Heathrow expansion: help challenge Government on reduced noise respite

Release Date: 14/02/2017

A proposal to halve the length of aircraft noise respite periods for more than a million homes under Heathrow’s flight paths is among the key concerns councillors have raised with the Government’s third runway plan.

A consultation on the airport’s expansion was announced last week and an examination of the online documents shows that flight path communities would be overflown for around 75 per cent of the day if a third runway is built, up from 50 per cent today.

However the Government’s consultation booklet, delivered to more than a million households last week, did not mention the loss of noise respite. Growing numbers of councils, community groups and residents fear that the potentially negative impacts of the scheme are not been communicated to those living in the surrounding area.

Richmond Council, along with Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead councils, are still examining the consultation material in detail and residents who want to be kept informed about potential impacts can sign-up to receive e-mail updates.

The Government’s booklet also failed to mention air pollution impacts, traffic impacts or taxpayers costs. Instead, it focused entirely on the scheme’s potential benefits and a set of proposed mitigation measures.

The Department for Transport has also said that it will not be consulting on the new flight paths that come with a new runway until after a decision is made on whether to approve the scheme. Councillors say this is preventing residents from understanding the true impacts and means they can’t offer meaningful feedback.

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“The leaflet that was sent out last week it propaganda in its finest. And, the more we read into the full consultation material the more concerned we are at the Government’s selective presentation of the third runway’s impacts. They should be proactively informing flight path communities about major changes like the loss of daytime respite periods but that’s not been their approach.

“All in all this consultation seems to be very good at highlighting alleged benefits of expansion – but seems to totally miss the draw backs that I would expect as a bare minimum in a statutory public consultation.

“In the next few weeks there will be a number of resident consultation events, coordinated by the Department of Transport. I urge all concerned people to go and have their say and let the government know if they are not giving the information we need.”

You can have your say and see the consultation online.

Updated: 14 February 2017