Government omits 22 out of 25 Transport Committee recommendations on Heathrow

Release Date: 05 June 2018

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has failed to incorporate 22 of the 25 changes put forward by the Transport Select Committee (TSC) in his updated national planning statement (NPS), despite telling Parliament this week (5 June) that he had ‘acted upon’ 24 of the recommendations.

TSC members who examined the airports NPS earlier this year called for changes on a broad range of concerns including noise, air quality, road traffic and costs.

However, a detailed study of the recommendations show that the vast majority were not carried forward in the version of the report published on Tuesday 5 June.

Measures left out included calls on the Government for:

  • More detail on the evidence on environmental, health and community impacts on all three shortlisted schemes
  • Updated population estimates to reflect the increased number of air traffic movements from a Northwest Runway scheme
  • A more stringent interpretation of air quality compliance, including ‘headroom’ to manage future increases in pollution
  • Planning approval to be granted only if the target for no more airport related traffic can be met
  • A clear definition of how the requirement for 15 per cent of new slots will be secured for domestic connections
  • Updated noise modelling to reflect a range of flightpath scenarios
  • A definition of an acceptable maximum number of people newly exposed to noise
  • A condition that planning consent would only be granted if the Secretary of State was satisfied that the scheme would avoid ‘significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life from air quality’

Council leaders are now calling for the Transport Secretary to return to Parliament and explain why so many of the TSC’s recommendations were omitted.

Cllr Simon Dudley, Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, said:

“It’s disappointing the conditions put forward by the Transport Committee, which relate to the impact a third runway would have on the health of the millions of people who live around Heathrow, have not all been met. There is still time to address these concerns, and I would encourage this is looked at again before MPs make their final decision in the House of Commons.”

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said:

“It is a disgrace that the Government has failed to address the TSC's significant concerns regarding exposure to noise and pollution in its final NPS report, showing little regard or protection for those people whose lives will be affected by increased noise and air pollution from a third runway at Heathrow.

“There is not even any attempt to consider a range of different flight path options so that people could have some idea if they will be affected by Heathrow expansion, and for how long they will be subjected to aircraft noise each day. This once again demonstrates what a flawed and ill thought through project this is."

Richmond Council Leader, Cllr Gareth Roberts said:

“It is simply unacceptable that a major expansion of an airport with more than 250,000 extra flights a year can go ahead, when whole communities have no idea if they will be overflown.

“This is a clear issue of trust. The Transport Secretary has told Parliament he has acted upon all but one of the MPs recommendations. This is playing with words. He must go back and explain just why he has left the updated NPS without so many of the conditions called for by his fellow MPs.”

Ravi Govindia, the Leader of Wandsworth Council said:

“People have to have confidence that any go-ahead for a project, with such far-reaching consequences for the environment and public health, must be subject to the most rigorous conditions.”

The Council leaders were speaking on behalf of Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P287/18

Updated: 3 June 2019