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“Grow Heathrow” still hanging on in Sipson – which would be wiped out by a 3rd northern runway

A small Transition community calling itself Grow Heathrow set up in Sipson three years ago, in order to give heart to the community, so badly damaged by the runway threat and the purchase by Heathrow airport of many properties. The Grow Heathrow site is a hub for local residents and environmental activists to share knowledge and practical skills such as organic gardening, permaculture design, bicycle maintenance and wood and metal work. They endeavour to be self-reliance, producing their own food; by use of solar and wind power, as well as simpler heating technologies, they are completely “off grid”. They collect water from the greenhouse roofs to feed the plants, fruit and vegetables; they use fuel-efficient rocket stoves to heat water; they have compost toilets making “humanure.” The site has been  under threat of eviction for many months. Following an Appeal Court decision on 3rd July 2013 that the landowner could take possession, nothing has happened. They could be evicted at any time. They are still trying to negotiate with the landowner to buy the land, and the legal process seeking to apply to appeal to the Supreme Court is still trundling along. Meanwhile Heathrow’s proposal for a 3rd runway in the Harmondsworth area, west of Sipson, has been short-listed by the Airports Commission.
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25.11.2013 – from Transition Heathrow:

http://www.transitionheathrow.com

http://www.transitionheathrow.com/grow-heathrow/

Well, here’s the long-awaited legal update: there’s no news.

We’re still trying to negotiate with the landowner to buy the land, and the legal process seeking to apply to appeal to the Supreme Court is still trundling along.

We still haven’t heard anything from the landowner following the 3 July court decision granting him possession, so we don’t know if he has plans to hire bailiffs, which he could now do.

 Map showing location of proposed runway at Harmondsworth, with Sipson at the far eastern end.


Heathrow Villages awarded £7000 to create a Neighbourhood Plan

November 4th, 2013

planning_flyer

A group of residents from Harmondsworth, Sipson and Harlington have successfully bid for a £7000 grant to give villagers a greater say in future development and planning issues. 

The money has come from the Community Development Foundation, one of the organisations administering a £9.5 million government fund to support communities creating a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.

The plans can deal with a wide range of subjects, such as housing, employment, heritage and transport, or may focus on one or two issues that are of particular importance to local people.

Holly Crofter, a resident at Grow Heathrow in Sipson and now a member of the Heathrow Villages Planning Committee (HVPC) that will be using the grant, is enthusiastic about the project: “The Neighbourhood Plan will give our villages a say in development decisions that have, in the past, been difficult to influence in a meaningful way.  It’s particularly important for this area, which has suffered the blight caused by airport-related development for decades.”

Having secured the grant with the help of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents’ Association and arranged for the charity Groundwork to accept the funds on their behalf, HVPC are eager to move forward with the process to draw up an approved Neighbourhood Plan.  This includes finding seven residents from each village to join a Neighbourhood Forum.

A public meeting about the project is being held at St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth on Thursday 14 November at 7pm.

Harlington resident and HVPC member Christine Taylor is hoping for a good turnout: “To complete this project it’s vital that people from all three villages get involved. This is our chance to tell the planners and developers what we want in our area and, just as important, what we don’t want.”

http://www.transitionheathrow.com


 

 

HEATHROW’S LAST SQUAT

Grow Heathrow is probably England’s most beloved squat – so why is it facing eviction?

18.12.2013

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2013 has seen continuous attacks on both environmental protest and squatting. We’ve seen an unprecedented crackdown on environmental protest culminating in the arrest of Green MP for Brighton and Hove, Caroline Lucas at an anti-fracking demo in Balcombe. Meanwhile a sustained hate campaign led by the Evening Standard, Daily Mail and Conservative MPs has led to thecriminalisation of squatting in residential properties.

Squatters have been painted as the national bogeymen coming to steal your home. But just as the wolves were at the (barricaded) door, communities began to show support for their friendly neighbourhood squatters – and one such example is Grow Heathrow.

Located on the former site of an illegal car breaking yard, Grow Heathrow began not only as a physical barrier to the controversial third runway, but also as an example of how communities can thrive without depending on fossil fuel. Despite widespread support from local residents, police and council members, they have recently lost their appeal against a possession order and face eviction at any time.

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The gates to the Grow Heathrow compound   Christopher Bethell
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I arrived in Sipson on a frosty November morning and made my way to a brightly painted gate just off the main road. A DIY doorbell consisting of an old gas canister and a wooded baton hung to the left with a sign inviting me to ring. A few minutes later the gate opened and I was greeted by the project’s unofficial media officer, Sam Sorrel. He gave me the site tour; from the large vegetable patches, past the DIY cabins and dormitories, through the large greenhouse, where all kinds of fruits and herbs were growing, into the communal kitchen and living area. Everywhere we went, people were busy chopping wood, cleaning, cooking and building.

After meeting some of the residents over a cup of tea, I was invited to sit in on a tutorial of the site’s latest off-grid appliance: a wood-chip water heater. No more than a large plastic container, it had been rigged with piping and stuffed with wood chip and compost so the heat given off from biodegradation was enough to heat the water running through: just enough to wash clothes and dishes. This was just one of Grow Heathrow’s ingenious solutions to an off-grid life, complete with solar-powered shower and bicycle-powered generator, both of which feel almost foreign to modern life; like something from Robinson Crusoe or a Wile E Coyote cartoon.

“HEATHROW’S SUSTAINED 10-YEAR LAND GRAB HAS TURNED SIPSON AND ITS NEIGHBOURING VILLAGES INTO GHOST TOWNS WITH FEW PERMANENT RESIDENTS”

“It’s pretty amazing to live and be around people that are dedicating their lives to the resistance of the third runway and the criminalisation of squatting,” Sorrel says. “I remember being in GCSE geography and learning about the greenhouse effect, thinking it was a bit rich that we were being taught in a building that ran on fossil fuels and would send us to University to prepare us for careers that rely on fossil fuels.”

In preparation for the construction of the runway, Heathrow has bought up a lot of properties in the area and is leaving them vacant or on short-term leases in anticipation of demolition. This sustained 10-year land grab has turned Sipton and its neighbouring villages into ghost towns with few permanent residents.

“There are only about 80 long-term residents left,” Sorrel explains, “so a lot of the project here is about supporting those residents that have put massive amounts of energy into resisting the construction of a climate-change factory on top of their homes for the last 15 years.”

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Grow Heathrow squatters prepare food in the communal kitchen Christopher Bethell
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After a few hours on site, it’s easy to see what attracts people to stay. There’s a real sense of everyone working together to achieve the shared goal of a sustainable life. It’s this sense of community that is most at threat from the third runway.

Christine Taylor has lived in the Sipson area for 60 years; she’s active both in the community and in the fight against the runway. She told me how important Grow Heathrow is to local residents: “It sounds weird because they’re squatters, but the most important thing they’ve brought to the community is a sense of stability. Even now when they could be evicted at any time, they’re saying they’ll support us and that stability is very important.”

“WE’RE IN LIMBO AT THE MINUTE. THEORETICALLY BAILIFFS COULD SHOW UP ANY DAY NOW” – SAM HAARDBLASTER, SQUATTER

Taylor still remembers when the Grow Heathrow site was used as an illegal car breaking yard and red diesel filling station. The site was notorious for anti-social behaviour and a high rate of car crime. After Grow Heathrow took control of the land, crime in the area dramatically reduced and police began to openly support the project. “I don’t know how many squatters can say they’ve got the backing of the local authority and the police,” Taylor laughs.

For local residents, Grow Heathrow has injected some much needed energy into the fight against the planned third runway; “when you’re fighting something for 12 years, sometimes you need to put it on the back-burner,” Taylor explains. “You invest a lot of your time and energy into one thing and it takes over everything else. They’ve brought a much-needed physical energy along with their spirit to keep fighting. So when we’re lagging they’re an important motivation for us to keep going. We think if they can keep fighting, even under threat of eviction, then that inspires us to keep going.”

Grow Heathrow are fighting to stay on the land – most recently, the Court of Appeals rejected an appeal against a possession order. Sam Haardblaster, an architect-turned-squatter who is heavily involved in the legal tussle, explains: “It was quite a damning judgement for us because they basically said that we could be evicted at any time. We’re in limbo at the minute. Theoretically bailiffs could show up any day now.”

Haardblaster doesn’t seem as concerned as you might expect, though: “Our lawyers feel that the landowner will be nice enough to tell us once they’ve got a warrant to evict us. At this point it seems they haven’t even applied for one… We’ll continue trying to negotiate with the landowner to buy the land.”

The next step for Grow Heathrow is to take their appeal to the Supreme Court. This will be their last opportunity to turn the tide and retain possession of the land. Until then, its future looks uncertain.

As I took one last look around the site, it occurred to me how sad it would be to lose such a great example of how to live modern life off the grid – a revelation made even more painful from the knowledge that it could be replaced with a runway that will pump millions of tonnes of C02 into our already polluted atmosphere. In the year when the Government reduced green taxes for the big six energy companies and fracking wells are popping up all over the country, it feels like we need projects like Grow Heathrow now, more than ever.

Follow Christopher Bethell on Twitter here @cbethell_photo

Follow Matthew Francey on Twitter here @MatthewFrancey

 

http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/18238/1/heathrows-last-squat

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Court of Appeal decision on Grow Heathrow eviction due

 

SQUATTERS occupying land once designated for Heathrow’s third runway will find out whether their appeal against eviction is successful next week.

