Tel: 020 7248 2227 RSS FeedRSS feed

Convoluted Brussels coalition and flightpath politics cause public furore

Thousands of people in Brussels are up in arms about a new overflight plan that started on 6th February, causing parts of the city subject to the thundering noise of planes using Brussels airport. The Belgian government has only a couple of weeks left to find a solution for a problem that dates back many, many years. As the airport is close to densely populated parts of the city, its flight paths would always over-fly a lot of people. The political choices of who should have to suffer the noise are complicated. Should the burden of the noise be shared between various areas? The flight path change is reported to be  because, with the May elections this year, Melchior Wathelet (Sec of State for Environment, Energy, Mobility etc) of the Francophone Christian Democtrats (cdH) decided to do a political favour for the party’s vice prime minister, Joelle Milquet, by tweaking the flight paths over some municipalities, to help with votes. The Wathelet Plan decision can be blocked, under the constitution, for 60 days. That ends at the start of July. It is likely to be the out-going coalition that makes the decision.  Lots of politics ….. parties will assess how the vote affects their political chances ….

.

  • Some of the posters in Brussels against the Wathelet plan (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Brussels flightpath politics cause public furore

24.6.2014 (EU Observer)

  1. BY DIRK DE WILDE

BRUSSELS - Thousands of people living in Brussels are up in arms about a new overflight plan in place since February which has seen the east and west parts of the city subject to the thundering noise of planes taking off and landing at the busy nearby national airport.

Yet the Belgian government has only a couple of weeks left to find a solution for a problem that dates back many, many years.

It is complex task in a very complex political environment. Brussels Airport is located close to the city centre and thus in a densely populated area.

In whatever direction airplanes fly, a part of the population is always going to be affected by noise pollution.

Belgium has been discussing this for over a decade. Unfortunately for all concerned, there is no clean solution.

The big question is how the flights are spread, so that everybody around the airport takes a bit of the burden. Over the years various routes have been selected, tested, used and rejected.

While the issue has slipped up and down the political agenda over the past years, the 6 February entry into force of the new flight path over Brussels has once more brought it to the fore.

Posters dot Brussels protesting the new flight paths and they are a repeated topic of conversation for many residents.

The new overflight routes are down to a decision by state secretary for mobility Melchior Wathelet, a member of the francophone Christian Democrats (cdH). [ Centre démocrate humaniste (cdH)] 

With elections approaching in May – at the EU, regional and local level – Wathelet decided he wanted to do a political favour for the party’s vice prime minister, Joelle Milquet, who was candidate to become minister president for the Brussels region. It was a goal almost within her reach but she needed an extra push.

So Wathelet proposed tweaking the flight paths so that those living in Brussels – the capital has some 1.1 million inhabitants and around half are said to be affected by the noise of the planes – would be less affected.

That sounds reasonable enough on paper. But the reality was more complicated and led to immense squabbling. First of all among the French-speaking parties, who accused cdH of playing an electoral game as the municipalities where Milquet needed extra votes were favoured, to the detriment of municipalities not in cdH-territory.

Then the Flemish parties realised that Flanders would also take a hit. Brussels airport lies just outside the Brussels region, within the Flemish region.

So airplanes taking off and landing are either flying over Brussels or over Flanders.

Delaying tactics

From a legal point of view, Wathelet was entitled to change the routes, even though it was to help his cdH vice prime minister.

So his opponents had to be creative. That is why Flemish socal democrat (sp.a) vice prime minister Johan Vande Lanotte put the constitution to good use.

The document foresees a way for the Flemish government to temporarily block a decision by the federal government, if the decision contains a conflict of interest.

The decision is then blocked for 60 days – a time period that is coming to an end at the beginning of July.

The big advantage of this trick is that it postponed a definitive decision until after the elections.

Under the Wathelet-scenario the decision on the updated flight paths would have been taken just before the 25 May elections – the main reason for the change in the first place.

Now the decision and the implementation will fall in calmer times.

What that final decision will be, is hard to say. One thing is sure however – Wathelet’s plan for aiding Milquet did not play out well for them.

There was so much protest against their move, with many voters punishing them. Milquet did poorly in the elections, and has no chance of becoming minister president. She is now very close to the end of her political career.

In the hours following the publication of the election results, Milquet blamed Wathelet, claiming that without his “mistake” the party would have done better at the polls. This comment did not increase her popularity with voters.

Last point on the agenda

It’s highly unlikely that Belgium will have a new federal government in time to take the decision by the 60-day deadline.

So it will have to be the out-going coalition that decides. And the issue will certainly be less important than the machinations of forming a new government.

Each party in the old coalition will take any decision on flight paths in light of how it will potentially affect their chances of getting into the next governing coalition – favouring potential future allies and disfavouring political enemies.

So the complexity of Belgian politics will add to the complexity of the issue of overflights. As the signs within Brussels airport say: “Welcome to Belgium.”

http://euobserver.com/news/124681

.

.


.

Article about the politics of Belgium, and the formation of the last coalition government.
2011

Belgium Gets Six-Party Coalition Government After Record 18-Month Standoff

.
.
.


.

 See also:

“Pas Question!” ["No Way!"] group in Brussels fights the hated Wathelet Plan flight path changes

On 6th February this year, Melchior Wathelet (Belgium’s secretary of state in charge of Environment, Energy and Mobility) introduced a plan that reorganizes the departure routes from Brussels airport in Zaventem. As a result of this “Wathelet Plan”, the majority of departing aircraft are routed over densely populated areas of central and southern Brussels. The changes are deeply controversial and deeply unpopular among the Brussels residents, who have not been intensively over-flown before. There is huge anger about the changes, and that the numbers over-flown are now far higher than before. On the plus side, some areas that were previously over-flown now have fewer flights. Now almost 18,000 residents have signed a petition to suspend the Wathelet Plan. Its opponents say it was introduced without any prior consultation with local residents, and that in other EU countries, such a consultation process is a regulatory requirement before any change to aircraft flight paths is made. An active group called “Pas Question!” – which means “No Way!” has formed, and they regard the new flight paths as nonsensical. They want the plan cancelled, and are convinced that an alternative policy is possible.

Click here to view full story…

.

.

.
.
.

Read more »

Boris gets another report produced, pushing potential benefits of more flights to regions from his estuary mega-airport

Boris’ Transport for London has produced a report (done for them by York Aviation and Oxford Economics) which pushes his Thames Estuary airport plan. The report “Making Connections” is angled to get support from the regions by saying Heathrow cannot, even with a 3rd runway, cope with demand from all the regional airports. It says that only Boris’ 4 runway new airport could give all the regions lots of connecting flights.  The report anticipates 49 more regional flights per day than with a Heathrow 3rd runway. There are the usual figures of the amount of economic growth, and the number of jobs, that this monster airport in the estuary would produce. It says there would be “a £2.1 billion economic stimulus for the regional economies by 2050 in the form of increased Gross Value Added (GVA) and over 17,550 new jobs.” A York Aviation spokesperson said a 3rd Heathrow runway “would not support any new [regional] routes due to commercial pressures on airlines”. Boris and his backers always conveniently ignore the inconvenient fact that the UK cannot fit two extra runways into our climate targets.
.

This is Boris’ press release:

New report highlights billions of benefits and thousands of jobs provided by a new hub airport across the UK

24 June 2014 (GLA – Mayor’s press releases)
A new report by York Aviation and Oxford Economics published today (24 June) highlights how a decision on where to build new airport capacity in the southeast is of paramount importance to every major city and region in Great Britain. Leading economists have calculated that building a new four runway hub airport would provide a £2.1 billion boost and over 17,500 new jobs across the UK.

Over the last 20 years the number of routes into Heathrow from domestic airports around the UK has fallen dramatically. As a result large parts of Britain are now without access to the UK’s main international airport and the links to massive overseas trade markets that it can provide. Today’s report, Making Connections, was written by experts from York Aviation and Oxford Economics, and commissioned by Transport for London. It demonstrates how a new four runway hub airport would restore those links and provide 49 more regional flights every day than a third runway at Heathrow would provide.

With a new hub seven cities and regions – Liverpool, Inverness, Newquay, Durham Tees Valley, Humberside, Dundee and Cardiff – would gain new air connections to the London hub and seven cities and regions would see their existing connections improved. The report illustrates how poorly Heathrow, where the number of domestic connections has slumped to just seven services, connects the nations and regions of the UK in comparison with European competitor hubs such as Schipol airport in Amsterdam.

The analysis highlights how a third runway at Heathrow would fail to reverse the decline and predicts that even with a third runway the number of domestic routes would decline further with the loss of the existing Leeds/Bradford route. A third runway would fill up very quickly due to existing demand at Heathrow, which already runs at 99 per cent of its capacity. Pressure on airlines to use slots for the most profitable routes would then mean domestic services would be crowded out again, which would prohibit new routes being established and mean that established services to cities like Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle would not be immune to a further loss of frequency.

Louise Congdon, Managing Partner at York Aviation, said: “There is no doubt that of all the options for expansion currently under consideration by the Airports Commission a new four-runway hub airport would provide the nations and regions with the best connectivity to the UK’s main international airport. This could include eight new regional routes and a more frequent service for cities that have a Heathrow connection currently. It might surprise some people that a third runway at Heathrow will do little to improve regional connectivity and not support any new routes due to commercial pressures on airlines”

Oxford Economics has calculated that the additional connectivity would lead to a £2.1 billion economic stimulus for the regional economies by 2050 in the form of increased Gross Value Added (GVA) and over 17,550 new jobs. This highlights the scale of economic benefit a new airport would provide for the whole of the UK. The four cities/regions that stand to gain the most are:

Edinburgh – £451m GVA (2,590 jobs)

Glasgow – £358m GVA (2,620 jobs)
Aberdeen – £346m GVA (2,810 jobs)
Tees Valley – £220m GVA (2,180 jobs)
Commenting on the new report, the Mayor of London’s chief advisor on aviation, Daniel Moylan, said: “This report highlights that only a new four runway hub airport can connect each nation and region of the UK to London and the rest of the world. The current expansion debate must not be allowed to become simply a matter of where to build a new strip of tarmac in the south east. This is a decision that matters to the whole of the UK and it’s ludicrous that Amsterdam airport provides more than three times the number of UK regional connections than our so called national airport. The report also nails the lie that a third runway would help the UK cities & regions that Heathrow has left behind. It won’t. It will be full within two or three years of opening and just as now airlines will be forced to concentrate on their most profitable long-haul routes. I hope the Airports Commission studies the report in detail and takes into account the economic needs of the UK as a whole when preparing its final report”.

https://www.london.gov.uk/media/mayor-press-releases/2014/06/new-report-highlights-billions-of-benefits-and-thousands-of-jobs

.

