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“Heathrow Hub” proposers, claiming to be without vested interests, revealed to stand to make millions from options on land

The “Heathrow Hub” proposal for a 4 runway Heathrow got some very expensive full page ads in the  main broadsheet papers recently, probably costing a total of well over £200,000. Now the Guardian reports that the group behind the “Heathrow Hub” scheme, which said in its adverts that it was without the “lobbying of vested interests” stands to make millions from options on nearby land should its £12.5bn plan be accepted by the government. Heathrow Hub adverts aimed to persuade the public that its expansionist solution could mean “quieter Heathrow expansion” despite almost doubling the number of planes over London. Their plan includes building on a 200-acre site north of Heathrow that the group could buy for a fraction of its future value. If the government approves the Heathrow expansion scheme, the value of the land currently might rise from around £10,000 per acre to £2m or more – an increase in value from £2m to at least £400m for the site.  The 4 Heathrow Hub directors are shareholders in the land, and have a vested interest in its development.


Heathrow upgrade ad blitz run by group with options on land

Heathrow Hub, which is promoting four-runway plan, could make millions should its £12.5bn proposal be accepted

Aerial view of Heathrow airport

Aerial view of Heathrow airport. The Heathrow Hub proposal also includes a terminal and transport hub to be built on a 200-acre site north of Heathrow.
Photograph: Jason Hawkes/Corbis

A group that has launched a national advertising campaign for its proposal for a four-runway Heathrow without the “lobbying of vested interests” stands to make millions from options on nearby land should its £12.5bn plan be accepted by the government.

Heathrow Hub is fronted by one of Britain’s most influential civil engineers and a former Concorde pilot, and its newspaper adverts aim to persuade the public that its expansionist solution could mean “quieter Heathrow expansion” despite almost doubling the number of planes over London.

But while its commercials focus on more runways, its solution also includes a terminal and transport hub to be built on a 200-acre site north of Heathrow that the group could buy for a fraction of its future value – and where it has also been lobbying to build a new station on the HS2 line on a revised route.

Heathrow Hub’s directors include Mark Bostock, the former Arup engineer whose career history includes persuading the government to change the original route of HS1, the high-speed Channel tunnel rail link, so the line terminated at St Pancras rather than Waterloo. He also held meetings with Stop HS2 groups in the Chilterns to campaign against the current route for the new line.

Plans have been submitted to the Davies commission which is deciding on expanding airports in the south-east. If the government approves the Heathrow expansion scheme, the value for land currently under green belt restrictions would, according to estimates from property firm Savills, leap from around £10,000 per acre to £2m or more – an increase in value from £2m to at least £400m for the site. The scheme’s budget makes a proviso for £1.4bn for compulsory purchase of land.

Heathrow Hub’s full-page advert in the Sunday Times, followed by other broadsheets, invited readers to scrutinise “the plan for a quieter Heathrow expansion that isn’t being heard”. It included a visual plan of Heathrow with four runways, but not the transport hub, described in the submission to the Davies commission as a new entry point to Heathrow airport.

The terminal would straddle road and rail links, including access to the M25, the Great Western rail line, Crossrail and potentially HS2.

Posing the question, “So why haven’t you heard of Heathrow Hub?”, the advert continues: “Perhaps because it’s a logical solution devised by an aviator and an economist … rather than the pipe dream of a politician, or the lobbying of vested interests.”

Fronting the campaign alongside Bostock is Captain William “Jock” Lowe, the longest serving Concorde pilot. Bostock said they were backed by venture capitalists but declined to specify who. One backer is Ian Hannam, former chairman of global capital markets at JP Morgan, who is currently appealing against a £450,000 fine from the Financial Services Authority for passing on inside information. Hannam bought stakes in Runway Innovations Ltd, which owns the rights to the Heathrow Hub scheme and whose directors are Bostock, Lowe and two others.

Bostock confirmed that all four directors are shareholders in the firm which acquired options for the land “three or four years ago”. Asked if that meant they did have a vested interest, Bostock said: “From that point of view, yes.”

The Heathrow Hub concept was first submitted to the Department for Transport as a proposal for HS2 in 2009.

A spokesman for Heathrow airport said it did not endorse the plans, mainly as local residents would lose respite periods from noise with the new runway configuration. The airport told the Davies commission that building a transport interchange 4km north would be worse for passengers and cut public transport use.

Lowe said: “We have embarked on this advertising campaign in the hope the proposal is properly understood by all those interested in the future of Britain’s aviation capacity.”




Retired pilot Jock Lowe devises £7.5bn plan to double length of Heathrow runways (and lose runway alternation)

11.3.2013A retired Concorde pilot called William “Jock” Lowe has been promoting his £7.5bn plan to extend  both Heathrow runways from 3,900 and 3,700 metres, up to 7,500 metres – approximately doubling them.  He has submitted his scheme to the Airports Commission (all expressions on intend on such projects had to be delivered to the Commission by 28th February).  In the Lowe scheme (if it was to be allowed) the number of flights could be doubled, from the current cap of 480,000 per year up to about a million. This scheme is cheaper than the Leunig scheme, proposed in October, for 4 Heathrow runways, a bit further west.  The rise in flight numbers could only be done by “mixed mode”, which means having planes both landing, and taking off, all day on both runways. So a plane would be landing on the eastern part of a runway, while another takes off on the west portion of it.  This would mean London residents over flown would get twice as many flights as they do now, and they would lose their half a day of peace, which they get from the current runway alternation. It would be deeply and passionately opposed by thousands of Londoners.




Star banker Ian Hannam backs Heathrow Hub scheme

Ian Hannam, the City dealmaker who is fighting a £450,000 fine for allegedly passing on inside information, is ploughing his own money into one of the proposals to expand Heathrow.

By , Leisure and Transport Correspondent (Telegraph)

11 Sep 2013

The former chairman of global capital markets at JP Morgan is backing Heathrow Hub, a group that wants to extend the West London airport to four runways and build a new surface transport facility to connect it to Crossrail, Great Western train services and potentially HS2.

Mr Hannam has bought stakes in Runway Innovations Limited and Heathrow Hub Limited, the two companies behind the Heathrow Hub proposal, which is one of several submitted to the government-backed Airports Commission.

Mr Hannam was an engineer before moving into finance and becoming one of the City’s most high-profile bankers.

Heathrow Hub has suggested building a new transport centre on land two miles to the north of the airport’s current site, which would connect it to several major train lines, including Crossrail, the £14.8bn project that will reduce journey times between east and west London.

Heathrow Hub’s backers, who also include Mark Bostock, one of the architects of the HS1 rail scheme, have also proposed extending the airport’s two runways and splitting them into four independent ones.

They believe the project could reduce noise for local residents as the touchdown point for aircraft would be two miles further west than at present.

“In the past 30 years, London has grown into a truly global centre for finance, industry, culture and diplomacy and this has brought massive benefits to the whole country,” said Mr Hannam.

“If we are going to maintain that competitive position for the whole of Britain, there is obviously an urgent requirement to invest in aviation capacity and I am convinced that expanding Heathrow is the only realistic option on the table.

“But it needs to be done cleverly and sensitively, adopting serious noise mitigation strategies. Heathrow Hub is an absolutely brilliant solution. I believe it is also the proposal which best meets the remit of the Airports Commission and I hope that they will include it in their shortlist when it is published,” he added.

Mr Hannam is currently appealing a fine handed down in April 2012 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) – whose duties have now been rolled into the Financial Conduct Authority – over allegations of non-deliberate market abuse, which he denies. He is now the majority owner of advisory firm Strand Partners. His other investments include Centaur, an Asian minerals business and Mansfelder Kupfer und Messing (MKM), a German copper fabricator.

The Airports Commission is drawing up a shortlist of proposals.


The northern runway option of the Heathrow hub plan:

Heathrow hub runways

Heathrow hub north runway

Illustrations taken from






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“London Britannia” (aka ‘Boris Island’) mega Thames Estuary airport designs publicised by promoters, Testrad

In the last month before the Airports Commission reveals its interim report, there is a flurry of activity, with airport schemes vying with each other to get media attention – and the attention of Sir Howard Davies. The mega-expensive (and needing huge public funding) scheme calling itself  “London Britannia Airport” (aka Boris Island) had got itself plenty of media coverage. Its developers, Testrad, say the cost of  £47 billion to develop the airport plus rail links, infrastructure etc, “would be recouped from the real estate value and closure of Heathrow.” There is little new, other than what was reported earlier, in July. The airport claims it would bring huge economic benefits, cover most of the Thames estuary in a development area, allow the area at Heathrow (airport would have to be closed) to become a pleasant London suburb, and there are a list of other claims – including that it “avoids the problems of other land-based airport developments.”  It even makes out that it avoids bird strike problems (?). The entire area is part of the Outer Thames  Estuary Special Protection Area.


The Testrad brochure containing their airport proposal is at         


‘Boris Island’ London Airport designs unveiled

Artist's impression of island airport
The consortium behind the airport said it could be built in seven years

Designs and details of how a Thames estuary airport would work have been unveiled.

London Britannia Airport, the proposed six-runway airport formerly known as Boris Island, would cost £47.3bn.

