A potted history of the WWRA’s lengthy campaign to get a fair distribution of aircraft noise for Windsor & Datchet residents – Heathrow currently routes 100% of flights over Windsor on easterly operations, when it should only send 50% over us.
The uneven distribution of flights on easterly operations, began in 1952 in an attempt to protect the people of Cranford, to the east of Heathrow airport’s Northern runway, from noisy take offs. This arrangement was termed the Cranford Agreement. However the flip side of this was that during easterly operations 90-100% of landings then approached over Windsor and Datchet, and 90-100% of take offs passed over Hatton Cross – for diagrams, see article, “A guide to the Heathrow Airport Planning Appeal”
In those early years Heathrow, in 1946, only 60,000 people passed through the airport, compared to 66 million in 2010, and 72 million in 2013.
Passenger numbers have grown year on year, in a way that was unexpected, and unpredicted for the region when it first opened, or even 15 years ago.
With the increase in the number of passengers, and flights, Windsor has suffered an ever-increasing amount of noise, and disturbance, often without respite or peace for residents. And this disturbance has extended to night flights as well.
In 2003 WWRA, through our late councillor Cynthia Endacott, presented a petition to the RBWM administration requesting that they become more active in seeking the abolishment of the Cranford Agreement. This Agreement, which was purely a verbal agreement, originally prohibited the use of the northern runway for both takeoff to the east and landings to the west. It was subsequently amended to restrict only takeoffs to the east.
As the number of aircraft movements at Heathrow increased this resulted in almost all landings to the east approaching Heathrow over Windsor. At no time had people in this area been consulted and their council representatives appear to have not been involved on any consultations until Terry Gould, a council officer, made expert representation at the Fifth Terminal Inquiry.
In 2004 the Administration of RBWM adopted the abolishment of the Cranford Agreement as a formal policy and set up a forum to address both this issue and any other issues relating to Heathrow. Subsequently, as political control changed the Aviation Forum was formed by the new Administration with a view to continuing that work. Throughout WWRA had remained deeply involved with both fora. During the early stages Michael Trend M.P. was also particularly helpful in addressing concerns related to the Cranford Agreement.
2009: The government abolishes the Cranford Agreement
In January 2009 the Cranford Agreement was abolished by the then Labour Government in spite of numerous protests from organisations representing residents to the east of the airport. Initially we were advised that the work required to enable full runway alternation, which would have permitted a more even distribution of aircraft movements around Heathrow, would be completed by late 2013.
2014: Heathrow finally takes action 5 years later
As you will know from recent news items the saga continues. It is now unlikely to be completed before mid to late 2016 nearly eight years after the Agreement was abolished .
Should more have been done to inject a greater sense of urgency? Almost certainly, but we must now deal with the current situation.
As you know LB Hillingdon turned down HAL`s application for the work to be done and Hal are presenting an appeal. Both WWRA and RBWM are supporting that appeal which is likely to be determined in the autumn of 2015.
Read our article, “Letter to support Heathrow’s taxi-way appeal”