London Assembly Votes Against Heathrow Airport Expansion

The London Assembly has voted against the expansion of Heathrow and proposed greater use of existing airports in the south-east. They passed a motion -by 13 votes to 7 in response to the Airports Commission’s Interim Report recommendation (17th December) that two options for a new Heathrow 3rd runway would be short-listed.  Caroline Pidgeon, the leader of the Liberal Democrats on the Assembly, who proposed the motion, said: “Airport capacity in London is currently underused; in fact some London airports have more than half of their runway slots free. Rather than inflict further misery on the residents of west London, the Airports Commission should rule out expansion of Heathrow and focus on better use of capacity at other south-east airports.” The motion backed the Commission’s proposals for improving ground transport links to existing airports. Tony Arbour, Conservative London Assembly Member for Richmond and Hounslow, proposed an amendment which said there should be a categorical opposition to any additional flights at Heathrow.  He said the Lib Dem motion, which recognised the need for more airport capacity in the south-east, “opens the door for dual use of runways at Heathrow which will increase noise for millions of Londoners.” All those voting against the motion were Tories. 
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Assembly rejects expanded Heathrow

15 January 2014 (London Assembly press release)

The London Assembly today passed a motion[[1]reaffirming its opposition to the expansion of Heathrow Airport and suggesting more use could be made of spare capacity at other airports serving the South East. It was reacting to the interim report published by Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission and the options proposed for expanding Heathrow and Gatwick.

Caroline Pidgeon AMwho proposed the motion, said: “I am really disappointed to see Heathrow back on the table. Airport capacity in London is currently under-used, in fact some London airports have more than half of their runway slots free. Rather than inflict further misery on the residents of West London, the Davies Commission should rule out expansion of Heathrow and focus on better use of capacity at other South East airports.”

Valerie Shawcross AM, who amended and seconded the motion, said: “This debate has polarised London – with those affected by noise pollution on one side and the interests of the aviation industry on the other. I must add that whatever happens with regard to airport expansion, London does need a noise regulator now. Paris has one – why don’t we?”

The full text of the motion agreed at today’s meeting reads as follows: 

“This Assembly notes the interim report published by Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission and the options proposed for expanding Heathrow and Gatwick. The Assembly also notes that the Estuary Airport options have not made the shortlist, though more work will be done before a final decision on shortlisting is made in the New Year.

In particular, we welcome Sir Howard Davies’ recommendations on increasing surface access at our existing airports and we note that a number of projects are now contained within the National Infrastructure Plan.  Namely:

·  Committing £50 million towards a full redevelopment of the railway station at Gatwick;

·  Setting up a new study into Southern Rail access to Heathrow;

·  Accelerating a Network Rail study into the Brighton Mainline;

·  Extending the scope of the East Anglian Mainline study to include access to Stansted;

·  Including the Gatwick to London route on a planned trial of smart ticketing; and

·  Including access to Gatwick in the Highways Agency study on local motorways.

The London Assembly also urges the Mayor to support Sir Howard Davies’ recommendation of the establishment of an independent noise regulator for London.

The Assembly recalls its recent Transport Committee report “Airport Capacity in London” which ruled out expansion of Heathrow and identified significant spare capacity at other airports in the South East.

The Assembly reaffirms its opposition to Heathrow expansion plans and calls on the Airports Commission to rethink its approach targeting the use of spare capacity at airports serving the South East.”

Notes to editors:

1.        The motion was passed 13 votes cast in favour of the motion and 7 against at a meeting of the full Assembly today. Watch the webcast.

2.        As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

http://www.london.gov.uk/media/assembly-press-releases/2014/01/assembly-rejects-expanded-heathrow

 


 

London Assembly Votes Against Heathrow Airport Expansion

By Thomas Penny  
Jan 15, 2014  (Bloomberg)

The London Assembly voted against the expansion of Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest hub, and proposed greater use of existing airports in southeast England.

The assembly passed a motion by 13 votes to 7 today in response to a recommendation in an interim report published last month by Howard Davies’s Airports Commission shortlisting Heathrow alongside Gatwick, south of the capital, as suitable for expansion.

“Airport capacity in London is currently underused; in fact some London airports have more than half of their runway slots free,” Caroline Pidgeon, the leader of the Liberal Democrats on the assembly, who proposed the motion, said in an e-mailed statement. “Rather than inflict further misery on the residents of west London, the Davies Commission should rule out expansion of Heathrow and focus on better use of capacity at other southeast airports.”

The motion backed Davies’s proposals for improving ground transport links to existing airports.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-15/london-assembly-votes-against-heathrow-airport-expansion.html

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Tories and Lib Dems at loggerheads as anti-Heathrow expansion motion passed

5th January 2014

By Amy Dyduch  (Local Guardian)

Your Local Guardian: Anti-expansion: But who opposes it more?

Anti-expansion: But who opposes it more?

The London Assembly rejected Heathrow expansion proposals at a meeting today and suggested more use be made of spare capacity at other airports.

Members passed a motion in reaction to the interim report published by Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission and the options proposed for expanding Heathrow and Gatwick.

Conservatives said the Lib Dem motion opened the door for more flights at Heathrow due to the support it showed for increased capacity in the south-east.

Tony Arbour, Conservative London Assembly Member for Richmond and Hounslow, proposed an amendment which said there should be a categorical opposition to any additional flights at Heathrow.

He said: “I, and my Conservative colleagues, are unequivocally opposed to any increase in flights at Heathrow and we, unlike the Lib Dems, will not consider any concession to those who would increase the pollution that the airport brings to residents.”

Caroline Pidgeon AM, who proposed the motion, said she was disappointed to see Heathrow expansion back on the table.

She said: “Airport capacity in London is currently under-used, in fact some London airports have more than half of their runway slots free.