The consortium behind the scheme claims it could be built within seven years.

The Davies airport commission is currently reviewing potential sites for more airport capacity in the South East, including additional runways at Gatwick and Heathrow.

Testrad (Thames Estuary Research and Development) said the island scheme avoided the problems of other land-based airport developments.  [ In reality, the whole area where this  mega-airport is planned is part of the Outer Thames Special Protection area. See below and interactive map   AW.]

‘Bedevilled millions’

A spokeswoman said those included demolition of houses, removal of green field sites, bird strikes, [???]  acquisition of private land and demolition of industrial infrastructure. [Bit disingenuous, as they claim the airport will lead to massive development of areas right around the estuary, for miles. See indicative drawing below from their brochure ]

Thames gateway map

She said a key point was “separating people from planes” by giving passengers the benefit of air travel but without noise because all aircraft landing and departures would be over the estuary rather than residential areas.

Artist's impression of island airportTestrad said opportunities for housing, employment and the economy were huge but Heathrow would probably have to close

“Most importantly it avoids flying over densely populated areas of London and the South East, removing completely the noise contours and impact which have bedevilled millions of people throughout and around London over the past 40 years,” she said.

The consortium has said that although Heathrow would probably have to close, the opportunities for new housing, employment and economic regeneration were huge.

It said £47bn would be recouped from the real estate value and closure of Heathrow.

’24-hour flights’

Testrad said there could be a new London borough in the Heathrow area with 300,000 new houses and about 200,000 new jobs, along with economic regeneration of east London, Kent and Essex.

It said the runway configuration would allow three or four aircraft to operate at the same time, 24-hours-a-day in all weather conditions. [??]

Logistics operations would be at Sheerness and the A249 would be upgraded to provide a new M2 connection.

Passenger check-in and arrival terminals would be at Ebbsfleet, next to the high speed rail link, and at King’s Cross railway station in London.

There would be a long-term option of a check-in at the Royal Docks in east London and central London.

Testrad said check-in terminals would be linked to the airport by high speed rail tunnels and the estuary airport would be “car free with no private car access”.

The London Britannia Airport is on the same site as the former “Boris Island” plan but the project was a new “iteration” of research conducted years ago, the spokeswoman added.

Testrad is the original agency formed by London Mayor Boris Johnson to look at the estuary airport option, but it now involves more partners including architecture, marine, environment, transport and aviation experts, she said.

Medway, Kent and Southend councils, the RSPB and environmental campaigners have opposed the estuary airport plans.

Noise impact map
Testrad said all aircraft landing and departures would be over the estuary
They propose new high speed rail links from London to their airport – far out towards the east of the estuary (to be built at public expense).  It is around 40 miles, as the crow flies, from central London to the proposed airport site.  So the proposed high speed line from the airport to Waterloo would be at least 40 miles. Which is about the same distance as London to Oxford.
Thames gateway new rail links
Area in  pink is the “Thames Gateway Area”.                               
Map from Page 18 of English Nature document on the Outer Thames Special Protection Area 
part of Outer Thames SPA map
and also Guardian interactive map showing conservation areas around the Thames estuary at
Their previous press release, from October 2012, is at

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Environmental Audit Committee warn that biodiversity offsetting plans are too simplistic and a “box-ticking exercise”

The Environmental Audit Committee has said a plan to help developers to win permission to build housing on wildlife habitats by “offsetting” the impact is too simplistic and could turn into a licence to pour concrete on the countryside. The government scheme would involve very perfunctory assessments of species in the area being targeted for development, taking as little as 20 minutes.  A developer would then offer to create a replacement habitat somewhere else.  Many sites need to be studied over a year, to get a true record of the species using them. The Audit Committee said the scheme could deliver benefits if subjected to stricter rules, but as proposed it could diminish important habitats, such as ancient woodland or SSSis. They told the Government the scheme needs to be delayed till pilot projects have been independently evaluated.  Owen Patterson does not like development schemes being held up for biodiversity reasons. Many valuable sites have ecosystems that have taken decades or centuries to develop – these cannot be instantly replicated. 


Biodiversity offsetting plans too simplistic, MPs warn

By Mark Kinver, Environment reporter, BBC News

12 November 2013

Biodiversity offsetting plans outlined by the government must be strengthened if they are to “properly protect Britain’s wildlife”, MPs have warned.

The scheme aims to ensure that when a development causes unavoidable damage to biodiversity, “new, bigger or better nature sites will be created”.

But the MPs say the assessment proposed by ministers appears to be little more than a “box-ticking exercise”.

Six areas are taking part in a two-year pilot, which began in April 2012.

Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) chairwoman Joan Walley MP saidmany witnesses that gave evidence to the EAC’s inquiry had voiced concerns that key habitats – such as ancient woodlands and Sites of Special Scientific Interest – would be included in the government’s offsetting plans.

‘Not adequate’

“There is a danger that an overly simplistic offsetting system would not protect these long-established ecosystems,” she added.

“Biodiversity offsetting could improve the way our planning system accounts for the damage developments do to wildlife, if it is done well.

“The assessment process currently proposed by the government appears to be little more than a 20-minute box-ticking exercise that is simply not adequate to assess a site’s year-round biodiversity.

Ms Walley explained: “If a 20-minute assessment was carried out in a British wood in winter, for instance, it would be easy to overlook many of the migratory birds that may use it as habitat in summer.”

However, in their report, the MPs acknowledged that it was “too soon to reach a decision” on offsetting while the pilot schemes had yet to be completed and independently evaluated.

But they added that they were publishing their report now as ministers were considering submissions made during a public consultation on the proposals.

The consultation on how the scheme would be rolled-out across England closed last week and officials are now considering the submissions.

Responding to the EAC’s findings, National Trust natural environment director Simon Pryor said the MPs’ report showed that the government had to take its time to ensure to get the scheme right.

“Offsetting could be a positive way to help avoid the loss of wildlife that can result from development – but only if it is done properly,” he observed.

“If a system is introduced too rapidly, and without adequate testing and evidence, the prospect of a workable and supportable biodiversity offsetting system would be undermined for many years to come.”

In its consultation document, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that England faced “the twin challenges of growing its economy and improving its natural environment”, adding: “We will not achieve these goals unless our planning system is fit-for-purpose.”

A Defra spokesman told BBC News: “Biodiversity offsetting could help improve our environment as well as boost the economy.

“This report, along with other consultation responses, will help us get the detail of the policy right,” he explained.

“We will formally respond to the report in due course.”

A number of reports, produced by the Ecosystem Markets Task Forceand the Natural Capital Committee, had identified biodiversity offsetting as a way of delivering a sustainable planning system.

However, an independent review of England’s wildlife sites, led by Prof Sir John Lawton, concluded in September 2010 that biodiversity offsetting must not become a “licence to destroy” or damage existing habitat of recognised value.

“In other words, offsets must only be used to compensate for genuinely unavoidable damage,” the review recommended.

Defra said that offsetting schemes had been adopted in more than 20 countries, including Australia, Germany, India and the US, as a means of protecting biodiversity.

Ms Walley also observed that the pilot schemes, which are scheduled to run until April 2014, had “not had a good take-up”.

“That suggests that these sorts of schemes need to be mandatory, but the government should exercise some caution about this because the pilots need to be rigorously and independently assessed first to make sure all the lesson are properly taken on board”.


What is biodiversity offsetting?

Actions by large companies, organisations or countries to compensate for their negative impact on ecosystems and biodiversity by funding or developing schemes which conserve biodiversity in other areas.

Related BBC Stories




5 September 2013

Green compensation proposals outlined

By Paul RinconScience editor, BBC News website

Blue butterfly
Government proposals would mean developers would have to pay compensation equal to any damage to habitats

The UK government has outlined its proposals on compensating for the loss of biodiversity through development.

The idea of “biodiversity offsetting” is controversial, with some campaigners dubbing it a “licence to trash”.

It means developers planning to build houses in environmentally sensitive areas would be allowed to go ahead if they could offset damage by paying for conservation activities elsewhere.

The environment department Defra has published a green paper on the scheme.

“Offsetting is an exciting opportunity to look at how we can improve the environment as well as grow the economy,” said environment secretary Owen Paterson.

Commenting on the consultation, which will conclude on 7 November, he said: “We want to hear from developer and wildlife groups alike on how we can simplify the existing planning process while enhancing our natural environment.

“There is no reason why wildlife and development can’t flourish side by side.”

In England, six pilot areas were selected in 2012 for two year trials of a voluntary approach to offsetting through the planning system.

In March this year, a report from the government’s Ecosystems Markets Task Force recommended that the offsetting scheme should be rolled out nationwide as a matter of priority.

Offsetting, it said, would “revolutionise conservation in England by delivering restoration, creation and long term management on in excess of 300,000 hectares of habitat over 20 years”.

‘Irreplaceable’ habitats

Similar schemes have been up and running for many years in other parts of the world. But environmental groups have highlighted problems with the idea.

The Woodland Trust has campaigned against the inclusion of ancient woodlands in any offsetting scheme and it rejects the suggestion that the future of these habitats should rest on the proposed economic benefit of a given development.

