Downing Street protest planned against Heathrow expansion

Downing Street protest planned against Heathrow expansion

MPs and campaigners against Heathrow expansion plan to stage a protest at Downing Street tomorrow when the Airports Commission public consultation ends.

The aim is to remind the prime minister David Cameron of his statement before the 2010 election, when he said “no ifs; no buts; there will be no third runway”.

West London Conservative MPs Zac Goldsmith and Angie Bray are due to join the protest.

John Stewart, chairman of the anti-Heathrow expansion group HACAN, told the Observer: “We are deliberately targeting Downing Street because the decision about a new runway will be a political one.

"The politicians can override whatever recommendations the Airports Commission will come up with in the summer.

“This event once again demonstrates the cross-party nature of the opposition to a third runway.

“It also shows the geographical spread of the current problems caused by Heathrow which can only get worse if a new runway is built. Representatives of groups from as far apart as Brockley and Teddington will be going into Downing Street.”

The debate over airport expansion in the southeast intensified over the weekend as Gatwick chairman Sir Roy McNulty warned of a massive public backlash if political leaders perform a policy U-turn and back a third runway at Heathrow.

The former chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority told the newspaper there would be “all to hell to play” from people living under the Heathrow flight path.

‘The commission’s data shows that the number of people who are not currently affected by significant noise but who would be if the Heathrow plans go ahead is 320,000 as a result of expansion of the Heathrow north west runway, he said.

“How will the public react? What I have noticed over the last 10 years is that people’s sensitivity to noise has increased quite substantially.

“What people had put up with 20 years ago without complaint is now the cause of a lot more aggravation. So 320,000 people being affected from central London to Slough is a major issue.”

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye told the commission last month that noise from early morning arrivals could be reduced by a three-runway airport as aircaft would be able to land further down the runway and fly a steeper landing approach.

“Our proposed runway is now located further west to reduce the number of people affected by noise and the approach is over the M4. The longer runway allows respite from noise for every community,” he said.

He also told the commission that in order to address concerns over air quality, there would incentives for people to use public transport to get to and from the airport, including a possible congestion charge for people travelling to the airport by car.


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