Heathrow try to dress up the damage its runway would do to Colne Valley park as a huge bonus

Finding that a runway decision by the government is probably still months away, Heathrow is scraping around to find some bits of PR it can use to promote its runway plans. The planned runway would cut into the Colne Valley Regional Park, taking out a chunk of it. The park is already seriously affected by Heathrow, being just to the west of it. In 2013 Colne Valley said the runway would wipe out parts of the park.  It would hit Colnbrook hardest, and see Lakeside Education Centre lost along with nearly all of the Green Belt north of the by-pass to Sutton Lane. Colnbrook West and Orlitts Lake would be filled in, while the Colne Brook would be culverted or diverted along with three other rivers locally. And so on. But Heathrow is now proud to produce its plans for a lovely new park, with a lot of new improvements – but these would ONLY be made if it gets its runway.  Not otherwise – other than the £5,000 it gives each year. Nothing in the carefully written “doublespeak” from Heathrow, describing the park, reveals just how much damage the runway would in fact do to the park. The board of the Colne Valley Park CIC (Community Interest Company) remain “opposed to the building of the third runway due to the detrimental impact this will have upon the Regional Park.” If the runway is allowed, they will have to work with Heathrow to ensure the rest of the park continues to benefit wildlife, and local communities.


This is what Heathrow says: 

“Heathrow to invest £105m to create once in a generation green spaces boost with expansion

18.1.2016  (Heathrow’s press release – so beware the careful wording….)

Heathrow expansion has potential to create new and enhanced public green spaces that will be four times the size of Hyde Park

More than £105 million available in expansion plans for new community buildings and green space creation

Transformational improvements to Colne Valley Regional Park would reduce flood risk, protect biodiversity and create new public spaces for people to enjoy

Images unveiled today show how the communities around Heathrow could benefit from a £105m investment in green spaces if the airport is allowed to expand.

When completed, parkland around the airport would be approximately four times the size of London’s Hyde Park.

The investment is included in the airport’s expansion plans and would create new and enhanced public parkland, as well as wildlife habitats, in west London. This would give local communities more outdoor recreational opportunities, boost biodiversity and improve the look and feel of the area.

The new images released today highlight the improvements, including the potential transformations within the southern part of the Colne Valley Regional Park. Heathrow will work with interested parties to create new wet meadows for flood protection, boosting biodiversity, pastures for grazing animals, bridleways, a cross country course, natural ponds, sports facilities, formal gardens, allotments and even a mountain bike trail for the public to enjoy.

Heathrow is collaborating with the Colne Valley Regional Park Community Interest Company (CIC) on developing this vision if the airport is chosen to expand. The green spaces redevelopment plans would be subject to public consultation as part of a rigorous planning process.

New green areas to the East, North and South of the airport would also be created. Heathrow would work with the Friends of the River Crane to improve the quality of the habitat for watercourses to the east of the airport and increase their public amenity value.

To the North, there is an opportunity to create wetland areas with public boardwalk access, an improved cycle network connecting with local boroughs. Finally, to the South, potentially new and enhanced green spaces would include new, publicly accessible sports facilities.

Heathrow has been a corporate supporter of the CIC for many years and continues to work with stakeholders across local communities, to improve environmental conditions in the area.

Heathrow Director of Sustainability, Matt Gorman said:

“Heathrow expansion is an opportunity to provide once in a generation improvements to the physical environment for the communities around the airport.

Our new plan means this airport can be world-leading in environmental performance and guarantee that those most impacted by expansion get both the greatest benefits and fair treatment.”


“The Colne Valley Park is the first large taste of countryside to the west of London. The Park, which was founded in 1965, stretches from Rickmansworth in the north to Staines and the Thames in the south, Uxbridge and Heathrow in the east to Slough and Chalfont in the west.” More information can be found on their website here: http://www.colnevalleypark.org.uk
Heathrow provides an annual donation to the CIC of £5,000 which goes to fund the park and CIC activities.
More information on Heathrow’s plans to improve green spaces around the airport with expansion can be found in Taking Britain Further, Volume 1 available for download, here [link: http://your.heathrow.com/takingbritainfurther/downloads/ ] . ”


This is the reality – Heathrow takes a chunk out of the park, cuts it in two, and therefore has to do a lot of work in trying to sort out the resultant mess.  (The hatched blue area is the southern part of the park, and the red line is the boundary of Heathrow, if it got a 3rd runway to the north west).

