Heathrow and farming: NFU comment

aeroplane, airplane, airport, heathrow, runway_275An independent report has recommended a third runway should be built at Heathrow Airport to increase the the UK's airport capacity.

The Airports Commission said such a decision would add £147bn in economic growth and 70,000 jobs by 2050. The government’s official response to the findings isn’t expected until September.

The NFU has received calls from members directly affected by the expansion.

NFU comment

Louise Staples_275_183NFU rural surveyor Louise Staples said: “The NFU recognises that infrastructure development is a major factor in securing the future of the UK economy. In this context many of our members consider favourably the potential economic benefits that could be associated with the proposed options for airport expansion.

“Despite this our members have a wide range of views both in favour and against the various options.

“All three options will have a direct adverse impact on the business interests of a number of individual farm businesses on or adjacent to the proposed sites due to the amount of land which will be compulsory purchased as part of the scheme.

“Our primary concern is that impacts should be kept to a minimum. Affected farm businesses should be treated fairly and any necessary adjustments to their business practice should be fully supported and mitigated as an integral part of a compensation scheme.

“We suggest that an agricultural impact assessment is undertaken of all proposed flight routes, to identify where low flying aircraft might risk causing stress to farm livestock animals. Where specific risks to holdings are identified, the airport must engage with affected landowners and devise an acceptable mitigation strategy to avoid potential adverse effects. Such as agreeing a management strategy with the affected farmer, or offering compensation so that the holding can adapt their operations to the impacted environmental conditions.

“We will be monitoring the situation but we would like to see a consultation with those affected farm businesses sooner rather than later.”

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