Dozens of campaigners concerned about the proposed doubling of night flights at Luton airport rallied at Luton Town Hall and handed in a 1,000-signature petition calling for planning controls to limit any further increase in night noise and disturbance to people’s sleep. The event was a huge success and shows just what people power can do. To the chant of “What do we want? No More Night Flights! How do we get it? Planning Controls!” the protestors made the point that Luton Borough Council needs to act responsibly in order to limit the continued growth of an airport which campaigners claim is in the wrong place for any further expansion. The airport wants to almost double the number of passengers, up to 18 million per year, and has set such a high night noise quote and noise cap that it could double its night flights to 16,000 per year and still be within its so-called limits.
Dozens of campaigners concerned about the proposed doubling of night flights rallied at
Luton Town Hall to hand in a 1,000-signature petition calling for planning controls to limit
any further increase in noise and disturbance to people’s sleep at night. The event was a
huge success and shows just what people power can do.
To the chant of “What do we want? No More Night Flights! How do we get it? Planning Controls!” the protestors made the point that Luton Borough Council needs to act responsibly in order to limit the continued growth of an airport which campaigners claim is in the wrong place for any further expansion.
Night noise from aircraft has been shown by the World Health Organisation to cause serious health damage when it disturbs people’s sleep. They have issued airport noise guidelines for Europe, and recommended a noise level at which the “noise footprint” of an airport should be measured. The CAA has also recognised the damaging effects of noise at night, in a recently commissioned review of current research.
Speaking at the rally, Andrew Lambourne said “Given the fact that Luton Airport is so close to its town centre, and that its planes fly directly over other large communities when they take off and land, it’s crazy for it just to go on growing and growing with no planning controls whatever. Last time they went to planning, they were aiming at 5 million passengers – now they are double that and aiming at 18 million- which means before we know it thay will be on the way to 30 million. The Airport has set such a high night noise quote and noise cap that it could double its night flights to 16,000 per year and still be within its so-called limits. Luton Council needs to put its foot down on behalf of the citizens of Luton and surrounding towns and villages and say enough is enough by putting strict planning controls in place.”
You can still submit planning objections to Luton Borough Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org even though the original deadline has passed. Remember to refer to planning application 12/01400/FUL and include your name and address.
The planning team recognises that the magnitude of the project – and in particular the sheer number of documents which have been submitted and are on the planning portal – made it difficult for people to respond within the restricted period. Therefore although the LBC planning website form is no longer open, people and campaign groups may still provide their comments and objections by email.
The planning team is working through the technical objections in particular, producing a summary of the main points to present to the Planning Committe when it meets. The date for that meeting is the final deadline, and has not yet been set.
In the meantime HALE encourages everybody who has not yet submitted their objection to do so – and also to keep an eye out for news of forthcoming publicity events which will help to spread the word more sidely to local people.
Bed protest. Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire residents call for a cut in Luton airport night flights
February 19, 2013 A group of protestors arrived at Luton Borough Council on 15th February to deliver a bed signed by people who are fed up with night noise from Luton Airport. The BANN (Beds Against Night Noise) protest was given good media coverage and made the point that it’s not only Hertfordshire which suffers noise and disturbance – plenty of residents in Bedfordshire are also woken up by late night arrivals, cargo planes and early morning departures. One of the protesters said the PR spin in Luton airport’s Master Plan claimed they would ”consult” the public, and they were taking noise seriously by adding 6 new noise mitigations. However, those so-called mitigations would only affect a fraction of 1% of the total flights – and Luton plans to double night flights between 10pm and midnight and start the morning departure rush at 5am, which is utterly unacceptable. Local people are now demanding that there is legislation to control night flights at Luton in the same way as at other London airports. There is currently a petition to significantly reduce night flights at Luton, not increase them. Click here to view full story…
Luton local residents say “Enough is Enough” on aircraft noise – and do not accept the planned expansion
February 15, 2013 Luton airport has a consultation – that ends on 18th February – into their planning application, to almost double the number of passenger, from around 10 mppa now to 18mppa before 2030. The extra flights would mean a lot more noise for those living locally under flight paths. One of the local residents’ groups, LANAG, has now submitted its response to the consultation, and say that while local residents support the desire for Luton to have a top quality airport, the airport already has twice the number of people affected by noise than there were in 2002 and 4 times the number of aircraft movements at night. They therefore say, “Enough is Enough” and do not accept the increases in aircraft movements and noise that would result from expansion. LANAG wants no more people affected by noise than currently , and say there must be a plan to take 2,800 people out of an environment that, according to the WHO is deleterious to health – due to noise levels. Click here to view full story…
In early February Boris appointed what he modestly described as his “mighty team of experts” to look at possible options to build a huge hub airport for the south east of England. There was a GLA consultation on the criteria between 21 Dec 2012 and 8 Feb 2013. Boris has now announced the criteria he is setting out for a new airport – the Airports Commission under Sir Howard Davies are also consulting on their “sifting criteria” for the same thing (their consultation closes on 15th March). The GLA (Greater London Authority) says the Mayor’s recently appointed team “will work with TfL to carry out detailed feasibility studies on that shortlist, to inform the Mayor’s submission to the Davies Commission later this year.”Concerns have been raised that the panel is very much biased towards those pro-expansion or aviation industry and lacks environmental or community members.
As part of this ongoing work, the Mayor has published a set of criteria against which Transport for London (TfL) will assess options for increasing aviation capacity. The criteria were consulted upon between 21 Dec 2012 and 8 Feb 2013 and TfL has also published a report that outlines the responses that were received:
Mayor of London confirms his key tests for airport options
13 March 2013 (Greater London Authority website)
The Mayor of London has confirmed the criteria that he will be using to provide the fairest possible evaluation of the multiple proposals for solving the UK’s aviation capacity crisis in the southeast of England.
The six criteria cover:
- Economic impact,
- airport infrastructure,
- surface access,
- environmental impact, and
They are the result of an open consultation with the public and members of the aviation, business and political communities, and come with the backing of an independent Peer Review Group made up of expert advisers.
The Mayor has made it clear that he wishes to see the speediest possible resolution to the debate on where to build a multi-runway airport, so that we can get on with building the infrastructure that the British economy desperately needs if it is to compete on an international level. The criteria will form the foundation of the next stage of the Mayor’s work on aviation.
These key tests will be used to whittle down the field of around 20 different proposals that have already been made public to a more manageable number by applying rigorous assessments of their suitability to meet the identified needs. The Mayor’s recently appointed team of world-class expert aviation consultants [the GLA's words] will work with TfL to carry out detailed feasibility studies on that shortlist, to inform the Mayor’s submission to the Davies Commission later this year.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The whole question of airport capacity in this country is one of critical importance, and it is vital that we get to the right answer as soon as possible. While we debate, our global rivals are streaking ahead and leaving us in the dust. These criteria are the result of collaboration and independent verification and will allow us to establish clearly which of the proposals have the best chance of giving us that right answer for London and the UK.”
The Mayor’s criteria fall under six categories:
Economic: The primary driver for an increase in aviation capacity is its economic impacts; it is essential that any proposals taken forward support regional and national economic objectives and maximise the economic and social benefits for the UK.
Airport infrastructure: Any new airport facilities should meet the needs of airlines, passengers and freight by enabling an efficient, effective, safe airport operation that is competitive with the best airports in the world.
