CCA calls for public meeting as HACAN says new EU noise rules won’t protect residents
HACAN has hit out at “timid” new rules on airport noise while the CCA has called for Colnbrook residents to be given the right to hear about Heathrow expansion plans directly.
New rules on aviation noise across the European Union in 2016 will not protect people living near airports, John Stewart of HACAN said this week. Meanwhile, Vicki Brenner, chair of the Colnbrook Community Association has joined the call for residents to be allowed to discuss the impact of Third Runway plans directly with proponents of the two schemes.
The EU’s new regulation calls for creating a “balanced approach” to noise reduction, by encouraging the use of quieter aircraft, improving land-use planning around airfields, imposing quieter airport ground operations and – in extreme cases – limiting overnight flights. But the law lacks binding noise reduction rules.
“Europe’s gone the wrong way on aircraft noise,” John Stewart said in a telephone interview, “Until there is a definite target to be met, and a date by which that target has to be met, and legal limits, there really is very little incentive for airports or national governments to significantly reduce noise.”
they’ve got to try to be seen as taking on board our concerns about noise
In May, Heathrow presented a revised plan for its Third Runway with a promise to reduce noise to the lowest levels in 40 years at the same time.
Heathrow Hub’s plans also claim extra capacity can reduce noise impacts for most of London by reducing opening hours, moving early morning arrivals to the west, allowing some slots to be used to facilitate runway alternation, quieter approaches and steeper climb-outs.
Neither group has been given the opportunity yet to discuss its plans – or the real impact for Colnbrook – with residents, who remain very much in the dark.
Calls to create an airport noise ombudsman with the power to arbitrate disputes gained political support in June, when 34 members of the House of Commons backed its creation. But John Stewart, makes no bones about the real motive:
“… they desperately want to get a third runway in place, and the last time round they tried, they antagonised everybody. This time, they’ve got to try to be seen as taking on board our concerns about noise”.
Heathrow Hub would only talk to the Parish Council and not to residents
Noise impact of the Third Runway proposals is foremost in mind for the Colnbrook Community Association which has called for residents to be given the opportunity to discuss the plans at a public meeting.
However CCA chair Vicki Brenner’s letter to Parish Chair Peter Hood last month received a frosty response, parish minutes show.
“The Chairman said that ‘Heathrow Hub’ would only talk to the Parish Council and not to residents”.
Cllr Hood, who has been reluctant to facilitate direct community involvement with the plans, has spent a day with Heathrow bosses focusing on the impact of freight on the village. Nevertheless he promised at the meeting on July 1 to contact both Heathrow Airport Ltd and Heathrow Hub Ltd to try and arrange a public session.
Update: since the article was published the CCA have advised that they wrote to both Third Runway schemes imploring them to come to Colnbrook. Heathrow Airport Ltd are understood to have suggested a public session in the first two weeks of August. In addition, a meeting to discuss noise specifically is planned for September.