Packed Public Meeting In Chiswick On Heathrow Airport Plans

Residents 'stunned' to hear extra 25,000 flights planned even before third runway

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Over 300 residents turned out to Christ Church on Turnham Green Tuesday night (12 February) for a public meeting to discuss the third runway and the current Heathrow consultations on flight paths and changes to the way the air space is used by the airport.

Residents from Chiswick, Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith were stunned to hear that their area would experience 25,000 extra flight by 2022 and a further 260,000 by 2026 if a third runway were ever to open.

The No 3rd Runway Coalition were joined by local MPs Ruth Cadbury and Andy Slaughter, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council Stephen Cowan, as well as local campaign groups Chiswick Against the Third Runway, Bedford Park Society and Hammersmith & Fulham No 3rd Runway.

A spokesman for Chiswick Against the Third Runway, said : “We are shocked & stunned by Heathrow's plans to fly 25,000 more aircraft a year right over Chiswick by 2022, in addition to plans for a vast increase in flights from a third runway.”

The airport is currently consulting across west London on how future operations at the airport would work with a third runway, with plans for a range of options put forward for consultation. By the end of the meeting there was outrage with the impacts of what is proposed for the communities of Chiswick, Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park.

Paul Beckford, of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, who organised the meeting, said:
“It was vital that we organised this meeting to help the communities understand the very complex and technical proposals in this airspace consultation. Given the significant and negative impact that expansion would have on this area, it is clear that the best way to stop these additional flights is to oppose a third runway.”

Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, said: “My constituents are rightly outraged at the impact Heathrow will have on our community with these plans for more flights over the next few years. I urge everyone to oppose these plans in the strongest possible form."

Heathrow's forecast indicates north and central Chiswick will be directly flown over for the first time, with a potential for up to 47 additional flights per hour in excess of 65 decibels, starting early in the morning. There is no compensation or assistance with sound proofing and the new flight paths over Chiswick will affect the whole area.

'If this goes ahead, there will be a dramatic increase in noise blight and pollution over the whole area' said a spokesman for CHATR. 'It will have significant implications for public health.'

While Heathrow still has to get final go-ahead for a third runway, depending on a judicial review being held at present, an early ’release of capacity’ is planned, to start increasing the number of flights by 25,000 per year, or 68 extra flights per day. This is likely to kick in in 2022. There will be ‘independent Parallel Approaches’ (IPRs), using both North and South runways at once.
There will be one hour more night flights allowed, possibly from 11pm – 4.30am.

Councillor Stephen Cowan (leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council), said the cost to the Government of the Third runway was going to be £18 billion and that there was zero monetary benefit to the country for this expenditure. He claimed extra runways in other countries have yielded between £1 & 2 billion, but there were many negatives that would cost our government He added: " For our children’s and grandchildren’s sake, we deserve better than a vanity project that will cost billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and contribute nothing to the UK economy.”

Ruth Cadbury MP said, that the increase of flights in out of Heathrow would mean almost 1 million (i.e. 960,000) extra per year. Cargo through Heathrow was planned to double. She said the value of a ‘Hub’ airport has not been proven to be true and asked why should people have to go to Heathrow to catch them. She also asked if Heathrow were talking of making 50% flights ‘westerly preference’ (landing over Windsor etc),if this was possible, why is it not done now?

A speaker from the Bedford Park Society said that the information given is shrouded in technical jargon and brushes over the disadvantages of a third runway, and the extra landing slots are being sought even before the third runway is built. The questions asked in their questionnaire are loaded he said, and, with ‘yes’/’no’ answers which do not encourage any further choices.

Christina Smith of Hammersmith & Fulham ‘NO 3rd Runway’ group also spoke as did Stephen Clark of the Teddington Action Group, who said the health impacts had not been properly accounted for and that the current noise evaluation by the airport was unreliable.

The impacts of noise on sleeplessness, and stress, and the health impacts of particulate matter on lung disease were also some of the issues which came up for discussion.

Heathrow had not organised any consultation in Chiswick - the closest venues were Hammersmith and Ealing which opponents of expansion is a deliberate strategy to lower the level of opposition expressed in the consultation. Heathrow did not respond when we asked them to address this point.

February 13, 2019

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