Airspace: Aviation safety remains paramount. Any increase in aviation capacity must address conflicts with existing airports and comply with current and future airspace regulations, including the continuing ‘Single European Sky’ initiative.
Surface access: These criteria are designed to ensure that an airport has the required access provision: drawing on the widest pool of passengers, staff and freight will be essential to any airport’s success. Sufficient new road and rail capacity is integral to any airport option, and a high public transport access mode share will be key to ensuring sustainable airports. New-build airports such as Hong Kong have achieved a public transport access mode share in excess of 70%.
Environmental: The impacts of aviation on local communities and the natural environment must be minimised if any expansion of aviation is to be sustainable.
Deliverability: Any new aviation capacity must be capable of being delivered. This must take into account likely planning and construction issues, the commercial and economic case and the ability to secure funding and finance.
Daniel Moylan, the Mayor of London’s advisor on aviation, said: “It is imperative that we elevate the airport capacity debate in this country above vested interests and guarantee any analysis of options has the nation’s best interests at heart. Proper criteria are an important tool in achieving that, and the Mayor’s list will allow us to evaluate all the proposals fairly. We must ensure that the UK secures maximum economic and regenerative benefit from what is a crucial decision on infrastructure, the results of which could echo for generations to come. This comprehensive and impartial set of criteria reflects the importance of that decision.”
The Mayor will also be submitting his criteria to the Davies Commission for them to use in their work.
The Mayor proposes to announce in the coming weeks the short-list of sites he will be commissioning feasibility studies on.
The Davies Commission have announced they are seeking submissions of suggested criteria for assessing additional aviation capacity options by Friday 15 March 2013, and the Mayor will be submitting his criteria in line with this request.
Transport for London has appointed a Peer Review Group to support the Mayor’s aviation work programme. This group has been asked to provide independent advice and expertise to the Mayor, in a personal capacity. It comprises the following individuals:
Chris Cain, Principal, Aviation Strategy and Policy Consultancy. [He is a former DfT civil servant, part of the team who produced and published the now discredited 2003 Air Transport White Paper]
Professor Sir Peter Hall, Bartlett Professor of Urban Regeneration and Planning, UCL. [He is a veteran supporter of a Thames Estuary Airport; a relic of a bygone age when climate change was not on the agenda]
Bridget Rosewell, Senior Partner, Volterra Partners. [She is deepy expansionist; was an adviser to Ken Livingstone when he failed to get the Gallions Reach river crossing through; the Inspector just did not believe her evidence on its role in regeneration]
Bob Schumacher, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, for a leading airline. http://www.bar-uk.org/directors/schumacher.htm[He is Chair of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK - BARUK and Managing Director UK & Ireland, Sales UNITED AIRLINES].
Roy Vandermeer OBE QC, Inspector, Heathrow Terminal 5 Inquiry. [He is opposed to further expansion at Heathrow; he only gave the go-ahead to T5 on the basis that flights at Heathrow are capped at 480,000; however, a 3rd Heathrow runway would mean over 700,000 flights]. http://www.ftb.eu.com/find-out-more/find-out-more.asp
The Mayor announced his appointment of a world-class consultancy team [GLA's description] on Monday 11th February. That team consists of:
Airport design & infrastructure
Atkins – one of the world’s leading design, engineering and project management consultancies. Projects they have worked on include the London 2012 Olympics, Bahrain World Trade Centre and the Dubai Metro. Atkins will also lead on consideration of surface access and environmental impacts.
Zaha Hadid Architects – Zaha Hadid was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture) in 2004 and is internationally renowned for her theoretical and academic work. Time Magazine included her in their 2010 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She has worked on globally celebrated projects such as the London 2012 Aquatics Centre and Guangzhou Opera House in China.
Pascall & Watson architects – Previous projects include Heathrow Terminal 5, Dublin Airport Terminal 2, Rome Fiumicino Airport Masterplan. They also designed St Pancras International Station.
Atkins will also be undertaking work on surface access and environmental impacts
Socio economic impacts
Ramboll – a leading international engineering and management consultancy with a track record of examining the economic impact of airports and other infrastructure from around the world, supporting key developments in European air traffic control, working on the new Thames Crossing and developing National Policy Statements.
Oxford Economics – a world leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis for business and government with unrivalled experience of exploring the economic impact of the aviation sector and airports for clients including IATA, ATAG, BAA and Airbus and developing economic forecasts and scenarios for London. [Oxford Economics' words - they have produced a number of reports very skewed to the aviation industry, always with highly exaggerated claims on the economic benefits of aviaiton. They are not part of Oxford University. They are the safe and discredited consultancy that the aviation industry turns to. Publications include the much-maligned 1999 Report on which the 2003 White Paper was based. Gives the industry the answer it wants.].
York Aviation – a leading firm specialising in the assessment of the economic impacts of aviation and aviation demand planning. [As with Oxford Economics above] – another pro-aviation industry organisation].
Professor Peter Tyler – Peter is a Professor in urban and regional economics in the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge and Fellow at St. Catharine’s College. Peter has an extensive track record in undertaking research for the public and private sector and an established reputation in the field of urban and regional economics with a particular emphasis on the evaluation of policy. He has been a Project Director for over seventy major research projects for Government.
Ernst and Young – a global leader in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services. E&Y has a specialised group of professional focusing on projects across the UK and internationally covering transport, accommodation, healthcare, power and renewable energy, waste water, defence, PPP secondary markets, and accounting and tax issues
Legal and regulatory
Ashurst – The leading global law firm, which specialises in advising corporates, financial institutions and governments. Their core businesses are in corporate, finance, energy, resources and infrastructure.
The TfL criterion 5C is about air quality. It says it should “Minimises the number of people affected by poor air quality”. This is widely regarded as inadequate because EU legal targets must be met – it would be unlawful to add a breach, to take a receptor over an EU legal limit when it would not breach the limit without the addition. Air quality cannot legally be worsened where it is already over the legal limit.
London Mayor Boris Johnson appoints “airport experts”
London’s mayor has announced he has appointed “a mighty team of experts” (sic) to help develop his hub airport plans.
Boris Johnson opposes a third runway at Heathrow and supports the idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary or the expansion at Stansted.
He said: “The government has set a timetable that dawdles when dash should be the order of the day.”
The Whitehall-appointed Davies Commission on aviation is not due to make its final report until 2015.
The Department for Transport is yet to respond to Mr Johnson’s latest comments.
Mr Johnson said: “It is absolutely imperative that work to progress a new hub airport in the South East is completed as soon as possible.
“That is why I have assembled a mighty team of experts who I have tasked with delivering a fulsome examination of the most realistic solutions to our aviation crisis in the shortest time possible, which I look forward to sharing with the government.”
The mayor’s airport team will include design, engineering and project management consultants Atkins.
Architects Pascall & Watson, whose previous projects include Heathrow Terminal 5, Dublin Airport Terminal 2 and St Pancras International rail station, will also take part.
About 15 different proposals for a new hub airport in south east England have already been made public.
Mr Johnson has consulted on criteria that will be used to evaluate each proposal and to form a shortlist.
That shortlist is expected to be announced within weeks and the team now assembled by the mayor will combine their expertise to produce detailed feasibility studies that he will submit to the Davies Commission.