SQUATTERS occupying land once designated for Heathrow’s third runway will find out whether their appeal against eviction is successful next week.

Next Wednesday (July 3), campaigners from environmental action group Transition Heathrow will return to the Court of Appeal and hear whether they are allowed to remain at the Grow Heathrow community garden in Vineries Close, Sipson.The appeal was heard back in January, and the judges have since been mulling over their ruling in what could be a landmark case in land use and eviction cases.

The owner of the contested land, Imran Malik, was given a judgement of possession by Central London County Court in July 2012, nearly two years after first serving the group with an eviction notice, but Grow Heathrow were given dispensation to challenge the ruling.

The group’s legal argument is that eviction would infringe on their right to a home, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

This defence has never been used as the basis of such an appeal, and the ruling could have implications for housing law.

Previously disused wasteland, the group cleared the area and established Grow Heathrow in March 2010. It is now well regarded amongst people in Heathrow Villages, and John McDonnell appeared as a witness during the appeal in support of the young activists.

Grow Heathrow want to buy the land from Mr Malik and set up a Community Land Trust (CLT), but the offers have been rebuffed.

The momentous hearing starts at 9.30am, in court 70.

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/court-appeal-decision-grow-heathrow-5966902

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5.7.2013

 

The fight goes on…

 

Residents and supporters of Grow Heathrow outside Central London County Court

 

Update on the Court of Appeal verdict:

5.7.2013

 

The judges failed to reach a unanimous decision on the case but by majority, the appeal was dismissed and permission was granted for the owners to seek a warrant for an eviction.

 

On the plus side, one of the judges found that squatters as well as tenants are entitled to respect for their home under article 8 of The European Convention on Human Rights and that the court should consider the individual circumstances of those affected when deciding how soon to make an eviction.

 

Grow Heathrow are now working with their lawyers on a further appeal to the Supreme Court to define the arguments about whether article 8 is relevant to private land owners.

 

In the meantime, there is a low risk of imminent eviction and are asking for support on site over the next few weeks. 

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Grow Heathrow campaigner Joe Rake said:

 

“We think it’s important to challenge a law that protects the right of irresponsible landlords to trash the heart of a community.  We are still following up options to appeal to the Supreme court and hope we can come to an agreement so that we can carry on working with the local resident’s association and our MP to make sure ‘Grow Heathrow’ exists as a community resource in the long-term.”

 

Sipson resident Tracey Howard commented:

 

“At a time when harsh austerity cuts are effecting people across the country, ‘Grow Heathrow’ is a great example of what can be done when a community takes back control of its land to meet its own needs.

http://landmatters.org.uk/grow-heathrow-has-lost-court-appeal/

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Heathrow Airport plans to get residents’ views on preferred option for a 3rd runway attacked by campaign group

Heathrow Airport has intimated to the FT that it plans to consult residents on which of the two options, chosen by the Airports Commission, they prefer for a 3rd runway. This has been condemned by campaign group HACAN as like being asked ‘whether you prefer being murdered by Jack the Ripper or the Boston Strangler.’  Heathrow was probably surprised to find one option proposed by the Commission was by Heathrow Hub. They are not keen on this option. The aim of a consultation will be to get backing for their own scheme, for a northern runway.  It will hinge on the noise issue.  The extent of respite from aircraft noise will be a critical aspect of any runway proposals.. If there is a 3rd, northern, runway it could mean those living under the existing two runway flight paths would only get a shorter respite period per day, and a whole linear expanse of London would then start to be affected by aircraft noise. For a 3rd northern runway to be profitable, it will have to be used intensively. The reduction in respite periods, perhaps of only one third of a day, rather than half the day (from 3pm as at present) will be deeply unpopular. Even less popular would be the lack of respite at all with the Heathrow Hub northern runway. See Hacan’s comment on the two options.
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Heathrow Airport plans to get residents’ views on preferred option for a 3rd runway attacked by campaign group

3.1.2014  (HACAN)

Heathrow Airport’s plans to consult residents on which option they prefer for a third runway had been condemned by campaign group HACAN as like being asked ‘whether you prefer being murdered by Jack the Ripper or the Boston Strangler.’

Heathrow has announced [FT link ] that it will shortly ask people’s views on the Heathrow Hub proposal which has been put forward by an independent company fronted by the former Concorde pilot Jock Lowe. The plan, which is one of two being considered by the Airports Commission for future expansion of Heathrow, involves extending the existing northern runway to allow arrivals and departures to use it simultaneously. It would mean all-day flying for people under the flight path, many of whom currently get a half day’s break from the noise when aircraft landing at the airport switch runways at 3pm.

The other proposal being considered by the Commission is the one put forward by Heathrow Airport itself which is for a new runway to the north of the existing northern runway. It would enable respite periods for those living under the flight paths of the existing two runways to continue but would involve putting in place a new flight path which would bring noise to some communities, around a mile north of the existing northern flight path, for the first time.

Heathrow Airport will be asking people which option they prefer.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “Heathrow Airport has never liked the Heathrow Hub option and I suspect this is a way of putting pressure on the Airports Commission for it to be ruled out. But for residents it is like being asked to choose whether you preferred being murdered by Jack the Ripper or the Boston Strangler.’

The Airports Commission, which is also looking at a second runway at Gatwick, is not due to publish its final report until summer 2015 but will consult further on the options this year.

www.hacan.org.uk 

 


January 2, 2014 FT article

Heathrow to examine alternative plan to third runway

By Andrew Parker

Heathrow is to investigate whether its proposal for a third runway has stronger local community support than an alternative plan by a former Concorde pilot to increase the number of flights at the UK’s largest airport.

Heathrow Airport Holdings is expected to launch a public consultation with local communities soon that could play an important role in determining whether it sticks to its proposal or swings behind a plan by former pilot Jock Lowe to extend the airport’s northern runway.

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…. Sir Howard Davies said …Heathrow Hub’s “imaginative” plan merited additional examination, and the commission wants more investigation of respite issues ahead of its final report.

Mr Lowe said Heathrow Hub’s proposal offered “quite a lot” of respite, adding it would also reduce the number of residents affected by night flights because aircraft could land on the western end of the extended northern runway.

He said at some point Heathrow Hub and Heathrow Airport Holdings had to “work together”, adding nothing could happen at the airport without the owner’s backing.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4ec78b98-7304-11e3-8e87-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk#axzz2pI0CfC55

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HACAN’s New Year Quiz

HACAN’s quiz. Test yourself with these 10 questions on Heatthow (mainly).  You may be surprised by some of the answers …  For example, Who said:  “Whatever technological advances in noise and air pollution reduction have been — or will be — made, common sense dictates that the additional 260,000 annual flights facilitated by a third runway would entail a commensurate reduction in the quality of life of many Londoners”.

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HACAN Quiz 31st December 2013

Looking Back; Looking Forward

 [Answers below]

 

1. In what year did David Cameron first say ‘No ifs; no buts; no third runway’?

2. Who said recently that the Airports Commission’s findings are not ‘a biblical tablet of stone’ which everybody has to sign up to?

3. According to the European Commission, how many people live under the Heathrow flight paths? 

a). under 100,000;

b). under 300,000;

c). over 700,000?

 

4. Who told a national newspaper:

I have been badly let down. When David Cameron said ‘no third runway’ I bought double glazing and a new heating system. Once you have spent your pension, you can’t get it back, can you? I have always voted Conservative but I don’t know next time. If we get [a third runway] I won’t vote for him.”

a). Joan Collins

b). a Harmondsworth resident

c). Owen Jones?

 

5.  Who lost her job as Secretary of State for Transport in 2012 because of her opposition to a 3rd runway at Heathrow?

6.  In which city have residents occupied the airport terminal once a week for the last two years?

a).  Istanbul

b). Mumbai

c). Frankfurt?

 

7.  London has more terminating air passengers than any other city in the world.  True or False?

8.  Name one thing Caroline Lucas, Nigel Farage, John McDonnell and Theresa Villiers have in common?  

9.  Who said:

We welcome Sir Howard Davies’ positive approach to airport expansion but any option which involves a move away from a single hub airport would damage the UK’s competitive edge and hit aviation jobs. Losing a single hub airport would lead to global businesses re-assessing their presence in the UK. Employers could relocate their European headquarters to other European nations like France and Germany which maintain single hub airports in Paris and Frankfurt”.

a).  Back Heathrow, the pro-Heathrow pressure group

b). The London Chamber of Commerce

c). The Unite trade union?

 

10. Who said on 18th December, the day after the Airport Commission’s Interim Report was published:

Whatever technological advances in noise and air pollution reduction have been — or will be — made, common sense dictates that the additional 260,000 annual flights facilitated by a third runway would entail a commensurate reduction in the quality of life of many Londoners”.

a). Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London

b). The leader in The Times

c). The HACAN press release?

 

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/

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Answers:

 

1.  2009

 

2.  Nick Clegg  http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/nick-clegg-airport-commissions-findings-not-set-in-stone-9024011.html …

 

3.  (c) over 700,000

 

4.  (b) Audrey, a long-standing Harmondsworth resident, the village which would be demolished if a 3rd runway went ahead

 

5.  Justine Greening MP

 

6.  (c) Frankfurt.  Every Monday thousands of residents have occupied the terminal in protest against the impact of the 4th runway, opened in October 2011.

