Elmbridge Council votes to officially oppose Heathrow expansion
Elmbridge councillors have officially voted against Heathrow expansion after months of deliberation. Councillors voted by a clear majority to oppose a 3rd runway, at the full council. Elmbridge Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Task Group, dealing with Heathrow expansion, had recommended Elmbridge oppose the plans on the basis of health concerns. More than 800 people had responded to the council’s survey on the plans and many said they had serious concerns about how the construction would damage the borough. A persuasive case for opposing the runway was made by councillor Christine Elmer, chair of the task group, Cllr James Browne and Cllr Tony Popham. Cllr Ellmer believed Heathrow was already a serious issue for the borough, because of high – and worsening – levels of aircraft noise, which continues late into the night. “The fact is that larger planes are flying lower than ever before in Elmbridge and there are no guarantees that this will desist. It cannot be right for residents, as one who wrote to me this week, to have to go to bed wearing earmuffs.” The runway would mean worse road congestion. Cllr Browne said he had not seen any “convincing or independent evidence” to suggest any economic benefits from expansion would benefit the UK and the borough. Local campaign group, Residents Action Group Elmbridge (RAGE) were delighted with the council vote.
Elmbridge Council votes to officially oppose Heathrow expansion
By Rachel Dickerson, Reporter (Local Guardian)
Elmbridge councillors have officially voted against Heathrow expansion after months of deliberation.
Councillors voted in a clear majority to oppose expansion at the full council last night.
The Overview and Scrutiny Task Group dealing with Heathrow expansion at the council had recommended Elmbridge oppose the plans – which would see 750 homes demolished in Longford, Sipson and Harmondsworth – on the basis of health concerns at a cabinet meeting last month.
More than 800 people had responded to the council’s survey on the plans and many said they had serious concerns about how the construction would damage the borough.
But last night councillors voted to oppose the plans following speeches from councillor Christine Elmer, chair of the task group, councillor James Browne and councillor Tony Popham.
Cllr Elmer said: “It’s absolutely vital now that this council takes a position.
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that noise is one of the most serious issues that our residents face.
“We know that some our residents’ lives are literally being made a misery. They’re struggling with aircraft noise late at night and early in the morning from 4.30am.
“The fact is that larger planes are flying lower than ever before in Elmbridge and there are no guarantees that this will desist.
“It cannot be right for residents, as one who wrote to me this week, to have to go to bed wearing earmuffs.”
Cllr Browne compared Heathrow bosses’ suggestion that airport expansion would not impact on the “appallingly clogged up” M25’s traffic problems to Admiral Nelson turning a ‘blind eye’ at the Battle of Copenhagen.
He said: “If it’s in such an awkward position already then why make the problem worse by expanding this airport?
“I’m not so daft to think what decision we make here tonight will make a blind bit of difference as to what actually happens at Heathrow. However, we have been asked to debate this issue, and this is my contribution.
“I would agree an expansion of south east capacity but not at Heathrow and certainly not as it’s proposed.”
He added that he had not seen any “convincing or independent evidence” to suggest any economic benefits from expansion would benefit the UK and the borough.
Members pushed for an independent noise regulator to monitor sound from planes flying over the borough along with the dispersal of flights before the vote.
Anti-expansion campaigners Residents Action Group Elmbridge (RAGE) tweeted their delight following the meeting, saying that “good sense has prevailed”.
But a Back Heathrow spokesman said the council had “caved in to a vocal minority and dismissed the views of most local residents who support expansion.”
He said: “A survey of 1,000 Elmbridge residents by Populus found that 46 per cent supported expansion with 34 per cent against and 20 per cent neutral or unsure.
“For Cllr Browne to suggest that there is no ‘convincing or independent evidence’ to suggest any economic benefits from expansion would benefit the UK and the borough is a ridiculous and alarming dismissal of the facts.
“Might we point him towards the three-year study by the Airports Commission? Elmbridge residents who support Heathrow expansion do so because of the new jobs and investment opportunities that will come to the local area. The council has let them down badly.”
Elmbridge council opposes Heathrow expansion until health concerns addressed
New group (RAGE) in Elmbridge, to oppose Heathrow noise and expansion, want MP Dominic Raab to “come off the fence”
A new community group has been formed in Elmbridge. RAGE (Residents Action Group Elmbridge) is opposing changed Heathrow flight paths & a 3rd Heathrow runway, believing there is quite enough noise pollution and air pollution already, from the airport. Elmbridge is affected by Heathrow flights. RAGE campaigners have demanded that their MP (Dominic Raab, Conservative – Esher and Walton) and Elmbridge Council take a stance on the issue – as a government decision on a new runway is anticipated before Christmas. Neither has reached an official view on a Heathrow runway. Dominic Raab is sitting on the fence, and not committing to oppose a Heathrow runway, presumably not keen to fall out with Tory leaders. He has said he is “scrutinising the Davies Report carefully, including testing the economic and environmental assumptions.” Mr Raab appears to be hoping there could, magically, be less noise for Elmbridge with a 3rd runway than currently. “I want to check the facts and evidence very carefully before coming to a firm view….” RAGE were shocked that Elmbridge Council had only just formed a task force on the issue. RAGE spokeswoman Katy Glassborow said Heathrow expansion would bring more noise and pollution, and Dominic Raab should find out what local people think and work to prevent the negative impacts on his constituents.