Heathrow closure ‘a benefit’

Hillingdon Council would see  Heathrow closing as a “benefit to residents”, and a “unique opportunity”.

The council, the planning authority for the airport, has long been opposed to any expansion in terms of runway capacity or volume of flights.

Now, following Heathrow’s submission to the Davies Commission of options for a third runway, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s for three options not in West London, Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, has described the potential closure of Heathrow Airport as “a benefit to Hillingdon residents”, although he suggests that he expects an airport to continue operating on the site.

Cllr Puddifoot said: “Once the new hub airport becomes operational it will be for Heathrow Airport Ltd to decide on a commercial basis, at the time, whether they wish to operate as existing or as a smaller airport.

“If they choose to scale down or close it would prove a unique opportunity for the west of London in terms of employment, housing and community infrastructure – as well as the environmental improvements this will bring.

“Whist the threat of closure is good media hype it is not, if it happens at all, going to happen any time soon but it would in the longer term be of a benefit to Hillingdon residents.”

LB Hounslow remains has said it will examine Heathrow’s proposals, in particular one for a North West third runway, over the M25, but has remained opposed to the closure of Heathrow, recognising the employment benefits of the 170,000 jobs the airport sustains in the area, or perhaps the additional 150,000 jobs that Heathrow suggests would be created by adding a third runway.

Frank Wingate, Chief Executive of West London Business, the representative body for the sub-region’s business community, said: “Closing Heathrow would be bad news for the prosperity of all the surrounding boroughs and many of our local politicians are now recognizing the reality of the airport’s significance to our West London wellbeing.”

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