-leader-and-conservative-peer-describes-heathrow-promises-as-worthless-and-asks-david-cameron-to-deny-expansion-immediately/

.


Richmond, Wandsworth and Hillingdon council leaders write to Chris Grayling to warn legal action threatened if Heathrow expansion is approved

Three Conservative local authorities – Richmond, Wandsworth and Hillingdon – have written to the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, warning that court proceedings will be launched if a Heathrow 3rd runway is approved.  The 3 council leaders, Lord True, Ravi Govindia and Ray Puddifoot, say any approval given to Heathrow would create “severe political and social rupture” at a time when unity is needed. It is also undeliverable and unlawful. They are already preparing a “substantial and strong legal challenge” and say “We must also be very clear that we intend to launch a legal challenge against the government in the unfortunate event that it resolves to support Heathrow expansion or to carry out any further investigatory works into these projects,” The reasons for the challenge are that bad air quality around the airport already breaches legal limits, and with a  3rd runway, the extra planes and cars in west London would “blight the lives” of millions of people. The  council leaders say, in their letter to Chris Grayling, that the runway “would be an environmental disaster for our communities”. Unfortunately they also urge government to back a 2nd Gatwick runway instead, content to  push the misery that they are keen to avoid for their own residents onto others.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/07/richmond-wandsworth-and-hillingdon-council-leaders-write-to-chris-grayling-to-warn-legal-action-threatened-if-heathrow-expansion-is-approved/


Legal action on Heathrow will happen warn council leaders

Monday 25th July 2016

Richmond, Hillingdon and Wandsworth Councils

The leaders of three London councils have written to the new Secretary of State for Transport threatening legal action if the new cabinet gives Heathrow expansion the green light.

The Leaders of Richmond, Hillingdon and Wandsworth Councils wrote to Chris Grayling MP following reports that a decision on aviation capacity could be made in early September.

After years of delays ministers are expect to choose between two options for expanding Heathrow and one for expanding Gatwick.

The Leader of Hillingdon Council, Cllr Ray Puddifoot, said:

“I’m glad that the Secretary of State has made it clear that the government will make this decision and not duck the responsibility for this issue any longer. Having been promised by the last Prime Minister that Heathrow would not be expanded and that the environment and the health and wellbeing of the people would take precedent over profit, I have every faith in Chris Grayling and Theresa May opposing expansion for the same reasons.

“There is a realistic and viable alternative in Gatwick, which could be delivered faster and with less damage to our environment and our people. However, Hillingdon along with other councils has prepared a substantial and strong legal challenge to any proposed expansion at Heathrow should the government renege on its promise.”

The Leader of Richmond Council, Lord True, said:

“Heathrow expansion – in either the form of the new north-west runway or the extension of the existing northern runway – would be an environmental disaster for our communities. Under both scenarios the costs far outweigh the benefits and we urge the Government to dismiss the inflated and implausible case made by the slick PR promoters of these schemes.

“The Prime Minister has spoken of her concern to protect communities and listen to the concerns of ordinary people.  I have no doubt she will be true to her word.”

The Leader of Wandsworth Council,  Ravi  Govindia, said:

“We have made it perfectly clear that we intend to launch a legal challenge if the Government resolves to support Heathrow expansion or to carry out any further investigatory works into these projects. Our residents have lived with this treat hanging over them for far too long.

“Heathrow expansion is unlawful, undeliverable and would create a severe political and social rupture at a time when our country desperately needs unity. Gatwick is a far better option on every level.”

.

The full letter is below:

Dear Secretary of State,

Congratulations on your appointment and we wish you every success in your new role.

We understand that aviation expansion will be one of the first major policy decisions before the cabinet and, as the Leaders of Hillingdon, Richmond and Wandsworth Councils we are writing to make our position on this issue entirely clear.

The Prime Minister has spoken of her concern to protect communities and listen to the concerns of ordinary people. Heathrow expansion – in either the form of the new north-west runway or the extension of the existing northern runway – would be an environmental disaster for our communities. Heathrow expansion of all the solutions ever suggested does the most to hurt communities and would blight the lives of more people than any other. Under both scenarios the costs far outweigh the benefits and we urge you to dismiss the inflated and implausible case made by the promoters of these schemes. We hope this will be an early example of Mrs May’s commitment to protect both communities and the rights of ordinary people.

