'Worst Case' Heathrow Option Short-listed

North west runway could lead to new flight path over Chiswick

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Third runway 'north west' - image courtesy of Heathrow Airport


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The ‘worst case’ option for Chiswick is one of three that has been short-listed by the Airports Commission for expanding airport capacity in London. A third runway to the north west of the existing two at Heathrow would create a new flightpath over north Chiswick as well as Acton, Ealing and Southall.

Sir Howard Davies, the businessman who heads the commission, concluded that a new runway in the south east was required by 2030. He has also short-listed the option of lengthening one of the existing Heathrow runways to 6000m and building a new runway at Gatwick. His report rules out does not advocate a fourth runway at Heathrow ‘in the foreseeable future’ and rejects the other northern runway option for Heathrow at Sipson as well as the idea of a runway south of Heathrow.

The option of a new airport at the Isle of Grain in Kent, which is favoured by Boris Johnson, was not short-listed but the commission said that they will reach a view later next year on whether or not it is a viable proposal and deserves to be added to the short-list.

The Mayor said, "A new airport in the inner estuary is the only credible hub option left. By keeping it on the table, Davies is saying you have a choice - between a damaging U-turn or a radical new vision for expansion."

The brief of the commission was to look into options for future aviation capacity. These findings represent a preliminary report, the final document with full details of the commission’s conclusions is due out in Summer 2015.

Cllr Colin Ellar, Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council welcomed the news that closure of Heathrow was not being considered but said, "We are against a third runway and we have drawn a line in the sand over the ending of runway alternation, which provides a precious period of peace for our residents. We will fight to make sure that this arrangement is safeguarded and improved, not eroded any further."

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flights paths, said, “Although Davies’s proposals focus less on Heathrow than had been rumoured, there is little doubt they will act as the trigger to 18 months of intense campaigning against Heathrow expansion. A new runway will increase planes from 480,000 a year to 560,000. There is no way overall noise levels will decrease.”

Stewart added, “The scale of the opposition will be so great that we believe that they are politically undeliverable and should have been dropped at this stage.”

Ruth Cadbury, Labour's likely candidate for the Brentford and Isleworth seat at the next election pledged to do all in her power to oppose the proposals.

She said, "Yet again hundreds of thousands of residents of west London are faced with uncertainty as a third runway is back on the table. Having campaigned for 12 years with local residents I am deeply disappointed that the proposal is back again, after being ruled out by the Conservatives when they came into Government in 2010."

She added, "The longer runway proposal will still mean the same landing path over our heads for most of the day and night."

At present 725,000 people live under the Heathrow flights, according to the European Commission. That figure represents 28% of all people impacted by aircraft noise across Europe.

The airport authorities have said expansion will create 70,000-150,000 new local jobs and protect 114,000 existing jobs.


December 17, 2013