The leader of Wandsworth Council has blasted Heathrow and hit out at its 'fatally flawed' scheme.

A consultation period is currently open for people to put their views on the airports major expansion proposals.

The airport unveiled a number of new proposals last month such as tunnelling the M25, the location of expanding terminal facilities and three options for the length of the new runway varying between 3,200 metres and 3,500 metres.

The third runway was due to cost £16.8 billion, but Heathrow claims it could cut that figure by £2.5 billion.

According to one option, the M25 could be lowered by seven metres to create a tunnel between junction 14 and 15, with the runway over it.

Heathrow claims its target is to operate “zero carbon airport infrastructure” by 2050, but Twickenham MP Sir Vince Cable told the Commons that the damage to air quality from expanding Heathrow was a matter of “human health and mortality”.

He said: “Heathrow is a far more damaging option than the alternatives: it is more polluting, it is noisier and it is the most expensive.”

No flight plans have been included in the first stage of the two-part consultation, which relates to physical changes on the ground, and many believe an informed decision cannot be made until they are put forward.

The second stage will deal with airspace.

But the proposed runway has been met with condemnation from councils, residents, and environmental campaigners.

Although Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said the airport was “determined to reduce its environmental impacts” by cutting emissions and bringing in “cleaner, quieter” aircrafts, some people are not convinced.

Four councils, Richmond, Wandsworth, Hillingdon, and Windsor and Maidenhead, have been campaigning against the expansion since it was proposed.

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling. We know that this scheme is fatally flawed and if it went ahead would have a serious impact on our local environment and the health of our residents.

“I urge everyone who opposes this expansion to make their voices heard and get involved in this consultation process. The Gatwick option has great merit, we need to make sure that is the message that rings through loud and clear.”

Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director of expansion, said: “When the government announced its support for Heathrow expansion it made a clear commitment to keeping Britain open for business.

“We want an expanded Heathrow to be the world’s best airport, ensuring that our country and its future generations have the infrastructure they need to thrive.

“We need feedback to help deliver this opportunity responsibly and to create a long-term legacy both at a local and national level. Heathrow is consulting to ensure that we deliver benefits for our passengers, businesses across the country but also, importantly, for those neighbours closest to us.”

The consultation is open until March 28. Go to to have your say.

If the scheme is approved, Heathrow will submit a planning application after consulting local communities on detailed proposals.

The airport hopes to begin construction in early 2021, with the runway completed by the end of 2025.

What are Heathrow’s arguments for the expansion?

• Heathrow says its runways are operating at 98 per cent capacity and that airlines have not been able to grow as a result

• It argues Britain is losing out to European competitors in the “global race” for foreign investment and trade

• Heathrow claims the new runway will add up to £211 billion in economic growth while creating 180,000 jobs

• It says passengers and UK businesses will have access to up to 40 new long-haul destinations along with new domestic routes

• Heathrow intends to make improvements to its rail connections and claims this could increase the number of passengers using public transport to get to the airport by 60 per cent

What issues do people have with the proposed expansion?

• The airport has allocated a compulsory purchase zone, which involves 750, to the surrounding area

• Heathrow promises to pay 25 per cent more than the market rate, but homes have already lost value due to the proposed expansion

• Noise and air pollution from the construction are major concerns

• The build will be on greenbelt land

• The cost of the expansion

• Some believe Gatwick would be a better choice and would cost significantly less at £7.4 billion