Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online access

Contact: Andy Carswell  Email:

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No. Item



For attendees to introduce themselves to the Forum.


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked those present to introduce themselves.



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Dexter Smith of Slough Borough Council and David Buckley of Datchet Parish Council.



To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest.


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To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on February 13th 2020.


RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on February 13th 2020 be approved as an accurate record.


Malcolm Beer stated that it would be appropriate if the names of all attendees could be included in future minutes. The Chairman agreed this should happen for all future minutes.




Daniel Bayles, Community Protection Lead, introduced the item and explained his background and expertise on noise acoustics. He explained that aircraft were generally getting more efficient and quieter. Prior to the Covid19 pandemic airlines had been replacing older and noisier four-engine aircraft with quieter two-engine ones, and the pandemic has accelerated the retirement of the less efficient aircraft. Daniel Bayles explained that British Airways had retired its last Boeing 747-400 in the last year, which he believed was significant as BA was the airline that was the biggest operator of these aircraft. He stated his belief this was one of the reasons why the consultation was being run.


The Forum was told there had been a reduction in the number of aircraft using Heathrow, and those that were flying were quieter. This had improved the noise environment for residents of the Royal Borough. On the other hand however, aircraft noise was excluded from nuisance action, meaning the Council could not take any action against aircraft noise like it could do for a noisy party or car alarm.


The Forum was told that the consultation regarding the proposal to maintain the existing night flight restrictions for the designated airports of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted from 2022 to 2024 – which incorporated the Council’s proposal to ban QC4 rated aircraft movements during the night – was currently active and was due to end on March 3rd. A second consultation that sought early views and evidence on policy options for the government’s future night flight policy at the designated airports beyond 2024 was also running, with an end date of May 31st. A further consultation regarding the addition of a landing stack to Luton Airport arrivals had closed; Daniel Bayles explained a new stack at Luton would have an impact on Heathrow, with potential night-time landings even though these were theoretically banned. The Forum was told there was no consistent agreement on what constituted night time flying. The World Health Organisation stated it should either be an eight-hour period between 23:00 and 07:00 – which was the typical UK standard – or 22:00 and 06:00. However at Heathrow it was between 23:30 and 06:00, a period of just six and a half hours. Daniel Bayles explained it was therefore not possible to compare all sound levels reported from Heathrow with the WHO standard due to the different criteria used.


Daniel Bayles told the Forum that Boeing were coming to the end of building new 747 planes, and more had been seen coming into Heathrow via other airlines. He explained these aircraft came under Quote Count 4, before giving examples of other aircraft that were classified under other QC bands. The bands were 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2 and 4, with exemptions given to the quietest aircraft. Daniel Bayles also showed on a diagram the differences in noise dispersion comparing QC1 and QC4 aircraft, with his diagram showing a QC4 plane would negatively impact a wider area of the Royal Borough.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 127.



To discuss the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling on the proposed third runway at Heathrow.


Chris Joyce, Head of Infrastructure, Sustainability and Transport, reminded the Forum that Heathrow had been successful in challenging the previous decision regarding the NPS being unsound. However, since the Supreme Court decision there had been no further announcement from the government on how the project would proceed. Chris Joyce advised that there had been no indication as to whether the government intended to prioritise pursuing the outcome of the Supreme Court decision. There had been a reduction in Heathrow’s ability to continue with the project as it stood due to a number of cost cutting measures that had needed to be put in place because of Covid, with the expansion team being disbanded and staff across the airport being furloughed and made redundant. It was anticipated that bringing the team up to the required staffing levels to proceed with the work needed for the development consent order would take a long time. Chris Joyce reminded the Forum that the Royal Borough had not taken part in the most recent legal challenge, although he added that he had not heard any updates from colleagues at other authorities who had been involved in that legal challenge.


Chris Joyce told the Forum that it was his understanding that the National Policy Statement may require updating, which would then make it more difficult for Heathrow to progress the scheme. Cllr Hilton asked how Heathrow expansion would affect the government’s zero carbon proposals. Chris Joyce said the committee on climate change had indicated that net zero carbon targets could still be met with Heathrow being expanded if services to other airports were reduced. In addition Heathrow was doing a lot of work to try and reduce its carbon emissions.


Robert Barnstone of the No Third Runway Coalition advised the Forum there had been a change of leadership at Hillingdon Borough Council, but the new leader was firmly opposed to Heathrow expansion, as had his predecessor. The Council had links to the Prime Minister, who was the constituency MP for the area. Robert Barnstone said it was understanding the government was working on an aviation recovery plan, which was due to be announced in the summer, due to the uncertainty facing the industry in light of Covid. This was likely to hint at the government’s way of thinking regarding planned airport expansion, and there had been suggestions that the government would look to increase regional airport provision. Robert Barnstone said it was his understanding the government was not in favour of expanding Heathrow, but it was not simply a case of ‘dropping’ the proposals. He added that other legal challenges were being considered.




To discuss the above named item.


Andrew Hall stated there had been a high degree of compliance with the noise preferential routes; however this had led to an increase in the number of aircraft flying over the centre of Windsor. Peter Willan said there were serious concerns regarding airspace modernisation, and action was being taken without key stakeholders being engaged with. An update had been provided by the CAA within the last month. Cllr Hilton said it remained to be seen how airspace modernisation and departure routes out of Heathrow would be developed in the event of the third runway project being cancelled. He added that performance-based navigation was also a serious concern, as this would create narrower corridors where noise would be concentrated.


It was agreed that the Chairman would meet with Chris Joyce and Daniel Bayles to discuss sourcing a report on airspace modernisation and what steps the Royal Borough could take next.



To receive an update on activities relating to groups opposing the proposed third runway at Heathrow Airport.


It was agreed there was no need for discussion on this item, as it had already been discussed earlier in the meeting.



To receive updates regarding key developments from the Heathrow Community Engagement Board, the Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council, and the Heathrow Community Noise Forum.


The Chairman reminded the Forum that the Royal Borough had not taken part in the most recent legal challenge against Heathrow, and there was currently no budget to commit to any further legal challenge. He stated he would remain the Royal Borough’s representative for the Heathrow Community Engagement Board, but said he had not received much in terms of communication from the group recently. Robert Buick advised that the scope of the Heathrow Community Engagement Board was being scaled back. Malcolm Beer said the Board produced a useful weekly bulletin. The Chairman advised that Cllr Hilton would be the Council’s representative on the Heathrow Community Noise Forum.



To consider any other matters arising.


The Chairman outlined to the Forum how the proposed third runway would impact on Eton in terms of additional noise levels, and gave details of recent night departure times that had negatively affected the Royal Borough.