The battle for representation in the Heathrow Airport consultation continues for Surrey Heath, despite efforts by Surrey County Council (SCC) to include the borough in the expansion talks.
On March 17, SCC publicly challenged the government’s refusal to hold Heathrow Airport expansion meetings in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge .
However, such attempts have not satisfied campaign group, Aircraft Noise 3 Villages (AN3V) who demand action over increased aircraft noise in Lightwater , Windlesham and Bagshot .
While Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) and SCC continue to be prodded, campaigners are now putting local MP Michael Gove under the spotlight for refusing to take part in a public meeting with constituents.
“He has, however, confirmed the Department of Transport (DfT) will not leaflet or hold consultation events in this area.”
In an email to Mr Gove, Mrs James stated: “The public meeting was requested by many people keen to understand what your position and that of the council is in terms not only of existing noise, but how residents will be protected from yet more noise IF expansion is finally approved.
“It would have presented an opportunity for you and those who will be directly involved in taking that final decision by way of House of Common vote, to reassure constituents that concerns are being adequately addressed and outline how this area will be protected from further aircraft noise.”
Mrs James continued: ” I urge you to reconsider your position on a meeting or at least provide some detail on how you are proposing to defend the interests of Surrey Heath residents already considerably affected by noise.”
In February, Mrs James accused SCC and SHBC for ignoring complaints and having their “heads in the sand ” over plans for a third runway at Heathrow.
A month later, the group said the consultation process was “flawed” and “biased ” after the three villages were missed during the distribution of one and-a-half million leaflets inviting people to free public consultations.
Since, AN3V has filed two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, demanding to see evidence of the information reported back by the SHBC’s two representatives at the Heathrow Community Noise Forum (HCNF).
Another request was issued to see the correspondence passed between SHBC and DfT regarding the leafleting for the public consultation events Surrey Heath was excluded from.
When approached for comment, Mr Gove said: “I believe it is important for my constituents to be consulted regarding the draft Airports National Policy Statement, and that is why I joined forces with two other Surrey MPs to argue for Consultation Information Events to take place in our constituencies.”
He added: “I am pleased that the Department for Transport has now agreed to send representatives to such a meeting and I will work to ensure our meeting takes place shortly.”
Heathrow expansion: Council brands decision to exclude Surrey Heath and Elmbridge boroughs from third runway consultation ‘utterly perverse’
Surrey County Council has called for Surrey Heath and Elmbridge boroughs to be included in the public consultation on expanding the airport
BY ISABEL DOBINSON (Get Surrey)
20 MAR 2017
Surrey County Council (SCC) has publicly challenged the government’s refusal to hold Heathrow Airport expansion meetings in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge boroughs.
SCC says the two areas should be included in the consultation on Heathrow’s proposed third runway
The council states while public consultation events were being held in Runnymede and Spelthorne, “no meetings are planned for Surrey Heath and Elmbridge, even though the two areas have been affected by changes to flight paths around the airport and flight path trials”.
Councillor Mike Goodman, SCC’s cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Residents in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge must be given a proper opportunity to make their views known on proposals for a third runway at Heathrow and it seems utterly perverse to deny these areas public events.”
He continued: “There is already concern in the two boroughs about levels of aircraft noise and no one yet knows the exact impact of expanding Heathrow which is why we are urging the Government to make sure the consultation on this momentous decision is full and fair to everyone who could be affected.”
However, this demand for action is perhaps a little too late for campaigners who have spent months struggling to make their voices heard.
Aircraft Noise 3 Villages, a campaign group representing residents of Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot, has previously raised concerns over exclusion from the consultation process.
On March 8, the group said the consultation process was ‘flawed’ and ‘biased’ after the three villages were missed during the distribution of one and-a-half million leaflets inviting people to free public consultations.
This has increased friction between campaigners and both SCC and Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) initially caused by objections over increased aircraft noise over the area.
In February, Rosalie James from Aircraft Noise 3 Villages accused representatives from both councils for ignoring complaints and having their ‘heads in the sand’ over Heathrow’s third runway.
In an email to the villages’ councillors, including Cllr Goodman, she said: “Where is the representation from SHBC and SCC to protect the rights of, and engage with affected residents?
“It is your collective responsibility to ensure ALL residents’ views are dealt with equally and impartially, regardless of personal opinions.”
Since then, Ms James has criticised Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove over his lack of action on the issue.
“Aircraft Noise 3 Villages” says DfT’s Heathrow consultation is ‘flawed’ as Surrey Heath left in the dark
The Aircraft Noise 3 Villages group, that represents residents in Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot, is angry that local councils are not doing anything to get the amount of aircraft noise from Heathrow reduced. They want action by Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) and Surrey County Council to tackle the issue of increased aircraft noise. They are also concerned that their areas were excluded from the distribution of 1.5 million leaflets by the DfT, inviting members of the public to a series of public events on the Heathrow National Policy Statement (NPS) consultation. The DfT is holding 20 events in areas affected by Heathrow, but this has not covered many of the places that either already get, or will get, intense levels of plane noise if there was a 3rd runway. Rosalie James, from the Aircraft Noise 3 Villages group, has written to the DfT, Surrey Heath MP, Michael Gove and Surrey County Councillor, Mike Goodman, to say their areas should have had a DfT info event. The absence of DfT events is yet another way in which the NPS consultation is widely regarded as deeply flawed. Even if people can attend a DfT event, they will find no information on future flight paths, though it is known that almost 50% more Heathrow flights, using more concentrated flight paths, would cause severe noise problems for those overflown.