Heathrow is one of the world’s major airports and travel hubs, serving the capital city of the United Kingdom, with passenger and airfreight services. For people living in Chesham and Amersham, however, it is also probably seen as our local airport, whether for business or leisure flights.

Heathrow is effectively a local employer, with many of my constituents either working at the airport itself, or for the businesses which have grown up around its margins. Catering, maintenance, freight handling and distribution: the list is endless. Nor, of course, does that include the people who work for the airlines, as flight crew or on the ground; those who take care of the security of everyone travelling or working; or the official agencies looking after everything from passport controls to animal welfare or plant health.

With the announcement of proposals for expansion and a new northwest runway at Heathrow, the government is urging people to take part in the consultation process. This is open now and runs until May 25. If you type “Heathrow consultation” into your search engine you will be able to find all the documents on the www.gov.uk site.

There will also be a local information event covering the South Buckinghamshire area on Saturday 11 March. This is going to be held at th Colston Hall in Gerrards Cross. The contact number for more information about this is 0800 689 4968.

I believe that the expansion of Heathrow is the best way of tackling the need for extra airport capacity in the South East. This would be the springboard for better international and domestic connections, together with improved trading links for the United Kingdom. However, of course there are environmental issues which must be considered carefully. The consultation sets out the requirements that the airport would need to meet to achieve development consent. These include requirements about air quality, noise, carbon emissions and also compensation for the communities affected.

If you can, please do take the time to put across your views, as this is

essential to ensure any expansion