Conservative run Wandsworth Council has long opposed the expansion of Heathrow Airport and the construction of a third runway. People living in Putney and elsewhere in the borough 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.
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.
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.
We accept there is a business case for expanding airport capacity in the South East that needs to be explored. Boris Johnson and his team had 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.
We recognise that there are divergent views across the Borough on the future of Heathrow and are 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.