The Trust’s chief executive Sue Holden said she welcomed the fact this green paper recognised the “irreplaceable” nature of these woodlands. But she added: “We need to see a more robust use of planning law to support this, ensuring that irreplaceable habitats are treated as such.

“Offsetting should only ever be a last resort when all other avenues have been explored to avoid loss or damage.

“It is critical that any habitats created to compensate for loss are placed within the local area that suffered the original impact. Unfortunately, this still appears open to debate.”

The Trust says that, in theory, losses to biodiversity in Kent, for example, could be compensated for in Derbyshire – ignoring the local value of habitats.

‘Sound concept’

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth described the plans as a licence to “trash nature”. FOE’s nature campaigner Sandra Bell said that nature was “not something that can be bulldozed in one place and recreated in another at the whim of a developer.

“Instead of putting nature up for sale, the government should strengthen its protection through the planning system and set out bold plans to safeguard and restore wildlife across the UK.”

Some critics also suggest that developers could be tempted to put money on the table to pay for offsetting and not feel obliged to go through the preliminary steps of trying to avoid damage.

Supporters say that despite potential difficulties, the overall concept is sound. They point to the fact that money received from developers for relatively minor damage could be pooled to create a much larger conservation area.

Mike Clarke, chief executive of the RSPB, also said offsetting should only be considered when other options have been exhausted. He said: “If government want to get this right, they will have to listen very carefully to the conservation community and heed our warnings.

“They will also need to ensure that planning authorities have the expertise to assess proposals for offsetting, otherwise, it will go horribly wrong for wildlife.”




31 July 2013

Matt McGrath

Article written byMatt McGrathEnvironment correspondent

‘Licence to trash’ offsetting scheme set back until Autumn

There’s slightly less of a whiff of BO down at the Department of the Environment these days.

Nothing to do with sweltering civil servants; this BO is the nose wrinkling acronym for biodiversity offsetting - a concept that has been criticised by some environmentalists as a licence to “trash” the countryside.

The government is very keen on the idea, the offsetting, that is, not the trashing.

But despite their interest, new proposals on offsetting have now been kicked into the autumnal long grass.

The idea of biodiversity offsetting works like this : Developers who want to build houses in environmentally sensitive areas would be allowed to go ahead with their schemes if they could offset any damage by paying for conservation activities in other locations.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) believes the idea can help grow the economy and improve the environment at the same time.

Pilots on trialCertainly, similar schemes have been up and running for many years in other parts of the world. In the US a wetland banking idea has been active since the 1970s. In New South Wales, Australia, a bio bank was set up a decade ago, allowing land owners to generate credits through the improvement of biodiversity and these credits can then be sold to developers who are likely to damage a site.

In England, six pilot areas were selected in 2012 for two year trials of a voluntary approach to offsetting through the planning system.

In April this year, a report from the Government’s Ecosystems Markets Task Force recommended that the offsetting scheme should be rolled out nationwide as a matter of priority.

BO, it said, would “revolutionise conservation in England by delivering restoration, creation and long term management on in excess of 300,000 hectares of habitat over 20 years”.

Secretary of State Owen Paterson said he would outline his proposals in a green paper that was due to be published for consultation this week.

But BO has now been offset to the back end of the year.

Defra says it needs to take the time to get the proposals right,

“Biodiversity offsetting could help improve our environment as well as boost the economy and it is important that we get the detail right,” said a spokesman.

“We will continue to talk to interested groups and will launch a formal consultation in the Autumn.”

However environmental organisations have a different view of what is going on.

“I guess there wasn’t as much of a consensus around developing an approach as people might have thought was emerging,” said Austin Brady, head of conservation at the Woodland Trust.

He says there are considerable problems with the idea – the suggestion that ancient woodlands could be included in any scheme is something he says is a non-starter. And he is concerned that by making offsetting a statutory part of the planning process, developers will use it to their advantage.

“The concern is with the ‘licence to trash’ concept is that if a developer comes along with a major project they may be tempted to just put some money on the table to pay for offsetting and not feel obliged to go through the preliminary steps of trying to avoid damage.

“That might feel like a quicker fix for them and that’s a concern.”

Other organisations object to the concept that one bit of nature can be used to replace another. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the complexity of our environment says Neil Sinden from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

“In practice, how could a developer replace a mile of ancient hedgerow with three times the length of new planting and say that is sufficient mitigation? Many habitats are simply irreplaceable and integral to the character of our landscape.”

Supporters say that despite these difficulties, the overall concept is sound. They point to the fact that you could pool the money you might get from developers for relatively minor damage and use it to create a much larger conservation area.

“If we get it right it could benefit the economy and benefit wildlife,” said Nik Shelton from RSPB.

“But the early proposals that we saw weren’t going to achieve that. It sounds like they’ve listened.”





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Committee on Climate Change warns that UK must not reduce the level of ambition of its 4th carbon budget (2023 – 2027)

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has advised that there has been no significant change in the climate science, international and EU circumstances on which the UK’s 4th carbon budget (2023 – 2027) was set in 2011. It says there is therefore no legal or economic basis for the government to change the budget or reduce its ambition.  Only if there is significant change in circumstances can budgets be altered. Considering the recent IPCC report, the CCC agrees the emissions cuts to meet the 4th carbon budget are a minimum UK contribution to required global action. It reiterates that the UK is not acting alone in shouldering its responsibilities. In fact our targets are relatively unchallenging.  It and says the UK has an important role in securing an ambitious international agreement. The latest IPCC report reiterates how vital continued action is and that a global temperature rise of  4 degrees C is likely if emissions continue to increase. The CCC will provide its final advice on the 4th carbon budget in December 2013.



Committee on Climate Change assessment of science and international circumstances reinforces existing fourth carbon budget

7 November 2013 (Committee on Climate Change press release)

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today advised that there has been no significant change in the climate science, international and EU circumstances on which the fourth carbon budget (2023 – 2027) was set in 2011. Therefore, in these regards, there is no legal or economic basis to change the budget at this time.

The CCC’s advice follows an agreement by the Government when setting the budget that this should be reviewed in 2014. Only if there has been significant change in the circumstances on which the budget was set, demonstrated by evidence and analysis, can the budget be changed.

In making its recommendations, the CCC considered the implications of the recent IPCC review for UK approaches to reducing emissions. It concludes that temperature increase of 4 degrees is likely if global emissions continue to rise; that significant cuts in global emissions are necessary to limit this risk; that emissions cuts to meet the fourth carbon budget are a minimum UK contribution to required global action.

The report also considers international action and concludes that the UK is not acting alone: many other countries around the world have made ambitious commitments and are putting in place approaches to reduce emissions. Global emissions cuts to achieve climate objectives remain feasible if challenging. The UK has an important role in securing an ambitious international agreement

At the European level, the fourth carbon budget is at the low end of the range of ambition currently being discussed for EU emissions reductions through the 2020s; if the UK Government is successful in achieving its objectives for EU ambition, a tightening of the budget would be needed.

Lord Deben, Chairman of the CCC said:

“The fourth carbon budget remains sensible in light of the latest evidence on climate science and international action. In these respects there is no legal or economic case to reduce ambition in the budget. The UK’s position in the EU negotiations is fully congruent with the budget although a success at the level hoped for by the UK Government might well require its tightening.

The latest IPCC report reiterates how vital continued action is to address climate change and the international response shows that the UK is in a global race to attract low-carbon investment and jobs. It will therefore be important for Government to make a timely announcement on the fourth carbon budget. A protracted process would exacerbate current uncertainties about its commitment to supporting investment in low-carbon technologies. It is entirely right that the Government should continue to push for agreement on ambitious EU and international emissions reductions and focus on developing policies to support low-carbon investment while ensuring affordability and competitiveness”.

The review of climate science confirmed that:

  • There is increased confidence that long-term warming is as a result of human activity
  • Recent assessments of the likely temperature change in response to raised greenhouse gas concentrations (“climate sensitivity”) confirm assessments in previous years.
  • Temperature change of 4 degrees is likely if emissions continue to increase
  • Global emissions need to peak around 2020 with rapid cuts to reduce emissions by half in 2050. Delaying peaking of global emissions to 2030 will raise the costs and risks of achieving the climate objective underpinning the Climate Change Act and probably make it unattainable.

On progress towards reducing global emissions the report finds that:

  • Progress towards a global deal has been slow but broadly as expected when the fourth carbon budget was set. The UN has formally adopted an objective to limit warming to 2°C and is working towards an agreement aimed at peaking and reducing emissions consistent with this goal. The aim is to resolve that process in Paris at the end of 2015.
  • The UK is not acting alone. There are many countries which have made ambitious commitments to reduce emissions, and are delivering against these commitments. There is now widespread coverage by low-carbon policies of the major emissions sources around the world. This provides a good basis for agreeing and implementing an ambitious global deal.
  • The climate objective and the global emissions reduction required to achieve it remain feasible, but very challenging. These remain an appropriate basis for policy, both because of the very significant risks associated with dangerous climate change and the costs of delayed-action pathways. The fourth carbon budget is important to the global process because of the key role of the UK in securing an effective global agreement.

