London Assembly votes decisively that “there is no circumstance under which Heathrow expansion would be acceptable”

Sir Howard Davies and Phil Graham, from the (now closed) Airports Commission, attended a Question and Answer session at the London Assembly. It is fully recorded and can be seen here.  Over the two hour session, they answered questions on a range of issues including economics, reasons for rejecting Gatwick, noise, night flights, conditions imposed on Heathrow, air pollution, adequacy of surface access, amount of money needed to be paid by the taxpayer for surface access improvements, carbon emissions, impact on regional airports etc.  Assembly members did not appear particularly persuaded by the replies they received. After the Q&A session, a motion was voted on.  It was passed unanimously (13:0). The full text of the amended Motion is:  “That the Assembly notes the answers to the questions asked and reiterates its belief that there is no circumstance under which Heathrow expansion would be acceptable.” The motion was proposed by Richard Tracey, and seconded by Darren Johnson.  The Assembly say this is an absolute NO to Heathrow.



An absolute no to Heathrow

8 September 2015  (London Assembly)

The London Assembly today reaffirmed its position on Heathrow expansion during a public meeting with the author of the Airports Commission report, Sir Howard Davies.

Assembly Members agreed a motion that says a firm ‘no’ to expanding Heathrow, conflicting with the recommendation made in the controversial report.

Richard Tracey AM, who proposed the motion said:

“A third runway at Heathrow would be the wrong choice for Londoners and the country. Increased noise in west London and the fact that the additional landing space would not solve the long term aviation capacity problem makes the policy a non-starter. This is an opportunity for the Assembly to go on record to show we are united in our opposition to this flawed option.”

Darren Johnson AM, who seconded the motion said:

“The Assembly has been united in opposing Heathrow expansion for a decade, and I’m glad a majority still oppose it today. A third runway would make it impossible to tackle climate change and reduce air pollution below legal limits, and it would expose one million Londoners to aircraft noise. The only people to really benefit would be the owners of Heathrow airport.”

The full text of the amended Motion is:

“That the Assembly notes the answers to the questions asked and reiterates its belief that there is no circumstance under which Heathrow expansion would be acceptable.”


Notes to editors: 

  1. The motion was agreed by 13 votes for and none against. [All the Labour members abstained].
  2. Watch the full webcast.
  3. Richard Tracey AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.


Some of the questions asked by Assembly members:

Subject:       Questions and Answer Session – Airport Commission

Report of:    Executive Director of Secretariat

(these and other Assembly members could also ask other questions)


Subject: 3rd Runway Mitigation

Question No: 2015/2492

Richard Tracey

Your report calls for a 3rd runway at Heathrow to be mitigated by a number of measures including the banning of night flights. Can you confirm that, if those mitigating factors were not introduced then you would no longer support a 3rd runway?


Meagre benefits from a third runway

Question No: 2015/2493

Darren Johnson

What proportion of new passenger journeys generated by a third runway by 2031 would be new origin and destination flights, as opposed to international transfers and passengers swapping from other British airports?


Utilising Capacity at Airports in the South East.

Question No: 2015/2494

Caroline Pidgeon

Given the extensive political opposition to a third runway at Heathrow and the inevitable legal and planning challenges that will arise it is almost certain expansion is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future at Heathrow.  In light of these realities do you believe sufficient attention has been given to improving surface transport to ensure that the significant spare air capacity at existing airports in the south east is fully utilised.

Effect on the Environment of a Third Runway

Question No: 2015/2495

Valerie Shawcross

Is it possible to expand Heathrow Airport without having a negative effect on London’s environment and the health of Londoners?