Hounslow reiterates its belief that Heathrow needs to be better (noise, air pollution, traffic) – not bigger
Hounslow Council submitted its response to the two current Heathrow consultations (they are just by the airport, not official). Hounslow insists that it wants a better, not a bigger, Heathrow – and it is concerned about the noise, air quality and transport access issues. Hounslow say that while they want the airport to be successful, as it is important to the borough, they are opposed to a bigger Heathrow, either by additional flights, addition of a third runway or a relaxation on runway operations and night flights. The Council would like to see a complete ban on night flights across an 8-hour period between 11pm and 7am. Heathrow is only willing to accept a 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights (so unscheduled flights could continue). Hounslow have called into question the credibility of the surface access strategy put forward by Heathrow and in particular to its ‘no more traffic pledge’, given that no additional public transport is proposed to achieve this. They say this raises important questions about whether air quality can be improved to meet legal limits if expansion happens. The council say they are also extremely disappointed that its proposal for a link to the South Western Railway network from Feltham station, including the addition of a new station at Bedfont is not alluded to in any way in the proposals.
Heathrow Says Bigger is Better for Airport- and dismisses Hounslow Council’s concerns about expansion
March 11, 2018
Heathrow Airport has responded to Hounslow Council’s submission to its consultations by insisting that bigger is better for the airport and dismissing concerns about noise, air quality and transport access.
The Council has submitted its feedback to Heathrow Airport’s two consultations regarding the proposal for a new Northwest Runway at Heathrow; the first on the detail of the expansion on site and the second on changes to airspace management.
They have continued to support a ‘better not bigger’ policy saying that while they want the airport to be successful as it plays a vital role in the success of the borough they are opposed to a bigger Heathrow, either by additional flights, addition of a third runway or a relaxation on runway operations and night flights.
A Heathrow spokesperson said, “Heathrow’s expansion plans are the result of extensive consultation and a firm belief that making the airport bigger should also be a catalyst making it a better neighbour for our local communities.”
The Council would like to see a complete ban on night flights across an eight-hour period between 11pm and 7am. At this stage Heathrow is only willing to accept a 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights but they say they are happy to consult further with the local community how this would operate.
Hounslow have called into question the credibility of the surface access strategy put forward by Heathrow and in particular to its ‘no more traffic pledge’, given that no additional public transport is proposed to achieve this. They say this raises important questions about whether air quality can be improved to meet legal limits if expansion happens. The council say they are also extremely disappointed that its proposal for a link to the South Western Railway network from Feltham station, including the addition of a new station at Bedfont is not alluded to in any way in the proposals.
A Heathrow spokesperson said, “New public transport infrastructure such as Crossrail, HS2, Western Rail Access, Southern Rail Access and upgrades to the Piccadilly Line have the capacity to treble Heathrow’s rail capacity and help us to meet our target of 50% of airport passenger journeys made by public and sustainable transport by 2030. Our analysis and that of the independent Airports Commission demonstrates that this is achievable and our strategy is resilient and does not rely on all of these schemes coming forward.”
Possible design for expanded terminal
In their submission the Council said that concerted efforts must be made to minimise the direct negative effects of expansion such as noise, poor air quality, congestion of the transport network and loss of green space and biodiversity. They asked for a ‘quality of life’ fund to be established to fund measures to reduce the impact of these negative effects or otherwise compensate local people for a range of negative aspects of living close by. Such a fund could finance a range of measures such as investment in local infrastructure, greenspace and biodiversity enhancement and support for training and apprenticeships.
Heathrow have responded by saying, “The Government and Airports Commission have been clear that expansion should only be allowed on the basis of a world-class compensation package – that’s why we’ve committed to a £2.6bn compensation package for local communities which includes £700m to insulate local homes to reduce noise. Heathrow’s property compensation offer is well above other infrastructure projects that the Government is pursuing – including HS2.”
Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Environment said, “As an international Hub of huge strategic importance to the UK economy and as our largest local employer, we want Heathrow to be successful. However, this aspiration will never be at the cost of what is best for our local communities. We have raised several issues in our response to the airport’s public consultations and we are committed to working with Heathrow to address these issues before the proposals can go any further.”
The consultations follow the announcement in July 2015 by the Airports Commission that they have concluded that the proposal for a new Northwest Runway at Heathrow presents the best case for delivering additional capacity in the South East of England. This was followed by the publication of the Government’s draft Airport National Policy Statement (NPS) outlining its policy, details of the preferred location and the considerations that would be relevant to a future planning application for that scheme. In addition to public consultation during the last quarter of 2017, parliamentary scrutiny of the draft NPS is ongoing. If the Government decides to proceed, a vote in the House of Commons is expected in the next few months, to formally approve the Government adopting the NPS.
Heathrow Airport’s consultations close on the 28 March after a 10 week duration.
Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Steve Curran: “We’d like to see a better not bigger Heathrow”
Hounslow residents are being reminded they have just 6 weeks left to submit their views on the expansion of Heathrow to the DfT, through the government’s revised draft Airports National Policy Statement which includes information on long-term aviation forecasts. The 2nd consultation on the draft NPS also provides some information on the impact of changes arising from updated noise analysis, a new air quality plan, government policy changes and responses to the first consultation. The deadline for the consultation is December 19th. A 3rd Heathrow runway, with up to 50% more flights, would have a huge impact on Hounslow – and not only by the noise of flight paths over the borough. The Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Steve Curran, said: “Our position on Heathrow Airport remains, as it has always been, that we’d like to see a better not bigger airport. The government’s recommended expansion at Heathrow will have a huge impact on the residents and businesses of Hounslow. The council wants to ensure that issues of noise, pollution and additional congestion are properly addressed. … I strongly urge all Hounslow residents and businesses to make sure they have their say online.”
DfT data show Hounslow, Hillingdon & Slough (all near Heathrow) have the most heavily used roads in UK
There are more than twice as many vehicles on the roads of two west London boroughs than anywhere else in the UK. The DfT figures show Hounslow to have considerably more road traffic even that the second busiest borough, Hillingdon. Both are close to Heathrow, and much of the traffic is associated with the airport. In 2016, 8,339 vehicles passed an average point in the Hounslow road network every day, a marginal increase from 8,240 the previous year. This is more than twice as many than the national average, where a typical stretch of road would see 3,587 vehicles a day. Hillingdon had 7,889 vehicles using the average stretch of its road network daily. The figures were also very high in other boroughs in west London, such as Ealing, Brent and Harrow. Another area near Heathrow, Slough, had 7,576 vehicles per hour. Road use is at the highest level it has ever been across the country due to steady growth in car traffic. Heathrow hopes to increase its number of passengers, with a 3rd runway, by about 50% and to double the volume of air freight. It claims that it will try to keep the number of road vehicles to no higher than current levels, though it has no effective means to ensure this. The DfT data shows just how bad the current problem is, even with a 2 runway Heathrow.