Slough Borough Council responds to Heathrow announcement
Slough Borough Council has reacted to the government’s announcement that it will delay making a decision on airport expansion until next summer.
Councillor Rob Anderson, leader of Slough Borough Council, said: “We are disappointed the government has again postponed their decision on airport expansion.
“The case for expansion at Heathrow is strong and any further delay risks breeding uncertainty, which could damage the economy both in Slough and further afield.
“We urge the government to conduct their additional research as soon as possible to enable a swift decision in 2016.”
The council announced its support for Heathrow expansion in February and later welcomed the findings of the Davies Commission’s report on airport capacity, which favoured expanding Heathrow over Gatwick.
In the council’s submission to the commission, Slough specified Heathrow Airport Ltd’s new North West runway proposal as the preferred option.
Speaking at the time of the commission’s announcement in July, Councillor Anderson said: “We are delighted with the Davies Commission’s decision, which we believe secures the long-term prosperity of Slough.”
Ruth Bagley, chief executive of Slough Borough Council, also speaking in July, said: “Slough has a strong economy largely because of its accessibility to global markets via Heathrow.
“Our proximity to the airport is one of the main reasons why we have the highest concentration of European and UK headquarters in the country and why our prospects for inward investment are so positive.
“And Heathrow is the source of more 6,000 jobs for Slough residents on the airport and its support businesses. We estimate a further 12,000-plus Slough residents have jobs in local businesses as a direct result of our proximity to Heathrow.”
Slough has been working with Heathrow to agree a suitable mitigation package for the borough and its residents.
Some of the mitigation already agreed includes:
- the council and Heathrow establishing a partnership and working together to resolve airport-related issues – the work of this partnership to be funded by Heathrow to the tune of £100,000 per year for 15 years
- apprenticeships, training or employment for all Slough’s young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) on a permanent basis
- tailored noise mitigation packages for any property experiencing more than 60db
- £3,000 worth of noise insulation works for any property experiencing more than 55db
- generous noise mitigation packages for affected local schools
- new air quality monitoring station
- specific support for communities closest to the airport, including Colnbrook
- support of the council’s commitment to sending zero rubbish to landfill – in the event of down time, or relocation of the Colnbrook energy from waste plant
- studies on improving public transport access to the airport, including 24-hour bus services and measures to promote cycling and improve cycle routes
- potential of new council homes in areas where the airport has purchased housing affected by expansion
- measures to ensure good management of homes affected the airport’s ‘offer to buy’ scheme