Theresa May at odds with her Maidenhead council and local Tory party chairman over Heathrow
The Chairman of Theresa May’s local Maidenhead Conservative Association is part of a group threatening to sue her government if it approves the 3rd runway at Heathrow. Cllr Geoffrey Hill sits on a council warning it will launch legal action within days if Heathrow expansion is backed. Senior Windsor & Maidenhead council figures believe increasing capacity at Heathrow would blight their residents with even more noise and pollution -and are determined to stop the project. Theresa May is widely expected to back Heathrow over Gatwick when she makes a decision on airport expansion – perhaps on Tuesday 18th October (or 11th?). The Prime Minister’s constituency of Maidenhead, which she has represented since 1997, is badly overflown by Heathrow planes. Mrs May voiced her concerns about a 3rd runway before the 2010 election but has since made little public comment on the development. (See her comments from 2010 and 2009 below). Windsor and Maidenhead council is one of 4 local authorities threatening to challenge any decision to build a Heathrow runway through the courts. Simon Dudley, the Tory leader of the council, said their judicial review could see the case in the courts for years, delaying or preventing the runway’s construction. The council has put aside £30,000 to fight the legal battle. Maidenhead councillors campaigned on opposing an extension of Heathrow locally before the 2015 election.
Theresa May at odds with her local party chairman over Heathrow
By Ben Riley-Smith, assistant political editor (Telegraph)
8 OCTOBER 2016
The head of Theresa May’s local Tory association is part of a group threatening to sue her government if it approves the third runway at Heathrow.
Geoffrey Hill, chairman of the Maidenhead Conservative Association, sits on a council warning it will launch legal action within days if Heathrow expansion is backed.
Senior council figures believe increasing capacity at the airport would blight their residents with even more noise and pollution and are determined to stop the project.
Sources said Mr Hill supports the Tory council’s threat of judicial review but does not want to comment openly because of his association’s links with the Prime Minister.
That puts him at odds with Mrs May, who is widely expected to back Heathrow over Gatwick when she makes a decision on airport expansion later this month.
The Prime Minister’s constituency of Maidenhead, which she has represented since 1997, is less than half an hour’s drive from Heathrow.
Anti-Heathrow campaigners say she voiced concerns about a third runway before the 2010 election but has since made little public comment on the development. (See her comments from 2010 and 2009 below).
Yet Windsor and Maidenhead council is one of four local authorities threatening to challenge any decision to build a third runway through the courts.
The council is run by the Conservatives and the party’s councillors campaigned on opposing an extension of Heathrow locally before the 2015 election.
Mr Hill, a Windsor and Maidenhead councillor, sits on the group’s cabinet and supports the Heathrow position according to sources – though he has declined to speak publicly in favour of the move.
Messages from his Twitter account have steered clear of discussing airport expansion in recent moments, sticking instead to praising Mrs May’s early months in office.
There was little sign of tension on Friday when Mr Hill was among a handful of Maidenhead Tories who dined with Mrs May and her husband Philip.
A photograph posted online shows both Mrs May and Mr Hill at a restaurant table at a meeting of the local party’s “Maidenhead Supper Club.”
However the Tory council’s determination to challenge a Heathrow third runway through the courts highlights the split between Mrs May and local Conservatives.
Simon Dudley, the Tory leader of Windsor and Maidenhead council, explained their decision to threaten a judicial review, would could see the case in the courts for years.
“The consequences for our residents are very severe. They already suffer from very significant noise pollution, lack of respite and environmental effects from Heathrow,” he told the Telegraph.
“An expansion of Heathrow would only exacerbate what is already a very difficult situation.
“From our perspective it is a very straight forward situation: On announcement, we will commence legal action.
“We will purposefully commence legal action before any parliamentary vote because we want to protect our residence. That is an important piece of information at the time MPs will vote on this. Deliverability has to be an important consideration.”
The council has put aside £30,000 to fight the legal battle and wrote to David Cameron about the issue when he was prime minister.
The legal firm Harrison Grant has been helping the council as well as three others – Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth – with the possible judicial review.
Phillip Bicknell, deputy leader of Windsor and Maidenhead council, said: “As a council we are opposed because of the extra noise, extra pollution and lack of facility to put roads and other infrastructure in.”
…. and then general background stuff …..
A Number 10 source played down the Maidenhead row by saying Mrs May would take a decision in the national interest. Mr Hill did not respond to a request for comment.
“Theresa speaks out against government’s decision to approve a third runway at Heathrow
16 January 2009
Theresa May has spoken out against the Government’s plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport, which were approved by the Transport Secretary yesterday. The plans will result in an increase in flights over the local area, affecting thousands of people in Maidenhead and the surrounding area.
