Ravi Govindia: Heathrow “fight far from over”

Published: Tuesday 25th October 16

The Government’s decision to back Heathrow expansion is “wrong on every level, legally undeliverable and will end in failure after years of wasted effort”, according to the leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia.

The Government has today backed a third runway despite the west London airport already being by far the worst noise polluter in Europe and responsible for illegal pollution levels.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has benched the rival scheme to expand Gatwick which offers a similar economic benefit to Heathrow, but with a fraction of the environmental damage.

Solicitors jointly appointed by Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth, Windsor and Maidenhead councils and Greenpeace UK are now examining the Government’s aviation announcement in detail and a legal strategy will be developed over the coming days. 

The campaigners have been preparing for a potential judicial review for the last 8 months as ministers have repeatedly refused to rule out the project despite clear evidence of the unlawful impact on surrounding communities.

Cllr Govindia said: “This is deeply distressing news for the communities around this airport but this fight is far from over. Ultimately it will be for the courts to decide if this project goes ahead and the law is on our side.

“The airport boasts illegal levels of air pollution, woefully inadequate transport capacity and has Europe’s worst noise footprint, and that’s with just two runways. Expansion will make all of these severely damaging issues worse. It’s wrong on every level, legally undeliverable and will end in failure after years of wasted effort.

“The chaotic and repeatedly fudged process leading up to the Government’s announcement is also wide open to challenge on multiple grounds. There has been no meaningful consultation and key information like the location of new flightpaths remain a secret even now. The work of the Airports Commission was also profoundly flawed and doesn’t not provide a sound basis for Government policy.

“It looks like we’re heading back to the courts just as we did in 2010 after the Brown Government backed Heathrow’s third runway. We overturned that decision in the High Court and nothing has changed since then to make expanding this airport any less damaging.”

Heathrow expansion is expected to have a major impact on Wandsworth by creating new flight paths across parts of the borough which have never experienced aircraft noise before.

Expansion at Heathrow could cost taxpayers between £15 and £20bn according to Transport for London. Councillors argue that this vast sum could draw funding away from other valuable growth projects such as Crossrail 2 or extending the Northern Line to Clapham Junction.

By contrast, Gatwick expansion is a self-funding project which would cost taxpayers nothing, while allowing them to reap the rewards of growth across the South London region. The flightpaths would run across more sparsely populated areas affecting far fewer people.

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Recent comments

If you are not troubled by aircraft noise it's probably because you were well aware of the implications of moving to the area and factored it in to your decision.
Paul Martin

11 November 2016

If you are troubled by aircraft noise it is really important that you report it when it happens or keep a note of the date/time and report it later, this is a way of collecting independent aircraft noise disturbance data. Send your report by email to: noise@heathrow.com - and, very importantly copy the email to Justine Greening MP - greeningj@parliament.uk - and also copy to - eryans@wandsworth.gov.uk & johnstewart2@btinternet.com (Hacan) - Heathrow no longer reply to email noise concerns as they now feel that complainants are considered to have no value however every single complaint does have very significant statistical value and does count. When you are affected by aircraft noise please report it using the method described above.
Roger

10 November 2016

JCH, I would also ask the same person to swap their house for one which is currently not overflown by planes from Heathrow, never has been and after the building of T5 (which was accompanied by a promise by BAA that no third runway would ever be sought - see the HACAN web site for details) was not ever expected to be, but which will now be with the changed flight paths for the proposed new runway. Tens or even hundreds of thousands of people who specifically chose to live in quieter areas of Wandsworth (and other areas of London) believing they would always be free from intrusive aircraft noise and pollution will now be have both involuntarily imposed on them. Opposing that isn't NIMBYISM, it's eminently reasonable.
Caroline

4 November 2016

Here's an idea for those who support Heathrow exxpansion and accuse those who do not, of nimbyism. Offer to swap your house with someone in an area due for demolition, or else move to a house on a main road route for Heathrow. Then with the knowledge that your home will be demolished or else the niggling worry that levels of pollution might give you cancer or otherwise shorten your life, your support for Heathrow expansion would be beyond reproach, as you would be demonstrating that you were prepared to make the very sacrifices you are asking others to make. In comparison with being forcibly removed from your home or being exposed to life threatening pollution, disrupted sleep seems to be fairly low on the list of the "costs" of expansion.
JCH

