In a BBC interview on Sunday Chancellor George Osbourne indicated that the government intends to heap pollution and noise misery onto London by expanding airport capacity in the South East. He refused to rule out expansion at Heathrow airport despite the fact that at the general election in 2010 the Conservatives made a specific pledge that there would be no expansion at Heathrow airport.
Conservative politicians have been lining up to speak in favour of expansion of Heathrow over the last few weeks but this is the first time that a senior Government figure has indicated the government’s intention to perform a dramatic U turn which would be to detriment of residents in West London. It has been followed up with a reshuffle which leaves anti-expansion Justine Greening out of her role as Transport Secretary.
It will come as distressing news for residents across Ealing who had believed that now that all three main parties were opposed to the idea of further expansion of Heathrow, it was firmly off the table. Under Ed Milliband Labour announced it is opposed to plans to expand Heathrow airport due to the massive impact they would have on local people as well as the pollution major airport expansion would cause.
Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, Ealing Labour Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport at Ealing reacted to the news saying, “In Ealing we have consistently said that a third runway at Heathrow is not right for local residents. This move will be cause for concern to tens of thousands of residents who have the prospect of pollution and noise on the cards yet again. A Third Runway at Heathrow will also only serve to add to the already strained transport networks into the Airport. It’s another bad call from a chancellor clutching at straws to try to bring the economy back into the black and it will be at the cost of the quality of life for many in west London. Ealing Council re-iterates its position that we are opposed to any further expansion of Heathrow and I urge senior members within the government to ensure they ditch this idea publicly and immediately.”