London council spends £1.4m fighting Heathrow expansion

Hillingdon Council has spent more than £1.4 million on legal challenges and campaigns against plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

While pro-expansion group Back Heathrow has stressed that the money would have been better invested in local services, the council has previously stated that it would provide funding for ‘however long it takes to win this battle’.

Between January 2007 and August 2016, Hillingdon Council spent £827,000 on legal services, campaigning and community engagement in the lead up to the legal battle, which failed at the High Court in January 2017. Since then the council has spent £620,000, with £275,000 going towards funding local campaign groups.

Hillingdon Council has received £330,000 in contributions towards these funds from other boroughs.

Back Heathrow, a campaign group launched with funding from the airport, made a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner that Hillingdon Council had refused to disclose its finances.

As well as Back Heathrow, Unite has questioned whether fighting the expansion of the airport ‘is the best use of council taxpayers' money’, with the union’s London regional secretary Pete Kavanagh saying that ‘procrastination and secrecy’ are ‘not the way that a democratically-elected authority should behave’.

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