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Woodland Trust highlights loss of 3 areas of ancient woodland for Gatwick runway

Though much of the area that would be flattened and covered in concrete and tarmac for a 2nd Gatwick runway – and associated building – would be fields and grassland, there are also three areas of ancient woodland.  The Woodland Trust has assessed the woods that are threatened and found that they  are significant and have important local biodiversity value. The current Gatwick consultation on its runway options (there is only one of the options that the airport wants, and the consultation has no proper way for respondents to say they oppose any new runway) barely recognises the impact a new runway will have on this irreplaceable habitat. The fact it will also wipe out the last remaining ecological network for wildlife around the whole of the south side of the airport is ignored.  The Woodland Trust is urging people to respond to the consultation, either by just saying NO to any of the options, or giving more detail in the response boxes to reflect the proposed destruction of these valuable bits of high quality woodland.

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  Gatwick ancient woodland

Map of the area just south of Gatwick airport showing Rowley Wood, Huntsgreen Wood and woodland at Bonnets Lane. All would be flattened by a new wide-spaced runway.

Say no to ancient woodland loss at Gatwick

From the Woodland Trust

Take part in the public consultation on the proposed expansion of Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport Limited is holding a public consultation on the proposed expansion of the airport. They are considering three options for a new second runway, south of the current runway. All three would cause direct loss to ancient woodland. Once lost, this rare and precious habitat is gone forever. None of the options put forward are suitable because of the loss to this irreplaceable habitat.

The proposal

The following options are under consultation until 16 May 2014:

  • Option 1 - a new runway 600m south of the current runway. This would cause direct loss to over 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) of ancient woodland.
  • Options 2 and 3 - a new runway over 1km south of the current runway. This would cause direct loss to nearly 7 hectares (17.3 acres) of ancient woodland.
  • None of these options - no ancient woodland is lost.
Map of land at Gatwick airport

Ancient woodland must not be ignored

This consultation barely recognises the impact a new runway will have on this irreplaceable habitat. The fact it will also wipe out the last remaining ecological network for wildlife around the whole of the south side of the airport is ignored.

These new plans are another prime example of why ancient woodland needs better protection from national infrastructure!

Speak up for ancient woodland

Help us put a spotlight on the impacts to ancient woodland at Gatwick by taking part in the official consultation, using our simple form.

Your response will feed into the report from the independent Airports Commission which is analysing the need and potential for airport expansion across the country for the Government, so it’s especially important you raise your concerns now.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/campaigning/campaigns/gatwick-expansion/

Edolphs Copse

The threat to ancient woodland from a second runway and associated development at Gatwick is serious.

The loss to ancient woodland and the ecological impact on the important surrounding landscape needs to be given more consideration in each of the options that have been put forward!

Please take this opportunity to give ancient woodland a voice.

GACC ( the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) suggest those against a new runway ONLY tick the  “None of these options” box in Section D.     And no other boxes.

However, the Woodland Trust gives further information if people want to fill in more of the consultation document, highlighting the implications for ancient woodland.

These are at:

 https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/learn/threats-to-our-woodland/human-impact/gatwick-tips/

You can help!

There are specific questions in the current consultation which relate to the environment that we recommend you respond to, and the Woodland Trust have put together some top tips to help you make sure ancient woodland can be heard:

A – Impact on ecology/wildlife A2 – Comments or suggestions about the potential impacts of a second runway C1 – Protecting existing woodland where possible D1 – Selection of runway option D2 – Expanding on why you have chosen that option

Question A - Details to what extent you are concerned about ecology/wildlife. As a supporter of the Woodland Trust we are sure that you will choose either – ‘very concerned’ or ‘fairly concerned’!

Question C1- The proposals do not go far enough to protect ancient woodland. Ancient woodland is irreplaceable. Global Infrastructure Partnerships has not “protected existing woodland where possible”, this is demonstrated by the additional 5.9-7.8 hectares of ancient woodland that will be affected which is not within the proposed expansion area. They have not gone far enough in their protection plans: ‘Strongly oppose’.

Question D1 - All the options proposed will cause direct loss to ancient woodland. Ancient woodland is an irreplaceable habitat; once lost it and the ecological corridors that it provides to vulnerable wildlife, is gone forever. ‘NONE OF THESE OPTIONS’.

Questions A2 & D2: This is the time to raise the importance of ancient woodland. The consultation states that Option 1 will cause the direct loss to 1.8 hectares ancient woodland and may affect a further 5.9 hectares ancient woodland. Options 2 and 3 will cause direct loss to 7.7 hectares ancient woodland and may affect a further 7.8 hectares ancient woodland.

It also states “We will need to provide compensatory habitat to offset the effects of losses which we cannot directly mitigate.”

We suggest you include the following in your response

Ancient woodland:

  • has been around for many centuries – long enough to develop as ecosystems that are rich, complex, and irreplaceable. Some ancient woods may even link back to the original wildwood that covered the UK around 10,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age
  • forms just 2% of the UK’s land cover
  • is a rare and irreplaceable habitat. Once lost, it is gone forever
  • has developed over large timescales. Ancient woods have unique features such as relatively undisturbed soils and communities of plants and animals that depend on the stable conditions ancient woodland provides, some of which are rare and vulnerable.

Vulnerable species need connectivity

Species that are typical of ancient woodland flora such as bluebells, wood anemone and celandine take a long time to spread and also need specific conditions to flourish. If ancient woodland is lost the species within the woodland will not be able to move and adapt to a new location quickly enough.

We need to protect vulnerable ancient woodland wildlife by creating new woodland and other habitats around the remaining fragments of ancient woodland to shield them from the effects of neighbouring land use. And we need to create more spaces for wildlife in the wider landscape to link between the remaining fragments of ancient woodland, not destroy these links.

A second runway at Gatwick would obliterate the last remaining ecological corridor around the south side of the airport.

If the land is lost between Gatwick and Crawley it will further fragment this landscape which will decrease the resilience of the landscape to climate change and species movement.

With regards to Gatwick’s suggestion of ‘providing compensatory habitat’, as it is irreplaceable the loss of ancient woodland can never be compensated for. It should not be part of an offsetting scheme.

You can respond to the consultation in full on the Gatwick website

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Gatwick Runway Exhibitions a huge success – for the opposition!

