Councillors in Hillingdon have voted to back a motion calling on the Prime Minister Theresa May to 'bring a swift end to the blight of Hillingdon residents' by choosing to expand Gatwick Airport over Heathrow.
The motion was put forward at a full meeting of Hillingdon Council on Thursday (September 8) by the leader of the council Ray Puddifoot.
But it was opposed by the Labour group on the council who said it was the council's responsibility to protect residents by opposing Heathrow, and not to move simply the impacts to people elsewhere.
'Common sense might have been abandoned'
Cllr Puddifoot said at the meeting: “Anyone approaching this from a common sense, practical point of view would logically choose Gatwick.
“The Cameron government were unwilling to come to a conclusion on this issue.
“There was a danger that common sense and practicality might have been abandoned.
“However, we have a new government now.”
The motion calls on Theresa May to make a decision on the Airport Commission report as soon as Parliament returns after the summer recess.
It goes on confirm Hillingdon Council's position as being opposed to expanding Heathrow Airport to create a third runway and that the authority supports the expansion of Gatwick Airport.
The Airport Commission
The Airport Commission – also known as the Davies Commission – published its findings in July 2015 and recommended that a northwest runway at Heathrow was the best option.
But the Labour group in Hillingdon Council proposed an amendment to the motion, suggesting that councillors continued to oppose Heathrow but did not support Gatwick's expansion.
The amendment was proposed by the councillor for Heathrow Villages, Peter Money.
He said: “I would like to move an amendment to this motion as it represents a departure from the council's view in the past.
“We in the local Labour Party have always been against a third runway.
“This council should not target other communities by supporting other airports for expansion.
“We should instead be concentrating on the threat of the third runway”
'A cop out amendment'
Cllr Puddifoot call the amendment a "cop out".
He said: “The government will make a decision on either Heathrow or Gatwick for expansion. That is the clear choice.
“What the Conservative administration in Hillingdon will say tonight is of those two, Gatwick is the less damaging option.”
Cllr Puddifoot added that 1,072 homes would need to be demolished if Heathrow was expanded, compared with 202 for Gatwick.
He also said that 431 hectares of green belt land would be lost with Heathrow's third runway, compared with 9.2 at Gatwick.
But the pro-third runway campaign group, Back Heathrow, has hit back at the council's vote.
The group's director, Rob Gray, said: "Hillingdon Council claims to be putting residents first but it is slapping them in the face by proposing to export local jobs to Sussex.
"The council is happy to boast of Hillingdon's role as the gateway to the world but then campaigns to keep it shut."
He added: "They are out of touch with the views of many residents who support Heathrow and appreciate the amount of investment, apprenticeships, jobs and other benefits that its expansion will bring to the local community."