On EU circumstances the report finds that:

  • The fourth budget is consistent with the cost-effective emissions reduction pathways identified by the European Commission.
  • It is at the low end of the range of ambition for EU emissions cuts through the 2020s currently being discussed (i.e. ambition in the budget is relatively low, emissions are relatively high).
  • If the more ambitious EU targets that the UK has proposed are agreed, then the budget would need to be tightened.
  • There is no justification legal or economic to loosen the budget now and then tighten it later once agreement has been reached. Such an approach would be bad for business confidence and undermine the UK’s credibility in current negotiations over EU ambition.

The CCC will provide its final advice on the fourth carbon budget in December 2013. This will include assessments of technology costs and feasible deployment rates, possible impacts of shale gas, energy affordability, competitiveness and security of supply.



UK must not waver on carbon budget, warns Committee on Climate Change

Government advisory body categorically rejects argument that UK’s climate action is ahead of other countries and disadvantaging businesses

By Will Nichols  (Business Green)

7 Nov 2013

Chimney emitting pollution at Conesville power plant

Any weakening of the UK’s carbon targets in the mid-2020s will see the country slip further behind China, the US, and many other major economies that are currently taking ambitious action to combat greenhouse gas emissions, the government’s independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) will warn today.

In the first of two much anticipated reports on the UK’s fourth carbon budget, which covers the period from 2023 to 2027, the CCC will say there is no basis for altering the current target when it is reviewed next year.

The group will argue that it has assessed both the latest climate science and issues relating to international competitiveness and has concluded that the current goal of halving emissions against a 1990 base line by 2027 should not be watered down.

Chancellor George Osborne has previously claimed that UK businesses would be economically disadvantaged if the country reduced emissions faster than its competitors. He told the 2011 Conservative party conference: “We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business. So let’s, at the very least, resolve that we’re going to cut our carbon emissions no slower, but also no faster, than our fellow countries in Europe.”

The argument helped him to secure a formal review of the fourth carbon budget that could allow him to relax the target if it can be shown to be out of step with other nations.

But the CCC will today unequivocally state that not only are other major emitters keeping pace with the UK’s decarbonisation efforts, many of them are actually taking on much more ambitious commitments.

Opponents of low carbon action often cite China’s breakneck expansion in coal power stations as evidence any UK efforts will make no difference to global efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. But the CCC report outlines how China is planning a renewable energy programme 10 times larger than the UK’s entire power system, as well as accelerating nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (CCS) development in line with commitments to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by up to 45 per cent between 2005 to 2020. It may currently be responsible for 29 per cent of global CO2 emissions, but the CCC echoes a number of recent reports in predicting China’s emissions could peak in the early 2020s.

The report also highlights how the US, the world’s second largest emitter with 16 per cent of global CO2 emissions, is on track to deliver its Copenhagen Accord commitment to reduce 2020 emissions by 17 per cent against 2005 levels, while Germany, Japan, the EU, and Mexico have all pledged long-term action on emissions.

In addition, it notes that a fifth of the world’s non-transport emissions are now covered by carbon pricing initiatives and further schemes are either being introduced or have been proposed in China, South Korea, Brazil, Chile, Ukraine, Mexico, and parts of the US and Canada.

David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC, said it is simply a “myth” that the UK is out in front of other countries in terms of emissions reductions and green policies. “It’s right we shouldn’t be leading the world if nobody’s following. But the evidence shows that isn’t the case,” he toldBusinessGreen. “Many major economies around the world have made ambitious commitments [to cut carbon] and are investing in low carbon technologies.”

A further assessment of the fourth carbon budget target with regards to technology costs and feasible deployment rates, the possible impacts of new shale gas developments, energy affordability, competitiveness and security of supply will follow in December. The government will then take a decision next year on whether to leave the budget as it is or try and change it, which would require a strong basis in evidence, subsequent approval from both the Commons and the Lords, and could well be subject to judicial review.

Kennedy insisted the current level of international climate action and the warnings in September’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which said global emissions must peak in the 2020s and be followed by rapid cuts to ensure average global temperature rise stays below 2C, meant the emissions cuts promised in the fourth carbon budget were a minimum contribution to the requisite global action.

“If we were to change the budget we would risk falling behind other countries in Europe and the rest of the world,” he said. “If emissions continue to rise we’re facing 4C of warming by the end of the century. That’s the difference between now and the last ice age. We have to act now to address the risk and [the fourth carbon budget] is our contribution.”

Interestingly, the CCC notes the government is currently negotiating to raise the EU emissions target for 2020 from a 20 per cent reduction relative to 1990 levels to a 30 per cent cut or higher. While the UK’s fourth carbon budget is in line with the current EU goal, this Treasury-sanctioned push for a higher target would actually require a tightening of the budget, running counter to George Osborne’s agenda.

Green groups welcomed the report’s findings and called on the government to take its commitments under the Climate Change Act seriously.

“Recent reports from the IPCC and major institutions like the World Bank have highlighted the risk we face from dangerous climate change. In the face of this significant risk to both our environment and the world economy, to be considering cutting back on action to tackle climate change looks like madness,” said David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK. “Other countries are playing their part, with some going further and faster than the UK and reaping the benefits of the global race. So there’s also an urgent need for the UK to maintain the leadership we’ve shown in the past.”

The report comes ahead of a speech by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in which he is expected to promise that the government will “stay the course” with its environmental commitments and “do everything we can to strengthen the role of the low carbon sector in the new economy.”

Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth’s executive director, said Clegg and other ministers must resist any attempts by George Osborne and the Treasury to undermine the UK’s climate targets.

“The advice is crystal clear. There are no grounds for weakening the fourth carbon budget – in fact it should be made stronger,” he said. “With crucial international talks on climate change kicking off in Poland next week, Ministers could give them a welcome boost by making it clear that the UK is determined to meet its targets for cutting carbon pollution.”

However, Gareth Stace, head of climate and environment policy at manufacturers association EEF, indicated that some companies remain concerned the UK’s carbon targets could result in them facing higher energy costs than their competitors.

“The Committee on Climate Change is right to say that the scientific evidence hasn’t changed but that’s far from the whole story,” he said in a statement. “Climate change policies are pushing UK electricity prices ahead of the rest of Europe and they are set to rise further. It’s vital that government undertakes a full review of all the evidence before deciding on the 4th Carbon Budget and ensures that British industry isn’t saddled with further unilateral cost increases.”



Fourth Carbon Budget Review – part 1 – Assessment of climate risk and the international response

From the website of the Committee on Climate Change


4CBRS&IOur latest report advises that there has been no significant change in the climate science, international and EU circumstances on which the fourth carbon budget (2023 – 2027) was set in 2011. Therefore, in these regards, there is no legal or economic basis to change the budget at this time.

Supporting data and research




Friends of the Earth commented:

4th carbon budget should be made stronger

7 November 2013 

The Committee on Climate Change’s advice to the Government today (Thursday 7 November 2013) that there is “no legal or economic basis” for changing the fourth carbon budget (which sets a UK emissions quota for the period 2023-2027), has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth.

The advice from the Committee on Climate Change coincides – later today (Thursday) – with a speech on the environment by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Commenting on the Committee on Climate Change’s advice, Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

“The advice is crystal clear. There are no grounds for weakening the fourth carbon budget – in fact it should be made stronger.

“Nick Clegg must use his green speech today to state clearly the Liberal Democrats’ resolve to support strong climate targets, and reject any attempts by George Osborne to undermine them.

“With crucial international talks on climate change kicking off in Poland next week, Ministers could give them a welcome boost by making it clear that the UK is determined to meet its targets for cutting carbon pollution.”



Notes to editors:

1.            The Committee on Climate Change’s report makes it clear that since the fourth carbon budget was set:

•             The climate science is stronger and clearer than ever. If anything, the fourth carbon budget should be tighter to reflect this.

•             The UN climate negotiations are progressing very slowly, but this was known at the time the fourth carbon budget was set.

•             The UK is not acting alone – countries like the USA and China are meeting their targets, which are in line with the trajectory assumed in the fourth carbon budget. Other countries like Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the EU27 have set 2050 targets or legally binding plans. Even nations with well documented reverses on climate change, such as Australia and Canada, are making strong progress in other areas, such as renewables and car fuel efficiency.

2.            The fourth carbon budget was set in part based on assumptions on future EU targets. If anything, EU progress since then implies a tighter target than set in the 4CB, and the UK’s own negotiating position would mean a much tighter budget. Even a complete failure in EU negotiations would only imply a marginal loosening of the 4CB, and this is very unlikely.

3.            The Committee on Climate Change’s fourth carbon budget is in Friends of the Earth’s view already far too loose – it is based on a 50:50 chance of exceeding a two degree rise in global temperature, a very high level of risk for something you want to avoid, and it appropriates an unreasonably large share of the global carbon budget to the UK.

4.            UNEP’s emissions gap report makes it clear that fast global action to tackle climate change is the least-cost path, avoiding expensive lock-in to high-carbon infrastructure, and suggests an earlier peak in global emissions than suggested by the CCC.

5.            Nick Clegg is due to make a speech at the Green Alliance’s First Leadership Lecture on Thursday 7 November 2013. The Deputy Prime minister is expected to make significant statements on his party’s approach to the natural environment, energy bills and the low carbon economy.





