Heathrow Airport and the national air traffic controller, NATS, have responded to Windsor’s MP Adam Afriyie’s criticism of noise changes in the constituency.
The airport has explained that all airports in the UK are implementing the Future Airspace Strategy that promotes performance based navigation (PBN) along standard plane departure and arrival routes. The CAA has since suggested that there may be a consultation into the changes.
Adam Afriyie met with community representatives and members of the Heathrow Noise Community Forum to discuss the effects of extra noise from Heathrow over the past year.
Mr Afriyie has responded to Heathrow’s clarification, saying:
“It’s important that residents concerned at the level of noise following recent changes continue to write in to the Civil Aviation Authority to push for a full consultation, given the level of unwanted and unexpected noise across the constituency.
“More than ever, now is the time to fight against noise from Heathrow that inflicts untold misery on local communities.
The Bow Group, an influential centre-right think tank, has published a report by the Conservative MP, Adam Afriyie, calling on the Government to reject the main recommendation of the Airports Commission.
In his report, Adam Afriyie calls for a long-term strategy for UK aviation.
In the report, titled A Confident and Forward Looking Britain Would Build an Offshore Airport, Mr Afriyie writes:
“Heathrow is not located in an area amenable to major expansion. The ludicrous plan for expansion includes the introduction of a congestion charge for people dropping off relatives at the airport, re-tunnelling the M25 (the busiest motorway in the country) to avoid the new runway, relocation of a nearby waste management plant, and restriction on flights at nearby RAF Northolt.
“If we are destined to take a short-sighted view, then an extra runway at Gatwick would certainly be a better option. Importantly, Gatwick will not place an unbearable burden on the public purse. Heathrow could cost the taxpayer anywhere between £15-20 billion.
“What happens when we need two, three or four more runways? And we will.
Today Adam Afriyie, Windsor’s MP for the past decade, has welcomed the Chancellor’s 2015 Budget, which has set out how the Government will eliminate the deficit and boost economic growth and employment.
The measures included a lower tax for the lower paid, a commitment to the NATO defence spending target of 2%, continuation of welfare reforms and objectives to achieve 3 million new apprenticeships and full employment by 2020.
Mr Afriyie, commented after watching the Budget:
“This Budget takes people out of state dependency and lets working people keep more of the money they earn.
“The Labour Party bred state dependency in their time in office through the use of tax credits. It was a dreadful system that meant middle and higher income families were supplicants to the state for handouts. In effect the state took your money in taxes, then repaid some of it back to you in tax credits for which you were meant to be grateful.
“This Budget begins to unpick unhealthy state dependency and allows people to re-gain control of their lives and spending choices.
While it is disappointing that the Commission’s first recommendation for a third runway at Heathrow reflects a backward looking view of aviation world, there is good reason for optimism. Gatwick remains on the table as a credible and commercially viable option.
With the door open for Gatwick we may finally be closer to a decision and I will be urging the Government to take the opportunity of a generation to choose Gatwick.
It is frustrating that Sir Howard’s main recommendation is destined to join the long list of reports left gathering dust on the shelves of Whitehall. Heathrow expansion is politically undeliverable and I am confident that residents, local authorities and MPs will put a halt to it.
The scale of the noise, congestion and pollution issues associated with a third runway make it unrealistic to think they can ever be overcome. Particularly when 27 times more people will be affected by flight paths and noise from an expanded Heathrow compared to a two-runway Gatwick.
A third runway at Heathrow would be this generation’s Millennium Dome. An embarrassing grand projet, which proves both costly and counter-productive for residents, consumers, taxpayers, the economy and our environment.
Noise comparison at UK airports, Click to enlarge.
One thing is for certain: Britain needs more aviation capacity to remain an open, globally-focussed trading nation. But the decision on expansion needs to take into account a range of issues, including the environment, local communities, feasibility and the needs of Britain’s aviation market.
The argument over noise is often dismissed as small-minded nimbyism. But airplane noise isn’t just a matter of irritation, it is linked to significant productivity losses and health complications such as hypertension, hearing loss, insomnia, mental health challenges and cognitive impairment. We must take this seriously.