Four London councils are ready to take legal action against the expansion of Heathrow airport following last night’s vote by MPs, 415 votes to 119 in favour of the expansion. Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead have said they will launch a judicial review of the decision. Major of London Sadiq Khan and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham are also backing legal action. Hounslow and Ealing boroughs are both notable by their absence from that list.
In the debate before the free vote west London MPs including Ruth Cadbury failed to persuade party colleagues that the expansion would not bring the economic benefit claimed, and will bring increased noise, traffic and air pollution to thousands of people living near the airport.
Quoting Department of Transport figures she told parliament that ‘the economic case has not been made’ but ‘the generously funded Heathrow lobby keeps bringing the proposal back and will continue to do so until it gets the answer it wants’.
‘On noise and air quality, which are the issues affecting my constituents most of all, more than 300,000 people in our region of west London and the Thames valley will experience significantly worse noise than they do now. Most of them are not aware that they will be under the final approach path to the third runway.
Those under the present approach paths to the existing two runways currently get eight hours respite; that will be cut to six hours and perhaps less. On night flights, the Secretary of State has suggested that the cap will be relaxed, despite promises. Runway 3 will bring 50% more passengers. Heathrow says that there will be no new traffic, but there is nothing in the NPS (National Policy Statement) to justify that claim’.