Friends of the Earth:

4th Carbon Budget

Fran Graham7 November 2013

Time to stop the delaying tactics and get on with tackling climate change

Two and a half years ago, the Coalition Government signed into law climate targets to slash Britain’s carbon emissions in half by 2025.  In policy-speak, this is known as the UK’s fourth carbon budget. It was a solid achievement – but it was only won with a bruising fight pitting the Energy Department and the Foreign Office against George Osborne’s Treasury.

The Chancellor was defeated, but insisted as compensation on an early review of the fourth carbon budget, to take place in early 2014. At the time, Mr Osborne justified the review on grounds that he didn’t want the UK doing more to tackle climate change than our European partners, for fear of damaging our economic competitiveness.

Since then, his Treasury has been doing everything it can to undermine tough action on climate change – from publishing plans for a dash for gas that would breach the fourth carbon budget, to introducing generous tax breaks for shale gas.

Today, the Committee on Climate Change has published the first of two reports setting out its recommendations on the fourth carbon budget – reviewing EU progress on climate change, and any other international developments that might warrant a change to the carbon budget. Their conclusion: “There is no economic or legal basis to change the budget.” As unequivocal as it gets.

In fact, the report contains four stand-out points that would suggest the targets should actually be strengthened:

  • The current EU emissions trajectory has barely changed since the fourth carbon budget was set. If anything, it implies a slight tightening of the budget.
  • The UK’s own negotiating position for an EU 2030 target – which the Treasury approved – would imply a substantial tightening of the fourth carbon budget.
  • Other countries are making substantial progress – it’s just plain wrong to say that the UK is way out in front. The USA and China are meeting their targets: they’re at the high-end of progress assumed when the fourth carbon budget was set. Many other countries, such as Mexico, Japan and South Korea have either 2050 targets or other legally binding carbon targets. Many EU countries are far ahead of the UK on issues such as renewables and energy efficiency.
  • The climate science has become even clearer. The non-inclusion of chemical feedbacks in the original analysis implies that the budget should in fact be tighter.


In addition, Friends of the Earth argues that there are two other major grounds why the original fourth carbon budget was too lax:

  • It was based on a greater than 50 per cent chance of exceeding two degrees warming. These are very bad odds for something governments the world over have said we must avoid.
  • It assumes an unfairly large share of the world’s global carbon budget for developed countries.

The CCC also assumes that global emissions will peak in 2020. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reported this week that peaking emissions sooner would be the least-cost approach to tackling climate change – preventing further expensive lock-in to what will become stranded high-carbon infrastructure.

Overall, there is no case for back-tracking on the fourth carbon budget. Business agrees it should be kept – the CBI stated today that the budget should be kept as it is.

Indeed, carrying out the Chancellor’s review at all reduces British businesses’ confidence that there will be a stable policy environment for low-carbon investment, and pushes up costs. Globally, it sends a very poor signal to struggling international climate negotiations – that the UK, as a self-styled leader on climate change, is about to back-track.

Mr Osborne made his arguments against the fourth carbon budget on cost. The Committee on Climate Change will be examining these cost arguments in more detail when they publish their second report on December 11th.

But in fact, it is the delay and uncertainty which George Osborne is causing which will damage the economy, not action on climate change. He should announce that he will leave the fourth carbon budget well alone, and stop blocking the policies needed to deliver it.

This would be a welcome boost to the international climate negotiations starting in Warsaw on Monday, restore flagging trust in the UK’s international standing on climate change, and begin to repair confidence in Britain’s hugely promising green economy.

by Simon Bullock, Senior Campaigner, Climate and Energy Team






‘No case’ to water down CO2 targets, chancellor told

Roger HarrabinBy Roger Harrabin, BBC Environment analyst

The UK is allowed to relax its targets for reducing emissions on CCC advice

The government will break the law if it waters down its plans to reduce greenhouse gases, its advisers say.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says there is no legal, environmental or economic case for lowering the fourth UK “carbon budget”, set in 2011.

It says the budget (running from 2023-2027) should be tightened if the EU agrees strict targets on emissions.

This is likely to displease Chancellor George Osborne, who believes the targets would threaten competitiveness.

Under the Climate Change Act, the UK is allowed to relax its targets for reducing emissions if the CCC advises that circumstances have materially changed since the budget was set.

The government asked the committee to review the budget to ensure it was still appropriate.

Last month the committee said there had been no change in the science, or in international policy to cut CO2. Its latest paper says there is no substantial domestic change either.

It repeats its calculation that low carbon policies will put £100 on the average household bill by 2020.

It assesses that fuel poverty will not be materially affected by the policies, and that risks to industrial competitiveness can be mitigated by government exemptions for energy-intensive firms.

The CCC believes low-carbon investments will actually save more than £100bn with gas at its current price, with much higher savings in a world with a high gas price.

The committee’s calculations have been challenged by some who believe they have underestimated the costs of providing new power lines and back-up for wind power.

The report bases its projections on the questionable assumption that the price of emitting carbon will rise as nations move to tackle climate change.

It says this is reasonable as all major nations have stated their determination to reduce emissions, but critics fear that the UK economy could be damaged if Britain presses ahead with progressive policies and the rest of the world fails to follow suit.

The CCC, an expert committee mainly comprising academics, says the fourth carbon budget will bring other benefits including less reliance on fuel imports, improved air quality and reduced noise pollution.

Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC, said: “This report shows the clear economic benefits of acting to cut emissions through the 2020s. This provides insurance against the increased costs and risks of climate-related damage and rising energy bills that would result from an alternative approach to reduce and delay action.‪

“While it is essential to understand affordability and competitiveness impacts associated with the budget, the evidence suggests that these are relatively small and manageable.”

The CCC says the Chancellor George Osborne has no legal basis for challenging the budget now, and green groups have indicated that they would take a judicial review if he attempted to do so.

There will be a particularly close focus on the effect of the advice on the Chancellor’s gas strategy unveiled last year.

The CCC says the core scenarios in the strategy are in line with the fourth budget, moving toward average emissions of no more than 50-100g per kilowatt/hour in 2030. But one scenario aims for 200g – in excess of the budget.

The CCC says if the government accepts its advice, that would narrow the range of scenarios and increase confidence for investors who are being asked to find more than £100bn to renew the UK’s electricity system.

The report is predictably being backed by green groups but it has also found support from a coalition of charities campaigning on air quality, including the British Heart Foundation, Asthma UK and Clean Air in London.

A spokesman for the charities said: “We strongly support the CCC recommendations to halve UK emissions by 2027 – measures to cut carbon will also have significant benefits for air quality. Many of the root causes are the same, so efforts to tackle both issues go hand in hand.”

There are severe worries about the future cost of energy from large manufacturers, but the CCC has so far managed to keep the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on board.

Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment, told BBC News: “It seems sensible to maintain the fourth carbon budget at this point in time.

“It would of course be prudent for the government to look again at the UK’s emissions reduction pathway once EU discussions have concluded, to make sure we remain aligned.”

This is a key issue. Benny Peiser from the climate sceptic group GWPF told BBC News: “Given the EU’s manifest reluctance to follow Britain’s lead, there is no chance that the government will adopt new unilateral targets until and unless there is a legally binding agreement at the 2015 UN climate summit in Paris.”

Lit Ping Low, climate economist for the consultancy PwC, said: “The committee’s endorsement of no change to the budget is important because it sets the tone for the direction of the policies investors and businesses need.

“But it’s important to remember it’s an endorsement of a target that is the minimum we should achieve, when what the IPCC report would tell us is that we need more ambition from all countries.”






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Sec of State for Wales says South Wales to Heathrow rail link would provide major economic boost

Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones, has said a £500m direct rail link between Heathrow and South Wales would be a major economic driver for the area.  He said better infrastructure would play a  crucial role in growth of the Welsh economy.  Last year the UK Government outlined its commitment to the Western Rail Access scheme  – a new rail link which will cut 30 minutes off the journey times from South Wales.  Network Rail is currently looking at options for the proposed spur, including direct services from South Wales on the Great Western Main Line into Heathrow, or providing a separate shuttle service from Reading.  And David Jones added the standard speil about “Fast and convenient links to our major airports are crucial as we look to compete in the global race.” What race?  Colin Matthews said 8.8% of the 1.3 million people in the UK working for foreign-owned firms that use Heathrow are from Wales. 



South Wales to Heathrow rail link would provide major economic boost

By Sion Barry (Wales online)

Secretary of State for Wales David Jones [the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Wales] said a £500m direct rail link between Heathrow and South Wales would be a major economic driver

Secretary of State for Wales David Jones at Heathrow Airport's terminal 2
Secretary of State for Wales David Jones at Heathrow Airport’s terminal 2

A £500m rail link from Heathrow Airport to South Wales would provide a major economic boost, Secretary of State for Wales David Jones said today.

Mr Jones met senior executives at the airport yesterday ahead of flying out on a UK Government trade mission to Indonesia and Singapore

Last year the UK Government outlined its commitment to the Western Rail Access scheme  – a new rail link to Heathrow which will cut 30 minutes off the journey times from South Wales with a spur from Reading Station to the UK’s current only UK hub.

