Heathrow Expansion: Consultation Deadline 3rd February

Give us a wave!

Give us a wave!

So you don’t want more planes groaning their way over your house on their way into and out of Heathrow Airport? You are not alone. You think Gatwick might be a better option. Or Bournemouth even? You are, perhaps, a bit of a nimby. Don’t worry, that’s not only normal, it’s sometimes even laudable. Or maybe you think we shouldn’t be facilitating more flights at all, most of which probably aren’t really necessary. Well, get you and your green credentials! On the other side of the debate, who’s shouting loudest for more aircraft capacity? It’s Heathrow of course. That’ll be Heathrow Airport, the airport owned by Ferrovial of Spain, whose primary concern is (or at least should be) keeping its shareholders happy. Its priority is not protecting local jobs or supporting a community or even boosting the UK economy generally. Heathrow is a business. If building a hub airport in the Thames Estuary or on the sleepy village of Upton-upon-Dupton made better commercial sense than expanding Heathrow, they’d be all over it like a rash. If they could outsource a third runway to India, they’d be strategising it and workshopping it right now. That’s fine, and that’s why nimbys are fine too.

So where are we now? The Airports Commission was set up by the Government in 2012 to look into options for expanding the UK’s airport capacity has got around to shortlisting three options for airport expansion. If you want to comment on them you have until midnight on 3rd of February to do it. The options are:

1) Build a second runway at Gatwick
2) Build a third runway at Heathrow to the north west of the airport
3) Extend the current northern runway at Heathrow to accommodate take offs and landings at the same time. (We’ll assume they can get the directions sorted out before they try this)

Who’s opposed to Heathrow expansion? You, probably. Who else? Most of the other residents of south west London apart from those employed in airport activities. Then there’s Richmond Council and assorted other boroughs where increased air traffic will mean increased noise and pollution.
Add to that local MPs Vince Cable (Lib Dem) and Zac Goldsmith (Tory) and London Mayor Boris the Johnson and it’s quite a cast. That’s a lot of people. You may also recall the 2013 poll in which residents of Richmond and Hillingdon boroughs expressed their views on Heathrow expansion.  140,000 people voted (turnout: 41%.) with the results showing over 70% against a third runway and/or more flights. Opposition within Richmond ran at 80%.   Like their residents, both Borough Councils remain opposed to a 3rd runway. Meanwhile Hounslow Council is calling for a ‘better Heathrow’, not a bigger one.

Opposition is strong in south west London. The Teddington Action Group has gained a lot of local support recently.   It’s not surprising given how parts of TW11 suffered significant increases in noise during Heathrow’s flight path trials last year. There are arguments that the configuration of a third runway would not necessarily lead to more noise over Twickenham itself. Yes, more flights will mean more noise across large swathes of west and south west London, sure, but not necessarily over Twickenham itself. Phew! But give it time and it might be a different story. Teddington Action Group point out that by 2020 all current flight paths will be re-drawn regardless of a third runway. So, build a third runway and bung more night flights into the mix and the prospect of tens of thousands – if not a couple of hundred thousand – additional flights a year doesn’t sound overly attractive.

But Heathrow expansion has its supporters too. The airport is a big employer and it’s also one reason why assorted big businesses have their UK operations dotted around the local office parks. It has brought prosperity to the area. Heathrow even has “genuine” grass roots support too… set up by LHR types no less. It’s running a very slick Back Heathrow PR campaign and has galvanised support especially among those with airport-related jobs. It estimates that over 100,000 jobs depend on the airport.  Its website even has an easy to follow “send your comments direct to the Commission here” front page. Back Heathrow have also dabbled in a bit of scaremongering too, presenting the options as a vote between growing Heathrow or seeing it decline, putting those thousands of jobs at risk. Close Heathrow? Heathrow to become the new Biggin Hill? That’s just not going to happen, or at least not until Star Trek style teleport technology becomes much more affordable.

In other words, it really is a pretty straightforward choice between Heathrow staying broadly as it is, and Heathrow growing significantly with all that that entails.

You might not want to read all the documents on the Airport Commissions site but good luck to you if you do. You don’t really need to read them all to have a view.  You have less than two weeks left in which to express it to the Commission.

The Commission’s deadline for comments is midnight on 3rd February. As you’d expect, there are plenty of links below.

Vapour trails, Twickenham

Busy skies over Twickenham



* Airports Commission Consultation page  (deadline 3rd Feb to reply by letter, email or using the online survey)
* The Commission’s online survey
* Teddington Action Group (and yes, they cover Twickenham too)
* Stop Heathrow Expansion
* Back Heathrow
* Heathrow Airport: Taking Britain Further

And on Twitter:
* Teddington Action Group
* Back Heathrow
* Back Off Heathrow


Filed under Heathrow, Local Issues & News

16 responses to “Heathrow Expansion: Consultation Deadline 3rd February

  1. Mr Edwards,
    Please answer the questions we all have for you over on the General Election thread you seem so shy about posting on. Your unique selling point, after all, is said to be straightforward answers !

    • Alexis

      Come on Mr Edwards,
      As Dr NHS points out, answering straight questions with straight answers is your USP – is it not?