4 November 2016

No other major important city in the world has there biggest airport located where all aircraft land & take off over it's inhabitants. Why is that? If you don't understand you must be stupid! If we were really 'open for business' (& when weren't we?) we would have a 6 runway airport in The Thames Estuary which would hardly be more costly than this 3rd runway at Heathrow. A hub airport can be anywhere, it's where passengers change planes, & freight doesn't need to come into Heathrow. This whole spurious proposition is being mis-sold by vested interests who will lose out if capacity is moved elsewhere & their auguments for it are morally reprehensible given the severe enviromental noise & pollution it will rain down on London's residents.
James Marsh

31 October 2016

Yet again Wandsworth is costing residents more money,and not putting the finances to better use for Wandsworth residents who are in need. This insane Nimbyism has to stop. London is in enough of a mess with the uncertainty of Brexit do we really want to add to it going back to a darker age by not looking forward to what an enhanced International transport system would hopefully bring in more trade and industry to London.
Frank White

31 October 2016

Frankly. The Heathrow expansion is only a good thing. Yes our skies will get a little nosier but really that much so noticeable No. Wandsworth Council should Save our Cash & look to support our Government, who are increasingly lobbying against the companies to realise quieter planes. Its a long road, don't get me wrong. But seriously, it's time to move forward.
Roley

31 October 2016

A 3rd runway doesn't make any sense at all. Since I've been living here I have to sleep with earplugs or I wake up at 4:30 am. Who in their right mind would add more traffic in such a densely populated area ??! Cities all over the world are competing on attractiveness. Mr Khan recently unveiled his propositions for a ULEZ, more electric vehicles will come on the roads and decent efforts have been made to the cycle network yet the worst noise pollution of all is not given any attention. Completely stupid short term decision. An ambitious plan would get rid of Heathrow once and for all, relocate it further from the city center and build a high speed train toward central London.
Corentin

29 October 2016

The extra runway should be built at Gatwick. It's completely unethical to increase flights and pollution over a capital city. Wandsworth should be fighting against it.
M Winter

29 October 2016

i travel on the Piccadilly line and it is like rush hour all day because of the number of people going to Heathrow. I can't imagine how overcrowded it would get if there was another runway built. The infrastructure can't cope with it. A special Heathrow express should be built to take the strain just like the Gatwick express.
Susan avory

29 October 2016

I am supportive of the expansion of Heathrow and feel like this is gone through enough reviews. I am not supportive of ongoing action by Wandsworth Council to fight this and feel the energy, time and money can be better spent improving other areas of the council.
Adrian S

29 October 2016

I oppose a third runway at Heathrow. Air pollution in Putney is a disgrace in a western democracy...someone earlier in this thread mentioned China...I doubt he has ever been there and seen and tasted the veil of smog that hangs over their cities ...people in China don't have a say so we should be thankful we do.
Andy Mutter

29 October 2016

Thank you for opposing the third runway. Heathrow is a nonsensical choice, put it at Gatwick. Hundreds of thousands more people would be affected by aircraft noise and environmental pollution if built at Heathrow. As an ex-Putney resident, the noise pollution was significant. Now, in Earlsfield, we are sometimes affected but not hugely. The early flights in particular were terrible, planes going overhead every few seconds. Keep fighting, Wandsworth!
Clare

28 October 2016

All these people who are supporting the 3rd runway are obviously not living with aircraft noise ruining their lives. Try being woken 70% of the time at 4.30am. I lived in peace for five years until the flight path was moved with no consultation. Heathrow shareholders and supporters are arrogant and corrupt. I hope it never happens and will stand alongside the opposition and Wandsworth Council.
Anna

28 October 2016

I love living in Wandsworth. But in no way has aircraft noise ever impacted my happiness living in the borough over the last 20 years. I'm lucky enough to travel for work and leisure from Heathrow a few times a year, as do many of my neighbours, family and friends. So I would be a complete hypocrite to oppose development of something that I use and which has existed longer than I have. However, what I do oppose is local Wandsworth politicians wasting time and money campaigning in my name against Heathrow. The next article you write please mention your constituents who clearly support Heathrow's expansion, particularly if you continue to use Council Tax funds to fund your anti-Heathrow campaign.
A Paul

28 October 2016

I work all over south london and find noise in Richmond and Fulham from air craft dreadful, we don't require this over Wandsworth as well! The pollution stains outdoor furniture black let alone lungs. The cost of a 3rd runway silly and gatwick would be best.
c. critchell bullock

