Liberal Democrats welcome unanimous vote against Heathrow expansion at Ealing full council meeting
Date added: December 20, 2018
Ealing Council has voted unanimously for the first time against the expansion of Heathrow airport. They argued that it was necessary for all Ealing Councillors to join forces against the expansion to strengthen the chances of overturning the government’s proposals – which they say will lead to more air and noise pollution including night flights. Meanwhile the MP for Ealing and Southall, Virendra Sharma, is a keen backer of the Heathrow runway, and even apparently (due to lack of proper understanding of the issues, and too ready an acceptance to believe the airport’s assurances) believes it has not problem with air pollution.
Liberal Democrats welcome unanimous vote at full council
19.12.2018 (Ealing Today)
Liberal Democrat Councillors, Gary Malcolm and Jon Ball, who have been campaigning against the development for over 11 years, spoke in a motion about the airport at the full council meeting on Tuesday 18th December. Ealing Council has voted unanimously for the first time against the expansion of Heathrow airport.
They argued that it was necessary for all Ealing Councillors to join forces against the expansion to strengthen the chances of overturning the government’s proposals – which they say will lead to more air and noise pollution including night flights.
Councillor Gary Malcolm, Ealing Lib Dem Leader, said:
“Liberal Democrats for decades have been against Heathrow expansion. We are happy that the Labour party has joined us, so that we can fight expansion as one whole Council. Expanding Heathrow would mean more people die from air pollution.
( Lib Dems campaigning against expansion in 2007)
(Lib Dem campaigning in 2015)
In the debate two Labour Councillors initially spoke up FOR Heathrow expansion but when the votes were cast, Councillors from all three political parties voted against Heathrow expansion.
Councillor Gary Malcolm, Ealing Lib Dem Leader, said:
“Liberal Democrats for decades have been against Heathrow expansion. We are happy that the Labour party has joined us, so that we can fight expansion as one whole Council. Expanding Heathrow would mean more people die from air pollution. Any expansion would almost certainly break European rules for air quality.”
An AirportWatch member who attended the meeting said:
Ealing Councils has been sitting the fence on issue of a third runway. At the full council meeting on Tuesday, the Conservative opposition tabled a motion:
“This Council states that it is opposed to a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
This Council therefore pledges to support those organisations and local authorities who are taking legal action against the plans to expand Heathrow Airport.”
This was supported by the LibDems.
A member of the public was allowed to ask a ‘public question’ and asked it on Heathrow expansion and climate change, referring to the extra £2.9m tonnes of CO2 pa that would be emitted.
The Conservatives and LibDems cited in particular the issues of air pollution and congestion and also climate change. Interestingly, they did not particularly focus on noise.
The Labour response was, broadly:
This is a national government decision and therefore there is little that Ealing can do.
With severe cash constraints the council cannot justify spending money opposing it.
Ealing seeks to get the maximum compensation/mitigation
There were a couple of speeches form Southall Labour councillors supporting expansion. This included one from Cllr Mann which sounded like a script provided by Back Heathrow. He quoted [wider] economic benefits of £211bn which, is utterly nonsense. A current economic assessment shows the benefits are now estimated by DfT as £1.8m to £3.1bn. That is for the whole of the UK over 60 years.
When it looked as if the motion would be voted down, the Conservatives adroitly amended the motion to the first part only: “This Council states that it is opposed to a third runway at Heathrow Airport.” Or words to that effect.
This was passed with all councillors agreeing, even the ones who had just spoken out in favour of expansion.
Although it is not the motion Heathrow opponents would have ideally liked, it at least eases Ealing off the fence. And it provides the opportunity to push the council to support the organisations who are opposing expansion.
Ealing residents can make it clear it to the council it can give public and moral support without needing to spend money, thereby obviating their original objection.
Ealing Council, that has avoided opposing Heathrow runway, wants £150 million to compensate residents
October 28, 2016
Last time round when there was nearly a 3rd Heathrow runway, in 2008- 2009, Ealing Council was part of the 2M group of councils opposing it. In the intervening years, there are only 4 councils really taking forward the opposition. Ealing has increasingly been seen as changing its stance, to luke-warm support for the runway. In July 2015, rather than restate its anti-runway stance the Labour group passed a motion “demanding answers” from the Conservative government on what it intended to do at Heathrow, if expansion is permitted. Its MP, Virendra Sharma, who had been against the runway, announced in August that he now supported it. Now the council leader (Labour) Julian Bell says he wants demanding £150 million, so Ealing can cope with the environmental impact of the runway at Heathrow. “”While we welcome the jobs and economic benefits of Heathrow, a 3rd runway will inevitably cause more noise, pollution and traffic that will damage the quality of life of local people. …Straight talking and tough negotiating is what is needed if this goes ahead and I will continue to demand Heathrow Airport provides the best compensation deal for the people of Ealing.” Slough Council got a deal with Heathrow early on in 2015, to try to get financial benefits from the airport, in exchange for not opposing it.
