Leader’s Gazette Column - January 2014

 

In my July 2013 Gazette Column I wrote:

 

 

"We have also seen the re-emergence of the third runway (and possibly a fourth) issue at Heathrow, what I described as “the same old elephant in a new pair of trousers”. Every Council leader in London, regardless of political party voted against any further expansion of Heathrow. The noise and air pollution is already at unacceptable limits and the devastation caused during construction and operation of a third runway at Heathrow is something that local politicians will not accept imposed on their residents. Heathrow Airport Ltd are a business and naturally want to protect that business and its profits, and there is nothing wrong with that, but again it will fall to us to protect our people and our environment.

 

The future of Heathrow Airport will depend on the commercial need for an airport on that site in twenty years time – if there is a need they will continue if not they will take the land value. This would provide an opportunity for employment, housing and community infrastructure with a far less damaging effect on our residents and our environment. There will not be mass redundancies overnight and the companies that supply the airport will deal with the new airport".

 

Since writing those words the airline industry and some trade unions have begun a scare campaign indicating that the Heathrow site would become a desolate waste land and there would be mass unemployment if Heathrow Airport Ltd was not given permission to build a third runway.  In October 2013 the GMB Union were adamant:  "Without a third runway, Heathrow would fall into decline and in a short space of time, force closure".

 

Let me make it quite clear that whilst there is absolutely no doubt that Heathrow is in the wrong place, we are not campaigning for its closure but we are not influenced or intimidated at all by this doom and gloom view of the future.  If Heathrow Airport Ltd decide to close Heathrow it will without a shadow of doubt be beneficial for residents, employment and the environment in the medium term and in Hillingdon we will be looking at this seriously as we would be failing in our duty of care if we did not. 

 

We will do everything in our power to stop further expansion at Heathrow.  We will do everything in our power to stop the absolute folly that is HS2.  We will "Put Residents First".