Have your say on polarising airport expansion debate

Polarising airport expansion debate

Have your say on polarising airport expansion debate

Wandsworth politicians want people to have their say in the polarising debate about airport expansion.

A public meeting is being held this month to discuss proposals to expand Gatwick or Heathrow.

The council has already come out against plans to expand Heathrow, with council leader Ravi Govindia stating it would have a "devastating environmental blow" to millions of Londoners.

He pledged to fight the Airport Commission's proposal to allow Heathrow to land additional planes between 5am and 6am, affecting people living under flight paths in Battersea and Putney.

The meeting will give people a chance to have their say and hear from senior airport officials and leading aviation campaigners.

An initial meeting took place on Thursday, November 13, featuring Putney MP Justine Greening, Coun Govindia, Nick Dunn, chief finanical officer at Gatwick, and Charles Kirwan-Taylor director of corporate affairs and sustainability.

The second meeting will take place at 8pm in St Mary’s Church, Putney High Street on Thursday, November 27, and will feature representatives from Heathrow as well as MP Justine Greening and Coun Govindia.

Coun Govindia said: "If you are concerned with the aviation debate then I urge you to attend. This is a chance to learn more about the schemes, question the airport officials and to find out what you can do to influence this important decision."

Sir Howard Davies chairman of the Airports Commission, is expected to deliver his final recommendation on which airport should get a new runway in summer 2015, after the general election.

Wandsworth is due east of the southern runway at Heathrow and from the borough boundary at Roehampton, the airport is just nine miles away.

The council is a founder member of the 2M group - an all-party alliance of local authorities concerned about the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion on their communities.

Senior Conservative politicians will refuse to support their party's policy on expansion at Heathrow at the next general election, it has been claimed.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Mayor of London Boris Johnson are among those expected to rebel against their party line, having told constituents they will strongly oppose the building of a third runway.

The Conservative party initially ruled out expanding at the west London airport, but a rethink from Chancellor George Osborne caused the party to change their view.

A number of other Conservatives, including Putney MP Justine Greening, Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith and Home Secretary Theresa May, have all spoken out against the expansion.

Sophia Sleigh, Wandsworth Guardian

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