Speaking to the Transport Select Committee, the mayor said: “Personally I think that agenda could be accelerated and and it would be possible by early next year to come to a pretty clear view about what the right way forward is but we’re content to be as useful as we can for the time being.
“I think the parties could get together and agree a way forward and we intend to be as useful as we can in helping that to happen.”
Ed Mitchell, the Environment Agency’s environment and business director, told the committee that [talking about a Thames estuary airport] habitat protection requirements would be “quite a stiff challenge” and there could be flood risks.
He said his gut instinct was that it was “possible although not easy and not cheap” that solutions to problems posed by an estuary airport could be found.
London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones said: “Instead of squandering taxpayers’ money on developing fantasy airports that will inevitably lead to massive carbon emissions, he should be prioritising climate mitigation and adaptation projects.”
A retired Concorde pilot called William “Jock” Lowe has been promoting his £7.5bn plan to extend both Heathrow runways from 3,900 and 3,700 metres, up to 7,500 metres – approximately doubling them. He has submitted his scheme to the Airports Commission (all expressions on intend on such projects had to be delivered to the Commission by 28th February). In the Lowe scheme (if it was to be allowed) the number of flights could be doubled, from the current cap of 480,000 per year up to about a million. This scheme is cheaper than the Leunig scheme, proposed in October, for 4 Heathrow runways, a bit further west. The rise in flight numbers could only be done by “mixed mode”, which means having planes both landing, and taking off, all day on both runways. So a plane would be landing on the eastern part of a runway, while another takes off on the west portion of it. This would mean London residents over flown would get twice as many flights as they do now, and they would lose their half a day of peace, which they get from the current runway alternation. It would be deeply and passionately opposed by thousands of Londoners.
William “Jock” Lowe (a retired Concorde pilot) has devised a £7.5bn plan to extend the existing northern and southern runways at the Heathrow airport from 3,900 and 3,700 metres to 7,500 metres.
As well as doubling the airport’s passenger capacity from 70m to 140m, the extension of runways will increase the number of flights from 480,000 per year to almost 1m. Heathrow currently uses only one runway at a time for jet take-offs or landings.
Lowe, a former executive director at British Airways who is currently in charge of Gatwick Airport, also proposed to move part of the M25 motorway in his plans, submitted to the Davies commission which is examining how to preserve the UK’s status as an international aviation hub.
John Stewart, head of HACAN (the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), told the Financial Times: “For people under the existing flight paths, there would be uproar. They would be getting a double whammy – more planes, and planes all day long. My sense is that it could be as unpopular in west London as a third runway.”
Lowe further said that aircraft noise could be reduced by flying jets higher over London, bringing them into Heathrow on steeper descents and flying in over less populated areas.
Lowe added: “The airlines and air traffic control have done very little on noise mitigation on arrival and even on take-off. When we started hearing about all these various ideas, I thought this is just getting really rather silly. Heathrow is in the ideal spot… For UK Ltd, why would you dream of putting it somewhere else?”
Lowe, who is working with Mark Bostock, a former director at engineers firm Arup, claims that his proposed plan is the cheapest option to solve the capacity crunch in the south east and would not put jobs and businesses at risk, compared to the £10bn proposal by economist Tim Leunig.
Lowe estimates that the full plan could be completed in phases within ten years and a limited extension of the airport’s northern runway could be completed within three years.
As part of the first phase, the airport will be connected to Crossrail and the Great Western rail line. In the subsequent phases, Heathrow will be linked to the High Speed 2 rail line connecting London with northern England, and the high-speed link to Europe, which is expected to take longer time.
Lowe and his team are working on the impact on greenhouse gas emissions due to extension of runways.
by contrast, the plan by Tim Leunig, of Policy Exchange, below:
Policy Exchange produces report hoping to shift Heathrow a few km to the west, with 4 runways over the M25 …
5th October 2012The Policy Exchange, which says it is a leading think tank to deliver a stronger society and a more dynamic economy (nothing about care of the environment) have put forward a proposal to expand Heathrow, by building 4 new runways. And moving the existing two a mile or two to the west, on top of the M25. Then there would be a two more runways, one parallel to each of the shifted runways. The Policy Exchange then says that if this cannot be built, 4 runways could be be built at Luton instead. They claim around 700 properties (in Poyle) would need to be demolished compared to the 1,400 that would need to go to make way for the estuary airport, and its purpose would be to send a “much needed signal to people that Britain is open for business.” They dismiss the problem of carbon emissions by presuming that all homes in the UK will be insulated, so leaving fossil fuel for transport – and that travelling is much more appealing so we can “have the money and carbon allocation to see the world.” A very odd report, with some very dubious logic ….. and contorted arguments. Click here to view full story …. Policy Exchange map of their plans for Heathrow …..
Compared to the existing situation (and proposed location of a 3rd runway). The existing runways are about a mile apart. The Policy Exchange seems to be putting the runways in each pair very close together.
Boris Johnson has announced that he is launching an international competition to find developers to design and deliver a scheme for a “floating village” at Royal Docks, Newham, close to London City Airport. Homes there would be in, or very close to, the Public Safety Zone (PSZ) for the airport, and would be subject to enormous amounts of aircraft noise. It would not be a desirable place to live for anyone bothered by noise – or indeed the risk of wake turbulence. Stop London City Masterplan, the local campaign group, have accused Boris of gross negligence because of these plans for housing close to the PSZ. The floating village would be under and close to Boris’s economically unsuccessful Cable Car. Safety concerns were raised during the building of the Cable Car which is in the Crash Zone with the Mayor of London being forced to launch a safety probe. A planning application will soon be submitted by London City Airport to increase the size of it’s stands so bigger jets can be used at the site.
Homes would be built in the London City Airport Crash Zone.
DfT Public Safety Zone Policy objective is that there should be no increase in the number of people living, working or congregating in Public Safety Zone. 
Mayor of London Boris Johnson been accused of gross negligence with the announcement that he plans to build a “Floating Village” in the London City Airport Crash Zone. 
The ‘floating village’ in Royal Docks Newham beside the London Cable Car will feature homes, hotels, offices, shops, bars and restaurants. The Royal Docks contains the London City Airport Public Safety Zone – also called a crash zone.The Department for Transport strictly forbids development in a Crash Zone that will see an increase in the number of people congregating there.
Safety concerns were raised during the building of the Cable Car which is in the Crash Zone with the Mayor of London being forced to launch a safety probe. 
Residents of the ‘floating village’ would also be at risk from aircraft noise and wake turbulence. Air Quality would also be a serious issue with the village being opposite the mouth the proposed new Silvertown tunnel.
A planning application will soon be submitted by London City Airport to increase the size of it’s stands so bigger jets can be used at the site.
London City Airport Campaigner Alan Haughton said
“This ‘floating village’ would be a village of the damned.Nobody wants to live with the risk of an aircraft coming down on their family, never mind all the other associated risks like noise. London City Airport will soon be coming up for sale. If Boris Johnson really thinks that the Royal Docks has the potential to become one of the most sought-after addresses in London he needs to use his powers to buy or shut the airport down and unlock the true value of the area.”
