4. Our involvement

The Royal Borough is involved in a number of working groups to assess the current issues surrounding the airport and assess the mechanisms by which the council can raise resident concerns.

Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC)

All designated airports have by law to establish a local consultative committee. We are one of a number of local authorities represented on the HACC to the east and west of Heathrow. HACC also includes airport representatives and others from the travel industry and passenger groups. It receives regular reports from the Flight Evaluation unit summarising complaints received from residents.

Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council (LAANC)

RBWM is a member of LAANC which comprises representatives from local authority organisations around Heathrow airport. LAANC's objectives are to examine all problems arising from noise and other nuisance from aircraft using Heathrow.

Strategic Aviation Special Interest Group (SASIG)

We are also a member of SASIG, which in turn is part of the local Government Association. sasig seeks to ensure that national aviation strategy is implemented through regional planning guidance so as to reconcile economic, social and environmental issues in a sustainable way.

Background

Many of our local villages are positioned at the end of each of the parallel runways and are affected by aircraft both taking off and landing, together with the main urban centre of Windsor.

There are no formal instruments for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to take statutory noise nuisance action against noise from aircraft using Heathrow. The main controls on aircraft noise are provided in the Civil Aviation Act; with the government defining London Heathrow as a designated aerodrome under the provisions of this legislation. In effect, this means that the government has direct responsibility for setting noise abatement measures via the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Department for Transport (DfT).

We acknowledge the absence of legal powers; and have therefore, opted to support its residents through lobbying central government for a 'better deal' for those communities under the flight paths. The borough has put in place a quarterly Aviation Forum that meets to address the current key concerns for residents and ensures that a reflective position can be communicated through consultation.

The key concerns for the Royal Borough are:

  • complete opposition to night flights and advocating a complete ban on flights between 11.30pm-6am
  • to keep the government's annual cap of flights at Heathrow to 480,000
  • to ensure the continuance of proper runway alternation, giving residents under the flight path some relief during the day
  • advocating the abandonment of the Cranford Agreement; which is an historic agreement that currently prevents easterly departures from the northern runway
  • implementation of a proper study into the effects of noise on communities surrounding the airport
  • advocating the need for better mitigation thresholds for local communities.

In order to highlight and address these concerns further the Royal Borough is committed to:

  1. Engage with as many residents as possible, to make them aware of the consultations regarding potential runway expansion
  2. Facilitate noise monitoring across the borough
  3. Enable residents to feedback their current experience of aviation noise - to highlight to the Airports Commission that the current exposure to aircraft noise is already unacceptable - without potentially increasing the burden with the addition of a 3rd runway.

The Royal Borough's response to the Airports Commission - Feb 2015