Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead statement to Greater London Assembly on Heathrow expansion

January 29, 2008 at 1:35 am | Posted in Adding capacity, Aviation, Climate change, GLA, Heathrow, Heathrow airport, Heathrow expansion, RBWM | Leave a comment

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM)
Statement to Greater London Assembly

1. The RBWM is grateful to the Greater London Assembly for the invitation and opportunity to submit a statement summarising its concerns in relation to the Government’s proposals for the future development of Heathrow Airport.

2. RBWM’s principal objectives relating to aviation issues focus on: preserving the local environment and quality of life for its 140,000 residents and 7m visitors p.a.; securing a thriving business community, and developing and maintaining a sustainable community by striking a balance between the environmental, social and economic issues. It is extremely mindful of both the beneficial and adverse roles aviation has within the international, national and local contexts. Historically the Borough has taken a lead role in aviation matters, adopting robust community leadership on matters such as night flights, the Terminal 5 Inquiry; Government consultations, proposed legislation and other airport related matters and development proposals.

3. The RB shares the concerns of other local authorities around Heathrow and, importantly, those of local communities in relation to the proposals set out in the DfT’s document entitled: ‘Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport’. These concerns are amplified below.

a. The Consultation appears to represent a significant distortion and contradiction of a number of existing and emerging government policies. For example:
• Sustainability / Climate change (as recently as UN Summit 16/11/07).
• Noise policy relating to: ‘Bearing down on noise’; ‘Excessive noise’ and ‘Striking a balance’.
• Supports the much-discredited ‘Predict & Provide’ mentality.
• Completely disregards the basis upon which the T5 permission was granted and ignores the very intention of the attached conditions.
• The apparent dismissal of the ANASE study [LAeq50dB(A)].
• Disregards the requirements of a number of EC Directives and Guidelines (e.g. WHO Community Noise) in presenting the data, expressing the modelling, predicted values and impacts.
• The consultation makes no links with the SE Plan (RSS) – and airport policy is being looked at in isolation. There is no reference to impact on Green Belt / Strategic Gaps.
• Breaches its own policy in relation to conducting formal consultations.

b. RBWM believes the proposals will exacerbate an already ‘intolerable and unacceptable’ situation. The document asserts 2002 and 2004-06 are acceptable baseline years for noise and AQ emissions respectively. There was nothing ‘acceptable’ about these two years in terms of the adverse impacts and infringements caused.

c. RBWM is extremely sceptical about a number of misleading claims and statements within the document relating to:

* An ability to keep to 127km2 even with 702k atms, questioning the veracity of the modelling assumptions.
* Air quality standards being met despite the scale of the proposed expansion and growth, again questioning the veracity of the modelling assumptions.
* The necessary surface access infrastructure and controls being in place and able to cope with the additional demands.
* The complete destruction of the Sipson community to accommodate R3/T6.
* The document is viewed as a ‘Statement of Intent’ rather than a consultation document as the Government and aviation industry appear to have colluded together and already decided upon the issue.

d. The Borough is supportive of the abandonment of Cranford Agreement, given the current lack of respite during intolerable easterly operations and in the interests of more equitably sharing the ‘existing’ burden on noise around the airport. However, the Council is also mindful of the implications of removing the Cranford Agreement leading to ‘mixed mode’ operations, allowing increased movements (enhanced runway capacity) and likely public reaction in those communities where the pattern of noise exposure changes.

4. A recent exit poll at the Windsor Public Exhibition has confirmed there are overwhelming objections to these proposals from local residents. (Available on request).

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