Heathrow councils call for an "open mind" in support of a second Gatwick runway

30 / 10 / 2017

  • Heathrow councils back Gatwick second runway

Local authorities in the Heathrow area have welcomed evidence which, they say, supports an extra runway at rival London airport, Gatwick.

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils say that the UK national government has admitted that the benefits froma second Gatwick runway would exceed that of a third one at Heathrow over the full 60-year period of the calculation.

The councils say that the Westminster government has been forced to consult for a second time on its proposed National Policy Statement (NPS) for airports following complaints from the councils that the original consultation withheld important new information, including the UK Air Quality Plan and new aviation demand forecasts.

They added that the government’s argument, that Heathrow could deliver economic benefits more quickly, falls down because there is no evidence that it can ever meet air quality limits — so these benefits would never be achieved.

Hillingdon Council leader Ray Puddifoot said: “While the Secretary of State still seems wedded to expansion at Heathrow, it is clear that any rationale for his preference is disappearing and the case for Gatwick is much stronger on both economic and environmental grounds.

“It is also clear that Ministers still cannot produce anything to show that Heathrow can be developed consistently with healthy air quality and legal limits on pollution. That is not surprising – it is obvious that a new runway in London would produce more pollution."

Puddifoot asked that the Secretary of State for transport, Chirs Grayling, adopt an "open mind" in assessing the new evidence.

He stated: “Anyone who would be threatened with more noise from a third runway at Heathrow should be able to use the new evidence to persuade the government to abandon Heathrow expansion…We ask the Secretary of State to review the evidence with an open mind – if he does this there will be no expansion at Heathrow.”

Only last week, the government stated that all five of London’s main airports will be "completely full" by the mid-2030s, and four of them within a decade, according to updated aviation demand forecasts.

Grayling said that the forecasts “also show us that the north-west runway scheme at Heathrow is the one which delivers the greatest benefits soonest”.