Local people know that the battle to prevent the expansion of Heathrow Airport requires constant vigilance.
As I write this column the battle has moved to the High Court where judges will decide if the consultation on Heathrow expansion has met legal standards.
Certainly, the consultation was abysmal. The consultation made all kinds of questionable assumptions, using biased figures outrageously vetted by the British Airports Authority. Government Ministers could not explain some of the questions and the questionnaire was slammed by the Plain English Campaign.
Heathrow expansion makes no sense when we still have to tackle climate change.
The EU Environment Commissioner has made it clear that the Government’s claims on meeting air pollution targets are impossible with Heathrow expansion. The economic case is not credible and fails to recognise that noise and air pollution will drive businesses out of London.
The consultation ignored the rail alternative. No discussion was included of the potential for increased night-flights with another runway. And the consultation essentially ignored the problems of thousands more passengers travelling to Heathrow.
Our local streets and trains are already congested and schemes like Airtrack, which would provide a small increase in rail service to the airport, would cause havoc at our level crossings.
A successful judicial review would seriously slow any chance of Heathrow expansion and we should congratulate Richmond and Kingston Councils who are part of the London Councils group bringing this case together with environmental groups like Greenpeace, WWF and the CPRE.
But local residents as always have been the driving force with HACAN and similar residents’ groups battling relentlessly.
The pro-expansion forces never give up. This year the Conservative Bow Group recommended both Heathrow expansion and high-speed rail. So we also can never become complacent. Heathrow needs to be a better airport not a bigger one.