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.  A Draft National Policy statement (NPS) has been issued for consultation with responses due by 25th May. The Government will then issue its final NPS for debate in Parliament. If Parliament adopts the NPS, it then goes to the National Infrastructure Commission  – not the local authority – for thorough review. Their decision would need 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.  A judicial review brought in January failed to overturn the Government’s decision to support Heathrow.

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.  Improvements are possible, 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.  Much will depend on the pattern of runway use and that won’t be decided until much later.  Look out for Heathrow Airport’s own consultation due later this year.

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. 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