Select Committee on Transport Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the London Borough of Hounslow


  High levels of noise, congestion and air pollution are an inevitable consequence of proximity to a major international airport such as Heathrow. Without mitigation, areas adjacent to large airports such as the London Borough of Hounslow would not be habitable and residents' quality of life would be seriously compromised. Restitution for the current impact of Heathrow is a key strand within the Hounslow Council's campaign. We would therefore be grateful if the following short submission could be considered as a clarification to Mr Efford's question (reproduced below).

    Q 576 Clive Efford:

    Following on from that, you have suggested that the CAA should have powers to impose sanctions on airlines and airports that fail to fulfil any mitigation targets. Can you describe for us very briefly the scope of the mitigation that you are seeing? You are suggesting that mitigation should be implemented in order to reduce environmental impact by airports and by airlines. What is the scope of what you are looking for, how would it be implemented, and what sort of things are you looking for?


  In terms of existing buildings Hounslow Council sees no impediment to why people living or being educated in the borough should not experience the same acoustic standards as others in the UK. Our research into this matter indicates that the mitigation schemes that have been implemented in other areas of the world (for example Chicago) are more generous than those offered to Hounslow residents. Funding should be adequate to address the actual noise, not cash-limited and the schemes should not be controlled by the airport,


  Therefore it is suggested that homes are insulated so that the following WHO internal standards are achieved.

    —  35 dB LAeq,16 daytime level for habitable rooms for example living rooms.

    —  30 dB LAeq,8 night time level for bedrooms.

    —  45 dB LAmax for bedrooms (to account for any short term noise event eg one flight in the middle of the night.

  Funds should be made available for sound insulation (windows, roofs etc), and where necessary means of maintaining comfortable temperatures eg by the provision of mechanical ventilation and/or blinds. Noise insulation schemes require maintenance particularly for any associated mechanical ventilation. Glazing and window frames have limited shelf life so it is also necessary to include an on going maintenance and replacement programme.

  Hounslow Council ensures that new homes are insulated to up to the relevant standard by virtue of the planning process.

Community buildings and schools

  Schools need to be insulated to the Department for Education and Skills standards within Building Bulletin 93, (noise) and Building Bulletin 101 (ventilation). This should include all extensions and all non teaching areas such as offices and staff rooms. Mobile classrooms must be replaced as these cannot be insulated adequately.

  Most importantly, eligibility must not be based on an arbitrary contour line, but the actual noise experienced during teaching. For example in the case of a school class room a worst mode" contour is required to determine the eligible schools; not the average mode 16 hour LAeq,16 that is used by convention.

  It is also necessary for funds to be made available so that the development of new public and community buildings are not compromised by exposure to aircraft noise. For example funding should be made available for the extra noise mitigation measures required to make new school premises compliant with the above standards.

  Consideration must be given to delivering the national curriculum outside of the school classroom, for example, improvements to outdoor spaces at schools.

Preservation of Existing Mitigating Practices

  In addition to the requirements outlined above it is also vital for Hounslow residents that certain practices are maintained including.

    —  The Cranford Agreement, no departures over Cranford on the northern runway, emergencies excepted.

    —  Maintenance of segregated mode operation and runway alternation i.e. aircraft departing and arriving on separate runways, changing which is used at 3pm, thus giving relief to the residents overflown.


  In order to relieve the congestion and air quality problems Hounslow Council believes that it is necessary to change how the airport is accessed by both passengers and staff by improving public transport links. It is also necessary to reduce certain short journeys that are currently made by air, substituting these by rail. Hounslow Council therefore believe the following should be promoted:

    —  Bracknell and Waterloo via Richmond (requiring the Airtrack" link between Terminal Five and Staines);

    —  St Albans and Watford (requiring additional tracks between Hayes and Acton);

    —  East London via Crossrail; Reading via Slough (requiring the Western connection" link between Terminal Five and Iver);

    —  A range of InterCity services to the Regions (requiring an open-air station—for diesel services—to the west of Terminal Five);

    —  A possible additional express underground line;

    —  Construction of a light rapid transit system from Heathrow to Hammersmith through the London Borough of Hounslow;

    —  Resignalling/up-rating of the capacity of the Piccadilly line;

  In addition to the above we would also expect to see

    —  The level of local public transport provision dramatically increased (particularly buses), so that airport workers and passengers can travel to the airport by the most sustainable means.


  In response to Mr Wilshire's question regarding safety and Heathrow, Councillor Cadbury advised the committee that Hounslow Council would be contacting the CAA regarding concerns following the AAIB report EW/C2004/04/04 Evergreen B747 NG81EV. It therefore seems appropriate that we update the committee of the current position with respect to this matter.

  The CAA have advised us that following this incident the guidance (MATS part 1) is being strengthened to reflect conditions where the integrity of the airframe or the ability to maintain safe controlled flights may be uncertain. Sir Roy McNulty goes on to state that I should also made it clear that the ultimate decision regarding the choice of a suitable diversion airfield during an emergency situation rests with the aircraft commander". Given that the aircraft commander in this case did not have any of the required plans are available to allow for navigation into Heathrow, we find this assertion to be incomprehensible. We will therefore be asking the CAA to review this position.

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