 The report is at 

https://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/making-connections.pdf

 

It contains not one mention of carbon emissions or climate !

.

.


.

Reported in the Telegraph:

 

Boris Johnson: Thames Estuary airport ‘best for whole of UK’

New report claims a new four-runway hub airport in the Thames Estuary would provide more connections to the UK’s regions than an expanded Heathrow

Boris Johnson is seeking to rally support for his Thames Estuary Airport proposal by claiming it will be the most beneficial option for Scotland, Wales and regional English cities.

A report published by London’s Mayor on Tuesday claims that a new four-runway airport to the east of London would allow for eight additional domestic routes, connecting cities such as Cardiff, Dundee, Liverpool and Newquay to a UK hub. Connections to the UK’s largest international airport would improve those cities’ trade, tourism and foreign direct investment prospects, the report argues. UK cities and regions that already have flights to the UK’s current hub, Heathrow, would also benefit from improved connections.

The number of daily domestic routes to Heathrow has fallen from 18 in 1990 to seven, as airlines prefer to use scarce take-off and landing slots, which can change hands for almost £20m per pair, for more profitable long-haul services.

Today’s report, by York Aviation and Oxford Economics, points out that Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports currently serve substantially more UK regional airports than Heathrow, which has been full for a decade. Amsterdam serves 20 regional

The report claims that greater connections between the regions and a new four-runway hub airport would deliver a £2.1bn boost to the UK economy and generate 17,500 jobs in 14 cities or regions by 2050. A new four-runway hub in the Thames Estuary, to the east of London, would provide 49 more daily regional flights than an enlarged, three-runway Heathrow, it adds.

The Mayor’s office argues that Heathrow would be full within 2-3 years of opening a third runway as once again, airlines would use those landing and take-off slots for profitable long-haul routes rather than improving UK connectivity.

London’s Mayor is trying to win the regional vote as he faces a battle to persuade the Airports Commission, the body investigating where to build Britain’s next runway, to add it to a short-list of three proposals, which is currently dominated by Heathrow but also includes expansion at Gatwick.

Daniel Moylan, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser on aviation, said: “The current expansion debate must not be allowed to become simply a matter of where to build a new strip of tarmac in the south east. This is a decision that matters to the whole of the UK and it’s ludicrous that Amsterdam airport provides more than three times the number of UK regional connections than our so-called national airport.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10920791/Boris-Johnson-Thames-Estuary-airport-best-for-whole-of-UK.html

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

Read more »

Sydney Airport targets to limit flights over parts of the city not met, and have never been met

Sydney Airport has failed to meet its aircraft noise-sharing targets every year since they were set 17 years ago, with suburbs immediately to its north bearing up to double the number of planes set by the airport’s operating plan as ”fair”.  Under targets set in Sydney Airport’s long-term operating plan, some suburbs are meant to have 17% of aircraft movements overhead. Instead, those areas have had more than 30% of flights every month for the past 3 years, and regularly have more than double the target. The number of aircraft movements is increasing, and the number of larger planes is also rising. Sydney Airport has 2 north-south runways, as well as an east-west runway. During busy times planes are routed over suburbs south and north of the airport, rather than east-west. Larger planes can only use the longer north-south runway. In 1996, in response to growing public pressure over aircraft noise, the government regulator set targets for 55% of movements to go south of the airport, 13% to the east, 15% to the west, and 17% to the north. Local group, No Aircraft Noise, said the noise-sharing targets were a political fix designed to calm public anger, and it was known the targets could never be met.

.

 

Sydney Airport missed noise targets

June 23, 2014
By B (Senior Correspondent for Fairfax Media)
Sydney Morning Herald – New South Wales

EXCLUSIVE

Peak periods: During busy times more planes fly over suburbs south and north of the airport.

Peak periods: More planes fly over suburbs south and north of the airport during busy times.

Sydney Airport has failed to meet its aircraft noise-sharing targets every year since they were set 17 years ago, with suburbs immediately to its north bearing up to double the number of planes set by the airport’s operating plan as ”fair”.

Under targets set in Sydney Airport’s long-term operating plan, suburbs north of Mascot are supposed to have 17 per cent of aircraft movements – planes landing and taking off – overhead.

Instead, those areas have had more than 30 per cent of flights every month for the past three years, and regularly have more than double the target.

Suburbs north of the airport are most affected.

Suburbs north of the airport are most affected.

Sydenham residents hear planes overhead at louder than 70 decibels more than 170 times a day.

The number of planes flying over suburbs north of the airport is steadily increasing, and will rise further as newer, larger planes use Kingsford-Smith and the airport grows busier.

Between 2001 and 2007, 27.54 per cent of planes flew north of the airport. Between 2008 and this year, that figure has been 30.91 per cent.

Sydney Airport has two north-south runways, and only one running east-west. During busy times air traffic controllers are compelled to use the parallel runways, putting more planes over suburbs south and north of the airport.

“During peak periods when aircraft numbers are high, and when weather conditions allow, air traffic controllers use both parallel runways, allowing for a greater throughput of traffic. During these periods, it is not possible to use the cross [east-west] runway,” an Airservices Australia spokesperson said.

Government modelling shows that by 2020, there will be no unused slots for aircraft movements during peak times, and by 2027, no

free slots at any time of day. At full capacity, Sydney airport’s ability to use the east-west runway will be reduced even further. Larger planes can only use the longer north-south runway.

In 1996, in response to growing public pressure over aircraft noise, the government regulator ”developed options for operating the airport in a way that shares the noise as fairly as possible”.

The targets were for 55 per cent of movements to go south of the airport, 13 per cent to the east, 15 per cent to the west, and 17 per cent to the north.

Monthly flight data shows Sydney Airport has never met these targets. Operating plan documents say the non-binding targets were calculated using computer modelling and “have yet to be proven in practice”.

In 2012, an independent steering committee recommended the airport’s noise-sharing arrangements be reviewed and updated. That was rejected by government.

While flights to the north consistently exceed the target, flights to the south and west are universally below – the west often gets only 1 per cent of all flights.

A Sydney Airport spokesperson said the airport worked closely with communities to mitigate noise, especially in suburbs close to the airport. “We continue to invest in infrastructure to facilitate new generation, quieter aircraft such as the A380 … new generation aircraft coming off the production line today are about 75 per cent quieter than they were 40 years ago.”

Sydney Airport’s three runways can be used in 10 configurations for planes. Airservices Australia told Fairfax: “Safety is our first priority when managing aircraft movements.” Wind, rain, and aircraft type determine which runway a plane can use.

Airservices Australia monitors aircraft noise over Sydney suburbs, registering the number of planes louder than 70Db at street level. Seventy decibels is comparable to a vacuum cleaner, a lawnmower, or the noise of freeway traffic from 15 metres.

The suburbs most affected are those immediately north of the airport. This year, Sydenham has had, on average, 172 planes a day louder than 70Db. Leichhardt has had 102, St Peters 98, and Annandale 69.

The Kurnell Peninsula has averaged 77 planes a day above the 70dB threshold in 2014.

In George Street, Sydenham, Carl Ruhinda said the noise was “unbelievable, the planes feel like they are just above your head”.

”I run an online business from home and if I am on the phone when a plane comes over, we can’t hear anything at all. Even if there are two people inside the house, you can’t speak. The planes are … very disruptive.”

He said neighbours had moved because of the planes.

 


.

Other articles on Sydney airport, by Ben Doherty:

Ben Doherty is Senior Correspondent for Fairfax Media:

.

Sydney Airport’s runway dependence means more noise for inner west residents

BEN DOHERTY 23.6.2014

Sydney Airport will rely on its parallel north-south runways for almost all of its flying hours by the end of the decade, a report prepared for the government says, meaning more flights over suburbs immediately north and south of the airport.

Fairfax Media revealed on Monday that the airport’s noise-sharing targets had not been met for any of the 17 years they had been in force.

In particular, suburbs immediately north of the airport, which are supposed to have 17 per cent of landing and taking-off planes overhead, had experienced more than 30 per cent of flights for the past three years.

<b></b>

A committee commissioned by the state and federal governments warned in 2012 that Sydney Airport’s noise-sharing arrangements – designed to share aircraft noise as evenly as possible across the city – would become increasingly unattainable.

As airport traffic increases, it will become more dependent on the greater capacity of its two north-south runways, rather than the single east-west airstrip. In addition, newer, larger aircraft – though quieter than older planes – can use only the north-south runway.

“By around 2020, the noise-sharing modes will only normally be available in early mornings and late evening,” the report said.

“There is no scope to extend the site of Sydney Airport to increase the capacity of the runway system to address the underlying constraint on long-term capacity.”

The report recommended that the targets should be reviewed “with a view to setting achievable noise reduction targets for the airport based on the new generation, quieter aircraft types”. The recommendation was rejected by the government.

A Sydney Airport spokeswoman said the airport’s master plan, approved by the federal government this year, forecast passenger numbers rising to 74 million annually by 2033.

“The plan shows that the airport has ample capacity and noise sharing will continue to occur over that period,” she said.

Airport representatives had consulted with hundreds of residents over its master plan, and the main issue raised was transport to the airport, not noise, she said.

Allan Rees, from No Aircraft Noise, said the noise-sharing targets were a political fix designed to calm public anger, and it was known the targets could never be met.

“Operationally, the airport just can’t do it,” he said. “Those targets have never been achieved, and they’ve just sat on their hands and said ‘it’s nothing to do with us’.”

Mr Rees said there needed to be a drastic rethink of the airport’s operation. “The whole history of Sydney Airport has been a series of blunders, of quick fixes.”

Marrickville Greens councillor Max Phillips said that within a few years, 80 plane movements an hour would be scheduled for most of the day. “The east-west runway will effectively be mothballed with residents of the inner west copping almost all the noise.”