From  http://www.heathrow.com/file_source/Company/Static/PDF/Companynewsandinformation/08_Heathrow_3RNW_-_Landscape_and_Visual_Impact_Assessment.pdf

Colne Valley park and Heathrow


The board of the Colne Valley Park CIC said in a statement: “The Colne Valley Park CIC remains opposed to the building of the third runway due to the detrimental impact this will have upon the Regional Park.

“Should the government approve the third runway option we would want to work with Heathrow Airport on improving their plans to ensure that the remainder of the Colne Valley Regional Park benefits local wildlife, landscapes and communities in line with the park’s objectives.”   Link


Below is an illustration of the whole park.


Colne Valley says Heathrow’s expansion bid will “wipe out” southern part of Park

25 JULY, 2013 (Colnbrook Views)  [When there was also the possibility of a southern runway – since discounted]
The Colne Valley says Heathrow’s just-announced North-West and South-West expansion options would “wipe out” the southern part of the Park.

The North-West option which would hit Colnbrook hardest would see Lakeside Education Centre lost along with nearly all of the Green Belt north of the by-pass to Sutton Lane. Colnbrook West and Orlitts Lake would be filled in, while the Colne Brook would be culverted or diverted along with three other rivers locally. The M25 would be diverted through Richings Park and the A4 diverted through Poyle.

Harmondsworth Moor would be obliterated, the Colne Valley Trail chopped in half and the Colne Valley Park Circular Walks completely lost. The ancient villages of Harmondsworth and Longford would be completely destroyed.

In a news release issued on Monday the Park hit out at the devastating impact both options would have.

“Both the North West and the South West options effectively wipe out the southern part of the Colne Valley Regional Park as a coherent entity. In addition there are proposed railway links to Heathrow through the Colne Valley from the north and the south and other associated infrastructure and developments that are sure to follow.”

It said the the third (“North”) option would have much less impact on the park but acknowledged that it would see the destruction of Sipson and Harlington.

The Colne Valley Park covers 43 square miles of countryside right on the edge of London – running from Rickmansworth in the north to Staines in the south, and from Uxbridge in the east to Chalfont and Slough in the west. The Park contains many valuable wildlife habitats and many opportunities to get up close with rare wildlife.

Carol Gibson, Director of the Colne Valley Park CIC, said

“The Colne Valley Regional Park is under siege. It was established 50 years ago when the previous generation saw the potential of the Colne Valley to serve communities of west London and adjacent counties in providing an escape into countryside. Huge areas of this countryside may be about to vanish under High Speed 2, Slough International Freight Exchange, Pinewood Studios Development and now a 3rd – 4th runway at Heathrow, all on Green Belt.

If any of these developments are allowed to go ahead only a comprehensive package to mitigate the impacts on local landscapes, rivers, biodiversity and communities in the Colne Valley Regional Park and to enhance what remains, will ensure that the Park has a sustainable future.

Whilst the wider open spaces of England deserve protection, we must resist the large scale destruction of precious countryside close to urban areas. Build over it and there will be increasing demand not only for development in really rural areas but also for access to more remote areas by people forced to travel further from their homes for recreation.”

Most of the park’s activities to date have centred on countryside activities at Denham Country Park, Black Park, Rickmansworth Aquadrome, Staines Moor, Iver Environment Centre and the Chiltern Open Air Museum.

Colnbrook’s stretch of the Colne Valley, perhaps the most neglected, has hitherto gained little attention from the Community Interest Company; even the threat from the Slough International Freight Exchange received a low key response.

The statement from the Park suggests that Heathrow’s onslaught will inevitably refocus strategy in the period ahead.

Colnbrook is not currently represented on the 12-member board set up to manage the company, although both the Colnbrook Community Association and Parish Council are member organisations.



Definition of Doublespeak:

“Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., “downsizing” for layoffs, “servicing the target” for bombing), in which case it is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable. It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning (for example, naming a state of war “peace”). In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth. Doublespeak is most closely associated with political language.”

In this case, it is saying the destruction of part of the park and huge intrusions into to produce a new runway, is an “improvement”.  The work is merely necessary to sort out the mess created from having had to dig up a piece of the area to cover it in concrete for the runway.