Wandsworth councillors have expressed concern about the secrecy surrounding the Government’s consultations on the expansion of Heathrow airport.

The Government launched a four month consultation yesterday (February 2), including a series of public meetings, on adding a third runway and changes to airspace policy.

This included a 46-page draft national policy statement which failed to clarify the new flight paths that would result from a third runaway.

The Department for Transport told the media yesterday: "The planning policy proposals [for a third runway] show this Government is not only making the big decisions but getting on with delivering them."

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: "What millions of Londoners want to know above anything else is whether the new flight paths will go over their homes, schools or communities.

"There is not justification for keeping this vital information a secret.

"The Government seems to be consulting on the benefits of expanding this airport but not the drawbacks. This renders the whole exercise meaningless.

"This is more like marketing than consultation and the transport secretary is damaging already fragile trust in politics. 

"It’s vital that residents are not put off by Government’s approach and make their voices heard.

"This council and its partners will campaign for the flightpath options to be included in this consultation and will provide a more balanced presentation of the scheme’s impacts."

In a statement, transport secretary Chris Grayling said the UK has failed to build the capacity needed to match "people’s growing desire for travel".

He said: "Doing nothing is no longer a choice we can afford to make.

"Without expansion, constraints in the aviation sector would impose increasing costs on the rest of the economy over time, lowering economic output by making aviation more expensive and less convenient to use, with knock-on effects in lost trade, tourism and foreign direct investment."

The Government’s draft national policy statement has been met with opposition. 

Richmond Council leader Lord True has branded it a "farce", while Zac Goldsmith, the spokesman and organiser of the anti-expansion campaign by Richmond, Wandsworth, Hillingdon and Windsor and Maidenhead, condemned it for not giving details on new flight paths.