‘Bogus choices’ on noise confirm Heathrow in wrong place for expansion

Published: Monday 5th February 18

Councils say the only way to respond to Heathrow’s latest attempt to persuade people a third runway is inevitable is to state that the airport is offering bogus choices on noise which confirm the airport is simply the wrong place for expansion.

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils say the airport was offering residents a series of invidious choices over when and how often they would like to suffer the health impacts associated with aircraft noise while offering no information on where the new flightpaths for an expanded airport would go.

The Leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, said: “It would be better if Heathrow simply admitted that promises on future changes to night flights cannot be guaranteed. It’s the airlines that decide when they fly, not the airport.

”However they try to share the noise misery around the fact is that Heathrow is already the busiest airport in Europe. It is already bringing in more flights over built-up areas than any other European airport. There is no way to sugar this pill.”

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “People in south and west London live in the most densely populated part of the country. They are being asked to choose between noise for lots of people lots of the time or noise for even more people a little less often.

“Others are being asked what kind of relief they would like from noise they’ve never previously experienced. It’s a bit like offering people a choice of inadequate remedies for an illness they’ve never had.

“We’re also being asked whether we want to shatter the relative peace of rural areas and green open spaces or instead heap more noise on the communities nearby.”

Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “Heathrow expansion is certainly not inevitable and every time we get more detail – the evidence points to Gatwick being the better decision for the country. It brings more benefits and less impact on quality of life. This includes noise. 

“The airport also continues to bamboozle people on night flights and respite. With or without expansion there will still be flights arriving before 6am when people have a right to be enjoying their sleep.

“Heathrow is planning on expanding the airport by 250,000 extra flights. There is no way this would not bring a significant amount of additional noise to West London.”

Cllr Simon Dudley, Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, said: “There is an alternative. Expansion does not have to take place at Heathrow. The Government’s own evidence compiled for its national policy statement on airports showed that an extra runway at Gatwick could be delivered with greater economic benefits, at lower cost and with no taxpayer funding.

“Most importantly for the communities affected, the environmental impact of expanding Gatwick in terms of noise and air pollution would be substantially less.

”The only response to Heathrow’s current publicity material is to repeat that Heathrow is in the wrong place for expansion. It is already too noisy for too many people.”

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead Councils told the Government in December that its own evidence demonstrated that an expanded Heathrow could not be delivered without unacceptable air pollution and noise. They concluded that the runway was unbuildable while expansion at Gatwick could go ahead without this risk.

The current Heathrow expansion consultation runs until 28 March and is available at www.heathrowconsultation.com

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Recent comments

Extra pollution from flights - and 4.30am flights over Battersea - who needs more. A 3rd runway at Heathrow - no thank you.

12 February 2018

My neighbour comes home at 2am and clonks around in high heels on her hard wood floor and walks into furniture and drops everything. No chance of sleeping through it. People out on the street holler half the night stumbling home drunk. Perhaps the council could tighten up licensing hours, instead of harassing Heathrow Airport.
Alison Price

10 February 2018

Brexit is coming and we need all the help we can to grow our economy. Time to move on from this debate, there will always be people objecting to anything new. We need a bigger airport to stop all the pollution from planes holding to land and also taking 20+ mins to take off. An example, to taxi to take off at Heathrow planes burn c.20 mins of fuel, depending on the plane, it’s around 150-400 litres each plane, that’s the same as filling a car up 2-4 times per plane just to taxi to take off. Last week, my plane held over london to land and burnt 800 litres of fuel (and there were at least 10 planes holding, you work the maths)

10 February 2018

Not so clever using the old salesman's trick of 'either' 'or'. Would you like your noise at 8 am or 8 pm? The answer Heathrow is 'neither'.
Maryvonne Lumley

10 February 2018

WBC. We need details of proposed flightpaths and existing flightpaths to be retained.

9 February 2018

I live at the end of Wakehurst Road and walk my dog on Clapham Common every day - I count the planes in the sky - 9 sometimes in the sky at one time with the last one disappearing over the trees every 1/2 mins. My phone cuts out when a plane is overhead. It’s very noisy indoors - don’t need an alarm clock in the morning - so I don’t think we need any more, do you?
Denise E Breen

9 February 2018

The City of London has been sending out material about reducing pollution from cars - low emissions, etc. All worth while. But isn't Heathrow the elephant in the room? Heathrow expansion will only add to the already unacceptable levels of pollution. If you want to reduce pollution reduce vehicle pollution - from ALL sources - including aircraft !!!
Dennis Long

9 February 2018