 

7.  True

 

8.   They all oppose a 3rd runway at Heathrow

 

9.  (c) Unite

 

10. (b) The Times leader

Read more »

Surrey Chambers of Commerce delighted Airports Commission short-listed a new Gatwick runway

Gatwick Airport is a member of the Surrey Chambers of Commerce. It is therefore no great surprise to find the Chamber has expressed its pleasure that the Airports Commission has short -listed Gatwick as one of two sites for a new runway.  They say businesses in the south east would benefit. They also believe businesses (ignoring affected residents?) would benefit even more by having a new runway at Heathrow too. They have in the past backed Gatwick’s idea of a  new runway at both Gatwick and Stansted – though that has been ruled out for the time being, by the Commission.  In the view of the Chamber, a new runway would provide” significant economic benefit and sustainable employment in the South East.” And they want it as soon as possible. They want “access to excellent overseas connections, not only for our local businesses but also for the multi-nationals that locate here rather than in other parts of Europe.”  The Chamber will hold a panel discussion at Epsom racecourse on 12th March on the Heathrow, Gatwick and Grain runway options. “Whilst there are still decisions to be made we are confident that investment in the South East will bring an excellent rate of return,” says the Chamber.
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Surrey Chambers of Commerce backs Davies Review on Gatwick expansion

By Surrey Mirror

December 28, 2013

Surrey Chambers of Commerce backs Davies Review on Gatwick expansionSurrey Chambers of Commerce backs Davies Review on Gatwick expansion


BUSINESSES in Surrey will benefit from the Airport expansion plans recommended in the Davies Review, according to Surrey Chambers of Commerce.The Airport Commission report, published last week, shortlisted plans for an additional runway at Gatwick along with expansion at Heathrow.

According to the report, whichever plan gets the green light will provide “significant” economic benefit and sustainable employment in the South East.

Ella Parkes, marketing executive at Surrey Chambers, says the group is very supportive of the recommendation for the government to implement a package of transport improvements, and argued a decision needed to be taken soon.

She added: “The most important aspect to all of this is that the Government needs to show leadership and make its decision before the 2015 election. The decision is long overdue and has created uncertainty over the future resulting in business looking at other global centres, whose long-term future is known. This interim report does give a little more stability but we want to see real steps toward increasing aviation capacity.”

http://www.surreymirror.co.uk/Surrey-Chambers-Commerce-backs-Davies-Review/story-20368365-detail/story.html

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The Surrey Chambers of Commerce press release:

Friday 20th Dec 2013

 

[Gatwick Airport Ltd is a member of the Chamber of Commerce link so the the support of the Chamber is not surprising ]

Surrey Businesses get the best outcome from the Davies Review

We have been waiting in anticipation for the announcements from Howard Davies and the Airports Commission. The interim report has shortlisted Heathrow’s full-length runway located to the north-west of the current airport and an additional runway at Gatwick. The Mayor of London’s Isle of Grain brand new airport has not been shortlisted but further investigation will be undertaken by the Commission so it has not been completely discarded.

Ideally our membership, stretching from Farnham to Caterham and Staines to Horley, would like to see both expansion plans implemented but the report clearly presents them as either/or solutions.

There is absolutely no appetite for the brand new hub airport and we hope that precious resources are not wasted on investigating an impossible solution.

Following on from a number of reports carried out before the interim report there is no doubt that significant economic benefit and sustainable employment in the South East will arise through extra runway capacity at both airports. It is crucial that we maintain the huge advantages enjoyed by businesses in Surrey having access to excellent overseas connections, not only for our local businesses but also for the multi-nationals that locate here rather than in other parts of Europe. The knock-on effect on supply chains of having them in the UK contributes significantly to the UK economy.

We are very supportive of the recommendation that the Government immediately implement a package of surface transport improvements, particularly the provision of rail access into Heathrow from the south, which will improve the use of existing runway capacity.

The most important aspect to all of this is that the Government needs to show leadership and make it’s decision before the 2015 election.

The decision is long over-due and has created uncertainty over the future of Heathrow resulting in business looking at other global centres, whose long-term future is known. This interim report does give a little more stability but we want to see real steps toward increasing aviation capacity and not just talking about it.

Surrey Chambers of Commerce, working with several partners, is hosting a panel discussion at Epsom racecourse on the 12th March where we will have Heathrow, Gatwick and the Mayors office presenting their cases for expansion. Whilst there are still decisions to be made we are confident that investment in the South East will bring an excellent rate of return.

http://www.surrey-chambers.co.uk/news2.php?newsid=595

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Surrey Chambers of Commerce say of themselves:

Surrey is one of the most successful and productive areas for business in the UK. It’s a county that embraces innovation and is a fantastic location to run a business. Surrey Chambers of Commerce, with a membership representing every sector of the workforce, works hard to ensure that the continued growth of the area takes into account the needs of business, as well as providing a range of high quality services to help you grow your business and meet new potential customers.
Whether you are already in the area, or want to find out about how to access one of the UKs most successful markets, there is no better choice than your local Chamber of Commerce – bringing the power of a world-wide brand to support you locally. We hope you will find this website of use.

http://www.surrey-chambers.co.uk/

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In May 2013 the Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum hosted a conference on Gatwick expansion:

The Key Topic – Aviation Capacity Growth

crawleyAt the time of the Howard Davies Commission on UK aviation capacity growth, the key topic for the first event was the economic opportunity and threat which may be realised through aviation growth at Gatwick as well as the economic ‘up and downsides’ of potential airport expansion elsewhere in the South East.

Meshing with the Howard Davies Commission timetable, the event allowed discussion of the potential expansion of Gatwick Airport and its economic effect prior to Sir Howard Davies making recommendations for a short list of proposals to be carried forward to the final decision post election in 2015.

horshamThe event was backed by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, the local authorities in the area, the Coast to Capital LEP, Crawley & Gatwick Chamber of Commerce, Gatwick Diamond Business Association, Manor Royal Business District, Surrey Chambers of Commerce, Sussex Enterprise, and Young Enterprise.

The event was at a crucial moment in the region’s economic future – a time of great opportunity and threat. The Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum allowed all to work together to build the best future for the region.

http://gdegf.com

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Keynote speaker

We heard from Stewart Wingate, the CEO of London Gatwick Airport since 2009 about his hopes for deregulation of the airport, his plans to increase capacity from 34 million passengers per annum to 38 million by 2020, and his long term proposals following the 2019 safeguarding agreement, a three-airport two-runway proposal (two runways at Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick)

Panel Discussion on Aviation Growth

A panel discussion with questions from the audience followed chaired by Greg Burgess, a Partner at sponsor ASB Law, the Gatwick Diamond solicitors specialising in legal services for aviation and travel as well as charities, education brain injury and vulnerable people.

Panellists included Daryl Gayler, Managing Director – South Region at RBS; Peter Martin, Deputy Leader at Surrey County Council and Jeremy Taylor, CEO of the Gatwick Diamond Business Association.

The Business Voice

Business leaders from the Gatwick Diamond from three of our most important sectors, the Professional and Business Services Sector, The Life sciences and Medical Devices Sector and the Advanced Manufacturing Sector, talked about why their significant foreign owned businesses choose to be here, why they want to stay, and what might make them move on.

The Public Sector Voice

We heard from political leaders about their approach to the planning, design and management of their areas.

Skills and Employability

A plenary session chaired by Paul Gresham, Senior Partner for sponsor, KPMG SE and featuring Chris Baker, Head of Economic and Social Engagement at the University of Brighton discussed whether we have the skills and labour force to fulfil employers needs now and in the future.

Surface Access Transport

What are the implications of airport expansion for surface transport? What needs to happen to our surface transport links to ensure business & quality of life are not constrained in the future? Rosemary French, Executive Director of sponsor, the Gatwick Diamond Initiative chaired a panel including Julia Gregory, Head of Surface Access at London Gatwick Airport.

The event provided fabulous networking opportunities, as well as crucial debate.

See the full programme.

 

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Earlier:

BUSINESS COMMUNITY URGED TO SUPPORT GATWICK AIRPORT EXPANSION FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH

3 June 2013  (Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership – press release)

29 May 2013: Business leaders from across the Gatwick Diamond have been urged to find their voice and speak out in support of capacity expansion at Gatwick Airport, as they will benefit from the resulting economic growth.

Almost 200 people from the public and private sectors gathered to listen and discuss issues around aviation growth at the Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum on 23 May at the Arora International Hotel, Crawley. The event was sponsored by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, ASBlaw, and supported by many business organisations including Gatwick Diamond Business, the Surrey and Sussex Chambers of Commerce, and the Coast to Capital LEP.

As well as the impact of aviation growth on the local economy, panel discussions were held recognising that investment in infrastructure, housing and transport will all be critical. Following the opening of the Forum by Henry Smith MP and Paul Gresham, the Chair of the Gatwick Diamond, Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport was interviewed by Greg Burgess of ASB Law about his short and long term plans for the airport. Then, local business leaders from Elekta, Canon UK, RBS, Nestle, ILG, and Metrobus voiced their views.

Henry Smith MP said: “The Gatwick Diamond is a region important for driving economic performance for the UK as well as the local economy.” He said “everyone has an important role to play to ensure its future success”.

Stewart Wingate summarised Gatwick Airport’s contribution to the local economy (including its employment of more than 25,000 people) and underlined the benefits of its billion pound investment plans. He also spoke of the airport’s commitment to doing business with local companies to support the area’s general economic vibrancy and his desire to deregulate the airport to enable better competition. He said that the Gatwick submission to the Airports Commission in July would include a second runway, although no decisions would be made by government until 2015.

All speakers agreed that an independent and impartial consideration of the economic benefits of aviation growth must be formalised in order to provide an informed and robust response to the Davies Commission. There were also calls for further investment into the area’s surface access transport connections – a key factor in companies relocating and remaining in the area.

Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative said: “The Gatwick Diamond is a £19 billion economy of national importance, and is widely recognised as a key area of future investment and growth. We are now at a crossroads which will determine the local economy of the future. On the question of aviation capacity, it is vital that the views of the business community are voiced loud and clear and taken into account. This Forum has helped focus minds on the issues, opportunities and threats to economic growth in our region.”

http://www.coast2capital.org.uk/news/562-business-community-urged-to-support-gatwick-airport-expansion-for-economic-growth.html

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Anger of residents near Sevenoaks over NATS’ Gatwick flight plan proposals

There is currently a consultation, by NATS, on changes to flight paths to and from Gatwick (as well as London City, Southend, and Biggin Hill airports) that ends on 21st January. There is real concern in the Weald area, that is overflown by Gatwick flights, that planes may bring them flights overhead flying at  less than 4,000 feet over them from 2015. NATS and Gatwick claim the changes will “make the airport more efficient, reduce delays and allow more departures per hour”, so making things more convenient for air travellers. Weald residents are outraged at the disturbance these changes, for passenger benefit, could cause them. They have formed a campaign – the Weald Action Group Against Noise – and have organised petitions. They will deliver the signatures to Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon and are urging people to contact him directly via e-mail and to object through the online Gatwick Airport and National Air Traffic Services public consultation as well. The action group fears the proposals would “bring considerably more flights directly over Weald village at a height of under 4,000 feet”, creating noise up to 70 decibels, equivalent to the sound of a vacuum cleaner, with more than 20 flights an hour at peak times.” Gatwick says “overall” the changes will reduce noise for those living below – but that ignores far worse conditions created for some. 
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 Map showing location of Weald village some 14 miles east-north-east from Gatwick airport

Weald village sevenoaks

Residents’ anger over flight plan proposals

December 26, 2013 (Sevenoaks Chronicle)
 

By Emma Curry

emma.curry@sevenoaks-chronicle.co.uk

PEOPLE in Weald are bracing themselves for the sound of aircraft thundering over their homes if plans to change flight paths go ahead.

Residents are up in arms after proposals were revealed to route planes arriving and departing from Gatwick Airport’s Runway 26 over the village.

  1. DEPARTURE FROM THE NORM:  Skies over West Kent face the biggest shake-up since the Second World War

    DEPARTURE FROM THE NORM: Skies over West Kent face the biggest shake-up since the Second World War

The planned changes will see flights flying less than 4,000 feet above Weald from 2015.

Air chiefs claim they will “make the airport more efficient, reduce delays and allow more departures per hour”, but Weald residents are outraged at the disturbance this could cause.

They have formed a campaign – the Weald Action Group Against Noise – and have placed petitions in The Old Bakery and The Windmill Public House.

They plan to deliver the signatures to Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon and are urging people to contact him directly via e-mail and to object through the online Gatwick Airport and National Air Traffic Services public consultation as well.

They say the proposals would “bring considerably more flights directly over Weald village at a height of under 4,000 feet”, creating noise up to 70 decibels, equivalent to the sound of a vacuum cleaner, with more than 20 flights an hour at peak times.

“We’re worried about the noise and reduction in enjoyment of the countryside,” Roger Trapp, action group founder, said.

“We’ve already got the A21, which is a problem.

“The district council is considering making Weald a conservation area and now it could be a flight path.

“You associate conservation areas with peace and tranquility -the two seem counterintuitive.”

He added that the plans are vague and “a bit wide ranging”.

“They are very hard to understand,” he said, “I don’t know if that’s deliberate.

“This could lead to who knows what.”

In a letter to residents, Mr Trapp, of Hubbards Hill, and the other founders of the action group, Tim Olley and Brian Saunders, say they “do not know the possible effects of noise, fuel residues and other contaminants from extensive low level flights”.

“The noise level will certainly have a profound effect on the tranquility of life for all in the proposed flight path,” they say and Mr Trapp says the effect could reach as far as Sevenoaks centre.

“It may affect Sevenoaks as a whole,” he said.

“You can hear the motorway from in the town already.”

The proposals are the biggest flight path shake-up in the skies above Sevenoaks since the end of the Second World War.

Gatwick and National Air Traffic Services say that advances in technology, the demand being placed on the “invisible highways” above West Kent and impending European legislation have prompted their plans for an overhaul.The airport says that “overall” the changes will reduce noise, air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions for people living below.

To view the plans and have you your say in the consultation, which closes on January 21, go to www.londonairspaceconsultation.co.uk

http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Residents-anger-flight-plan-proposals/story-20368626-detail/story.html#axzz2otWuNLAy

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NATS consultation

The consultation is available online at www.londonairspaceconsultation.co.uk. The postcode search facility and clickable maps with consultation areas clearly marked makes it easy to see which proposed changes have the most relevance to a specific location. Feedback can be given directly on the website.

http://www.londonairspaceconsultation.co.uk/?page_id=37

 


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Government to make no significant change to night flights regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted until Airports Commission report

November 11, 2013

In January 2013 the DfT put out the first part of its consultation on the night flight regime at the UK’s 3 designated airports,Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The DfT said then that the 2nd consultation would be publishes later this year, to include specific proposals for the new regime, such as the number of permitted night flights – informed by the evidence from the first consultation. The DfT has now published this 2nd stage, but instead of any specific measures, it proposes no significant change to the night flight regime at Heathrow until 2017. It says it does not want to pre-empt the findings of the Airports Commission which is due to publish its final report in summer 2015. The current night flight regime for the 3 airports ends in October 2014. Normally a new regime is put in place to cover the next 5 – 6 years. This time the Government has decided in effect to roll-over the existing regime until 2017. The only change for Heathrow is a proposal “to extend the operational ban on the noisiest types of aircraft to include an extra half hour, the 23.00-23.30 period.

Click here to view full story…

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GACC warns that new flight paths proposed by NATS and Gatwick airport could affect thousands around Gatwick

October 20, 2013

GACC has reacted strongly to proposals to revamp many of the existing flight paths around Gatwick , which have been put forward for consultation jointly by NATS and Gatwick Airport Ltd. These plans, which are nothing to do with a 2nd runway, include new flight paths over areas which are at present peaceful – in order to increase the number of aircraft able to use the runway; more concentrated flight paths based on more accurate aircraft navigation, which will effectively make life hell for many people affected; a major reform of the pattern of aircraft queuing up to land, which will bring aircraft noise to many areas currently not affected; and the possibility of ‘respite’ by using two flight paths on alternate days. This consultation includes nothing to show where the new flight paths might be. Instead it is couched in general terms, asking people to comment on broad concepts. There are no maps, and it is apparently intended that no maps will be produced until after the end of the consultation, and NATS and Gatwick do not intend to hold a second consultation. GACC is advising its members to study the new consultation and to express their views forcefully.

Click here to view full story…

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Airspace consultation launched by NATS and Gatwick Airport – for Gatwick, London City, Southend & Biggin Hill airport areas

October 16, 2013

NATS, the UK’s provider of air traffic services, and Gatwick Airport have started a joint consultation today on proposed airspace changes over southern England. It is called the London Airspace Consultation (LAC) and it will run for 14 weeks, until January 21st, 2014. The public can respond. The consultation is on swathes of airspace – not exact routes – which will be determined after consideration of the consultation feedback. That makes commenting difficult. NATS says this is the first stage in a wider programme of proposed changes to deliver the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), which is being developed by the CAA. The intention is that the FAS will help airlines make efficiencies in fuel use, and perhaps reduce noise for those over-flown. New European legislation requires all member States, including the UK, to revise airspace and maximise the use of new technologies, to get noise and CO2 benefits. The current NATS consultation involves airspace around Gatwick and also London City Airport. Later stages will deal with other areas of airspace in other parts of the London airports network, and should be completed by 2020. Local residents fear the real motive is to pack in more flights.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Action group critical of ‘expensive charade’ of Luton council meeting approving airport expansion

The controversial decision by Luton Borough Council to approve the expansion of Luton Airport has been widely criticised by community groups. Michael Nidd, secretary of the London Luton Airport Town and Village Community Committee (LLATVCC),has described the delayed, 8-hour meeting on 20th December, in which the decision was made as a “very, very expensive charade.” Only 6 of the development control committee’s 11 members attended the meeting, which had already been postponed. This came after Herts County Council demanded a second, impartial, legal opinion on Luton Borough Council’s suitability to make the decision, given it owns all of the shares in the airport. Michael Nidd said: “Only six of [the councillors] bothered to turn up, and we had hours and hours of very highly-paid people in the morning saying what a splendid scheme it is, but when it came time to debate, discuss and vote they spent as long as 10 minutes on it.”  There is concern about the manner in which this decision, which has such colossal effects on all the surrounding communities, has been taken.  Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has written to Eric Pickles, to request that the decision be called in, due to the impacts on his constituency.
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Action group slams ‘expensive charade’ on Luton airport expansion meeting

London Luton Airport.

