No respite from Cranford for another FOUR YEARS as Heathrow says it needs to rethink its plans
Heathrow Airport says that, despite winning an appeal on the scrapping of the Cranford Agreement, it will not go ahead as planned with new taxi-ways but will go back to the drawing board and come up with a new proposal in 2019.
Despite the Government go-ahead in 2009 and winning a planning appeal against the London Borough of Hillingdon in February, Heathrow says it will not go ahead with new taxiways to support a fairer distribution of noise to communities … at least, not for another TWO years.
In 2010, the Coalition Government re-confirmed the decision that the Cranford Agreement should be torn up, and urged steps to be taken to ensure the restrictions placed on takeoffs when the airport is on easterly operations ended as soon as possible.
Heathrow submitted its original planning application to the London Borough of Hillingdon in 2013, for the necessary taxi works to enable runway alternation on easterly operations. In 2014 Hillingdon Council said no, leading to a public inquiry in 2015 which was finally decided in February, in conjunction with the publication of the Government’s draft Airports National Policy Statement.
Now, however, Heathrow says it plans for new taxiways might not fit with its plans for a Colnbrook Runway.
The news was released without fanfare two weeks ago in an update to static information about the airport’s operations on its website two weeks ago:
“Over the last few months we have been assessing whether the taxiway works approved at appeal fit with the airfield design for an expanded Heathrow. The work has indicated the potential need to reposition the taxiway works further to the east.
“Moving the location of the taxiway works will change the noise impacts from departing aircraft. Taken together, this will require a new planning application to account for these changes.”
WHO GAINS AND WHO LOSES? According to Hillingdon's own analysis flights will HALVE during easterly operations from 630 to 328 for communities under the final approaches to the northern runway – such as Windsor, Datchet, Colnbrook and Poyle. But communities including Old Windsor, Wraysbury and Stanwell Moor could see flights increase from 26 to 328 a day.
The airport says it believes if it submits another planning application Hillingdon is likely to refuse the planning application again leading to another “protracted planning appeal” and a delay in implementation until 2022.
Instead, it will proceed with a Development Consent Order (DCO) which, like the M4 Smart Motorway, gives local authorities little influence over deliberations.
Heathrow says its Third Runway plans are not sufficiently evolved yet for it to know now where new taxiways should go:
“We will not have sufficient certainty of the airfield design for a third runway until summer 2018 following public consultation. We therefore would not be able to submit a new planning application until we have that certainty in order to avoid further changes being made.”
Heathrow now intends to submit a DCO in 2019. If it gains approval by 2021 it anticipates that runway alternation could be introduced in 2022/23.
We understand that for some communities, the delay to the implementation of runway alternation on easterly operations is disappointing. However, having considered our options we feel this is the most appropriate way to take this forward.
Heathrow says it wants to assure local communities that it remains “fully committed to providing runway alternation”.