Mr Jones highlighted the crucial role such an infrastructure development will play in the growth of the Welsh economy during a tour of the airport’s new terminal 2.

Mr Jones said: “Wales, like the rest of the country, benefits from access to the UK’s excellent aviation networks.

“Heathrow plays a vital role in this, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to see the very latest developments taking place at this important economic hub.

“Fast and convenient links to our major airports are crucial as we look to compete in the global race.

“This Government is determined to improve the ability for passengers to access Heathrow and has committed to take forward the Western Rail Access scheme.

“This will allow direct rail access into Heathrow from south Wales and further enhance Wales’s ability to benefit from the economic opportunities Heathrow creates.

Network Rail is currently working on a number of engineering options for the proposed spur, including whether it could accommodate direct services from South Wales on the Great Western Main Line into the airport or provide a separate shuttle service from Reading.

While the UK Government has made a commitment to the project a final decision on its funding and a construction timescale for when work might start has yet to be confirmed.

However, it has been included in Network Rail’s five year infrastructure spending period from 2019-2024.

Mr Jones said: “Connecting South Wales to the UK’s main air hub is a vital component for Welsh businesses. Moreover, it will make Wales itself a more attractive destination for businesses looking to invest in the UK.”

Chief executive of Heathrow Colin Matthew said: “1.3 million people have jobs with a foreign-owned firm which are facilitated by travelling through Heathrow. 8.8% of those live in Wales, the highest proportion in the UK.

“The benefits of the Wales-Heathrow link are set to improve further with Western Rail access, which will offer direct access for businesses to the hub and ensure the whole nation benefits from the growth opportunities brought by global connectivity.”




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CAA air passenger survey 2012 confirms low % of passengers on business, and high % of AB and C1 flying

The CAA Air Passenger Survey for 2012 has been published. It covered  Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Luton, Manchester and Stansted Airports. (Each year it covers a slightly different selection). Over 210,000 departing passengers were questioned. Some of the interesting findings from the survey were:  Heathrow had 37% connecting passengers; London City airport had the highest proportion on business, at 54% (down from 63% in 2010);  Heathrow had 32.4% on business; Gatwick 17.5%; Manchester 23.9 %; Stansted 15%; Luton 16.1%; Birmingham 22.5%.  The survey also looked at the socio-economic group of passengers. In the categories C2, D and E, Heathrow had 19.9%; London City airport 14.6%; Gatwick 26%; Stansted 29.3%; Manchester 43.4%; Luton 28.9%; Birmingham 33% and Bristol 35.3%. By contrast around 45% of the UK population are classed by polling organisations at C2,D+E.  For the London airports, the AB group fly a disproportionate amount.



CAA reveals London 2012 impact on UK airport passenger numbers

5 November 2013

Survey is at  2012 Passenger Survey 

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published the results of its 2012 passenger survey yesterday, revealing the impact of last year’s Olympic Games on passenger numbers at Britain’s airports.

The CAA carries out its annual passenger survey to improve its understanding of the people who use the UK’s airports. Despite overall passenger numbers between July and September in 2012 falling compared to the same period in 2011, the results published today show over 800,000 passengers passed through London’s airports for Olympic-related journeys during these months. 54% of these journeys were at Heathrow (above), with the next highest proportion at Gatwick (18%).

Unsurprisingly the majority (71%) of these Olympic journeys were for leisure with visitors heading to the UK to enjoy the London 2012 experience. However, almost a third (29%) of these journeys for business purposes – which would include many of the 10,000 athletes who attended the Games.

The 2012 survey questioned over 210,000 departing passengers at five London airports (City, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted) as well as Birmingham, Manchester, East Midlands, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter).

Other key findings from the CAA’s 2012 Air Passenger Survey include:

• Heathrow is the only airport surveyed in 2012 where the majority of passengers were foreign residents (59%). By contrast, Exeter had the smallest proportion of foreign residents using the airport (9%).

Heathrow had the highest proportion (37%) of connecting passengers using the airport, up by three percentage points from 2011. By comparison, Bristol, Cardiff and East Midlands airports all saw less than 1% of their passengers using the airport to change aircraft.

• London City had the largest proportion of passengers travelling for business (54%). However this represents a 9% drop since 2010 (when the airport was last surveyed) as a greater proportion of leisure passengers have used the airport. The next highest was Heathrow with 30%, whilst the airports with the highest proportion of leisure passengers were East Midlands 91%, and Bristol and Cardiff both with 86 per cent.

• Travellers from Heathrow took a higher proportion of trips (21%) lasting more than two weeks than anywhere else. In contrast, London City had the lowest proportion of the London airports at only 4%. Outside of London, the highest percentage of trips over two weeks was recorded at Manchester, with 13.4%. The lowest was at Cardiff at 5.2%.


Iain Osborne, group director of Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said: “Last year’s Olympics put London and the UK in the spotlight and today’s survey results show the impact the Games had on passenger numbers at our airports. Almost a million visitors flew into London for the Olympics, but overall passenger number s fell.

“The CAA passenger survey results also offer an invaluable insight into the people who use UK airports and why they do so. As such, they provide a vital resource for the aviation industry to use to ensure their services meet the changing needs of today’s air passengers.”

A summary of the Passenger Survey is available to download for free from the CAA website at .




From the CAA air passenger survey 2012

Proportion of business passengers

CAA passenger survey business 2012

So putting these figures together, to get the totals of business passengers, this comes to 24% for all the airports in the CAA survey – table rearranged below to make this more clear.

CAA business passengers 24 percent  2012

The total for all business passengers at the airports in the survey is 24% (of which 19.5% were on international business).

For Heathrow the total on business was  32.4% (19.9% international)

For Gatwick the total on business was  17.5% (12.6% international)

For London City Airport the total on business was 54% (41.8% international)

For Stansted the total on business was  15% (12.3% international)

For Manchester the total on business was 23.9% ( 17.3% international)

For Luton the total on business was 16.1% (12% international)

For Exeter the total on business was 26.2% (5.8% international)

For Birmingham the total on business was 22.5% (15.2% international)

For Bristol the total on business was  15.5% (8.1% international)

For Cardiff the total on business was 32.1% (15.3% international)




 Socio-economic group of passengers surveyed

Below is the table showing socio-economic group of passengers, with the % in the three lowest groups added separately, by AirportWatch.

About 45% of the UK population were in the categories C2DE in 2008, with 29% in C1 and 27% in AB.  link

CAA air passenger socio-economic group 2012

The classifications are based on the occupation of the head of the household.

Grade Social class Chief income earner’s occupation
A upper middle class Higher managerial, administrative or professional
B middle class Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional
C1 lower middle class Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional
C2 skilled working class Skilled manual workers
D working class Semi and unskilled manual workers
E non working Casual or lowest grade workers, pensioners, and others who depend on the welfare state for their income, this also includes students.

About 45% of the UK population were in the categories C2DE in 2008, with 29% in C1 and 27% in AB.  link



 Link to 2012 Air Passenger Survey  2012 CAA Pax Survey Report
Link to 2011 Air Passenger Survey   2011 CAA Pax Survey Report
Link to 2010 Air Passenger Survey   2010 CAA Pax Survey Report
and 2009
and 2008
and so on ………………….

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Mary Robinson says it is time for everyone, including aviation, to take their share of climate responsibility

Writing in the  Hindustan Times, in India, Mary Robinson – who is a former president of Ireland and president of the “Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice” – talks of the impacts of climate change on the poor in the  developing world. Shailesh Nayak, secretary, Indian ministry of earth sciences, said climate change may be causing extreme weather.  It is the poor who are picking up the tab for the carbon profligacy of developed nations. Taking into account all the climate impacts of aviation, estimates put aviation’s overall contribution to global warming at 4.9%. ICAO anticipates CO2 emissions from international aviation (about 60% of total aviation emissions) will grow from about 400 million tonnes in 2010 to 650 million tonnes by 2020. So aviation bears a share of responsibility for the accelerated drought-flood cycle that climate change will bring to countries like India. “The time for everyone to take their share of the responsibility and to act is now. And this must include the aviation industry.”



Who bears the cost of airline emissions?

by Mary Robinson
November 6, 2013  ( Hindustan Times)

The tenement blocks collapsed like sandcastles. Landmarks were swallowed up like Lego bricks. But most devastating of all was the massive loss of life — families torn apart by a disaster of frightening proportions. More than 5,700 people are missing and thought to have been killed as a result of the monsoon floods, which tore through northern India earlier this summer. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany has linked global warming to the extreme rainfall, bringing home the shocking consequences climate change can have on those least responsible for it.

Shailesh Nayak, secretary, Indian ministry of earth sciences,  has made the same link, saying: “Extreme weather is becoming more common, the June 17 rains might be read in the context of climate change.”

Carbon emissions come from multiple sources, but the fastest growing of them — international aviation — is one that few of northern India’s dead will ever have enjoyed.

Carbon dioxide emissions correspond surprisingly closely to social class. So in an inversion of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, it is the poor who are picking up the tab for the carbon profligacy of developed nations. This is the injustice of climate change.