London Luton Airport.

The controversial decision by Luton Borough Council to approve the expansion of London Luton Airport has been criticised by a community action group.

Michael Nidd, secretary of the London Luton Airport Town and Village Community Committee (LLATVCC),has described the delayed, eight-hour meeting in which the decision was made as a “very, very expensive charade” which included presentations about the airport throughout the morning on Friday, December 20.

Mr Nidd also pointed to the fact that just six of the development control committee’s 11 members attended the meeting, which had already been postponed.

This came after Herts County Council demanded a second, impartial, legal opinion on Luton Borough Council’s suitability to make the decision, given it owns all of the shares in the airport.

The Piccotts End resident said: “Only six of them bothered to turn up, and we had hours and hours of very highly-paid people in the morning saying what a splendid scheme it is, but when it came time to debate, discuss and vote they spent as long as 10 minutes on it.

“Effectively the airport owner is also the body which decides whether or not the expansion can go ahead.

“It seems a bit of a denial of justice that the borough should be the one to have the say – particularly on the strength of 10 minutes’ discussion by six local worthies – on whether to go ahead with something which has such colossal effects on all the surrounding communities.”

The expansion, which will see airport capacity increased from 12 million to 18 million passengers a year, was approved in principle but will now be reviewed by the Department for Communities and Local Government to see whether it needs to be determined by the Secretary of State or if the council can proceed to issue consent.

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has written to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to request that the decision be called in, on the basis that the people who would suffer the most from the increase in flights and traffic would be people in his constituency, as well as Stevenage and surrounding areas

http://www.hemeltoday.co.uk/news/community/action-group-slams-expensive-charade-on-luton-airport-expansion-meeting-1-5774453

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Earlier:

Luton campaigners expose ‘broken promise’ over aircraft noise at Luton

December 23, 2013

Luton campaign group, HALE, has exposed a broken promise at the heart of the planning conditions which are supposed to control future night noise from Luton Airport. A specific commitment made in the planning application, to reduce night noise limits to 80dB by January 2015 and thereafter to 77dB, has been omitted from the planning conditions attached to the recently passed planning application, so the night noise limit is set to stay at its current 82dB level. There is an overall planning condition to ban noisier classes of aircraft by an unspecified date some time between now and 2028, and to set overall noise limits by aircraft class. But the public consultation and the planning application both presented this “Quota Count” method as being in addition to a reduction in night noise limits, not a replacement for it. Commitments to reduce daytime noise limits are reflected by a planning condition with a definite timeframe, but the unconditional promise to reduce night-time noise limits to 80dB by January 2015 has been dropped. HALE say this is a scandal, and they have written to the Council insisting that the public commitments made by the airport to reduce the night noise limit by 1 January 2015 to 80dB, with a 5-yearly review to bring it down to 77dB, are both enshrined in the planning conditions.     Click here to view full story…

 

A sad day for democracy as Luton Council approves Luton airport expansion

December 22, 2013

HALE have commented, on the hastily convened development control committee meeting on Luton airport’s expansion application, that it was a sad day for democracy. A 9-hour meeting ended by approving plans for doubling the capacity of Luton Airport from 9 million to 18 million passengers per annum. Only 5 voting members of the 11-strong development control committee were present, plus the chair. Objectors from local town and parish councils, campaign groups and private individuals voiced serious concerns about the proposals. These included number of late evening and early morning flights; reduction in quality of life due to aircraft noise; damage to health from noise and air pollution; and noise control, among others. Unfortunately none of the councillors had the courage to oppose the plans. Andrew Lambourne, from HALE, said: “Ultimately this was such a big decision that to make it with half the committee absent was simply not democratic – and is another good reason why it should be called in” he added.      Click here to view full story…

 

Council backs Luton airport expansion but it needs Sec of State Eric Pickles’ authorisation

December 21, 2013

Luton Airport’s expansion bid to fly over eight million more passengers a year has been given the green light by its owner, Luton borough council. It was agreed to by just six members of the council’s 11-strong development control committee at the rescheduled meeting, which ended after eight hours. The scheme includes nearly doubling passenger throughput to 18 million people a year, which could mean 45,000 extra flights per year. It involves extending terminal and car park buildings, constructing a new parallel taxiway and extending aircraft parking aprons. However the approval must now be communicated to the Secretary of State for Local Government Eric Pickles. On November 18th Luton council received a direction, under the Town and Country Planning Management Order 2010 not to grant permission without specific authorisation from him. This direction was issued to enable him to consider whether he should direct that the application be referred to him, under Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Councillors at the meeting heard objections from residents and councillors from St Albans, Harpenden, Stevenage, Luton, Hitchin and Flamstead. People are very concerned the expansion would bring an unacceptable increase in noise and air pollution. The airport is proposing 60% more planes and many very late in the evening and very early in the morning.    Click here to view full story…

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Nick Clegg says the Airport Commission’s interim report findings “not set in stone”

Nick Clegg has said the Liberal Democrats may reject the Airports Commission’s final blueprint for a new runway in the South-East.  He does not feel he is under any obligation to accept it, and said:  “He’s producing an authoritative, independent report. He’s not producing a biblical tablet of stone which needs to be followed by everybody,” He refused to accept the conclusion of the Commission’s interim report that the South-East needs a new runway by 2030, and possibly another by 2050.  He also said the Commission’s interim report, to be published after the 2015 election, would not be a “biblical tablet of stone” that all politicians would have to support. The party’s current policy is, and has been since before the 2010 election, that there should be no new runways in the South-East. The Standard says he has suggested he might back a new runway at Gatwick.  On climate he said:  “… the reason I’m against airport expansion, and certainly against the expansion at Heathrow, is that all the evidence I’ve seen until now has suggested that it’s impossible to do that without adding to current noise and air pollution levels and breaking the projections on carbon emissions under the Climate Change Act.”
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Nick Clegg: Airport Commission’s findings not set in stone

Nick Clegg: warned Lib-Dems may reject airport plans
By NICHOLAS CECIL  (Evening Standard)

 24 December 2013

 

The Liberal Democrats may reject the Airports Commission’s final blueprint for a new runway in the South-East, Nick Clegg said today.

The Deputy Prime Minister stressed the report, to be published after the 2015 election, would not be a “biblical tablet of stone” that all politicians would have to support.

He has already highlighted the “case for Gatwick” and could back expansion at the Sussex airport — even if the Commission recommended a third runway at Heathrow — or stick to his party’s current policy of no new runways in the South-East.

Speaking to The Standard, Mr Clegg refused to accept the conclusion of the Commission’s interim report that the South-East needs a new runway by 2030, and possibly another by 2050.

All three major parties supported the setting up of the panel, chaired by former London School of Economics boss Sir Howard Davies.

But Mr Clegg rejected the suggestion political leaders would be under any obligation to implement his findings.

“He’s producing an authoritative, independent report. He’s not producing a biblical tablet of stone which needs to be followed by everybody,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.

“We are entirely free to make up our own minds based on our reactions to the recommendations made.

“At the moment, the reason I’m against airport expansion, and certainly against the expansion at Heathrow, is that all the evidence I’ve seen until now has suggested that it’s impossible to do that without adding to current noise and air pollution levels and breaking the projections on carbon emissions under the Climate Change Act.”

He stressed that he had personally intervened to change the Commission’s draft terms of reference to ensure it took proper account of the environmental impact of any new runway, as this was the “acid test” for his party.

Sir Howard said in his interim report that a third runway could be built to the west at Heathrow without more local residents suffering aircraft noise as planes become quieter by 2030; 150,000 or fewer people would be affected.

But this compares with just 6,300 people having to endure aircraft noise by 2030 around Gatwick if a second runway was built.

The Commission will investigate air quality impacts for its full report.

It shortlisted a new north-west runway at Heathrow or extending its northern runway, as well as a second runway at Gatwick.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/nick-clegg-airport-commissions-findings-not-set-in-stone-9024011.html

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Luton campaigners expose ‘broken promise’ over aircraft noise at Luton

Luton campaign group, HALE, has exposed a broken promise at the heart of the planning conditions which are supposed to control future night noise from Luton Airport.  A specific commitment made in the planning application, to reduce night noise limits to 80dB by January 2015 and thereafter to 77dB, has been omitted from the planning conditions attached to the recently passed planning application, so the night noise limit is set to stay at its current 82dB level.  There is an overall planning condition to ban noisier classes of aircraft by an unspecified date some time between now and 2028, and to set overall noise limits by aircraft class. But the public consultation and the planning application both presented this “Quota Count” method as being in addition to a reduction in night noise limits, not a replacement for it. Commitments to reduce daytime noise limits are reflected by a planning condition with a definite timeframe, but the unconditional promise to reduce night-time noise limits to 80dB by January 2015 has been dropped.  HALE say this is a scandal, and they have written to the Council insisting that the public commitments made by the airport to reduce the night noise limit by 1 January 2015 to 80dB, with a 5-yearly review to bring it down to 77dB, are both enshrined in the planning conditions.
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CAMPAIGNERS EXPOSE ‘BROKEN PROMISE’ OVER AIRCRAFT NOISE AT LUTON

23 December 2013 – HALE  ( Hertfordshire against Luton Expansion)
Campaign group HALE has exposed a broken promise at the heart of the planning conditions which are supposed to control future night noise from Luton Airport. A specific commitment made in the planning application, to reduce night noise limits to 80dB by January 2015 and thereafter to 77dB, has been omitted from the planning conditions attached to the recently passed planning application, so the night noise limit is set to stay at its current 82dB level.

