Heathrow councils try to defer inquiry

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The Independent Online
LOCAL authorities fighting plans for a fifth terminal at Heathrow Airport yesterday asked the inspector in charge of the public inquiry to delay the hearing to avoid a clash with another inquiry which will determine highway access to the pounds 800m development.

At the first pre-inquiry meeting at the Ramada Hotel at Heathrow, west London, Sheila Cameron QC, representing 11 councils around the world's busiest passenger airport, asked Roy Vandermeer, chairman of the hearing, to postpone the formal proceedings until at least autumn next year. They are due to open next May.

Ms Cameron said a deferral was needed because the Government had not yet announced a date for the hearing into its plans for motorway links alongside the M25 between the M3 and M4 junctions. A crucial part of the new terminal plan announced by the British Airports Authority plc involves a spur road to these links.

Yesterday's meeting heard that the M25 inquiry was unlikely to begin before November this year.

Mr Vandermeer promised a decision in the near future.