Gatwick Airport Ltd have held 15 exhibitions to explain their runway proposals  to the public. Over 6,000 people in total will have attended but, according to local community group, GACC, some 75-80%  of those visiting the exhibitions were opposed to any new runway.  GACC volunteers manned a ‘picket line’ outside each exhibition, handing out leaflets and car stickers, and recruiting new members.  According the GACC chairman Brendon Sewill, “people were coming out of the hall horrified at what they had seen, and queuing up to join GACC.”  People were frustrated by the lack of key information on aspects of the plans, such as noise and supporting infrastructure.  At Edenbridge the highly respected and respectable MP for Tonbridge, Sir John Stanley, organised a mass demonstration against aircraft noise and against any new runway.  At Horsham around 200 people marched through the town to protest at the new flight path over Warnham and north Horsham, and to oppose any new runway.  The Gatwick exhibitions have been helpful, in that they have alerted the public and have demonstrated the strength of feeling against the proposals. 
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Gatwick Runway Exhibitions a huge success – for the opposition!

 

5.5.2014 ( GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Gatwick Airport Ltd have held 15 exhibitions to explain their runway proposals, and the final one will be at Copthorne on Tuesday 6 May.  Over 6,000 people in total have attended but, according to GACC, some 75-80% were opposed to any new runway.

GACC volunteers have manned a ‘picket line’ outside each exhibition, handing out leaflets and car stickers, and recruiting new members.  According the GACC chairman Brendon Sewill, ‘people were coming out of the hall horrified at what they had seen, and queuing up to join GACC.

At Edenbridge the highly respected and respectable MP for Tonbridge, Sir John Stanley, organised a mass demonstration against aircraft noise and against any new runway.  At Horsham around 200 people marched through the town to protest at the new flight path over Warnham and north Horsham, and to oppose any new runway.

 

Typical comments from the public were :–

  • ‘I just had not realised how huge it would be.’
  • ‘We don’t need the extra jobs here, they should be up North.’
  • ‘They won’t tell us where the new flight paths would be.’
  • ‘Its horrific.’
  • ‘The roads would be hell.’
  • ‘Its all spin, they don’t tell you the real facts.’
  • ‘The hospitals and doctors can’t cope at present, what will it be like with all this?

 

GACC considered the exhibitions unsatisfactory because:

1. they were designed to sell the project, not to explain the impact;

2. there was no clear explanation of how the noise would increase;

3. there was no indication of how the infrastructure  (roads, rail), housing, hospitals, schools etc. would be able to cope with an enlarged airport;

4. a false choice was presented between three runway options, with no
easy way to register a vote for no new runway.

 

Nevertheless GACC feel that the exhibitions have alerted the public and have demonstrated the strength of feeling against the proposals. At all the exhibitions GACC volunteers maintained a friendly relationship with the airport staff, and GACC is grateful to Gatwick for often allowing us to use the lobby of the hall where the exhibition was held.

 www .gacc.org.uk

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Some 200  CAGNE and GACC members and supporters walk from the Carfax in Horsham, to the Drill Hall, where the Gatwick airport exhibition event was being held,  in demonstration against  the Gatwick Expansion proposal & flight path trials – 2nd May Flight Path Trials

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Gatwick runway opponents march through Horsham

More than 120 people marched through Horsham town centre on Saturday, May 3, to protest against a new runway at Gatwick Airport and new flight paths. They set off from the carfax to the Drill Hall, where Gatwick was holding one of its 16 public exhibitions, showing the public the runways plans, some of which they will be submitting to the Airports Commission by 16th May. Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE), with the help of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) and Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Sussex, organised the walk through Horsham town centre and their attendance outside the exhibition. CAGNE and GACC have between them had a presence at all of the exhibitions, and given out information to those attending on why they believe firmly that there should not be a new runway – due to the social and environmental damage it would do the area, for miles around the airport in all directions.

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YouTube film clip …. showing the march


 

Gatwick runway opponents march through Horsham

May 3rd 2014

CAGNE_Horsham_010-WEB-650x500

More than 100 people marched through Horsham town centre on Saturday, May 3, to protest against a new runway at Gatwick Airport and new flight paths.

Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE), with the help of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) and Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Sussex, organised a walk through Horsham town center to Drill Hall where the Gatwick Airport new runway consultation was taking place.

Chair of CAGNE, Sally Pavey said: “A real mix of ages walked and gathered on the steps of Drill Hall before going in to ask questions about new flight paths, lack of infrastructure, mass house building to accommodate inward migrating workers to fill jobs, removal of woodlands and floodplains being built on, road congestion and the emissions from the road and sky.”

The deadline for the public consultation is Friday, May 16. Response can be made at www.gatwickairport.com/consultation.

 http://www.thedistrictpost.co.uk/news/2014/05/gatwick-runway-opponents-march-through-horsham/

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and when they got to the Gatwick exhibition venue

Horsham protest 3 .5.2014

 

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Heathrow ‘misses the point’ in claiming connectivity benefits from new rail lines, yet unbuilt

Heathrow will claim, in its runway submission to the Airports  Commission on 16th May, that it can offer the shortest journey times (compared to Gatwick or the Thames estuary) to cities such as Sheffield, Bristol and Manchester and will do the most to bring growth to those regions by connecting them to international markets. Heathrow is arguing that the arrival of HS2, Crossrail, upgrades to London Underground’s Piccadilly line and the proposed rail link to the Great Western line will make access to the expanded airport much better, even with a 3rd runway. Heathrow will factor the rail links into its plans, even though only Crossrail is under construction and the other lines are only at various stages of planning. HS2 was voted through the Commons this week, but the plan to link it to the airport is on hold. HACAN says the airport’s owners have missed the point on this, as all the rail and road links will struggle to cope with the extra number of passengers that will use Heathrow if a 3rd runway is build. A new runway would mean another 260,000 or so flights a year. It is likely that the extra journeys generated by a 3rd runway would threaten gridlock on local roads and public transport networks.”
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Heathrow ‘misses the point’ in surface access claims, says campaign group

2.5.2014 (HACAN)

The campaign group HACAN, which oppose the expansion of Heathrow Airport, has claimed that the airport’s owners have missed the point with their announcement today that new rail links such as Crossrail will give it the best connections of any airport in the UK to all areas of the country, including the regions,.

