Heathrow Community Engagement Board Appoints New Chair

The Heathrow Community Engagement Board (HCEB) has, today, announced Rachel Cerfontyne as its new Chair. The HCEB, the successor body to the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee, initiated an open hiring process for a new Chair at the end of 2017.

A selection panel made up of representatives from the new HCEB, Heathrow, the Department for Transport and a local resident group unanimously agreed that Rachel Cerfontyne would provide the necessary open and independent leadership to evolve the work of the new Board and represent the interests of all communities associated with Heathrow Airport.  

Rachel’s work will focus on building trust between Heathrow and its communities, holding the airport to account when it comes to delivering on its commitments today and into the future.  

With over twenty years’ experience in leading public sector and charitable organisations Rachel has consistently shown independence and inclusivity in her work.  Her most recent role was as Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, where she has spent 9 years improving public confidence in the police complaints system and overseen their two largest investigations including the Hillsborough Disaster and the Rotherham Child Sexual Abuse scandal.

Having spent her early years in Feltham, a community close to the airport, Rachel has first-hand knowledge of the impacts and importance Heathrow can have on local residents.

Commenting on her appointment, Rachel Cerfontyne said:

“My highest priority is getting out and about, meeting people in the local communities and hearing their views. I am keen to listen and learn and to ensure that the membership and activities of the HCEB are shaped by the key stakeholders, especially Heathrow's closest neighbours.   I’ve already started meeting with local community representatives and over the coming weeks and months look forward to engaging formally and informally from all who have a view on and a relationship with the airport.”


Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said:

“Rachel’s track record of independence and strong community engagement is a clear indication that the new Community Engagement Board will be an excellent advocate for those who live, work and travel through Heathrow. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with Rachel and the new Board which will play a key role in influencing how Heathrow operates and grows.”


Mark Izatt, Chair of the HCEB Appointments Panel who oversaw Rachel’s appointment process, said:

“A reinvigorated community and oversight group had a need for a committed and independent chair who would be equally at home in a community hall as a ministerial office. In Rachel we have found the perfect mix of skills and experience to ensure the HCEB grows in stature with local communities, users and stakeholders.  Her energy and passion for the role have already been on display even before today’s official appointment.”

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Notes to editors:

  1. The Heathrow Community Engagement Board (HCEB) is an independently chaired body constituted to provide the functions of an airport consultative committee for Heathrow Airport (in accordance with Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982) and the functions of the Heathrow Airport community engagement board (as set out in the draft Airports National Policy Statement). The Community Engagement Board was established following a recommendation by the Airports Commission to ensure airport stakeholders, local authorities, communities, passengers and interest groups can contribute effectively to the planning process for the proposed expansion of the airport.  
  2. The original Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC) was established in 1956 and is constituted to meet the requirements of Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 (as amended by the Airports Act 1986) for an airport to provide adequate facilities for consultation with respect to any matter concerning the management or administration of the airport which affects the interests of users of the airport, local authorities and any other organisation representing the interests of persons concerned with the locality in which the airport is situated.
  3. Until now, the HCEB has been chaired by interim Chair Professor Roderick Smith ScD, FREng and is made up of 27 appointed representatives brought together from local authorities, airports users and local interest groups.  A Government representative is also present at the main Committee meetings, together with Heathrow Airport Limited’s Chief Executive, John Holland-Kaye and his senior management team.     The first meeting of the HCEB, which is open to the public and media will be at 2pm on Wednesday 18th April 2018 at the Heathrow Academy.
  4. Ms. Cerfontyne was appointed by a panel involving representatives from Heathrow, DfT, local authorities, airports users, local interest groups and the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents association. The open hiring process was run by the executive research firm Gatenby Sanderson.
  5. The HCEB has asked Heathrow Airport Limited to issue this media release on their behalf.
Mark Izatt