Photo: Blue Heron by Anne Dixson
Richmond Park: Heathrow consultation “a shambles”
Conservation charity calls on Heathrow to conduct a proper environmental impact assessment
Conservation charity Friends of Richmond Park (FRP) has assessed Heathrow’s final public consultation prior to applying for permission to build the 3rd runway. The FRP Report finds the consultation’s treatment of Richmond Park is “a shambles” concluding:
- The Park is only partially covered
- Where it is covered some of the 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 8,900 pages of Heathrow’s consultation, FRP have produced their report responding to it (see attached). It describes some of Heathrow’s conclusions as barely credible.
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.
There are two main ways of responding to the consultation:
- Send an email to feedback@heathrowconsultation.
com (please put Richmond Park in the subject).
- Go to https://aec.
heathrowconsultation.com/ topics/environmental- introduction/, go to the bottom of the page, write your response in the large empty box and click “Save my response”, giving your email address (your email is only used for the consultation).
If you want to respond more extensively to the consultation, you can see the full 24 questions in the online questionnaire at https://aec.
Notes for editors:
- 400 year old Richmond Park was enclosed by Charles I in 1637 and is not only a National Nature Reserve but is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation. It is the largest urban park in Europe and is visited by over 5.5 million Londoners and others each year who come for the rich wildlife, ancient trees, protected grasslands and peace and tranquillity.
- Heathrow’s latest consultation, issued in mid-June, is primarily about the construction and operation of the 3rd runway and associated terminal, other facilities and transport infrastructure. It is the final consultation on the 3rd runway before Heathrow submits its proposals early in 2020 to the Planning Inspector for the planning enquiry due to start in summer 2020. Heathrow are checking they have covered everything and meeting their legal obligations to consult.
- This consultation includes a Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) which focuses on the 3rd runway construction and operation and on the ‘core’ area surrounding it but in some cases covers a wider area, which extends to Richmond Park. It is the key document for the Park and our comments are about its contents as far as they affect the Park.
- It is a legal requirement that the Inspector is aware of all material effects and FRP believes that the flight paths will clearly have a material effect on Richmond Park that should be included in Heathrow’s submission to the Inspector
Ron Crompton, Chairman, Friends of Richmond Park: T 07710 405079.
Email: [email protected]
For photographs and more press information:
Richard Gray, T 07768 022100
Email: [email protected]
Friends of Richmond Park is a registered charity No. 1133201