Heathrow representatives quizzed at freedom trials meeting

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Heathrow’s decision makers were quizzed by residents over expansion plans and night flights.

Nearly 200 people heard a presentation from Heathrow ltd on the second phase of operational freedom trials, which will test new procedures from July next year.

Heathrow representatives announced plans were being considered to introduce no fly zones in addition to the current four-week rotation period to give greater respite to residents.

Zac Goldsmith MP chaired the meeting, at Duke Street Church in Richmond on Wednesday, November 21, and invited people to question the panel.

Fears included the effects of the trials on their daily lives, sleeping patterns and the complaints system.

 

Professor Ian Bruce of the Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) took to the stage and delivered criticisms of Heathrow’s relationship with residents.

Mr Goldsmith agreed there was very little trust between the parties and suggested the present arrangement was uncivilised and more efficient slot allocation could remove the need for night flights.

Heathrow representatives defended the continuation of night flights due to their economic significance and denied actively campaigning for a third runway.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Goldsmith said it was clear that changes to flight patterns and capacity were issues for the Government to decide.

He said: “The frustration and anger expressed clearly demonstrates that Heathrow has failed to perform its operational responsibilities with due consideration for south-west Londoners, or respond effectively to their complaints.

“I hope the Government will take this on board as they consider the arguments for and against a third runway at Heathrow.

“They should be in no doubt about the backlash should they fail to provide certainty for a community which is unanimously opposed to the idea and which has campaigned against it successfully before.”

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