Rather than restate its anti-third runway stance at last Monday’s (July 27) full council, the Labour group passed a motion “demanding answers” from the Conservative government on what it intends to do at Heathrow, if expansion is permitted.
The motion was supported by Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors, while the Ealing Conservative group abstained.
Afterwards, Lib Dem leader Cllr Gary Malcolm rounded on the Labour group and Cllr Bell for not taking a tougher line.
He said: “It is a shame that the Labour party are sitting on the fence, dancing to the tune of David Cameron. Liberal Democrats reaffirmed our opposition to Heathrow expansion as we do not want to see more noise and air pollution.
“Why doesn’t the council leader sit on his fence at a school in Hounslow - then he will appreciate the noise children suffer, day in and day out!”
Cllr Gregory Stafford, leader of Tory opposition, said the Ealing Labour leadership had “refused to confirm” they intend to stick to their 2014 manifesto commitment to campaign against expansion at Heathrow Airport.
Pointing out that Labour councillors had refused a Conservative amendment reaffirming the council’s commitment to campaigning against further expansion, Cllr Stafford claimed: “Nationally, Labour has changed their minds on Heathrow expansion.
“It should therefore come as no surprise that the Ealing Labour are trying to quietly back away from their 2014 Manifesto pledge to on this issue as well. Given that they are also reneging from their pledge of a weekly waste and recycling service, it is clear that their Manifesto has been a waste of a good tree.”
But Labour said residents would remember that it was the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in coalition government who had set up the Davies Commission in 2012 which last month recommended a third Heathrow runway.
Denying he was on the fence over the issue, Cllr Bell said: “The council will continue to fight any environmental impacts of current airport operations and if the government go ahead with expansion we will fight against the impacts of expansion.
“We will also fight the dangerous proposals of Boris Johnson to close down Heathrow airport that would lead to a catastrophic loss of local jobs.”
He added: “Indecision and uncertainty are the worst possible outcome for local people. We need to know what the Government intends to do.”
The motion passed by the council calls on David Cameron’s government to clarify what noise performance targets there will be and how a ban on night flights will be enforced.
It also seeks answers on respite periods, compensation packages and commitments on local jobs.