Extra 70,000 homes needed if third runway built
To help your letter writer Georgina Madge in last week’s Advertiser who says that she is confused, the Howard Davies Airport Commission in 2015 determined that 70,000 extra homes would be required to support a Heathrow third runway. Along with other local councils this extra housing is not included in RBWM’s current housing plans.
Across 14 councils this amounts to an extra 5,000 homes per council and with the Royal Borough’s proximity to Heathrow, compared with councils say in Surrey, the extra demand for us will likely be more than 5,000 extra homes. Hence the issues regarding RBWM housing can only be significantly exacerbated by a third runway.
Our council is right to join Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Hammersmith & Fulham councils, the Mayor of London, Transport for London, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth in contesting the legal basis for a third runway.
In your article “Councils launch Heathrow battle”, Parmjit Dhanda of Back Heathrow says that “These councils have chosen to spend over £1 million of taxpayers’ money over the last decade on campaign groups and expensive lawyers”. However he omits to say that rather than being a concerned residents’ group that they portray, Back Heathrow is mostly if not all funded by Heathrow Airport to promote the airport’s wishes for a third runway.
Last year Heathrow’s foreign Chinese, Singaporean, Qatari, Spanish and Canadian shareholders received the best part of £800 million in dividends, whilst over the previous 10 years Heathrow Airport paid in total only £24 million in Corporation Tax to HMRC. Their push to expand Heathrow is purely to increase these already large dividends and they have spent more than £30 million (i.e. more than 30 times) to promote their case, much of it through their campaign group Back Heathrow.
Meanwhile two polls of Royal Borough residents have shown that a majority do not want a third runway and the amount put aside for the legal case amounts to only £3 per household across the borough.
If a third runway were built, it is estimated by Transport for London that the public cost (i.e. for you and me to pay) of additional infrastructure amounts to £10 billion or more (to put the M25 into a tunnel under the runway, or create a bridge or ski-style ramp at a point where because of all the slip roads it is an almost unbelievable 14 lanes, significantly redirect the A4 Bath Road and much more), which amounts to £400 per household across the whole country.
We neither want nor need a third runway. West London and the Thames Valley are already very congested and we have relatively full employment, together with the North-South divide that has been talked about for the last 30 years. This will only be hugely exacerbated by additional congestion, major construction, and inevitable noise and pollution over Maidenhead with flightpaths from a new runway to the north of the existing two – like currently over Windsor. Much better to make better use of existing regional airports which already have many of the direct routes that people and businesses want, and provide investment and employment in the regions.
The last time that a third runway plan was promoted, our MP Theresa May spoke several times strongly for her constituents against the plan, the councils pursued a similar legal case and it was cancelled. This time also the Government's Air Quality plan has already been defeated three times in the courts, so we are very hopeful of our councils stopping for good this waste of money, additional noise, pollution, congestion and concern for residents.
Paul Groves - published in Maidenhead Advertiser, 16th August 2018