28 October 2016

In a post brexit world the govt need to make decisions. Not all will be popular but such decisions should be made. I support 3rd runway. I hope they also expand Gatwick and at some stage redevelop Clapham junction station that's dire. Wandsworth council need to grow up and not stand in the way of progress. Heathrow has affected West London in positive and negative ways but it's hardly new news and everyone has options if they don't like it. But the council should embrace progress not behave like petulant kids / MP for Richmond
Matt Randall

28 October 2016

Whichever runway is chosen there will be a price to pay, in some cases individuals homes (which should be compensated at least financially) but the sheer number in London compared to the country makes it a no brainer. Both airports will require some improvement in infrastructure, Gatwick is more efficient and more potential. The work available for west Londoners and in the South would be the same there is unemployment in both areas. GATWICK is in my opinion the better option
C Beese

28 October 2016

Is it worth exploring our Human Right to some quiet? And the cost to the NHS of our being made ill by the constant noise ... will Heathrow stump up some of their billions profit. Worthwhile getting Northerners on side so that they get some of the taxpayers' money that will otherwise be swallowed up in one place i.e. Heathrow.
Carol Tibbs

28 October 2016

I completely support Ravi Govindia's comments. I cannot understand (and I live directly under the flight path in Putney) why anyone would fly more planes over one of the most densely populated cities in the world - leaving aside the environmental and transport issues. It will need more than building a runway over the M25 (really?) to solve the transport access problems round Heathrow too. And why pull more traffic of all sorts into the South East? totally bad idea. Well worth fighting on.
Hilary Belden

28 October 2016

We always knew politicians were hand in glove with the extension - however they tried to hide it. But yesterday at a group lesson at the Central London Golf Club, Burntwood Lane - the girls came up with - the runway should go 'up north' or to the Midlands - because they could do with the business and the employment building it - Northern Powerhouse and all that - so perhaps instead of all out war - a better alternative could be floated Wandsworth Council. And don't say we were under a flight path when we bought our properties - it has got busier over the years.
Liz D

28 October 2016

I think it's time Ravi stepped down. You have lost the focus of why you are in your job- to deal with Wandsworth.
Jo

28 October 2016

In the post brexit world this 'no 3rd runway' has got to stop. We are leaving Europe so there are no pollution laws to stop us doing as we choose, do you think they say things like that in China ? Remember that the communities around the airport rely on the airport for employment and as a borough about 15 miles from the airport, is this really a good use of our council tax money ? Ravi, You sound like a spoilt child who hasn't got his way. Please stop wasting council tax payers money, remember you are a public servant.
Simon

28 October 2016

Wandsworth are wrong on this. The new runway is urgently needed for the good of the country and its location must be decided in light of the whole nation's needs, not just South West London's. Legal action will only result in further undesirable delay to this over-delayed project. And it ill behoves the much admired Wandswort Council, the jewel in the crown of the Conservative Party at local government level, to continue to oppose the properly arrived at decision of its own Conservative Government. You would do better to retreat gracefully at this point.
Stephen Wright

28 October 2016

This is clearly wrong on a number of levels-pollution,noise,cost and viability.
j edwards

28 October 2016

As a Wandsworth home-owner for well over 40 years I fully support the Council's legal challenge to the expansion of Heathrow. The Government's decision is wrong on so many levels that it must change its mind and support the Gatwick option.
Christopher Kirker

28 October 2016

Ravi Govindia once again abusing the Wandsworth council newsletter letter to air his personal views. Ravi Govindia is more concerned with issues not within his own council offering his usual completely biased one sided arguements. Last month: I don't want a new football stadium...in a council area nothing to do with Wandsworth. This month:I don't want a third runway at Heathrow... in a council area nothing to do with Wandsworth. Ravi Govindia you are like a child throwing a tantrum when they don't get there way. Try running your own council first, you are a councillor for WANDSWORTH, you are NOT the major of London.
Matthew Bean

28 October 2016

I disagree with Wandsworth Council's opposition to a third runway at Heathrow. We need London to be a hub for flights, especially after the disaster of Brexit. We have been reassured that noise levels will not substantially rise, especially as far away from Heathrow as Wandsworth. This is Nimbyism with no thought for what is best for the economy of London and the country as a whole The cost that bothers me is the endless enquiries, commissions and legal challenges. Let's just get on with it!
john taggart

28 October 2016

Please remember that the quality of our life and that of our children should be our priority here.. excessive development is damaging us. Real development now is that try to bring back what has been taken away and we have discovered we need most: Green spaces, free time, time with family and friends good food, good air etc... This is the development we should all aim to now I think.....
Martino Bruni

