New Community Under Threat of Runway 3 Demolition
18 January 2017
BBC London News aired a report this lunchtime stating that a new community faces the prospect of losing their home should Heathrow expansion go ahead. Homes in and around Winchester Avenue in Heston, around 4.5 miles from Heathrow, would have to be destroyed if the M4 motorway is widened to accommodate traffic generated by a new third runway.
We found the admission deep in a technical analysis of upgrades to the road network that would be required if Heathrow expansion gets the go ahead.
What is shocking is that this potential loss of homes has not been included in the figures of properties under threat. It has meant that there are people living in the Hounslow Borough who are not likely to be sufficiently informed to give their views on expansion during the forthcoming Consultation, due to start shortly.
In October 2016, when the Government announced that a third runway at Heathrow was its preferred solution for dealing with its perceived need for extra airport capacity in the south east of England, a number of documents were produced.
The Government published these reports as part of the announcement to provide the “background and rationale” behind it’s thinking.
One of those documents was written by Highways England, a government organisation that operates, maintains and improves England’s motorways and major A-roads.
The report “Airports Commission Surface Access Works”, which is labelled “official sensitive”, identifies a stretch of the M4 in west London as requiring an upgrade. This involves widening the motorway to provide an additional lane to meet extra demand.
The devastating impact on the lives of hundreds more people in Heston has been dismissed with the words on page 52 that widening of a section of motorway between Junction 2 and 3 would result in “substantial acquisition of land including residential and commercial properties in the vicinity of Winchester Avenue.”
This week, our Campaign Co-Ordinator Rob Barnstone visited residents in the affected area to find out if they were aware of these proposals and found that this was a shock for residents in and around Winchester Avenue.
Stop Heathrow Expansion feels this calls into question the accessibility of the information that has published for the public. There is no doubt that up to 260,000 extra flights a year will result in new flightpaths and the extra traffic will lead to new and wider roads, yet the government is effectively hiding these details from communities that would be hugely impacted by them.
Heathrow is unlikely to accept that all changes to roads are due to a third runway because that admission would make them liable to pay for that infrastructure. If the Government does not press Heathrow to pay, the British taxpayer will have to foot the bill.
Residents must make their views known about these proposals. Heathrow expansion is now even more controversial and undeliverable than before.
Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham & Heston which includes the area affected, has tabled a written question to the Secretary of State for Transport asking for further information on the potential upgrades to the M4. The Government will respond on Friday. A link to the question can be found here http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-01-17/60278/.
The report can be viewed on BBC iPlayer, using this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b088jvfh/london-news-evening-news-18012017
The document can be viewed in full, via the Department for Transport's website, here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562063/airports-commission-surface-access-works-strategic-road-network-proposals-validation-of-costs-and-delivery-assumptions.pdf.