Harrow Council has officially given its backing to the proposed expansion at Heathrow airport.

Cllr Sachin Shah, leader of the council, said it will benefit the borough in terms of growth and will play a key role in pushing London forwards on the world stage.

The idea of a new, third runway at Heathrow is a controversial subject and has been met with both fierce support and opposition.

But Cllr Shah said he was in no doubt that backing the campaign is the right move and he called on policymakers to make it a reality.

He said: “Harrow is proud to be backing the Heathrow expansion.

“I have supported this project from the beginning because it will bring even more jobs and growth to Harrow and boost our position as a global leader for trade and travel.

“Harrow has the opportunity to be at the heart of the global economy. Let’s hope the right decisions are made for our future.”

He added that “1,200 families” in Harrow would benefit from an expansion at Heathrow, while the number of apprenticeships in the region would double from 5,000 to 10,000.

Residents in areas likely to be affected by the expansion have been taking part in consultations to voice their opinions on the subject.

John Nickolay, a former Harrow councillor, argued that it could have a seriously detrimental impact on the borough due to new flight paths.

“If the planes are taking off in an eastwards direction, they are going to go straight over Harrow,” he said.

“There will be issues with noise, as well as how people get to the airport, and, if they’re not careful, they’ll end up like Hounslow. We want Heathrow to get better, but this is not the way.

“Gatwick, on the other hand, has plenty of room for expansion and is crying out for it so why not give it to them?”

He also questioned the council’s position, given that it has voiced concerns over extra flights at RAF Northolt, which is fewer than ten miles from Heathrow.

This view was supported by Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, who has continuously opposed expansion at the West London airport.

He said: “It is surprising and discouraging that Harrow Council under Labour have taken such a strong pro-expansion stance on Heathrow, given the enormous negative impact the project will have on residents and businesses in our area due to the flight paths.

"It's also a confusing position to take given stated opposition to extra flights at RAF Northolt nearby and also the alleged opposition to Heathrow expansion by the Labour Mayor of London.

"Despite recent proposals to reduce the runway length a small amount, the environmental and long term community impacts remain very concerning and I have yet to be convinced that the case has been made for Heathrow's expansion, given that it is set to cost £14 billion.

"It seems far more sensible to build a second runway at Gatwick, which has the added advantage of having strong rail links between Harrow & Wealdstone Station and Gatwick Airport without the impact on flight paths over Harrow."

Cllr Shah has called for a consultation at Northolt for residents in South Harrow and Harrow-on-the-Hill, noting that it was never intended for commercial flights.

It is a position backed by Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas, who previously accused the government of using the site to “increase air capacity in London by stealth”.

A Parliamentary vote on the expansion at Heathrow was scheduled for the first half of this year, though an exact date is yet to have been announced.