HACAN chair John Stewart said: “Heathrow may well become the best-connected airport in the country but today’s announcement misses the real point. All the rail and road links will struggle to cope with the extra number of passengers that will use Heathrow if a third runway is build. A new runway would mean another 260,000 or so flights a year. Today’s announcement by the airport misses the real point. It is a half-truth”

Stephen Joseph, the director of The Campaign for Better Transport, which has done work on the future surface access needs of Heathrow, commenting on today’s announcement, said “Our research showed that the public transport improvements planned around Heathrow are needed just to keep pace with London’s growing economy. We await the airport’s new proposals with interest, but the risk is that extra journeys generated by a third runway would threaten gridlock on local roads and public transport networks.”

Later this month Heathrow Airport intends to submit their views on access to the airport to the Airports Commission which is looking at proposals for future airport expansion in London and the South East.

www.hacan.org.uk

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The FT article to which this refers is  below ( extracts):

May 2, 2014

Heathrow focuses on rail links in case for expansion

By Jane Wild (FT )

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Heathrow will argue that new rail links such as HS2 and Crossrail will help it build on its position as the best-connected airport to the UK’s regions, as it steps up its campaign to be allowed to expand.

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Heathrow will argue [to the Airports Commission in its submission, due on 16th May] that it offers the shortest journey times to cities such as Sheffield, Bristol and Manchester and will do the most to bring growth to those regions by connecting them to international markets. It will make HS2, Crossrail, upgrades to London Underground’s Piccadilly line and the proposed rail link to the Great Western line part of its case.

Colin Matthews, chief executive, said: “Heathrow is already the UK’s best-connected transport hub. It is in a better location for most UK passengers and companies than other options for airport expansion.”

Heathrow said it was confident it could factor the rail links into its plans, despite work having begun only on Crossrail. The others are at various stages of planning. HS2 was voted through the Commons this week, but the plan to link it to the airport is on hold.

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Not all regions have offered support. Birmingham chambers has previously attacked Heathrow’s claim it would benefit the whole country, saying it misunderstood businesses, which want to use their local airport.

Campaigners warned that the railways would be strained by the millions of extra passengers a third runway would bring.

………

Full FT article at

 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3fd46a60-d147-11e3-81e0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz30aJMzZno

 

 

 

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Leeds Bradford still hopeful of airport rail link after Minister Robert Goodwill visits

New aviation Minister, Robert Goodwill. has visited Leeds Bradford airport and commented that a new rail link to the airport is “obviously desirable”. Mr Goodwill was at the airport for a whistle-stop tour, as part of a day of discussions with council and business leaders. One of the items to discuss was the possible improvement of road and rail links to the airport. This has been under discussion for several years. The local paper reports that “The Minister is visiting regional airports across the country in the wake of a new Government study, which has identified the six national congestion hotspots most in need of investment.”  He said he could understand why the airport is so keen to get improved rail links, to ease travel.   But quizzed on if and when the Government would be ready to invest in the region’s airport, he said he was “rather reluctant to put a timescale on that decision”. “We have to look at other airports and priorities as well….. There is a study ongoing and it will depend on the price tag, the deliverability and planning issues.” At present  most people go to Leeds Bradford Airport by car or by taxi.
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Aviation Minister drops in to discuss new airport rail link

1 May 2014 (Yorkshire Post)

Robert Goodwill with  Leeds Bradford Airport Chief Executive, John Parkin

New aviation Minister Robert Goodwill has admitted a new rail link to Leeds Bradford airport is “obviously desirable”.

Mr Goodwill was at the airport yesterday for a whistle-stop tour of the facility, as part of a day of discussions with council and business leaders.

Top of the agenda was improved road and rail links to the airport.

The Minister is visiting regional airports across the country in the wake of a new Government study, which has identified the six national congestion hotspots most in need of investment.

“Coming from Yorkshire as I do, I understand the importance of regional airports, or local international airports as I think they should really be called,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

“A rail connection into the airport is obviously desirable. I am the MP for Scarborough and many of my constituents see it as [more] convenient to use Manchester airport, despite the fact it’s twice as far away, because they can get on the train at Scarborough and get off it in Manchester.

“And therefore I can understand why John (Parkin, the airport’s chief executive) is so keen to get a rail connection here, so that people an get on the train, change at Leeds or Harrogate and come into Leeds Bradford by train.”

He praised the airport’s “phenomenal” facilities and its increasing capacity.

But quizzed on if and when the Government would be ready to invest in the region’s airport, he said he was “rather reluctant to put a timescale on that decision”.

“We have to look at other airports and priorities as well,” he said. “But I have recognised the issue of surface connectivity at Leeds Bradford. There is a study ongoing and it will depend on the price tag, the deliverability and planning issues.

“But business leaders, council leaders and local MPs make it very clear to me that they see this as a priority we need to look at. I have come here today.

“If it wasn’t something we are taking seriously, I would not have.”

John Parkin, chief executive of the airport, said connection issues had been driving the regional debate on transport planning for a while.

He said the fact the Minister was visiting the region and speaking to stakeholders on the issue “tells you much”.

“Whilst no one can say what the outcome of major piece of national work will be, we are getting attention, and that’s important,” he said.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/aviation-minister-drops-in-to-discuss-new-airport-rail-link-1-6592763

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CAA aviation statistics 
 

Terminal Passengers at Leeds Bradford airport:    

Number of passengers (thousands)
 

UK Airport Statistics:  – annual each year  (Table 10.3)

2013 data 

2013    3,314,000  (up +12% on 2012)
2012    2,968,700  (up + 1.1% on 2011)
2011    2,937,000  (up + 8%  on 2010)
2010    2,723,934  (up + 6.7% on 2009)  link to 2010 data
2009    2,552,614 (down -10.8% on 2008)
2008    2,860,447 (almost no change since 2007)
2007    2,860,000  (+3% up on 2006)
2006    2,787,217
2005    2,608,721
2000    1,573,056
1996    1,050,608
 

Earlier, in 2012:

Leeds Bradford Airport rail link ‘to happen’

17.10.2012 (BBC)

Leeds Bradford Airport has announced an £11m building programme to improve passenger facilities

Plans for a rail link at Leeds Bradford Airport should happen in the next 10 years, the leader of Leeds City Council has said.

