Council leader: 'We have a mandate to fight third runway'

Reporter:

James Harrison

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Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside), who appeared at a Stop Heathrow rally in Richmond on Saturday, has reaffirmed his commitment to fighting plans which were given the green light by the Government last month.

And he claims that the council has a mandate to do this based on a survey, the results of which were published in August, of 1,000 people in which 38 per cent of respondents said they opposed the proposal to build a third runway.

However, 34 per cent claimed to support the scheme, with the remainder answering ‘no feelings either way’ or ‘don’t know’.

He said: “I think firstly that the sample size is one which research companies say gives 95 per cent certainty. It gives highly accurate research and we’re confident in the feedback we’ve got.

“I think it’s been very consistent in the Royal Borough and I think it’s a very clear mandate. We’ve got to protect our residents.”

He added public health was at the heart of the council’s opposition and cited a High Court judgement at the beginning of the month which ruled the Government was not doing enough to tackle air pollution.

But Olu Odeniyi, president of the Maidenhead Chamber of Commerce, who supports the Heathrow plans, said: “I don’t believe these figures justify spending that amount of money.

“Since then we’ve seen the pound drop, inflation rise, both of which are going to hit people in their pockets, and I think they [the council] would be better off spending the money on something like help for small retailers.”

Pointing to recent unreliability of polls, he added: “When we had Brexit and the election in America they did many in the lead up to the occasion, so I think a lot of people will be questioning how accurate they are.”

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