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Lords launch for councils campaign against Heathrow expansion

March 10, 2007 7:44 PM
Cllr Stephen Knight (left) addresses the launch with Wandsworth Leader Cllr Edward Lister and shadow transport minister Lord Hanniford

Cllr Stephen Knight (left) addresses the launch with Wandsworth Leader Cllr Edward Lister and shadow transport minister Lord Hanniford

A new alliance of 12 local councils, including Lib Dem run Richmond upon Thames, formed to combat the growth of Heathrow Airport, has been launched at the House of Lords.

The 2M group aims to present a common voice for the 2 million residents affected by the Government's policy of expansion at Heathrow. It will lobby the government over noise and carbon emissions and highlight the huge impact continued growth would have on residents living under the flight path.

The launch was hosted by the Shadow Minister for Local Government and Transport.

Earlier this month the group was given permission to launch a judicial review in a bid to overturn the current night flights regime at the airport.

Deputy Leader of Richmond Council, Cllr Stephen Knight, said who spoke at the launch, said:

"We formed this group to give a voice to the 2 million people affected by the Government's policy of uncontrolled expansion at Heathrow.

"We are a cross-party group representing all the local authorities directly affected by Heathrow - from West London to Berkshire and from South London to South Bucks.

"We are not anti-Heathrow - but we are concerned that the Government consistently ignores environmental impact of growth while cynically overplaying the benefits to the economy.

"The government's policy of massive growth in airport capacity is totally unsustainable. It cannot be justified at a time when all policy should focus on the need to tackle climate change.

"Over the coming months we can expect a succession of Government announcements that will each add to the numbers of flights using the airport.

"In time this could lead to a 50 per cent increase in flight numbers, which in turn can only mean more noise and worsening air quality.

"It is our duty as local authorities to raise awareness of these threats to our residents' quality of life and ensure we are ready to challenge the proposals when they emerge."

In addition to Richmond upon Thames, the 2M Group includes Wandsworth, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham.

For more information visit the website at www.2mgroup.org.uk