  2. barryedwardsukip

    Grant Shapps Conservative Chairman stated that “let’s get on and build Heathrow if the Davies Commission recommends the go ahead”.

    Ah the truth at last and this now puts in perspective Tania Mathias’s promise of no Heathrow expansion; it is a CON. It also places Zac in an intolerable position because he said “he would resign if it was even on the table”. If he wins in Richmond Park and given the Davies Commission will recommend expansion (which it will), no doubt we will be looking at a by-election real soon. I wonder if Tania will be so honorable if she is elected in Twickenham. Or will defacto Tory Vince, within another coalition have any integrity and consider his political future given the promises he has made on this?

    It is so much easier being truthful, with UKIP no Heathrow – means no Heathrow.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Do not worry Mr. Edwards, the EU will not allow expansion if it compromises pollution levels. Thank goodness for the EU!

    • Sally

      Ah there you are Mr Edwards. There really is a bit of a list of questions here for you, and I am so glad “It is is much easier being truthful”
      First tickets please!
      1.All the posters you threatened about that little landscape gardening denial matter would, I am sure, want to know their crime reference numbers. You party is so very keen on threatening.
      2.Dr NHS confronted you with a UK wide study of all the HIV services peer reviewed, written by the foremost medical specialists in the UK and put out by Public Health. It flatly contradicts Ukip’s claims about HIV services, which were made via the Daily Mail and looking at just one clinic. You asked where was Nigel’s 60% and were told that it wasn’t there because the figure is incorrect. You were then asked if you accepted the study, and, if not, who were you to say that you know better than the most eminent medical specialists in the UK? Where you really so vain or so convinced that what Nigel says must be right and to Hell with facts? No answer yet but we are waiting..
      3. Sir David ‘s discussion of population was talking about population increase in the developing World and advocates empowerment of women and family planning assistance- which incidentally can only be achieved by foreign aid.In no way does he advocate any of the immigrant blaming you are so keen on.Indeed, he wants to improve life for people in the developing World and, you’ll hate this, help them more.
      How dare you suggest that he would agree with you? Have you asked?
      Come on Mr Edwards, we really have been waiting ages.

  3. Steve P

    Everyone should state a view if they feel strongly. However, there is the small matter of an election before the report even appears. None of the main parties have made a firm commitment on what their response will be (though the Lib Dems aren’t likely to back second runway in London). In a hung parliament will anyone want – or be able to – pull the pin on the Heathrow grenade if it lands in their in-tray? Will the report go for Gatwick only pushing the whole issue back another five years? Then there’s the mere formality of planning permission…not! Be ready for lots more twists and turns.

  4. John

    Having lived in this area for 69 years, I have no problem with the airport. If it expands I would like to see one of the existing runways extended, instead of a separate new runway. If people do not want airports they should stop flying, and use a train or boat instead.

    • illiad1

      So do tell what you have, that you are not affected by sometimes ground-shaking noise from overhead???
      Or do you live in the areas not under the flightpath, like isleworth and richmond??? 🙂

    • Sally

      John, with that argument you have handed Heathrow a blank cheque to expand infinitely.Why not? If a third runway is good, what about a fourth? Tenth? If 250,000 extra planes over our heads a year is a small price to pay for a happy Heathrow then how about 10,000,000? There’s no point in thinking that a third runway will be the last ask.
      Its like this. You probably live with a road outside your front door, which you surely knew about when you moved in. You, I assume, use cars. Fine. I will now expand your road and send a quarter of a million additional cars down it day and night. Cars are are good for, um, Britain (Cue patriotic music) and besides you not only use them sometimes you live near a road. What do you expect?

    • nemesis

      Except John is not advocating a third runway if you read his post correctly. I am not in favour of Heathrow expansion but if it goes ahead regardless of public opinion then the independent plan to lengthen the northern runway would be the better and cheaper of the other Heathrow options.
      Early morning landings would shift 2.5 miles to the west.

    • Sally

      You are quite right, he wasn’t, but did seem to be leaving the door wide open for expansion on the grounds that people like to use airplanes.
      The problem is we can’t believe a damn thing Heathrow says about its territorial ambitions.

    • dellboy

      What heathrow says does not add up, a projected increase in flights to 760000 a year equates to 2082 a day, with a 17 hour window thats 122 flights an hour. With 2 runways, one aircraft landing as one takes off thats 60 per runway, plus an odd one thrown in. theoretically you don’t need another runway.
      What they really need is the capacity to handle 122 flights an hour with a nominal 250 passengers per flight, which is 30500 people and their luggage.
      Exactly how many terminals will that take?

  5. Letty Mooring

    Thanks for outlining all this so clearly Letty

  6. Pat Pending

    There’s big big money at stake here for the airport operator and they’re not going to let this go lightly. If a third runway gets approved, expect lobbying to begin for a fourth before the tarmac is dry.

  7. Thanks Twickers! There are potentially huge changes coming for those living around Heathrow and not many are aware of what they are or that they can have a say in the decision.

    There’s an all-party standing committee meeting today (Thu 22nd) at York House 7pm if anyone is interested in council discussions and stance on the matter (very much against expansion).

    Almost 2,000 our of 7,000 of those who signed petition were from Twickenham so clearly affecting TW1ers.