By Cllr Julian Bell
At our Full Council Meeting in December 2018, we passed a motion opposing the Tory government’s new third runway at Heathrow. I want to make sure all residents are aware of our full position on this very important issue.
The importance of Heathrow to the lives and livelihoods of thousands of our residents cannot be overstated. 10% of Ealing’s working-age residents are employed directly by Heathrow and indirectly by companies which depend on its continued existence. It is estimated that 250,000 people across London and the South East are dependent on Heathrow for their continued employment.
It is for this reason we always opposed the concept of the estuary airport east of the capital, which would have meant the closure of Heathrow and subsequently crippling the west London economy.
Furthermore, we have ruled out joining the current legal action against Heathrow as a number of other local authorities are pursuing. We will not waste hundreds of thousands of pounds attacking Heathrow through the courts when we must focus on delivering much needed services in the face of ever worsening Tory government cuts to our budgets.
However, as a responsible Labour authority, we are keenly aware of the possible detrimental impacts of an expanded Heathrow. Increased air and road pollution, congestion and the associated strain on our infrastructure, night flights and associated noise pollution are all entirely reasonable anxieties for many residents. This is to say nothing of the UK’s enduring commitments on climate change.
A number of new flightpaths are being consulted on at the moment, which may result in residents across the borough experiencing regular aircraft noise for the first time. You can respond to this consultation, before March 4th 2019, by clicking here:
Given this reality, Ealing Labour’s position, as outlined in our 2018 election manifesto, is to seek reassurances to mitigate the impact of a third runway, including a complete ban on night flights and changed flightpaths away from built up areas. We are also calling for a Low Emission Zone around the airport to regulate the type and number of polluting vehicles moving through West London every day.
We have also demanded compensation from Heathrow to the tune £150 million to help residents deal with the adverse effects of an expanded Heathrow, including improvements to our local infrastructure and skills training for young people to help secure future employment. In addition, we have also demanded a broad package of noise reduction measures, including double-glazing schemes for homes beneath all flight paths.
Given that these requests have not yet been met by Heathrow, we cannot currently support the ongoing expansion of the airport and this was reflected at the unanimous vote of the December 2018 Council meeting. It is also worth pointing out that this motion simply reaffirms our longstanding position against expansion. This motion is the fifth passed by this administration setting out our opposition to expansion, the others passed in June 2010, two in October 2012 and in June 2013.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Cllr Julian Bell
Leader, Ealing Council