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Last week l was happy to host the initial findings of Hounslow’s council consultation on the expansion of Heathrow at City Hall. The consultation “Make Some Noise over Heathrow” was launched on the 15th of April and closed on the 16th of May. The survey was undertaken through a questionaire sent to every household in the borough along with an online form.
It found residents overwhelmingly against an expanded airport, but also against its closure. As 72 per cent of residents said they are against expansion and also 64 per cent said they did not want to see a new hub airport built if it meant losing Heathrow. So the Mayor should take note of these initial findings from Hounslow as he stills pursues “Boris Island” in the Thames Estuary.
He should also acknowledge Hounslow is the borough most affected by Heathrow in terms of noise and the economy and the finding reflect this well. Its certainly the borough most affected by noise from the airport, lying directly under both main apprach paths from East to West, and also by noise on easterly take-offs.
Qualititively the results of Hounslow consultation are also more signficant as its ask its residents 11 questions in all rather then the two in the referendums undertaken in neighbouring West London boroughs of Hillingdon & Richmond. So for example it tells us an overwhelming majority, some 83 per cent, were in favour of night flight bans between 11pm and 7am. And a even higher percentage of 94 per cent wanted better noise insulation for schools and residents living under the flight path.
Interestingly it also found that air pollution and high levels of pollution was an issue for 70 per cent of residents. Something for both the Council & the London Assembly to take note off and act on their behalf.
So its clear to me that Hounslow residents don’t want a bigger Heathrow but a better one.