Heathrow lodges appeal with Planning Inspectorate over protection of Cranford against take-offs

Heathrow has lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate over the London Borough of Hillingdon’s refusal, in March, to grant permission for taxiway infrastructure. If the government inspector approves the appeal, it would allow Heathrow to alternate the use of both its runways, regardless of wind direction. At present, due to the “Cranford Agreement”, made in the 1950s, planes cannot take off from the northern runway, to the east, except in exceptional circumstances. When there are easterly winds, planes therefore have to land from the west, on the northern runway, but take off from the southern runway. Ending the Cranford Agreement would give Windsor residents more respite, with up to 50% cut in the number of planes currently landing from the west of Windsor. The Cranford Agreement was formally ended in 2010, but to operate on easterly operations, Heathrow says the taxiways are required. But ending the Cranford Agreement will mean more noise, on easterly operations, for those in Old Windsor, Horton and Wraysbury, while residents in Windsor would get a better deal. People can submit comments – by 19th November. Details below.


Cranford agreement map

NEWS that Heathrow is appealing a decision which will hugely and widely affect Royal Borough residents has received a mixed reaction.

The airport has lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate over the London Borough of Hillingdon’s refusal, in March, to grant permission for taxiway infrastructure.

Appeal approval would allow Heathrow to alternate the use of both its runways regardless of wind direction.

This would grant Windsor residents more respite, with a predicted 50% cut in the amount of planes currently landing from the west of Windsor.

The application relates to the legacy of the 1950s Cranford Agreement in which aircraft were prevented from taking off over Cranford from Heathrow’s northern runway when the wind blows from the east – or easterly operations.

The agreement was formally ended in 2010, but to operate on easterly operations, the taxiways are required.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow sustainability and environment director, said: “Through this planning application, Heathrow aims to provide a fairer system of noise sharing, and bring greater relief for those living in Windsor from the noise of descending flights which is as the Government intended.”

The Royal Borough supported the planning application with a series of caveats over noise insulation as it could mean added misery for those in Old Windsor, Horton and Wraysbury, while residents in Windsor would get a better deal.

Cllr Malcolm Beer, who sits on the council’s Aviation Forum, said: “RBWM has sought the discontinuation of the agreement for many years because it caused nearly all easterly landings to use that runway after flying directly over Windsor.

“Unlike the Heathrow publicity, it is very much aware that if the appeal is allowed – hopefully with better noise mitigation – the halving of that burden will mean that far more landings will now fly far closer to Old Windsor, Wraysbury and Horton. Use of both flight paths will alternate on a weekly basis.

“RBWM qualified its letter of support of the planning application by stating that it was conditional upon the provision of sound proofing to meet EU standards for houses in our villages most affected by increased noise.

“It is anticipated that the borough will reiterate that to the planning inspector as the planning refusal was mainly on the grounds of inadequate noise mitigation.”





Notification of Appeal on Planning Application/ Enforcement Reference 41573/APP/2013/1288

Please ask for :
Stephen Volley
01895 250230
Residents Services
Tel 01895 250230
London Borough of Hillingdon
3 North, Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW


DEVELOPMENT: Enabling works to allow implementation of full runway alternation during easterly operations at Heathrow Airport including the creation of a new ‘hold area’ at the western end of the northern runway, the construction of new access and exit taxiways, and the construction of a 5 metre high acoustic noise barrier to the south of Longford Village.

Appeal Ref : 7364   Our Ref : 41573/APP/2013/1288


Appeal Starting Date: 8th October 2014

Appellant’s Name: Heathrow Airport Ltd.

An appeal has been made to the Secretary of State in respect of the above site. The appeal follows the refusal of this Council to grant  planning permission for the above application.

The appeal is to be decided on the basis of an inquiry.

Any comments already made following the original application will be forwarded to the Inspectorate and copied to the appelant and will be taken into account by the Inspector in deciding the appeal.

Should people wish to withdraw or modify their earlier comments in any way or request a copy of the appeal decision letter, they should write direct to:

The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/26b TQ House, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN

within 6 weeks of the starting date above, quoting their reference number.

People need to send 3 copies to the Inspectorate and ensure they are all received by 19th November 2014, otherwise they will not normally be seen by the Inspector and will be returned.

