Hounslow Heathrow consultation comes out against expansion

heathrow freight planesInitial findings of Hounslow Council’s consultation on the expansion of Heathrow have found residents against an expanded airport, but also against its closure.

The council say 72% of Hounslow residents who took part in the consultation said they are against expansion. However 64% said they did not want to see a new hub airport built if it meant losing Heathrow. Under half of the population took part – with 41% of Hounslow residents expressing an opinion.

Councillor Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council and cabinet member for environment, said: “Hounslow residents have spoken and they are saying loud and clear, we don’t want a bigger Heathrow – we want a better Heathrow.”

However, the council may be open to expansion at the airport if it is further west. When asked about the idea of building a four to the west of Heathrow – a new Heathrow – Cllr Ellar told the Hounslow Chronicle: “It’s certainly the most viable proposal I’ve seen that doesn’t damage west London in the same way other proposals would.”

Heathrow’s importance to Hounslow’s economy was underlined with 87% of respondents saying the airport was important. 55% added that Heathrow was beneficial to their families.

These numbers are based on a partial count of the results – around 3,000 have been counted so far. The council doesn’t expect the proportions to change significantly as the rest of the responses are counted.

Heathrow Airport has said that the airport must either expand, or close and be replaced by a new hub airport. If that is true, Hounslow residents look like being dissappointed one way or the other.

A Heathrow spokesperson commented: “The council has carried out a consultation on an out-dated runway proposal which is not being promoted by Heathrow.  Its conclusions are based on the responses of just 1.2% of the borough’s population* – with only 0.85% voting against Heathrow. Heathrow will submit outline proposals for additional capacity to the Airports Commission in July and we are committed to consulting with Hounslow Council and its residents and listening to their views as we develop our plans.”

Hillingdon Council, together with Richmond Council, published the results of their referenda at the same time, with similar results.

* Heathrow calculate this based on 3,000 responses counted, and a population of 254,000.

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