< menu
Broxted, Essex  
   

External link to STOP STANSTED EXPANSION campaign

Stop Stansted Expansion

Response from Takeley Parish Council to BAA's consultation on its ‘Home Owner Support Scheme’

6 May 2004

CONSULTATION

Takeley Parish Council does not consider that this is a fair or comprehensive consultation process. Planning approval for any of the proposals outlined for Stansted Airport expansion in the recent White Paper will have serious and irreversible consequences and implications for all members of the Takeley community. Each member of the community should, therefore, have had a formal opportunity to respond to the options in the ‘Home Owners' Support Scheme’ consultation document, whether they were to be included or not, especially as BAA have previously offered assurances that local communities would be sympathetically protected.

COMMUNITY - WHO SHOULD BE INCLUDED ?

Takeley Parish Council is extremely concerned that BAA has failed to consider the social implications resulting from this scheme, which creates a divided Takeley community. There is to be no compensation, only support for those inside the 66 dBA (16 hour) Leq noise contour line from a ‘HOSS’, but for those outside – nothing ! Nowhere is there recognition for the blight to be suffered by the majority of residents in Takeley or to the deterioration in their quality of life.

As this scheme stands, half the village will be within the 66 decibel noise contour area and half the village outside. Approximately 390 properties and 120 mobile homes are excluded from the scheme.

The methodology for defining the areas for inclusion relates solely to the 66 decibel noise contour line and takes no account of the social consequences of a divided community.

The ‘HOSS’ offers an exit route to those individuals who live within this predicted noise contour line, but there must be an indisputable case for everybody in the parish of Takeley to qualify for this offer as the character, environment and social dynamics of the village will be changed dramatically, beyond recognition.

The scheme is essentially unfair and the rationale that BAA has used to safeguard the ‘loss of community’ in Bambers Green has been ignored in relation to the larger, more populated areas of the parish of Takeley.

Takeley Parish Council finds the proposed scheme socially divisive, unfair and deeply flawed.

The exceptional inclusion of Bambers Green in the ‘Home Value Guarantee Scheme(HVGS) can now clearly be seen as a strategy to ensure that all land for a possible four runway expansion is acquired. It puts the ‘loss of community’ argument for the inclusion of Bambers Green properties in the ‘HVGS’ into true perspective.

The parish of Takeley is a community with both a church and a chapel, 3 public houses, 3 schools, a sports and social club, community centre, football club, 2 cricket clubs, youth and other organisations. This is a community with a strong identity. The ‘HOSS’ needs to reflect that there is a strong and active community within the parish. The scheme under consultation, set at 66 decibels, will cause division and bad feeling between individual sections of the community and even between neighbours. This will devalue BAA Stansted's attempts to improve relations with the local community.

Uttlesford is an affluent area and the parish of Takeley is no exception. Takeley is within an area of low ambient background noise and, therefore, any aircraft noise is much more apparent than in an urban area. The ‘HOSS’ needs to recognise this fact. Research 3 has shown that people living in affluent areas, with low ambient background noise, react more to noise disturbance than people living in other areas. Residents of Takeley expect to enjoy their environment including being able to keep windows open day and night and engage in recreational activities.

For those who have lived in Takeley for many years, and have chosen to live in a quiet rural area, double glazing is not the answer as this only protects the interior of a building. Residents should be given the opportunity to move away from the area without financial penalty. Future occupiers of these properties will not have the same expectations of environment and life style as those who have lived here for some time.

Expansion proposals will not only destroy the rural areas of the parish but divide and devastate the culture and community of the remaining areas. At present the ‘HOSS’ offers no compensation and does not acknowledge any social responsibility for the expansion proposals and the division and destruction it will bring to the local community. It would appear that BAA has a selective understanding of the true notion of ‘community’ and social dynamics. The White Paper clearly states (11.41) that ‘the airport operator will need to put in place a scheme to address the problem of generalised blight resulting from the runway proposal’.

Takeley Parish Council recommends that the boundary of the 66 decibel noise contour line be expanded for all blighted communities to 60 decibels.

The ‘HOSS’ would then include the majority of properties in the parish of Takeley, and should further include the ‘exceptional cases’ of properties within the community that are just outside the boundary, as already agreed to safeguard the community at Bambers Green.

