Heathrow consultations

On Friday, 24 February at Putney Leisure Centre, Dryburgh Road, London, SW15 1BL;

 On Wednesday, 1 March at Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London, W8 7NX;

 And on Monday, 6 March at Assembly Hall, King Street, London, W6 9JU.

These weekday events are open from 11.00am to 8.00pm.


What will it mean to Fulham?

1.Assuming the runway is built, it won’t be operational much before 2026, so nothing is happening soon. There is only a Government press release so far. A more detailed Draft National Policy statement (NPS) will be issued for consultation in the new year. We are likely to get at least 3 months to respond. The Government will then issue its final NPS next winter for debate in Parliament. If Parliament adopts the NPS, it then goes to the Planning Inspector – not the local authority – for thorough review. The Planning Inspector’s decision needs to be endorsed by the Secretary of State at the end of the process. This process obviously provides opportunities for the decision to be overturned which is why many people think (or hope) it still won’t be built.

2.The selected scheme is the new runway to the north of the existing two (and not the other proposal to lengthen one runway and use it for landings and take offs at the same time). See diagram below. That means that those living in south Fulham will be relatively unaffected, though you should see improvements, resulting both from the conditions imposed and the phasing out of the noisiest aircraft (especially the B747-400) by then. People in central and particularly northern Fulham will hear the aircraft on the new runway to the north which will align roughly with the Hammersmith boundary. However, as the new runway is over a mile further west, the aircraft will be higher and therefore quieter than they are on the other two runways at the same point.

3. Scheduled Night flights are to be banned for a six and half hour period, probably 1030-0500 or 1130-0600 depending on consultation – this is also likely to coincide with the new runway opening. Note that there are currently an average of 16 flights/night in this period, most between 0430-0600, so this is designed to help light sleepers or early risers.

4. There will be a more generous approach to noise insultation and some sort of community compensation fund, but the details of this won’t be known fully until the public inquiry. Typically Fulham is outside the boundaries for these measures, but that might change. However, within the NPS consultation in the new year, there will be discussion of a comprehensive package of mitigation measures including “respite” arrangements (regular quiet periods) – so that would be an opportunity to put forward our views.

5. The impact on Fulham will depend on airspace changes – i.e. which flight paths are used for take-off and landing and how often they are used – this will be wrapped up in a separate London wide airspace consultation exercise in early 2017.

6. There is a clear commitment that air quality limits will be met – and this is to be made a condition. This is designed to address the doubts some people had that the proposed measures would not be sufficient. However, this controls the air quality around the airport itself. An issue for Fulham is that any increase in car traffic from London is likely to flow out through the A4 & M4 potentially increasing air pollution in Fulham and/or breaching our limits.

7. Finally, don’t assume its all bad news. There will be more jobs and a better local economy and the additional flights will draw more businesses to West London/Thames Valley, making living in this part of London more convenient. That seems to be why it is hard to find evidence of blight in house prices, however annoyed people are by the noise issue. And on noise itself, the forecast is that noise impacts will be less than today even with the extra flights. That’s an average though – there may well be winners and losers in particular places.

This is only a quick review on the limited information available – we will know more in the new year when the draft NPS and airspace consultations come out.

Isobel Hillsmith