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RBC Meeting re Heathrow Expansion

19/12/2018

Runnymede Borough Council to “Go with the Heathrow flow”

At the last full council meeting for 2018 (December 6th) your councillors voted with 3 votes against and 1 abstention to overwhelmingly support a list of ​expectations​​ that they will put to Heathrow, the Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant parties.

There were nine principles outlined, which Councillor Peter Taylor, the leader of the working group for Runnymede Borough Council, proposed as protections for Runnymede residents. These expectations were put forward as “safeguards” that they want Heathrow to meet to help mitigate the negative effects of expansion. Amongst these nine principles are noise and air pollution to be no worse than currently, that night flights should be banned between 11.30pm and 6am and that new flight paths (being proposed in the form of GPS in the sky) are not concentrated but dispersed over a wider area. Whilst the Council continue to ​oppose Heathrow expansion​​ they believe that it is now time to maximise the benefits that they can achieve should the third runway go ahead.

The Englefield Green Action Group ​broadly support​​ this list but think that the council are being naive and that their expectations will be totally ignored by Heathrow. EGAG believe that unless there is ​enforcement​​ Heathrow will do the minimum possible. To put the equivalent of the number of flights that are currently at Gatwick on top of an already expanded Heathrow, will in their view be nothing but a ​calamity​​ for the whole of the borough. The view of Peter Taylor is that better cooperation with Heathrow will achieve the best results. The opposing view is that this is yet another example of politicians in appeasement mode which will achieve very little.

It is interesting to note that the 24 out of the 25 recommendations made by the all party parliamentary Transport Select Committee (TSC) on Heathrow expansion were largely ignored by the Government in their National Policy Statement which supported the third runway. The TSC recommendations were to protect the environment, reduce noise and air pollution,and to improve infrastructure. Of course Heathrow were delighted with the Government decision, but EGAG’s position is unless pressure is put on Heathrow, they will do the minimum possible as their business is about the commercial benefits of the airlines with residents concerns being very much down the list of priorities. Over the coming 12 months, the consultations will continue with the development consent orders (DCOs) which will deal with some of the detail being put forward by Heathrow.

EGAG continue to ask residents to write to their councillors and to Philip Hammond their MP expressing opposition. Only in this way is there any chance of Heathrow listening to the real concerns of ​people on the ground​​.

EGAG are keen to have more members on their committee so if you are interested email englefieldgreenactiongroup@gmail.com