In April, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a second airport for Sydney would be built at Badgerys Creek, but without specific details of how the airport would operate. The Sydney Airport Corporation has the right of first refusal to build that airport.

Sydney Airport is subject to a curfew between 11pm and 6am, and a cap of 80 plane movements an hour. The federal government has ruled out any changes to the cap or curfew.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-airports-runway-dependence-means-more-noise-for-inner-west-residents-20140623-zsj47.html

.

.


 

 

Sydney Airport has never met plane noise-sharing targets

22.6.2014

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-airport-has-never-met-plane-noisesharing-targets-20140622-zshwq.html

.

.


.

Other news about Sydney Airport:

Australian government approves construction of 2nd Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek

15.4.2014
The Australian government has approved the construction of a 2nd large airport at Badgerys Creek, in western Sydney, about 45 km west of the central business district.   Prime Minister Tony Abbott said planning and design work would start immediately,  with construction expected to begin in 2016. The first flights might take place by the mid-2020s. Funding would come mostly from the private sector. The idea for this airport has been around for decades, but plans to put it at Badgerys Creek were shelved for fear of backlash from local voters.  Mr Abbott has made it clear he wants a curfew-free airport, so it can have flights all night.  Sydney’s current airport is only 8km away from the city and it operates with a curfew between 23:00 and 06:00. Opponents of building the airport at Badgerys Creek say there are better ways of dealing with airport capacity demand, by locating regional flights and cargo flights to two other nearby airports. Sydney airport already has 3 runways (two parallel north south and one east-west) and is only up to 80 aircraft movements per hour during the morning and afternoon peaks. They say it is likely, due to pricing changes and competition, the new airport is unlikely to pay back its investors for years, and that proper studies of alternatives have not been looked at properly. 
.

.

.

.

Read more »

Belgians are asking Canadian pension fund to put pressure on government to reverse Brussels flight path changes

Brussels airport is managed by the Brussels Airport Company, which is 39% owned of Canadian pension fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) which is the 2nd largest manager of institutional funds in Canada. It invests the pension funds of 307,000 active and retired teachers working in public schools in Ontario. Now a group of Belgians are asking administrators of OTPP to put pressure on the Belgian authorities to reverse the decision, taken in February, to change flight paths over central Brussels. Opponents of the flight path changes say the new routes triple the number of people affected by aircraft noise.  The campaign, “Pas Question!” say:  “Imagine that the (Canadian) Federal Government directed 50% of the planes taking off from Toronto airport over the city center. And everything to relieve the periphery! ” They believe it is a political decision, and must be reversed by politicians.  The government has indicated it may be open to revision of the plans, but rejects the idea of ​​returning to the old flight paths.
.

 

Imperfect translation from French below:

Belgians are asking Canadians to stop the comings and goings of aircraft to Brussels

Officials Pension Teachers of Ontario were arrested.

A group of Belgians are asking administrators of Pension Teachers of Ontario to make a move to stop the comings and goings of commercial aircraft in the skies of downtown Brussels.

This unusual case is due to the fact that Canadian pension fund holds more than a third of the local airport at the center of the flight path controversy.

Commercial aircraft normally use the flight paths that disturb residents as little as possible, but in February, the Belgian government decided to do otherwise by requiring aircraft to fly new flight paths over the capital.

However, it triples the number of people affected by noise.

Did you know?

  • Retirement System of Teachers of Ontario Pension Plan (OTPP), or Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP), colloquially known in this province as Teachers, is a manager of institutional funds in Ontario, the second largest in Canada!
  • The OTPP is responsible for administering and investing the pension funds of teachers working in public schools in Ontario.
  • With assets under management of $ 140.8 billion at December 31, 2013, the Pension Plan for Teachers of Ontario is also the largest pension plan addressing one profession in Canada.
  • It administers the pensions of 307,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario.
  • .

Brussels residents are lobbying from all sides

280px-Belgium_location_map.svg

Antoine Wilhelmi is one of Brussels residents who argue against this trajectory change of planes over his city.

It represents the movement “Pas Question!” [No Way!] which is asking the teachers’ pension funds to put pressure on the airport and the elected members of the Belgian government to re-think their decision.

“Imagine that the (Canadian) Federal Government directed 50% of the planes taking off from Toronto airport over the city center.  And everything to relieve the periphery! “

His group believes that the Ontario Teachers must act on this matter, since the airport has no control over the trajectory of the aircraft.

Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Federal Public Service Mobility Belgium, Laurent Ledoux, confirms that the Belgian airport has little power.

“First there was the political level, it is primarily in this level that all these discussions today take place,” he says.

The Belgian government says it is open to revision, but rejects the idea of ​​returning to the old paths.

.

Checklist …

  • Brussels Airport Airport since October 19, 2006 is located twelve kilometers north-east of Brussels.
  • It is mainly used for European flights and international flights to Africa, Asia, the Americas or even the Middle East.
  • Brussels Airport is the first airport in Belgium and the fourteenth European airport.
  • It is managed by the Brussels Airport Company, owned 39% of Canadian pension fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
  • The airport has a capacity of about 35 million passengers per year.
  • Its location in the middle of an area of ​​high urbanization (1 200 inhabitants per km2) and the pollution it generates does not allow optimal development.
  • It considers that the airport currently work (2013) about 50% of its maximum capacity.

     

View of the airport taken from a satellite-Wikipedia

View of the airport taken from a satellite – Wikipedia

http://www.rcinet.ca/fr/2014/06/18/des-belges-demandent-aux-canadiens-de-faire-cesser-le-va-et-vient-davions-a-bruxelles/

 

.

.


 

.

Earlier:

“Pas Question!” ["No Way!"] group in Brussels fights the hated Wathelet Plan flight path changes

On 6th February this year, Melchior Wathelet (Belgium’s secretary of state in charge of Environment, Energy and Mobility) introduced a plan that reorganizes the departure routes from Brussels airport in Zaventem. As a result of this “Wathelet Plan”, the majority of departing aircraft are routed over densely populated areas of central and southern Brussels. The changes are deeply controversial and deeply unpopular among the Brussels residents, who have not been intensively over-flown before. There is huge anger about the changes, and that the numbers over-flown are now far higher than before. On the plus side, some areas that were previously over-flown now have fewer flights. Now almost 18,000 residents have signed a petition to suspend the Wathelet Plan. Its opponents say it was introduced without any prior consultation with local residents, and that in other EU countries, such a consultation process is a regulatory requirement before any change to aircraft flight paths is made. An active group called “Pas Question!” – which means “No Way!” has formed, and they regard the new flight paths as nonsensical. They want the plan cancelled, and are convinced that an alternative policy is possible.

Click here to view full story…

.

.

Earlier:

Protest in Brussels as new flight paths over-fly new areas, giving some respite to those previously heavily over-flown

8.4.2014
.
In Brussels there has, for a long time, been a problem because of the division between the French speaking south of the city, and the  Flemish speaking north. The airport is to the north east of the city, and traditionally the people living to the north have complained bitterly that they have had a disproportionate number of flights, while many affluent areas to the south have had no over-flying. From the 6th February the government has brought in new flight paths, which disperse take-offs towards the west, so more fly over the areas to the south of the city. Flights start at 6am and continue to 11pm, though the new routes are meant to not be used for Saturday evening and during Sunday, if there isn’t  a strong westerly wind. There has been huge protest in Brussels about this change, with furious citizens incensed that their peace, and their quality of life has been reduced. The changes have brought some relief to the other areas which previously took more than their fair share of the noise. Petitions and protests have been set up, and it is uncertain what will happen next.  The situation is complicated by Belgian politics, and the separate interests of Flemish and Walloon sections of society.

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

 

Read more »

Tunbridge Wells & Bidborough residents, and High Weald parishes unite against Gatwick runway plans

The threat of a 2nd Gatwick runway is a very real one for people living under existing flight paths, and in areas where new flight paths are likely. Now villages 20 miles out to the east from Gatwick have formed an action group to campaign against Gatwick’s expansion plans. The Parish Councils of Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst have formed the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group.  There is also a new, and highly active, group at Bidborough, BEAG.  At a meeting on 17th June in Tunbridge Wells the noise problem of existing an new flights paths was discussed. Local people fear a new Gatwick ‘Superhighway’ route across their area, with some 350 planes per day – all the aircraft arriving at Gatwick from the south – in a concentrated stream above West Kent most of the year from 06:30-11:30 hours without respite. There is real opposition to the noise nuisance, and reduction in the quality of life, of thousands from the flight paths. There is also real concern about the noise’s negative impact on the tourism industries of West Kent – such as the unique and historically valuable Hever Castle and Penshurst Place.
.

 

BEAG (Bidborough Environmental Action Group)

BEAG is on Twitter at  @Kealey_BEAG 

BEAG blog http://beagblog.wordpress.com/

 

Bidborough, Tunbridge Wells etc

 

Map indicating location of Gatwick and Bidborough, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. Click on map for larger version

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Meeting 17th June 2014 – Personal Notes

18.6.2014 (BEAG – Bidborough Environmental Action Group)

Blog
Sitting amongst my betters in the majestic surroundings of the main hall at the borough council offices, I was reminded of the poem ‘The Second Coming’ by Yeats:

‘Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer:’

I was thinking it could be renamed ‘The Second Runway’ instead.

Half of the sixty or so people attending the meeting about aviation noise chaired by KCC member and Kent’s GATCOM representative, Matthew Balfour, were members of the public, the other half district and parish councillors from across Kent and Sussex including Major Streatfeild, Chair of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group (HWPCAAG – see below for more detail).

No representative MP’s were present.

Everyone stared towards a central information board. Speakers, including Mr Joe Ratcliffe, Principle Transport Planner for the KCC, referred to various maps that glared red with flight path densities, and the slow bearing of British bureaucracy reflected in the Chairman’s face: everyone looked like amateurs by contrast to the ruthless operations of big business.

Gatwick expansion via the new ‘Superhighway’ route (see below) means about 350 planes per day – ALL southern airport arrivals – in a concentrated stream above West Kent most of the year from 06:30-11:30 hours without respite.

What we were all looking at on the maps was the beautifully stark as well as ugly reality of Gatwick’s pursuit of profit involving the flight of giant lumps of metal burning kerosene, and thereby the expected demise of West Kent’s Tourist and Leisure industries.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has come to this process rather late.

The Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB’s) of the High Weald and adjacent wildlife areas, together with West Kent’s empirical stately homes, are already significantly compromised by aircraft noise and air pollution.

Aircraft expansion increases Public Health issues for West Kent residents, particularly stress induced effects on cardiovascular health.

Expected property blight could be pronounced as a result of the Superhighway, together with pressure on the learning environment for children in otherwise well performing Tunbridge Wells schools. And even without a second runway, Gatwick plans to increase passenger numbers from 35 million to 45 million over the next couple of years.

Some key points arising from the meeting included:

- Aviation noise (like noise from trains and cars) is not a statutory nuisance

- CAA has legal duties to protect AONB’s from overflight but, from the Government’s Aviation Policy Framework (March 2013) only ‘where practical’ i.e. Gatwick is surrounded by AONB’s

- Noise from planes is mainly measured for departures. All measurements are averages over a 16 hour period. This takes no account of the number of planes flying i.e. neither the Government nor Gatwick acknowledge any noise problem over West Kent and East Sussex. The Government show no intention of changing this outdated method of measurement, despite evidence of bias in favour of aviation companies.

- Gatwick expect a ‘noise shadow’ of 2km from the ‘Superhighway’ of 60dB or more. Planes make more noise when turning.
The extent of feeling on the issue of aircraft noise was very apparent throughout the meeting, and especially keen from attending members of the public. Some were from as far afield as Broadwater in south Tunbridge Wells. There were many accounts of how planes are now flying lower and more frequently, together with the sense of wanting to do something about the problem, while at the same time not knowing what.

Parish Councillors, most of them mentioning increased numbers of complaints from their residents about aircraft noise, put forward a number of measures by which noise from planes might be reduced.

Many expressed surprise that there should be such noise disturbances so far from Gatwick airport – a matter of around twenty miles – when at one time Gatwick’s main approach path barely extended beyond East Grinstead, which now has a flight exclusion zone in effect.

I may be an amateur but at least I was there at the TWBC meeting last night. The concluding agreement for better coordination of resistance to Gatwick’s expansion amounted to no more or less than a democratic call to arms: it’s never too late for that.

Especially when it’s a matter of protecting where we live and what we value most.

http://beagblog.wordpress.com/

 

.


 

Plane Superhighway Route over Tunbridge Wells in West Kent – to be imposed any time from August of this year

 

Plane Superhighway Route over Tunbridge Wells in West Kent

The black line shows Gatwick’s preferred aeroplane route with chevrons indicating 2km ‘noise shadow’ of sound >60dB, which is larger when planes turn. Most of the airport’s planes will arrive via this route. That is about 350 planes per day between 06:00 and 11:00hrs most of the year (with prevailing westerly wind). That’s an average of one plane every two and a half minutes. Some direct eastern flights across Tonbridge, especially at night.

http://beagblog.wordpress.com/

.

see also

Aeroplane ‘Motorways’ to go over Tunbridge Wells

21.10.2013

http://www.courier.co.uk/Aeroplane-Motorways-Tunbridge-Wells/story-19964805-detail/story.html

.


.

HIGH  WEALD  PARISH  COUNCILS  AVIATION  ACTION  GROUP

(HWPCAAG)

(Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst Parish Councils)

The High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group was formed in 2013 due to the common need to campaign against excessive aircraft noise, low flying aircraft, night flights and the threat of a second runway at Gatwick Airport.   The group consists of local residents and representatives from Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst Parish Councils, and these Parish Councils have passed resolutions to allow the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group to respond to consultations and to campaign on behalf of their communities.  Our Kent County Councillor for Sevenoaks South and also a representative from the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign both attend our meetings, and their support and knowledge has been invaluable. 

As a whole, the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group represents a population of 5,902, and an electorate of 4,650 across the four parishes.


 

Gatwick & Aircraft Noise

High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group.

Chiddingstone Parish Council

Chiddingstone Parish Council is campaigning against aircraft noise, low-flying aircraft, night flights and the threat of a second runway at Gatwick Airport.

The Parish Council has been instrumental in creating a new group called High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group.

As an individual Parish Council, we represent our parishioners and can therefore respond to various consultations on their behalf.  Whilst this does have an impact, by joining forces with other like-minded parishes and residents, it is hoped that we will have a far greater influence.   The Parish Council and High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group have both submitted responses to various consultations (from the Airports Commission), and will continue to campaign and respond to future consultations on behalf of our community.

http://www.chiddingstone.org/Core/Chiddingstone-PC/Pages/Gatwick__and__Aircraft_Noise_1.aspx

.

.


.

Gatwick & Aircraft Noise

Leigh Parish Council

Leigh Parish Council has joined a group of other local parishes called High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group. 

As an individual Parish Council, we represent our community and therefore have the opportunity to respond to consultations on your behalf. Whilst this does have an impact, by joining forces with other local parishes under a group initiative, we will have a far greater impact.

The High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group (HWPCAAG) was formed in 2013 and has held regular meetings to discuss current consultations and how the group can campaign against aircraft noise, low-flying aircraft, night flights and the threat of a second runway at Gatwick Airport.

The Parish Council submitted its own response to the London Airspace Consultation, HWPCAAG submitted a combined response, and individual residents were encouraged to submit their own responses too.

http://www.leighkent.org.uk/Core/Leigh-Parish-Council/Pages/Gatwick_1.aspx

.


.

More Planes Fly Over More People – Simple

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRGJXCTQp4A
YouTube video of the planes over houses at Manchester Airport – showing just how bad the plane noise is. And the links to cardiovascular impacts of loud aircraft noise.
Be warned residents of Sussex and Kent – this is what could happen to more and more of us if Gatwick continues to expand.
More planes, new routes, more routes… Gatwick is a global company with no ethical remit. It makes perfect business sense to grow and make more profits for shareholders.
But it is at our expense. We’d have to go on holiday to escape from it all!
We need meaningful change to the way airports operate – we need this industry to be more tightly regulated and independently monitored than it is at the moment.
There are real changes Gatwick could make tomorrow that could bring about less noise and air pollution. Instead, they continue to merely exploit the skies above our heads.
The glossy documents generated by the Gatwick PR machine, such as the recent one boasting about better transport links between Gatwick and London, give every impression that what Gatwick is doing is ‘progress’. An amazing thing, apparently.
The bottom line is that Gatwick is selling us more planes. And more planes.
But it can’t go on can it?
http://beagblog.wordpress.com/
.
.
.
.
.

Read more »

“Pas Question!” ["No Way!"] group in Brussels fights the hated Wathelet Plan flight path changes

On 6th February this year, Melchior Wathelet (Belgium’s secretary of state in charge of Environment, Energy and Mobility) introduced a plan that reorganizes the departure routes from Brussels airport in Zaventem. As a result of this “Wathelet Plan”, the majority of departing aircraft are routed over densely populated areas of central and southern Brussels. The changes are deeply controversial and deeply unpopular among the Brussels residents, who have not been intensively over-flown before. There is huge anger about the changes, and that the numbers over-flown are now far higher than before. On the plus side, some areas that were previously over-flown now have fewer flights. Now almost 18,000 residents have signed a petition to suspend the Wathelet Plan. Its opponents say it was introduced without any prior consultation with local residents, and that in other EU countries, such a consultation process is a regulatory requirement before any change to aircraft flight paths is made. An active group called “Pas Question!” – which means “No Way!” has formed, and they regard the new flight paths as nonsensical. They want the plan cancelled, and are convinced that an alternative policy is possible.

.

 

Retrait du Plan Wathelet. Plan Wathelet, Pas Question

Pas Question!  is on Twitter at   @NonPasQuestion

and on Facebook at Pas Question!

Website at  http://www.pasquestion.be/en

No Way !  ["Pas Question!"]

The Pas Question! group is  a movement of Brussels citizens, who say they are indignant about the Wathelet Plan, that they feel has been inflicted on them.
They say they are ordinary citizens, but they have discovered overnight, that their families were now over-flown daily by planes at a low altitude.

They now find the new dispersed flight path plan was adopted by the Federal Government, without consultation, despite its enduring damages to Brussels

The regard this Plan as not offering any long-term solution but instead transferred the problem of aircraft noisecloser to the heart of Brussels.

They are determined that Brussels citizens and inhabitants must combat this nonsensical plan with all their efforts and with all means at their disposal. They are convinced that an alternative policy is possible.

 

These are their Objectives

1
The immediate repeal of Plan Wathelet
This Plan is an absurdity , ignoring self-evident public health and safety precautions;We demand its immediate repeal!
2
A real democratic debate
We demand a consultation of all concerned parties, to be part of those decisions directly impacting our quality of life and the future of Brussels.
3
Sustainable long-term solutions
The health and security of hundred of thousands citizens has been plainly ignored. Our politicians must consider and adopt long-term solutions to the ill-located Brussels Airport.

 


 

On 6 February 2014 Melchior Wathelet - in his function as Belgium’s secretary of state in charge of Environment, Energy and Mobility – implemented a plan that reorganizes the departure routes from Brussels National Airport in Zaventem.

As a result of this plan, the majority of departing aircraft are routed over densely populated areas of Brussels. This plan – referred to by campaigners as the Plan Wathelet  [Wathelet Plan] – soon became the object of controversy and led to a wave of complaints by residents affected by aircraft noise.

As of 1 May 2014, more than 13,000 residents had signed a petition to suspend the Plan Wathelet.  [It now has over 17,700 signatures - 20.6.2014].

A revision of the plan was blocked by the government of Flanders in early May.

The main criticisms of the Wathelet Plan are that opponents say it was introduced without any prior consultation with local residents.

They say that in other European Countries, such a consultation process is a regulatory requirement before any change to aircraft flight paths is made (consultation is required in the UK, by the CAA).

Opponents also claim that no impact assessment was carried out prior to the publication of the new departure routes.  They say the flight paths should over-fly less densely populated areas, and avoid heavily populated areas.

There is some dispute between different areas, and communities, of Brussels about how many residents are being over-flown – and affected by high levels of aircraft noise. There have been different figures produced by Mr Wathelet and by the Brussels minister for Environment Evelyne Huytebroeck.

.


.

