A guest post from Cllr Charlie Dewhirst, the Conservative candidate for Hammersmith.
I was a little perplexed to read some recent Labour propaganda which claims that I support a third runway at Heathrow. I have been consistent in my opposition to a third runway and you can check the Council’s official voting records to confirm this.
The future of Heathrow Airport is one of the main issues facing local residents, with many people rightly concerned about the prospect of a new northern flightpath over Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush.
My priority is to ensure that any changes to Heathrow do not increase aircraft noise over the area and I will continue to campaign against the on-going scourge of night flights. However, I do believe that Heathrow is an important economic asset to west London and to the wider economy, with direct employment at the airport and with airlines, and many international businesses located here in part because of the proximity of the airport.
Therefore I would like to see it thrive as the main international hub in the UK. The concept of “Boris Island” would have been fine if we were building the city from scratch but it was unrealistic geographically, economically and logistically.
Of the three options that were considered by the Davies Commission, I could not support the plans for a third runway to the north of Heathrow as it will mean a new flight path right over the centre of Hammersmith and clearly this is unacceptable.
If elected I will campaign for the Government to look again at the “Heathrow Hub” concept. It will allow the airport to increase its capacity by extending one of the runways westwards but not create a new flight path over the Hammersmith area. Indeed, because planes would sometimes be landing 2.5 miles further west on that runway they would be considerably higher and therefore quieter as they fly over our area on the current flight path. This option has the benefit of allowing Heathrow to modernise whilst limiting and even reducing the noise impact locally.
Furthermore, I will fight hard to ban night flights landing at Heathrow and will ask the airport authorities to look at noise reduction measures such as a steeper landing angles and putting down the aeroplane flaps and undercarriage closer to the runway. I have been assured by pilots that all of these are possible and would make a significant difference to noise levels.
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There is a selfishness and complacency in local opposition to the expansion of Heathrow. We need to engage and find good solutions and trade-offs that will allow this critical piece of UK infrastructure to expand capacity. Maybe Heathrow Hub is an answer but the Luddism has to stop.
What about air pollution? Dirty polluted air from extra Heathrow traffic in our playgrounds, streets, gardens, homes, public parks?
What about an already over stretched Piccadilly line?
What about our already over congested main roads? The a4 in particular?
Heathrow expansion of any kind has many negative impacts on our local communities here in H&F.
It is not just about noise.
Go to your local campaign group website to read more http://www.handfnothirdrunway.org
I agree – we need to sort it all out, and we can sort it out. But we can’t just bury our heads in the sand and carry on with what is becoming too much like third world infrastructure, be it our overloaded airports, crumbling and congested roads and overcrowded public transport.