Public Consultation on Heathrow Expansion

The Society is currently considering submitting a response to the National Policy Statement on Aviation, which is open for comment until 25 May. This is a high-level consultation around the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport, where the Government’s preferred solution involves the loss of 17 listed buildings, two scheduled monuments and two conservation areas as well as 167 non-designated assets in the land-take and a big impact on buildings or sites in the immediate area.

The drivers for this scheme are likely to be major economic and strategic factors, and a major protest about the loss of a number of listed buildings, a complete conservation area and the halving of another will likely not prevent this scheme. Mitigation measures and enhancements for other conservation areas affected are promised, and the consultation asks whether there are further mitigation measures which might be considered.

It is a challenge to decide how the Society can best respond to this consultation. We invite Fellows interested in helping to shape the Society's response to please get in touch. The Society must receive your response no later than Friday, 5 May, to allow us time to consider all subissions and form a coherent response. Please send to the General Secretary, John Lewis, who will circulate responses to the Policy Committee (jlewis@sal.org.uk).

Find Out More About the Consultation

The consultation can be found online at www.gov.uk.

The Airport’s own Technical Submission, dating from 2014, sets out the case for the third runway to the north west of the existing airport.

The Technical Submission is a long document (443 pages). Relevent sections include Enhancing the Natural Environment (Section 5.5, pp. 286-309) and Understanding the Heritage (Section 5.6, pp. 310-317). The immediate effect of the Heathrow proposals is described on page 312 as follows:

"The masterplan is broadly consistent with the prevailing historic landscape character of the National Character Area. However, a number of negative effects arise in relation to the key NCA landscape characteristics:

5.6.4.1 Metropolitan south-west fringe

  • Loss of Longford Conservation Area (CA) - Including 11 associated Grade II buildings.
  • Reduction of Harmondsworth CA - The area will be reduced by approximately half, retaining the core heritage settlement form but losing four Grade II listed structures including Harmondsworth Hall and three adjacent walls.

[For more detail on both of these conservation areas see the maps and appraisal documents produced by the London Borough of Hillingdon]:

  • Noise effects will lead to loss of significance of the Grade I great barn and Grade II* St Mary’s Church . This may be due to severe noise that could affect how often these buildings are used, an issue on which a viable long-term future depends.
  • Changes to the noise and visual effect on the setting of local CAs  Including the residual Harmondsworth CA and Colnbrook CA, West Drayton CA, Harlington CA, Cranford Park CA and Cranford Village CA and associated designated heritage assets, along with two Grade II listed buildings at Sipson."

And there are other references to the historic environment throughout the Technical Submission – here are some excerpts:

  • p. 110: local communities put concerns about noise, safety, pollution, economic and employment benefits way above those about the historic or natural environment
  • p. 160: plan showing the overall proposals
  • p. 165 impact of the Heathrow landtake on Harmondsworth
  • p. 249, section 5.1.2.: commitment to a “Terminal 5 type” archaeological assessment
  • p. 250: plan of mitigation measures (not very high resolution so not good for detail)

The Society's statement of values, which were agreed by Council earlier this year, guide the Society's Policy Committee in all areas.