We are hearing a great deal lately of economic downturn, and the problems besetting the aviation industry, yet we still see the Government and the industry trying to press ahead with a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow.
Is this because they have very little responsibility to look after the victims of their plans?
Many people are not fully aware of the extent or effect of the runway and terminal project, or who the potential victims are, and to that end we have tried to categorise them. All the effects are devastating and life-changing. Some people will fit into more than one category.
1. Those in the demolition zone, all of Sipson and part of Harmondsworth, some 2,000 people to be evicted and 700 homes demolished.
2. Those left in areas which are either in the Public Safety Zone of any new runway or in an area which would be subject to noise in the 69 decibel band, which is deemed to be intolerable, both of these providing reason for demolition and numbering some 480 homes with nearly 1,000 people.
3. Those left on the boundary of the new airport, who would have an airport fence or security wall staring them in the face - these could well number 500 homes and 1,000 people and we see no provision for compensation.
4. Those who would be subjected to the noise and disturbance of adjacent airport operations (including light pollution from a new terminal) as well as that of aircraft taking off and landing. Remember, on a short runway landing aircraft would have to use powered reverse thrust in order to stop in time. There may be 4,000 - 5,000 homes here.
5. Those who would be over-flown by aircraft for the first time, numbering at least 150,000 people.
6. Those affected by the reconstructed and diverted road systems such as a new M4 spur (taking part of Harlington cemetery), and a main road through Harmondsworth, affecting possibly another 2,000 people in total.
And, after all that, the new development would only provide 70 per cent of the estimated demand by 2030, giving rise to even more victims in the future. Where is the next village to be demolished?
Can we ask how BAA, the aviation industry generally, and the Government propose to deal with all these people?
Where is the money to come from for compensation, re-housing, relocation or other special provisions?
Or are they going to just pay the evictees the value of the assets they already own, and leave the rest to fend for themselves in an area devastated by the massive expansion of the airport?
MRS B A B SOBEY,
honorary secretary, Sipson Residents' Association, Sipson Road,