Plans for airport expansion released by airport operators BAA have been hailed as a wake-up call for people living in the shadow of Heathrow.
The Heathrow Airport interim Master Plan, published by BAA on Monday, shows an area put aside by the airport operator into which it could expand and build a third runway and sixth terminal.
It could build on the area if it meets pollution targets and gets planning permission.
The area, covering Sipson and parts of Harmondsworth and Harlington, contains around 700 homes which could be demolished to make way for expansion, as well as Heathrow Primary school, village shops and pubs.
No Third Runway Action Group chairwoman Geraldine Nicholson, of Little Benty, West Drayton, said: “This is not just about bricks and mortar, it’s about the people. I took my little boy to Heathrow Primary School this morning and I have got two more waiting to start. Where are they going to go to school?
“I think this is a wake-up call for West Drayton and Hayes. At the moment you can’t sit in your garden in Longford because of the noise and pollution – that’s how it would be here.”
Anti-expansion campaigners are now considering fighting the proposals as a human rights issue.
MP for Hayes and Harlington, John McDonnell (Lab) said: “The scale of this is much bigger than any of us thought possible. It renders Harlington, Harmondsworth and Longford unliveable and demolishes Sipson completely.
“This means the forced migration of up to 10,000 people, and I think that has to be a human rights issue.”
Any expansion will only be legal if the airport can meet strict air quality limits set by the EU and detailed in the Government’s White Paper on Aviation. Currently the area around the airport contravenes these limits, which will come into force in 2010.
BAA Heathrow managing director Mick Temple said: “Air quality is a big challenge and is not entirely in the gift of the airport operator or airlines. It may not be possible to meet EU limits. If the White Paper remains as it is and we do not meet the air quality conditions we will not receive planning permission for the third runway.”
However, Mr Temple said it was difficult to predict what the situation would be like in ten years’ time, when the runway would be likely to be built, saying “white papers change.”