Heathrow oppositon hold largest public meeting in Wandsworth for 20 years
21.1.2008 (local Guardian)
The largest public meeting in Wandsworth for more than 20 years was held on Thursday
when more than 700 people squeezed into St Mary’s Church, Putney, to hear about
plans to expand Heathrow Airport. The vast majority were against expansion, adding
to the groundswell of opposition to the Government’s proposals for a third runway.
A council spokesman said: “It was the biggest attendance at any airport meeting
ever organised by the council and the biggest public meeting in 20 years.”
Speakers addressed the main environmental and personal impacts of building a
3rd runway and discussed the proposed end to runway alternation, which would allow
a further 60,000 planes a year to use the existing runways – and mean flights
would land over the borough for 18 hours-a-day.
The DfT declined the chance to further the case for expansion by refusing to
exhibit its plans in Wandsworth.
Councillor Jim Maddan, Wandsworth’s representative on the Heathrow Area Consultative
Committee, said: “It’s vital that everybody who is disturbed by aircraft noise
has the chance to comment on these plans. “It’s a complex document but the council
has tried to pick out the key areas which affect local people.
“We now want the minister to extend the consultation deadline so people have
more time to work through the material.”
John Stewart, chairman of anti-expansion group HACAN, said a bandwagon of opposition
was building across south and west London. “On Tuesday I was at Chiswick where
another church was packed to the rafters with people concerned about the threat
to their quality of life.
“I think ministers have underestimated just how strongly people feel about the
way this latest round of expansion is being handled,” he said.
Putney MP Justine Greening added: “You only had to see the sheer numbers of people
crowding into St Mary’s to appreciate the level of concern that the threat of
even more aircraft noise is generating in the community.
“I hope we were able to provide some of the detail that will help residents in
their responses to the Secretary of State.”
The DfT consultation ends on February 27. For more information visit dft.gov.uk.
To find out about public meetings, how to respond to the consultation, and how
you can get involved, see