What Will the Third Runway Mean For Chiswick?

Increased noise and local traffic congestion predicted


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Residents in Chiswick are bracing themselves for an increase in airplane noise and traffic congestion if the option for a Third Runway at Heathrow gets the Government's approval.

North Chiswick, including Bedford Park and Acton Green will be worst hit and areas which currently have respite from runway alternation, such as Grove Park, would endure increased noise, according to local expertise. Pollution is also likely to increase from extra traffic on the A4/M4 corridor and possibly on Chiswick High Road.

"It is difficult to envisage how the already congested roads through Chiswick would cope with up to 54% more passengers at Heathrow," commented one local who has studied the issue.

The 2014 Air Quality Report prepared for Hounslow Council notes that Chiswick and Gunnersbury Avenue represent 'worst case exposure' to nitrogen dioxide particles.

Peter Eversden of the Bedford Park Society commented, "A third runway at Heathrow would cause noise pollution for people living to the north of the existing flight paths, including Bedford Park and that would be a large area spreading eastwards with many homes, offices and schools without glazing against noise.

"The additional runway would also cause more vehicle movements and increase the harm to people, particularly children, of lung damage due to particulates.  The 'runway' is really a satellite airport away from the main configuration of Heathrow now. The Government is not supposed to allow anything which would increase road pollution since London does not conform to the EU standards for air quality."

Assessing the impact on Chiswick has been difficult as Heathrow hasn’t released a detailed map of the new flightpaths. However, given that the 3rd runway will be to the north of the existing runways, it is likely that areas in the most northern part of Chiswick will be more affected by noise than they are currently," according to a local who has studied the proposals.

"Respite periods are being cut from 8 hours to 5 to allow for periods of respite for people under the new flight path. If they manage the respite periods by operating 2 out of 3 runways at any one time, there would also be people in Chiswick positioned ‘between 2 runways’ and therefore not really benefitting from respite in the same way that they are at the moment."

Heathrow Airport are arguing that the decision to place the 3rd runway further to the west will mitigate the noise for residents on he flight path as planes will have descended less when they reach Chiswick. An earlier proposal for a shorter 3rd runway would have meant that planes would have made their landing approach at a lower altitude over Chiswick. However, the shorter runway would have meant that the largest planes would not have arrived on this flight path.

The Green Party, Hounslow Council, Hacan, and the local MP and ex-MP are all opposed to a Third Runway. The Airports Commission announced that it has selected a third runway at Heathrow as the best option for airport expansion in the capital. Greenpeace described it as " "an environmental and political minefield".

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth said, "Not only does this mean more noise, more pollution and more congestion for West London, but the measures needed to bring airport pollution within EU Air Quality limits are simply unachievable."

Diane Scott, a Green Party candidate in the Brentford by-election, and a resident of Chiswick, said, "The levels of pollution are particularly high along the M4/A4 corridor that cuts through Chiswick and Brentford and these levels will certainly increase significantly with the huge increase in traffic - and congestion - that will be inevitable if a third runway is built at Heathrow.

Some people have said that an extension of the existing Heathrow northern runway would be a more suitable addition to capacity at the airport, without destroying the number of homes that a third runway would cause. 
That option can be read about here.

Cllr Peter Thompson who is leader of the Chiswick Conservative councillors on Hounslow Council said: “I have consistently opposed the expansion of Heathrow and nothing in the Commission’s Report has made me change my mind.  Expansion would significantly damage our quality of life in the Chiswick – noise, pollution, traffic gridlock would all increase.   It’s important to note that the Government is not bound by the Commission’s recommendations and we will be lobbying hard and making sure that no one is in any doubt of the major environmental impact expansion at Heathrow would create.”

Sir Howard Davies, who chaired the commission, argued that Heathrow's existing international connectivity and the large air freight industry already operating from the location made it clearly a better option than Gatwick. There would also be a pledge not to build a fourth runway.

He said he had adopted Hounslow Council's 'Better not Bigger' approach to the airport in his deliberations.

An aviation noise levy would be introduced to fund insulation for homes and schools, and a legal commitment should be made on air quality.

Sir Howard said, "The best answer is to expand Heathrow's capacity through a new north-west runway. Heathrow is best placed to provide the type of capacity which is most urgently required: long haul destinations to new markets. It provides the greatest benefits for business passengers and the broader economy.

The new runway will cost £17.6 billion to build, far higher than the cost of the Gatwick alternative, and will require the demolition of nearly 800 homes. The changes needed to local rail and road links could add another £5 billion to the total cost. The Commission believes this would be funded by private finance.

The project will take a decade to complete assuming it is given the go-ahead by the Government. They are due to give their full official response in the autumn and David Cameron has pledged in the past that there would be no new runway at Heathrow. Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, are believed to be against the plan as well as Justine Greening, the MP for Putney and International Development Secretary.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said, “My department has received the final report from the Airports Commission and will now consider that advice in detail.

“As a nation we must be ambitious and forward looking. This is a once in a generation opportunity to answer a vital question.

“I will make a statement to Parliament later today in which I will set out the process for that decision to be made.”

John Stewart Chair of HACAN, said, “Heathrow will face the mother of all challenges to meet the conditions for a 3rd runway set down by Davies. And key members of the Cabinet remain opposed to Heathrow expansion. Faced with these problems there is still no guarantee the Government will back a 3rd runway when it makes its final decision later this year.”

Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said, "Davies’ preferred option of a third runway at Heathrow is an environmental and political minefield. It would jeopardise the UK’s climate targets, worsen air pollution in London, and open up a political can of worms for David Cameron. The Prime Minister would do better to ignore the Davies fudge and the aviation industry’s hype, and question instead whether a new runway is needed it all."

July 4, 2015

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