We all agree that after six years of dithering since a conservative Prime Minister rightly scrapped the 3rd Runway plan, we need a swift outcome. Heathrow expansion would be the slowest, as well as the most costly solution. Gatwick is far ahead in most respects.

We must also be very clear that we intend to launch a legal challenge against the Government in the unfortunate event that it resolves to support Heathrow expansion or to carry out any further investigatory works into these projects. Our arguments are set out in earlier correspondence (attached) and centre on the severe environmental damage that comes with a new or lengthened runway, and on the clear promises and policy commitments made to our communities by successive Governments.

Your commitment to rule on this issue in early September is very welcome indeed as the threat of Heathrow expansion has been held over our communities for far too long and it is high time they were granted the certainty they need to get on with their lives.

We hope you recognise that Heathrow expansion is unlawful, undeliverable and would create a severe political and social rupture at a time when our country desperately needs unity. Councils, MPs, environmental groups, the London Mayor and millions of ordinary Londoners will fight the Government every step of the way if it favours this option and we urge you again to choose the deliverable, lowest cost, safer option of Gatwick

Yours sincerely,

Councillor Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council

Councillor Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council

Councillor Lord Nicholas True, Leader of Richmond Council

http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/article/13447/legal_action_on_heathrow_will_happen_warn_council_leaders


Heathrow has been working very hard, up and down the country, making presentations to Chambers of Commerce and talking to local authorities. They have made the case that Heathrow expansion is of huge benefit to the regions, with a load of promises about jobs (related to the building of the larger airport) and jobs from businesses that will (magically) now find they need to export much more than they do now.
One such council, Worcestershire, has expressed its support – below:
.

BREXIT: County Hall’s leader writes to Chris Grayling backing Heathrow expansion

26 July 2016 (Worcester News)

THE leader of Worcestershire County Council has written to Chris Grayling to back a third runway at Heathrow Airport, it has emerged.  [This council leader is one of the many signatories to the letter – but AirportWatch has discovered that not one of the councils contacted had had any sort of council meeting, or any form of official minuted decision to back Heathrow. The council leaders all apparently acted on their own authority. More details later].

Councillor Simon Geraghty says the post-Brexit “uncertainty” would be handed a significant boost if the new-look Government is prepared to sink billions into expanding Britain’s largest airport.

The Conservative also says better aviation links would help Worcestershire attract more inward investment, and has invited Mr Grayling to the county for talks.

Councillor Geraghty’s intervention comes at a time when the airport has become a hot topic post-Brexit, after Boris Johnson landed a new job as Foreign Secretary.

In his letter, Councillor Geraghty said: “Britain’s network of airports is the backbone of the aviation industry – a success story contributing £50 billion a year in growth and supporting one million jobs.

“We should be building on that success and future-proofing it by delivering the recommendations made clear by The Airports Commission.”

He then asks Mr Grayling to ensure “skilled jobs are created across the country” during its construction to benefit this county.

In the letter he also calls for “a new western rail link” to plug Heathrow into the trains network, and asks him to draw up a plan “to secure regular, frequent flights from our regions and nations”.

Councillor Geraghty then points to the Brexit uncertainty, saying: “In the current uncertain times, investment in Britain’s infrastructure is even more important to support growth across the country.

“Even during construction, infrastructure development creates skilled jobs and an economic boost for improvements to local economies.

“The continued investment in Heathrow is an essential decision to make.”

The third runway at Heathrow is in some doubt under Mrs May’s premiership, but last week Mr Grayling said he would aim to make a swift decision either way.

Mr Grayling, who was Commons Leader before the promotion, will ensure High Speed Two (HS2) is rolled out over the coming years despite criticism in some Tory heartlands.

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/14642959.BREXIT__County_Hall_s_leader_writes_to_Chris_Grayling_backing_Heathrow_expansion/