Court in Austria blocks 3rd runway at Vienna airport, as climate harm outweighs a few more jobs
A court in Austria has ruled that Vienna Schwechat Airport cannot be expanded with a 3rd runway, on climate change grounds. It said the increased greenhouse gas emissions for Austria would cause harm and climate protection is more important than creating other jobs. The court said the ability of the airport to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by its own measures were not sufficient, and emissions would rise too much. It also said it was important to conserve valuable arable land for future generations to provide food supplies. The airport will appeal. It is using the same false arguments that the DfT and Heathrow are using here – that building a 3rd runway would (allegedly) reduce the amount of carbon emissions and noise because they claim (against common logic) that “fuel consumption and the noise are reduced, because the waiting times of the aircraft would be avoided at peak times.”
Vienna court bans third runway because of climate protection
9.2.2017 (Frankfurter Allemegeine)
Vienna Airport can not be expanded. A court forbade the construction of a third runway because it would increase greenhouse gas emissions. Climate protection is more important than other jobs.
For climate protection reasons, no third landing and runway can be built at the Vienna Schwechat airport. On Thursday, the Federal Administrative Court (BVwG) filed an application for the construction and operation of another airport airport. “The construction of the third runway at Vienna Schwechat Airport and the resulting increased air traffic would lead to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions in Austria,” the company said.
The high CO2 burden is more important than the economic and labor market policy interests. The possibilities of the airport to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by its own measures are not sufficient. “It is also urgently necessary to conserve valuable arable land for future generations to provide food supplies” (W109 2000179-1 / 291E)An airport spokesperson regretted the ruling and announced legal resistance. “Flughafen Wien AG will act against this decision and will deal with the administrative court in this matter,” the spokesman said. With a third slope, the fuel consumption and the noise are reduced, because the waiting times of the aircraft would be avoided at peak times.
New jobs would also arise. Without further piste the competition opportunities of the economic and tourist location of Austria are threatened. With 22.8 million passengers (2015), Schwechat is an important hub for air traffic in Eastern and South Eastern Europe.
Third runway of the Vienna-Schwechat airport can not be built
In the view of the Federal Administrative Court, the high CO 2 load is countered by the positive aspects – a project submitted 10 years ago is not eligible for the BVwG.
The Federal Administrative Court states that the application for the construction and operation of the planned third runway at Vienna Schwechat Airport has been rejected. The investigation results of the decision of the authorities of the project filed ten years ago were subjected to a new, comprehensive review, with the participation of experts, in the course of the appeal proceedings by the Federal Administrative Court.
The competent Senate, consisting of three judges, has decided, after a detailed examination and consideration of the public interest, that the public interest in protection against the negative effects of climate change, in particular the high CO 2 pollution, is to be assessed higher than the positive public (Location policy and labor market policy) interests in the realization of the project together with additional needs.
The construction of the third runway at Vienna Schwechat Airport and the increase in air traffic would lead to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions in Austria. This is achieved by taking into account the emissions during take-off and landing operations as well as the greenhouse gas emissions after reaching the airports. From the point of view of the Federal Administrative Court, this high additional CO 2 -loading is not justified against the positive aspects of the project.
The Judges ‘Council dealt with complaints from a total of 28 different complainants (private individuals, citizens’ initiatives and the City of Vienna) and examined the various aspects of the location and labor market policy, the need for increasing flight movements and the question of air safety in the complaints procedure. A three-day oral hearing was held and a total of seven comprehensive expert opinions (air pollutants, noise protection, birdwatching, environmental hygiene, transport planning, greenhouse gas emissions and demand planning) were commissioned.
In this decision, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the Austrian Federal Constitution and the Lower Austrian Land Constitution have given high priority to environmental protection, in particular climate protection, and Austria has committed itself internationally and nationally to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and sectoral emission levels within the framework of the Climate Protection Act By 2020. The possibilities of the airport to reduce CO 2emissions by means of its own measures (such as the installation of solar or photovoltaic systems or the conversion of the car fleet to electric cars) were not sufficient.
There were no fundamental questions of law in the proceedings, so a proper revision was not allowed.
Opponents in Austria delighted by court decision to ban Vienna 3rd runway due to CO2, but airport may appeal
Austria’s Federal Administrative Court has blocked Vienna airport’s plans for a 3rd runway because of the extra greenhouse gas emissions it would have caused, and unacceptable loss of agricultural land. The airport and its allies are furious and have sworn to break this ruling. Legally they should not be able to because ordinary appeal was excluded. They must overcome the very high hurdles of an extraordinary appeal, but opponents fear they will try to get this. The appeal would have to make transparent what is at stake: is Austria going to take climate change seriously or not? In the UK we have the same problem, but our courts are clearly not mandated in the same way in relation to climate change (air quality is separate). Calculations show the 3rd runway, with its traffic projections, would have been by far the most polluting project in terms of GHG-emissions, and would have destroyed several hundred hectares of agricultural land – needed to grow food. Some of the Austrian media are taking the line that such a decision is not to be made by the court but by politicians, and that the Austrian economy should be more important than the climate. So the airport and Vienna city (20% shareholder of the Vienna airport stock corporation) want to appeal. Opponents are worried.
Earlier – and some more information about the runway:
Vienna Airport originally projected that it would need a third runway by 2012, or 2016 at the latest, in the event of cooperation with nearby Bratislava Airport. It currently projects that a third runway will be necessary by 2025, however, environmental organizations and some local communities oppose construction. These groups have attacked the decision of Lower Austria (the state in which the airport is located) to move ahead with the first phase of construction; verdict from the administrative court that has taken up the lawsuit was expected later in 2015. As of September 2016, there are ongoing public protests while still no legal decision had been made. Now the court has decided. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_International_Airport
Objections to plans for a 3rd runway at Vienna airport
Vienna airport has plans for a third runway, saying it is necessary due to increasing numbers of passengers etc. In July a consultation process started, on the environmental impact assessment. This has now closed, and there have been at least 25 appeals sent in. The second phase of the decision process will be handled by the Department of the Environment. Realistically, a final decision on the runway will not happen before 2014/15. Expansion opponents fear that their objections will not be listened to. A spokesman for the initiative opposing the runway plans said a few weeks ago that the construction of the road is already a foregone conclusion. The airport’s dialogue forum says residents groups are happy that more stringent noise and night flight regulations had been incorporated than provided by law.