Local authorities spending £350,000 fighting Heathrow’s planned third runway are ‘doing taxpayers a favour’, according to an anti-expansion campaigner.

A freedom of information request first reported by the BBC revealed Wandsworth, Richmond and Hillingdon councils spent £300,000 from their general funds, and Windsor and Maidenhead Council spent £50,000 from its development fund.

Hillingdon Council has also earmarked a contingency budget of £200,000 in case of future legal action regarding the expansion, and Wandsworth Council has set aside £25,000.

Robert Barnstone, coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, responded to the report, saying: “Heathrow expansion will cost British taxpayers up to £18 billion in order to pay for infrastructure upgrades that would be required to deliver the project.”

Estimates of the cost of the road and rail infrastructure needed to accommodate the runway vary – the Airports Commission has put it at £5-6bn and Transport for London has put it at £18bn.

Mr Barnstone said, referring to information revealed by a freedom of information request by the Press Association in January: “We know the Government has already spent more than £10,000 per day in 2015 and 2016 on assessing Heathrow expansion, not to mention the cost of the glamourous consultation that has been running for the past two months.

“These four local authorities are in fact doing British taxpayers a favour trying to stop this overwhelmingly burdensome amount of money being spent.

“There are 470,000 households across the four boroughs – that’s just 75p per household. It is a small price to pay to fight plans that would devastate many people’s lives, not least those thousands of people that would lose their homes, but also the hundreds of thousands of people that would become exposed to Heathrow aircraft noise and the reduction in air pollution that the extra 250,000 planes per year would bring.

“Many thousands of residents are pleased that their local council is standing up for them whilst the Government is spending many millions pushing forward a project that cannot be delivered.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “Delivering new runway capacity in the south east is vital to the future of the UK, helping boost our economy and our position on the world stage.

“We want to hear everyone’s views on the consultation currently underway, which will close as planned on 25th May.

“The consultation sets out the benefits and potential impacts of expansion, and is accompanied by a world-class package of compensation and mitigation measures to support local communities.”

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