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Government must rule out Heathrow third runway now

Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader Stephen Cowan says the government should decisively rule out a third runway at Heathrow now.

Yesterday (10 December), the government confirmed that it won’t respond to the Airports Commission’s recommendation to expand Heathrow until the middle of next year.

“The third runway should be ruled out immediately,” Cllr Cowan responded. “It would bring misery to residents in Hammersmith & Fulham with unacceptable noise, traffic and pollution. The airports commission has now lost all credibility and it's time for the government to say that the third runway is not a flyer."

The 2M Group – a cross-party campaign group of local authorities that includes H&F Council as well as Wandsworth, Richmond, and Hillingdon – believe the delay is ‘futile’ as no amount of additional analysis can make this highly polluting scheme comply with environmental legislation.

Heathrow is already the Europe’s worst polluting airport and its location in a densely populated urban area makes it impossible to expand without causing unacceptable increases in air pollution, aircraft noise and transport congestion.


The Government’s decision comes as another major blow to the credibility of UK Airports Commission which has once again failed to convince the government to follow its recommendations.

The commission’s report took almost three years to complete, leaving taxpayer’s on the hook for millions.

While in 2013, the commission’s first report on short term measures to expand aviation capacity also proved unworkable and was quickly shelved by ministers after publication. This earlier work also focussed on expanding the Heathrow operation with extra night flights and removing daytime runway alternation noise respite. The proposals were ignored and have not resurfaced since.

Resident-led Airport Commission

A group of local residents in Hammersmith & Fulham were recently asked by the council to investigate the possible expansion of Heathrow Airport. Their final report was sent to the Airports Commission at the end of January.

The resident-led Hammersmith & Fulham Commission on Airport Expansion (HFCAE) was supported by H&F Council in responding to the Airports Commission’s consultation on proposals for additional runway capacity, in particular, the two proposed options for Heathrow.

The report concluded that negative impacts on the borough from expansion would outweigh the positive benefits.

The full report can be found online here

Or download a PDF version (pdf 875KB).

For more details, visit our Heathrow ‘hot topic’ page here.