Heathrow Consultation and Upcoming Public Meeting

I will be holding a public meeting on Wednesday, 20 February at 7pm at the Community Church in Werter Road, Putney.

As many will know, Heathrow has published a consultation on its future operations with proposals for how it will operate three runways at an expanded airport and plans for the design of airspace to accommodate that, but also proposals for how to use its two existing runways in the meantime. There is a postcode checker on feedback@heathrowconsultation.com the consultation website which can show you where the new flightpaths could be and how they'd affect you. The consultation runs until 4 March 2019 and is online at www.heathrowconsultation.com. You can email views to feedback@heathrowconsultation.com.

The consultation asks for views on noise, respite, night flights and where flight paths could be in the future. For the first time the geographical areas known as ‘design envelopes’ are published so residents can see which areas might be affected although Heathrow have caveated them so it is still very unclear where they finally will be but it is highly likely that man more areas will be affected by aircraft noise, as the plan is to have arrivals flight paths now fan out more widely across many parts of London, rather than all flying along the river. Also departures may increasingly now have periods of time when they fly over this part of London. Frankly, there is still insufficient detail on many of their proposals. I am concerned that it is quite possible that areas like West Hill, Roehampton and Southfields could be much more affected by flightpath noise in the future.

Even before the third runway is built, Heathrow is proposing to try to raise the existing 480,000 flights a year cap, so that there could be as many as 25,000 more flights a year – that’s 68 extra every day. This goes over the original cap on air traffic movements set at the time of the Terminal 5 planning inquiry. It means that both that condition and the "no third runway" condition would be utterly disregarded by Heathrow. More flights would just mean more noise for our local area and, in the light of the recent drone incidents at Gatwick and Heathrow, I believe have the issues in relation to public safety have never been more relevant, especially for those of us who live under the flight path. I've pressed the DfT to review the decision to expand Heathrow in light of the recent drone problems, especially given that those responsible were never caught, underlining how hard this issue is to tackle.

You can contribute your views in writing to the Heathrow consultation. You don’t have to answer each consultation question individually – you can just provide general comments and you can also send them to me and I'll make sure they are submitted. I’ll be going through the documents and will contribute my own response but please do copy me in to your own. The consultation runs until 11.55pm on 4 March 2019. You can respond online at www.heathrowconsultation.com, complete a feedback form available at the exhibition events, send an email to feedback@heathrowconsultation.com or post the feedback form or write to FREEPOST LHR AFO CONSULTATION.

AVIATION 2050: THE FUTURE OF UK AVIATION

The Department for Transport has also now published a Green Paper which outlines proposals for a new aviation strategy. It seems back to front to take a decision on capacity location for a third runway before a strategy is agreed. The Green Paper proposes greater capacity, given passenger numbers are predicted to rise by 53% over the next three decades. It seeks to establish a new decision making framework for additional runways across the UK and assumes that a third runway at Heathrow will be built. Any of the suggested approaches could recommend further expansion at Heathrow and, worryingly, it specifically does not rule out a fourth runway. The paper also sets out carbon emission targets, proposals to manage noise impacts to reduce the impact on public health and quality of life and plans for surface access to ensure it is more sustainable. It also looks at airspace modernisation with new types of flight path and includes a Passengers’ Charter.

It is important that we feed our views into this paper which will inform the UK’s strategy on aviation until 2050. Although there are some proposals that could mean improvements in terms of noise and air pollution, it seems likely that an increase in the number of flights would just outweigh them. The DfT will look at our responses with a view to publishing a White Paper in mid-2019.

The closing dates for comments to this DfT consultation is 11:45pm on 11 April 2019. You can respond with your views online at https://aviationstrategy.campaign.gov.uk  or email AviationStrategy@dft.gov.uk or write to Aviation Strategy, Department for Transport, 33 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 4DR.

I hope that’s a helpful update and I’ll continue to keep you informed on what I’m doing on Heathrow. It would be great to see you at the public meeting on 20 February and I can brief residents on more of the details.