Aviation is today responsible for some 2% of the planet’s man-made CO2 emissions. But when the effects of nitrogen oxide emissions, water vapour, soot and sulphates, contrails and enhanced cirrus cloud formations are also factored in, the best scientific estimates put aviation’s overall contribution to global warming at 4.9%.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has forecast that CO2 emissions from international aviation (about 60% of total aviation emissions) will grow from approximately 400 million tonnes in 2010 to 650 million tonnes by 2020. Unchecked, there may be a 274% increase in the fuel used by airlines by 2050, measured against 2006 levels.

Put plainly, the aviation industry bears a share of responsibility for the accelerated drought-flood cycle that climate change will bring to countries such as India.

We know some of the effects that global warming brings in its wake — more tropical storms, melting glaciers, freshwater shortages, increase in disease, and rising sea levels that will eventually drown low-lying coastal cities such as Mumbai and Kolkata.

We still have a sliver of time in which we can act to stop our mindless march to planetary disaster. The question of whether to implement a Market Based Measure (MBM), which could put a price on the carbon emissions of airlines, is now centre stage in ICAO’s consideration of how to address the impacts of aviation’s emissions.

The World Bank estimates that, with a carbon charge of $25 per tonne of CO2, $40 billion a year could be raised from the aviation and shipping sectors by 2020.

Research suggests that an aviation MBM could provide up to $26 billion in climate finance in 2030. This would be a significant amount, given that a total of $97 billion is currently flowing into low carbon and climate resilient development activities, according to the Climate Policy Initiative.

It could mean more flood barriers, better-built houses, and infrastructural support after climate disasters, to make the people most vulnerable to weather shocks less at the mercy of the climate we are creating for them.

If nothing is done, disasters like this year’s monsoon floods will only get worse, and more frequent. Doing nothing is not an option. The time for everyone to take their share of the responsibility and to act is now. And this must include the aviation industry.

Mary Robinson is a former president of Ireland and president of the Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice

The views expressed by the author are personal




Mary Robinson served as the 7th, and 1st female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002.  After leaving the UN in 2002, Robinson formed Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative,[4] which came to a planned end at the end of 2010. Its core activities were 1) fostering equitable trade and decent work, 2) promoting the right to health and more humane migration policies, and 3) working to strengthen women’s leadership and encourage corporate responsibility. The organisation also supported capacity building and good governance in developing countries. Robinson returned to live in Ireland at the end of 2010, and has set up The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, which aims to be ‘a centre for thought leadership, education and advocacy on the struggle to secure global justice for those many victims of climate change who are usually forgotten – the poor, the disempowered and the marginalised across the world.’



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Ryanair issues 2nd profit warning in 2 months expecting a loss for 2nd half of 2013/4 – due to “weak demand”

Ryanair has issued its 2nd profit warning in 2 months. It expects losses in the 2nd half of 2013-14 which is its first fall in profits for 5 years. The airline has recently cut fares, in an attempt to attract more passengers against increased competition, less demand and weak economic conditions. Ryanair is as determined as ever to keep on growing (for growth’s sake). It aims to increase its passengers from 79.3m in 2012-13 to 110m in 2018-19 . It now says its forecast profit for the year to March 2014 will be some €500 to €520 million, while in September it predicted more like €570 million. Ryanair hopes low fares attract more passengers, who then spend more on other extras and services. Other budget airlines are competing for Ryanair’s customers, eg. Norwegian Air Shuttle, Vueling and Wizz Air.  Ryanair is to offer fully allocated seating from 2014 to try and improve its image – and attract business customers –  as passengers complain about the rush to get on board to secure the best seats.


Ryanair to offer fully allocated seating

Rob Gill (Buying Business Travel)
 4 Nov 2013

Ryanair is to offer fully allocated seating from next year as the company issued its second profits warning in two months.

The no-frills airline will introduce the measure in response to complaints from passengers fed up with the rush to get onboard to secure the best seats.

From February 1 2014, travellers can pay £5 to select a specific seat when checking-in more than 24 hours before departure, or pay nothing and be automatically allocated a seat within 24 hours of departure.

The airline currently allows customers to pay an extra fee for certain rows of seats on its aircraft. This new move brings Ryanair into line with no-frills rivalEasyjet which began allocated seating last year in an attempt to target more business travellers.

Ryanair also admitted that profits were going to be lower than previously expected for its current financial year – down from a forecast profit of €570 million to €510 million for the year ending in March 2014. The airline made a €569.3 million profit after tax last year.

The airline blamed “continuing fare and yield softness” for the likely drop in profits. The warning sent Ryanair shares tumbling by more than 9 per cent to €5.52 per share in trading on Monday.

Ryanair saw post-tax profits rise by just 1 per cent to €602 million in the six months to the end of September with passenger numbers up by 2 per cent to 49 million and revenue increasing by 5 per cent to €3.25 billion, although average fares dropped by 2 per cent over this period.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary blamed the fall of fares on factors such as this summer’s heatwave in Europe, industrial action by air traffic controllers and a weaker pound.

“Ryanair has responded to these market conditions by stimulating traffic growth with aggressive fare promotions,” added O’Leary.

“This will lay the foundation for traffic growth over the coming years, particularly as our new 175 aircraft deliver from September 2014.

“While fares are falling, ancillary revenues grew strongly by 22% to €713 million, driven by the successful roll-out of reserved seating, priority boarding and higher credit/debit card fees.”

The move to fully allocated seating comes just two weeks after the airline said it would be reducing some of its other passenger charges and fees.





Ryanair cuts outlook for second time in two months

By Andrew Parker

November 4, 2013 (FT)

Ryanair’s shares plunged on Monday after Europe’s largest low-cost carrier by revenue issued its second profit warning in two months.

Article in the FT at    ££





Ryanair may miss profits target

- Rob Gill
 4 Sep 2013

Ryanair has admitted it could miss its profits target for the current financial due to lower fares and yields during the autumn.

The company said in an announcement to investors that it was expecting net profits to be at the “lower end” of its previous forecast of between €570 million to €600 million for its financial year running to March 2014.

“However if fares and yields continue to weaken over the coming winter there can be no guarantee that the full year outturn may not finish at or slightly below the lower end of this range,” said Ryanair in a statement.

The surprise announcement sent Ryanair’s shares tumbling by as much as 15 per cent in early trading from yesterday’s close of €6.79 per share to €5.77.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary (pictured) said that bookings had been adversely affected by July’s heatwave across northern Europe but had returned to “some normality” in August.

“However in recent weeks we have noticed a perceptible dip in forward fares and yields into September, October and November,” added O’Leary.

“We believe this is due to a combination of factors: increased price competition and some capacity increases in the UK, Scandinavia, Spanish and Irish markets, the continuing effect of austerity and weak economic conditions across Europe, and weaker sterling/euro exchange rates.”

O’Leary said that Ryanair would be “selectively reducing our winter season capacity” with traffic targets being trimmed from 81.5 million passengers to “just under 81 million” for the current year.

“We are also rolling out a range of lower fares and aggressive seat sales particularly in those markets mainly UK, Scandinavia, Spain and Ireland,” he added.

Ryanair made a post-tax profit of €569.3 million during the 2012/13 financial year.



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Justine Greening: Expand Heathrow and we risk a plane crash in London

Cabinet minister Justine Greening has warned that expanding Heathrow would increase the risk of a plane crashing on London, stressing that “we cannot beat the odds forever”. She said it would be more likely that a plane would crash into a highly populated area of west London — either due to human error or a terrorist attack — if there were more flights. If that happened, there could be a lot of deaths and injuries. She was giving evidence to the Airports Commission when she said that despite Heathrow’s good safety record, human error meant that the risk of a crash could never be reduced to zero. She added: “In addition to that, aviation clearly faces other risks, not least terrorism. …The higher the absolute number of aircraft movements, the higher the danger that even an ‘extremely low probability’ event may occur.” She warned that allowing expansion at Heathrow would be “one of the biggest planning and transport strategy mistakes of this century, irreversibly blighting Londoners’ quality of life”.



Justine Greening: Expand Heathrow and we risk a plane crash in London 

Reminders below of incidents related to Heathrow planes in very recent years

Warning: International Development Secretary Justine Greening
1 November 2013  (Evening Standard)

Cabinet minister Justine Greening today warned that expanding Heathrow would increase the risk of a plane crashing on London, stressing that “we cannot beat the odds forever”.

The International Development Secretary claimed it would be more likely that a plane would plunge from the skies into a highly populated area of west London — either due to human error or a terrorist attack — if there were more flights.

Predicting Heathrow could end up with six runways if it was allowed to develop into Britain’s single aviation hub, the MP for Putney raised the nightmare scenario of hundreds of passengers, and scores of local residents on the ground, being killed.

But she was immediately accused of “scaremongering of the worst type” by pro-Heathrow expansion supporters. Giving evidence to the Airports Commission into Britain’s aviation needs, Ms Greening claimed that despite Heathrow’s good safety record, human error meant that the risk of a crash could never be reduced to zero. She added: “In addition to that, aviation clearly faces other risks, not least terrorism.

“Even one accident could be catastrophic not only on loss of life but also London infrastructure.

