Responding to comments on the proposed expansion of Heathrow airport made by the London Assembly, Back Heathrow Executive Director, Parmjit Dhanda said:
“This is a serious issue that requires analysis, not lazy sloganeering. Londoners need the tens of thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships Heathrow expansion will create in the capital and they expect their politicians to help make it happen by setting strong targets on air quality and noise.
“However, what we have seen from their response is a shrug of the shoulders and five reasons why they are against something. That’s the easy and lazy way out. The London Assembly has massive resources which should be used to engage constructively with a project that will create up to 180,000 new jobs. But that means engaging in the detail on night flights, public transport infrastructure and air quality targets, not playing politics to an audience with soundbites.”
The new runway project has been approved by an Independent Airports Commission, received a 296 vote majority in the House of Commons last year after the scrutiny of a Select Committee, passed a High Court challenge earlier this year, and is presently subject to the most extensive planning consent process ever in the UK. It has the support of the Unite and GMB trade unions, as well as the CBI. Polling by Populus has consistently showed that more people in the boroughs surrounding the airport support a new runway than oppose it.
Back Heathrow represents over 100,000 residents and local businesses who want to see a new runway built at Heathrow, with robust targets on air quality and noise.
It says the new runway will only happen if it is truly sustainable and meets tough targets on emissions, air quality and noise. It urges people to get involved with the consultation process and help Heathrow shape its plans.
Mr Dhanda added: “A combination of technological innovation, cleaner, more efficient aircraft and robust plans for Heathrow to be carbon neutral by 2020, means we can have the benefits of expansion and tackle the effects of climate change. However, we also need politicians to help shape this vision, rather than just play to an audience as we’ve seen with the London Assembly’s rather shallow response.”