Improving public transport to the airport from cities and towns forms part of a £1bn upgrade of the transport infrastructure across West Yorkshire.

Councillor Keith Wakefield said: “I’m optimistic we’ll put something there in the next five to 10 years.”

Other improvements could see an expansion of the trolleybus scheme.

Mr Wakefield said: “Although you could improve the roads I think the key to all this improvement is through public transport investment.

“I think we’ve got to have a good offer to get people out of cars.

“Most people will go to Leeds Bradford Airport by car or by taxi and I think what you need to do is put a significant public transport option on for people to take that choice.”

Plans for the rail link are expected to be discussed by councillors later as they meet to debate the £1bn transport fund.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-19978920


Earlier, in 2011:

New Leeds Bradford Airport rail link planned for spring 2012

7 November 2011 (Yorkshire Evening Post)

A new rail link for Leeds Bradford Airport could get the provisional go-ahead as soon as spring next year, the YEP can reveal.

Harrogate Chamber of Commerce has asked Transport Secretary Teresa Villiers for a decision, in principle, on a proposed new rail system connecting Leeds, Harrogate and York.

The plans include a new station – Leeds International Airport Parkway – based near the Bramhope Tunnel, between Horsforth and Weeton, which would connect to the airport by a park and ride scheme. New stations with park and ride schemes are also being put forward for Pool, Butterskye Bar and Arthington.

If Ms Villiers agrees in principle, it is hoped detailed costings and other design work could begin in earnest.

Brian Dunsby, chief executive at the Harrogate Chamber of Commerce, told the Yorkshire Evening Post the new system would bring massive benefits to the region.

He said: “It has massive economic consequences for the region.”

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Mr Dunsby added: “The airport is poorly served by rail and we need to improve connections from towns like Harrogate and Leeds.”

The Chamber’s plan also involves electrifying the line – putting in a ‘third rail’ – and increasing the speed of the trains so that extra stations are possible without extending journey times.

The rail line would be serviced by reconditioned former London Underground trains when they are decommissioned in 2014.

However, the current plans fall short of those outlined in the airport’s own ‘masterplan’ which had envisaged the construction of a railway line north of the airport from the west, at Guiseley on the Wharfedale line, to the East, the Harrogate line between Horsforth and Weeton.

Leeds city councillor, Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: “The station would undoubtedly help the residents of Yeadon. There’s road congestion and many visitors park up and leave cars for weeks-on-end to avoid car parking charges at the airport. But we need to consider all options, the scheme proposes an electric third rail system and there may be problems getting other types of trains to run on it.“

Simon Bowen of Friends of the Earth gave the proposals a cautious welcome. He said: “We welcome the plans but the airport will remain a major traffic generator because it plans to increase passenger numbers to five million over the next five years.”

Harrogate Chamber of Commerce expects a decision on its outline proposal from the Department for Transport by Spring 2012.

http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/latest-news/top-stories/new-leeds-bradford-airport-rail-link-planned-for-spring-2012-1-3944431

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Anti-third runway campaigners “put the boot in” at Westminster with a protest football game

Protesters – from the villages of Harmondsworth and Longford (to be destroyed by Heathrow’s 3rd runway plan) played a protest football game on the green outside the Houses of Parliament. This was to highlight the “broken promises” of David Cameron over his “No ifs, no buts, no third runway” commitment to no expansion at Heathrow at the last election. The residents of the 2 villages feel they have been “kicked into the long grass” over new Heathrow expansion plans.  The villagers travelled from west London too Westminster with Channel 5 TV cameras in tow, to set up their jumpers for goalposts on the green overlooked by Parliament. The team wore England shirts, with past quotes from senior politicians affirming cross-party opposition to a third runway emblazoned on their backs.The football organiser said “We will practice our kicking into the long grass, and our U-turns. The Conservative Government made promises that there would be no third runway before they were elected, and now it looks like they are going back on their word. If we can’t believe them on this issue, how can we believe them about anything?”
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Anti-third runway campaigners put the boot in at Westminster

Protestors played a football game on the green outside the Houses of Parliament, to highlight the “broken promises” of David Cameron over his ‘no ifs, no buts’ commitment to no expansion at Heathrow

Anti third runway going to protest at House of Commons photographed at High Street, Harmondsworth. L-R: Justine Bayley, Stan Woods, Neil Keveren, and David Durston.
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HEATHROW villagers who feel they have been “kicked into the long grass” over new Heathrow expansion plans had a protest football game outside the House of Commons.

The group travelled to Westminster this morning (Friday), with Channel 5 TV cameras in tow, to set up their jumpers for goalposts on the green overlooked by Parliament, and take a stand against the government’s changing stance on a third runway.

The team wore England shirts, with past quotes from senior politicians affirming cross-party opposition to a third runway emblazoned on their backs.

Amongst them is David Cameron’s now-infamous pledge in 2009 that a third runway would not go ahead, “no ifs, no buts.”

Two Heathrow expansion options – a third runway to the north west of the existing airport, over Harmondsworth and Longford, and the extension of the northern runway to the west – are being considered by the Airports Commission, set up by the government to assess and recommend the best way to increase hub airport capacity in the south east.

The Commission is due to advise on their preferred option next summer, after the general election.

A second runway at Gatwick is a third option on the table.

The protest was organised by Harmondsworth resident Neil Keveren, who said: “We brought with us people from all the villages that would be affected. We will practice our kicking into the long grass, and our u-turns.

“The Conservative Government made promises that there would be no third runway before they were elected, and now it looks like they are going back on their word.

“If we can’t believe them on this issue, how can we believe them about anything? We have been ignored for too long, and we just want to exercise our free speech and let our political leaders know that they should stand by their word.

“Sipson has been reprieved this time, but Harmondsworth and Longford would be destroyed.”

