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Former Concorde pilot stands his ground over Heathrow expansion plan

Former Concorde pilot stands his ground over Heathrow expansion plan

Francis Batt

Former Concorde pilot stands his ground over Heathrow expansion plan

A former Concorde pilot who is behind one of the two controversial plans to expand Heathrow had a blunt message for people in the Royal Borough yesterday.

Captain Jock Lowe is one of the directors of the Heathrow Hub company that wants to extend the airport's existing northern runway to 6,000m, so it can be used for take-offs and landings. The extended runway would go through the existing Poyle trading estate.

It is one of three ideas for expansion shortlisted by Sir Howard Davies' Airports Commission - two of which are at Heathrow. The airport's management has its own scheme for a new runway - while a third proposed plan would see a new runway at Gatwick.

At a meeting of the Royal Borough's Aviation Forum held at Windsor's Guildhall in High Street Captain Lowe dismissed suggestions that Gatwick should be allowed to expand rather than Heathrow, claiming it could never work as an international hub.

He said: "It sounds good but I ran Gatwick. We tried to attract corporate customers but it was just too far out.

"The connectivity is not there. We all tried very hard to make Gatwick work but it just does not."

He said that even if Gatwick was allowed a new runway, Heathrow would still need to expand because international travellers found it so much more convenient.

Asked by Cllr Malcolm Beer (Independent, Old Windsor) how the infrastructure around the Royal Borough would cope with an influx of new employees at Heathrow he said: "If anywhere can cope with growth it is around here."

But Cllr Beer was deeply concerned. He said: "We have already been ordered to take 12,500 extra houses to cope with existing demand in our little borough. We value our greenbelt."

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