Borough reaffirms objection to Heathrow expansion

Borough reaffirms objection to Heathrow expansion

Lucy Elder

The Royal Borough has reaffirmed its objection to Heathrow expansion in its own response to the Airports Commission consultation.

The commission is currently considering three proposals.

These are to either add an additional runway at Gatwick, another runway at Heathrow or to extend an existing runway at Heathrow to operate as two separate runways.

A statement from the council says it is supporting the Gatwick option on economic grounds.

"It is more practical, more politically deliverable and will give our residents and the UK more choice and competition," said Cllr George Bathurst (Cons, Castle Without), chairman of the aviation forum and cabinet member for policy and performance.

"We want to see Heathrow as a better, not a bigger airport."

He also cited the threat to the greenbelt from associated development and 'substantial harm' to Windsor Castle and Eton College as reasons why the borough is not backing the proposed Heathrow expansion.

A poll of 1,014 residents carried out by the borough last month found 31 per cent of those asked oppose both options for Heathrow expansion and 22 per cent were in favour.

At a cabinet meeting on Thursday, January 29 Cllr Bathurst told his fellow councillors that air traffic noise is so loud that 'Sergeant Majors at the barracks are unable to bark their orders over the noise'.

He also believes Windsor’s seven million visitors a year will be put off by any more aircraft noise.

"By expanding Heathrow they’re harming the very things they came to see. It’s perverse," he said.

A report heard by the cabinet said both Heathrow expansion plans would increase air traffic movements by 54 per cent, while noise could more than double in the villages near Heathrow if a new northern runway is built.

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