Map below shows position of the Cable Dar,
This map shows the position of the PSZ for London City Airport
 Public Safety Zones (PSZ) / Crash Zones are areas of land at the ends of the runway within which development is restricted in order to control the number of people on the ground at risk of death or injury in the event of an aircraft accident on take-off or landing.
Britain’s largest floating village with homes, hotels and restaurants is to be created at the Royal Victoria Dock in east London.
The 15-acre development will be modelled on successful schemes at Ijbury near Amsterdam and Hafen City in Hamburg and others in Scandinavia. Sitting directly under the new Thames cable car, the capital’s first liquid postcode is part of Boris Johnson’s drive to transform the Royal Docks.
When complete it will be one-and-a-half times the size of Green Park and have a Crossrail station and transport links to Canary Wharf.
The Mayor today launched an international competition at MIPIM, a major property conference in Cannes, to find developers to design and deliver the scheme.
He said: “This site is unique. It has the potential to become one of the most sought after addresses in the capital while breathing new life back into London’s waterways. But it’s not alone.
“Right across London there are incredible investment opportunities that I’m determined to bring to market, creating more homes and jobs for Londoners. My message to the developers gathering at MIPIM is that London is the best place to invest.”
Mr Johnson said the redevelopment of the Royal Docks area was one of his key priorities. He has already opened the Emirates cable car and the Siemens Crystal Centre and there are future developments at Silvertown Quays and Royal Albert Docks. The Mayor was today meeting investors and property developers at the Cannes conference. City Hall is one of the largest owners of public land in London having inherited more than 600 hectares last year under the Localism Act.
The floating village scheme has cross-party support. Labour Newham’s mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “London is moving eastwards and the Royal Docks offer an investment opportunity in scale unmatched anywhere in Europe. This exciting development is a pivotal part of their reanimation.
“As today’s announcement shows, they have the capacity to attract modern sustainable businesses and deliver 21st century growth for the capital. It is essential that the transformation of the area translates into long-term prosperity, growth and jobs.”
The architect behind the 41-floor Gherkin is planning the Square Mile’s tallest tower. Ken Shuttleworth, a former partner of Lord Foster with whom he designed the Gherkin, wants to create a building 100 metres higher on the site of the stalled Pinnacle project. He is one of several architects and developers pitching proposals for a building in its pla
In the UK there are 31 airports with Public Safety Zones. These are triagular shaped areas at the ends of runways, which show the areas where the risk of an aircraft crash is significant, and the risk contours. The area of a PSZ corresponds to the 1 in 100,000 individual risk contour, with additional lower risk contours. The CAA is now in charge of these PSZs, and reviews them every 7 years to take into account anticipated changes in air traffic over the next 15 years. The PSZ gets larger if there are more planes flown. There is a general presumption against new development within PSZs due to the safety risk, though existing activities are allowed to continue within a PSZ. The PSZ for Leeds Bradford is now being reviewed and was out for public consultation until 4th April 2013. In the new revised PSZ 60 properties have been included in the new proposed PSZ area and a further 32 houses have been removed. The PSZ areas each end of the runway now cover a slightly larger area. Some residents have been shocked to find they are in the PSZ without being aware of it.
Q: What is the basic policy objective in establishing the PSZs?
A: The objective is that there should be no increase in the number of people living, working or congregating in PSZs and that, over time, the number should be reduced as circumstances allow (e.g. when any redevelopment takes place).
Q:What is the level of risk associated with a PSZ?
A: The area of a PSZ corresponds to the 1 in 100,000 individual risk contour for that airport. What this means is that any person who lives within this risk contour for a period of a year, or has their normal place of work within this contour, has approximately a 1 in 100,000 chance per year of being killed as a result of an aircraft accident. Compared to other risks we take every day, this is very low.
Q: How does this risk compare to other risks in daily life?
A: The 1 in 100,000 individual risk associated with a PSZ is actually a low level of risk compared with many other risks that most people encounter in their daily lives. For example, the risk of being killed in a road accident is about 1 in 18,500 – equating to 2,946 deaths.2 The risk of being killed in the home is higher still, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) estimates that there are approximately 4,000 deaths as a result of an accident in the home.
By contrast, the maps of the two previous PSZs are below (slightly longer than the new one)
House price fears over Leeds Bradford Airport ‘danger zone’
Sixty properties around Leeds Bradford Airport are included in a new Public Safety Zone.
By Laura Bowyer (Yorkshire Evening Post)
6th April 2013
Residents fear house prices will suffer after they discovered they were earmarked as living in a danger zone near the airport.
The Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal 60 properties around Leeds Bradford Airport have been included in a new Public Safety Zone (PSZ).
The zone, which has been drawn up by the Civil Aviation Authority, identifies space at the end of runways that could be at risk in the event of an aircraft accident.
They also carry certain planning restrictions and aim to control the number of people on the ground who are at risk if a plane crashes on take-off or landing.
Christine Bull, who has lived in her Horsforth home since 1997, was shocked to discover her home was included in a PSZ that was drawn up in 2002.
She was only made aware following a recent consultation about altering the zones, which ended earlier this week.
Her bungalow on Arran Drive has now been excluded from the new zone. She said: “We found it absolutely devastating. We had never been aware. All this time we have had no consultation. We were in a zone and they say you’re not now.”
She claims 12 homes on her estate have been included in the PSZ and there are fears it could impact house prices.
She added: “This will now have a major impact on the resale value of the properties and also any future building plans for the 12 properties.”
A spokesman from the Civil Aviation Authority said they started overseeing PSZ in 2010 and before that the Department of Transport was responsible for them.
He confirmed that 60 properties have been included in the new proposed area and a further 32 houses have been removed from the public safety zone.
Details about PSZs on the CAA website including list of the airports where the PSZ has been reviewed.
General information about airport Public Safety Zones
The Department for Transport is revising the existing contours to take account
of updated traffic forecasts and aircraft mix at the airport 15 years ahead, to make
sure that the contours are as robust as possible. It is Government policy that PSZs should be updated approximately every seven years to ensure that the data underpinning the contours are reliable. It has not been prompted by any new proposals or plans at the Airport.. Currently 31 out of the 129 licensed airports in the UK have PSZs.
This update of the PSZs is standard DfT policy. Overall, the size and shape of
each PSZ will change very little. The risk to those living, working or congregating in
PSZs is still very low
The area of a PSZ corresponds to the 1 in 100,000 individual risk contour for that airport. What this means is that any person who lives within this risk contour for a period of a year, or has their normal place of work within this contour, has approximately a 1 in 100,000 chance per year of being killed as a result of an aircraft accident. Compared to other risks we take every day, this is very low.
When will the new PSZs take effect?
A: The contours have been issued in draft form to allow for a 6-week notification
period before they are finalised and put in place. However, given that this policy
relates to public safety, we would expect the Local Planning Authorities to take the
draft contours into account with immediate effect on receiving any planning
applications within the affected area.
In cases where there are residential, commercial or industrial properties within the higher risk contour (1 in 10,000 PSZ contour shown in blue in the maps within the notification document), close to the end of a runway, we would expect the airport operator to offer to buy and empty those properties. However, our current information is that there are no such properties in this case, either in the current or proposed new PSZ.
If you are aware of any inhabited properties in the inner contour, please let us know.
