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Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 10:06 GMT
Life under the flight path
Richmond Park
Richmond Park is one of the area's big attractions
By BBC News Online's Cindi John

Richmond residents are generally envied by other Londoners for their area's wide expanse of green open spaces and easy access to strolls along the Thames.

But there is a catch for many of the borough's 160,000 inhabitants - much of it lies under the flight path for nearby Heathrow airport.

On a grey afternoon in Richmond many shoppers in the town centre were equally gloomy on learning the long-mooted Terminal five was now almost certain to become a reality.

Anne Burke, who has lived in a Richmond street directly under a flight path for 16 years, said residents already had enough to put up with.

Rose Constantine
Rose Constantine: "Ghastly news"
"The aircraft start at around 4.30am. It can be quite difficult especially in the summer when the windows are open.

"The environmental pollution is bad enough already, we just don't need anymore," she said.

Another long-time Richmond resident, Rose Constantine, agreed, saying the expected approval of T5 was "ghastly news".

"It's horrendous to think there will be more flights even though I understand we've already reached the capacity that was not expected until 2014."

But Toby Jay from nearby Ham was more concerned about the impact of a new terminal on traffic levels.

"I'm not particularly bothered by the idea of more planes but I think it will have a very bad effect on traffic congestion," he said.

'Whingeing'

Airlines, trade unions and big business will welcome the new terminal for its potential to boost the economy.

And a few Richmond locals also viewed the prospect in that light.

Nicki Rea
Nicki Rea: "At least planes don't wake the baby"

Iman Ashram, new to the area from Halifax in Yorkshire, said that so far the noise of the planes had not bothered him.

"I think another terminal is a good idea really because more flights will mean more jobs and commerce," he said.

Nicki Rea, out shopping with her baby son, also expressed broad support for T5.

"I'm not totally opposed to expansion as it may be good for the local economy. But I wouldn't be happy if there were any more night flights," she said.

"Luckily my eight-month old son sleeps through the plane noise."

Peter Hambert was unequivocal in his support for the expansion plans.

Mr Hambert, who lives in Isleworth, Middlesex, an area on the outskirts of Heathrow, condemned Richmond residents for their "whingeing".

"I've lived in Isleworth for 40 years and we're much closer to Heathrow there," he said.

Philip Stevens
Philip Stevens: "New terminal won't affect housing market"

"I don't know what all the fuss is about - people never used to complain like this. A new terminal would be good for business."

Richmond is an area with some of the most expensive properties in Britain.

It is the area's open spaces and proximity to the Thames which attracts many buyers.

Local estate agent Philip Stevens did not foresee a new Heathrow terminal changing the situation.

"I don't think there will be a significant effect on Richmond itself - obviously areas slightly closer to the airport may be affected by the noise impact," he said.

He added that an end to 10 years of indecision about the airport's expansion could only benefit the housing market.

"I think it's been an uncertainty for so long that whichever way it's resolved it will mean that people will put it to the back of their minds and get on with decision making."

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