Heathrow Airport expansion plans should be scrapped, says London assembly

A call to scrap plans to build a third runway at Britain’s busiest airport, London Heathrow, has been made by the elected London Assembly.

The airport is prioritising the interests of the airline industry and passengers over and above the health and wellbeing of Londoners, the assembly said in its official response to Heathrow Airport’s expansion consultation on Thursday.

Caroline Russell, chair of the Assembly’s Environment Committee said: “The London Assembly has spent many years investigating Heathrow Airport’s expansion plans. We’ve heard from Heathrow Airport, climate activists, academics and overflown Londoners on how they view the proposed expansion of Heathrow. There are many reasons for why the expansion should not go ahead.

“The impact of noise and air pollution, increased congestion and the demolition of villages in west London are all reasons why the third runway plans should be dropped.”

Russell said Britain has committed to net zero carbon emissions and the expansion of Heathrow undermines this commitment.

She added: “We are also gravely concerned that Heathrow is prioritising the interests of the airline industry and passengers over and above the health and wellbeing of Londoners.”

In a message to newly installed Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Russell said: “As the previous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson always pledged his opposition to the third runway. Now that he is Prime Minister, he needs to follow through on the commitment he made to Londoners in his 2008 and 2012 Mayoral manifestos and oppose a third runway at Heathrow.”

The cross-party London Assembly made a unanimous decision in June 2018 reiterating its long-standing opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport’s new runway proposal would enable it to grow from around 475,000 to around 740,000 flights a year.