Theresa May said in 2009 that ‘local people will be devastated by Heathrow expansion’

Ms May said she thought the Labour Government's case for exapanding Heathrow was flawed

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 25 October 2016 16:30 BST
Ms May at the Tory conference in 2009, the year in which she said her Maidenhead constituents would be ‘devastated’ by the then Labour Government’s plans for a third runway
Ms May at the Tory conference in 2009, the year in which she said her Maidenhead constituents would be ‘devastated’ by the then Labour Government’s plans for a third runway

Theresa May said in 2009 that many of her constituents in Maidenhead would be “devastated” by a decision to expand the airport capacity of Heathrow.

The pages on Ms May's website, which now appear to have been deleted, had a statement from herself, declaring: “I am clear that we must say no to a third runway at Heathrow.”

“The building of a third runway will push many of the existing departure routes from the other two runways directly over Maidenhead. In addition, the proposed arrival routes will see more planes travelling directly over Twyford as they come in to land,” it added.

“The Government’s case for expanding Heathrow is flawed. They are determined to press ahead without proper consideration of whether expansion is needed.”

According to The Sun the posts, published in 2009, vanished in 2013 when Ms May was Home Secretary. Another post from January of the same year said that a third runway would result in an increase in flights over the local area “affecting thousands of people in Maidenhead and the surrounding area.”

It added: “I know from all the letters and emails I get that many local people will be devastated by the Government’s decision.”

Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “I agree with Theresa, but 2009 Theresa who said Heathrow expansion would damage our environment. It is utter hypocrisy to try and hide her writing and change her position like this.

But today the Prime Minister told the London Evening Standard it was a decision made “for jobs and growth” and showed that post-Brexit Britain will be an “open, global, successful country”.

The Department for Transport (DfT) claimed that the new runway will bring economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61bn. Officials said that up to 77,000 additional local jobs are expected to be created over the next 14 years, while the airport has committed to creating 5,000 new apprenticeships over the same period.

The Government said it will take “all necessary steps” to ensure enhanced connections within the UK, including "where appropriate, ring-fencing a suitable proportion of new slots for domestic routes".

Speaking at Downing Street, Transport Secretary Chis Grayling said: "This is a really big decision for this country but it's also the clearest sign, post the referendum, that this country is very clearly open for business.

“We've thought long and hard about this. The committee considered all three options. There were three very good options on the table.

“But we believe a third runway for Heathrow is the best option for our future. It's the best for the whole country to create better connectivity to the different regions of the United Kingdom and to provide the best trade links to the world.”

The Independent has contacted Downing Street for a comment.

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