London United over Heathrow expansionJanuary 17, 2008 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Advertising, AirportWatch, enoughsenough, Greenpeace, Heathrow expansion, London, Mayor | Leave a comment
Jason Beattie, Chief Political Correspondent
All the frontrunners in the race for the London Mayor have joined forces to oppose Heathrow expansion.
Mayor Ken Livingstone, Conservative Boris Johnson, Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick, and Green Sian Berry appear in an advert criticising the plans.
Ministers want to build a third runway, and almost double the number of flights at the airport to more than 700,000 a year.
Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “When these four agree you know something’s going on. The candidates fighting it out for the support of Londoners are all telling Gordon Brown he’s got it wrong on Heathrow.
A third runway would be bad news for the climate and deeply disturbing for people living under the flightpath.
“If Brown focused on getting people off short-haul flights and on trains we could reduce the climate impact of Heathrow instead of vastly increasing it.”
The campaign comes amid growing criticism of the government consultation on expansion. The Plain English Campaign branded the wording of the document “atrocious”. A recent report said the economic benefits of expansion had been vastly exaggerated.
Ministers are under pressure to extend the consultation beyond its 27 February deadline, amid claims that thousands of people under the flightpaths have not received the document outlining plans.
Residents in Hounslow, Wandsworth, and Hammersmith and Fulham are reported to have been excluded from the mailing list by the Department for Transport. There is also anger that no transport minister will attend any of the public meetings on expansion.
The 2M group – an umbrella body representing the estimated two million people in London affected by Heathrow – said it was imperative the consultation was “done openly”.
Hounslow council’s cabinet member for aviation, Barbara Reid, said: “The Government allowed only the minimum three months for consultation. That is simply not long enough. With so many people about to receive this information for the first time it is only fair the consultation deadline be extended – at least for another two months.”
Hammersmith and Fulham council leader Stephen Greenhalgh said: “Many people think the Government has rigged the consultation. The mainstay of its case is the economic argument based largely on material provided by the aviation industry.”
Aviation Minister Jim Fitzpatrick has now agreed to send consultation documents to any postcode that was overlooked.