BAA have made exceptions in the past where new boundaries have had to be introduced. In particular, additional houses outside of the published contour line were compensated in the ‘phase one’ loss of value scheme in the 1990's; the recent ‘noise home insulation’ scheme was extended to avoid the unfair treatment of properties in close proximity but outside the revised noise boundary and the recent extension of the ‘HVGS’ to 33 properties in Bambers Green and Molehill Green in order to treat the community equally and fairly. Precedents have clearly been set.

If BAA accept the ‘same distance criteria’ for Bambers Green, to safeguard communities just outside the 66 decibel contour line, then most blighted properties would be included.

Takeley Parish Council recommends that BAA Stansted extend the ‘HOSS’ to include all properties within the Parish of Takeley.

External link to the FIVE PARISHES

Five Parishes

top

TENANTS

Nowhere in the consultation document is there reassurance for the plight of the many private tenants whose rented properties inside the proposed expanded airport boundary are owned by BAA, and who face the prospect of eviction. BAA as landlords, have not acknowledged any obligation or responsibility to compensate or assist their tenants with relocation costs. Many of these tenants and especially those in Mole Hill Green have been excellent stewards of BAA property since the buy-up began in the 1980's and deserve some recognition for this.

Just like owner-occupiers these tenants have put down their roots and have made their lives in this area. They have chosen to live in this area for the same reasons as any owner- occupier. The only difference being that for a variety of reasons they have not been in a position to buy their own house. Many tenants have children, are coming up to retirement, or are retired.

Tenants will incur the same relocation expenses eg. removal fees, legal fees, replacement soft furnishings, decoration etc. without the flexibility of choice that other people will have. This is clearly unjust and tenants should be supported by a scheme which recognizes the level of disruption to their lives and adequately compensates them for disturbance and relocation costs.

TPC urges BAA to devise a scheme to assist all tenants, and in particular those renting properties from BAA. The scheme should take into account the length of the actual tenancy (not just the tenancy agreement), size of property (i.e. habitable rooms) and any improvements/maintenance of property carried out at tenants own cost and time.

LANDLORDS

Landlords should also be entitled to protection and included in the ‘HOSS’.

NOISE CONTOUR LINES

Takeley Parish Council challenges the use of a 66dBA (16 hour) Leq noise contour line as the only means of defining noise disturbance levels suffered in the local community. Local public feeling is a good indicator that noise levels within the parish are detrimental to an acceptable quality of life. Noise contour lines, if they must be used to adequately represent the likely effects of noise disturbance, should be placed at 60 decibels. This would still not be within World Health Organisation recommended limits to protect the majority of people from the harmful effects of noise pollution during the daytime, but would include most properties in Takeley.

The 66 decibel contour is based on a 16 hour day, 0700 to 2300 hours. Whilst even the ‘Environmental Research and Consultancy Department’ of the Civil Aviation Authority, state that the prediction of noise is difficult, the basis of Leq is an average over the 16 hour day. This hides, in fact smoothes, any peak periods during the day and consequently the noise from the busiest and noisiest times is averaged and spread over 16 hours. This cannot measure or reflect the degree of noise and annoyance to the community at the busiest and the most unsociable times of day.

Takeley Parish Council considers it grossly unfair that many properties within the parish, who already suffer significant disturbance from aircraft take off and landing noise, ground noise, use of reverse thrust, kerosene drift, light and air pollution, and the related loss of property values, will not be included in the scheme.

The noise contour lines take no account of ground noise from the airport or the impact of wind direction on ground noise. The proposed development will result in the nearest terminal buildings and taxiways being approximately 800 yards from Takeley, and the end of the runway approximately 1 mile away. The associated noise from aircraft ignition, idling and taxiing must have an additional impact on noise levels. Many parts of Takeley suffer from ground noise as much, if not more than, air noise and this should be taken into consideration when deciding on the criteria for any scheme. The impact of ground noise has been excluded in any noise contour modeling to date. Takeley Parish Council consider the future impacts of ground noise will be considerable and must be reflected in any ‘HOSS’.

There is wide recognition that aircraft noise is far more annoying and invasive than any other form of public transport, and in particular rail transport and Takeley Parish Council can find no justification for comparing aircraft noise to rail noise. The scale of annoyance and invasiveness must be recognised to extend beyond a 66 decibel noise contour line and there must be a degree of flexibility and latitude given to those properties close to the contour line to recognise and compensate for the intrusiveness and pollution caused by aircraft.