The Transport Secretary, Geoff Hoon, has stated that an additional 125,000 flights would be allowed each year but failed to rule out even bigger increases. Speaking in the House of Commons, Theresa questioned Mr Hoon, saying:
“As a result of today’s announcements, my constituents face the prospect of a reduction in their quality of life with more planes flying overhead, restriction in driving their cars locally and a far worse train service in Crossrail. I hope that the Secretary of State recognises that as a result of today’s announcement, nobody will take this Government seriously on the environment again. On a very specific point, when terminal 5 was announced, the then Secretary of State promised us a cap on the number of flights a year of 480,000. The Government have now broken their word, and this Secretary of State is playing the same game. In today’s statement he says: ‘I want there to be a limit on the initial use of the third runway so that the increase in aircraft movements does not exceed 125,000 a year’. That is an aspiration, not a commitment. Will he now say that it is a commitment, how it will be put in place and why my constituents should believe him today any more than they believed the previous Transport Secretary who put a cap on flights?”
Commenting afterwards, Theresa said: “I know from all the letters and emails I get that many local people will be devastated by the Government’s decision. A third runway will result in thousands of additional flights, increased noise and more pollution for thousands of people. The Government’s promises on the environmental impact of this are not worth the paper they are written on – there are no planes currently on the market that would allow them to meet their noise and carbon dioxide targets.”
“As I suspected all along, the Government paid no attention to the opinions expressed by members of the public and have decided to push ahead with expansion despite all the environmental warnings. We need a better Heathrow, not a bigger Heathrow.”
Theresa welcomed the Government’s decision not to proceed with ‘mixed mode’ operations at Heathrow, which would have increased the number of flights even before a third runway is built. She said, “Although this decision is welcome there are no guarantees as to how long the Government’s commitment will last, particularly given the way in which previous promises have been broken.” ”
20 May 2010
Theresa May has welcomed the Government’s decision to cancel the third runway project at Heathrow Airport. The third runway, which was planned by the previous Government, would have resulted in additional flights and increased noise and pollution in the Maidenhead and Twyford areas, and was opposed by Theresa and many local residents.
The commitment to scrap the third runway project is contained in the coalition government’s ‘Programme for Government’, published today.
Theresa said, “Like many local residents, I strongly welcome to cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow. Expanding Heathrow in this way would have had a detrimental effect on the Maidenhead and Twyford areas by increasing levels of noise and pollution, and today’s announcement is a victory for all those who have campaigned against it.”
and more at
Archive material reveals the extent of new Prime Minister’s opposition to a 3rd runway at Heathrow over many years
Campaign group HACAN has unearthed archive material, from Theresa May’s website, which reveals that the new Prime Minister has been a fierce opponent of a third runway at Heathrow, for many years. Her comments on Heathrow since 2008 are copied here. For example, in January 2009 in response to the decision by the Labour Government to give the go-ahead to a 3rd runway, she said: “I know from all the letters and emails I get that many local people will be devastated by the Government’s decision. A third runway will result in thousands of additional flights, increased noise and more pollution for thousands of people. The Government’s promises on the environmental impact of this are not worth the paper they are written on – there are no planes currently on the market that would allow them to meet their noise and carbon dioxide targets. …. We need a better Heathrow, not a bigger Heathrow.”
Theresa May’s local council, Windsor & Maidenhead, vows court fight if she backs Heathrow runway
The Tory leader of Theresa May’s own local council, Windsor and Maidenhead, has vowed to use “all necessary financial resources” for a High Court battle to block a third runway at Heathrow. Councillor Simon Dudley, Leader of the council, pledged the legal action to protect residents “irrespective of who the Prime Minister is”. He has joined forces with Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames and Hillingdon councils for the looming court battle if the Government backs Heathrow expansion. “We have very significant financial resources,” he said. “We will put all the necessary financial resources behind a vigorous legal action.” The Council’s lawyers, Harrison Grant, wrote to David Cameron this year warning him that his “no ifs, no buts” promise before the 2010 general election to oppose a third runway had created a “legitimate expectation” among residents that the project would not go ahead. So if it were given the green light, they argued, it would be an “abuse of power correctable by the courts”. Mr Dudley said Windsor and Maidenhead had allocated £30,000 for the legal battle and signalled that this could rise to hundreds of thousands. The council’s concerns include more pollution, noise and traffic as well as extra housing needs created by a larger Heathrow. A recent poll in the areas suggested around 38% opposed the runway, with 34% in favour of it.