10,000 people ‘forced out of their homes’ by Heathrow expansion

June 17, 2009 at 11:53 am Leave a comment

heathrow
by Lawrence Dunhill

As many as 10,000 people could be forced to relocate if the third runway is built at Heathrow, Labour MP John McDonnell said in a Westminster Hall debate yesterday.

The member for Hayes & Harlington described how residents of Harmondsworth, Harlington, Longford, Cranford Cross and Hayes itself are living in a state of uncertainty and fear they may be part of “the largest evacuation of people in living memory.”

He said: “People do not know where the final boundaries of the airport will be or even whether their homes are threatened with demolition. They do know that their homes will be rendered unlivable as a result of noise and air pollution, but they have not been offered a penny except for limited amounts of support for additional insulation.”

There is no scheme currently on offer to the residents living in limbo to compensate them for relocation.

Mr McDonnell continued: “The uncertainty and blight mean that they cannot plan for their future. They live under the threat of the loss of their home and the destruction of their community.

“Because schools are to be demolished or rendered unusable, families cannot plan the education of their children.

“Because there is no binding commitment on whether a road will go through our local cemetery at Cherry Lane, we cannot even plan where we bury our dead at present.

“Local businesses, some of which are small businesses, will be affected. Jacqui Clarke, the local hairdresser who lives above her shop, will get nothing; there is no compensation for her.”

Mr McDonnell then claimed that taxpayers could end up subsidising the third runway because of BAA’s precarious financial state.

A recent story in The Guardian reported how the airport’s operator had approached the Government to talk about what would happen if it goes into administration.

A number of MPs also stressed the significance of several businesses, including Carphone Warehouse, BSkyB and Sainsbury, concluding that the business case for the third runway did not stack up.

Transport Minister Paul Clark did not answer the BAA claims but insisted expansion was vital for the UK economy.

He said: “The fact has not changed that having a transport system is the lifeblood of Britain’s economy, indeed that Heathrow is our only hub airport.”

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Entry filed under: Commons, Westminster Hall. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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