“Pas Question!” [which means "No Way"] – the campaign against the flight path changes

The opponents of the changes argue that the new flight paths must be removed, as the number of people now over-flown is not acceptable. They say on their campaign website http://www.pasquestion.be/en/wathelet-plan

The Wathelet Plan: A SHORT SUMMARY

Since February 6 2014, The Wathelet Plan has modified certain flight paths from Brussels national airport:

On one hand, the  “left turn” flight path from [Brussels airport at] Zaventem has been enlarged. As a consequence, 35.000 planes now fly at low altitude over densely populated areas like SCHAERBEEK, ETTERBEEK, IXELLES, WOLUWE-Chant d’oiseau, AUDERGHEM and WATERMAEL-BOISTFORT

On the other hand, the so-called “route du canal” flight path goes over Brussels from one side to another, and is used by thousands of the heaviest carriers and night take-offs. This entails a strong and brutal deterioration of the quality of life in MOLENBEEK, BRUXELLES-VILLE, ANDERLECHT, FOREST, SAINT-GILLES et UCCLE.

All of this, in the name of a “fair” distribution of disturbances. In reality this plan saves certain neighbourhoods located east of the airport (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre/Stockel, Wezembeek et Kraainem) and move them over a capital city of  1.100.000 inhabitants !

This plan is absurd and must be immediately withdrawn.

The website contains interactive maps, showing where the flight paths are now going. Maps at http://www.pasquestion.be/en/wathelet-plan

On the map below, the new flight paths are shown with some going across the centre of Brussels and the south of the city. Before the changes, flights were concentrated to the east and south east, with some to the north. There were none across central and southern Brussels.

Brussels new flight paths

 
The website of the opponents of the changes say on their website at http://www.pasquestion.be/en/wathelet-plan that:

WATHELET PLAN: THE FULL EXPLANATIONS

The Wathelet Plan which has been fully implemented on February 6th 2014 reorganizes flight paths from Zaventem airport and is composed of 3 main measures::

1. The use of the runway 19/01 is significantly reduced

Since ten years (the Anciaux Plan) WOLUWE-SAINT-PIERRE (Stockel), KRAAINEM and WEZEMBEEK areas located east of the airport are being impacted by planes at low altitude with approximately 7.000 takeoffs per year and 12.000 landing per year on the runway 19/01 (2012 traffic).

This situation had an undeniable impact on citizens living in these areas. The Wathelet Plan deliberately modifies the norms of wind used on this runway with the aim to reduce the use of this runway by 50 to 75%. This change has for consequence the intensive use of runway 25R where planes take off in the direction of Brussels city, inreasing nuisances for nearly all Brussels inhabitants. Furthermore these changes were heavily criticised by the pilots and air traffic-controllers.

2. Enlargement of the left turn

Before February 6, 44.000 planes per year were taking off from Zaventem on runway 25R which is facing Brussels, but planes used to take a sharp left turn in direction of Huldenberg avoiding flying over most of Brussels except areas such as WOLUWE-SAINT-LAMBERT, WOLUWE-SAINT-PIERRE (Stockel), KRAAINEM et  WEZEMBEEK.

With the Wathelet Plan, 80% of these flights (35.000 planes per year) are redirected over other flight paths which go deeper into the Brussels region and fly over densely populated areas which were spared before. Areas such as SCHAERBEEK, ETTERBEEK, IXELLES, WOLUWE-SAINT-PIERRE (CHANT D’OISEAU), AUDERGHEM et WATERMAEL-BOITSFORT are now badly impacted with a high frequency of planes flying at a low altitude!

Out of the blue, citizens living in areas known for not being flew over by planes, find themselves in a situation with flights over their head from 6am until 11pm characterized by a dense traffic early the morning and late at night with an unavoidable increase of traffic during the summer (charter flights, low cost companies).

The remaining 20% (9.000 planes per year) are still on the northern part of the older flight way, avoiding areas which used to be impacted.

3. Heavy traffic concentrated on the « canal way or route du canal »

THE WATHELET PLAN also regroups many old flight paths on the so-called « route du canal » which respectively go over MOLENBEEK, EVERE, BRUXELLES-VILLE, ANDERLECHT, FOREST, SAINT-GILLES, UCCLE, DROGENBOS and LINKEBEEK.

Because of the Wathelet Plan, this path is also used for the heavy carrier flights (747, A330, etc …) which cause more noise pollution and fly at night and during week-ends. Citizens who used to live in areas known as being moderately impacted by planes are now flown over intensively by heavy carriers and at the worse time of the day or at night.

They list all the areas of Brussels, and which have gained – and which have lost – in terms of peace and quiet, and consequently quality of life, since the flight path changes. They also give the population density of the suburbs now adversely affected, showing them to have higher densities than the areas which now have less over-flying.

 

The Pas Question! group also say:

WATHELET PLAN: An Nonsensical SOLUTION !

Worldwide, flight paths are deviated away from city centres for obvious reasons: to limit consequences in case of accident, and to protect from air / noise pollution, stress and other health hazards,  populations already affected by urban nuisances (pollution from traffic, lack of green spaces, etc.)

Brussels International airport is ill-located, for historical reasons. The proximity of the airport has forever caused nuisances to the populations living nearby.

The very idea of solving airport neighbours’ problem by spreading flights Brussels’ city center is most absurd.

Politicians, who made airport neighbours believe that the Wathelet Plan was the solution to their nuisances problem, must be either irresponsible or incompetent.

Brussels map

The Pas Question!  campaign says a recent study, commissioned by the Minister himself [Mr Wethelet] points out that the new routes fly over 405 700 inhabitants compared to 130,500 before the 6th February.  The details of the study, in French, are at   http://static.lecho.be/upload/Rapport_final_SPF_4872074-35014424.pdf

Another study by the Brussels Region government points out that 244,543 people are newly affected by aircraft noise nuisance (63% of people affected by aircraft nuisance); 113,505 people see their situation unchanged (29.3% of dwellers affected by aircraft noise nuisance); 29,679 see their situation marginally improve (7,65% of people affected by aircraft nuisance) and 1,165 Brussels residents are no longer under a flight path.

This study was reported in the Belgian press:
 http://www.lecho.be/actualite/economie_politique_belgique/Le_Plan_Wathelet_a_degrade_la_situation_des_Bruxellois.9497498-3157.art?ckc=1

.

.


Convoluted Brussels coalition and flightpath politics cause public furore

Thousands of people in Brussels are up in arms about a new overflight plan that started on 6th February, causing parts of the city subject to the thundering noise of planes using Brussels airport. The Belgian government has only a couple of weeks left to find a solution for a problem that dates back many, many years. As the airport is close to densely populated parts of the city, its flight paths would always over-fly a lot of people. The political choices of who should have to suffer the noise are complicated. Should the burden of the noise be shared between various areas? The flight path change is reported to be because, with the May elections this year, Melchior Wathelet (Sec of State for Environment, Energy, Mobility etc) of the Francophone Christian Democtrats (cdH) decided to do a political favour for the party’s vice prime minister, Joelle Milquet, by tweaking the flight paths over some municipalities, to help with votes. The Wathelet Plan decision can be blocked, under the constitution, for 60 days. That ends at the start of July. It is likely to be the out-going coalition that makes the decision. Lots of politics ….. parties will assess how the vote affects their political chances ….

Click here to view full story…


 

 

“The Plan Wathelet downgraded the status of Brussels”

  • 5.5.2014
The Brussels Region will sue for environmental cessation before the trial court to stop Wathelet Plan.

© Photo News

A new study by the Brussels Region shows that the number of Brussels residents affected by noise exploded. The Brussels Region will sue for environmental cessation before the trial court to stop the Wathelet Plan.

Melchior Wathelet is not the end of his sentences. A new study by the Brussels Region shows that the number of Brussels residents affected by aircraft noise has greatly increased. This is due to the dispersion of  aircraft taking off from Brussels Zaventem airport established by Melchior Wathelet (CDH), Secretary of State at the Federal.

Faced with this situation, the Brussels Region will sue for environmental cessation before the trial court to stop the Wathelet Plan.

The Environmental Action cessation seeks, initially the suspension of the plan for non-compliance with Brussels noise legislation, the Gosuin stopped from 1999 imposing increasingly stringent thresholds, more planes move away from the airport;and lack of assessment of environmental impacts of the plan, contrary to advocate European rules.

State Secretary for Mobility, Melchior Wathelet, has announced its evening he would come up with solutions in the coming days  to aircraft noise experienced by the people of Brussels.

What does the study say?

Presented on Monday evening by the Minister Evelyne Huytebroek (Ecolo), Minister of the Environment in the Brussels Region, the number of Brussels residents affected by aircraft noise has exploded. 

In reaching this conclusion, Evelyne Huytebroeck (Ecolo) asked his administration to increase the sound level on the area of the capital and to make accurate measurements of the level of aircraft noise, so you can quickly prepare a report on the noise nuisance to introduce where appropriate  an action for environmental injunction. The points of comparison are March 2013 compared with March 2014.

The study was conducted by Brussels environment using the new sound level meters of the Capital Region placed under the flight paths, and a tenth in theaths  and placed tenth in the neighbourhood of la Chasse, à Etterbeek.  
Brussels environment also observed an explosion of the number of complaints of residentss: 1056 between February 6 and April 16, against only nine for the same period in 2013.
—–

 http://www.lecho.be/actualite/economie_politique_belgique/Le_Plan_Wathelet_a_degrade_la_situation_des_Bruxellois.9497498-3157.art?ckc=1

.

.

Original in French:

 

“Le Plan Wathelet a dégradé la situation des Bruxellois”

  • 5.5.2014 (L’Echo)
Une nouvelle étude menée par la Région bruxelloise montre que le nombre de Bruxellois touchés par les nuisances sonores a explosé. La Région bruxelloise va intenter une action en cessation environnementale devant le tribunal de première instance pour faire stopper le Plan Wathelet.

Melchior Wathelet n’est pas au bout de ses peines. Une nouvelle étude menée par la Région bruxelloise montre que le nombre de Bruxellois touchés par les nuisances sonores a explosé.  En cause, le plan de dispersion des avions de l’aéroport de Zaventem mis en place par Melchior Wathelet (cdH), secrétaire d’état au Fédéral.

Face à cette situation, la Région bruxelloise va intenter une action en cessation environnementale devant le tribunal de première instance pour faire stopper le Plan Wathelet.

L’action en cessation environnementale vise à obtenir, dans un premier temps une suspension du plan, pour non-respect de la législation bruxelloise sur le bruit, l’arrêté Gosuin datant de 1999 imposant des seuils de plus en plus sévères, plus les avions s’éloignent de l’aéroport; et pour absence d’évaluation des incidences environnementales du plan, contrairement à ce que préconisent les règles européennes.

Le secrétaire d’Etat à la Mobilité, Melchior Wathelet, a de son côté annoncé en soirée qu’il viendrait dans les prochains jours avec des solutions aux nuisances sonores des avions que subissent les Bruxellois.

Que dit l’étude?

Présentée ce lundi soir par la ministre d’Evelyne Huytebroek (Ecolo), ministre de l’Environnement à la Région bruxelloise, le nombre de Bruxellois touchés par les nuisances sonores a explosé. Pour arriver à cette conclusion, Evelyne Huytebroeck (Ecolo) avait demandé à son administration de multiplier les sonomètres sur le territoire de la capitale et de procéder à des mesures serrées du niveau du bruit des avions, de façon à pouvoir très vite établir un rapport des nuisances pour le cas échéant introduire une action en cessation environnementale. Les points de comparaison sont mars2013 et mars 2014.

L’étude a été menée par Bruxelles Environnement à l’aide des neufs sonomètres de la Région-capitale placés sous les routes aériennes et d’un dixième placé dans le quartier de la Chasse, à Etterbeek. Bruxelles Environnement a par ailleurs observé une explosion du nombre de plaintes d’habitants: 1056 entre le 6 février et le 16 avril dernier, contre seulement neuf pour le même période en 2013.

.


.

Wathelet dans la tourmente: 8 Boeing survolent Bruxelles la nuit illégalement avec la permission du cabinet

Le cabinet Wathelet est à nouveau au coeur de la tourmente concernant le survol de Bruxelles. Selon le journal Le Soir, des Boeing 777-Aerologic peuvent survoler Bruxelles de nuit alors que c’est illégal, et le cabinet est au courant.

16 Juin 2014

Huit Boeing 777-Aerologic (une “joint-venture” appartenant à DHL et Lufthansa Cargo) ont la permission de survoler Bruxelles de nuit depuis cinq mois et ce, en infraction avec la législation européenne et les règles acoustiques de l’aéroport de Zaventem, rapporte lundi Le Soir.

Pas trop de bruit?
Ces avions-cargos ne disposent pas de certification acoustique officielle requise. Le cabinet Wathelet serait au courant depuis le début de l’entorse légale, d’après Le Soir. L’administration reconnaît les libertés prises avec la loi. “Le QC maximum (quota de bruit) de ces avions n’aurait pas dû leur permettre de voler de nuit, mais cette décision de la DGTA a permis de remplacer deux vols DHL de nuit par un seul vol du 777. On passe de 5 à 4 vols DHL par nuit, tout en respectant le quota de bruit par vol car le 777 n’est pas complètement chargé”, justifie Laurent Ledoux, président du SPF Mobilité. DHL n’a pas confirmé cette réduction de vols de nuit.

——————-

Wathelet in turmoil: 8 Boeing flying Brussels night illegally courtesy cabinet

The Wathelet cabinet is again at the heart of the turmoil on the over-flying of Brussels. According to the newspaper Le Soir, Boeing 777-Aerologic is being allowed to fly over Brussels at night, while it is illegal, and the firm is aware of this.
June 16, 2014

There is a short video on the story, but in French Link

Eight Boeing 777-Aerologic (a “joint venture” belonging to DHL and Lufthansa Cargo) are allowed to fly over Brussels at night for five months and, in breach of European legislation and noise rules of Brussels Zaventem airport, Le Soir reported on Monday.

Not too loud?
These freighters do not have the official noise certification required.  The Wathelet cabinet would have know since the beginning of the legal tussle, according to Le Soir. The administration recognizes the liberties being taken with t he law. “The maximum QC (noise quota) of these aircraft would not have been allowed to fly at night, but this decision DGTA has replaced two flights DHL night by a single flight of 777.  Were from 5 DHL 4 flights per night, while respecting the noise quota per flight for the 777 is not fully charged “justifies Laurent Ledoux, President of the FPS Mobility.  DHL has not confirmed this reduction of night flights.

http://www.rtl.be/info/belgique/societe/1100778/wathelet-dans-la-tourmente-8-boeing-survolent-bruxelles-la-nuit-illegalement-avec-la-permission-du-cabinet

 

VIDEO

..


.

Earlier:

Protest in Brussels as new flight paths over-fly new areas, giving some respite to those previously heavily over-flown

8.4.2014
.
In Brussels there has, for a long time, been a problem because of the division between the French speaking south of the city, and the  Flemish speaking north. The airport is to the north east of the city, and traditionally the people living to the north have complained bitterly that they have had a disproportionate number of flights, while many affluent areas to the south have had no over-flying. From the 6th February the government has brought in new flight paths, which disperse take-offs towards the west, so more fly over the areas to the south of the city. Flights start at 6am and continue to 11pm, though the new routes are meant to not be used for Saturday evening and during Sunday, if there isn’t  a strong westerly wind. There has been huge protest in Brussels about this change, with furious citizens incensed that their peace, and their quality of life has been reduced. The changes have brought some relief to the other areas which previously took more than their fair share of the noise. Petitions and protests have been set up, and it is uncertain what will happen next.  The situation is complicated by Belgian politics, and the separate interests of Flemish and Walloon sections of society.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=20890….

.

 

Read more »

EasyJet CEO still has no details of the practical economics of a Heathrow or Gatwick runway

 In an interview, by Buying Business Travel, with Caroline McCall, the CEO of EasyJet she said Heathrow is an expensive airport, which is why they do not fly from there. On Gatwick’s and Heathrow’s bids for runway expansion she says:  “We’ve seen none of the economics behind either of those visions. Inevitably it will be the airlines and therefore the passengers, that will fund this. Therefore, it’s a very, very big decision for Easyjet – because any increase in passenger fares is something that affects our low-fare proposition”….”We make £7 profit per seat – that’s it. We’ve raised that from £4.50 over the last four years. I think Heathrow are talking around £15 billion, Gatwick are talking around £7-8 billion. If you think about the price per passenger for that, you can see we have to be really, really careful about any capacity going into either airport, and before we take a view on it, we have to understand the economics.”  And they want to focus on more  business travellers: “because we know we get higher yields.”
.

 

The interview: Carolyn McCall, CEO, Easyjet

 By Paul Revel  (Buying Business Travel – BBT)
18 June 2014

Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall spoke to BBT journalists when she addressed the business travel industry at the GTMC [Guild of Travel Management Companies ] conference in Marrakech, and at ACTE’s [Association of Corporate Travel Executives] travel buyer event at Gatwick airport.

Easyjet’s low-cost model underpins its successful growth, according to Easyjet boss Carolyn McCall.

“What does ‘low-cost model’ mean? It means we have new engines, high fuel efficiency. Our plane utilisation, turn-time and load factors are very high, we use our assets really well. We don’t have fancy offices, we have a hanger – open plan offices, and we share space with plane maintenance. It’s very important to us, we’ll never lose sight of it – without that low-cost model, we wouldn’t be able to do the low fares.

McCall said she was not concerned about Ryanair’s recent moves to attract corporate travel business. “Ryanair only flies to a few primary airports – but not many. It’s an entire change to their network strategy if they’re going to really be relevant to business travellers.

“All our research confirms that business travellers want convenience, primary airports, speed – often they want to get there and back in a day, and don’t want a 1.5 to two-hour transfer  city centres.”

McCall said Easyjet had considered flying its Moscow service from Heathrow, before deciding on Gatwick. The airline has also applied to join a key committee, which represents operational and strategic interests of carriers operating out of Heathrow.

“There’s been quite a lot of rumours that Easyjet would never fly from Heathrow, which is baffling, because we have 10 aircraft at Charles de Gaulle, we fly out of lots of hubs already, we’re the number two airline at Schiphol,” she said. “It all depends on cost, and Heathrow is an expensive airport.”

In a similar vein, she doesn’t give a definitive view on Gatwick’s and Heathrow’s bids for runway expansion.

“We’ve seen none of the economics behind either of those visions. Inevitably it will be the airlines and therefore the passengers, that will fund this. Therefore, it’s a very, very big decision for Easyjet – because any increase in passenger fares is something that affects our low-fare proposition.

“We make £7 profit per seat – that’s it. We’ve raised that from £4.50 over the last four years. I think Heathrow are talking around £15 billion, Gatwick are talking around £7-8bn. If you think about the price per passenger for that, you can see we have to be really, really careful about any capacity going into either airport, and before we take a view on it, we have to understand the economics.”

This scrutiny of the bottom line is key to Easyjet’s relationship with business travel buyers, said McCall – and why she’s not looking at traditional volume-based corporate deals.

“For us, it’s all about the fact that we save corporates a minimum of 30% on their travel budget” – Easyjet says this claim is backed by independent TMC benchmarking for routes in 2013.  “Legacies need the volume – we get a load of volume.

“The reason we want business travellers is because we know we get higher yields.”

http://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news/1822662-interview-carolyn-mccall-ceo-easyjet

.

.


.

Earlier:

Airlines also questioned whether expanded airports would mean lower fares. EasyJet, the major airline at Gatwick, said its calculations suggested that increased landing charges would exceed profit margins on existing fares. Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive, said that passengers should only pay for what they use and need, and not subsidise future infrastructure now. Instead of lower fares, she said, “we are nervous that the opposite could happen”.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/13/heathrow-tunnel-m25-under-third-runway

.

.

And:

easyJet gets heebie-jeebies

In case anyone might still be tempted to think that these figures are an exaggeration, it is good to find that they are lower than the estimate made by easyJet, Gatwick’s largest airline. In October 2013 Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of easyJet, said:

‘Our greatest concern is [that] the CAA has handed GAL a licence to print 
money and has significantly enhanced the value of the future sale of GAL by 
private infrastructure fund GIP. Using GAL’s own figures passengers could be 
paying £28 more per flight for years in advance of the opening of a new £9 
billion runway without any real oversight by the CAA.’

£28 more, i.e. on top of the present charges of £8 per passenger. And what is giving Ms McCall the heebie-jeebies is not only the prospect of a four-fold increase in airport charges but also the thought that GAL is to be allowed to put up the price before they build the new
runway.

No wonder easyJet has not been jumping up and down with enthusiasm.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=20374

.

.


 

A new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick would mean big increases in passenger fees – New report

10.3.2014   (Aviation Environment Federation)

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) has submitted a new report to the Airports Commission. It casts doubt on the feasibility of building a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow.  So far there has been little realistic discussion about who will actually pay for the proposed runways.  The new study, “Who Would Pay for a New Runway” by Brendon Sewill, shows that a new runway at Heathrow would be likely to mean an increase in landing fees and other airport charges from £19 per passenger now, up to £31.  At Gatwick there would be a larger increase, up from £8 now to £33.60.   The study points out that with all the London airports separately owned, unlike in the days of BAA, the cost will have to fall only on the passengers using that airport.  If an expensive runway (and terminal) is built, the options are either that the passengers pay for it – or that it has to have public subsidy. A report for the Airports Commission, by KPMG, concluded that a new Heathrow runway would need a subsidy of around £11 billion, and a new Gatwick runway a subsidy of nearly £18 billion. However, the Government is reluctant to commit public funds, and new EU guidelines ruling out subsidies to major airports.  That leaves landing charges – will passengers put up with that, or vote with their feet by using cheaper airports? 
.
Who pays

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=20374

.

.

 

.

Read more »

Standard reports that “Lib-Dems ready to drop Gatwick runway ban from election plans”

The Evening Standard reports that the LibDems are set to use their election manifesto to open the door to a 2nd runway at Gatwick while still opposing a 3rd runway at Heathrow. The Standard says the party is moving towards scrapping its blanket ban on airport expansion in the South-East. “It could be replaced with a series of tests on climate change and local pollution, as well as on levels of noise suffered by communities around airports.”  (Whatever that is meant to mean). The process of writing their election manifesto is being overseen by MP David Laws. It is still at the committee stage of drawing up key policies to be put to members for approval at the LibDem conference in the autumn. A “senior LibDem” is quoted as saying: “We will not endorse an expansion in airport capacity which would increase current noise pollution for the hundreds of thousands of residents living beneath the flight path, or which would break the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations on aviation, which are needed to meet our carbon reduction targets.” (The CCC targets are rather weak and permit a new runway, with various provisos).

.

Lib-Dems ready to drop Gatwick runway ban from election plans

The Lib Dems are moving towards scrapping its blanket ban on airport expansion in the South-East

The Liberal Democrats are set to use their election manifesto to open the door to a second runway at Gatwick while still opposing a bigger Heathrow.

The party is moving towards scrapping its blanket ban on airport expansion in the South-East. It could be replaced with a series of tests on climate change and local pollution, as well as on levels of noise suffered by communities around airports.

The manifesto process, being overseen by senior MP David Laws, is still at the committee stage of drawing up key policies to be put to members for approval at the party’s annual conference in the autumn.

“We will announce our policies in due course but I cannot envisage the circumstances in which we drop our opposition to the expansion of Heathrow,” said a senior Lib-Dem source.

“We will not endorse an expansion in airport capacity which would increase current noise pollution for the hundreds of thousands of residents living beneath the flight path, or which would break the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations on aviation, which are needed to meet our carbon reduction targets,”

Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg is likely to face opposition from some members to ditching the ban.

However, maintaining it would be a snub to Sir Howard Davies, the former London School of Economics boss who is chairing a commission into Britain’s future airport needs.

In an interim report in December it shortlisted Gatwick or Heathrow as expansion options and is still considering the case for a “Boris island” hub airport in the Thames Estuary. Sir Howard also concluded that the South East needs one new runway by 2030.

The Deputy Prime Minister has hinted he may support a second runway at Gatwick, highlighting “the case” for expansion of the airport.

The Conservatives are also expected to drop their opposition to a third runway at Heathrow, which was part of their green agenda in 2010.

Three young Londoners have won a £10,000 prize for their short film raising environmental concerns over a third runway at Heathrow.

Anti-expansion campaigner Hugh Grant praised the “beautiful and powerful” film.

The top 15 films chosen from 50 entries were screened to 800 people at the Richmond Theatre last night.

The 60-second film Heathrow Won’t Listen, created by Tom Murray, 22, Andy Chan, 25, and Dan Grant, 22, follows a family in their back garden as the sounds of piano music, children’s laughter and genteel conversation are gradually drowned out by the roar of an aeroplane overhead.

It will now be used as a viral campaign video to raise public awareness.

To see the winning submissions, visit http://www.no-ifs-no-buts.com/

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/libdems-ready-to-drop-gatwick-runway-ban-from-election-plans-9548600.html

.

.


.

Earlier:

Does Lord Bradshaw reflect Lib Dem aviation policy?

28.4.2014 
The Evening Standard has reported that Lord William Bradshaw, who co-chairs the little known Liberal Democrat  parliamentary committee on transport has said he backs a Gatwick 2nd runway.  Lord Bradshaw, who is a former railwayman, has said Gatwick should be allowed a 2nd runway if “it pays for an upgrade of the Brighton-to- London rail line” … and because it offers  “real improvements on the rail journey to London” for the residents of Sussex.   Eh?  A runway to improve rail services??  The Liberal Democrats have traditionally said they would not back a new runway at  Heathrow or Gatwick. Their policy has been somewhat muddled and confusing over the past few years, with talk of a hub, and no net new runways. However, in the past they have been consistent in saying that the UK’s carbon targets are at risk if aviation is allowed to expand. They may now be wavering, and no longer to be trusted in their rejection of new runways. Nick Clegg’s party now says it wants to see reassurances about environmental considerations – whether carbon emissions or local air and noise pollution – written into the final Davies report.  A much weaker position.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=21117.


 The LibDem website states:

“For Labour and the Conservatives, the environment is just an after-thought, something to support when times are good but to abandon as soon as it becomes unpopular.

The Liberal Democrats will never abandon our commitment to the environment. We are the only party that can be trusted to deliver green jobs and green growth in Government.”

http://www.libdems.org.uk/environment


 

.

Nick Clegg is reported as saying, on 19.12.2013, on the LibDem website:

“My point of view has always been why I’ve always opposed certainly the plans that I’ve seen in the past for the expansion of Heathrow is because of the environment effects.  I’m not going to endorse any plan of airport expansion which would increase the existing levels of noise and air pollution and would breach the climate change targets that we’ve all signed up to.”  

http://www.libdems.org.uk/transcript_call_clegg_19th_december_2013


 

The LibDem website says of Lord Bradshaw:

William Bradshaw - Baron Bradshaw, of Wallingford

Bill Bradshaw started his career as a railwayman in the 1950s, rising through the ranks to become Operations Superintendent of the West of England Division, Divisional Manager Liverpool, Chief Operations Manager at Crewe, Director of Operations and General Manager at Paddington. On leaving the railway he became successively Professor of Transport Management at Salford University, a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and Chairman of Ulsterbus. Latterly he had been a Board member of Lothian regional Transport, a member of the Strategic Rail authority and the Commission for Integrated Transport. He has been interested in politics from an early age, becoming an Oxfordshire County Councillor in 1993. He is Vice-Chairman of the Thames Valley Police Authority and served on the Thames Valley Police Authority for thirteen years.

Bill is currently Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Transport.

http://www.libdems.org.uk/william_bradshaw

.


 

Plans for second runway at Gatwick airport are backed by Liberal Democrat peer

 28.4.2014 (Evening Standard)

Support: Lord Bradshaw has said he is in favour of the expansion at Gatwick airport (Picture: PA)

Gatwick is winning growing Liberal Democrat backing to build a second runway to boost Britain’s links to the rest of the world.

Lord Bradshaw, who co-chairs the Lib-Dem parliamentary committee on transport, argued that the Sussex airport should be allowed to expand if it pays for an upgrade of the Brighton-to- London rail line.

Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg has hinted he may support another Gatwick runway if the Davies Commission into the UK’s airports recommends it instead of a third runway at Heathrow.

But he faces a battle persuading Lib-Dems to overturn their party’s policy, which opposes airport expansion in the South East.

Former railwayman Lord Bradshaw said Gatwick was “the best option”. He added: “Go for Gatwick because they have something to offer the residents of Sussex — real improvements on the rail journey to London.

“The environmental pollution is a problem wherever but it’s a lot worse at Heathrow.” He said many Lib-Dems could be persuaded to support a runway at Gatwick if the economic arguments were properly made.

It could be built in three or four years, he added, quicker than a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary, as proposed by Mayor Boris Johnson.

Former Lib-Dem minister Jeremy Browne has also backed a second runway at Gatwick as an interim solution before a longer-term plan for a new hub airport on the north Kent coast.

The airports commission is due to publish its verdict in September.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/plans-for-second-runway-at-gatwick-airport-are-backed-by-liberal-democrat-peer-9295624.html

.

 

.

.

.

 

Read more »

Scottish government outlines nearly £10m of public funding for failing Prestwick airport

.

 

Prestwick Airport: Nicola Sturgeon outlines nearly £10m of new investment

The Scottish government bought Prestwick Airport from Infratil for £1 in November

Prestwick Airport is to receive nearly £10m of investment from the Scottish government, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The funding will go towards operating costs, a repairs backlog and to make improvements to the terminal building.

Ms Sturgeon rejected calls to rename it Robert Burns Airport, saying this could cause confusion.

Labour accused of her of “keeping taxpayers in the dark” over how the money would be spent.

Rival airports voiced concerns about competition from publicly-subsidised Prestwick.

The Scottish government bought the struggling airport for £1 last year amid fears it would be forced to close.

Ms Sturgeon told Holyrood’s infrastructure committee the airport would be operated under public ownership “on a commercial basis”.

She said the Scottish government investment would be made “in the form of loan funding”.

She added that there was “no quick fix solution for Prestwick” and the airport may not be profitable for several years.

The airport had a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in its final full year under previous owners Infratil.

Ms Sturgeon is also the Scottish government’s infrastructure, investment and cities secretary.

She said the airport would operate as a public corporation on a commercial basis” at arms’ length from government.

She added that £5.5m had been provided already since acquisition. and the Scottish government would be required “to provide a further £3m in operating support”.

There will be nearly £7m in capital investment – £4.5m for repairs and £2.4m to make improvements to the terminal building, including refurbishment of the duty free area.

Lack of investment

Ms Sturgeon argued that Prestwick had suffered from a lack of investment and there was a “backlog of essential maintenance”.

The committee evidence session came after finance executive Romain Py completed a three month review of the airport, including options for ownership, on behalf of the Scottish government.

Ms Sturgeon described Prestwick as a “non-typical airport”, with only about half of its revenue dependant on passenger traffic.

She suggested that future revenue could come from freight and retail development.

The airport’s executive directors would be tasked with developing commercial opportunities.

A business plan would include an assessment of a reduced Ryanair schedule for summer 2014 and passenger numbers will be monitored.

Ms Sturgeon ruled out renaming the airport after Robert Burns. Apetition lodged with the Scottish Parliament by The Robert Burns World Federation earlier this year had called for a name change, with supporters arguing it would boost tourism.

The deputy first minister told the committee: “On balance I have concluded there are strong commercial reasons for retaining the Glasgow Prestwick airport name.”

She acknowledged the decision would disappoint some local people but the airport had to be marketed internationally.

She did not rule out a “Burns-related theme” for the airport.

‘Business case’

Scottish Labour’s infrastructure spokesman, James Kelly, said: “Nicola Sturgeon had the opportunity today to set out the Scottish government’s plans for Prestwick Airport, unfortunately she has failed to do so in any detail, and Scottish tax-payers remain in the dark.

“Last year Prestwick Airport was losing nearly £1 million a month.

“It is a nonsense that it will be close to a year since the Scottish government bought the site before a credible plan is put to the people of Scotland, especially when the Scottish government has blocked the publication of analysis they commissioned on the airport.

“Key information is available now, but it is being denied to the Scottish public.”

He added: “Nicola Sturgeon should make a statement before parliament on Prestwick, and publish the business case so that taxpayers can see how £15m of public money is being invested and when the airport will return to profitability.”

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: “By refusing to publish the report into the work by consultants Romain Py, on the grounds of commercial confidentiality, the Deputy First Minister has left many unanswered questions.”

‘No public subsidy’

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “Scotland’s main airports create jobs and attract routes with no public subsidy and we believe that the market should not be distorted. Competition should be allowed to flourish.”

A statement from Glasgow Airport said: “We have previously received assurances that Glasgow Airport will not be placed at a competitive disadvantage, but will continue to seek clarity on how the Scottish government intends to develop its asset.”

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “We believe that any strategy designed to increase passenger numbers at Prestwick must not be at the expense of Glasgow International Airport.”

A spokesman said the Robert Burns World Federation would continue the campaign to rename the airport.

“If George Best, Robin Hood and John Lennon are deemed worthy of being remembered, the iconic Robert Burns should be remembered in Scotland as he is revered the world over,” he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-27897006

.

Related BBC Stories

Report on financial viability of Prestwick Airport to be kept confidential by government

A taxpayer-funded report on the future viability of Prestwick Airport will not be published, to protect commercially confidential information, despite at least £5 million of public money having been pledged to ensure its survival. This has led to accusations that ministers are expecting “blind faith” from the public when it comes to justifying spending taxpayers’ money. The report follows a review that took 3 months. The airport has been losing millions of pounds under its previous owners. Although the full document is being withheld, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to report key findings to the parliament’s Infrastructure Committee in June. The Scottish Government bought Prestwick for £1 in November 2013. Labour’s infrastructure spokesman has said it was unacceptable for the report to be kept secret, and the public deserves to know how the £5 million will be repaid. The CEO of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar has claimed Government ownership of Prestwick was distorting competition in the Central Belt of Scotland. . Glasgow Airport chiefs are also said to be uneasy over the arrangement. Prestwick lost £9.7 million last year.

Click here to view full story…


Prestwick Airport reveals spiralling losses – almost £10 million in 2013

March 7, 2014

The full scale of Prestwick Airport’s financial problems are revealed in the latest accounts, which show a pre-tax loss of almost £10 million in its final full year of private ownership. Its financial problems have escalated with a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in the 12 months to March 31, 2013. The airport made a £2.3m pre-tax loss in the year to March 2012. Last March its owners, Infratil, put the airport up for sale, but as no buyer could be found, the Scottish Government stepped in and bought Prestwick for a £1 on November 22 2013. Prestwick had a 20% fall in the number of passengers in July 2012 compared to the same month in 2011 – the busiest time of the year with the school holidays. The airport’s accounts state that Prestwick is only a going concern if its owner is willing to continue funding deficits. Such an undertaking has been made by Transport Scotland on behalf of Scottish ministers ie. public subsidy. Only Ryanair is operating scheduled flights, and a significant percentage of the airport’s aviation revenue is derived from freight and other aircraft activity.

Click here to view full story…

 


 

Prestwick Airport to be sold to Scottish Government for £1 – and other failing regional airports look to business parks and housing

12.11.2013

Infratil, which currently owns Prestwick Airport, has said the airport is expected to be sold to the Scottish Government for £1.  The sale is due to be completed by Wednesday, 20 November. Infratil said the airport’s value had been “fully impaired” – effectively written off – after Prestwick and sister airport Manston in Kent were collectively valued at £11 million in March.  Infratil bought Prestwick from Stagecoach in 2001 for £33m.  Manston is being sold to Stagecoach founder Ann Gloag for an expected £400,000. Scottish Ministers are taking over Prestwick airport, which is losing £7m a year, to avert its closure and safeguard 1,400 jobs, including 300 at the airport. Infratil described its investment in the airports to have been “unsuccessful for Infratil” and that while such regional airports looked like a good investment 5 years ago, they now are not as  they are reliant on “robust air traffic growth driving demand.” Other failing airports are looking to  create business parks on their land, and housing – to try and make money out of them.                                 http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18387 
.
.
.

Read more »

Heathrow film competition presents 15 impressive anti-3rd-runway campaigning films

At a packed event held in Richmond Theatre, organised by MP Zac Goldsmith, with some 800 people present (free seats), Hugh Grant, Holly Willoughby and Rachel Johnson were the celebrities judging the competition for short films, of 2 minutes or less, opposing a 3rd Heathrow runway. The evening was ably and entertainingly compered by Giles Brandreth. The first prize was £10,000, the second prize £3,000 and the 3rd prize £2,000. Some 50 short films were entered into the competition. The 15 considered the best were shown at the gala event, for the judges to select the top three. The audience then voted on these three. All the 15 films shown were of a very high quality; any one of the 15 films could have been the winner. They all showed a high level of film expertise; there was a wide range of styles and approaches; all showed great originality and creativity, and put the message across powerfully. Anyone present at the gala event would be left in no doubt about just how determinedly people in the areas badly affected by Heathrow will do whatever it takes to ensure no new Heathrow runway gets built.
.

 

Winners:

1. “Heathrow Won’t Listen”  http://t.co/zVLEimwmZv

2. “Say NO”  http://t.co/AAE881fkGU

3. “Life under the Flightpath”  http://t.co/h5G2Ddr20w


 

The other 12 videos (from the top 15) can be seen at 

http://www.no-ifs-no-buts.com/brief/winning-submissions/runners-up/

 


 

“No Ifs No Buts” film contest selects winning No Third Runway short films

18.6.2014

About 800 guests packed out Richmond Theatre on the evening of June 18, for the “No Ifs No Buts” short film gala competition, organised by Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith and Hacan chairman John Stewart.

Hugh Grant, Holly Willoughby and Rachel Johnson were the celebrities judging the competition for short films, of 2 minutes or less, opposing a 3rd Heathrow runway. The evening was ably and entertainingly compered by Giles Brandreth. The first prize was £10,000, the second prize £3,000 and the 3rd prize £2,000.

Some 50 short films were entered into the competition. The 15 considered the best were shown at the gala event, for the judges to select the top three. The audience then voted on these three.

The judges had a very hard time in choosing a winner. They, and the audience, were impressed by every one.

All the 15 films shown were of a very high quality; the judges had hoped there would be some less good films, making their task easier. In the event, any one of the 15 films could have been the winner. They all showed a high level of film expertise; there was a wide range of styles and approaches; all showed great originality and creativity, and put the message across powerfully.

It was agreed that Zac Goldsmith would get copies of the 3 top films to the party leaders, and senior members, of all the main political parties. It was also suggested, by Rachel Johnson, that copies of all the 15 film entries should be put together and given to all the politicians taking leading roles in the next parliament. They indicate the strength of the arguments against Heathrow expansion, and leave no one in any doubt how difficult politically a 3rd Heathrow runway would be, however strong the business and foreign investment lobbies.

The contest is a direct response to the Prime Minister, David Cameron’s comments in 2009 when as leader of the opposition, he made a pledge to Richmond residents there would be no third runway at Heathrow. Some of his election literature clearly set out the pledge, of “No if, no buts, there will be no third runway”. Within months, he had gone back on his word, setting up the Airports Commission to look into the matter of whether the UK should have a new runway, and if so, where it should be. In order not to completely contradict pre-election pledges, the Commission is to give its recommendation only after the next election, so it will not be during this parliament.

There is considerable anger in areas affected by Heathrow about this u-turn by the Conservatives.

The film competition was an encouraging, and heart-warming event, in assembling so many people who shared the same keenly felt wish – to block a new Heathrow runway.

Anyone present at the gala event would be left in no doubt about just how determinedly people in the areas badly affected by Heathrow will do whatever it takes to ensure no new Heathrow runway gets built.

.

No Ifs No Buts

http://www.no-ifs-no-buts.com/

.


 

The 3 films that won the Heathrow “No Ifs No Buts” competition, organised by Zac Goldsmith.

First:

This is the link to the winning “No Heathrow 3rd Runway” film on YouTube.

“Heathrow Won’t Listen”  http://t.co/zVLEimwmZv

winning film

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Second:

This is the link to the YouTube film of the film that came 2nd.

“Say NO”  http://t.co/AAE881fkGU

2nd film

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Third:

This is the YouTube link for the film that came 3rd.

“Life under the Flightpath”  http://t.co/h5G2Ddr20w

3rd film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.


.

.

No ifs No buts

 

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

 

.

.

 

 

.

 

.

 

.

Read more »