Leader of Wandsworth Council asks residents to complete online survey
In a letter to residents Cllr Govindia has asked residents for their views:
Tell me your views on Heathrow expansion
Wandsworth Council has long opposed the expansion of Heathrow Airport and the construction of a third runway. People living in Battersea and Putney are woken from just after 4am as the first flights of the day roar overhead. I believe the airport is in the wrong place and to develop it further would make life unbearable for local residents.
If Heathrow seeks to become a “hub” in competition with Amsterdam’s Schiphol, it will doubtless seek to build a fourth runway to reach the necessary capacity, which would mean new additional flight paths across London, bringing similar levels of noise pollution to residents of Balham and Tooting.
When the Labour Government tried to expand Heathrow, Wandsworth Council took them to the High Court and had the scheme thrown out on environmental and noise impact grounds. Those issues are just as acute today and I believe any attempt to reopen the case by the Coalition Government would be met by the same local opposition.
Wandsworth Council is a founder member of the 2M group. This is an all-party alliance of more than 20 local authorities concerned at the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion on their communities. The group, which took its name from the two million residents of the original 12 authorities, now represents a combined population of five million people.
I believe it was a bad day for local residents when Justine Greening, an opponent of Heathrow expansion and a superb transport secretary, was moved from her post. I am seeking assurances from her successor, Patrick McLoughlin, that the Coalition remains committed to opposing the unnecessary expansion of Heathrow.
I accept there is a business case for expanding airport capacity in the South East that needs to be explored. Boris Johnson and his team have consistently argued that a purpose-built Thames Estuary Airport could act as a “hub” airport with the necessary capacity to meet forecast increasing demand for direct links to growing markets in Asia and around the world. I think that option should be explored thoroughly as an alternative to the overdevelopment of Heathrow.
I recognise that there are divergent views across the Borough on the future of Heathrow and I am keen to hear your views on the potential third runway. It is important to know that we are continuing to reflect the predominant local opinion on this important issue. I would therefore be most grateful if you could take a moment to complete a very brief survey (click here) to tell me what you think about the options.
Leader, Wandsworth Council
September 28, 2012