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Residents urged to have say in Heathrow expansion consultation

A call for residents to turn out and respond to a consultation on Heathrow’s proposed third runway has been issued by two neighbouring councils with opposing positions on the issue.

Yesterday (Thursday) the Government published its draft National Policy Statement (NPS) which lays down the planning policy framework the airport must follow to get development consent.

Measures that Heathrow must obey include enforcing a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights, honouring its commitment to keep road traffic near the airport at its current levels and ensuring nearby residents are protected from aircraft noise.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling heralded the NPS as ‘a big step forward’ for one of the UK’s major infrastructure projects.

But Royal Borough council leader Simon Dudley told the Express the NPS proves that Heathrow has a lot of problems such as air quality concerns that it needs to address.

Cllr Dudley (Con, Riverside) said: “I think by far the biggest issue is air quality.

“It’s very easy for Heathrow to say there won’t be an increase in car movements but how are you really going to ensure that?

“Are you going to make the whole area an emission free zone?”

He added if the airport fails to find solutions to the problems outlined in the NPS, the door will be left open for a judicial review.

A 16-week consultation period is now open where the public can give its views on the NPS.

Cllr Dudley added: “I think the most important thing is to attend the consultation and then we will see the ability of Heathrow to respond to the concerns raised.”

Windsor residents can put their questions to Government officials during a consultation event at the Windsor Youth and Community Centre in Alma Road on Friday, March 3.

A similar consultation session will be held for Slough residents at The Curve, in William Street, on Monday, March 13.

A Slough Borough Council spokeswoman added: “We maintain our support for Heathrow on the basis that it’s key to our economy and provides an important source of jobs to our residents.

“But we would urge anyone who wants to have their say to go along to the consultation at The Curve.”

The NPS consultation closes on May 25.

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