AN3V complains - DfT Consultation not good enough!

We hope that many of you will have submitted not only your consultation comments to the DfT, but also complained to Sir Jeremy Sullivan about the lack of proper consultation in this area.

AN3V complaint regarding the (lack of) consultation process:

Dear Sir Jeremy

I am writing on behalf of AN3V campaign group to complain about the complete lack of consultation in the Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot, Surrey area on the recent SE airport runway consultation.

Despite the fact the DfT has sat alongside AN3V in the same Heathrow Community Noise Forum meetings for the past two years, and despite its knowledge of the current issues of aircraft noise in this area, it deliberately excluded Surrey Heath from the consultation process.

Our MP, Michael Gove and Surrey County Councillor (SCC), Mike Goodman, both complained in the strongest terms to the DfT. The DfT apparently belatedly agreed to hold a consultation event, only then to cancel at the last minute citing the snap election as the reason it could not go ahead. The same reason perhaps the consultation response date should have been postponed but that was not the case.

Greatly concerned that residents affected by current noise were not being properly consulted, as an individual, I arranged my own consultation event to which over 100 people attended. Likewise, SCC also cobbled together a last minute consultation event but with little time to organise or advertise the event, attendance was understandably low.

It is clear that the guidance regarding how government consultations should be conducted have been breached in terms of process.

Having attended a DfT consultation in neighbouring Bracknell, that consultation was totally misleading and biased in favour of airport expansion. One could argue that having recommended Heathrow expansion, the DfT was bound to further arguments to support the Government’s position. However, no DECISION has been made and MPs have yet to vote. It is therefore the responsibility of the DfT to provide the public with impartial and unambiguous information and present both sides of the argument in order that the public can make an informed decision.

In terms of the information presented, this was blatantly flawed with many areas severely (and newly) affected by noise, totally excluded from noise maps. When questioned, DfT staff in attendance simply stated that noise contours were ‘indicative’. Other major issues such as economics, emissions, night flight ban etc., all poorly presented with flawed and misleading data.

One of the most critical factors for many is to understand where new flight paths are planned. No-one, not Heathrow nor Government can provide an answer. This is simply unacceptable when people are being asked to decide on expansion without the faintest idea of which communities will be impacted.

Was it not you, on opening the Alexandra Palace lease to Firoka hearing, who stated : ‘one cannot consult the public on X and when the public ask what X is, you tell them: sorry, I can’t tell you what X is or give any information on it’

Please advise how proposing an additional 260,000 aircraft a year without even basic information as to where those aircraft will fly is any different? The public (and Government for that matter) is being asked to approve something where not only X but Y and Z remain complete unknowns.

It is not acceptable that an industry can be allowed to withhold such vital information on the basis of ‘if we get a third runway we’ll let you know where the burden to communities will fall’. The industry, like any other, must demonstrate the full impacts of its commercial expansion ambitions ahead of any consultation or Government approval. Only when those facts are known can the Government properly consult. Until that day, any consultation is simply a PR exercise to promote Heathrow expansion and has no value to the public which is not fooled by this sham exercise on the part of the DfT and demands a right to be properly consulted based on facts.

Yours sincerely

Rosalie James

Chair - Aircraft Noise 3 Villages

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