While the debate on Britain’s aviation future won’t start in earnest until the final report from the Airport Commission is released in the summer, the fight against the third runway continues.
During the recent election campaigns, local MPs from the main parties won their seats on the back of a pledge to fight Heathrow expansion. This is good news because newly elected MPs must now live up to those pledges in Parliament by making the case that any airport expansion must not include a third runway at Heathrow.
A number of constituents have been in touch with me in the weeks following the Election asking what they can do to help.
What can you do to help?
To do your bit please:
The Chancellor, George Osborne has announced his 2015 budget, outlining the economic landscape and his plans for the country.
In the Budget, Mr Osborne explained that the UK had grown the fastest of all the major advanced economies in the world, had the best employment figures in British history and had seen an improvement in living standards by an average of £900 for each household since 2010.
The Chancellor announced plans including a freeze of fuel duty, an increase in the income tax threshold for the lowest earners and investment in scientific research and developments.
Adam Afriyie, Windsor’s MP, welcomed the Budget saying:
“On the same day that we see the number of people in Windsor on out-of-work benefits at an all-time low, it’s encouraging that the national economy is set to grow even more.
“The Conservatives sensible economic management has helped to create 2 million jobs in the private sector and drive down unemployment by 40% since 2010, and left us as the fastest-growing major economy in the world.
The MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie was among a group of speakers from several political parties and campaign groups to speak at a rally set up to oppose plans for a third runway at Heathrow.
The rally took place at the Church House conference centre in Westminster and brought together hundreds of campaigners to support the fight against Heathrow’s plans for a third runway.
The event titled “Rally against the Third Runway” was organised by campaign group HACAN and welcomed Conservatives Adam Afriyie, Zac Goldsmith, Mary Macleod, Steven Norris, Liberal Democrat Business Minister Vince Cable, Labour MPs John McDonnell and Andy Slaughter as well as representatives from the Green Party and UKIP to speak.
Mr Afriyie said after the event:
“The breadth of speakers from all major political parties at the Rally against the Third Runway shows that Heathrow’s plans are completely politically undeliverable.
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to improve transport links in the Thames Valley.
Mr Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport): The Government launched the Roads Investment Strategy on 1 December. The M4 Junction 3-12 smart motorway project to upgrade the M4 between Reading and Heathrow continues to be progressed. This month the Highways Agency is conducting a public consultation on the proposals, including exhibitions at 11 locations in the Thames Valley.
Construction of Crossrail is now more than half completed and electrification of the Great Western Main Line is also under way. Electrification of the Thames Valley branch lines, including the Slough to Windsor line, is approved and will improve local connectivity.
The transformation of Reading station was completed on time and under budget as part of the £850 million Reading Station Area Redevelopment programme and formally opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 17 July.
The programme to increase passenger capacity on the Reading and Windsor to Waterloo railway by 25% is now under way and will be completed in early 2015. 60 additional carriages are being incorporated into an extended and refurbished fleet of trains to operate as a maximum 10 carriage train length.
In July the Government announced £94.6m to support local transport projects across Berkshire as part of the Growth Deal with the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, in addition to the £36.9m integrated transport block funding announced in March for the six Berkshire local authorities, covering the period 2015/16 to 2020/21.
Together we can make a difference.
As the MP for Windsor and a resident of Old Windsor myself, I know how intrusive flight noise can be. That’s why I will continue to fight against any extra noise from Heathrow, whether that’s from extra flights, Heathrow expansion or changing flight paths.
Everyday people ask me how they can help, so I thought I’d list the actions that can make a difference in our fight against extra noise from Heathrow. Don’t feel you need to do everything, just pick what you feel is appropriate for you:
1. You can sign this petition to “Say No to Heathrow Expansion”: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-third-runway
2. You can send a letter of support to The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, who are also fighting against Heathrow expansion by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. You can submit noise complaints to Heathrow Airport Ltd. by email, phone or online at: http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/what-you-can-do/make-a-complaint-about-noise
4. You can write a letter of complaint to Heathrow Airports Ltd. at:
Mr John Holland-Kaye
The Compass Centre
5. You can write a letter of complaint to the official aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority at:
Mr Andrew Haines
Civil Aviation Authority
6. You can write a letter to the Airports Commission, who are writing a report on Heathrow expansion at:
20 Great Smith Street
7. You can find regular updates on Heathrow news by: