Eleven London councils have written to the Prime Minister calling on her to scrap third runway expansion plans at Heathrow Airport in favour of Gatwick.
Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Hillingdon Councils are among the local authorities who have penned the joint letter to Theresa May.
In it the council leaders highlight the ‘broad and growing consensus behind Gatwick expansion’ and pledge to work with ministers to support this ‘bold and ambitious project’.
The letter was also signed by council chiefs from Kingston, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark and Wandsworth.
A spokesperson for pro-Heathrow expansion group Back Heathrow said it was disappointed but not surprised the three west London boroughs signed the letter, as thousands of residents there rely on the airport for their livelihood.
Anti-third runway campaigners remind Theresa May of her powers to put a stop to Heathrow expansion
Hammersmith and Fulham leader Stephen Cowan urged the government to back Gatwick.
He said: “Over the past 20 years we have witnessed a succession of failed attempts to increase capacity at Heathrow.
“Whatever paltry concessions Heathrow is offering don’t come close to addressing the impact of the third runway. The massive increase in flights over the borough every day would deliver huge misery to residents.”
'Plenty of promises from Heathrow over the years'
Opponents of the Heathrow third runway say the airport is already Europe’s worst-polluting and that its location in a densely populated part of west London makes it impossible to expand without causing unacceptable increases in air pollution, aircraft noise and transport congestion.
Cllr Cowan added: “We’ve heard plenty of promises from Heathrow over the years. But what we need is a radical new plan to address aviation, traffic and air quality issues in west London and beyond. Backing a new second runway at Gatwick is part of this plan.”
In the letter from the 11 councils, which represents 2.8 million Londoners, the councils agree to work in partnership with the government, Gatwick and London Mayor Sadiq Khan to support the airport’s growth and to ‘unlock the benefits’ it offers for employment, transport, regeneration and housing.
Also in 2015, a resident-led Hammersmith & Fulham Commission on Airport Expansion concluded that negative impacts on the borough from expansion would outweigh the positive benefits.
And a H&F Air Quality Commission is looking to bring residents and the council together to tackle air pollution, which is thought to cause the deaths of 203 people in Hammersmith and Fulham every year.
H&F Council say the problem will worsen if Heathrow expansion is approved.
'Residents want to see Heathrow grow'
A Back Heathrow spokesperson said: “It’s disappointing but unsurprising that these three west London council leaders would sign a letter in support of Gatwick, even though thousands of residents in their areas rely on Heathrow for their livelihoods and want to see it grow.
“Heathrow expansion is backed by trade unions, local businesses, airlines, a majority of MPs and more people living near the airport support expansion than oppose it.
“Thirty-four council leaders also recently signed a letter in support of building a new runway at the UK’s largest port and only hub airport, including the leaders of London councils such as Harrow and Tower Hamlets.”