Hammersmith Society gives its advice on Heathrow consultation – to respond, just say “NO”
The Hammersmith Society aims to ensure the borough is a “safer, more convenient and better place in which to live, work and enjoy ourselves.” They have been looking at Heathrow’s consultation on its expansion plans – equivalent to adding on a new airport the size of Gatwick. They warn that if people fill in the response document, giving a preference for one or other option in the questions, this may (quite illegitimately) be taken by Heathrow as “support” for their plans. So the Society’s advice is that people do not engage with the questions; the whole plan is bad for Hammersmith, so JUST SAY NO. The Society says on Heathrow plans to burn biomass and plant some trees “that’s hardly the point considering the carbon footprint of the industry it facilitates – it’s not even a drop in the ocean – this amounts to lip-service greenwash, rather insulting to our intelligence”. On the consultation, the Society comments: “the weight of documents is tremendous, and more than a little excessive. The reader eventually concludes this is an attempt to bamboozle and wear down those trying to interpret them, to make them give up in the belief that the project must have been well thought-through, because of the weight of documentation alone.”
Published: 18 Jul 2019
Eagle-eyed members checking our diary will have spotted that Heathrow chose to splashdown with its consultation roadshow in Hammersmith Town Hall on Wednesday 24th July, the 50th anniversary of the return of the Apollo 11 astronauts.
The date helps highlight the importance of this consultation, something that would provide all of Hammersmith with an experience aggregating daily to something rather closer to launch than to tranquillity. We had the consultation about airspaceearlier in the year (results pending), proposing changes to airspace with new overflights, regardless of a third runway or any other expansion. This consultation covers the Third Runway et al, equivalent to adding a new airport the size of Gatwick.
Please attend the consultation if you can; below are half a dozen pointers to questions you might ask. Please beware that if you offer a preference for this option or that, you may well be counted as a “supporter” of some kind. If you can’t make the Hammersmith event, there are many others elsewhere.
- The expansion is a great deal more than a third runway, as the visual above shows. It helps knowing the airport layout, but briefly the masterplan shows wholesale reconfiguration of the existing airport, leaving almost nothing untouched: more expansion of the recent Terminal 2 (furthest away in the visual), with 2 new satellites T2C and T2D for 12-14 aircraft each, a new extension to Terminal 5 (T5X: nearest in the visual), extensions to T5 satellites T5B and T5C, demolition of T1 and T3, reconfiguration of T4, and two new multi-story car parks.
Heathrow would be a massive building site for 10-15 years, Laing O’Rourke and its concrete suppliers should be very happy indeed.
- These expansions aim to increase annual passenger capacity by 22M (T2: 30M -> 52M) plus 7M (T5: 33M -> 40M), plus more at T4. This is without considering “T5XN”, dedicated for support of the third runway. Bear in mind that Heathrow was said to be “at capacity” in 2008 with 68M passengers, yet is already handling 80M (17.5% more), explaining the increased noise already noted locally. This plan looks to add another 36% on top of that. Overall it represents a doubling in size since T5 was completed in 2008: the DfT maximum figure quoted in the consultation is 130M for 2030. Was that ever envisaged when T5 was agreed, and what has this got to do with “less flying” ?
- The third runway is no ordinary runway. This is 95% of the length of the existing WW2-built ones at 3500m (vs. 3660m existing). Any thoughts that this runway will be for short-haul flights only is immediately dispelled, an A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the World, only requires 2900m. You might ask why the runway is the same size as current ones, and what this means for noise, pollution and overflights, particularity in the Northern part of the borough.
- The consultation promises the return of auralisation booths. We commented at some length about the shortcomings the last time, (which was fed back to Heathrow) you should seek to hear aircraft banking at 2000-3000ft overhead, and you need to hear the common A319, A320, A330, A340’s and Boeing 747, 757, 767 and 777, not Heathrow’s selected choice of A320neo, 787 and A380. Only then you can provide proper feedback.
- It may not be of direct local concern here, but the land-grab and destruction of local communities around Heathrow, notably the historic centre of Hamondsworth, Longford, the Lakeside “energy from waste” centre, and other buildings is considerable. Of more local concern is the effect of doubling passenger numbers, a large proportion of whom will be jostling for room on Crossrail, the Tube, Heathrow Express, roads and other services, which have not allowed for a doubling of airport passenger volumes.
- There are a fair number of pages covering sustainability. But here, the airport is considering itself as an island, independent of the airlines, aircraft etc and while it’s true that the energy centres supplying the buildings do mostly burn biomass that is moderately locally sourced (within 50 miles), and they are to plant some trees, that’s hardly the point considering the carbon footprint of the industry it facilitates – it’s not even a drop in the ocean – this amounts to lip-service greenwash, rather insulting to our intelligence.
As always with these consultations, the weight of documents is tremendous, and more than a little excessive. The reader eventually concludes this is an attempt to bamboozle and wear down those trying to interpret them, to make them give up in the belief that the project must have been well thought-through, because of the weight of documentation alone.
But there’s an easier way to deal with your response: we recommend that you don’t pass GO, don’t engage in any optioneering questions for this or that; it’s bad for Hammersmith in almost every respect – just say NO.