Leaked details of the deal struck between Slough and Heathrow

Colnbrook ward councillor Dexter Smith has today provided the legal agreement between Slough Borough Council and Heathrow Airport the council never wanted you to see.  Here we publish it in full.

top-secret

The three page agreeement which Slough refused to share on Friday was meant to provide details of the mitigation package for the communities most affected closest to the airport.

As announced in February Slough will receive £1.5 million from the airport over 15 years towards a ‘Strategic Partnership’ with Heathrow.

But the aims and objectives of that Partnership have changed since February when the council’s press release announced it would “lay out mitigation measures which will be put in place for the borough and its residents”.

Heathrow commits to provide the Partnership with enabling funds of at least £100,000 per annum for 15 years from the approval of the Development Consent Order to commission studies and to implement measures to address airport related issues across Slough.

While the agreement was signed on February 3, earlier this month Cllr Rob Anderson, leader of Slough Borough Council, revised that to “securing benefits for the people of the borough and ensure mitigation for residents and businesses affected by the expansion.”

In just one sentence the whole meaning of the Partnership, and with it funding to address some of the worst effects of the new runway, have changed in favour of a biase towards projects to improve Slough.  Beyond an almost throwaway statement at the beginning of the document “mitigation” does not feature at all.

More worrying, the first few years’ funding for the Partnership is already allocated to projects that are as far from “mitigation” as can be imagined.  Strictly speaking, since the early projects address public pledges made by Heathrow’s already – such as 50% of passengers travelling to the enlarged airport by public transport, or meeting air quality commitments, many will question why they are in the agreement at all.

The agreement between Heathrow and Slough is broken down into five areas.  Here’s what it says:

Partnership Funding

Heathrow commits to:

  • Fund a study on ways to encourage more cycling from Slough to Heathrow (min: £20K in 2015)
  • Fund a feasibility study on relocation of Lakeside EWP (min: £50K in 2015)
  • Continue to contribute to the cost of public transport between Slough and Heathrow
  • Fund employability training for Slough’s JSAs (min: £100K pa from 2015)
  • Support programmes to attract inward investment to Slough (min: £10K pa from 2015)
  • Fund installation of, and running costs for, an air quality monitor in Slough (from 2016).

Noise

Heathrow commits to:

  • Not schedule night flights for 5 hours each night.  (Slough’s response to Davies submitted on the SAME day called for an outright ban between 23:00 and 06:00 yet it failed to incorporate this in its agreement).
  • Provide the revised noise insulation scheme for eligible homes and schools in Slough already included in its submission to the Airports Commission (and dismissed as “not world class” by Sir Howard).  The new Partnership will get to determine “the precise boundary of each zone”.

Air Quality and Transport

Heathrow commits to:

  • Implement “tangible measures” to improve air quality including sustainable transport and cleaner vehicles.
  • Contribute to a “reliable and affordable” surface access network.
  • Continued subsidy for buses and contribution to phase two of the Slough Mass Rapid Transport (‘SMART’) direct bus service between Slough, Slough Trading Estate and Heathrow.
  • Fund an air quality monitoring station  at a location in Slough.
  • Fund surface access survey to inform air quality mitigation measures.

Economy

Heathrow commits to:

  • Recognise the importance of the Grundon incinerator to meeting Slough’s target of 0% landfill.
  • Support Slough’s representations to Government that the authority should not be disadvantaged through loss of business rates.
  • Fund initiatives to attract inward investment to Slough.
  • Provide Slough residents with skills and training through the Heathrow Academy.

Slough commits to:

  • “Unlock” potential areas of the Borough for possible designation as commercial zones.

Housing

Heathrow commits to:

  • Give Slough first refusal on all homes vacated by residents due to noise disturbance, at preferential rates.

In return for the “concessions” from Heathrow, Slough Council’s Cabinet commits to publicly supporting the expansion of Heathrow Airport with immediate effect and until Heathrow is granted the Development Consent Order.

Read the Agreement for yourself in full.

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