The Liberal Democrats have long been opposed to a third runway at Heathrow. While there is a need for increased airport provision given increasing efforts to open global mobility and trade in the UK, the Liberal Democrats have argued that Heathrow is the wrong place to do it.
However, on the basis that the third runway is to go ahead, following a cabinet vote and decision in June 2018, my response to the current consultation, seeks to reduce the impact felt by a third runway and aerospace changes on Esher and Walton residents.
I am concerned that there appears no attempt to evaluate the detrimental effects of Independent Parallel Approaches (IPA), or parliamentary scrutiny of such; Heathrow says it would like to introduce IPA even if it does not get approval for a third runway. New flight paths may over-fly areas that are not currently overflown. This will have a detrimental effect on residents of Esher and Walton and needs the appropriate scrutiny.
Performance based navigation (PBN) should be welcomed on the basis that it will provide more accuracy when determining flight paths and therefore reduce delays. However, I am concerned that it may lead to more concentrated aircraft noise.
I favour any options which provide optimum respite for the residents of Esher and Walton. Flight paths must be alternated as much as possible to provide respite for more people and share the burden of noise more widely. Many will reap the benefits of the airport expanding and people must be open to taking the fair share of the burden so that this constituency is not adversely and disproportionately affected.
I am concerned that properties subsequently under a new flight path may lose value due to the disturbance caused by aircraft noise. Questions arise as to whether compensation will be provided to newly affected households and what the protocol is regarding noise insulation for newly affected households in order to limit the adverse effects of new flight paths?
I want also to understand the detail of the incentive scheme provided by Heathrow for airlines to invest in the most modern and quieter aircraft. How likely and wide will be the uptake of this and what are the timescales?
I will be pursuing answers to these questions over the coming months, alongside colleagues in Elmbridge Liberal Democrats and Surrey Liberal Democrats.