Heathrow 3rd Runway Consultation Branded a ‘PR exercise’

The following notice is from Hacan Clear Skies – 30 January 2014.

Heathrow Airport’s decision to embark on a six week consultation on its proposal for a third runway has been branded ‘nothing more than a PR exercise’ by local campaigners. During the consultation, due to start on 3rd February, Heathrow will seek views from residents on how their plans for a new runway can be improved. They will mail out forms to 120,000 households and businesses most impacted by the proposals and invite other people to comment on line. Additionally drop-in events will be held in nine local areas.

The Airport stresses that the consultation is not about whether people want a third runway. Its chief executive Colin Matthews said: “This consultation is to make sure we correctly understand what local people value and that we can take their views into account as we refine our proposal”. But John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the campaign group which opposes a third runway, said, “The big issue is whether or not a third runway should be built. This is nothing more than a PR exercise. It’s meaningless.” 

The proposed new runway would destroy hundreds of homes in the village of Harmondsworth. The new flight path would be over Sipson, Harlington, Heston, Southall, Norwood Green, Bedford Park and Shepherds Bush. The runway is one of the options for expansion in London and the South East being examined by the Airports Commission. A final decision will not be taken until after the next General Election in summer 2015. For more info see http://www.hacan.org.uk/news/press_releases.php

Christina Smyth informed BRA committee that Hammersmith and Fulham were not included on the original list of consultation events but that there is now an event scheduled to take place at Hammersmith Town Hall on 12 March from midday to 8pm which will provide the opportunity to question Heathrow representatives about their proposal.

The key issue to note is that Heathrow are consulting on how to implement a third runway if it is agreed and not whether there should be one. Heathrow will feed the results into the Davies Commission. There is a trap for the unwary here because if people just comment on “how”, those views could be represented as in support of, or at least not against, a third runway. It is key to make clear that you are opposed to a third runway on any terms (if you are) whatever parameters Heathrow tries to set. The official position of the Council is that all of Fulham and Hammersmith, and most of Shepherds Bush, south of Wormwood Scrubs, could be disrupted by aircraft landing on a new strip to the south of the existing runways.

You can also participate by completing the online consultation response form at www.heathrow.com/localcommunity where you can find the consultation document or by calling 0800 307 7996 and requesting to request a hard copy.