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/anti-third-runway-campaigners-put-boot-7064382

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No ifs No buts

 

Actual text from Conservative election leaflet for the May 2010 election.                                   Full leaflet at  http://www.electionleaflets.org/leaflets/full/b58fa8c95aec5d810bfe2ebb16bcbf91/

 

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Eric Pickles decides against calling in Luton’s plans – trampling on views of local residents

Luton Airport operators LLAOL have announced that Eric Pickles, Secretary of State at the DCLG, has decided not to call in Luton airport’s expansion plans. This means Luton Borough Council can now grant planning permission for works designed to achieve a doubling of annual passenger capacity. Local opponents of the expansion are horrified and saddened. Earlier a local opinion poll showed some 70% of the public who responded to the consultation over Luton Airport Expansion said “NO”  to it. Local community group opposing the expansion, HALE, commented that the application is effectively large enough to be a NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) as it could perhaps add 10 million passengers per year. NSIPs have to be called in, as their scale and the extent of their influence  warrant proper scrutiny, in detail.  The airport and the government, have failed to take proper account of the local impacts of an extra 9 million passengers per year on local transport infrastructure, and the effect of noise from 60% more flights. “The throwaway comment at the end about being a good neighbour is meaningless …” Luton Council gave consent to the plans in December but Eric Pickles asked to review the decision.
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Luton airport tramples on views of local residents

1.5.2014 ( HALE  - Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion)

Luton Airport operators LLAOL have this morning announced that Eric Pickles, Secretary of
State, has decided not to call in the expansion plans, meaning that Luton Borough Council
can now grant planning permission for works designed to achieve a doubling of annual
passenger capacity.

Reacting to the news, Andrew Lambourne from HALE said “The government is hell-bent on
expanding airport capacity in the South East, come what may. Regardless of the fact that
70% of the public who responded to the consultation over Luton Airport Expansion said NO,
ignoring the fact that aviation is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases, and
despite the application technically constituting a nationally significant infrastructure project,
Eric Pickles has failed to call this application in for proper scrutiny.”

He continued “The airport’s announcement this morning mentions everything except the
key local issues: the effect of an extra 9 million passengers per year on the already crowded transport infrastructure, and the effect of noise from 60% more flights. The throwaway comment at the end about being a good neighbour is meaningless unless the airport takes seriously the concerns about noise and puts in place measures to make a difference. That means a Noise Action Plan which has some real bite.”

HALE (Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion) is a campaign group committed to opposing plans to expand Luton Airport which will export further noise and pollution to Hertfordshire. It represents communities all around the airport.
See www.hale.uk.net

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The Luton Airport press release said:

 

Planning Application Consent

1 May 2014   ( Luton airport)

London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (“LLAOL”) and its new owners, Ardian and Aena, are pleased that the Department for Communities and Local Government has confirmed that Luton Borough Council may proceed to grant consent for its planning application.

Our application to develop the Airport has been subjected to intense and rigorous scrutiny over the past 12 months from neighbouring Councils, independent third party specialists and by the Local Planning Authority, who twice extended the period required to review the plans.

Before the plans were formally submitted, proposals to improve the Airport were subject to two public consultations.  65% of respondents who took part in the consultation on LLAOL’s development plans said they supported proposals to develop the Airport. They all stated their support for the economic benefits to Luton and the wider region, and the need to generate 5,100 new jobs, including a contribution to a reduction in youth unemployment.

Construction will take place over three phases and will:

- Expand, modernise and remodel the terminal building to accommodate and equip:

  • Up to 20 security passenger screening lanes;
  • 15 immigration passenger screening lanes;
  • Up to 8 international and 1 domestic passenger reclaim belts;
  • Increased retail, catering, circulation and seating areas;
  • A new two-storey pier.

- Dual the road from the Holiday Inn Roundabout to a newly configured road system in front of the Central Terminal Area;

-  Build a new parallel taxiway to unlock capacity for an additional 6 million passengers a year from the existing runway;

- Build a new multi-storey car park.

Glyn Jones, Managing Director of the Airport said: “We are delighted that after a thorough process, the Council can proceed to grant planning permission for London Luton. We see this as a real vote of confidence in the Airport and its future, underlining the determination of our new owners, Ardian and Aena, to develop and radically improve London Luton and deliver a better airport experience for our passengers in the years to come. The opportunities it brings for the local economy in terms of jobs and investment are significant, and Luton can now press ahead with making its local airport bigger and better, while remaining a good neighbour.”

[Ends]

For more information please contact: pressoffice@ltn.aero

Notes to Editors:

London Luton Airport is one of the UK’s largest airports and carried 9.7 million passengers in 2013. The Airport directly and indirectly employs over 600 and 8,000 staff respectively and is a key economic driver for the region.  easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Monarch, Thomson, EL AL, Atlasjet, Blue Air, TAROM and Carpatair operate from the airport, departing to over 100 destinations including services to Europe, Africa, and Asia, with onward connections to Mumbai, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Beijing and Bangkok via Tel Aviv.

http://www.london-luton.co.uk/en/news/8/300/planning-application-consent.html

 


 

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London Luton Airport expansion plan backed by government

1.5.2014 (BBC)

Luton Airport
Luton has the fifth largest airport in the UK

Expansion plans for London Luton Airport that would double its capacity to 18 million passengers a year have won government approval.

London Luton Airport Operations said its plans could allow 45,000 extra flights and create 5,000 new jobs.

Luton Council backed the plans in December but Communities Secretary Eric Pickles asked to review the decision.

Campaigners against the expansion have said it will bring an unacceptable increase in noise and air pollution.

The airport, which currently is the UK’s fifth largest, handled 9.7m passengers in 2013.

Airport managing director Glyn Jones said the government’s approval was “a real vote of confidence in the airport and its future”.


Expansion plan features:

  • Up to 20 security passenger screening lanes
  • 15 immigration passenger screening lanes
  • Up to eight international and one domestic passenger reclaim belts
  • Increased retail, catering and seating areas

 

“The opportunities it brings for the local economy, in terms of jobs and investment, are significant and Luton can now press ahead with making its local airport bigger and better, while remaining a good neighbour,” he said.

Andrew Lambourne, from Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion, said: “An extra nine million passengers a year can’t just be swept under the carpet – local roads are already crowded.

“Planes will be taking off earlier in the morning and later at night.”

The council said its December decision was subject to a range of planning conditions addressing concerns over noise, night flying and other environmental issues, including road improvements.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-27234097

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Related BBC Stories


 

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Comment from a Luton resident, already badly affected by Luton airport noise:
In a passable imitation of Pontius Pilate the announcement from  [Eric Pickles '] office says:
 
The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.
 