“The higher the absolute number of aircraft movements, the higher the danger that even an ‘extremely low probability’ event may occur. We cannot beat the odds forever.”

But Labour peer Lord Soley, a prominent campaigner for a bigger Heathrow, condemned Ms Greening’s warning as “scaremongering of the worst type”.

He argued that trains already pass through many constituencies in London at 100mph, with homes nearby.

He said: “The message to her is ‘there is not an absolutely safe form of fast transport but aviation is safer than all the others’.”

Ms Greening, who was moved from transport secretary to the international aid brief a year ago as senior Tories began to push for Heathrow expansion, also argued that a lower noise level, known as 55dB Lden, should be adopted to measure people affected by aircraft overhead rather than the current level, 57dB Leq.

This would mean more than 700,000 residents, rather than fewer than 300,000, would be deemed to suffer noise disturbance — sixty times more than around Gatwick.

She warned that allowing expansion at Heathrow would be “one of the biggest planning and transport strategy mistakes of this century, irreversibly blighting Londoners’ quality of life”.

She added: “If Heathrow continues as a future UK hub and needs significant numbers of new runways, eg six … we would potentially rapidly reach a point where the extent of London flown over becomes practically the entire population.”

She urged Airports Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies to rule out supporting a third runway at Heathrow, insisting that it would be “politically undeliverable” as it would need consensus between parties over several parliaments.

Sir John Randall, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, warned lives could be endangered by taking the “unsafe gamble” of more flights at Heathrow before the “full, hidden and long-term” health effects from noise are properly known.

The former Tory deputy chief whip said a third runway risked “endangering the quality of life, and possibly the life, of affected residents”.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “Air travel is one of the safest forms of transport and Heathrow is recognised as one of the safest airports in the world.”




Recent incidents at Heathrow which raised fears about the safety of a very busy airport, which most planes approach over very crowded areas of London were:


Damaged BA plane on one engine and trailing smoke from the other, flies right across London for emergency landing at Heathrow

24..5.2013A British Airways flight (BA 762) from Heathrow to Oslo was forced to turn back immediately after take off, due to what is likely to have been bird strike.  The Airbus A319 was powered by two IAE V2500 engines. The left engine appears to have hit an object at take-off, which stripped off the engine cowling. The right engine then may have hit something, and there are observer accounts of a bang. The plane did a large loop around London, in order to land again, using only the left engine. Many observers saw, and recorded, the plane – trailing smoke from the right engine, as it flew right across London. The plane made a safe landing, though passengers were evacuated down emergency chutes, and there were only 3 minor injuries. Heathrow airport was disrupted for hours due to the emergency landing. While those in favour of expanding the airport are likely to use this dangerous incident to call for more airport capacity (so Heathrow can cope with incidents without delays) it would be more relevant and more responsible to question how safe it is to have disabled planes flying miles over densely populated London. Luckily this time, there was no crash.  With Heathrow airport hoping to get another runway (or two) the safety issue of flying more and more planes over hundreds of thousands of people has to be confronted.



Airliner crash-lands at Heathrow (caused by ice forming in the fuel)


The BA flight crash-landed at Heathrow Airport. A passenger plane has crash-landed short of a runway at Heathrow Airport, ripping off part of its undercarriage. All 136 passengers and 16 crew escaped from the British Airways flight BA038 from Beijing. Eighteen people have been taken to hospital with minor injuries.  An airport worker told the BBC the Boeing 777 pilot, named later as Peter Burkill, 43, said he had lost all power and had to glide the plane in to land.   The incident happened on the south runway at 1242 GMT, as Prime Minister Gordon Brown was due to leave Heathrow for China and India. His flight was delayed because of the incident.  Witnesses described the plane coming in very low and landing short of the runway, before skidding across grass and tarmac.  Part of the undercarriage, including two wheels were torn off, and there was some damage to the wings.




Jet and passenger plane nearly collided over London in July 2009


An aircraft takes off from London City Airport 
Both aircraft were at about 4,000ft when they came within half-a-mile of each other

A business jet came close to a mid-air collision with a Turkish Airlines passenger plane after taking off from London City Airport, a report has said. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) study described the incident over London as “serious”.   The Citation 525 jet was about 100ft to 200ft below and half-a-mile away from the Boeing 777 passenger plane, heading to Heathrow with 232 people on board.  The incident happened on 27 July 2009 at about 4,000ft.  The report said the control tower at London City Airport had cleared the German-owned business jet to climb to 3,000ft but when the flight crew acknowledged the instruction, they said they would be climbing to 4,000ft. This instruction from the plane – a “readback” mistake – was not noticed by the controller at the tower, the AAIB said.  Just how dangerous was this incident? Well, half a mile is not far in aircraft terms – if the closing speed was 300mph that distance would disappear in just six seconds.   On the other hand, a yet-to-be-published report from the UK Airprox Board, which also investigates incidents, has concluded the planes would not have collided even if no avoiding action had been taken.




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SSE tell Airports Commission robust evidence will be needed on financial viability of any new runway

The speech delivered by Sir Howard Davies, on 7 October 2013 was described as setting out the Airports Commission’s ‘Emerging Thinking’ on aviation capacity in the UK. It took the form of setting out some of the main arguments against increasing runway capacity in the UK, and it then dismissed each in turn  - and stated that “Our provisional conclusion is that we will need some net additional runway capacity in the south east of England in the coming decades”. Stop Stansted Expansion has submitted their comments, which advise against building any new runway capacity. They argue that the speech contained very little in terms of hard evidence to support the conclusion favouring a new runway. SSE question the financial viability of a new runway, as there is already so much spare runway capacity, and say people will expect to see robust evidence to demonstrate the Commission’s grounds for its confidence that projects proposed have commercial viability. SSE also says the current DfT demand forecasts are not nearly strong enough – or reliable enough – to support a business case for a new runway.



The Stop Stansted Expansion submission can be seen at                  SSE Submission to Airports Commission – Response to Emerging Thinking   (7 pages)


Concluding points

4.1 As pointed out in the Commission’s ‘Emerging Findings’ statement: ‘runways are expensive pieces of infrastructure’. We can, in fact, see that quite clearly from the costed proposals for new runways submitted to the Commission by airport operators and others. It is therefore valid to ask whether a new runway can be commercially justified in the foreseeable future because, if there are significant doubts about this, it would be irresponsible and quite wrong – once again – to create needless blight and uncertainty for local communities around airports in the south east.

4.2 If, in its interim report, the Commission recommends the development of an extra runway or runways in the south east, we will expect to see robust evidence to demonstrate the grounds for its confidence in the commercial viability of the proposed project(s) at this point in time.

4.3 Some insights into the rate of return required by investors in the UK airport sector can be obtained by considering the prices paid for UK airport infrastructure in recent years, most relevantly in the sale of Gatwick and Stansted airports by BAA, noting that both airports were sold in competitive, open market auctions. It is also important to note that, in both these cases, established cash generative businesses were being sold with significant revenue streams which would accrue to the purchaser immediately upon completion.

4.4 Achieving an acceptable risk:reward ratio will be far more challenging in the case of a new runway development (and even more so in the case of a new airport development) not least because any such project will be cash negative for at least a decade and during all that time the key parameters which will determine whether or not the investment will prove successful will be subject to change. There will be a high level of market risk as well as political risk, and there will be very significant environmental considerations which will affect risk in both of those areas.

4.5 As we have shown in section 3 above, it is by no means clear that there is sufficient market demand to justify to shareholders and other investors that an additional runway in the south east would be commercially viable in the period to 2050. The availability of surplus capacity at other airports – in the south east and elsewhere – provides scope for marginal pricing which could be used to attract airlines and passengers to a second or third choice airport, whilst at the same time undermining any competitor’s potential business case for additional runway capacity.

4.6 Turning to the political risk, even a cursory review of airports policy in the UK over the past few decades provides a clear demonstration that there is a high degree of political uncertainty and unpredictability associated with UK airports policy. BAA incurred costs of over £200m in seeking to implement the airport expansion policies set down in the 2003 Air Transport White Paper (‘ATWP’) – expenditure which subsequently had to be written off when political support for the expansionist policies set down in the ATWP was withdrawn.

4.7 Meanwhile, the ebb and flow of political and market circumstances has also taken its toll on local residents around UK airports, especially in the south east, with repeated periods of blight and uncertainty caused by major expansion proposals which invariably have come to nothing. This is at least partly because the business case for a new runway has never been particularly compelling whereas the environmental impacts of a new runway anywhere in the south east have always proved to be so immense as to be politically unacceptable.

4.8 Our considered assessment is that the current DfT demand forecasts are not nearly strong enough – or reliable enough – to support a business case for a new runway, especially when the downside political and market risks are taken into account as well as the downside risks in relation to meeting the UK’s legally binding climate change targets.

4.9 In conclusion, we do not expect any new runway to be built in the south east (or anywhere else in the UK) over the coming decades, and if the Commission recommends any additional runway or runways, this would simply create blight and uncertainty for no purpose.

 Full text of the submission is at 

SSE Submission to Airports Commission – Response to Emerging Thinking   (7 pages)


Sir Howard Davies’ speech on 7th October is at


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