I expect like me you have recently received a glossy leaflet through your door from Heathrow setting out their new consultation as to how they plan to build a third Heathrow runway.

A lot of people will question whether there is really a proper consultation and are Heathrow really listening to local people.

However, I think there is a far bigger issue, which is whether the Government are actually listening.

It is exactly this issue that I set out in a debate I recently secured in the House of Commons.

At present the Government have a fixed position on supporting a third Heathrow runway, yet they run away from addressing a number of basic questions.

For example at present there is serious air pollution around the airport – in fact the air pollution exceeds legal levels. There is no convincing evidence showing how a third Heathrow runway, with a massive increase in car and lorry movements to the airport, can be combined with ensuring air pollution is effectively tackled.

Then there are questions about the funding of transport infrastructure needed to support a third runway. For many years TfL have been highlighting that at a conservative estimate some £18 billion will be needed to provide new infrastructure to help people get to Heathrow by road and most importantly by rail.

However the airport are only offering to provide £1 billion. That is massive gap in funding, but again no firm answers are provided by the Government. Will the taxpayer have to finally pick up the bill, or will landing charges at Heathrow soar?

Strangely enough the Government can’t even address questions about the expected economic benefits of economic expansion. The Government’s own figures, not anyone else’s – suggest that the national economic benefit for airport expansion would be significantly greater at Gatwick than at Heathrow. This a reversal of the Airport Commission’s analysis.

The Government are strangely locked into backing a third Heathrow runway, despite all the evidence against it.

The economist John Maynard Keynes once famously declared ‘when the facts change I change my mind – what do you do?’

It is a position the Government should adopt in relation to the harsh facts about the real cost for the environment and the taxpayer of a third Heathrow runway