Government should come clean on its intentions

Heathrow Residents’ Group Calls on the Government to Come Clean on its Plans for the Airport

HACAN ClearSkies, the organisation which represents residents under the Heathrow flight path, has called on the Government to come clean on its plans for the airport. Reports in the weekend press (1) suggest that one of the options in the forthcoming Regional Air Studies (2), to be released shortly by the Government, will be a 3rd runway at Heathrow. But the residents’ group points out that only last November Stephen Byers, when giving the go-ahead to Terminal Five, agreed to a limit of 480,000 flights a year at Heathrow (3).

John Stewart, Chair of HACAN ClearSkies, said, “The Government is either mixed up and muddled or dreadfully devious. Less than a year after recommending a cap on flight numbers at Heathrow, it is touting the possibility of a 3rd runway that would destroy the cap at a stroke. Local people are angry and cynical. They feel they cannot believe a word the Government says.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The Sunday Times (7/7/02) carried a story which detailed the options for airport expansion that the Government is expected to unveil later this month.

  2. The Regional Air Studies, which the Government has been drawing up over the last 2/3 years, are expected to be published, for 4 months consultation, on 22nd or 23rd July. The most controversial study is expected to be the one covering London and the South East — the SERAS Study. A third runway at Heathrow is expected to be amongst the options it will outline.

  3. When he gave the go-ahead for Terminal Five in November 2001, Stephen Byers agreed with the recommendation of Roy Vandermeer, the T5 Public Inquiry Inspector, that the number of flights at Heathrow should not exceed 480,000 per year by the time the Terminal opens (2007). Last year the number of flights was 460,000. A 3rd runway — even if it were not a full-scale runway — would guarantee that the 480,000 cap could not be adhered to. In April 2002, an all-party coalition was launched, supported by over 90 MPs, calling for the cap to remain.