“Rather than inflict further misery on the residents of west London, the Davies Commission should rule out expansion of Heathrow and focus on better use of capacity at other south-east airports.”

Liberal Democrats branded Tories expansion-supporters after all Conservative members voted against the motion.

Robin Meltzer, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesman for Richmond Park, said: “It’s no longer the case that the Tories are split on Heathrow.

“Now, almost everyone they have in elected office is in favour of mass expansion or, at best, isn’t bothered. The few who are on our side of the argument are simply sidelined by their leadership.”

MP Zac Goldsmith, who has long made clear his opposition to Heathrow expansion and organised a mass protest rally against additional runways last year, hit back at Lib Dem claims, and said their failure to back Coun Arbour’s amendment meant they were standing in the way of true opposition to Heathrow expansion.

He said: “The fact remains that the Lib Dems could have removed Heathrow expansion from the terms of reference of the Airport Commission without any effort at all.

“That would have killed it off forever, but they chose not to because they see the threat as a campaign opportunity.

“Putting it mildly – for those seriously committed to stopping Heathrow expansion, the Lib Dems have been a real pain in the backside.”

http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/10939620.Tories_and_Lib_Dems_at_loggerheads_as_anti_Heathrow_expansion_motion_passed/

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Assembly hits out at Davies for keeping Heathrow on the table

Heathrow Airport wants the government to allow a third runway to be built

January 16, 2014 (CityAM)

THE LONDON Assembly hit out at the possible expansion of Heathrow Airport yesterday, saying a new runway would inflict unnecessary noise on nearby residents.

The Assembly voted 13 to 7 in favour of a motion opposing a larger Heathrow, calling instead for airlines to use spare capacity at other airports in the south east.

This compares to a unanimous vote on a similar motion in July 2012. Conservative members voted against the motion yesterday.

“I must add that whatever happens with regard to airport expansion, London does need a noise regulator now. Paris has one – why don’t we?” said Labour member Valerie Shawcross, who seconded the motion.

The vote came as Heathrow pledged to consult with residents near the airport about how a third runway would affect the area.

Chief executive Colin Matthews is expected to say today that he will take the views of locals into consideration when putting together Heathrow’s revised runway proposal in May.

Matthews is due to speak at the Runways UK conference, which will also hear from Sir Howard Davies, the head of the government’s aviation commission.

The commission last month shortlisted Heathrow and Gatwick as possible sites for a new runway in the coming years, while keeping alive the option of a new hub airport built in the Thames Estuary.

http://www.cityam.com/article/1389834280/assembly-hits-out-davies-keeping-heathrow-table

 

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Earlier:

Airport capacity in London is currently underused, says new London Assembly report

1.5.2013

The London Assembly’s Transport Committee has published a report – “Airport Capacity in London” – which  suggests existing airport capacity in London, including at Heathrow and Gatwick, could be used more effectively. Their research shows Stansted (summer 2012) was only 47% full; Gatwick was 88% full; Luton was 49% full. At Heathrow there is terminal capacity for 20 million more passengers, so if larger planes were used, there is ample surplus capacity – though landing slots are 99% filled.  To encourage passengers to switch from Heathrow, the report says improving transport access from central London to Gatwick, Luton and Stansted is needed – for example, by better rail connections and actively promoting public transport. The report questions the alleged “need” for additional hub airport capacity, as the  vast majority of passengers using Heathrow few direct, point to point, rather than transferring. The report also notes that 75% of flights from Heathrow are short haul and that London remains the best connected European city to 23 fastest growing economies. The Transport Committee hopes its report will inform the Airports Commission, and says the Commission must examine whether better use of existing airport capacity could be an intelligent cost-effective alternative to building new airports or runways. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1789.

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London Assembly restates its strong opposition to building new runways at Heathrow

10.5.2013

In response to the publication of the Transport Select Committee report “Aviation Strategy”  today, which backs expansion at Heathrow with another runway, the London Assembly  restated its view that no new runways at Heathrow should be built because of serious and rising concerns about air quality and noise pollution. The Assembly has consistently opposed proposals for Heathrow expansion on the grounds that the negative environmental effects are disproportionate to the estimated benefits it might bring to London. Already some 700,000 Londoners suffer from aircraft noise due to Heathrow, and this accounts for 28% of all the people in Europe who are affected by aircraft noise. Air quality standards in the area round Heathrow already breach EU air quality limits. The Assembly has just produced its own report on airport capacity, which concluded that as there is a large amount of spare capacity at some London airports, the Airports Commission should first look at ways to use this capacity more effectively, such as improving rail links, before considering building a new runway.  Luton and Stansted Airports have around half their slots free and the airline industry should be encouraged to use this existing capacity.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1108 

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London Assembly says Heathrow night flights ‘disturb sleep and should stop’

12.4.2013

London Assembly Health & Environment Committee has submitted its response to the government consultation on night flights. The Committee, chaired by Murad Qureshi, says they would wish to see night flights stopped altogether, or reduced to an absolute minimum. At the margins “quieter” aircraft cut the disturbance for residents at the edges of the noise footprint so their introduction is of benefit.  But modern ‘quieter’ aircraft are still loud enough to wake people & do so regularly after 4.30am, so their number should be reduced. The Committee says Heathrow should adopt a 59 dB Lden threshold for determining areas eligible for insulation, not the current 69 dB Leq or proposed 63 dB Lden. If night flights do continue, an easterly preference at night would help achieve more of a 50/50 split between directions, as at present more come into land from the east over London. Some night flights are because planes are delayed etc so the Committee suggests a reduction in Heathrow daytime number of ATMs would help, so flights do not have to be accommodated at night. They want Heathrow to work towards WHO guidelines; the objective should be to reduce the area within Heathrow’s 40dB night noise contour.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2445 

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