The battle for representation in the Heathrow Airport consultation continues for Surrey Heath, despite efforts by Surrey County Council (SCC) to include the borough in the expansion talks. On March 17, SCC publicly challenged the government's refusal to hold Heathrow Airport expansion meetings in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge.
However, such attempts have not satisfied campaign group, Aircraft Noise 3 Villages (AN3V) who demand action over increased aircraft noise in Lightwater , Windlesham and Bagshot .While Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) and SCC continue to be prodded, campaigners are now putting local MP Michael Gove under the spotlight for refusing to take part in a public meeting with constituents.
Michael Gove (Photo: TMS)
Representing AN3V, Rosalie James told Get Surrey : "Michael Gove has yet again turned down the offer of a public meeting at which constituents could question those responsible for representing our best interests."He has, however, confirmed the Department of Transport (DfT) will not leaflet or hold consultation events in this area."In an email to Mr Gove, Miss James stated: "The public meeting was requested by many people keen to understand what your position and that of the council is in terms not only of existing noise, but how residents will be protected from yet more noise IF expansion is finally approved.
"It would have presented an opportunity for you and those who will be directly involved in taking that final decision by way of House of Common vote, to reassure constituents that concerns are being adequately addressed and outline how this area will be protected from further aircraft noise."Miss James continued: " I urge you to reconsider your position on a meeting or at least provide some detail on how you are proposing to defend the interests of Surrey Heath residents already considerably affected by noise."In February, Miss James accused SCC and SHBC for ignoring complaints and having their "heads in the sand " over plans for a third runway at Heathrow.A month later, the group said the consultation process was "flawed" and "biased " after the three villages were missed during the distribution of one and-a-half million leaflets inviting people to free public consultations.
Since, AN3V has filed two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, demanding to see evidence of the information reported back by the SHBC's two representatives at the Heathrow Community Noise Forum (HCNF). Another request was issued to see the correspondence passed between SHBC and DfT regarding the leafleting for the public consultation events Surrey Heath was excluded from.
When approached for comment, Mr Gove said: "I believe it is important for my constituents to be consulted regarding the draft Airports National Policy Statement, and that is why I joined forces with two other Surrey MPs to argue for Consultation Information Events to take place in our constituencies."He added: "I am pleased that the Department for Transport has now agreed to send representatives to such a meeting and I will work to ensure our meeting takes place shortly."
Full article text Get Surrey