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War of words intensifies over third runway plans for Heathrow

War of words intensifies over third runway plans for Heathrow

Francis Batt

War of words intensifies over third runway plans for Heathrow
Rob Gray
The war of words between supporters and opponents of 'third runway' plans is becoming increasingly bitter.

A new Back Heathrow campaign launched on Monday claims that Heathrow could shut with a loss of 114,000 jobs if a new runway is not built.

But chairman of the Royal Borough's Aviation Forum Cllr John Lenton, who is ward councillor for Wraysbury which is threatened by one of the proposed 'third runway' sites, has attacked the claim as 'sheer scaremongering'.

Heading the Back Heathrow campaign is Rob Gray - who previously worked for the Aviation Foundation. He said: "For too long, local residents who support Heathrow have been the silent majority in the debate on the airport's future.

"As many as 114,000 jobs would be lost to the local community forever if Heathrow was forced to close - one in five local jobs in the five borough's closest to Heathrow. The threat to these jobs is now very real."

But Cllr Lenton said: "There is not a shred of evidence that Heathrow would close without a third runway. It is total nonsense."

He said a third runway would be expensive and uneconomic with nowhere local for staff to live.

Cllr John Lenton

Windsor District Chamber of Commerce supports a third runway.

Treasurer Martin Miranda, who is also manager of Windsor's King Edward Court shopping centre, said: "So many of our businesses are here because Heathrow is down the road.

"Their success is built on the vibrancy of this area which is dependent on the airport."

Old Windsor councillor Malcolm Beer insisted that expanding Heathrow could actually damage business as flight numbers would soar from 480,000 to 740,000, causing unprecedented traffic and housing shortage problems.

He said: "Expansion is simply not feasible as our quality of life and the environment which encourages the presence of international economic activity will be seriously compromised."

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