Fresh calls to stop Heathrow expansion as Parliamentary report unpicks flawed Government consultation

Published: 23 February 2017

Councils are urging ministers to give-up their plans to expand Heathrow, following a Parliamentary report which points out serious of flaws and omissions in the Government’s Heathrow expansion plan.

The report, issued today (Thursday 23 Feb) by the cross party cross party Environmental Audit Committee, states that there is little evidence that the airport can expand without continuing to exceed legal limits on air pollution. 

This confirms the views of Hillingdon, Richmond Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, which are campaigning to highlight the serious environmental damage the scheme would bring to the south east of England. 

The report also highlights the Government has provided no precise timing of a night flight ban and little evidence that predictable respite can be achieved if the airport is expanded. In addition, the Government is relying on people switching to cleaner cars to reduce air pollution but thee committee has no confidence that the uptake targets can be met.

The Committee was also critical of the Government’s ‘scant’ detail on its approach to limiting carbon emissions.  

Councillors say the report confirm their view that there was no sound basis for picking Heathrow’s third runway as the basis for the current aviation expansion consultation, and that the current consultation is seriously misleading.

To find out how you can influence the Government's policy on Heathrow visit

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

“This influential cross-party House of Commons committee has reached exactly the same conclusions we have. The Government’s plans for Heathrow will never pass a simple legal test on air quality. The airport already churns out unlawful levels of air pollution, offers woefully inadequate transport capacity and has Europe’s worst noise footprint - and that’s with just two runways. Expansion will make all these issues worse.

“It’s wrong on every level, legally undeliverable and will end in failure after years of wasted effort. Nothing is going to change between now and 2018 to make this scheme any less polluting so ministers should face up to this truth now and abandon their plans for a third runway.” 

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said: 

“Yet again this is more evidence that expanding Heathrow is not feasible. The Government should give up now. Heathrow already contributes to illegal pollution levels. And, the Government has no realistic plan to combat this. Expanding Heathrow would not only be damaging to the environment, but it would damage the health of tens of thousands of Londoners. 

“We already take far more than any other European airport’s noise and air pollution. We already do our bit for the national interest. But enough is enough. The Government need to stop the spin and come clean on the real impact of expansion.”

Cllr Simon Dudley, Leader of The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, said: 

“The Royal Borough welcomes the verdict of the Environmental Audit Committee, confirming once again the Government’s failure to show air quality and environmental impacts can be mitigated, if it attempts to build a third runway at Heathrow.

“The council will continue to hold the government to account, particularly on environmental impacts, ensuring that local communities are protected.”

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: 

"We've told the government time and time again that a new runway at Heathrow will make already illegal air pollution levels around the airport worse, and cause damage to the environment and to the wellbeing of people. This latest report proves that the government has been misleading the public and highlights the negative impact that expansion of Heathrow will have on the environment, yet still the government refuses to accept that it is breaking the law on the very important issue of air quality and pollution. 

“The current consultation by the Department for Transport is incomplete and unbalanced, and doesn't even mention the fact that Heathrow already contributes to illegal levels of air pollution which would increase with expansion. We will continue to represent our residents' views and to challenge any proposal that has such a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing."

To find out how you can influence the Government's policy on Heathrow visit