Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall

Contact: Andy Carswell 

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No. Item




The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Duncan Reed.


Cllr Beer informed the Forum that Mike Sullivan, a long-standing member, had been taken to hospital as he was seriously ill.



To receive any declarations of interest.


None received.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 12 February 2018.


The minutes of the meeting held on February 12th 2018 were agreed as an accurate record.



To consider any matters arising.


There were no matters arising for discussion.



To receive a verbal update from Jenifer Jackson and Phillipa Silcock.


The Head of Planning explained the background to the Heathrow Strategic Planning Group, informing members that it was established in 2015 with the aim of providing a means of dealing efficiently with the demands that would come when Heathrow Airport Limited submitted a Development Consent Order to expand the airport. Members were reminded that the DCO would go straight to the planning inspectorate. The Head of Planning stated that the HSPG had been useful in establishing a dialogue between Heathrow Airport Limited and the local authorities, as the two entities were dealt with in different ways.


The Forum was told that RBWM was considered part of HSPG when it was first established, but it had held observer status since 2017 when it was decided not to join the group. The Greater London Authority also attended as observers until this year, before withdrawing due to the Mayor of London’s opposition to the airport expansion


Regarding the governance of the group, the Head of Planning explained that a Leaders Board, which would facilitate political discussions with Heathrow Airport and government, was established following a summit in July 2017, as it had been recognised that there was a need for political leadership of HSPG. Detailed technical work was carried out by sub groups, which allowed councils the opportunity to feed in information, matters of local concern, and reaction/critique of policy to Heathrow Airport Limited, in order for them to be better informed with regard to the development of future plans. RBWM has officers attending the Spatial Planning and Transport sub groups. The Forum was told that the Environment Public Health sub group was about to reform and it was feltdesirable to have RBWM representation at these meetings in order to represent the Council’s concerns over noise and air quality/pollution. The work of the sub groups was pulled together at monthly Officer Group meetings. Group responses to documents, such as the HSPG response to the draft National Policy Statements and the first consultation exercise by Heathrow Airport Limited, were formulated by the Officer Group.


The Head of Planning explained that the governance structure was based on a voluntary agreement, known as the Accord, which acknowledged that there are a range of attitudes and policy positions relating to the expansion of Heathrow Airport amongst the local authorities represented. The Accord sets out that group members will work in a co-ordinated way, resulting in better spatial planning and management of impacts from the development of the airport, together with maximising the benefits. The Forum was told that Slough Borough Council was the accountable body for the HSPG and administered the money paid by Heathrow Airport Limited to local authorities through the group, in order to provide the information necessary to underpin the Development Consent Order. Without this, councils would be expected to source their own funding. The Head of Planning explained that this mechanism is similar to the pre application process that RBWM operates to provide advice to applicants. The Forum was told that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.



To receive a verbal update from Chris Nash.


The Community Protection Principal informed members that the draft National Policy Statement was likely to be put before Parliament in late July. This would open up a six-week window in which a legal challenge could be made, subject to agreement. The Forum was told that the Four Boroughs group, of which the Royal Borough was a member, were of the opinion that the draft NPS in its current guise could not be delivered as it would be in contravention of legislation relating to air quality.


The Community Protection Principal told members that the Transport Select Committee had published its findings on the draft NPS on March 23, which confirmed their belief that expansion of Heathrow was the preferred option. However this was reliant on evidence being provided to confirm that 29 conditions could be met, including noise and air pollution. The Community Protection Principal informed members that it was believed that some of these conditions could not be met. These included a guarantee that more slots for domestic flights would become available; however it was for the airlines to dictate flying destinations and slot allocations, rather than government or Heathrow. Another condition referred to ‘no more airport-related traffic on the roads’, which could not be quantified.


Arguments to be put forward by the Council to support any legal challenge were still in the process of being formulated. The Community Protection Principal proposed that a technical group meeting of the Aviation Forum may be required in advance of the NPS going before Parliament, in order to discuss matters further.


Cllr Hilton told the Forum that although the Transport Select Committee supported the findings of the NPS, it had also raised concerns that more work needed to be done and there was the possibility of successful legal challenges against the NPS if this did not happen. Cllr Hilton stated that the issue of housing needs, which had been raised earlier in the meeting, was not covered in the Committee’s findings. He also informed the Forum that in order to reduce road traffic coming to Heathrow and to encourage greater use of public transport, a congestion charge of £15 had been proposed. Cllr Hilton stated his belief that the proposed modal shift towards increased public transport use would not work. The Chairman noted there was no reference to changes to the rail network mentioned in the Scheme Development Plan as these fell outside the ‘red line’ remit of Heathrow expansion. Cllr Beer noted that a reduction in the number of flights had been suggested in order to ease air quality issues, which he felt would not be acceptable to airlines using Heathrow.



To receive verbal updates regarding key developments from the Strategic Aviation Special Interest Group, Heathrow Community Engagement Board, and Local Authority Aircraft Noise Council.


Heathrow Community Engagement Board


The Chairman stated he accepted an invitation to meet the new chairman before the first meeting of the group, which had been cordial. However the Chairman stated that the meeting itself had not been well conducted and there had been speculation that the Board’s chairman was already reconsidering her position on account of the irregularity of meetings and the lack of up to date information. There was a recognition that the Board was simply a talking shop, which would be driven by Heathrow Airport themselves. The next meeting had been rescheduled for July 18, around the time when it was expected the NPS would go before Parliament. Cllr Beer stated that the Board had been set up as it had been acknowledged that Heathrow required greater engagement with the public; however it had not been determined precisely what role the Board would play.




Cllr Beer informed members that the group’s administrator had unfortunately died recently and a replacement had not been found. Someone had been proposed, but he fell ill and was unable to fulfil the role.


Community Noise Forum


Cllr Hilton stated that a request had been made for a Technical Advisor from Heathrow to attend the Forum. The Forum had raised the issue of Performance Based Navigation as an area of concern.


The Chairman opened up the Forum for any other items of business. Cllr Beer stated that he had attended some meetings of the No Third Runway Coalition, who had been actively lobbying MPs and working on promoting their cause.


The Chairman stated that the Heathrow Community Relations Team had responded to a recent complaint of his and apologised for the late take-off of an aircraft. It was revealed that the aircraft in question was transporting freight rather than passengers.


Andrew Hall informed the Forum that safety concerns over aborted landings had been raised. Recent statistics showed that on one day there were ten aborted landings, and a further six during a two hour period on another. It was generally accepted that airports could take between one and three aborted landings per thousand; Andrew Hall stated that Heathrow was currently running at 12 aborted landings per thousand; Cllr Beer said he had seen statistics that suggested there were an average of 40 aborted landings at Heathrow each month. Andrew Hall noted that Heathrow was already running at 98 per cent capacity.



To be confirmed.


The clerk informed members that the programme of meetings for the next municipal year had not yet been agreed, as it had been delayed by the Constitution Review. Members were informed that the programme would be agreed at Annual Council on May 22, the agenda for which would be published on May 14.