Hammersmith & Fulham Council has been joined by 10 more London councils to support a new runway at Gatwick Airport and abandon proposals to expand Heathrow.
In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, H&F Council Leader Stephen Cowan was joined by Croydon, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark and Wandsworth council chiefs to highlight the ‘broad and growing consensus behind Gatwick expansion’ and pledge to work with ministers to support this ‘bold and ambitious project’.
Cllr Cowan said: “Over the past 20 years we have witnessed a succession of failed attempts to increase capacity at Heathrow.
“Whatever paltry concessions Heathrow is offering don’t come close to addressing the impact of the third runway. The massive increase in flights over the borough every day would deliver huge misery to residents.”
Heathrow is already the Europe’s worst polluting airport and its location in densely populated West London makes it impossible to expand without causing unacceptable increases in air pollution, aircraft noise and transport congestion.
“We’ve heard plenty of promises from Heathrow over the years. But what we need is a radical new plan to address aviation, traffic and air quality issues in West London and beyond. Backing a new second runway at Gatwick is part of this plan,” Cllr Cowan added.
In the letter the London councils also agreed to work in partnership with the Government, Gatwick and the London Mayor to support the airport’s growth and to ‘unlock the benefits’ it offers for employment, transport, regeneration and housing.
The 11 local authorities represent approximately 2.8million Londoners.
Resident-led commissions on air quality and airports
Two groups of local residents in Hammersmith & Fulham were recently asked by the council to investigate the impacts of expansion at Heathrow Airport, specifically on air pollution, traffic congestion and noise.
The resident-led Hammersmith & Fulham Commission on Airport Expansion was supported by H&F Council in responding to the Airports Commission’s consultation on the proposed options for Heathrow.
Their final report was sent to the Airports Commission last year and concluded that negative impacts on the borough from expansion would outweigh the positive benefits.
Meanwhile, the H&F Air Quality Commission is having local residents and the council work together to help combat the silent killer of air pollution – estimated to cause 203 deaths each year in the borough. This problem is only expected to get worse in Hammersmith & Fulham, especially if the proposed Heathrow expansion is approved.