Colne Valley says Heathrow’s expansion bid will “wipe out” southern part of Park

The Colne Valley says Heathrow’s just-announced North-West and South-West expansion options would “wipe out” the southern part of the Park.

The North-West option which would hit Colnbrook hardest would see Lakeside Education Centre lost along with nearly all of the Green Belt north of the by-pass to Sutton Lane.  Colnbrook West and Orlitts Lake would be filled in, while the Colne Brook would be culverted or diverted along with three other rivers locally.  The M25 would be diverted through Richings Park and the A4 diverted through Poyle.

Harmondsworth Moor would be obliterated, the Colne Valley Trail chopped in half and the Colne Valley Park Circular Walks completely lost.  The ancient villages of Harmondsworth and Longford would be completely destroyed.

The South-West option would be as bad for the the Colne Valley, with 3 sites of Special Scientific Interest partially lost and two reservoirs impacted.

In a news release issued on Monday the Park hit out at the devastating impact both options would have.

“Both the North West and the South West options effectively wipe out the southern part of the Colne Valley Regional Park as a coherent entity. In addition there are proposed railway links to Heathrow through the Colne Valley from the north and the south and other associated infrastructure and developments that are sure to follow.”

It said the the third (“North”) option would have much less impact on the park but acknowledged that it would see the destruction of Sipson and Harlington.

The Colne Valley Park covers 43 square miles of countryside right on the edge of London – running from Rickmansworth in the north to Staines in the south, and from Uxbridge in the east to Chalfont and Slough in the west. The Park contains many valuable wildlife habitats and many opportunities to get up close with rare wildlife.

Colne Valley Regional Park

Carol Gibson, Director of the Colne Valley Park CIC, said

“The Colne Valley Regional Park is under siege. It was established 50 years ago when the previous generation saw the potential of the Colne Valley to serve communities of west London and adjacent counties in providing an escape into countryside. Huge areas of this countryside may be about to vanish under High Speed 2, Slough International Freight Exchange, Pinewood Studios Development and now a 3rd – 4th runway at Heathrow, all on Green Belt.

If any of these developments are allowed to go ahead only a comprehensive package to mitigate the impacts on local landscapes, rivers, biodiversity and communities in the Colne Valley Regional Park and to enhance what remains, will ensure that the Park has a sustainable future.

Whilst the wider open spaces of England deserve protection, we must resist the large scale destruction of precious countryside close to urban areas. Build over it and there will be increasing demand not only for development in really rural areas but also for access to more remote areas by people forced to travel further from their homes for recreation.”

Most of the park’s activities to date have centred on countryside activities at Denham Country Park, Black Park, Rickmansworth Aquadrome, Staines Moor, Iver Environment Centre and the Chiltern Open Air Museum.

Colnbrook’s stretch of the Colne Valley, perhaps the most neglected, has hitherto gained little attention from the Community Interest Company; even the threat from the Slough International Freight Exchange received a low key response.

The statement from the Park suggests that Heathrow’s onslaught will inevitably refocus strategy in the period ahead.

Colnbrook is not currently represented on the 12-member board set up to manage the company, although both the Colnbrook Community Association and Parish Council are member organisations.


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External Links

The latest issue of the Colne Valley newsletter is now availablehere.


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