Airports Commission consultation launched – on its assessments of Heathrow and Gatwick runway plans

The Commission launched its consultation on the runway hopes of Heathrow (the airport’s north west runway scheme, and the Heathrow Hub extension of the northern runway), and Gatwick. The consultation runs till 3rd February. Apart from one main consultation document, there is a main document on Heathrow, Heathrow Hub and Gatwick. There are also over 50 technical documents giving more detail. A great deal to read through and take in. Sir Howard Davies’ introduction says: ” It is particularly important for local residents and their representatives to understand more clearly what the proposals entail, and what their consequences might be for the local environment.”  The Commission wants to know if  people have any comments on how it has carried out its appraisals, including methodology, and if are there any relevant factors that have not been fully addressed by the Commission to date. It is also interested in evidence and ideas about how any or all of the short-listed options might be improved, or ideas for mitigation measures to address specific impacts. 

 

Consultation document

(94 pages, including the questions)


Gatwick Airport second runway: business case and sustainability assessment

(138 pages)


Heathrow Airport extended northern runway: business case and sustainability assessment

(140 pages – Heathrow Hub)


Heathrow Airport north west runway: business case and sustainability assessment

(144 pages – Heathrow Airport’s plan, for a north west runway, destroying Harmondsworth)


Technical reports

  1. Additional airport capacity: strategic fit analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  2. Additional airport capacity: economy impact analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  3. Additional airport capacity: local economy impact analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  4. Additional airport capacity: surface access analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  5. Additional airport capacity: noise analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  6. Additional airport capacity: air quality analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  7. Additional airport capacity: biodiversity analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  8. Additional airport capacity: carbon analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  9. Additional airport capacity: water and flood risk analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  10. Additional airport capacity: place analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  11. Additional airport capacity: quality of life analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  12. Additional airport capacity: community analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  13. Additional airport capacity: cost and commercial viability analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  14. Additional airport capacity: operational efficiency analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  15. Additional airport capacity: operational risk analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis
  16. Additional airport capacity: delivery analysis

    • 11 November 2014
    • Research and analysis

Scheme promoter reports

  1. Additional airport capacity: Gatwick Airport second runway

    • 11 November 2014
    • Independent report
  2. Additional airport capacity: Heathrow Airport extended northern runway

    • 11 November 2014
    • Independent report
  3. Additional airport capacity: Heathrow Airport north west runway

    • 11 November 2014
    • Independent report

Consultation

  1. Increasing the UK’s long-term aviation capacity

    • 11 November 2014
    • Open consultation

The Commission website says:

The Airports Commission is seeking your views on 3 options for a new runway in the south east of England, and on its assessments of these options. In particular, the commission wishes to:

– test the evidence base it has assembled
– understand stakeholders’ views as to the accuracy, relevance and breadth of the assessments it has undertaken
– seek views on the potential conclusions that might be drawn from them
We also welcome evidence and ideas about improving the short-listed options (eg through mitigation measures to address specific impacts).

The consultation consists of a large number of documents. This page features the commission’s overarching consultation document, a sustainability assessment and business case for each of the 3 schemes.

Detailed technical reports which underpin the commission’s analysis have also been published, along with an index to help you navigate them.

Work submitted to the commission by the 3 scheme promoters;  Gatwick Airport Limited, Heathrow Airport Limited and Heathrow Hub Limited has also been published.

Ways to respond

Respond online

or

Complete a response form and either

Email to:
airports.consultation@systra.com
Write to:
Freepost RTKX-USUC-CXAS
Airports Commission Consultation
PO Box 1492
Woking
GU22 2QR

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/increasing-the-uks-long-term-aviation-capacity

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For some early assessments of the consultation, see below:

Airports Commission estimates new homes needed for new runway – 18,400 at Gatwick; 70,800 at Heathrow (maybe more)

The Airports Commission estimates that a 3rd Heathrow runway could require up to 70,800 homes to be built locally to support the additional jobs created by the development. The Commission estimates a Gatwick 2nd runway could require up to 18,400 homes to be delivered across 14 local authorities, and it said this could be done up to 2030, with “land availability unlikely to be affected by green belt issues”. (Estimate of 30,000 – 45,000 homes by W Sussex County Council + Gatwick Diamond). More houses would be needed for Heathrow expansion than Gatwick expansion, due to more additional business activity following a runway at Heathrow than at Gatwick, and more from the airport’s north-west runway plan (up to 70,800), than the Heathrow Hub idea of extending the northern runway (up to 60,600). The Commission acknowledges that these upper limits may present challenges for local authorities, outlining that “many… already struggle to meet housing targets”. The only relief would be that the homes could be delivered over a number of years, and the pain would be shared between many authorities. However, Green Belt would be seriously threatened – not to mention urban cramming and loss of village character.

