Legal Challenge against runway is good news for residents
I was very pleased to see the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) joining others in its legal challenge to a Heathrow third runway.
And your report (Maidenhead Advertiser, 12 July page 28) about "Runway support" shows that The Maidenhead & District Chamber of Commerce along with others have been hoodwinked by Heathrow Airport Ltd, its shareholders and huge promotional spend.
Heathrow Airport is owned mainly by foreign Chinese, Qatari, Singaporean, Spanish and Canadian investors, who last year were sent £800m in dividends, whilst over the previous 10 years Heathrow paid only £24m in corporation tax to HMRC. They have spent many millions promoting their case for a 3rd runway, in order to gain increased dividends.
Heathrow's jobs projections for West London and the Thames Valley, and around the country are wildly exaggerated. Whilst the Department for Transport and Government have progressively analysed and downgraded the expected economic benefit of a 3rd Runway by around 60% from that projected by the Howard Davies commission in 2015, Heathrow continue to claim an economic benefit for the country even higher than that projected originally by Davies and more than 3 times the current DfT figure. Heathrow’s jobs promises for the country come from the flimsy 4-page “Quod” report that Heathrow commissioned in 2015, which was based on these Davies total economic projections and which are 3 times that most recently forecast by the DfT.
At the time of T5 approval Sir John Egan, Chairman of BAA, from whom the current foreign owners purchased Heathrow, stated twice boldly in writing that they “will never need a 3rd Runway” and that “local residents should be assured of this fact”.
They just cannot be believed.
Following the recent parliamentary vote, many residents are pleased to hear the resolve of five councils, RBWM, Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth, and recently joined by Hammersmith & Fulham, the Mayor of London and Greenpeace to continue and pursue their legal challenge over the matter.
Some may think that the £150,000 committed by RBWM to this action is large, however it amounts to only £3 per household in the borough, to save the huge cost, disruption, additional noise, pollution and congestion for us in the Thames Valley and West London of a 3rd runway.
Transport for London have estimated that the additional public cost for infrastructure, moving the M25, A4 and much else could be as much as £15bn, and most public infrastructure projects end up 2 times or more their initial budget. Cases in point are Eurotunnel which the Government (i.e. you and me) had to pick up and complete; the 2012 London Olympics cost twice the initial budget; HS2 is already almost twice the initial budget and they haven't yet put a spade in the ground.
If the public infrastructure cost of a third runway were only £10bn, then that amounts to a cost of £400 for every household across the country, and it is likely to be much more.
Much better to spend £3 per household now to save £400 or more per household across the country on a project that we neither want nor need.
Much better also to develop airports, routes and capacity in the regions where they are needed rather than, as Heathrow expects, to have everyone and all freight travelling down and across the country to fly abroad via Heathrow. It is purely an exercise to increase the already large dividends paid to Heathrow's foreign shareholders at the cost, wellbeing and quality of life of all of us living nearby and under the flight paths. With a 3rd runway to the north of the existing two, flights, noise and pollution will inevitably increase over Maidenhead like it is already over Windsor, but they don't want to admit this!
Letter appeared in the Maidenhead Advertiser 20th July 2018