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Twenty questions for Kelly over Heathrow

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Councils opposed to Heathrow expansion have set 20 questions for transport secretary Ruth Kelly who threw her weight behind proposals for a new runway ahead of the start of public consultation.

The 2M Group of councils, which includes Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham LBCs and Slough BC, drew up the list after residents complained that the government's consultation was deliberately complicated and one-sided.

The Adding Capacity at Heathrow consultation runs until February 27. It sets out plans for adding another 222,000 flights year at the airport by 2030. The extra capacity is equivalent to building a new airport the size of Gatwick.

The 2M questions are designed to probe the consultation's claims on noise, climate change and the economic impact of expansion.

Speaking on behalf of the 2M Group, Hounslow Council leader Peter Thompson (Con) said:
"Many people have said they find the 238-page consultation document and the eight-page questionnaire bewildering. Yet for all the great mass of detail, so much of the vital information on environmental impact and economic benefits is missing.

"We hope residents will find it useful to include some of the 2M questions in their own response to the minister.

"The Government has made this consultation as difficult as possible - our aim is to simplify matters so that residents can test the minister on the key assumptions that lie behind her support for expansion."

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