New Heathrow Plan 'Worst Case For Chiswick'

North West runway could mean night flights over Bedford Park and Acton Green

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Heathrow Airport has revealed three options this week for a new runway including a new plan which envisages a full length runway to the north west of the existing site.

There are fears that this new option could represent the worst case for Chiswick as the flight path is likely to go directly over the north of the area including Bedford Park and Acton and the runway would have the capacity to take the larger size jumbos from Far Eastern destinations that cause night flight disturbance due to their arrival in the early hours.

The 'north-west option' would see a full-length runway constructed on the site of the Old Slade sewage works, Harmondsworth Moor, Harmondsworth and Longford. This is to the west of the previous option for a northern runway near Sipson which would have not been a full length one and would only have served smaller planes.

Earlier this month Heathrow leaked the fact that they were considering a new 'south west' option and that the northern runway was no longer seen as viable giving brief hope that runway development would have limited impact on Chiswick. In the event the south west plan is still being considered but Heathrow are now indicating that the north west option is equally viable.

The three options for Heathrow Airport expansion would all have a negative effect on parts of the borough, according to Hounslow Council which said it would be carrying out a detailed analysis on the potential noise impact on residents.

The airport anti-expansion group HACAN has vowed to "fight tooth and nail" against a third runway.

Cllr Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council, said: “Heathrow’s submission offers something old, something new, and something out of the blue."

The all-party 2M Group says Heathrow's new proposals for a third runway will be followed by demands for a fourth.

The three options, which were presented by the airport to the government-appointed Airports Commission currently looking at airport capacity in London and the South East are:

  • A South West option which requires demolition of 850 properties in the Stanwell Moor area
  • A North West option in the Harmondsworth Moor involving demolition of 950 properties
  • A North option, very similar to the previous plans for a third runway, involving demolition of Sipson and parts of Harlington.

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

Sources in Chiswick suggested that the south-west option would be unlikely to affect Chiswick much, though there could be a noise impact from easterly take-offs. 

On behalf of Hounslow Council, Cllr Ellar said: “Undoubtedly, new parts of our borough would be hit hard by the south west runway proposal at Stanwell Moor. The north runway – the Sipson option - which unlike its predecessor is a full-length runway, would also have a profoundly negative impact.

“The north-west runway, which would cut across the M25, is a surprising development and we would need to examine its potential impact further. With all of these options, we will be carrying out detailed work to understand the noise impact on our communities.

”The submission makes the right noises about noise insulation, but there is no detail yet in respect of the cost of the scheme, and crucially who would pay for it.

“The proposal to use only one runway for very late night or early morning departures and arrivals is potentially welcome for our residents, whose night’s sleep is disturbed, but again we would need to see the detail.

“At face value the proposals on improving rail links are welcome and would help alleviate congestion on the roads and help existing public transport links which are bursting at the seams, however, we need to see concrete plans rather than aspirations.”

While revealing its three main options for the site of a third runway, Heathrow ruled out a fourth runway until at least 2040. Heathrow said its latest options would seek to strike a better balance between the need for growth, the local employment benefits and the impact on local communities.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “We will fight any proposal for a new runway tooth and nail.  We owe it to future generations to stop a 3rd runway.  While we are encouraged by Heathrow’s plans to try to reduce noise, the additional runway will put a 250,000 extra planes a year in the skies over London and the Home Counties and will negate these efforts”.

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

Heathrow has said it believes the two westerly options offer clear advantages.“We understand the uncertainty and anxiety these proposals will cause for residents. People want to know whether these proposals will go ahead or not. We would encourage the Commission and the Government to short-list options and make a final decision as quickly as possible to minimise the uncertainty.” 

Mary Macleod, Conservative MP for Brentford and Isleworth commented "It has been estimated that the number of flights into Heathrow could more than double with the third runway and that around one million residents across London could be impacted by aircraft noise – something that I believe cannot be allowed to happen." Mary promised to fight against a third runway.

Boris Johnson suggested three new sites: on the Isle of Grain in north Kent; at Stansted; or on an artificial island in the middle of the Thames estuary and that Heathrow could become a new town housing up to 250,000 people.

Commenting on Boris' suggestions, Cllr Peter Thompson, Leader of Hounslow Conservatives stated “We have always argued that Heathrow should be better and not bigger and that remains the position of Hounslow Conservatives. We fully agree with the Mayor that any expansion of Heathrow would be intolerable for local residents.  We also agree that something needs to be done to end Britain's chronic shortage of air capacity and it’s good that we have a mayor who is able to think big and explore all options.  However Heathrow will always be a major player in our airport provision.  The idea of digging it up and replacing it with a new London borough isn’t one we are going with."

A public helpline for residents seeking more information about the proposals has been launched. That number is 0800 307 7996. Residents can also go to or email for further information.


July 17, 2013