To have denied the many communities adversely affected by the airport’s expansion the thorough examination of the proposals, and the many assumptions and assertions on which it is based, by the independent Planning Inspectorate is “shameful”.
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Populus surveys done for Heathrow show only 48% back its expansion (26% back it strongly, 23% oppose it strongly)

To quote Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli;  “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  And so it is when opinion polls are done, and the organisation that commissions the poll wants a particular result out of it.   Heathrow often gets Populus to ask people in boroughs near Heathrow what they think. They usually ask similar questions each time. One asks “Taking everything you know into account, do you currently support or oppose expanding Heathrow?” Over all boroughs surveyed, 26% strongly supported this; 22% somewhat supported;  11% somewhat opposed; 23% strongly opposed. See link  So 48% support, and 34% oppose, with 18% neither supporting nor opposing. The figures were broadly the same a year earlier (with 46% supporting, but 43% opposing, and 10% neither supporting nor opposing).  Heathrow says this is large, and growing, support.  It is difficult to interpret the  figures, as Populus only publishes a small bit of its results, with no methodology, such as the script of the interviewer, tone of the questions etc. Questions need to be asked about what information is given to people by Populus before they are asked their views.
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Heathrow’s Populus Poll: not all that it seems

 

Heathrow Airport has released the results of a poll asking people if they were more or less likely to support candidates in the local elections who back Heathrow expansion.  http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/One-quarter-of-local-residents-more-likely-to-vote-for-local-councillor-if-they-back-Heathrow-expa-8a4.aspx .

It found that only 42% of people expressed an opinion on the issue:  of those, 25% of people said they were more likely to vote for their local councillor if they support expansion and 17% more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes expansion.

On the wider issue of support for a 3rd runway, people in the boroughs around Heathrow remain split, with just under a half supporting it and just over a third opposed.

The fact that a third of people stubbornly refuse to back expansion will worry politicians.  It adds up to a lot of people: over half a million in total. (Each borough contains about 250,000 people.  The 7 boroughs Populus surveyed contain about 1,750,000 people in total.  A third of that is 525,000).

The results are similar to the previous polls carried out by Populus.  But remain out-of-kilter with other polls.

Last year referenda and polls carried out in three West London boroughs found that 72% of people were opposed to a third runway at Heathrow.  That is also the message MPs get on the door step.  Questions need to be asked about what information is given to people by Populus before they are asked their views.

 http://hacan.org.uk/blog/

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The Heathrow airport press release

One quarter of local residents ‘more likely’ to vote for local councillor if they back Heathrow expansion

23 April, 2014

  • 25% more likely to vote for their local councillor if they support expansion, 17% more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes expansion
  • 48% support Heathrow third runway, 34% oppose
  • 57% feel positively towards Heathrow, 37% neutral, only 6% negative

 

Local residents in west London, Spelthorne and Windsor are more likely to vote for their local councillor if they support Heathrow expansion than if they oppose it according to new research from independent polling company Populus.

The research suggests that far from being politically difficult, supporting a third runway at Heathrow could actually be a vote winner for local councillors. 48% of residents said they supported expanding Heathrow, while 34% were opposed.

57% of voters said they feel positive towards Heathrow, while 37% feel neutral and just 6% feel negative towards the airport.

The research is significant because it covers a statistically representative sample of those who stand to be most affected by Heathrow expansion and who have traditionally been perceived as opposed to growth. It confirms that a large proportion of people in local boroughs support the airport and its plans for a third runway.

Only one local authority – Richmond – had more residents who opposed expansion than supported it, all other areas saw many more people supporting than opposing a third runway.

Colin Matthews, Heathrow’s Chief Executive, said:

“A third runway at Heathrow has traditionally been seen as the best option for the UK but politically difficult in West London. This research suggests that the political costs of supporting a third runway at Heathrow have been overstated.”

“Far from being a political challenge, there is widespread local support for Heathrow. Many more people around Heathrow support a third runway than oppose it. More than 100,000 jobs depend on Heathrow and people want to see the airport flourish.”

Notes to editors

Populus interviewed 1,000 adult residents (18+) in seven London Boroughs local to Heathrow Airport by telephone between 25 February and 23 March 2014. In total, 7,000 residents were interviewed. Results were weighted to be demographically representative of all adults in each borough.

Selected polling results:

[Question asked].    “Taking everything into account, based on what you have seen, read and heard, how positive or negative would you say you feel towards Heathrow Airport? On a scale of 0-10, where 0 means very negative, 10 means very positive, and 5 is neutral.”

 

Total Spelthorne Hillingdon Hounslow Ealing Windsor and Maidenhead Richmond Kingston
Positive (7-10) 57% 63% 62% 60% 57% 56% 51% 48%
Negative (0-3) 6% 4% 4% 6% 4% 6% 10% 5%
Neutral (4-6) 37% 33% 34% 33% 39% 37% 37% 46%

 

“Taking everything you know into account, do you currently support or oppose expanding Heathrow?”

 

Total Spelthorne Hillingdon Hounslow Ealing Windsor and Maidenhead Richmond Kingston
Support 48% 49% 51% 50% 52% 49% 38% 45%
Oppose 34% 32% 31% 34% 26% 32% 49% 30%
Neither/Don’t know 19% 18% 18% 16% 22% 18% 13% 24%
Net support/oppose +14 +17 +20 +16 +26 +31 -11 +15

 

” If your local councillor supported Heathrow expansion, would it make you more or less likely to vote for that candidate, or would it have no impact?”

 

Total Spelthorne Hillingdon Hounslow Ealing Windsor and Maidenhead Richmond Kingston
More likely to vote for candidate if they opposed expansion 17% 16% 15% 19% 14% 15% 28% 12%
More likely to vote for candidate if they supported expansion 25% 26% 25% 31% 28% 23% 20% 20%

 

http://www.populus.co.uk/Poll/Heathrow-Local-Borough-Poll/

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Heathrow: local support for 3rd runway growing

West London airport says it has more support from communities than it did last decade when it was pushing for a third runway on a different site.

28 Apr 2014 (  Telegraph )

Heathrow Airport claims it has significantly more local support for a third runway than in 2010, when the Coalition put an end to its expansion plans in the face of fierce opposition from residents, councils and environment campaigners.