There is an overall planning condition to ban noisier classes of aircraft by an unspecified
date some time between now and 2028, and to set overall noise limits by aircraft class. But
the public consultation and the planning application both presented this “Quota Count”
method as being in addition to a reduction in night noise limits, not a replacement for it.

Commitments to reduce daytime noise limits are reflected by a planning condition with a
definite timeframe, but the unconditional promise to reduce night-time noise limits to 80dB
by January 2015 has been dropped.

Andrew Lambourne from HALE said “This is an absolute scandal. We highlighted clearly in
the planning meeting on Friday that a key promise to reduce night noise limits was not
reflected in the planning conditions put forward by Luton Borough Council. The point was
not answered, so we have written to the Council insisting that the public commitments
made by Luton Airport to reduce the night noise limit by 1 January 2015 to 80dB, with a 5-
yearly review to bring it down to 77dB, are both enshrined in the planning conditions.”

“One of the key adverse impacts of this expansion is the disproportionate increase in flights late at night and early in the morning. Councillors at the planning meeting expressed their concerns over the adverse effects of noise on the people of Luton. But they did not have the courage to defer acceptance to allow more time to finalise adequate planning conditions.

“Yet again this underlines our view – and the view of other local Councils and MPs – that
Luton Borough Council has simply not given this planning application the detailed scrutiny it deserves, and it should be called in for thorough independent assessment” he added.

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Supporting background which backs up our claims:

In September 2013, in its revised master plan for public consultation on airport expansion which can be downloaded from http://www.london-luton.co.uk/en/content/8/1171/revised-masterplan.html , the airport operator LLAOL put forward on page 38 six new measures to deal with noise including:

“4.3 Lower night time [noise] limit from 82dB to 80dB in 2018.”

At the same time, the managing director of airport operator LLAOL Glyn Jones said when asked in an interview with the BBC (Look East, 14 September 2012, verbatim transcript at http://www.hale.uk.net/theyre-listening/ ) about people’s fears over increased noise “That’s why we’re putting forward six completely new measures … in order to try to deal with this issue. Noise is a key issue and we’ll deal with noise.”

The master plan received overwhelming public rejection in the consultation – 73% of ordinary members of the public who responded said NO to airport expansion (when the block vote of 612 union members, airport employees and companies supplying the airport is discounted using the breakdown of votes from the Statement of Community Involvement DC19512388-338-1_01_A published by LBC – see the HALE story at http://www.hale.uk.net/majority-oppose-expansion-plans/ for a detailed breakdown of responses).

There was also huge pressure over night noise by campaign groups including HALE, including a rally on the steps of Luton Town Hall: see http://www.hale.uk.net/fantastic-demonstration-in-luton/

As a result of the HALE publicity, LLAOL repeated its promises over night noise limit reductions in a Noise Fact Sheet:

see http://www.london-luton.co.uk/en/content/8/1219/noise-factsheet.html

LLAOL went even further to try to allay fears over night noise its planning application in December 2013 by proposing to bring the timeframe forward by 3 years and adding a new level of protection:

“From 1 January 2015 or within six months of the commencement of development … LLAOL will lower the maximum night time noise violation limit … to 8dB (from 82dB)”.
“LLAOL will review this night time limit (every five years) and … if there are less than 3% of departing aircraft … emitting more than 77dB, the night time limit will be lowered to 77dB.”
(see draft Section 106 document ODC19512388-332-1_01_A which was made available to the public on the LBC website for planning application 12/01400/FUL)

But the planning conditions in the planning document voted on by Luton Borough Council on 20thDec contain no such measures. Condition 11(j) only imposes day-time noise limits:
j) Within six months of the commencement of the development, a progressive reduction in the daytime (0700 – 2300) maximum NVL by the noisiest aircraft shall be implemented, as follows:

(i) 85 dB(A) from the date of the commencement of development
(ii) 82 dB(A) from 1st January 2015
(iii) 80 dB(A) from 1st January 2020

Conditions 11(d) and 11(i) taken together have the net effect of phasing out aircraft classes above “QC2” and bringing overall noise limits down to 79dB for the remainder BUT BY AN UNSPECIFIED DATE
d) The scheme shall include details of the procedures to be adopted and shall include measures with the purpose of phasing out of night time (2300 to 0700) operations by aircraft with a QC value of greater than 1 on either departure or arrival.

i) Within six months of the commencement of development and in accordance with the approved Noise Control Scheme the maximum Noise Violation Limits (NVL) for all aircraft, as recorded by departing aircraft at the fixed noise monitoring terminals, shall be reduced to values which are determined by the noise classification of individual aircraft as follows:

Aircraft Classification on Departure NVL (dBA)
QC 4 (daytime only) 85
QC 2 82
QC 1 79
QC 0.5 and below 76

The key point here is that reaching a night noise limit at or below 80dB requires the move to ban aircraft greater than QC1 to have been completed, but this move – in condition 11(d) – has no date attached. So the conditions do not give the same protection as the original commitment to move to 80dB by 1 Jan 2015.

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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A sad day for democracy as Luton Council approves Luton airport expansion

HALE  have commented, on the hastily convened development control committee meeting on Luton airport’s expansion application, that it was a sad  day for democracy.  A 9-hour meeting ended by approving plans for doubling the capacity of Luton Airport from 9 million to 18 million passengers per annum. Only 5 voting members of the 11-strong development control committee were present, plus the chair.  Objectors from local town and parish councils, campaign groups and private individuals voiced serious concerns about the proposals. These included number of late evening and early morning flights; reduction in quality of life due to aircraft noise; damage to health from noise and air pollution; and noise control, among others. Unfortunately none of the councillors had the courage to oppose the plans. Andrew Lambourne, from HALE, said:  “Ultimately this was such a big decision that to make it with half the committee absent was simply not democratic – and is another good reason why it should be called in” he added.
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A SAD DAY FOR DEMOCRACY AS LUTON APPROVES AIRPORT EXPANSION

21 December 2013  (HALE – Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion)

A 9-hour development control meeting at Luton Borough Council yesterday ended by approving plans for doubling the capacity of Luton Airport from 9 million to 18 million passengers per annum.

Only 5 voting members of the 11-strong development control committee were present, plus the chair – one member quite properly withdrew from discussion because he is a non-executive director of the company which owns the airport, and the rest sent apologies.

Cllr Amy O’Callaghan who represents Luton South Ward – the area most affected by aircraft noise – was away for pre-booked Christmas holidays.

Objectors from local town and parish councils, campaign groups and private individuals voiced serious concerns about the proposals, including:

 a disproportionate number of additional flights in the late evening and early morning
 back-pedalling on previous commitments by the airport to reduce noise-fine levels
 the reduction in quality of life caused by 60% more planes
 that the local transport infrastructure would not stand increased road/rail traffic
 that the proposals make climate change and global warming worse
 that increased particulates and night noise will damage health
 that the airport already has a bad track record on noise control
 that the local economy would be better served by diversification

Andrew Lambourne for HALE said “It takes courage for a Councillor to stand up and say to their planning advisers – ‘You need to do more to protect the quality of life of our residents.’ Sadly, none showed that kind of courage – even though we could see that they wanted to.”

“The voting process when it came was heart-rending: all the Councillors expressed their deep concern over the seriousness and difficulty of the decision they were about to take given on the one hand the need to do right by Luton, and on the other hand the need to do right by the people of Luton. In the end, Luton won – and hence lost.”

“Ultimately this was such a big decision that to make it with half the committee absent was simply not democratic – and is another good reason why it should be called in” he added.


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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Council backs Luton airport expansion but it needs Sec of State Eric Pickles’ authorisation

December 21, 2013

Luton Airport’s expansion bid to fly over eight million more passengers a year has been given the green light by its owner, Luton borough council. It was agreed to by just six members of the council’s 11-strong development control committee at the rescheduled meeting, which ended after eight hours. The scheme includes nearly doubling passenger throughput to 18 million people a year, which could mean 45,000 extra flights per year. It involves extending terminal and car park buildings, constructing a new parallel taxiway and extending aircraft parking aprons. However the approval must now be communicated to the Secretary of State for Local Government Eric Pickles. On November 18th Luton council received a direction, under the Town and Country Planning Management Order 2010 not to grant permission without specific authorisation from him. This direction was issued to enable him to consider whether he should direct that the application be referred to him, under Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Councillors at the meeting heard objections from residents and councillors from St Albans, Harpenden, Stevenage, Luton, Hitchin and Flamstead. People are very concerned the expansion would bring an unacceptable increase in noise and air pollution. The airport is proposing 60% more planes and many very late in the evening and very early in the morning.    Click here to view full story…


 

Still time to send in objections

HALE – the Luton opposition group – have set out  here http://www.hale.uk.net/top-level-objections/  the main areas on which local people oppose the  expansion plans. They are urging anyone, those affected by the airport in particular, to write to Luton borough council, and express their views. Even now that the planning application has been approved – but is still waiting for Pickles’ decision.

