Leaders of 3 main London councils set out why they know better about Heathrow impacts than MPs hundreds of miles away

Mark Menzies (MP for Fylde near Blackpool) is one of the MPs with constituencies a long way from London, who have been persuaded by Heathrow to back its 3rd runway. He has accepted, without much consideration of the local impacts, the alleged benefits of a larger Heathrow, from the airport’s publicity.  Now the leaders of some of the London boroughs that are the worst affected by Heathrow have written in “Conservative Home” to express their exasperation with this sort of attitude, by MPs whose own constituencies will suffer no local adverse impacts. Ravi Govindia, Nicholas True and Ray Puddifoot – the Leaders of Wandsworth, Richmond and Hillingdon respectively – say the 3rd runway would result in an extra 320,000 people subject to noise impact, new flight paths affecting their communities for the first time, 750 homes destroyed, and all in an area that already exceeds air quality legal limits. Many of their residents voted Conservative because of David Cameron’s firm promise in 2009  – “no ifs, no buts, no third runway at Heathrow”.  They note that Mr Menzies is well known for backing localism – giving local councils the power to act in the best interests of  their residents – not having something imposed on them.  “He will therefore understand our views.”



Ravi Govindia, Nicholas True and Ray Puddifoot: Heathrow expansion – 250 miles from reality

May 25, 2016

Cllr Ravi Govindia, is the Leader of Wandsworth Council.  

Cllr Lord True is the Leader of Richmond upon Thames Council.  

Cllr Ray Puddifoot is the Leader of Hillingdon.

In his piece last week, Mark Menzies MP makes a passionate plea to expand Heathrow.  He has a “growing sense of frustration”.  He states that “Heathrow is the plan that delivers for all” and that the “final barriers to airport expansion have gone”.
We don’t suppose these are exceptional views 250 miles north of west London. Why would they be?  It’s easy to see a consensus if your electors are not amongst the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are already blighted by the noise, air pollution, traffic and environmental degradation that is Heathrow.  And that’s before expansion.  But we do represent those electors.Is he aware that a third runway will result in an extra 320,000 people subject to noise impact, new flight paths affecting our communities for the first time, 750 homes destroyed, and all in an area that already exceeds air quality legal limits?  It would rightly cause significant alarm to our constituents if they thought this represented ‘no barriers’.

Our residents know more about the realities of Heathrow than the MP for Fylde. And they know more about the Prime Minister’s position than the claim that he “was elected on a manifesto that committed to strong leadership”.  Many of them voted Conservative as a direct consequence of his firm promise in 2009  – “no ifs, no buts, no third runway at Heathrow”.

However, we concede Mark Menzies makes an important point in seeking to reach a balance between the national interest and local concerns. Let’s take a closer look at his track record on these sometimes difficult matters.  We do not know how many readers of Conservative Home read the Lytham and St. Anne’s Express. Perhaps not many. On 28th January 2015 it carried the story – “Fylde’s Tory MP has sensationally called for fracking to be halted”.  Pictured above the story was “Mark Menzies MP, with residents and protestors showing their feelings in Little Plumpton ahead of County Hall’s decision on fracking plans”.

For our part, we will not mount a campaign to advance the interests of fracking in Little Plumpton.  Although we are not aware that the Prime Minister has said “no ifs, no buts, no fracking in Fylde”.  Mr Menzies is well known for making a very strong case for localism – giving local councils the power to act in the best interests of  their residents – not having something imposed on them.  He will therefore understand our views.

If anyone thinks Conservatives in west London are prepared to accept Heathrow as the best answer to providing much needed expansion in the south east, then we have a message for them on behalf of our constituents.

You’re fracking joking.



Mark Menzies: Now that the London Mayoral election is over, the time is right to expand Heathrow


By   ((MP for Fylde near Blackpool – conveniently very far from any impacts of Heathrow)

Warning – this article is just full of inaccuracies!

[AirportWatch comments on some of the ill-informed statements, on the article below, in red 

As a member of the Transport Select Committee, I have followed the issue of airport capacity with a growing sense of frustration in recent months. My colleagues and I on the Committee recently criticised the squandered opportunity to end decades of political dithering on airport expansion while our competitors continue to grow.

The Prime Minister was right to set up the Airports Commission, and it produced the most detailed study on UK aviation for a generation. It’s fair to say we wouldn’t have the mitigation and compensation proposals on offer from Heathrow today without this process. [True – but these offers are ONLY if there is a new runway, not otherwise.] The independent experts  [ignoring the fact that Sir Howard had board connections with companies associated with Heathrow.  Link ] concluded with a unanimous verdict in favour of Heathrow expansion last July. Ten months on, the Government is still to make a substantive decision on its recommendation.

