Image - FRP-heathrow-2019

Conservation charity Friends of Richmond Park (FRP) has assessed Heathrow’s final public consultation (closing 13th Sept) prior to applying for permission to build the 3rd runway. FRP believes the consultation’s treatment of Richmond Park is “a shambles” concluding:

  • The Park is only partially covered
  • Where it is covered some of results are not credible
  • The approach and methodology are biased against large open spaces such as the Park
  • No regard is given to the Park’s importance as a place of respite and relaxation for Londoners
  • No regard is given to the Park as London’s largest National Nature Reserve, a refuge for abundant wildlife.

Ron Crompton, Chair of FRP says:

“Richmond Park is important for all Londoners as an escape from the noise and bustle of the city attracting 5.5 million visitors a year, almost the same as the British Museum. So you would think it would be regarded with the status it warrants by Heathrow.

Yet the consultation’s environmental report barely discusses it. It’s left out in places where it should be covered, in other places it gets passing reference and in many cases the material presented is inadequate. Heathrow must undertake a proper environmental assessment.”

After spending weeks reviewing some 8,900 pages of Heathrow’s consultation, FRP have produced their report responding to it.

For example, Heathrow plans for 47 arriving aircraft/hour and a big increase in departing aircraft, all at high noise levels (67-86dB) directly over the Park. Yet they conclude the end result to be an increase in noise of less than 3 dB (on the Park’s 30dB ambient level).

Heathrow have achieved this ludicrously low figure by flattening out average noise over the day rather than the reality of frequent peaks of noise adversely affecting wildlife and Park users”, says Crompton.

The Park is mentioned specifically as having ‘relative tranquillity’ but the impact of the proposals is, they claim, expected to be negligible/slight - extraordinary when the proposals are for noisy flights over the quietest place in London.

For aircraft emissions Richmond Park is only considered for stag beetles, when emissions will have a much bigger effect on the Park’s veteran trees and acid grassland”.

Crompton concludes:

“This is absurd. Richmond Park is probably London’s most important place for wildlife and public wellbeing, yet they have only done a half-baked environmental assessment and concluded that their new flight paths - low and loud directly over the Park for the first time - will have negligible effect.

We’re calling for a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Richmond Park to be done for the planning enquiry next year, so that the Inspector has all the information he or she needs to make a considered decision”

With Heathrow’s consultation closing on 13th Sept, FRP calls on the millions of Londoners who visit and love the Park’s tranquillity to object and, like us, demand Heathrow conduct a full environmental and social impact.

– from a Friends of Richmond Pa press release - 31 August 2019