The conditions recommended by the EAC apply at Gatwick, as well as at Heathrow
The Environmental Audit Committee proposed a series of environmental conditions (noise, CO2 and air pollution) that the government should impose on a 3rd runway at Heathrow. They also said Heathrow should pay for necessary additional surface access infrastructure. GACC has pointed out that very similar conditions would have to apply for a 2nd Gatwick runway. On Noise, the condition that Heathrow should be less noisy with three runways than with two would absolutely rule out a new Gatwick runway, as it would affect three times as many people as it would with one runway. There would also need to be a ban on night flights. The carbon emissions over future decades from flights using a 2nd Gatwick runway would be very similar to those from a 3rd Heathrow runway, so the same condition would apply. ie. that “the CCC’s advice on aviation in relation to the 5th carbon budget, introducing an effective policy framework to bring aviation emissions to 2005 levels by 2050 no later than autumn 2016….” On air pollution, although a new Gatwick runway might not breach EU limits it would adversely affect more houses than one at Heathrow. And on paying for surface transport, the airport should pay for all necessary transport upgrades, assessed when the airport is two- thirds full, not merely when it is just one-third full.
Environmental Audit Report on Heathrow – Preliminary comments by GACC
1.12.2015 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
Several of the conditions proposed by the Select Committee would also apply to Gatwick
- Noise. The condition that Heathrow should be less noisy with three runways than with two would absolutely rule out a new Gatwick runway. The figures produced by the Airports Commission showed that Gatwick with two runways would affect three times as many people as it would with one runway.
- Ban on night flights. A similar ban would be needed at Gatwick but would equally be opposed by GAL.
- Climate Change. Exactly the same considerations would apply at Gatwick.
- Emissions. Although a new Gatwick runway might not breach EU limits it would adversely affect more houses than one at Heathrow.
- Infrastructure. The suggestion by Gatwick that they would pay for all the road and rail improvements needed for a second runway is disingenuous because it applies to 2030 when the new runway is forecast to be only one-third full. By contrast the figures used for the infrastructure costs at Heathrow assume the new runway would be two-thirds full.
An appropriate condition at Gatwick would be that the airport should pay for all the infrastructure costs incurred when the new runway was operating at least at two-thirds full capacity. That would never be agreed by GAL !
Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said: ‘If the conditions proposed for Heathrow are thought to rule out a Heathrow runway, they would equally rule out a Gatwick runway. Quite right too because, with larger aircraft and full use of existing capacity at all five London airports, there is actually no need for any new runway.’
Details of what the Environmental Audit Committee said below:
Environmental Audit Committee says government should not permit Heathrow runway without strict conditions
The EAC report’s conclusions say: “The Government should not approve Heathrow expansion until Heathrow Ltd. can demonstrate that it accepts and will comply with the Airports Commission conditions, including a night flight ban, that it is committed to covering the costs of surface transport improvements; that it is possible to reconcile Heathrow expansion with legal air pollution limits, and that an expanded Heathrow would be less noisy than a two runway Heathrow. In each case – climate change, air quality and noise – it needs to set out concrete proposals for mitigation alongside clear responsibilities and milestones against which performance can be measured. It should report regularly to Parliament, through this Committee and others, on progress. The Government should not avoid or defer these issues. To do so would increase the risks of the project: delay through legal challenge, unquantifiable costs resulting from unclear responsibilities, economic risks through constraint of other sectors to meet increased aviation emissions and longterm costs to public health from the impact of air pollution and noise.”
EAC on PAYING FOR SURFACE ACCESS
Environmental Audit Committee says Heathrow must fund the infrastructure improvements necessary
One of the conditions that the Airports Commission suggested should imposed on a Heathrow runway was that the airport should pay most of the cost of the additional surface transport infrastructure. Heathrow has repeatedly said it is not willing to pay more than about £1 billion, though the costs are estimated by Transport for London to be £15 – 20 billion. The Environmental Audit Committee report says: “Before the Government decides to go ahead with Heathrow expansion it should set out its assessment of what would be required in terms of infrastructure improvements, agreed responsibilities for funding and milestones for completion. This should be part of a wider transport strategy for West London to minimise the risk of unintended consequences. The Government must make a binding commitment that Heathrow will fund the infrastructure improvements necessary to accommodate an expanded Heathrow.” The government has said it will not pay, with Richard Goodwill stating in October that: “…. the Government has been clear that it expects the scheme promoter to meet the costs of any surface access proposals that are required as a direct result of airport expansion and from which they will directly benefit.”
EAC on NOISE
Environmental Audit Committee says Government must ensure a 3-runway Heathrow is genuinely no noisier than with 2 runways
The Environmental Audit Committee report looked at noise, as one of the issues that need to be revolved, if the Government wants to approve a Heathrow runway. The EAC says the current metrics that average noise are inadequate. They do not account for peak noise events, and may “ignore a swathe of people who are overflown infrequently but loudly.” “These metrics need to be measured against international standards such as WHO recommendations and inform a change in Government policy on aviation noise.” A new Independent Aviation Noise Authority will “need a more up to date understanding of people’s attitudes to noise if it is to be credible. One of the first tasks of such a body should be to undertake a survey of people’s attitudes to aviation noise.” The EAC says the government has to show “whether an expanded Heathrow would be noisier or less noisy than a two runway Heathrow at the same point in time.” On night flights the EAC says: “The Government should publish a plan, including a series of binding milestones, to deliver the proposed ban as part of any announcement to proceed with expansion at Heathrow…” And even if there is no 3rd runway, an Independent Aviation Noise Authority and a Community Engagement Board should be set up, to address the rock-bottom level of trust local people have in the airport.
EAC on AIR QUALITY
Environmental Audit Committee says Government must ensure legal air pollution limits can be met and maintained
The Environmental Audit Committee report on a Heathrow runway, says in relation to air pollution: “Before the Government makes its decision, it should make its own assessment of the likely costs of preventing an adverse impact on health from expansion at Heathrow and publish it.” Also that the government should not consider a new runway merely if air quality could be worse elsewhere in London than in the Heathrow area. The government will need to demonstrate that legal air pollution limits can be met and maintained “even when the expanded airport is operating at full capacity. Heathrow’s existing air quality strategy should also be revised to meet the new targets. Failing this, Heathrow should not be allowed to expand.” As for not using the new runway if air quality is too poor: “The Government should not approve expansion at Heathrow until it has developed a robust framework for delivery and accountability. This should have binding, real-world milestones and balance the need for investor certainty with assurances that a successor Government cannot set the conditions aside if they become inconvenient.” In distinguishing pollution from the airport, or from other sources: “The Government must establish clearly delineated responsibilities for meeting air quality limits before deciding to go ahead with the scheme” to avoid future legal and commercial risks.
EAC on CARBON
Environmental Audit Committee says Government must act by 2016 to ensure aviation carbon cap is met
The Environmental Audit Committee report says the Airports Commission said the CCC (Committee on Climate Change) was the expert in this area, not it. Therefore the EAC says: “The Government cannot credibly rely on the Commission’s analysis as evidence that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within the limits set by the 2008 Act …..We recommend that the Government give the CCC the opportunity to comment on the Commission’s forecasting of aviation emissions and the feasibility of its possible carbon policy scenarios. The Government should act on any recommendations they make. … Before making any decision on Heathrow expansion, the Government should publish an assessment of the likely impact on the aviation industry – particularly regional airports – and wider economy of measures to mitigate the likely level of additional emissions from Heathrow. …any Government decision on airport expansion should be accompanied by a package of measures to demonstrate a commitment to bringing emissions from international aviation within the economy-wide target set by the 2008 Act. They should also, as a minimum, commit to accepting the CCC’s advice on aviation in relation to the 5th carbon budget, introducing an effective policy framework to bring aviation emissions to 2005 levels by 2050 no later than autumn 2016….”