A group of six town hall leaders in London, eight MPs, academics, peers, environmental experts and London Assembly members have written to UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, to rule out Heathrow expansion or to reopen the Airports Commission’s consultation on air quality.
In a joint letter coordinated by Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, 32 senior figures – including seven other MPs, six town hall leaders, academics, peers, environmental experts and London Assembly Members – raised concerns about the Airport Commission’s ‘flawed’ consultation on air quality.
The group of council leaders comprises Tories Ray Puddifoot of Hillingdon, Lord True for Richmond, Ravi Govindia of Wandsworth and Kevin Davis at Kingston, as well as Labour’s Stephen Cowan of Hammersmith & Fulham and Liberal Democrat Ruth Dombey in Sutton.
The eight MPs who have also signed the letter are Conservatives Zac Goldsmith of Richmond Park, Tania Mathias for Twickenham, Adam Afriyie of Windsor and Bob Blackman in Harrow East, plus Labour’s John McDonnell of Hayes and Harlington, Kate Hoey for Vauxhall, Ruth Cadbury in Brentford and Isleworth and Andy Slaughter of Hammersmith.
Sir Howard Davies announced an exceptional consultation on air quality on 8 May – the day after the election. The consultation was highly technical and allowed just 13 working days to respond.
The signatories claim that the Commission has largely overlooked the problems associated with air pollution and ask the Prime Minister to reopen the consultation so the views of the millions affected by Heathrow expansion can be properly considered. The only alternative, according to the letter, would be to rule out Heathrow expansion altogether.
According to a new report from academics at Kings College London, the equivalent of up to 10,000 deaths in the capital are brought forward every year as a result of air pollution in the capital
Mr Goldsmith said:
“Sir Howard’s last minute air consultation allowed just 13 days to respond, it was so technical as to be inaccessible to all but a handful of experts, and the 350 report was published just a month later, all of which suggests it was little more than a sham.”
House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee
The open letter came on the same day that the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, on which Mr Goldsmith is a Member, launched an inquiry into the implications for Government commitments on carbon emissions, air quality and noise should the Airport Commission’s recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow Airport be adopted.
Mr Goldsmith is the favourite to be the Tory candidate for the Mayor of London election in 2016.
The current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is one of the biggest opponents of Heathrow expansion.
Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council (LAANC)
The Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council (LAANC) is considering a legal challenge over the huge gaps and deep bias of the Davies Commission report – but will wait for a full report from its legal team before deciding its next steps.