UPDATE: Deadline for online voting is Thur 16th May.
Previously: Back on the subject of Heathrow expansion, next week El Brute will be sending out ballot cards to voters in the Borough to allow them to have their say on the matter. The poll will provide an opportunity for residents to confirm that they don’t want a third runway at the airport and nor do they want any increase in flights. The deadline for voting will be 16th May, although the precise date on which the foregone conclusion will be announced has yet to be confirmed.
Residents wanting further information about what a third runway and an increase in flights might mean for them can find out more from the Richmond Council website. There will also be information stalls set up around the Borough on specific days. In Twickenham the info-stall will appear on 23rd April at our very own ‘speakers corner’, namely on King Street outside Santander bank. And if you want to get really heated, there will be a Question Time type event in Richmond on the evening of Friday 3rd May. Expect Vince, Zac, the Blue Baron Lord True, and others to show up to express their opposition to expansion of the airport. The Council are even hoping to find a pro-expansion lobbyist or two to sit on the panel and be shouted down by residents.
Ooh. And there’s a YouTube video too where the great and the good from the local political scene voice their concerns about Heathrow Expansion.
So, will it be useful for Richmond Council to know that 83% of the people that voted (as opposed to say 79.2%) are opposed to Heathrow expansion? Perhaps. But then again, perhaps a quick opinion poll could have done it more cheaply.
* Richmond Council ‘Be Heard’ – voting deadline: Thur 16th May
* Cross party Richmond Council You Tube video
* Previously on twickerati (including Zac’s mega-runway-rally on 27th April)
There’s nothing like an airport to bring out the nimby in us all. Well, maybe that or a nuclear power plant… or a new abattoir. Or perhaps even a nuclear powered abattoir with a giant picture of TV’s Nick Knowles on the side? How d’ya like them apples?!
Although Howard Davies is not due to report on Heathrow expansion until after the next election, funny dat, the war of words rumbles on with claim and counter claim from the various lobby groups. Residents and local authorities are fretting about increased noise levels from a third – and possibly fourth – runway. Millions if not billions of Londoners lives will be ruined by the roar of jet engines overhead as we all gag on a smog of aviation exhaust. Airport and business types tell us that’s all a load of scaremongering and that the extra capacity will give us a much-needed economic boost as futuristic planes take-off and land with about as much noise as feather colliding with a big fluffy ball of cotton wool at 2 miles per hour.
In other words, we can we believe any of them? Dunno. So what’s the latest anyway? The 2M Group which represents local authorities concerned about the environmental impact of Heathrow on their communities, and which includes our very own Richmond Council, has warned that, “A four-runway Heathrow could blight the lives of three million people and spoil the quiet enjoyment of huge parts of our city”. This would represent a mahoosive increase from the 1 million currently estimated to be affected. Earlier this week the Evening Standard published a ‘noise contour’ map produced by 2M showing the full noise impact of four runways. Twickenham’s already affected by noise but more runways would lead to changing flight paths and potentially more disruption. For many other areas it could lead to significant increases. Needless to say pro-airport lobbyists rubbished the map saying that the runways would not necessarily in those specific positions and that, hey, maybe just the three runways would be enough thanking you kindly.
Who’s right and what’s to be done? Well, the battle of claim and counter claim, political lobbying and carefully placed press briefings will continue. That’s a given. And as part of all of that local(ish) MP Zac Goldsmith is helping organise a so-called “mega-rally” on 27th April to show the strength of opposition to Heathrow expansion. Although it’s billed as an all-party affair with a range of speakers, Boris will show up to steal some limelight. Make of that what you will. Time to get your placards out and start waving them around? And no Boris, that’s not a euphemism.
The mega-rally takes place from 9.30am-10.30am at Barn Elms Playing Fields, Barnes, SW13 9SA.
* Evening Standard ‘Exclusive’
* 2M Group
* Zac Goldsmith and his Heathrow Mega Rally
Richmond Council has nailed its “no third runway at Heathrow” colours firmly to the mast of HMS El Brute. A cross party motion at Richmond Council this week confirmed Tory and Lib Dem opposition to a third runway at any point in the future (bloody well ever) and according to El Brute’s main man, Lord True, the Council is at “all-out war with the big money interests and slick-suited PR men peddling this foolish project”. Ouch! Of course what True should have announced was: “This morning the Richmond Council Ambassador at Heathrow handed the airport lobbyists a final note, stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their support for a third runway, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this Council is at war with Heathrow”. That would really have showed them who’s the boss around here!
True, aka the Blue Baron, also announced that Richmond residents will be able to confirm their opposition to a third runway by taking part in a “referendum-style vote”. It will take place by May 2013. We’re no particular fans of the third runway here at twickerati HQ (new runways need to be built near other people’s homes, them’s the rules) but is there any point bothering with a vote on the subject? The outcome is a foregone conclusion. The pro-runway lobbyists and businesses know that too and they’ll don their “slick suits” to dismiss the result as pure nimbyism. They’re a bit like that.
So, do you really want a vote? Is El Brute taking “local democracy” into places it doesn’t need to go, or should we spend public money on a referendum the result of which could be predicted today? And what next? A Neville Chamberlain inspired X-Factor? Don’t rule it out.
* El Brute Press Release
Older readers may recall the time when the arrival of ‘the plane’ caused mucho excitement. Especially for a very small man in a white suit living on Fantasy Island*. With such excitement at the sight of a single plane, imagine what our little friend Tattoo would have done had he lived in Twickenham. He’d have gone bloody mental that’s what he’d have done. But what about if he’d lived round here? What about that, eh?
Some sky (where planes go)
The flip side of such high drama at the approach of a single plane is the constant drone of engine noise for anyone living in the vicinity of a modern airport. But some people even like that kind of thing – plane spotters. We’re mostly talking men with ‘mushroom’ coloured anoraks, who live with their mothers and for whom the phrase, “and he seemed such a nice, quiet man” will make the newspapers at some point in the future. Let’s call this group “the nerds”. Bizarrely, we need more nerds. Here’s why…