‘Runway plan ignores environmental damage’

Published: 6 June 2013

A rumoured plan to build a third runway south-west of Heathrow Airport would cause irreparable environmental damage, according to the leader of Wandsworth Council.

Councillor Ravi Govindia today urged airport bosses to abandon any attempt to establish a third runway - claiming that suggestions one could be established in the Stanwell Moor area ignore the fact that building work would need to be carried out on land protected by EU wildlife and environment directives.

He warned the likely outcome of any such move by bosses would see them eventually having to alter their plan and building a third runway directly south of the airport.

Cllr Govindia said:

"A new south-western runway would involve building on protected water bodies close to the airport, which would decimate wildlife habitats and potentially have implications for the proper functioning of nearby reservoirs.

"The only way to avoid this area while ensuring sufficient runway separation between the existing southern runway and a new one would be to build it directly to the south of the airport - exactly where the 2M group predicted the desired site was earlier this year.

"None of this of course addresses the question of where a sixth terminal would be built or how local rail and roads networks would cope with passenger throughput in excess of 100 million movements annually.

"And let's not forget that any attempts to establish a third runway at Heathrow will inevitably lead to demands for further additional capacity including the possibility of a fourth runway."

In April, Wandsworth and its 2M Group campaign partners produced new flightpath maps highlighting the parts of London which could be overflow by planes using the proposed third and fourth runways.

In Wandsworth parts of Roehampton, West Putney, West Hill, East Putney, Southfields, Earlsfield, Wandsworth Common, Northcote, Nightingale, Tooting, Balham, Bedford, Graveney and Furzedown wards could be disrupted by aircraft coming into land on a new runway to the south of the existing landing strips.

Wandsworth has consistently warned that Heathrow will not stop expanding if granted a third landing strip. Its main European rivals have four or more runways and Heathrow will need to match their capacity to directly compete.

Charles de Gaulle, Heathrow's nearest rival, has four runways. Frankfurt and Barajas (Madrid) also have four and Schiphol (Amsterdam) has six.


Notes to editors

Water bodies in the Stanwell Moor area are used for drinking water and the creation of a runway on the site would require them to be enclosed. This has implications for the proper functioning of the reservoirs because a 21 day retention period for stored water in open air should always be aimed for, to allow the natural UV to act as a primary steriliser for drinking water.