The West London airport held a public consultation in February and March on its latest plans for a third runway, to the north-west of its current site. It will submit improved proposals next month to a government-appointed commission investigating the thorny issue of aviation capacity.

José Leo, finance director of Heathrow, said he felt the airport “definitely” had more support from local communities despite continued opposition from a number of high profile groups, including London’s Mayor Boris Johnson.

The airport says a recent opinion poll of more than 1,000 local residents by Populus showed 48pc are in favour of a third runway while 34pc oppose.

Although the same level of polling was not carried out last decade, a spokesman for Heathrow said the airport would have expected last time that a majority of residents in local constituencies would have said they opposed a third runway.

Mr Leo, who was speaking after Heathrow’s first quarter financial results on Monday, said: “Over the last two months we have been engaging in a significant, extensive and intensive consultation with the communities around us.

“One thing we have discovered – and obviously that will be included in our submission [next month] – we have more supporters than the headlines would say because normally people remain silent when they want these things to happen but they are very vocal when they oppose.”

Mr Leo added: “We are learning from the potential errors and gaps from the former proposal – the one which was dropped in 2010. We think the [new] north-west runway option is much more consistent with the need to be responsible in terms of noise and impact on local communities. It will be a very different proposal from the 2010 one and I think this is recognised locally.”

However John Stewart, chairman of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN), said the two third runway campaigns cannot be accurately compared as the same level of data was not collected last decade on how many people supported – and opposed – expansion.

He said: “They [Heathrow] are in no position to make inaccurate comparisons with 10 years ago.”

Heathrow will submit its refined proposals to the Airports Commission, which is chaired by Sir Howard Davies, on May 14. Its latest proposals will address claims about the potential impact on the M25 of building a north-west runway.

The airport on Monday reported a significant reduction in its first quarter pre-tax losses, from £196m to £15m, and a 31.8pc increase in adjusted operating profit to £319m on revenue of £576m, up 10.8pc.

However Mr Leo insisted the first quarter result was exceptional and operating profit is likely to grow at a more moderate rate of 8.5pc over the full year.

Heathrow has been at loggerheads with airlines over take-off and landing charges, which are passed on to passengers via ticket prices.

Until March 31, Heathrow was able to raise fees by 7.5pc above inflation every year but a new settlement with the UK’s airports regulator, which came into effect on April 1, will limit annual increases to inflation minus 1.5pc until December 31 2018.

“This is not what we expect for the rest of the year,” Mr Leo said of the first quarter results.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10793060/Heathrow-local-support-for-3rd-runway-growing.html

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 Past Populus surveys on attitudes to Heathrow: 

Looking at the three most recent Populus surveys (all the back editions of Populus surveys do seem to be available, at http://www.populus.co.uk/Poll/ )
Comparison of the figures from the three surveys, to the question about backing for Heathrow expansion.   Link comparing Heathrow Populus May 2013 and Nov 2013 with March 2014
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History Group appalled at possible demolition of ancient buildings around Gatwick

On Saturday 26th April the Charlwood History Group visited a number of fine historic buildings (18 of them are listed) which would be demolished if a new runway were to be built at Gatwick. The group visited the area which would be demolished, or made virtually uninhabitable, if a 2nd runway was to be built. The loss of these wonderful old buildings would be very sad, and a travesty. The Chairman of the Charlwood Society said:  “If this were ever to happen it would be a tragedy for our local district, and for our heritage. We must see that it never happens.”  Of the 18 listed buildings, there are 5 that are listed by English Heritage as ‘Grade 2 star’ which puts them among the 6% most important historic buildings in England. Some of the stunning and important buildings under threat are Charlwood House, Rowley, the Beehive, Hyders and the Church of St Michael and All Angels.  Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, joined the party for part of the tour.
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History Group appalled at possible demolition of ancient buildings

28.4.2014 ( GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Untitled

At Charlwood House

On Saturday 26th April the Charlwood History Group visited a number of fine historic buildings which would be demolished if a new runway were to be built at Gatwick.

Patrick Cox, chairman of the Charlwood Society said:   ‘If this were ever to happen it would be a tragedy for our local district, and for our heritage. We must see that it never happens.’

40 members of the Society packed into three mini-buses for a tour of the area where a new runway is planned.  According to Gatwick Airport eighteen listed buildings would need to be demolished.  That includes five buildings listed by English Heritage as ‘Grade 2 star’ which puts them among the 6% most important historic buildings in England.

Among the ancient buildings visited were

  • Charlwood House, a magnificent Elizabethan building.
  • Rowley, dating from around 1200, and owned at one time by the Culpeper family whose grand-daughter Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, was executed when she had an affair with her cousin Thomas Culpeper.
  • The Beehive – the first Gatwick terminal built in 1936 when the aerodrome had grass runways. ‘It is ironic that this airport building now listed as of great historic interest would be destroyed by a new runway,’ said Patrick Cox.
  • Hyders, now renamed the Gatwick Manor Inn, recorded as the home of Richard ate Hyde in 1263.  During a break for tea, the History Group were able to admire the open hall built in the days before chimneys were invented.
  • The church of St Michael and All Angels.  Now sadly surrounded by warehouses and radar masts, the church is all that remains of the village of Lowfield Heath demolished in 1974.

 

All the buildings were in the Parish of Charlwood until a boundary change in 1974 moved them into Crawley.

The tour was led by local history enthusiast, Brendon Sewill who, as Chairman of GACC, is leading the campaign against a new runway.

Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, joined the party for part of the tour.

The Charlwood History Group is a part of the Charlwood Society.

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www.gacc.org.uk

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Keith Taylor, Green MEP on Lydd airport: We must look at fate of Manston and think again

Keith Taylor MEP says the Lydd airport area, in his European constituency, could be revived in a way to generate jobs and green growth – but not by expanding the airport or using it for yet  more holiday flights. He is concerned about the low, and declining, number of airport jobs generated by ultra-low-cost flights, and that better employment could be  generated on the site, with lower carbon emissions.  Keith says the arguments for Lydd Airport expansion centres on an economic case that simply doesn’t stand up. In reality, Lydd’s remote position, and relatively inaccessible by public transport, means it already faces a competitive disadvantage compared with Gatwick. He says: “With the nuclear power station at Dungeness on its last legs, I believe it’s time to turn the peninsula into a green energy zone. I’d like to see schemes like the Marsh Millions built on to offer local green business incentives to set up shops in the area, and provide people with jobs to build a life on.” Lydd could be at the forefront of a new economic model, of economies refocused on tackling climate change. 
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Keith Taylor, Green MEP on Lydd airport: We must look at fate of Manston and think again

By Folkestone Herald

April 24, 2014

IT looks likely that Manston Airport will be shut down. It hasn’t seen the increased demand anticipated by management, and may well set a precedent for Lydd, another of the southeast’s smaller airports.

