Pub­lic in­quiry over Heathrow works de­layed

Out­come hit by com­pen­sa­tion de­bate

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE out­come of a pub­lic in­quiry into works at Heathrow has been de­layed due to a de­bate over com­pen­sa­tion for af­fected house­hold­ers.

Bosses at the air­port want to carry out taxi­way al­ter­ations en­abling more de­par­tures over Cran­ford, but their ap­pli­ca­tion was re­jected by Hilling­don Coun­cil in 2014.

Heathrow ap­pealed against that de­ci­sion and the find­ings of a pub­lic in­quiry held last June are now be­ing con­sid­ered by lo­cal govern­ment sec­re­tary Greg Clark and trans­port sec­re­tary Pa­trick McLough­lin, who be­tween them must make the fi­nal rul­ing.

Heathrow had of­fered to fund sound­proof­ing for prop­er­ties ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a sig­nif­i­cant noise in­crease as a re­sult of the change, and to cover the re­lo­ca­tion costs where noise lev­els rise above 69dBLAeq – roughly equiv­a­lent to the vol­ume of a vac­uum cleaner.

The trans­port and lo­cal govern­ment de­part­ments want to al­ter the con­di­tions so house­holds ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the great­est dis­tur­bance could opt for noise in­su­la­tion, rather than help to re­lo­cate, should they pre­fer to stay put.

Stake­hold­ers are now be­ing asked whether they would ac­cept th­ese new con­di­tions should the ap­peal be up­held, and they have been given un­til Fe­bru­ary 17 to re­spond.

There is no date set for a fi­nal de­ci­sion but given those re­sponses will have to be con­sid­ered it is un­likely to be an­nounced un­til sev­eral weeks af­ter that dead­line.

The taxi­way works are needed to en­able sched­uled east­erly take­offs from the north­ern run­way, which were pre­vi­ously banned un­der the Cran­ford Agree­ment.

With­out them, only a rel­a­tively small num­ber of such de­par­tures have been pos­si­ble since that 60-year-old ver­bal con­tract was scrapped by the govern­ment in 2009.

Should the work be ap­proved, it would pave the way for roughly 35,000 ex­tra flights a year over Cran­ford, but no in­crease in the over­all 480,000 flights a year at the air­port.

Heathrow says the changes would make run­way al­ter­na­tion more re­li­able and would be fairer on peo­ple liv­ing in ar­eas like Wind­sor, Houn­slow and Feltham, who would ex­pe­ri­ence fewer planes over­head.

Coun­cil­lors in Hilling­don op­posed the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion due to fears it would in­crease air pol­lu­tion in the area, among other con­cerns.

Hilling­don and Houn­slow coun­cils, along with the Greater Lon­don Au­thor­ity, all sup­ported the case against Heathrow’s pro­pos­als at the plan­ning in­quiry.

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