Airport Expansion Announcement
Calvin Ward, Secretary of Transport and Infrastructure
Today, I am announcing that Her Majesty’s Government has looked at the Airport Commission Report and have given it a proper study of the merits and demerits of Heathrow expansion. Our concern for the expansion of Heathrow is three-fold. First, the noise and environmental pollution cost does not justify not considering alternative plan. Millions of Londoners would be impacted by the noise pollution alone. Simultaneously, the need for more parking structures leads us to believe that environmental concerns are substantial. Second, the loss of housing for many leads us to believe that expansion’s costs do not justify the negative impact. While it is clearly understood that those who give up their homes to make way for expansion will be more than fairly compensated; there are some things that cannot be justified regardless of pounds and pence. What Heathrow expansion is asking for these people to do is to uproot their lives and move away from their homes and communities. At the same time we see that those very community members do not want an expansion. It is imperative that we listen to those impacted and bend our ear to those who would be uprooted. Finally, because of the lack of desire in the community, it can be clearly foreshadowed that expansion would take a substantial amount of time, much of which would be stalled in approvals and litigation. These types of actions take up the resources of the courts, stop a needed expansion project, and cause the local community pain and hardship. For these reasons, we cannot accept the majority report recommending Heathrow expansion.
Therefore, we are focusing on moving forward to expand Gatwick Airport in West Sussex. We believe that the minority report raises good opportunities for development. There is lower health risk for environmental pollution and the noise pollution impact would be noticeably less. West Sussex Council has been open to the expansion with hopes that a second runway be in use by 2019.
Calvin Ward Labour MP for Tottenham