“The Planning Inspectorate have introduced an online appeals service which you can use to comment on this appeal. You can find the service through the Appeals area of the Planning Portal -see www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs. Please be aware that the Planning Inspectorate may publish details of your comments, on the Internet on the Appeals area of the Planning Portal. This may include your name,address, email address or phone number. Please ensure that you only provide information that you are happy will be made available in this way. If you supply information belonging to a third party, please ensure you have their permission to do so. More detailed information about data protection and privacy matters is available on the planning portal.

“The application documents, including plans and any decision notice, may be inspected on the Council’s website www.Hillingdon.gov.uk , alternatively they may be viewed together with any appeal documents at the Residents Services Reception, Level 3, Civic Centre, Uxbridge during office hours. A copy of the Inspectorate’s booklet “Guide to Taking Part in Planning Appeals” is available from this office, free of charge.”





Heathrow bid to end Cranford Agreement is rejected

Councillors unanimously refuse planning permission for work needed to enable regular departures over Cranford

Heathrow has been refused planning permission for the works needed to enable regular departures over Cranford .

In a major set-back for the airport, councillors on Hillingdon Council’s major applications planning committee last night unanimously rejected its application.

It means people living in Cranford will not have to put up with planes taking off overhead for now , preserving in practice at least a 60-year-old gentlemen’s agreement protecting them from the noise.

However, the decision will dismay people to the west of the northern runway, in Windsor and Maidenhead, who have to endure more landings because regular take-offs over Cranford are not possible.

The airport had applied to Hillingdon Council for permission to create new taxi-ways and carry out other ground work needed so planes could depart regularly over Cranford.

Only a relatively small number of planes have taken off over the village since a 60-year-old gentlemen’s agreement was ended in 2009, but this work would have enabled about 35,000 planes a year to do so. However, it would have not allowed an increase in annual flights above the current cap of 480,000.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “We know noise is an issue for communities under Heathrow’s flight path which is why we encourage airlines to fly their quietest aircraft into Heathrow by charging airlines more for noisier aircraft and have schemes to insulate local schools and homes.

“We are disappointed Hillingdon Council has chosen to reject our planning proposal which would mean noise being more evenly distributed between our neighbours. We will be looking into this decision in more detail before deciding whether to appeal.”

Councillors were partly swayed by a letter from Judy Matthews, chair of governors at Cranford Primary School, which lies under the flight path and is already affected by the noise of planes arriving at the airport.

She wrote: “With the Cranford Agreement coming to an end we are extremely concerned about the detrimental effect that the change in the alterations of the northern runway will have on our pupils.

“The proposed changes mean that in future the school will be exposed to the noise from departing aircraft. When this is happening the noise will be worse than currently experienced.”

They were also concerned about recent statistics highlighted at the meeting, showing the borough of Hillingdon has seen the highest increase in England in the percentage of deaths attributable to air pollution.

Labour councillor Janet Duncan said: “I was concerned to read the letter from the school. Children’s concentration at school is negatively affected by air craft noise.

“We know that deaths caused by air pollution here is the worst in the country, so we cannot in all consciousness do anything to increase that.”





HACAN briefing including the Cranford Agreement:


The briefing covers the context of runway alternation etc, but the section on the Cranford Agreement states:
What is the Cranford Agreement?

The Cranford Agreement prevents planes taking off over Cranford, which is at the eastern end (the London side) of the northern runway. It came into force in the early 1950s. It was
argued that, because Cranford was so close to the runway, take-offs would be unbearably
noisy for is inhabitants.

What is the effect of the Cranford Agreement?

Planes land and take off into the wind. It means that the Cranford Agreement is only relevant
when planes are taking off to the east (i.e. on the days that the wind is blowing from the east,
about 30% of the time in a typical year). On those days, all planes are required to take off
from the southern runway. That, in turn, means all planes must land on the northern runway
(as, at present, at Heathrow planes don’t land and take-off from the same runway).

This means that, on east wind days, places like Windsor under the flight path to the west of
Heathrow get planes all day long. Clearly, they would benefit if the Cranford Agreement was
to go.

Why does the Government want to get rid of it?

Simply, mixed-mode would not be possible if the Cranford Agreement remained in place
because mixed-mode requires planes to land and take-off from both runways at the same time.