I am therefore delighted that Heathrow has removed the final barriers to airport expansion.  [Actually, it has not.  It has made various carefully worded offers, that do not bear very close examination].  By announcing that the airport will not only meet, but in many cases exceed the stringent conditions set out by the Airports Commission, [this is what Heathrow would like people to believe – but their offers need to properly understood; they are not as generous or effective as they appear on first inspection]  there is now no viable reason for the Government to delay any further.   [Wrong.  Making a deeply wrong decision would be a serious mistake for the UK].  We must make the right choice for Britain and expand Heathrow.

The proposals from Heathrow also meet the requirements of the Environmental Audit Committee, whose report last year was cited by the Government as a reason for further delay and analysis. [No. For a start, Heathrow has not even mentioned its carbon emissions.  It has no plan to deal with that at all, other than hope that ICAO comes up with some global scheme, eventually  ….]  Heathrow’s new plan delivers the capacity the UK needs to connect to the growth markets of the future while also meeting air quality limits and ensuring fewer people are affected by noise.  [No. The numbers affected by noise can only increase, and the only way the claim can be made about “few people” is by some manipulation of noise contours, and dividing the noise up in a different way].  Expansion will generate a £211 billion economic boost, creating up to 180,000 jobs. More than half of the economic benefit will be generated outside London and the South East.  [Those figures are deeply suspect. Even the Airports Commission figure was “up to £147 billion, for all the UK, over 60 years.  Their own report gave other estimates showing very small benefits, or even a net cost over 60 years]. 

Such benefits simply wouldn’t materialise if we were to take what some consider to be the easy option of expanding Gatwick instead. Expansion there simply wouldn’t deliver either the domestic or global connectivity that Britain needs to prosper in the globalised economy. Nor can they match the mitigation and compensation package that Heathrow are offering to their local communities. [Heathrow’s offer is very small indeed, compared to the huge number of people who would need to be compensated etc].  It is why 37 airports across the country have declared their support for Heathrow expansion and recognise that the enhanced domestic connectivity will help to drive growth in their local communities. That’s why this is an important issue for people and businesses in my constituency of Fylde.

[and the inaccuracies continue ….. below ….]

With the London mayoral election having passed, now is the time for the Government to make the right choice for Britain and back expansion at Heathrow. As I said in November last year, this issue transcends short term electoral politics: it is about the economic future of the UK.  [Using the DfT’s Webtag method of calculating economic benefit, a Heathrow runway could actually being negative economically for the UK, far from massive financial benefits.  Link ]

The EU referendum rightly dominates the current political discourse but this is also no reason to further delay the decision over airport expansion. A third runway delivers for Britain regardless of the outcome of the vote, connecting us to the global markets of the future which will be vital whatever the British public decides. The country wants the Conservative Party to secure our economic future. Expanding Heathrow does this and has the added benefit of being a policy that can bring the party back together after the referendum. It is a confidence-building project that can unite Remainers and Leavers, thus proving that we are a party governing in the national interest and able to take tough decisions when needed.  [Uniting the fractured Conservative party could hardly be regarded as sensible justification for such an environmentally damaging, and financially ill-advised project, that would also negatively impact the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people noisily – and continually  – overflown].

While I recognise the vocal opposition to expansion from some in West London, I hope they will take comfort in the £1 billion compensation package, [that comes out to a very tiny amount per household, and is just a one-off payment, even if Heathrow ever paid it.  Link ] a six and half hour long ban on night flights [that ban would not in reality be as much as sic and a half hours   Link ] and Heathrow’s support for a legislative ban on a fourth runway.  [If the law of the land says there will be no 4th runway, Heathrow would have little choice but to accept. Heathrow has just said it would obey the law. Which everyone else has to, all the time].

Beyond West London, the strength of support from across the country can no longer be ignored.  [Many across the country are not at all happy that about £18 billion, or more, of taxpayers’ money would have to be spent on transport infrastructure, let alone everything else, for a Heathrow runway. They resent how much is spent on the south east, and would prefer this money to help the regions instead.]  From our brilliant Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson to Liam Fox and his army of South West Conservative MPs, there is strong support for Heathrow expansion within the Conservative Party. Graham Brady, the Chair of 1922 Committee predicted  [any one can predict anything …..] in July last year that around 600 of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons would back Heathrow expansion were it put forward by the Government.

David Cameron was elected on a manifesto that committed to strong leadership, a clear economic plan and a brighter, more secure future for our country. Heathrow is the plan that delivers for all. The final barriers to airport expansion have gone.  [The barriers have absolutely NOT gone. That is why the government is so concerned  about legal challenges to a Heathrow runway decision making it impossible.  Not to mention embarrassing]. Now the Government must make the right choice for Britain.