The High Court ruling on 27 February 2020 brought encouraging news for Chiswick and Bedford Park with the ruling that the government’s policy on expanding the airport was unlawful as it failed to take proper account of the impact on Britain’s climate commitments.
The judgement was delivered after a legal challenge brought by local councils, environment groups and the mayor of London. It ruled that legislation granting Heathrow the green light had ignored climate change commitments under the UN’s Paris Agreement, which limits global temperature rises and commits signatories to tackling climate change by taking measures to limit global warming to well below 2C.
In failing to take full account of the environmental impact, the current policy on a third runway at Heathrow was described as “legally fateful” to the Airports National Policy Statement (this effectively gave Heathrow outline planning consent) and should be withdrawn.
The judge emphasised that the court made no judgment on the merits of Heathrow expansion or whether a third runway could ultimately comply with the Paris Agreement. It was simply that it had not been considered when the statement was drawn up in 2017 and 2018, but should have been taken into account.
Likely next steps
Although Heathrow immediately announced they will appeal to the Supreme Court “confident” that they will be successful, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated that ministers accept the judgement and would not appeal against it. Perhaps more significantly, he also suggested that the government would pursue proposals to expand UK airport infrastructure elsewhere without building more runways.
Heathrow conceded that the court decision and their subsequent appeal will result in delays to their plans of at least six months. It is, therefore, likely that all Heathrow’s plans will be paused during this period.
At this stage, it is unclear what impact the decision may have on Heathrow’s push for approval to introduce new arrival flightpaths over Chiswick from 2022, irrespective of the building of any new runway. This would mean planes overflying areas of Chiswick not previously overflown from 6.00am in the morning.
We will continue to work closely with CHATR and the No 3rd Runway Coalition to keep on top of any developments and would like to acknowledge their unstinting efforts in contributing to this latest success in combatting the threats of Heathrow expansion on our community.
Third Runway threatens everyone in Chiswick
Heathrow’s proposals will cause major disturbance to all Chiswick residents with more flights, more noise and more pollution, possibly even if the Third Runway does not go ahead.
- Heathrow are proposing options that would result in 29 flights directly over Bedford Park and Chiswick between 06.00 and 07.00am – one plane every 2.4 minutes – at very high decibel levels, likely to wake people up. Up to 40 overhead flights per day are proposed at this stage, before implementation of the new runway.
- If the Third Runway is built, we would be even more significantly affected with incoming low-flying aircraft (at 2,000 – 3,000ft), 47 flights per hour (one every 1.5 minutes) and with all of the flights above the key 65-decibel level. There will be 17 departing flights per hour (one every 3.5 minutes), all above 65 decibels.
Our work to challenge the development
We continue to monitor developments, supporting the work of CHATR (Chiswick Against the Third Runway) and taking action when necessary. We remain committed to supporting any further efforts to challenge this development, which represents such a significant threat to Bedford Park and Chiswick.
Many questions are still unanswered, such as safety; reconciliation with air pollution limits; binding Climate Change targets; the economics of the project, including creating access to the airport, and the adequacy of the government’s proposed compensation scheme.
During 2018 and 2019 we encouraged members to respond to Heathrow Airport’s Airspace consultations, which will influence its proposals to the CAA for the development of the airspace of Chiswick and Bedford Park. We contacted members, summarising the key points and providing responses that the Society and CHATR suggested should be made to make the strongest case, and also submitted formal responses from the Society.
We attended a meeting with the Aviation Minister where CHATR emphasised the noise disruption which would be caused by the flight path passing over Chiswick and Bedford Park.
Guidance provided for responding to consultations
We have urged everyone to submit a response to each consultation.
For September 2019, we provided two suggested responses depending on whether you live in Bedford Park or the wider Chiswick area:
- Click here for the responses for Chiswick.
- Click here to find our suggested responses for Bedford Park residents.
We are grateful for input from the No 3rd Runway Coalition in compiling the responses.
The March 2019 consultation
The majority of this consultation was about airspace change, noise, respite, directional preference and night flights, which will follow the construction of the third runway, and full details are available online.
The Society’s response is available here.
Previous consultation in 2018
The Society submitted a formal response and encouraged everyone to submit an individual objection.
The Society’s response is available here.
The original full proposal produced by the Government can be seen online.
More detailed facts and figures are also available on the No 3rd Runway Coalition’s website.
As well as producing suggested responses and information on how to submit responses for members, we work with CHATR to help publicise the importance of responding to all Chiswick residents. Our efforts have been appreciated by members and residents alike.