If you thought you’d had your fill of chances to ‘have your say’ on the expansion of Heathrow then you’d be wrong. If you thought that as a local resident your views would count for very little when stacked up against those of politicians and business, then you’d be right. Hey ho, that’s the way it goes but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have your say yet again in a brand new exercise. There are even things you can turn up to in Twickenham and other local towns.
This time it’s a Government consultation on their ‘approved’ option for a new third runway to the north west of the current two. It was launched recently and runs until 25th May and so there’s plenty of time for your views to be discounted. In launching the consultation, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling referenced leaving the EU as a reason why building airport capacity at Heathrow is ‘crucial’ for UK growth and thus the endless years of debate about Heathrow have become Brexitified. With Gatwick beaten into second place, expansion at Heathrow looks certain to happen, unless of course it takes so long to reach a final, final, final agreement that Star Trek style teleporting technology supersedes cramming people into giant metal tubes with engines tacked on the sides. The current thinking seems to be that a new north west runway could be delivered by 2026, so let’s call that 2032 to be on the safe side. It might even be finished before the new Twickenham station!
This consultation is not about whether the third runway is going to happen, it’s actually “seeking views on the planning policy framework which the applicant for a north-west runway at Heathrow Airport would have to comply with”. So this is about ‘how’ it should happen rather than ‘if’. Think noise and pollution from a couple of hundred thousand extra flights, infrastructure, access. Think more jobs, new businesses, compensation schemes, impact on communities both near Heathrow and further afield. In fact, the consultation is open to anyone across the UK, something that is sure to help dilute any so-called ‘nimby’ arguments against expansion. Meanwhile Richmond Council’s very own Dear Leader, the Blue Baron, aka Lord True, has slammed the consultation as a farce. “The consultation is a farce” he is quoted as saying, before adding, “We are being asked to have our say on something that is clearly already decided. The information being presented is flawed – with only one side of the argument being given”. That’s something that might sound a little familiar to Twickenham locals who’ve engaged with certain other recent consultations.
In addition to a survey, there is a series of ‘events’ taking place across the affected areas including, Twickenham (23rd Feb, 11am to 8pm York House), Kingston (15th Feb), Richmond (10th March) and Isleworth (15th March). Whether you’re in favour or against you might as well get ticking those boxes. You’ve got until the end of May to do it.
Meanwhile, if you fancy having a pop at another consultation, there is a ‘night flights’ consultation that is running until 28th February. The gist of it seems to be that the issue of noise from night flights will be addressed by having quieter planes rather than more restrictions on numbers. Worth having a say in that too maybe?
Deadline 25th May
Night flights consultation
* El Brute Night Flights press release – runs until 28th Feb.