Public Safety Zones are produced by modelling work carried out using historic aircraft accident data from around the world, together with details of the traffic forecasts and particular aircraft mix at the Airport, to determine the level of risk to people on the ground. This modelling work determines the extent of the Public Safety Zone contours.
Within PSZs, establishment of all but the lowest occupancy land uses is to be discouraged and, over time, reduced. There is no requirement to remove existing development except from “inner” PSZs closer to the airport where the risk of a crash is much higher.
The PSZs correspond approximately to the areas where the annual risk of death to an
individual present constantly exceeds 1 in 100,000. The model of individual risk used to
define PSZs was developed by a team led by National Air Traffic Services (NATS) in the
1990s and has been updated by NATS since. The DfT finances the model development
and the production of PSZs but only the original model has been published. Although
AEF understands that the model is peer-reviewed, we believe that the model should be
in the public domain for reasons set out later.
New figures from the Dublin Airport Authority show more than 500,000 Northern Ireland residents used Dublin Airport last year, a 15% increase on 2011. The number of Northern Ireland-based passengers using Dublin Airport has almost doubled since 2010 – the vast majority (70%) for holidays or leisure trips – and only 20% for business. The effect of Air Passenger Duty is not mentioned, as it is only £13 for short haul journeys, and has been removed from longer journeys from Northern Ireland. The Irish flight tax is only €3 per flight (it was higher till 2011). Dublin airport says the new road network has made travelling from Northern Ireland to Dublin faster and easier. In 2011 Dublin airport had around 18.7 million passengers, Belfast International had about 4.1 million and Belfast City airport around 2.4 million.
More Northern Ireland residents using Dublin Airport
More than 500,000 Northern Ireland residents used Dublin Airport last year
More than 500,000 Northern Ireland residents used Dublin Airport last year, a 15% increase on 2011, according to new figures.
The statistics were released by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
The number of Northern Ireland-based passengers using Dublin Airport has almost doubled since 2010, the DAA said.
Just over 70% of Northern Ireland residents who used the airport in 2012 did so for holidays or leisure trips.
Almost 20% travelled for business reasons.
Three quarters of Northern Ireland passengers took a direct flight from Dublin to their final destination, while 25% transferred to a connecting flight.
The DAA put the 2012 rise in NI passengers down to a number of factors.
“Dublin Airport has an unrivalled route network with direct flights to 170 destinations, we have invested in new facilities in recent years to offer our passengers a much improved travel experience, and the new road network has made travelling from Northern Ireland to Dublin faster and more predictable,” the authority’s Paul O’Kane said.
The Air Travel Tax is an Irish tax flights departing from airports in Ireland. It was introduced in the 2009 Budget. Until 28 February 2011, there were 2 rates of tax, €10 for each passenger flying to an airport more than 300 km from Dublin Airport, and €2 per passenger flying to any other airport within 300 km.As the differential rate was considered by the EU to be an interference with the internal market, there has been a flat rate of €3 since 1 March 2011. Transit passengers are excluded.
6 November 2012 (BBC)
Air passenger duty abolished on long haul flights
There will be no air passenger duty on long haul flights out of Northern Ireland from January 2013. The tax on long haul flights out of Northern Ireland has been abolished.
The Stormont assembly passed the final stage of the Air Passenger Duty Bill on Tuesday.
Duty on direct long haul flights departing from Northern Ireland airports will be reduced to zero from January 2013.
The abolition of the tax was welcomed by finance minister Sammy Wilson as a boost to the Northern Ireland economy.
“Direct air links facilitate local firms in doing business with customers outside the region,” he said.
“They are also vital for the local tourism industry and in attracting foreign direct investment to Northern Ireland, both key to growing and rebalancing our economy.
“Abolishing air passenger duty on long haul flights will help to protect and improve our international air access and ensure the competitiveness of our airports.”
John Doran, Belfast International Airport’s managing director said: “Given the increasing differential with regard to direct long haul air passenger duty levels between the UK and Republic of Ireland, and the very specific problems which this caused for Northern Ireland connectivity, we are grateful to the Northern Ireland Executive and HM Treasury that decisive action has been taken.
“We now look forward with renewed vigour to building upon the success of our direct US air links, as well as reaching out into key additional long haul markets in Canada and the eastern hemisphere, in partnership with the investment and tourism authorities.
Dublin Airport handled 19.1 million passengers in 2012, which was a 2% increase in passengers over 2011. In 2012, 15 new services were launched from Dublin, of which 10 were to new airports on the network. Dublin Airport served 169 routes with 55 airlines for the year. Of this 150 were scheduled routes served by 31 airlines. The airport’s overall load factor has remained strong over the years. A total of 25.13 million seats were provided in the Dublin market last year with a 76% fill rate.
Dublin Airport handled over 18.7 million passengers in 2011, which was a 2% increase in passengers over 2010. In 2011, 12 new services were launched from Dublin, of which 7 were to new airports on the network. Dublin Airport served 171 routes with 62 airlines for the year. Of this 152 were scheduled routes served by 32 airlines. The airport’s overall load factor has remained strong over the years. A total 24.5 million seats were provided in the Dublin market last year with a 76% fill rate.
Dublin Airport handled over 18.4 million passengers in 2010, which was a 10% decrease in passengers over 2009. The drop followed several years of significant passenger growth at the airport before the start of the global economic crisis in 2009.
In 2010, eight new services were launched from Dublin of which three were to new airports on the network. Dublin Airport served 177 routes with 63 airlines for the year. Of this 155 were scheduled routes served by 34 airlines. The airport’s overall load factor has remained strong over the years. A total 24.5 million seats were provided in the Dublin market last year with a 75% fill rate.
In 2011 Belfast International Airport carried over 4.1 million passengers.
62% of passengers were on domestic flights and 38% on international flights.
90% of passengers were on scheduled services and 10% on charter services.
Over 46,000 tonnes of cargo were handled.
60% of all passengers travelling to and from Northern Ireland for business purposes use Belfast International Airport. Business passengers account for 30% of the airports total passengers - (CAA Survey Statistics).
In February, Heathrow had 1% more passengers than it had in February 2012. For all the airports that Heathrow Ltd owns, the increase in passengers for February was only 0.6% above their level in Feb 2012. Heathrow Ltd said the rise in passengers at Heathrow was due to the use of larger planes, after British Airways’ take over of BMI, and higher load factors. The average number of seats per aircraft rose to 198.4 seats, and the load factor rose by 2.4% to 69.6%. That still means most flights are still almost a third empty. For the 1% increase in passengers, there was a – 4.2% reduction in air transport movements at Heathrow, and a fall of -5% for all its UK airports, which now no longer include Stansted or Edinburgh. The amount of traffic to and from Europe was 4.4% higher, but Heathrow says the amount of traffic with China was up 29.8% in February. The number of Heathrow passengers in February was only 0.42% more than in its earlier highest February, in 2008.
Heathrow Ltd says BA’s acquisition of bmi contributed to the increase in passengers, which was driven by a 1.8% rise in the average number of seats per aircraft to 198.4 seats, and a 2.4% increase in load factor (how full the average flight is) to 69.6%.