Write to  developmentcontrol@luton.gov.uk including your name and address and quoting planning application 12/01400/FUL.

 http://www.hale.uk.net/top-level-objections/ 


LBC approves expansion plans

At a packed meeting on 20th December, half the members of Luton Borough Council’s development control committee voted to accept plans to expand Luton Airport’s capacity, with throughput to be capped at 18 million passengers per year – double the number in 2011. The other half of the members sent apologies – presumably due to the haste with which the meeting had been convened just before Christmas in order to avoid the year-old planning application from timing out – or in the case of David Franks declared an interest and withdrew from the discussion and vote.

A notable absence from the committee seats was Amy O’Callaghan, Councillor for Luton South, the ward most affected by aircraft noise. This democratic deficit did not go unnoticed by members of the public from South Luton who had attended to make their voices heard.

Objectors from local town and parish councils, campaign groups and private individuals made very clear in 5-minute verbal submissions their wide-ranging concerns including:

  • a disproportionate number of additional flights planned for late evening and early morning (doubling between 10pm and midnight)
  • weaknesses in the proposed planning conditions which would limit the effectiveness of night flight and night noise control
  • the general reduction to quality of life caused by the proposal to increase numbers of flights by 60% even if each may become marginally quieter in future
  • the fact that increasing road and rail traffic would have a detrimental effect on local transport infrastructure
  • concerns that the proposals are not sustainable in the context of climate change and global warming
  • concerns that the proposals will damage the health of people living locally due to increased particulates from traffic aircraft plus being awoken at night
  • that despite what its PR may claim, the airport already has a bad track record on noise and its Noise Action Plan is short on real measurable actions
  • that the local economy would be better served by diversification rather than by continuing to put all its economic eggs in one basket

Expert advisers retained by the Council were on hand to hear these points, and HALE has followed up on a specific omission to the planning conditions in which commitments previously made by the airport to reduce night noise violation limits have been quietly dropped.

The most unfortunate aspect of the meeting was that because objectors were barred from questioning the consultant experts, and the Councillors could not reasonably be expected to have the same understanding of the technical detail as experts from either side, the farcical situation existed in which key technical points could not be properly explored in open democratic dialogue. Such is the planning system we have created.

The voting process when it came was heart-rending: all the Councillors expressed their deep concern over the seriousness and difficulty of the decision they were about to take given on the one hand the need to do right by Luton, and on the other hand the need to do right by the concerns of the people of Luton. In the end, Luton won – and hence lost.

http://www.hale.uk.net/top-level-objections/

 


 

Campaigners fear democratic deficit as Luton Council decides on expansion application of the airport it owns

December 20, 2013

A hastily reconvened development control meeting at Luton Borough Council on 20th December decides on the planning application for doubling the capacity of Luton Airport from 9 to 18 million passengers / year. The timing of the meeting, just before Christmas, means many people who wanted to speak at the meeting are unable to attend, which is not democracy working well. An additional democratic problem is that the decision is being made by the Council which owns the airport. The local group, HALE, said “This decision should not be made by airport shareholders – it should be called in for independent scrutiny. It is a hugely unpopular plan: 88% of the respondents are opposed to further expansion, with only 9% in support.” A Hertfordshire County Councillor has succeeded in getting an article 25 planning order issued which prevents Luton Council from actually granting planning permission until the Secretary of State decides whether or not to call in the application. The scale of the proposed works are such that the application counts as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, based on the extra capacity this would allow, though the airport has tried to claim otherwise. There are serious concerns locally about the noise impact, and therefore health impact, if the expansion is allowed.     Click here to view full story…

 

Luton plans to increase passenger capacity to be heard at Luton council meeting on 20th December

December 1, 2013

Plans to increase capacity at Luton Airport will be heard at a council meeting on 20th December. The meeting had been due for 21st November, but was postponed. The 10am meeting will be open to the public to attend. The application would effectively allow an increase in passengers of 10 million, so it should be regarded as an Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and therefore referred to the Secretary of State, and not determined by the local council. The plans are not for any new runway capacity but road improvements, a new mult-storey car park, car park extensions, terminal improvements and extensions, and more taxi-ways and aircraft parking – enabling more planes and more passengers.Local campaign, HALE, says the reason for the hurry is that the the planning application expires on 27th December. As well as the NSIP issue, the other key area of disagreement is a lack of clarity relating to the noise levels governing the airport. Luton Borough Council has not justified the basis for its interpretation of the 1999 noise levels. This means that governance of the noise environment around Luton remains open to question and lack of clarity.     Click here to view full story…

 

Unresolved issues on noise and NSIP status delay Luton Airport planning application

November 25, 2013

The planning application for expansion at Luton airport remains unresolved. There was due have been a meeting of the Luton Borough Council Development Control committee to specifically debate the matter on 21st November, but this was cancelled. Two crucial issues remain unresolved. The first is whether the project counts as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (in which case it must be referred to the Secretary of State); the second is an apparent ambiguity on noise levels. Legislation is clear in defining whether an airport expansion project counts as an NSIP: if the work would deliver capability to handle more than an extra 10 million passengers/ year. It appears that the plans would indeed result in the capability to deliver 10 million/year. There is current argument about which set of noise levels in 1999 should be used as the baseline level. Luton Borough Council has postponed the planning meeting and engaged a QC to review the NSIP issue. It may also be the Commissioner for Local Government might issue a holding direction preventing LBC from granting planning permission – even though the application can still go to the committee.  Click here to view full story…

Meeting deferred, with no future date suggested.

 

Luton Airport planning application recommended for consent by Luton Borough Council for 21st November meeting (now postponed)

November 15, 2013

Luton Borough Council’s Development Control Committee will be discussing the application for expansion at Luton airport, at a special meeting on 21st November. The officer recommendation is that they approve the application, with various conditions. One of the conditions is that: “At no time shall the passenger throughput of the airport exceed 18 million passengers per annum unless express consent is obtained from the Local Planning Authority.” It also says: “Before any part of the development hereby permitted is commenced, a day to day noise control scheme shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority which sets out the proposals for ensuring that individual aircraft noise impact from the Airport’s operation is reduced as far as is practicable in the light of development to facilitate 18 mppa.” ie. a degree of wishful thinking on noise controls. Local campaigners are arguing that the expansion is likely to increase the annual number of passengers by over 10 million. That would mean the application should be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, which the Planning Act 2008 requires to be decided by the Planning Inspectorate, not the local council. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18375

 

New rail franchise includes requirement for more night trains to serve Luton Airport

October 13, 2013 Britain’s biggest ever rail franchise will include a requirement for more trains to serve Luton Airport Parkway station. There have been complaints for years that Luton airport does not have a good enough rail service, to too many passengers arrive by road. Documents supporting the new rail franchise, issued on September 26, stipulate there must be a minimum of two trains per hour arriving at Luton Airport Parkway between 3am and 6.59am from Blackfriars on Monday to Saturday morning, with a maximum interval of 40 minutes between consecutive arrivals. The Department of Transport says the new combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) Franchise will be the largest UK rail franchise ever let. It is anticipated the successful bids will be announced in May 2014. The Thameslink and Great Northern elements of the TSGN franchise will start in September 2014 with the Southern element being phased in by July 2015. The franchise will run for seven years. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17887

 

AENA adds Luton Airport to its portfolio

1 August 2013 Spain’s AENA and the infrastructure fund of AXA Private Equity are to acquire the management concession for Luton Airport from TBI for £394.4m. Luton Airport is publicly owned by Luton Borough Council but is operated, managed and developed by a private consortium, London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL). TBI, which is jointly owned by AENA (10%) and Spanish infrastructure group abertis (90%), became the majority shareholder in LLAOL in March 2001. AENA said the acquisition of Luton marked its first step in a strategy to replace those minority stakes with a portfolio of airports in which it has management control. The purchase will be financed by existing credit lines and by the sale of the minority stakes. Luton handled 9.6m passengers last year, making it both the UK’s and AENA’s fifth biggest airport.The Spanish government plans to partially privatise AENA in the coming months. For more details of the Luton deal from AENA click here and for a statement from abertis here. http://www.e-tid.com/aena-adds-luton-airport-to-its-portfolio/83658/

 

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Council backs Luton airport expansion but it needs Sec of State Eric Pickles’ authorisation

Luton Airport’s expansion bid to fly over eight million more passengers a year has  been given the green light by its owner, Luton borough council. It was agreed to by just six members of the council’s 11-strong development control committee at the rescheduled meeting, which ended after eight hours. The scheme includes nearly doubling passenger throughput to 18 million people a year,  which could mean 45,000 extra flights per year. It involves extending terminal and car park buildings, constructing a new parallel taxiway and extending aircraft parking aprons. However the approval must now be communicated to the Secretary of State for Local Government Eric Pickles. On November 18th Luton council received a direction, under the Town and Country Planning Management Order 2010 not to grant permission without specific authorisation from him. This direction was issued to enable him to consider whether he should direct that the application be referred to him, under Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Councillors at the meeting heard objections from residents and councillors from St Albans, Harpenden, Stevenage, Luton, Hitchin and Flamstead. People are very concerned the expansion would bring an unacceptable increase in noise and air pollution.  The airport is proposing 60% more planes and many very late in the evening and very early in the morning.
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Council backs Luton airport expansion but minister to review

Luton Airport
Luton boasts the fifth largest airport in the UK

Plans to expand London Luton Airport have been backed by the borough council but Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has now asked to review the decision.

