Heathrow is our closest airport and, while many local people use it for business trips and holiday flights, I was surprised to see just how much freight is handled there too. It deals with twice as much freight as each of our two largest UK ports, Southampton and Felixstowe!
Many constituents work there, either at the airport itself or in the many enterprises clustered around it.
When the government announced the proposal, last autumn, to expand Heathrow airport, it promised a chance for members of the public to have their say.
Now the consultation process is officially open and I am encouraging constituents to take part. The consultation runs until Wednesday 25 May and if you put “Heathrow consultation” into your computer search engine you will find all the documents on the www.gov.uk site. There are also public information events, details of which can be found online.
Whilst I believe that the expansion of Heathrow is the best way to provide extra airport capacity in the South East, and that it will provide extra jobs and boost the Buckinghamshire economy, I would add that there are environmental implications which must be addressed. The consultation document shows that, to obtain consent for development, the construction of a new north-west runway at Heathrow must meet specific requirements, such as pollution, climate change, health, noise and air quality. There also must be compensation for the communities affected and we have good reason here in Buckinghamshire to know about that process, given the HS2 project.
My overall view is that Heathrow would be best placed to provide the extra capacity which is required and that it would help the UK economy to grow. International companies have chosen to locate their headquarters in Buckinghamshire, including some locally, so the Heathrow expansion would benefit their global operations. I hope that people living in the Chesham & Amersham constituency will add their views to what is a national discussion.