Another response by Sir Jeremy Sullivan on the NPS, showing his oversight is not satisfactory

Sir Jeremy Sullivan was given the task, by the government, of monitoring the DfT consultation on the draft Airports NPS. People can write to him with concerns about the process. Some very unsatisfactory responses have been received. One person wrote to say: “One of the boards at the consultation displays said the following: “Expanding Heathrow is estimated to deliver additional benefits to passengers and the wider economy up to £61 billion over 60 years.”  In the absence of explanation, any normal person (one who has not obtained and studied the detailed evidence) would take this to mean that there is an overall economic benefit from Heathrow expansion. In fact this is not the case.  The £61bn is GROSS benefits, the benefits without any of the costs being subtracted.  If costs are subtracted the NET economic benefit, according to the DFT, is £0.2bn to £6.1bn.  That is, 10 to 300 times smaller.  …. This is not a matter of content, which you have stated you will not consider.  It is a matter of balance, objectivity and not misleading the public in a consultation.” And the reply?  “Whether statements such as those which you mention in your email are/are not ‘misleading’ is a matter of opinion. This is precisely the kind of point that you can make in response to the consultation.”  ie. washing his hands of his responsibilities in this task.
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Question sent to Sir Jeremy Sullivan on the DfT’s draft National Policy Statement:

Dated 12th May 2017

Sent to independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk

 

“Could this comment please be passed on to Sir Jeremy Sullivan forthwith.

“One of the boards at the consultation displays said the following: “Expanding Heathrow is estimated to deliver additional benefits to passengers and the wider economy up to £61 billion over 60 years.”  In the absence of explanation, any normal person (one who has not obtained and studied the detailed evidence) would take this to mean that there is an overall economic benefit from Heathrow expansion.

“In fact this is not the case.  The £61bn is GROSS benefits, the benefits without any of the costs being subtracted.  If costs are subtracted the NET economic benefit, according to the DFT, is £0.2bn to £6.1bn.  That is, 10 to 300 times smaller. 

“A normal person, on seeing an economic benefit quoted for a scheme, would obviously expect the costs to be included in any claim of economic benefit for the scheme.  The bald statement about £61bn is therefore materially misleading and is clearly designed to engender public support for Heathrow expansion.

“This is not a matter of content, which you have stated you will not consider.  It is a matter of balance, objectivity and not misleading the public in a consultation.  These are surely within your remit. “

[Name and address supplied]

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Reply

Reply from the independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk

16/5/17

“Dear Sir,

“Thank you for your email. Sir Jeremy has asked that I respond to you with the below;

“Whether statements such as those which you mention in your email are/are not ‘misleading’ is a matter of opinion. This is precisely the kind of point that you can make in response to the consultation.

Kind Regards,”

Sir Jeremy Sullivan  [sic]  !

[Probably from “Craig” who sends out the unsatisfactory responses, on behalf of Sir Jeremy. Whether Sir Jeremy himself ever actually read the initial email is not clear]


Comment. by the original complainant:

“This is a shocking response. Quoting a figure for benefits while excluding all cost is clearly misleading. Hardly a “matter of opinion”.  Of all people, you would expect an ex judge to see that and to care about telling the truth and not misleading people.”


Nobody other than the DfT (and the company looking at consultation responses) will ever see comments made to its consultation. So if those are about process, and Sir Jeremy Sullivan had not dealt with them, the oversight process has been wholly unsatisfactory.
 
People need to complain about this to the current Transport Minister, Chris Grayling chris.grayling.mp@parliament.uk or to the next one, if there is a change next week.

See more of the unsatisfactory, derisory and evasive responses people have received from Sir Jeremy Sullivan.

 

Inadequate and unsatisfactory replies from Sir Jeremy Sullivan to complaints about the NPS consultation process

Many people have taken part in the DfT’s consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS). The NPS is to provide the policy to support a 3rd Heathrow runway. The DfT appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, a retired judge, to oversee the consultation and ensure it was carried out adequately. However, it appears Sir Jeremy is only looking at process, and not at content.  Responses by Sir Jeremy to letters to him, complaining about the consultation, have received some unsatisfactory responses – and some of these are copied below. Sir Jeremy is unconcerned that the material in the exhibitions by the DfT was biased, and gave only partial information. His view is that as the government is in favour of the runway, it would be expected that the material would reflect this. To all those who complained to him, he merely advises that all comments and points should be sent to the DfT in consultation responses. In response to many people who complained about the absence of flight path detail, he comments that “In my view it is still possible to have a fair consultation upon the basis of indicative flight paths, provided it is made clear that they are only indicative.” And on selective quotes from backers of Heathrow (no balance with other comments) he says: “In my view using quotes from business leaders and others which are in support of this position is in keeping with the purpose of the [DfT consultation] events.”   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/05/jeremy-sullivan-inadequate-replies/

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