Transport Select Committee report backs Heathrow expansion
The call by the Transport Select Committee in its report, for a third and possibly fourth runway at Heathrow has been branded by campaigners as ‘utterly predicable’.
John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said;
“This is an entirely predicable report from a committee which has always favoured expansion at Heathrow. The only difference this time is it thinks there might even be a case for two new runways.
"But its influence on the final decision is likely to be limited. That decision, which will not be taken until after the next General Election, will be much more influenced by voters distaste for a third runway that a predicable report from this committee.”
Louise Ellman, who chairs the Transport Select Committee, said an international hub airport was vital for the economy and Heathrow was clearly the best candidate.
"Heathrow – the UK's only hub airport – has been short of capacity for a decade and is currently operating at full capacity," she said.
"We conclude that a third runway at Heathrow is necessary, but also suggest that a four-runway proposal may have merit, especially if expanding to locate two new runways westwards from the current site could curb the noise experienced by people affected under the flight path."
The committee's report also recommends the creation of a national compensation scheme for those affected by noise from Heathrow.
The report follows the publication by the business lobby group, London First, of its evidence to the Airports Commission where it calls for the introduction of mixed-mode at Heathrow. Mixed-mode would mean both runways were in use all day long. It would end the current practice where aircraft switch runways at 3pm to give residents in the worst-affected boroughs a half day’s break from the noise.
Stewart said, “London First doesn’t seem to understand how much residents value their respite period. If it was taken away, there would be revolution even in Richmond.”
May 10, 2013