Over 100,000 residents of Hounslow, Hillingdon and Richmond vote in local polls against a 3rd Heathrow runway or more flights
Three of the local council areas most affected by Heathrow aircraft noise – Richmond, Hillingdon and Hounslow – recently carried out referendums of their residents on the subject of Heathrow growth. All three ended on 16th May. In total, well over 140,000 people responded to the polls. They voted overwhelmingly against expansion of the airport, against a new runway, and against more flights over Londoners. In the Hounslow poll, 72% of residents said they are against expansion, but 64% said they did not want to see a new hub airport built if it meant losing Heathrow. 83% of Hounslow residents were in favour of a night flight ban (11pm to 7pm) and 94% wanted better noise insulation for schools and residents living under the flight path. In the Richmond and the Hillingdon polls combined, 72% were against a 3rd runway, and 73% were against increasing the number of flights. The Standard says the findings of the poll are bound to be exploited by councillors as they go to the voters in next spring’s local elections. Heathrow sought vainly to rubbish the polls by saying they were voting on an outdated 3rd runway proposal.
100,000 Heathrow neighbours say ‘no’ to third runway or increase in flights
[The press releases from Richmond council and Hounslow council are below].
21 May 2013
Londoners living closest to Heathrow have voted overwhelmingly against expansion of the airport in the largest poll of its kind.
More than 100,000 people said they opposed a third runway or an increase in flights in referendums run by Richmond and Hillingdon councils. Seventy two per cent were opposed to a third runway and 73 per cent were against increasing the number of flights.
Some 140,000 people cast their vote in the four-week referendum with a turnout of 41%. In Hounslow, 72% opposed expansion although the majority expressed concerns about the impact on the local economy if a rival London hub emerged, according to the results of a separate consultation also published today.
Boris Johnson said the joint referendum result would “set Whitehall aquiver”. The Mayor said it strengthened his case for an Estuary airport, and called on the Government to signal to the Aviation Commission to rule out Heathrow expansion as a solution to the capacity crisis.
Speaking to the Standard, he said: “This is much more emphatic and conclusive than we had expected.
“This vote will set Whitehall aquiver and a lot of people will realise that the plans for a third runway at Heathrow are an intellectual cul-de-sac. It shows runway three is dead in the water and plans for Big Heathrow are not going to happen.”
Findings of the poll are bound to be exploited by councillors as they go to the voters in next spring’s local elections.
Presenting the results with the Mayor at City Hall, Lord True, leader of Richmond council, said: “We now know we have tens of thousands of people behind us in our fight to ensure there are no increases in the number of runways, flights, noise levels or pollution at Heathrow airport, all of which have a colossal impact on the quality of life of our residents.”
Leader of Hillingdon council Ray Puddifoot said: “At the last general election David Cameron said there would be no third runway at Heathrow.
“The strength of this vote is an indication that (residents) expect him to be as good as his word.”
A Heathrow spokesman said: “Hillingdon and Richmond have carried out a consultation on an outdated runway proposal which is not being promoted by Heathrow.
“Heathrow will submit outline proposals for additional capacity to the Airports Commission in July and we are committed to consulting the councils and residents and listening to their views as we develop our plans.”
Results from Hillingdon can be seen at https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/26827/Hillingdon-votes-against-expansion
Results from Richmond can be seen at
Borough-wide consultations by Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon Boroughs on Heathrow expansion – end 16th May
May 7, 2013 Hounslow Council has a community consultation, called “Make Some Noise Over Heathrow” through which they are trying to assess the views of their borough residents on Heathrow expansion. Residents can comment online or via a paper questionnaire, which is being distributed to some 100,000 households. The consultation started on 9th April and ends on 16th May.
Richmond and Hillingdon councils have similar consultations which also end on 16th May. Hounslow is one of the places most affected by noise from the airport, lying directly under both main approach paths from east to west, and is also affected by noise from easterly take-offs. Cllr Colin Ellar, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said while appreciating that many borough residents work at Heathrow, they want a better deal for all residents who suffer the environmental downsides of Heathrow, particularly aircraft noise. They want the views of residents to be heard above those of government or of Heathrow itself. The results of the consultation will be presented to the Airports Commission later in the summer.
21.5.2013 (Richmond Council press release)
100,000 SAY NO to Heathrow expansion
In a huge exercise in local democracy, Richmond upon Thames and Hillingdon Councils have been holding borough-wide ballots to offer residents an opportunity to express their views on the proposed expansion of Heathrow.
The results show that an overwhelming majority of residents in both boroughs (72%) are against a third runway and 73% do not want to see any more flights in or out of the airport. That is over 100,000 people saying ‘No’ to both questions.
Over the four week voting period (from 22 April to 16 May) 342,514 residents were invited to cast their vote on two questions:
- Should a third runway be built at Heathrow?
- Are you in favour of more flights into and out of Heathrow?
140,516 returned their vote. An overall turnout of 41%.
The results will now be presented to the Government to demonstrate that any further expansion of Heathrow Airport is not acceptable to the majority of people in West London.
Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
“Enough people have said “NO” in just two of London’s 32 Boroughs to make Twickenham Rugby Stadium overflow. The people have spoken – now let the people be heard. This government has rightly promoted the use of referendums by local Councils. We have pioneered in the use of this device and the result is outstanding – a staggering number of people taking the chance to have a direct say on a big policy issue and make their voice heard. We are all – councillors and MPs – elected to fight for our residents and this referendum has shown us that there is no issue more important to them than this.
“Together with Hillingdon this sends the loudest message to all the decision takers about the barmy Big Heathrow plan. For our boroughs the question about expanding Heathrow is dead and buried; most people thought that was the case when David Cameron and Nick Clegg gave that pledge in 2010. We didn’t hear any small print about 2015 then. Hopefully now the Government can see the strength of West London opposition, it will stand by its word.
“Richmond and Hillingdon are against any plan to expand Heathrow now or in the future. It is not an adequate or a safe site for a massive airport. We now know we have tens of thousands of people behind us in our to fight to ensure there are no increases in the number of runways, flights, noise or levels of pollution at Heathrow Airport, all of which would have a colossal impact on the quality of life for our residents. The Government should stop fudging till 2015, rule out this not-fit-for-purpose site and get on with delivering an expansion in a better site.”
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, added:
“The Council has always been clear about our opposition to expansion at Heathrow and this emphatic result shows that the majority of our residents agree with us.
“Today the people of Hillingdon have sent a clear message to the Prime Minister and the Government.
“At the last general election we were promised by David Cameron that there would be no third runway at Heathrow, as it was unsuitable for expansion and that an alternative solution had to be found.
“I believed him, and so did many of the residents of Hillingdon. The strength of this vote is an indication that they now expect him to be as good as his word.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added:
“It is sheer lunacy to even think about attempting to squeeze an extra runway into an area which is so densely populated and already blighted by noise and air pollution – especially as a third runway can only lead to a fourth. Sometimes I wonder if those championing Heathrow expansion are looking at the wrong map. The people of Richmond and Hillingdon have spoken with a resounding ‘No’ to this ludicrous idea. They are shouting this so loudly that even those with their heads buried firmly in the sand over the issue should be able to hear them!”
We want a better not a bigger airport say Hounslow residents
Tue, 21 May 2013 ( Hounslow council press release)
72 per cent of residents said they are against expansion, but 64 per cent said they did not want to see a new hub airport built if it meant losing Heathrow.
Residents were also overwhelmingly in favour of a ban on night flights between 11pm and 7am (83 per cent) and a huge 94 per cent want better noise insulation for schools and residents living under the flight path.
Councillor Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council and cabinet member for environment, said: “Hounslow residents have spoken and they are saying loud and clear, we don’t want a bigger Heathrow – we want a better Heathrow.
“It’s now time for Heathrow and all stakeholders to grasp the nettle and make a decision in the interests of our residents and the nation.”
Heathrow’s importance to Hounslow’s economy was underlined with 87 per cent of respondents saying the airport was very or slightly important. 55 per cent of respondents added that Heathrow was beneficial to their families.
Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Jagdish Sharma, said: “Hounslow is the borough most affected by Heathrow in terms of noise and the economy – our findings reflect these facts.
More early morning flights for Heathrow, say airport bosses
17 May 2013
They suggest switching some flights that currently land between 6am and 7am, but using one runway instead of two.
It would mean residents under the landing path would suffer noise from up to a dozen more planes between 5am and 6am. But people living under the other runway’s arrival path would suffer little or no disturbance.
Around 16 flights a day currently arrive between 4.30am and 6am, with 42 landing between 6am and 7am.
Currently, two runways are used for landings between 6am and 7am. Under the proposals, all flights would land at only one runway from 5am to 7am. The runway used would be alternated, probably weekly.
The shake-up, which would require a slight increase in the night flight quota, is among several proposed by Heathrow in a submission to the Airports Commission and include:
* No longer concentrating planes on a few flight paths to lessen noise for areas overflown but spreading it instead to other communities.
* Allowing planes to take off and land eastwards when there is little or no wind. This will lead to a small reduction in noise over London, possibly from 60 fewer arrivals a day, but more disturbance over Berkshire.
* Using “operational freedom” measures, including “early vectoring” which sees planes divert more quickly off traditional take-off flight paths.
“We are listening to local residents’ concerns,” said Colin Matthews, Heathrow’s chief executive, but he stressed that only a third runway could address the airport’s capacity problems.
Anti-Heathrow expansion group HACAN said the early morning changes were “definitely worth considering”.
In a submission to the Airports Commission, London Mayor Boris Johnson said lifting the legal cap on the annual 480,000 flights at the airport, which is at full capacity, would take years.
Mr Johnson, who wants to build a “super airport” in the Thames Estuary, said: “The history of airport policy has been dominated by short-termism and attempts to squeeze ever more flights into Heathrow. It is now time to accept the reality that Heathrow is full.”