HILLINGDON’S referendum on the future of Heathrow Airport has started.
The borough’s eligible voters will receive a polling card this week, which asks for views on the prospect of more runways and more flights at the airport. Voting closes on May 16.
Richmond borough is also conducting a referendum, and both boroughs will jointly announce their results on May 20.
The Leader of Hillingdon Council, Councillor Ray Puddifoot, said: “The matter of Heathrow expansion is a major issue in Hillingdon.
“I’d urge residents to have their say on this so we have a representative view of what the whole borough thinks.
“Heathrow affects everyone who lives here, whether you live in the villages surrounding it, or further north, so please have your say.”
The result will not be binding – it could be regarded as more of an opinion poll. And the poll could be construed as a risky strategy, intended to show the government the level of opposition to a third runway but which could bring an unexpected majority vote in favour of expansion, forcing the council to re-think its anti-third runway stance.
Voters are being asked two questions in the Heathrow expansion poll:
n Should a third runway be built at Heathrow?
n Are you in favour of more flights into and out of Heathrow?
Every person on Hillingdon’s electoral roll is being sent a referendum card with the two questions on it, along with a unique reference number and the web address where they can cast their vote.
Voters will be prompted to key in their number, and they can then answer the questions. Those without internet access can complete the card and return it in an envelope provided, or take the card to any library or council office reception in the borough.
For more information, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/heathrow, or www.hillingdon.gov.uk/haveyoursay.
Heathrow Airport has no involvement in the referendum, and has been critical of its merits.
The company said in a statement: “Hillingdon is conducting a referendum on an outdated proposal, which is not being advocated by Heathrow and which was ruled out by the government in 2010.
“If, in due course, the Airports Commission recommends expansion at Heathrow then that would be the appropriate time to seek the views of Hillingdon residents.”