The Government is not interested in weighing up any potential benefit to Windsor weighed
against the increased noise levels in Cranford. It simply sees the Cranford Agreement as an
obstacle to brining in more planes.

At present when an east wind is blowing planes land on the northern runway all day long.
With mixed-mode in place, they would land on both the northern and southern runway. This
would reduce the number of aircraft landing over areas like Windsor, but areas under the
southern approach paths, such as Old Windsor and Wraysbury, would experience a significant

for more see http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/reports/alternation.cranford.agreement.explained.pdf



From Wikipedia:

The Cranford Protocol or Cranford Agreement was an oral undertaking given in 1952 by the British Government to the residents of Cranford in London regarding the usage of the runways at London Heathrow Airport to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on local residents.

Under normal operations the agreement prohibited take-off on the northern runway towards the east (towards London) because of the proximity of Cranford to the east end of this runway; however this runway could be used in exceptional cases, for example when the southern runway was not available for departures or when departure delays are excessive.

Although no formal written agreement exists, the Government acknowledges that an oral undertaking was given by a senior government official at a meeting of the Cranford Residents’ and District Amenities Association on 31 July 1952.The protocol is included in the Heathrow Manual of Air Traffic Services and the airport’s noise abatement notification, and thus is a part of the airport’s operating rules.

On 15 January 2009, the Labour Government announced that it was ending the Cranford Agreement as part of the controversial expansion of London Heathrow Airport. Although in May 2010 the Coalition Government cancelled the Heathrow expansion plans, in September 2010 it reaffirmed the decision to end the Cranford Agreement. It was welcomed by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, to the west.

To the east, the London Borough of Hounslow has called for mitigation or compensation to be offered by BAA to those affected by ending the Cranford Agreement.

However the decision has not been implemented yet because BAA has not applied for planning permission for the taxiway works which would be needed. The delay is because BAA wants to wait until the end of trials in 2012 of new operating procedures for the runways.






And there is more detail at:

Heathrow bid to end Cranford Agreement – allowing easterly take-offs from northern runway – is rejected by Hillingdon Council

12.2.2014The Cranford Agreement was a binding commitment the UK government made in 1952 to the residents of Cranford to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on residents. It prohibits, under normal Heathrow Airport operations, easterly take-offs (i.e. towards central London) on the northern runway.  In January 2009, the government announced it was ending the Agreement (as part of consultations on a proposed Third Runway). In  September 2010 the current UK government reaffirmed the decision to end the Cranford Agreement.  A planning application by Heathrow airport in June 2013 concerns the creation of taxiways on the Northern Runway, required  to enable the practical implementation of the ending of the Agreement  as well as consideration of the associated environmental impacts. It also included the erection of a 5m high noise barrier around parts of the village of Longford. This application has now been unanimously rejected by Hillingdon Council – which means Heathrow will not be able to have regular departures to the east from the northern runway. This preserves the 60-year-old gentlemen’s agreement protecting Cranford residents from the noise. The downside is that people living in Windsor and Maidenhead continue to endure more landings. Heathrow is considering whether to appeal. https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=19889


There is information on the Heathrow website at     http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/what-we-do-about-it/measures-already-in-place/runway-use/cranford-agreement


about the Cranford agreement. This includes this paragraph:

The ending of the Cranford Agreement – what happens next?

Aircraft technology has moved on since the Cranford Agreement was drawn up in the 1950s. During take-off, modern aircraft climb higher more quickly. The noise they make is less disruptive to the residents of Cranford than it would have been 60 years ago.

In 2008, the previous government asked residents whether the Cranford Agreement should stay or be abolished.In response to feedback, it announced that the Cranford Agreement would end in 2009. The decision was confirmed by the current government in September 2010.

With the Cranford Agreement gone, we can apply runway alternation throughout the year, no matter which direction the wind blows. But we can’t do it straight away. Because Heathrow has developed within the context of the Cranford Agreement, it’s not yet geared up to full-time runway alternation. There are too few access taxiways to the northern runway and too few exit taxiways from the southern runway.

To operate runway alternation efficiently, we first have to make changes to Heathrow’s taxiways. The building of these taxiways requires planning approval from the London Borough of Hillingdon. We submitted our planning application in May 2013.



The Cranford Agreement – June 2013 update (554 KB)
Contour map (2MB)