Heathrow air traffic hits record high in February
Heathrow airport posted record passenger numbers in February, as traffic to Europe, the hub’s largest market, rose 4.4%
By Denise Roland, and agencies (Telegraph)
11 Mar 2013
Britain’s biggest airport served 4.85m passengers in February, up 1% year-on-year and its highest ever for the month. [It is actually only +0.42% higher than its level in February 2008, which was 4,828,048 passengers in Feb 2008. See Heathrow's data ]
European traffic at Heathrow rose 4.4%, led by connections to Italy, Portugal and Germany.
Passengers to China were up 29.8%, the group said on Monday, but traffic to North America fell 1.9%, Latin America was down 4.6% and Africa declined 11.7%.
Heathrow, controlled by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, said its load factor – a measure of how full flights were – rose 2.4% points to 69.6%.
The company wants to increase capacity at Europe’s busiest hub by building a third runway, despite the coalition government overturning a decision to expand Heathrow after it came to power in 2010.
A controversial proposal to double the length of Heathrow’s two existing runways to allow take-offs and landings at the same time, reported in the Financial Timeson Monday, is one of various ideas being mulled by a government commission set up to preserve Britain’s status as an international aviation hub.
Colin Matthews, chief executive, said: “This month’s figures reflect larger, fuller aircraft being used at Heathrow, not the addition of new routes to emerging economies which are so vital to UK trade, jobs and economic growth.”
British Airways takeover of BMI sends Heathrow passengers flying to record 4.85 million in February
Flying high: fuller and larger planes keep the airport busy
by Lucy Tobin
11 March 2013 (Evening Standard)
British Airways’ takeover of rival airline BMI led to fuller and larger planes taking off and landing at Heathrow last month, taking the airport’s passengers numbers up to a record 4.85 million.
That was 1% more than in February 2012, and adjusting for the fact that last year was a leap year, traffic rose 4.6% last month. European traffic was up 4.4%, particularly Italy, Portugal and Germany.
Passengers travelling to and from China rose 30%, and demand for Middle Eastern routes rose 6.2%. But the number of people flying to North America and Latin America fell and cargo was down 4.3% on last February, in line with global trends.
Heathrow is full to capacity so cannot receive more flights taking off or landing on its runways. It can only fill its arrivals and departure lounges more by hosting larger jets.
The airport’s chief executive Colin Matthews, who is campaigning for a third runway, warned: “This month’s figures reflect larger, fuller aircraft being used at Heathrow, not the addition of new routes to emerging economies which are so vital to UK trade, jobs and economic growth.”
At rival Gatwick, the number of fliers slipped 0.7% in the month to 2.1 million. It blamed that on a fall in European scheduled and chartered flights “as the challenging economic conditions continue in Europe”.
The airport has, however, won a string of new routes including Iraqi Airways resuming flights to Baghdad.
Redhill Aerodrome has been trying to get a hard surfaced runway to replace its current three grass runways for many years. It submitted an application in July 2011, which was refused by Tandridge District Council (TDC) and Reigate & Banstead Council (R&B). Redhill Aerodrome then submitted a very slightly changed application in June 2012. The concrete runway would enable the aerodrome to increase flights from 60,000 to 85,000 a year including larger planes. There are problems with the application in relation to drainage and a local brook, as well as traffic impacts. But the aerodrome was asked by the councils to supply more detailed information on future activities of the aerodrome. This information is being used to back up the aerodrome’s claim for special grounds for building in the Green Belt. The aerodrome asked both councils to sign a confidentiality agreement so that the economic information supplied (eg. employment) would not be published. R&B signed the agreement, but after taking legal advice Tandridge refused to do so. Local campaigners say the application cannot be assessed without access to the financial details including employment and impact on the economy.
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has come under fire for allowing information relating to a controversial proposal for a hard runway at Redhill Aerodrome to be hidden from the public.
Tandridge District Council refused the same request, on the grounds that the planning process should be transparent to all.
An application for a concrete runway at Redhill Aerodrome will be considered later this year
Both councils are set to consider whether or not Redhill Aerodrome Ventures (RAV) should be allowed to construct a concrete runway later this year.
Jon Horne, chief executive of the aerodrome in Kings Mill Lane, South Nutfield, wrote to both councils in December requesting written confirmation that some information relating to the economic case for the development could remain confidential.
Reigate and Banstead agreed, but Tandridge refused.
In a letter to the aerodrome’s agent sent last month, Charlotte Hammerton, planning applications team leader for Tandridge council, wrote: “In order to respond to this request, I sought advice from the council’s principal solicitor. His advice was that we could not give such an undertaking, due to the basis of planning law being that all planning decisions should be made in an open, transparent and accountable basis and that as such any documentation made available to officers and members should also be made available to our objectors and members of the public.”
She advised: “Any information provided should be either in the public realm already, or aggregated in such a way that it was not commercially sensitive to individual businesses.”
However, Reigate and Banstead took a different legal stance. Major projects planning officer Andrew Benson told the Mirror: “Redhill Aerodrome Ventures submitted a business plan in relation to the planning application.
“This contained confidential and commercially-sensitive information, and therefore it was not made public.
“The Freedom of Information Act allows such information to be treated confidentially.”
Keep Redhill Airfield Green (Krag), which uncovered the anomaly between the two authorities, said it was “appalled” at Reigate and Banstead’s agreement to conceal the information.
Treasurer Stephen Hanks called on the council to make the information public.
He said: “There is clearly a transparency, even a fairness, issue. As the business plan is so fundamental to the application, regarding building in the green belt, it is very important that openness and transparency prevails. There is a moral issue here, as well as potentially a legal issue.”
The business case is central to the runway plans. Mr Horne argues the £6 million project will protect hundreds of existing jobs and create more than 100 new ones.
“Very special circumstances” need to be met for development of green belt land to be permitted.
Local Parish Council and others fiercely contested the action taken by R&B on the grounds that the economic plan was central to the applicant’s claims for a special case to build in the Green Belt – eg. job creation. They wrote to the planners at R&B pointing out that this was undemocratic and asking to see the economic plan. Andrew Benson (Major Development Performance Manager at Reigate & Banstead Borough Council) said “I’m very sorry but I cannot divulge commercially sensitive and confidential information. I will contact the applicants to determine whether a doctored version of the information can be made publicly available with the commercially sensitive information removed but I am not sure that this will leave much of interest.” KRAG wrote to the Surrey Mirror and they did an excellent quarter page article on 5th March (above) that highlighted R&B’s action.
The possibility was mentioned of reminding R&B about the Environmental Information Regulations of 2004 link by which local authories have a duty to make environmental information available on request, and within 20 working days.
Nutfield Parish Council wrote to Sam Gyimah, the Tandridge MP to object. Salfords and Sidlow Parish Council also wrote to R&B Council to object.
SCC has not responded yet to the application. Redhill Aerodrome may have put in a proposal to the Airports Commission (the deadline for any expressions of intent was 28th February) for their airfield to become a second runway and satellite link for Gatwick, which as been raised in the past.
Redhill Aerodrome applies yet again for a hard runway to replace 3 grass runways
31 July 2012 (BBC)
Owners of Redhill airfield, RAVL, have submitted a revised application for a hard runway after their first bid failed. They want to replace the 3 grass runways with a one concrete one, giving it potential to increase flights from 60,000 to 85,000 a year and for larger planes. Tandridge and Reigate councils turned down the original bid last year. The airfield think their new application “addressed the reasons for refusal in 2011″. As usual, they exaggerate the number of possible jobs that might be created – alleging it will increase the 450 jobs it supports today to some 590 in future – and attract investment to the area etc. Over 1,000 people opposed the original plans which were rejected last year, realising the plans would create an unacceptable level of noise and pollution, breach green belt restrictions, and destroy the landscape.
