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Tories refuse chance to speak up for residents over Heathrow expansion

August 13, 2019 5:43 PM

Heathrow ExpansionFollowing detailed consideration of the impact on Spelthorne of the proposals for Heathrow expansion, the Lib Dems put forward a motion to the Council in July proposing that the development was unsustainable and should be objected to in principle. The Tories, despite well known individual concerns, were whipped to support an amendment that kicked the issue into the long grass.

The wording of the motion was:

That henceforth the formal position of Spelthorne Borough Council will be to oppose any increase in air traffic movements at Heathrow airport.

The Council notes that this new position in principle is based on the impact on local residents and the environment from air traffic, and that the Council now believes that an increase in capacity is unsustainable and damaging to the borough.

The Council's response to the LHR Expansion Consultation closing on 13th September 2019 will clearly indicate this change in policy and Spelthorne Borough Council's opposition to the proposals in principle.

This motion was proposed by the Lib Dem councillor Lawrence Nichols and in recognition of the cross-party nature of the subject was seconded by Labour.

In moving the motion councillor Lawrence Nichols stressed that the development would have an unacceptable and unsustainable impact on the borough both during the building and in operation. He also said that expanding airport capacity was contrary to government policy and international undertakings to take climate change seriously. Other speakers in support of the motion set out in stark terms the local impact of the infrastructure changes which would completely change parts of Stanwell.

At no stage during the debate did any speaker make any effort to support the expansion plans for Heathrow. Despite this the Tory Leader of the Council used a procedural amendment to stop the motion being voted on. He moved an amendment to have the issue referred to the Overview and Scrutiny committee and forced his members to vote for it. This amendment was carried despite every opposition members voting against the referral.

It was shameful that the Tory leadership:

Liberal Democrat councillors will make every effort at he Overview and Scrutiny meeting to get the official position changed to oppose Heathrow expansion and for this to be included in the Council's response to the consultation.