The scale and extent of the increase in noise for Takeley will be of quantum proportions. Recent readings taken by Uttlesford District Council at Takeley Community Center and on Smiths Green have recorded Leq figures of approximately 52 decibels. The predicted increases related to recent contour maps show figures of 60, 63 and 66 decibels. An increase of 3 decibels is the equivalent of doubling the noise power and this will apply to all of Takeley.

The 66 decibel boundary is very divisive and indiscriminate in the way that it cuts through individual communities. Additionally, Takeley Parish Council questions why the 66 decibel noise contour has been chosen and not a lower figure. Department for Transport guidelines recommend a 57 decibel threshold for noise disturbance and the World Health Organisation recommends 50 decibels ‘to protect the majority of people from being moderately annoyed during the daytime’.

The consultation document states, ‘Other major transport infrastructure developers, including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and the Highways Agency, have adopted this approach when implementing their own schemes, and have set the level of noise which triggers eligibility for their schemes at the equivalent of 66 decibels. BAA Stansted intends to follow the same approach ...’. Yet the governments' own Environment Agency state that ‘According to the World Health Organization's Guidelines for Community Noise aircraft noise is more annoying than road traffic which in turn is more annoying than noise from railways.’ 1 If this is the case, then surely the noise level for this scheme should be set at a lower leq figure.

Noise has also been linked to health and learning problems ‘There is a lack of strong and convincing evidence linking noise with serious health effects such as cardiovascular disease and mental health. There is however, agreement that noise can lead to annoyance, sleep deprivation, ischaemic heart disease and affect children's development’. 2

An extension to the ‘HOSS’, similar to the agreed expansion of the ‘HVGS’ which includes properties in Bambers Green and Mole Hill Green, would be fairer if it were expanded to include all properties in a local community. It would show BAA in a better light to the local community if it was extended to cover all the parish of Takeley and would, therefore, include those properties which will also be affected when the existing runway gets planning permission to go to 35mppa.

top
top

Takeley Parish Council recommends that the ‘HOSS’ should be generally extended to all properties within the 60 decibel contour line.

However, Takeley is an exceptional case as it has to bear the additional burden of ground noise, which the CAA and DfT accept has not been included in the noise contour figures. To reflect this the ‘HOSS’ should be extended to include all properties within the Parish of Takeley.

PROPERTY VALUES and BLIGHT

Property valuations are invariably based on comparisons with similar properties sold in the local area. Nevertheless, whilst consideration is given to physical attributes such as living space, bedrooms, garages etc., the overwhelming factor in the valuation equation is the location of the property. ‘Location! Location! Location!’.

The property market views and treats Takeley as a whole. Any changes or general perceptions regarding the locality affects the whole of Takeley, both good and bad. Something as large and invasive as a second runway and associated developments, has already had a detrimental effect on the perception and marketability of properties in Takeley.

Local Estate Agents confirm that some existing properties are already marketed and sold at a discount compared with equivalent properties in Great Dunmow and other areas. Once potential buyers establish what is planned for Stansted many withdraw their interest in the property in Takeley. Some Estate Agents actually warn prospective purchasers of the plans for Stansted to avoid any legal redress against them for misrepresentation.

New houses are being sold at a discount in addition to special offers, such as stamp duty being paid, to counteract the ‘Stansted effect’. Developers undertake risk analysis exercises and employ special marketing strategies in order to arrive at realistically marketable prices, again as a result of the ‘Stansted effect’. Similar marketing strategies are not necessary for equivalent sites in Little Dunmow, Felsted and Bishop's Stortford.

Rural properties with character, large gardens, seclusion and attractive views are severely affected, especially when compared with areas away from Stansted. These properties would normally be in great demand by aspiring purchasers. However, these aspirations will vanish as the benefits and attractiveness of such properties are lost by the proposed developments and resulting urbanisation. The value of these properties will continue to depreciate and existing owner occupiers will become ‘forced sellers’. These will be individuals who will have to move because the scale and devastation that will occur will be beyond reasonable acceptability. They will consequently be under pressure to move and as a result will be forced to sell at a price that would not normally be acceptable.

No doubt at some stage there will be an exodus as people who currently qualify start to claim their rights under the proposed ‘HOSS’, and market perceptions will reduce property values even further.

