Mayor, Sadiq Khan, ready to join legal action by Councils against 3rd runway at Heathrow
Mayor ready to join legal action against third runway at Heathrow
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will join legal action brought by local councils against Heathrow Airport expansion if Parliament votes in favour of a third runway next week.
At Mayor’s Question Time this morning, Sadiq reiterated his opposition to the Government’s decision to back Heathrow expansion and highlighted the many obstacles in the way, including significant environmental and noise impacts that a third runway would have on Londoners’ lives, as well as concerns about funding necessary transport improvements.
Sadiq’s announcement builds on his previous support for the joint legal challenge by the affected borough councils – Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead Councils. To date, TfL have provided valuable technical support to the local councils, which Hammersmith and Fulham Council recently indicated they would join.
Heathrow already exposes more people to aircraft noise than Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Munich and Madrid airports combined. An expansion would mean the intolerable prospect of an extra 200,000 Londoners, including 124 schools and 43,200 schoolchildren, being exposed to an unacceptable level of noise every day.
This disturbs the everyday lives of Londoners, leading to health problems related to stress and sleep disturbance, with noise exposure for school children reducing reading levels and memory recall.
A third runway at Heathrow would also lead to even higher levels of toxic air in an area where pollution is already well above legal levels for NO2 emissions.
The Government has failed to show any plans for how it will fund the billions of pounds needed to improve road and rail connections to the airport and prevent huge congestion across the transport network. TfL estimates approximately £15bn more investment will be needed when necessary new rail and road links are taken into account, compared to just £3bn more for Gatwick expansion.
The comprehensive recommendations of the Transport Select Committee have also not been accepted by Government.
Alternatively, a second runway at Gatwick would require much less additional transport investment, and provide London and rest of the UK with all the economic benefits of expansion, while keeping air quality safe and within legal limits.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “While I believe in a better Heathrow, I do not believe a bigger Heathrow is the right answer for London and I remain committed to opposing such a short-sighted decision. There are no plans on how to deal with the valid concerns about Heathrow expansion.
“If the vote on Monday in Parliament goes in favour of a third runway, then it is my intention to join the legal action brought by the local authorities.
“This will be a critical moment, and for the sake of Londoners affected by poor air quality, disruption from noise and the costs needed to improve transport connections I will do what I can to stop these poor plans.
“The south east of England is in need of additional airport capacity, but I believe the Government is pressing ahead with the wrong decision to build a new runway at Heathrow. It is my view that a second runway at Gatwick is a better option.”
Sadiq has regularly made known his opposition to a third runway through formal consultations and correspondence to the Secretary of State. The Mayor will ensure that briefings will be provided to MPs to inform Monday’s debate and vote.
Comment from the No 3rd Runway Coalition:
Commenting on London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s announcement that City Hall will enjoin legal action against a third runway at Heathrow and the resignation from Government of Greg Hands MP, Paul McGuinness, Chair No 3rd runway Coalition, said:
“Last week it was Hammersmith and Fulham, this week it’s the Mayor of London, committing themselves to joining other councils in the legal challenge against a third runway.
The Government would be unwise to underestimate the determination of London’s authorities to defeat a third runway in the courts. Just as MPs would be foolish to allow this interminable process to drag on until it’s kiboshed there”.
“Greg Hands’ resignation is principled, and wholly enforced by the government’s decision not to allow a free vote, despite its earlier promises and u-turn from its previous position to oppose Heathrow expansion.”
Hammersmith & Fulham Council will join the 4 councils’ legal challenge against Heathrow 3rd runway
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, Mayor criticises DfT’s lack of answers to fundamental questions on Heathrow
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has submitted evidence to the Transport Select Committee inquiry into the DfT’s draft NPS on a 3rd Heathrow runway. The Mayor said there would be unacceptable consequences for London; it would hamper efforts to improve London’s air quality; 200,000 more people would be exposed to noise while scheduled night flights could increase by at least a third; and there are no credible plans to maintain traffic levels or commitment for infrastructure to support 250% increase in public transport trips. He said ministers’ plans were based on the 3rd runway not being fully utilised – playing down the real impact. The government had ‘completely failed’, and was his duty to Londoners to oppose a third runway. He said: “The government has completely failed to demonstrate how Heathrow can be expanded without a severe noise, air quality and transport impact on London. The government’s position appears to be to simply hope for the best, with unproven plans that look to take advantage of unrelated improvements being made to air quality and public transport. It’s simply not good enough for one of the country’s largest infrastructure projects, and it leaves me even more concerned about the prospect of Heathrow expansion on London and the UK.”
TfL Surface Access Analysis of Heathrow possible 3rd runway warns of congestion and over-crowding that would be caused to surface transport
Transport for London (TfL) has raised concerns over the impact Heathrow expansion will have on the capital’s transport network, warning over significant crowding. In its surface access analysis (Jan 2018) TfL says a 3 runway Heathrow is expected to result in an extra 170,000 daily passenger and staff trips compared to now. While Heathrow has “pledged” that there would be no new airport related traffic on the roads compared to today, that can only mean a higher % of passengers using public transport. TfL has raised concerns over the feasibility of this – and what it will mean for London’s public transport. In order to achieve no rise in highway trips, TfL says around 65-70% of trips would need to be on public transport. That would work out as a 210% increase on journeys at present. TfL believes a 3-runway Heathrow would probably generate 90,000 extra vehicle trips along with another 100,000 extra public transport trips each day. That is likely to mean bad over-crowding of roads for non-airport users. In the morning peak for travel, there would be a 3 – 5% rise in average highway journey times across west London as far in as Westminster. For rail passengers it would mean “significant levels of crowding” on the Elizabeth Line, Piccadilly Line and Windsor lines.