London Luton Airport Operations wants to increase capacity from 12 million to 18 million passengers a year, which could mean 45,000 extra flights.

Councillors approved the planning application at a meeting on Friday.

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

The Department for Communities and Local Government will consider if the application should be determined by Mr Pickles or whether the council can issue the consent.

Andrew Lambourn, from Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion, said noise and pollution would have “a heavy impact”.

The airport is positioned in a pocket of Bedfordshire and most of the flight paths are over Hertfordshire.

‘Impartial opinion’

“They are proposing 60% more planes and disproportionate numbers of those are going to be scheduled very late in the evening and very early in the morning.

“Let’s not carry on too far and start turning this into a blighted area.”

Plans for the airport, which is the UK’s fifth largest, also include building a new dual carriageway from the Holiday Inn roundabout to the central terminal area.

The operator plans to expand the terminal building and build a new parallel taxiway to accommodate the increase in passengers.

Luton council’s impartiality has been challenged because, while London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) owns the airport infrastructure, the borough owns all its shares.

It maintains its role as the local planning authority is entirely separate from its one as shareholder.

The council appointed an independent barrister, John Steel QC, to conduct a full independent review of the application.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-25460537

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Also from the BBC


 

Luton Airport expansion plan gets the go ahead

BY LAUREN ARCHELL

Luton Airport Terminal Building 
Luton Airport Terminal Building

RECOMMENDATIONS to expand Luton Airport so that it can cater for up to 18 million passengers a year – an increase of 6 million – have been supported by Luton council.

Lengthy discussions will now take place between the authority and the airport to agree details of the changes, while The Department for Communities and Local Government will now consider whether the application should be ‘called in’ and determined by the Secretary of State.

Once agreed, it is expected that construction works will take place over three phases to expand, modernise and remodel the terminal building to accommodate up to 20 security passenger screening lanes, increased retail, catering and seating areas as well as a newly configured road system in front of the Central Terminal Area.

In addition a new parallel taxiway and a new multi-storey car park will be built.

The decision came after an intense 10-hour meeting, during which more than 30 individual representations against the proposals were heard.

Residents from Luton and surrounding towns and villages expressed serious fears about increased levels of noise and disturbance due to a rise in the number of night flights as a result of the changes.

However Friday’s meeting concluded with councillors on the Development Control committee supporting the recommendations for airport expansion, with many branding it ‘the most difficult decision they have had to make’.

Commenting on the announcement, Glyn Jones, Managing Director of the Airport, said: “We have committed to developing an airport which everyone in the local area will be proud of, and passengers from all over the world will enjoy visiting.

“In the year of our 75th anniversary this is an exciting milestone for all of us at the airport, the local area, and the millions of passengers who use us for business travel, to visit friends and family or to get away on holiday.”

Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South, also welcomed the news, branding it “a great day for the town, and a much needed boost for our local economy”.

http://www.luton-dunstable.co.uk/News/BREAKING-Luton-Airport-expansion-plan-gets-the-go-ahead-20131220191308.htm

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Earlier:

28 November 2013 (BBC)

Luton Airport expansion plan: QC to oversee application

An independent barrister will oversee a planning application for an expansion of Luton Airport to ensure impartiality, the council has said.

The airport wants to increase capacity from 12m to 18m passengers a year.

Luton Borough Council backs the scheme, but recognises it faces opposition from Hertfordshire residents whose council requested the QC to ensure fairness.

London Luton Airport Ltd owns the airport infrastructure but all the shares belong to Luton Borough Council.

The council said it had appointed aviation planning specialist John Steele QC to conduct a full independent review of the expansion application.

‘Hand it over’

However, a Luton council spokesman maintained that its role as the local planning authority was entirely separate from its one as Luton Airport shareholder.

But Hitchin and Harpenden MP Peter Lilley said the planning minister should take the decision out of Luton’s hands.

The Conservative MP said: “The only way to ensure the process is, and is seen to be, independent is to hand it over to an independent body,” he said.

“I have always maintained that Luton Council should not be making this decision as the council itself is the prime beneficiary from expansion of the airport.

“I hope that the legal review will come to the same conclusion.”

The contract to run the airport was acquired by Spanish air giant AENA and investors Ardian on Wednesday after being sold by Abertis.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-25142390

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15 November 2013 (BBC)

London Luton Airport expansion plan to be backed by council

Plans to expand London Luton Airport are set to be backed by the council.

Airport operator London Luton Airport Operations Ltd want to increase passenger capacity from 12m to 18m a year.

The project includes building a new dual carriageway, multi-storey car park and taxiway.

Council officers have recommended approval of the planning application when it is considered next Thursday.

Plans for the airport, which is the UK’s fifth biggest, also include extending the current car parks and making improvements to the terminal building and aircraft parking area, with new and improved stands.

The road from the Holiday Inn roundabout to the central terminal area would be made dual carriageway.

Luton Borough Council said its approval would come with conditions and the scheme would also be referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-24957794

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Earlier:

Campaigners fear democratic deficit as Luton Council decides on expansion application of the airport it owns

December 20, 2013

A hastily reconvened development control meeting at Luton Borough Council on 20th December decides on the planning application for doubling the capacity of Luton Airport from 9 to 18 million passengers / year. The timing of the meeting, just before Christmas, means many people who wanted to speak at the meeting are unable to attend, which is not democracy working well. An additional democratic problem is that the decision is being made by the Council which owns the airport. The local group, HALE, said “This decision should not be made by airport shareholders – it should be called in for independent scrutiny. It is a hugely unpopular plan: 88% of the respondents are opposed to further expansion, with only 9% in support.” A Hertfordshire County Councillor has succeeded in getting an article 25 planning order issued which prevents Luton Council from actually granting planning permission until the Secretary of State decides whether or not to call in the application. The scale of the proposed works are such that the application counts as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, based on the extra capacity this would allow, though the airport has tried to claim otherwise. There are serious concerns locally about the noise impact, and therefore health impact, if the expansion is allowed.     Click here to view full story…

 

Luton plans to increase passenger capacity to be heard at Luton council meeting on 20th December

December 1, 2013

Plans to increase capacity at Luton Airport will be heard at a council meeting on 20th December. The meeting had been due for 21st November, but was postponed. The 10am meeting will be open to the public to attend. The application would effectively allow an increase in passengers of 10 million, so it should be regarded as an Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and therefore referred to the Secretary of State, and not determined by the local council. The plans are not for any new runway capacity but road improvements, a new mult-storey car park, car park extensions, terminal improvements and extensions, and more taxi-ways and aircraft parking – enabling more planes and more passengers.Local campaign, HALE, says the reason for the hurry is that the the planning application expires on 27th December. As well as the NSIP issue, the other key area of disagreement is a lack of clarity relating to the noise levels governing the airport. Luton Borough Council has not justified the basis for its interpretation of the 1999 noise levels. This means that governance of the noise environment around Luton remains open to question and lack of clarity.     Click here to view full story…

 

Unresolved issues on noise and NSIP status delay Luton Airport planning application

November 25, 2013

The planning application for expansion at Luton airport remains unresolved. There was due have been a meeting of the Luton Borough Council Development Control committee to specifically debate the matter on 21st November, but this was cancelled. Two crucial issues remain unresolved. The first is whether the project counts as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (in which case it must be referred to the Secretary of State); the second is an apparent ambiguity on noise levels. Legislation is clear in defining whether an airport expansion project counts as an NSIP: if the work would deliver capability to handle more than an extra 10 million passengers/ year. It appears that the plans would indeed result in the capability to deliver 10 million/year. There is current argument about which set of noise levels in 1999 should be used as the baseline level. Luton Borough Council has postponed the planning meeting and engaged a QC to review the NSIP issue. It may also be the Commissioner for Local Government might issue a holding direction preventing LBC from granting planning permission – even though the application can still go to the committee.  Click here to view full story…

Meeting deferred, with no future date suggested.

 

Luton Airport planning application recommended for consent by Luton Borough Council for 21st November meeting (now postponed)

November 15, 2013

Luton Borough Council’s Development Control Committee will be discussing the application for expansion at Luton airport, at a special meeting on 21st November. The officer recommendation is that they approve the application, with various conditions. One of the conditions is that: “At no time shall the passenger throughput of the airport exceed 18 million passengers per annum unless express consent is obtained from the Local Planning Authority.” It also says: “Before any part of the development hereby permitted is commenced, a day to day noise control scheme shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority which sets out the proposals for ensuring that individual aircraft noise impact from the Airport’s operation is reduced as far as is practicable in the light of development to facilitate 18 mppa.” ie. a degree of wishful thinking on noise controls. Local campaigners are arguing that the expansion is likely to increase the annual number of passengers by over 10 million. That would mean the application should be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, which the Planning Act 2008 requires to be decided by the Planning Inspectorate, not the local council. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18375

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