With the Government on Tuesday announcing that it would push ahead with Heathrow Expansion, putting it to a vote in Parliament within the next three weeks, Richmond Borough Conservatives are continuing to support residents, Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith, and the All Party Parliamentary Group On Heathrow Expansion in appealing to all MPs ahead of the vote.
Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of the Richmond Borough Conservatives, said, “I gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee in January, stressing that the Government’s own data pointed to Gatwick as the rational choice for expansion, given a choice between the two. Nothing has changed since that time.
“The only real rationale being given now is that the UK needs a major hub airport, to enable convenient transfers for international passengers on a large scale. Yet the data does not support it, and air travel is changing more to point-to-point than hub based.
The reality is that the third runway is being pushed as a symbol for a Global Britain in the short term, rather than as the rational long-term choice supported by evidence.
“To our own residents who support and work at Heathrow, I want to be clear. The Government’s own figures show that Heathrow will continue to thrive if Gatwick is expanded, and to go on serving our residents who fly through Heathrow, as I sometimes do myself. It provides valuable employment for West London, and I’ve seen the many good apprenticeship and community initiatives it does. I think we can do more with Heathrow in our borough. That includes working with them so that the promised technological advances are in fact used to significantly improve the quality of life of our residents over the coming years.
“But the facts do not support a third runway over expansion at Gatwick. They just don’t.
“It now comes down to the vote of MPs. In March we coordinated a letter aimed at MPs and media in other parts of the country, highlighting why they need to care about the choice being made. That letter is still relevant.
“For those with access, I would also encourage people to read Justine Greening’s excellent article in The Times on Tuesday outlining why the facts lead to Gatwick being the better choice for the country. Air pollution, expense, loss of domestic routes, the sacrifice of much needed investment in the North, noise pollution, crash risk, financial risk, and a less competitive Global Britain are all reasons why choosing Heathrow is a bad decision.
“Richmond, Wandsworth, and Windsor & Maidenhead also highlighted on Tuesday the systemic risk to smaller airports as Heathrow steals traffic in the early days, again as per the Government’s own evidence. Who is going to bail those other airports out?
“The facts point to Gatwick over Heathrow, clear and simple. I encourage MPs to read the points set out in our March letter and make the right choice.”
Justine Greening’s article can be found here (subscription required for the full article)
The letter to MPs can be found here
Cllr Hodgins’ statement after testifying before the Transport Select Committee can be found here