Government omits 22 out of 25 transport committee recommendations on Heathrow

Published: Friday 8th June 18

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.

But a detailed study of the recommendations show that the vast majority were not carried forward in the version of the report published on 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 short-listed 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. 

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.”

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 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 each day they will be subjected to aircraft noise. 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.

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

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Recent comments

Thank you for continuing to fight for these recommendations to be addressed. The altitude of flights coming in to Heathrow (and over my house, every few minutes) seems to have become very much lower in recent years. Is that the case, and if so why? I am concerned about the impact on both noise and air quality of the current flight paths used into Heathrow and particularly the altitudes used. Expansion could make these impacts very much worse.
Debbie C

10 June 2018

Please fight the government over this. Where I live the noise is already intolerable. June 2 I was in my garden, the planes were relentless. One was especially bad, so I rang the complaints line to ask the make. They're so low I saw from the tailfin it was BA. Pleasant woman phoned June 4 to say it was a 777 which is recognised as noisy. When I rang I said "it's 16.17". She told me it went over at 16.14. Heathrow knows to the second what time the planes go over, the exact height. She said another noise consultation is running to the end of this month. Apart from our local councils and MP the only people who acknowledge the noise are those working in that complaints office. Not May or the wretched Grayling.
Elizabeth Balsom

10 June 2018

I am very much against building a third runway at Heathrow. The stress of increased noise for all the people living around the airport will make their lives intolerable; the increase in road traffic will affect more than just the immediate area but spread wider, into London, and all that will increase pollution for everybody.
Vanessa Hopkins

8 June 2018