BAA refuses to rule out Third Runway
On Thursday 9th February, local residents had a chance to discuss their concerns over the Heathrow Operational Freedoms Trials at a packed public meeting organised by local MP Mary Macleod. Mary commented: “The attendance this evening and the number of the questions asked is a testament how important this issue is to local residents. My view has always been clear. I am against the third runway and fully support runway alternation.”
The meeting saw BAA Director of Policy and Political Relations, Nigel Milton, and BAA Airside Director, Tim Hardy, give a short presentation about the trials before taking questions. Residents were given assurances that the opinions of local people were a core part of the assessment of the trials and were urged to engage in the process so that their opinions feedback into the consultation.
However, BAA refused to rule out a third runway when local Conservative Councillor Barbara Reid asked, “Do you accept that there isn’t going to be a third runway at Heathrow?”
Nigel Milton responded, “We don’t accept that the debate over the third runway and extra capacity is over and we don’t think that the Thames Estuary is the answer. Our opinion is that London and the South East does require additional hub capacity, that the current hub is Heathrow and that it is full. We need to see a clear plan of where they are going to put that capacity. There are a number of options and Heathrow is one of those options.”
After the meeting Mary commented, “Heathrow airport is an important part of the local economy but BAA needs to accept that the government policy is that there will be no third runway and that runway alternation must stay. I would like to see BAA fully accept this so that they can start to look at some more creative solutions to address airport capacity in the South East and make Heathrow a world class, better not bigger airport.”
Brentford ward Councillor and Deputy Leader Ruth Cadbury raised the following points at the meeting:
"The Operational Freedoms trials did not start with proper assessment methodologies being in place before the trials started. BAA have presented information inconsistently, the data is unclear, meaning it is impossible for our technical officers to analyse.
"BAA have paid insufficient attention to the noise aspects of the trial (which amounted to a brief fifteen minute discussion at a meeting of technical advisors.
"Finally - given the trials are supposed to assess the impact of the Freedom to land or take off on the "wrong" runway, BAA have no way of differentiating whether the wrong plane movement is due to the Operational Freedoms, or because it would be allowed anyway under existing rules.
"I also reminded the meeting that the noise insulation scheme currently offered to residents near Heathrow is the least generous of any international airport, yet 100s of thousands are affected."
February 16, 2012