New Redhill Aerodrome hard runway application submitted in July
8.8.2012A hard runway at Redhill Aerodrome is back on the cards, after a new application was submitted to Tandridge District Council. The application is for one hard runway to replace the current 3 grass runways – which cannot be used in bad weather. A hard runway will attract bigger planes, give a more reliable service and allow more flights. This application follows similar proposals rejected by both Tandridge District Council and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council last year in the face of fierce public opposition. Redhill Aerodrome has slightly altered their previous proposals, in the hope that will overcome previous objections. The plans are for movements to be at 85,000 per year, with a noise management plan in place, and the number of flights outside the stated operating hours of 7am to 10pm limited. There are, as ever, the over-optimistic promises of hundreds of jobs. Local protest group Keep Redhill Aerodrome Green (Krag) slammed the plans and said the latest application is very little different in substance from the one that was rejected last year. Decision expected some time after November 2012. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1419..and more earlier news about the runway issue at Redhill Aerodrome news
Plans drawn up by the DfT could see hundreds of night flights diverted away from the homes of 110,000 residents of the west London areas like Richmond, Kew and Hounslow, over the Windsor area. There could be an extra 1,500 – 1,700 night flights per year over Windsor, starting at 4am. About 90% of the flights at night are between 4.30am and 6.00am, waking people up and making it difficult to many to get back to sleep. The local MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie, is concerned on the negative impact the change would have on the quality of life of his constituents. The Queen often spends weekends at Windsor, and also many weeks during the year. Under existing rules Heathrow is allowed 5,256 incoming scheduled night flights a year, so Londoners have to put up with around 16 planes overhead every night. Due to the wind direction, about 72% of the time they come from the east over London. The DfT is now considering ordering pilots to approach from the west unless a tailwind of five knots or more makes this impractical. This is part of the current night flights consultation, which closes on 22nd April.
As the home of the Royal Family for almost a thousand years Windsor Castle has become a symbol of peace and harmony.
But now the tranquility of the Queen’s Berkshire home is set to be shattered by sound of an extra 1,700 night flights which will give royal residents a rude awakening from four o’clock in the morning.
Plans drawn up by the Department of Transport could see hundreds of night flights diverted away from the homes of 110,000 residents of the west London.
Queen’s home: There could be an extra 1,700 night flights over Windsor Castle which will begin at 4am
But the price of quieter nights in Richmond, Kew and Hounslow will be more noise for the 15,000 people living in the Windsor area, including the Queen.
Disruption: The planes flying overhead are a ‘private matter’ for the Queen
And considering 90 per cent of arrivals land between 4.30am and 6.00am the plans look set to disrupt the Queen’s peace.
Windsor MP Adam Afriyie, has called on residents to resist.
The Conservative MP told the Sunday Times: ‘I am particularly concerned by this latest proposal, which could have a truly detrimental impact on the quality of life of Windsor residents, and I would urge residents to make their views known.’
The Queen spends most of her private weekends at Windsor Castle as well as taking up official residence there for a month over Easter.
She also spends a week there in June, when she attends Royal Ascot and the service of the Order of the Garter.
But a Royal spokesman told the Daily Mail the issue of night-time disruption at Windsor Castle was a ‘private matter for the Queen’.
The Department of Transport (DfT) hopes to divert 1,670 flights away from approaching over London and passing over Windsor Castle instead.
Under existing rules Heathrow is allowed 5,256 incoming scheduled night flights a year. There are also a small number of unscheduled departures which means Londoners have to put up with nearly 16 planes passing overhead every night.
The majority of incoming night flights – 72 per cent – approach Heathrow over the built-up boroughs of west London, with the remaining 28 per cent passing the Windsor area.
Night flights: More planes used by British Airways and other airlines will fly over Windsor under the proposals
But the (DfT) is now considering ordering pilots to approach from the west thereby avoiding the more heavily populated area, unless a tailwind of five knots or more makes this impractical.
This would increase the flights passing over Windsor from about 1,470 to about 3,150 every year.
The potential winners of this strategy are the 245,000 Londoners who claim they are affected by the noise.
John Stewart, chairman of the Hacan Clear-Skies group, which campaigns against aircraft noise, yesterday told the Daily Mail: ‘Many people in west London will clearly benefit if this change went ahead but it would be at the expense of many more sleepless nights for the people of Windsor.’
A (DfT) spokeswoman told the Daily Mail diverting the approach path for night flights was ‘just one option’ being examined.
She said: ‘The government recognises that noise disturbance from aircraft flying at night is the least acceptable impact of airport operation on local residents.
‘At this stage we are gathering evidence on what might be feasible and have taken no decisions yet on our preferences. We will be consulting on specific proposals later this year once we have assessed the evidence received from this consultation.’
Information on the Night Flights consultation, from HACAN
Government consultation released: still no night flight ban
HACAN has expressed disappointment that the Government has still not committed itself to a night flight ban in its consultation on a new night flight regime at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, released on 22nd January.
The MP for Maidenhead has weighed into the dispute over night flights from Heathrow.
11.3.2013 (Royal Borough Observer, covering Windsor and Maidenhead)
Theresa May MP has joined up with fellow Royal Borough MP Adam Afriyie (Windsor) in raising concerns about a proposal from the Department for Transport (DfT) about more night flights arriving from the west of the airport over Windsor and Maidenhead.
The proposal is outlined in a consultation document published by the DfT which would result in the number of night flights arriving at Heathrow from the west rising from 30% to 60%.
Mrs May said: “I have campaigned against any increase in night flights, so I am concerned about this proposal. This would represent a major shift and would result in an increase in aircraft arriving at night from the west, over the Maidenhead area.
“I am concerned about the effect this will have on local residents, who could not have anticipated this change when they bought their houses.”
Earlier in the week, Mr Afriyie said: “It’s clear that we must seek a reduction in night flights – so I’m both surprised and concerned at the latest proposals which look to permanently change the direction of night-time flights arriving into Heathrow.
“I would urge everyone to make their voices heard during the public consultation period. We must make those at Heathrow listen to the concerns of the people.”
The proposal is one consideration up for discussion in the consultation document.
It is now certain that the construction of the new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes – if it starts at all – will at least several months delayed. It should have started this spring. A Committee on dialogue has been set up, and has been taking evidence from proponents and opponents of the airport scheme. The Chairman of the commission is careful not to take sides, but has said that after going on for so many years since first proposed, the arguments for the airport have changed and other arguments now have greater priority. More information is needed on the alleged economic and employment benefit of the scheme, and on the transport network. He says.”Our report will present the advantages and disadvantages of the new airport, and the government will decide.” A prominent member of the National Assembly said it is necessary to continue dialogue but before starting any construction work a national plan of airport infrastructure.should be developed.
[Apologies for imperfect translation into English - original French below]
It is now certain that the construction of the new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes – if it starts at all – will at least several months late. It should have started this spring. After three weeks of the submission of its findings to the prime minister and former mayor of Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault , the chairman of the Committee on dialogue, Claude Chéreau, also chairman of the Audit Board of Agriculture of the nation, admits his skepticism.