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Heathrow runway schemes to cost £3-4 bn more than forecast – benefits over 60 years hard to assess

The Airports Commission figures in their consultation documents show costs of building a runway would actually be considerably higher than any of the 3 scheme proposers have estimated. The Commission anticipates a Gatwick runway would cost £9.3 billion, not £7.4 billion the airport claims. The cost of the Heathrow Hub project (extending the northern runway westwards) would be more like £13.5 billion, not £10.1 billion. The cost of Heathrow’s north west runway scheme, destroying Harmondsworth, would be more like £18.6 billion, not Heathrow’s estimate of £14.8 billion (excluding £800m of surface access costs). Those sums would be for runway construction, new terminal and “all other required airport facilities.” The Commission says the higher cost estimates are due to “optimism bias and differing construction profiles.” The possible economic benefits depend on which of 5 scenarios is considered. This could be from £42-127 billion for Gatwick, from £101-214 billion for Heathrow Hub, and from £112-211 for a Heathrow north west runway,depending on the scenario (over 60 years starting in 2026).

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Manchester Airports boss deeply critical of likelihood of large public subsidy aiding Heathrow or Gatwick runway

The CEO of Manchester Airports group, Charlie Cornish, has protested about the likelihood of public funds being used to assist a new south east runway. He says: “Given the private interests at stake, adopting a special set of rules that favours the delivery of new capacity over the use of existing capacity, will have profound adverse consequences for competition and consumers in the long-run.” More public funds for London airports does not help regional airports. The Commission, in its consultation documents on Heathrow and Gatwick runway plans, does not give specific figures on anticipated public subsidy. But it comments there “may be a case” for some funding by the public sector. Equally, if the airport benefits from surface transport paid for by the taxpayer “may mean that a contribution from the scheme promoter to these costs is justified.” State aid rules may also require an airport operator to make an appropriate payment, if it benefits from a surface access scheme. “The Government would need to reach its own view on the level of public investment that can be justified.”

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Airports Commission assesses Gatwick’s runway would cost about £2 billion more, needing high landing charges

The Airports Commission’s consultation on their short-listed runway options contains a lot on the economics. While Gatwick airport has said their runway would cost the taxpayer nothing, and only cost about £7.4 billion, the Commission puts the cost higher. They estimate the work for the 2nd runway, with a 3rd terminal and all associated infrastructure, would cost up to £9.3 billion. The Commission’s higher figure reflects “in large part differing views of optimism bias and differing construction profiles.” Gatwick already has current debt of about. £1.5 billion made up of Class A bonds. It also has £300 million of revolving credit facilities. The Commission estimates Gatwick would need to raise additional equity of up to about. £3.7 billion and additional debt of up to about. £14.3 billion. “This level of finance is not unprecedented for infrastructure projects and airports. It is, however, significantly larger than the company’s financing to date and may be challenging.” Gatwick would also have to substantially raise its landing charges from £9 per passenger to up to £15-18 or up to £23. Like expensive Heathrow.

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Initial comments from GACC on the Airports Commission consultation documents

The Airports Commission has released its consultation. There is a “Business Case and Sustainability Assessment” for Gatwick (137 pages), and there are also some 50 long technical documents. GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) will study all these carefully in due course, but at first sight the documents confirm that a new runway would make Gatwick bigger (more passengers) than Heathrow today. That would be an environmental calamity. The consultation paper shows 30,000 people affected by noise from Gatwick, compared to 10,000 today (54 leq). And 560,000 aircraft a year compared to 250,000 at present. This would mean urbanisation of large chunks of Sussex; new flight paths over many towns and villages across the area, loss of tranquillity to AONB areas, gridlock on roads, and a worsening of the north-south divide. The Commission reckons that Gatwick landing charges would need to rise from £9 to £19, or £23 at peak – more than at Heathrow today. Would such a runway be used, especially with others like Stansted, Luton and Birmingham under capacity?

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Airports Commission consultation launched – acknowledging it lacks the necessary information on carbon constraints

The Airports Commission has published its consultation about the 3 short -listed runway schemes (Heathrow north-west runway, Heathrow “Hub” and Gatwick). The Commission, rather than themselves assessing whether a runway could, or should, be built – adding to UK carbon emissions, leaves that part of policy to others. The CCC (The Committee on Climate Change) has advised that UK aviation emissions should not rise to over 37.5MtCO2 per year, from around 33MtCO2 now. The Commission has had trouble trying to incorporate a new runway at one airport, as well as growth at other UK airports, within the 37.5MtCO2 cap. All sorts of assumptions have to be made. At heart, the Commission has conceded that: “The Commission intends to carry out further work to complete a fuller economic assessment of the case where UK aviation emissions are constrained to the CCC planning assumption of 37.5MtCO2e for its final report in summer 2015.” ie. They do not have the necessary information on whether a runway could be viable, with the necessary price of carbon in future.

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