The Heathrow expansion consultation launched this week has been branded a “farce” by the Richmond Council leader as the Government took a step forward in its plans to build a third runway.

The Government began a four month consultation on Thursday, February 2 with the publication of a 46-page draft national policy statement, and the announcement of a series of public meetings.

Lord True, council leader since 2010, said: “We are being asked to have our say on something that is clearly already decided.

“The information being presented is flawed – with only one side of the argument being given, no chance to support an alternative and no considerable reference at all to the environment damage that expansion would bring.”

A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman said the consultation will be "full and fair", and that it has an open mind and wants to hear all views.

Zac Goldsmith, the spokesman and organiser of the anti-expansion campaign by Richmond, Wandsworth, Hillingdon and Windsor and Maidenhead, condemned the draft statement for failing to give any detail on new flight paths.

Campaigners are concerned the consultation will proceed without warning residents currently unaffected by flight paths of any new risk they may face.

The DfT said indicative flight path plans will not be available for two years, and more detailed plans for up to another six to seven years.

He said any new flight paths would need to be submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority and would undergo a consultation process.

Alongside the draft policy statement, separate consultations into airspace policy and noise pollution have been launched by the Government.

Public meetings will be held at York House in Twickenham and the Richmond Adult and Community Centre in Richmond on February 23 and March 10, respectively.

Meetings will be held at Kingston University on February 15, the Everyday Church in Wimbledon on February 17 and the Putney Leisure Centre on February 24.

The policy draft outlines the requirements Heathrow will have to satisfy in order for the third runway to be approved.

They are:

  • Adding six more domestic routes across the UK by 2030, to Belfast, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley 
  • Providing support packages for affected communities, including noise insulation for homes and schools and improvements to public facilities  
  • Mitigating the impacts of noise with noise targets, periods of respite and a ban of six and a half hours on night flights
  • Committing to no increase in airport related road traffic and more than half of passengers using public transport to access the airport  
  • Paying home owners 25 per cent above market value rate plus costs for the compulsory purchase of homes which will be bulldozed to make way for the runway

Anti-Brexit Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney criticised the Government for pushing ahead with expansion plans as a response to economic uncertainty caused by the vote to leave the European Union.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said expanding Heathrow would send a message that post-Brexit Britain is “open for business”.

He said: “Leaving the EU is a new chapter for Britain and provides us with a great opportunity to forge a new role in the world.

“We are determined to seize that opportunity and having the right infrastructure in place will allow us to build a more global Britain."