Government "Trying to Mislead and Demoralize Residents"
Heathrow expansion: latest controversy and meetings
We reported last month that the Department of Transport were criticized for not holding any publicity events for the planned Heathrow expansion in Ealing Borough.
In the mean time, Nic Ferriday, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth accused the government this week of "trying to mislead and demoralise residents around Heathrow."
Ealing Council is encouraging residents to have their say on controversial new plans to change runway use and build a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow Airport.
The Council is holding a series of public meetings across the borough next month and Ealing residents are being urged to attend to find out more about how the plans might affect them. They’ll also get the chance to sign a petition against the expansion.
Changes to runway use could bring planes over South Ealing, Gunnersbury, and most of Acton by as early as 2010. A new runway, which might open in 2020, could mean planes flying over Southall, Greenford and Northolt for the first time, while residents in parts of Chiswick, south Ealing and Norwood Green could start hearing early morning flights from as early as 4.30am.
Local councillors will be on hand at each meeting with information about the proposals and an exhibition showing how an expansion might affect west London. The Department for Transport has been invited to each meeting, but has decided not to send a representative.
The meetings are taking place at:
Leader of Ealing Council, Councillor Jason Stacey, said: “We’re not anti-Heathrow, but we do believe that our residents are already suffering as a result of aircraft noise and poor air quality because of the airport and we think that an expansion would only make things worse.
”Whatever people think about Heathrow, it’s definitely an important issue for the borough and we’d encourage people to make sure they find out about the plans and have their say.”
Liz Ctori, of the Environmental Health and Trading Standards Team at Ealing Council, told us: "The two proposals - for a third runway and for mixed mode operations at Heathrow would both affect Acton residents in terms of noise exposure.
"South Acton/Chiswick residents will be disturbed by planes landing on the 3rd runway (operational from 2020), and the rest of Acton will be affected by a proposed new departure flightpath from the existing runways (when there are easterly winds - these occur approx 25% of the time) as soon as 2010."
In its consultation roadshow on Heathrow expansion, the government says "it is right that all voices are heard in the debate."
However, In an alarming development, members of the public have been told by government officials that the decision on Heathrow expansion has already been made. Friends of the Earth heard this from visitors to the government exhibition at Langley on 23rd Jan.
Nic Ferriday, spokesperson for West London Friends of the Earth "This is a clear case of the government trying to mislead and demoralise residents around Heathrow. The decision to expand Heathrow has emphatically not been made. A decision cannot be made until a planning application has been received and considered. This is a couple of years away. [Note] By then, there will have been a General Election and there will be a new government. No-one can know what the make-up of the new government will be or what their view will be on Heathrow expansion."
The consultation on plans for a third runway closes on 27 February.
January 31, 2008