All properties in the parish of Takeley must be given the same ‘HOSS’ opportunities or face the prospect of being unfairly penalised and suffer further blight as a result.

top
top

THE OPTIONS

Question 1:

Answer:- (a)

A ‘HOSS’ should be introduced as soon as possible, but the 66 decibel noise contour is too constricting and divisive to the local community and should include all of the Parish of Takeley.

Question 2:

Answer:- (b)

A ‘Property Protection Scheme’ - Option 2 - should be based on the 60 decibel noise contour line and extended to include all properties within the parish of Takeley. It should embrace all the compensation elements of the Central Railways scheme and take effect from the date that planning approval is granted.

However, if a home owner is unable to sell their property within a reasonable period (six months?) prior to planning permission being granted, they should then be able to require BAA to purchase their property at full market value.

FURTHER COMPENSATION / SUPPORT SCHEMES

Takeley Parish Council trusts that the ‘HVGS’ and ‘HOSS’ announced to date are the forerunners of further support schemes still to be announced.

Further schemes Takeley Parish Council wishes to see are those dealing with:

  • Further compensation for generalised blight (White Paper 11.41)

  • Property insulation

  • Compensation for home loss to tenants.

CONCLUSION

 

  • Takeley Parish Council can only support a ‘HOSS’ that protects the interests of the Parish against the impact of generalised blight and does not negate BAA's responsibilities by default to the 1973 Land Compensation Act.

  • The ‘HOSS’ should include all properties within the 60 decibels noise contour line.

  • All remaining properties within the parish of Takeley, that fall outside the 60 decibel noise contour line, should be included as exceptional cases for inclusion to safeguard the community.

References

1 Environment Agency : Environmental Facts and Figures – Transportation Noise (2004)

2 British Government Panel on Sustainable Development : A review of the extent to which domestic legislation and policy provides effective remedies to noise nuisance.(1999)

3 Assessment of noise annoyance in three distinct communities living in close proximity to a UK regional airport. Int.J. Environmental Health Research (2003) (December) 13(4), pp 361-72

 

David Fossett

Clerk of the Council

 

Text taken with permission from Takeley Parish Council's website

 

Related links:

"Takeley Parish Council Renews Claim for Judicial Review of BAA's HOSS Compensation Scheme" - press release issued 14 March 2005 by Takeley Parish Council

"HOSS legal challenge thrown out by judge" - Dunmow Observer 10 March 2005

"BAA Slur Condemned by Takeley Parish Council" - press release issued 25 January 2005 by Takeley Parish Council

"BAA the Target of Legal Action Over Expansion Blight" - press release issued 2 January 2005 by Takeley Parish Council

"Legal Action Initiated Over Stansted Expansion Blight" - press release issued 16 November 2004 by Takeley Parish Council

Open letter to BAA on the revised scheme - issued 7 Oct 2004 by Takeley Parish Council

"BAA DISREGARDS COMPENSATION OBLIGATIONS" - press release issued 21 September 2004 by SSE

"New initiative launched at Stansted" - press release issued 21 September 2004 by BAA

BAA's "Home Owner Support Scheme" revised September 2004 in Acrobat ® format 1.2 MB BAA's "Home Owner Support Scheme" - revised September 2004 (Acrobat ® format, 1.2 MB)

"Stansted opens consultation on home owner support" - consultation documents & press release issued 26 February 2004 by BAA

"PUBLISH YOUR MAIN COMPENSATION PLAN" - BAA TOLD - press release issued 17 March 2004 by Stop Stansted Expansion.

Response from Broxted Parish Council to BAA's consultation, 16 April 2004.

Responses from the Parish Councils of Great Easton & Little Easton as reported in the Five Parishes Magazine, April 2004.

top
   

External link to STOP STANSTED EXPANSION campaign

Stop Stansted Expansion

External link to the FIVE PARISHES

Five Parishes

< menu
 
   
top

This site is run on a purely voluntary basis, at my own expense. Although this site was formerly run on behalf of Broxted Parish Council, the council no longer controls or endorses its contents. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained within it is accurate. Neither the site manager nor Broxted Parish Council accept any responsibility for any losses arising from the use or misuse of any of this information, nor for the contents of other websites to which this site may contain links, (over which I have no control).

For up-to-date information on the Parish Council, please refer to its new site at www.essexinfo.net/broxted.

Technical Info Best viewed at screen resolution 1024 x 768. Virus Warning
top