After more than seventy-five hearings of pro-and anti-airport, he ( Claude Chéreau) told Le Monde his doubts about the relevance of some of the arguments justifying the construction of the new airport intended to replace the current Nantes Atlantique airport. “After waiting thirty years the case has lost much of its ability to convince, Mr. Chéreau said. Arguments justifying its construction have varied greatly over time. Some remain but others have become less of a priority. “
He is careful, however, not to condemn the project, a prerogative that is not included in the engagement letter, he said smiling. Because he knows the political case. ”:“Our report will present the advantages and disadvantages of the new airport, and the government will decide.”
“THE PROBLEM IS NOT SO SIMPLE”
Unconvinced by the figures given by both sides, the commission also includes Brevan Claude, architect and former delegate to the city, and the lawyer Rouchdy Kbaier could suggest to the government supplements to the investigation . “We were told before that the current airport is full, but the problem is not so simple “, argues Mr. Chéreau. The President of the dialogue commission wants more information on the pattern of transport that will serve the future airport. Its economic benefits and the key issue of the number of jobs do not seem to have convinced him.
However, the arguments of the opponents of the project have not persuaded him. “On the richness of biodiversity, I’m not sure Notre-Dame-des-Landes is a rarity compared to the nature reserve of Lake Grand-Place “ , Mr. Chéreau argued.
Similarly, the level of noise exposure, made ten years ago, should be revised. Data as requested by the Committee on dialogue.
At Matignon, where the Prime Minister is a strong supporter of the project, it is argued that the numbers game is sterile. “The dialogue commission does not have the power and , it can only note that the divergent views on the evidence adduced, it says. Opponents make plans on the comet, those pro-airport make other assumptions on the demography of Nantes, the cost of oil , the traffic forecasts, growth, etc. “.
SOME CONCERN TO PS (the Socialists)
Environmentalists, given a hearing again by the commission on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday, March 6, emphasize the need to conduct an investigation – so far unrealized – on the possibilities of transformation of the existing airport. Other uncertainties remain, such as the request for information from the European Commission on possible breaches of EU rules.
The case is complicated, and some in the Socialist Party are concerned about the stubbornness of Jean-Marc Ayrault. ‘If this had not been the scheme of the Prime Minister, it would have long ago been delayed till later: Notre-Dame-des-Landes is not a national priority ,” confided politicians who preferred to remain anonymous. They do not want the case to show disagreement with environmentalist allies only a few months before difficult municipal and regional elections.
“You can not take the risk of long and violent fights on this issue , explains Jean-Paul Chanteguet, socialist president of the Committee on Sustainable Development of the National Assembly, which will receive Mr. Chéreau on March 12. It is necessary to continue dialogue and, prior to starting any construction site, develop a national plan of airport infrastructure. “
Matignon said wait till the end of March: “Either the work will begin , for example after the summer, or the report will tell us that the project is not ready and we will take the necessary time. “
C’est désormais une certitude : annoncé pour le printemps 2013, le chantier du futur aéroport nantais de Notre-Dame-des-Landes – s’il démarre – aura au minimum plusieurs mois de retard. A trois semaines de la remise de ses conclusions au premier ministre et ancien maire de Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault, le président de la commission du dialogue, Claude Chéreau, par ailleurs président de la commission des comptes de l’agriculture de la nation, avoue son scepticisme.
Après plus de soixante-quinze auditions des pro et anti-aéroport, il a confié auMonde ses doutes sur la pertinence de certains arguments justifiant la construction de la nouvelle plate-forme destinée à remplacer l’actuel aéroport de Nantes-Atlantique. “Tout dossier qui attend une trentaine d’années perd beaucoup de ses possibilités de conviction, avance M. Chéreau. Les arguments justifiant sa construction ont beaucoup varié dans le temps. Certains datent, d’autres sont devenus moins prioritaires.”
Il se garde bien toutefois de condamner le projet, prérogative qui n’est pas comprise dans sa lettre de mission, dit-il en souriant. Car il sait le dossier “politique” : “Notre rapport présentera les inconvénients et les avantages du futur aéroport, et ce sera au gouvernement de décider.”
“LE PROBLÈME N’EST PAS AUSSI SIMPLE”
Peu convaincue par les chiffres avancés par les deux camps, la commission, composée aussi de Claude Brévan, architecte et ancienne déléguée à la ville, et du juriste Rouchdy Kbaier, pourrait suggérer au gouvernement des compléments d’enquête. “On nous a mis en avant la saturation de l’aéroport actuel ; or le problème n’est pas aussi simple”, avance M. Chéreau. Le président de la commission du dialogue souhaite plus de précisions sur le schéma des transportsdevant desservir le futur aéroport. Ses bienfaits économiques et le nombre d’emplois à la clé ne semblent pas non plus avoir emporté sa conviction.
Pour autant, les arguments des opposants au projet ne l’ont pas tous séduit. “Sur la richesse de la biodiversité, je ne suis pas certain que Notre-Dame-des-Landes soit une rareté, comparée à la réserve naturelle du lac de Grand-Lieu“, fait valoirM. Chéreau.
De même, le plan d’exposition au bruit, réalisé il y a dizaine d’années, doit être révisé. Autant de données réclamées par la commission du dialogue.
A Matignon, où le premier ministre est un ardent défenseur du projet, on fait valoirque la bataille de chiffres est stérile. “La commission du dialogue ne dispose pas de son bureau d’études, elle ne peut que constater que les parties divergent sur les éléments avancés, déclare-t-on. Les opposants font des plans sur la comète, les pro-aéroport font d’autres hypothèses, sur la démographie nantaise, le coût dupétrole, les prévisions de trafic aérien, la croissance, etc.”
CERTAINS S’INQUIÈTENT AU PS
Les écologistes, reçus de nouveau par la commission mardi 5 et mercredi 6 mars, insistent sur la nécessité de mener une enquête – non réalisée à ce jour – sur les possibilités de transformation de l’actuel aéroport. D’autres incertitudes demeurent, comme la demande d’informations de la Commission européenne sur d’éventuels manquements aux règles communautaires.
Le dossier se complique, et certains au Parti socialiste s’inquiètent de l’entêtement de Jean-Marc Ayrault. “Si ce n’était pas le dossier du premier ministre, cela fait longtemps qu’il aurait été renvoyé à plus tard : Notre-Dame-des-Landes n’est pas une priorité nationale”, confient des élus préférant garder l’anonymat. Ils ne veulent pas d’un dossier porteur de fractures avec leurs alliés écologistes, à quelques mois d’élections municipales et régionales difficiles.
“On ne peut pas prendre le risque d’affrontements longs et violents sur ce dossier, explique Jean-Paul Chanteguet, président socialiste de la commission dudéveloppement durable de l’Assemblée nationale, qui recevra M. Chéreau le 12 mars. Il faut poursuivre le dialogue et, avant tout démarrage du chantier, élaborer un schéma national des infrastructures aéroportuaires.”
Matignon dit attendre la fin mars : “Soit les travaux peuvent commencer après l’été par exemple, soit le rapport nous dit que le projet n’est pas prêt et nous prendrons le temps nécessaire.”