Councillor Robert Watts, Leader of Spelthorne Council appeared before a special meeting held by the Airports Commission on Wednesday 3 December to hear the views of people around the Airport following the launch of a consultation in November inviting comments on the shortlisted runway options.

Councillor Robert Watts said: "The future of Heathrow is critical to both the local and national economy. Nearly 4,000 residents work on the airport and another 3,500 in support businesses. Doing nothing is not an option as that would simply lead to a decline in jobs.

I have no illusions about the challenges any airport expansion can bring; and the noise, air quality, transport and other environment issues will need to be resolved. I have stressed to the Commission that effective and comprehensive mitigation is a prerequisite."

The Commission, which is led by Sir Howard Davies, is currently investigating the best option for a third runway in the South East and is due to present its final report to the government in June 2015.

Speaking about the consultation in November, Sir Howard Davies said: "Since our interim report last year we have undertaken a huge amount of work. We have carried out a thorough assessment, across a comprehensive range of subjects, looking at the benefits and impacts of each proposal."

"We have not yet taken a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria. It is important first that we provide an opportunity for this evidence to be examined, challenged and improved. This consultation gives everyone with an interest in the issue of airport expansion that opportunity."

"Responses to this consultation will be a valuable addition to our evidence base and will directly inform our recommendation to the government when we publish our final report in the summer of 2015."

The consultation runs until Tuesday 3 February 2015. For more details and information on how to respond to the consultation, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-publishes-consultation-on-shortlisted-options-for-a-new-runway

Issued: December 2014