Boris Johnson will have to answer questions about his opinion on the future of Heathrow Airport if he wants to be chosen by the Uxbridge and South Ruislip Conservative Association as their candidate for the seat at the general election in 2015.
Mr Johnson has made it clear he is against a third runway, a stance welcomed by people living in the villages close to the airport.
Local people packed a consultation organised by Heathrow Airport Ltd in St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth on Tuesday, September 2.
The airport owner is consulting on the types of compensation that might be available to residents if a third runway were ever built.
Most people in Harmondsworth, for example, think the consultation is premature, and resident’s campaign group Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) believes a consultation on compensation packages should only come after permission were given for a third runway.
Such a decision will not be taken until after the general election next year, and after the Airports Commission, set up by the Government to decide where expansion should take place in London and the south-east, releases its recommendation next summer.
Two Heathrow expansion options – a third runway to the north west of the airport, over parts of Harmondsworth and Longford, or the extension of the northern runway to the west - are being considered by the commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies.
A second runway at Gatwick is the only other option on the table, after the commission tossed out the so-called ‘Boris Island’ brainchild of London’s Mayor last week.
Most of the people at the consultation made it clear they opposed a third runway, which will result in the loss of around 750 homes, with the villages of Harmondsworth and Longford being especially hit.
Campaigners say this will have a knock-on effect in Sipson, Harlington and parts of West Drayton with concerns focussed on traffic, noise and air pollution.
Staunch anti-third runway campaigner Neil Keveren, who has lived most of his life in Harmondsworth and Sipson, said: “There are people in their 80s who have lived in the village all their lives. Most of the people who live here have family ties stretching back many, many years.
“Heathrow are telling them their houses will be needed and they will be uprooted and moved to a completely different area, away from village life and all their neighbours.
“They won’t last a minute with the stress of moving.
“And for the people that are left here, life will become unbearable,” he said.
He said people living in Harmondsworth are clear they want a better, not bigger, Heathrow Airport.
Mr Johnson’s estuary airport plan threatened the closure of Heathrow and the loss of thousands of jobs for people in Hillingdon, Hounslow and surrounding areas.
But before it was ruled out – and after he had thrown his hat in the ring for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat - Mr Johnson wrote in his column in the Daily Telegraph that Heathrow could stay as a ‘secondary airport’, alongside his estuary plan.
Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, in an open letter to the Mayor, asked for his support if the estuary airport was dropped.
“We both want to keep Britain as a global economic power for generations to come, enhance London’s position as a world city, as well as create over 100,000 new jobs many of which will be in your proposed constituency of Uxbridge,” Mr Holland-Kaye said.
The Mayor will undoubtedly have to answer questions on Heathrow at this evening’s (Friday) association meeting at Ruislip High School if he wants to convince members to choose him.
He is up against Hillingdon Council deputy leader David Simmons, Royal Borough of Maidenhead and Windsor councillor Simon Dudley and barrister Suella Fernandes.