July 2012 – Written Question – Heathrow Runway Trials

by Nigel Bakhai on 17 July, 2012


Wandsworth, Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon Councils have all called on BAA to end the ‘mixed mode’ trial at Heathrow. Does the Portfolio Holder plan to commit the support of Ealing Council to this campaign?


The Operational Freedoms trial isn’t in fact mixed mode as aircraft do not land and take off on the same runway. The local authorities’ objection is that when the trial is in place, and under special circumstances, the existing runway alteration procedures are disrupted and residents who were expecting their usual periods of respite were going to be disappointed. Runway alteration only applies to landing aircraft and not departing aircraft, and only during westerly operations. At present, one runway is used for landings between 06:00 hours and 15:00 hours, and then the other one is used from 15:00 hours until after the last departure. This pattern rotates on a weekly basis.

The Operational Freedom trials do not affect Ealing in the same way as other boroughs because up till now we have benefited from the Cranford Agreement, so flights on Easterlies can’t fly from the northern runway over Cranford. Ealing doesn’t therefore get much benefit from the Runway Alteration as no plane lands over the borough. If the trial is made permanent and once planning permission allows aircraft to use the northern runway effectively, then Ealing will be impacted directly by this measure. Our concerns were that the trial was not being monitored correctly and there appeared a lack of clarity as to what circumstances the operational freedoms came into effect. Together with the other member authorities of the Aircraft Noise Working Group, Ealing has contributed to the funding of an independent assessment of the effects of the Operational Freedom trials. Ealing therefore retains a close interest in the outcome of the trails.

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