Ealing’s MP, Virendra Sharma, is a keen supporter of a Heathrow runway:
The Labour MPs below signed a letter in support of Heathrow. Below is a little detail about why they may have done this:
Virendra Sharma MP (Ealing, Southall)Changed his mind under influence of Heathrow. Resigned from his junior post in the Labour Government in protest against the 3rdrunway. Now believes the conditions will mitigate the impact. Lots of Heathrow-related jobs in his constituency.
Virendra Sharma MP: Heathrow meets Labour’s air quality test
Virendra Sharma MP
House of Commons
In Politics Home
17th May 2018
West London Labour MP Virendra Sharma writes in support of Heathrow expansion due to the reduction of any environmental impact of the project, the creation of up to 40,000 local jobs doubling the number of apprentices to 10,000.
For those of us living in cities, concern over our air quality has been mounting. So much so, that businesses and politicians have united to tackle toxic concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), released into the air by diesel cars. And while progress is certainly being made, with the phasing out of diesel buses and the introduction of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, action to accelerate the clean-up of our air should be welcomed.
That is why I am delighted to hear the announcement that Heathrow is launching a fleet of up to 200 fully electric Jaguar i-Paces, for passengers to hire. It will be the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) fleet to date.
For the UK’s cities, the switch to EVs is a crucial step towards a clean and sustainable future. And it will come much quicker than we first anticipated.
Technologies are improving, vehicle ranges are increasing, and charging points across the UK are swiftly being installed. In fact, new research suggests that up to 55% of all vehicles on London’s roads could become electric by 2030, which will accelerate uptake by the remainder of the city’s residents. And the impact on London’s air quality will be transformational – with NO2 concentrations expected to drop by up to 8%.
Heathrow is leading this charge, and today marks its next step along. The airport has already built the highest density of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Europe, which it continues to grow. It is trialling innovative technology in this space, including rapid charging points and electric buses on the airfield, and has plans for an ultra-low emission zone airside to encourage ground handlers and airlines to use electric technology. It’s all part of Heathrow’s ambition to deliver expansion sustainably.
You may know I have not always supported Heathrow’s new runway. In 2009 I resigned from my role as a parliamentary private secretary over the Government’s proposals for the project.
But Heathrow’s plans have come on a long way since then. After years of scrutiny and re-drafting, today, Heathrow’s plans root the local community and environment at the heart.
I’ve been clear that my support for expansion hinges on Heathrow’s commitment to these two things. Not just on their efforts to maximise the benefits of expansion for our local residents, with up to 40,000 new local jobs and doubling the amount of apprenticeships to 10,000 – but on their efforts to use this major project as an opportunity to shake-up old methods, mitigate against the airport’s impacts, and find a cleaner, better way of doing things.
My party has been clear on this too. That’s why, in 2015, we set out our ‘Four Tests’ for expansion, that we still stick by today. We called on Heathrow to: demonstrate the evidence for increased airport capacity; reduce CO2 emissions; meet local concerns surrounding noise and environmental impacts; and guarantee that the benefits of expansion will be felt across all of Britain, not just the South East.
Heathrow has taken each test seriously, and has continued to pass them. Through its consultations with local communities, Heathrow has not only heard its neighbours’ views on issues affecting them, but begun to action them.
Of course, no airport will be without an environmental impact. But today is another example of how Heathrow has the ambition and know-how to not only meet, but in some cases exceed its environmental commitments and set the bar for others.
Heathrow expansion will keep Britain connected to the world after Brexit, in the most sustainable way.
So, every time I fly into Heathrow, my welcome home will be enhanced in the knowledge that this is a gateway Britain can be proud of. It is a gateway that stands up to its promises; that looks after the environment, its community and its people. It is a gateway that passes the test.
That is why I wholeheartedly support this project. And I urge my Labour colleagues, and those of all parties, to join me in supporting a new runway that will deliver for all of Britain.
Virendra Sharma is the Labour MP for Ealing Southall