Bukinghamshire CC says ‘no’ to 3rd Runway and demands answers to concerns about potential impact of new rail ‘hub’

20.1.2009   (eGov monitor)

Source – Buckinghamshire County Council

Buckinghamshire County says ‘no’ to Third Runway and demands answers to concerns
about potential impact of new rail ‘hub’

This Council has slammed the Government’s go ahead for a third runway at London’s
Heathrow airport. It has also raised serious concerns about the new proposed ‘Heathrow
Rail Hub’.

 Responding to the new announcement, Martin Tett, Cabinet Member for Strategic
Planning at the County Council said: "This decision flatly ignores the view of
the Terminal 5 Inquiry Inspector that a 3rd runway would be ‘totally unacceptable’,
is at direct odds with BAA’s commitment at that same Inquiry not to pursue a 3rd
runway; and flies in the face of the commitment given by the Government following
the Inquiry to limit the number of air traffic movements (ATMs) at Heathrow to
480,000 per year .

“The health risks alone should rule this proposal out. Air pollution around the
airport (including parts of southern Buckinghamshire) is already above EU limits
and there is no guarantee at all that they can be got down to target levels if
this proposal goes ahead. While Buckinghamshire County Council certainly acknowledges
the economic importance of Heathrow and the need for the UK to compete successfully
in global markets, the continued expansion of this major international airport
in the suburbs of west London, right on our border, would come at a high price
to the environment, and would carry a significant threat to the quality of life
of our local residents."  

Importantly the Government has also declared its support for a ‘Heathrow Rail
Hub’ to the west of Heathrow, partly in the London Borough of Hillingdon and partly
in Buckinghamshire. The Hub would be a major interchange for rail traffic and
also provide direct connectivity to Heathrow terminals. Buckinghamshire County
Council supports the idea of increased emphasis on rail travel, particularly for
domestic journeys. However, it is concerned at the impact the development of this
hub may have on southern Buckinghamshire.

"How will the Government ensure that any new ‘Rail Hub’ doesn’t become a magnet
for road users wanting easy access to the current Heathrow air terminals?   We
must not allow the south of Buckinghamshire to become a vast off airport car park?"  
says Martin Tett.    "Also there is the potential for the hub to be a catalyst
for urban sprawl on the Green Belt between Hillingdon and Slough.     We are determined
that any development proposals should give assurances to prevent this"