The arguments for Lydd Airport expansion centres on an economic case that simply doesn’t stand up.

Airport bosses, who are desperate to lengthen Lydd’s runway and expand the terminal building, claim that an improved airport will be good for jobs.

Sadly for the people of Shepway, the reality is that jobs at an expanded airport are likely to be few and far between. Lydd’s remote position, relatively inaccessible by public transport, means it already faces a competitive disadvantage compared with an airport like Gatwick.

But other factors also suggest that the airport won’t be the huge source of jobs proponents claim.

For starters, there’s a worrying trend in airports across the UK: the number of jobs generated by the airline industry is falling. As super low-cost travel has spread, the check-in process has become increasingly mechanised and jobs at airports are being shipped out to private contractors.

The belief that a Lydd expansion will create jobs is underpinned by an assumption that the number of people flying will endlessly increase. But, once again, it seems airport bosses are guilty of wishful thinking.

Since 2003, government forecasts for the number of people flying have been revised down four times. Indeed, the UK has enough airport capacity to cope with a 60 % growth in demand;   as such, Lydd expansion cannot be depicted as a response to a lack of supply in the face of overwhelming demand.

On top of the shallowness of arguments for expansion, it’s worth looking closely for a moment at the threats that come with Lydd expansion.

For me, as a Member of the European Parliament for the region, my number one priority is the people who live in my constituency. That’s why these plans, which will see larger jets flying closer to people’s homes and to a local school, are so worrying.

On top of the threat of increased noise and air pollution, is the potential devastation that this expansion could bring to the RSPB’s wonderful Dungeness nature reserve.

It’s clear to me that Lydd Airport shouldn’t be expanded, but should be replaced with something more beneficial for the community.

Shutting down the airport might sound radical, but with decent jobs becoming increasingly scarce in the industry, and with airport noise posing a major health threat, it’s wrong to assume that expansion can provide what the community needs.

With the nuclear power station at Dungeness on its last legs, I believe it’s time to turn the peninsula into a green energy zone. I’d like to see schemes like the Marsh Millions built on to offer local green business incentives to set up shops in the area, and provide people with jobs to build a life on.

Only this week, the UN spelled out the desperate need for countries to refocus economies on tackling climate change – I believe that the Lydd area could be at the forefront of this.

For me, the argument against airport expansion at Lydd, and indeed for the closing down of the airport, is a hopeful one.

We need to oppose airport expansion because we value clean air for our children, and because we believe that we can create well-paid skilled jobs for people in the area.

I hope that politicians of all parties can get together to think of ways to build the local economy without relying on precarious jobs at an airport that’s unlikely to take off.

Do you agree? E-mail eleanor.jones@KRNmedia.co.uk

http://www.folkestoneherald.co.uk/look-fate-Manston-think/story-21005313-detail/story.html

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 More   News about Lydd airport

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Lydd airport has appointed a consultant for its expansion, but result of 2 legal challenges still awaited

April 4, 2014

Lydd airport has put out a press release, giving the impression that it is already getting on with building its 294 metre runway extension (plus a 150m starter extension). However, in reality, it has merely appointed some consultants. The airport is still waiting the result of the legal appeal against its planning application. There were two separate legal challenges against the application; one from the RSPB and one from the local community group, LAAG. If the appeal of either is accepted by the judge, the planning consent could be quashed. If that were the case, and one appeal won, the planning application has to be re-determined on the subject matters under question. Lydd is saying it has appointed Capita to design and manage its runway extension. Capita helped design Crossrail, and its job at Lydd would be to provide project, cost, construction and design management services for the airport as well as civil and aviation design services. Lydd says it is nearing completion of a number of pre-commencement conditions required to enable planning permission for the runway extension to be implemented.

Click here to view full story…

 

High Court hearing ended on 27th January 2014

LAAG commented:

The hearing is over. The timing of the judgement is unknown – it could take weeks or months. It depends on the Judge’s workload.

It only takes one party to be successful to quash the Secretaries of States’ decision – i.e. LAAG or the RSPB. If both parties lose their appeals, the airport’s development goes ahead, although it is possible that a qualified judgement(s) could ultimately lead to further restrictions on the airport.

The judge has no power to make a decision about the case itself. His role is to rule on the soundness of the government’s decision. If it is unsound and the decision is overturned, it must be re-taken. The mechanics of this are still not clear – whether this will be undertaken in the form of another public inquiry to re-examine the issue(s) at fault, or via consultation.

 

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Legal challenge against Lydd airport expansion plans at the High Court by RSPB and LAAG.  21st to 27th January 2014

RSPB on 21st and 22nf.  LAAG on 23rd and 24th

January 21, 2014

A legal challenge to the decision to allow expansion at Lydd in Kent is being heard on 21st and 22nd January, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. A public inquiry was held into the applications by Lydd Airport in 2011 at which the RSPB raised concerns about the impact an expansion would have on the nearby protected wildlife area of Dungeness. The inspector found in favour of the airport’s proposals – and his report was subsequently endorsed by the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government and for Transport. After careful consideration the RSPB issued a legal challenge to the final decision based on the inspector’s report. The RSPB believes the stakes are too high to risk the future of one of the UK’s best and most important places for nature without testing the basis for this decision which they consider to be flawed. Dungeness is one of the most important wildlife sites in the world and it is protected at global, European and UK levels. It is home to many threatened species and is also a crossroads for migrating birds stopping off on migration. The Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) have a separate appeal which will be heard after that of the RSPB. They have concerns about the airport’s proximity to the nuclear power station. LAAG did not want to disclose further details of its case until the court hearing.

Click here to view full story…

 

 

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