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How bad will Heathrow expansion be for Lambeth, demand residents?

by Sam Courtney-Guy

Lambeth residents have demanded clarity over the local impact of Theresa May’s decision to approve a third Heathrow runway.

In June, the Commons voted by a majority of 296 to approve plans for a northwest runway, 15 years after Tony Blair’s government published proposals to expand the UK’s busiest airport.

“The new runway means 700 more planes coming in and out of Heathrow each day,” says Brixton-based John Stewart, chair of HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise). “It’s too early to tell which specific areas will be affected, but it inevitably means a lot more flights over south London.”

“Heathrow has agreed on the principle of rotating the flight paths, but we are concerned there won’t be enough. They might settle on just a couple, meaning communities will be effectively living in noise ghettoes,” Mr Stewart added.

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham councils are set to launch a judicial review against the government’s decision with Greenpeace and Mayor Sadiq Khan. Local campaigners such as Plane Hell Action co-founder Dr Maureen Korda are calling on Lambeth council to join in.

“The third runway will only exacerbate the damaging effects [of overflight on health, as well as community well-being” she argues.]
Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes voted against the bill. Kate Hoey, an anti-expansion campaigner, said a delayed flight into Gatwick forced her to miss the vote.

“The battle is not over yet,” she said, though she suggested it is largely down to court action as there is little MPs can do.

A spokesperson for Chuka Umunna said he decided to abstain as he believes airport expansion is necessary but favoured proposals to expand Gatwick.

Heathrow said it will soon hold a second public consultation before submitting its proposal to the planning authorities.

Construction is due to begin in 2021 ahead of the new runway opening in 2026.

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