28 October 2016

I couldn't agree more - keep up the pressure. More traffic to, from and at Heathrow would be disastrous. The M4 is already at a standstill at times every day, and pollution of air and noise is already at unsustainable levels
thomas miles

28 October 2016

Please stop fighting this. We need the runway. In fact, we probably need a runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick. Either we want to continue to be at the centre of international trade or we don't. This NIMBYism needs to stop
Jimmy simons

28 October 2016

Good work Wandsworth. Gatwick is more easily accessible for many Wandsworth residents and would have a greater regenerative effect on South London than Heathrow. In 60 years, the timeframe of the supposed benefits, London will have completely enveloped Heathrow, and it would be a complete anomaly to have an airport in a town surrounded by residents, not withstanding the noise and impact on air quality.
Jason

28 October 2016

Views on Heathrow will depend to an extent on attitudes to human life. I have not so far seen any argument that pollution does NOT shorten the lives of thousands of people each year, or that children are NOT now growing up with underdeveloped lungs, so if the lives of a few extra people are seriously considered to be a cost worth paying for more jobs, there seems to be no point debating the issue. Personally however, I am shocked that we have reached a point where potential loss of life can be dismissed quite so lightly, as just one of those unfortunate side effects of economic growth. I suppose it has always happened with arms dealing, but then people have however always been a bit coy about that one.
Janis Humberstone

27 October 2016

Heathrow is the sensible option. It will provide more than 75,000 jobs at a time when they are needed and is the option preferred by major businesses in the UK. In an ideal world, I personally, would expand Gatwick as well as Heathrow, and put this issue to bed for the next 100 years. In the meantime, Mr Govindia, and other nimbys, must remember that Heathrow was there long before the vast majority of Londoners were born. He'd be far better off sorting out his cleaning contractors on Wandsworth's estates, estate management, borough wide bin collections, pavement safety, lighting issues and potholes, before trying to play politics at a national level. Govindia needs to get his act together before trying to play with the big boys.
John Gallagher

27 October 2016

In the post brexit world, we have to boost our economy and sometimes decisions that are best for the country as a whole, must be taken even though some people don't like them. Ravi - please stop wasting more of our council tax on legal fees. You are now sounding a bit like my 4yr old son when he doesn't get his way!
Simon

27 October 2016

@Caroline - my point is that they don't have your vote OR my vote because they have not consulted either of us on this. Rather than get involved in national politics, the council should stick to bins, housing and street cleaning until and unless they have a mandate. That said, they don't seem to pay any attention or respond to the comments on here so we are both wasting our time posting here.
Sean Egan

26 October 2016

For some reason I cannot post a web link on this forum but if you put the phrase "BALPA wants DfT and CAA to fund drone strike research – fears of cockpit hit or engine fire" into Google the first link it comes up with is to a series of stories about the concerns already raised by professional bodies such as BALPA about the dangers of consumer drones flying too close to low-flying planes near airports, with a fair number of Category A (the most serious) near-misses already catalogued near Heathrow in the past couple of years.
Caroline

25 October 2016

Sean, Kaleem - the council certainly has my vote to fight this decision. It is a disaster for South West London and it is NOT because of "nimbys" who knowingly moved in under the flight path. Many people who have lived in this area for decades who deliberately chose to live in places that are NOT currently overflown, but WILL be, are now also going to have their lives destroyed by noise, air pollution and an increased risk of a plane quite literally landing on their heads (if you are not aware of increasing concern about drone strikes / laser attacks on aircraft near Heaathrow I suggest you research it). The economic argument does NOT outweigh the environmental, social and terrorism ones and I am 100% behind the council's fight against it.
Caroline

25 October 2016

I agree with Sean, where is WBC's electoral mandate to fight against Heathrow expansion?
Kaleem

25 October 2016

Wandsworth council do not have a mandate to oppose Heathrow expansion. At no point has the opinion of residents been canvassed. "olicitors jointly appointed by Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth, Windsor and Maidenhead councils" How much are wandsworth council taxers contributing to these legal fees?
Sean Egan

25 October 2016

What a farce "democracy" is when the whole of the country can vote on something (which does not affect them in the slightest) about something which has a devastating impact on others. If anyone wonders how Donald Trump got to be the republican candidate, and why more than 17 million people in the UK voted for Brexit, look no further than this shameful volte face by politicians - do they ever wonder why no one trusts a single promise they make? What was the chant? No "ifs, no buts, no third runway "??
Janis Humberstone

25 October 2016