17/6/19 embargoed until 18/6/19
‘A MEGA PROJECT WITH A MEGA IMPACT ON LOCAL COMMUNITIES’
Heathrow today launched a three month consultation into its plans for a controversial third runway which it hopes to open in 2026. The consultation includes proposals to build the new runway over the M25 as well plans to re-route local rivers, replace utilities and bring in changes to the road network.
In the consultation the airport also sets out its plans to mitigate the effects of expansion, including property compensation, noise insulation, a community compensation fund as well as measures to deal with noise, air pollution, carbon, and other environmental impacts.
It does not, though, reveal the location of the new flight paths. Heathrow, in conjunction with the air traffic controllers, is still working these up following an airspace consultation earlier this year. A further consultation on flight paths is expected in 2021 when the detailed routes will be revealed.
Today’s consultation does ask for views on noise envelopes. These will provide the framework within which Heathrow will be allowed to grow. They will set the noise parameters which it cannot break.
The consultation also provides more detailed information on how Heathrow is proposing to implement the 6.5 hour night flight ban it is required to introduce as a condition of building a third runway.
There are also more details on runway alternation (which provides for periods of respite from the noise) and on plans to replace westerly preference with managed preference (1).
Heathrow is asking for views on its controversial proposal to bring in an 25,000 extra flights per year in advance of a third runway opening.
John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, the campaign group which opposes a third runway, said, “What hits you is the scale of these proposals. The impact on local people could be severe for many years to come. Disruption from construction; the demolition of homes; the reality of more than 700 extra planes a day.”
The consultation is a statutory requirement of the Development Consent Order (DCO) process. Heathrow intends to put its final plans before a Planning Inquiry in summer 2020. The inspectors overseeing the Inquiry will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport in 2021. The Secretary of State has the final decision on whether or not to give the expansion plans the go-ahead.
Notes for Editors:
(1). At present Heathrow operates ‘westerly preference’ whereby planes land from the east not only when a west wind is blowing but also if there is an east wind of up to about 5 knots. Heathrow will be proposing a move away from westerly preference to managed preference. This will allow the direction of the planes to be switched (wind permitting) more often. If the wind is medium – strong planes must land and depart into the wind but there is more leeway when the wind is less strong. Managed preference would allow more flexibility than is permitted by westerly preference. For example, it could allow communities to be given some days of relief during a very long period of east or west winds. It would also make it easier to adhere to the respite periods.
For further information: John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650