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planes plane-over-roof StopAirportExpansiontshirt BRITAIN HEATHROW AIRPORT EXPANSION

For key news stories see Latest News


For more on the flight path trial, and increased aircraft noise around Gatwick see  Flight path changes and trials


Airports Commission gives comprehensive & unambiguous decision not to short-list a Thames estuary airport

2.9.2014 As widely leaked, the Airports Commission has decided against short listing an inner Thames estuary airport scheme, for further consideration. The Commission had intended not to short list the scheme back in December 2013, but were persuaded to give the concept further thought. The Commission’s report wording  is unambiguous. They say, to take a few direct quotes: ” we are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames Estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs.” “To roll the dice on a very risky project, where delays and overruns are highly likely, would be reckless.”     “…Commission has concluded that the proposal for a new ITE airport has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits. Cumulative obstacles to delivery, high costs and uncertainties in relation to its economic and strategic benefits contribute to an assessment that an ITE airport proposal does not represent a credible option for short-listing.” And “…if UK carbon emissions are to be kept within the overall cap, concentrating a very high number of flights in one location could limit the scope for growth elsewhere and hence reduce the overall diversity of the UK airports system.”                       So a very definite NO.         Link to the report

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Holland-Kaye open letter to Boris asking him to back Heathrow runway if estuary plan rejected by Airports Commission

Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, has appealed to the London mayor, Boris Johnson, to back its campaign for a 3rd runway, ahead of the possible dismissal of his own Thames estuary scheme from consideration by the Airports Commission. In an open letter to Boris, Holland-Kaye says he and Boris share the same belief that only a large, hub airport can (allegedly) provide the scale and range of global flights that – they claim – the economy needs. Neither of them believe a new runway at Gatwick would give what they claim the UK “needs.” Holland-Kaye’s letter says: “We have nothing against Gatwick but you have rightly identified that its claim that it can deliver the same benefits as a hub airport is ‘a sham, a snare and a delusion’.” Boris said, of Heathrow’s 3rd runway plans, last year: “Anyone who believes there would be the space to do that at Heathrow, which already blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, is quite simply crackers.” The situation has been complicated by Boris’ decision to apply to become MP for Uxbridge. He said in May: “I will respect the findings of the Davies Commission but I will not abide by them.”

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Feedback from Farnborough Airport airspace consultation released – 98% said change unjustified

TAG Farnborough Airport has released a feedback report following its 3 month consultation (ended 12th May) on controversial plans to chance its airspace. Farnborough wants the changes to be approved by the CAA, so it can have a “more predictable flow of traffic around the airport” which it claims could mean fewer flights at low altitude and aircraft flying fewer miles. TAG has now published a feedback document on the responses. This shows there were 13,000 comments, including around 2,500 from stakeholders. They are overwhelmingly negative, with 99% of responses from general aviation negative; 98% of responses to the justification of the changes negative; and 99% negative on the alleged environmental benefits. There was a high level of concern about the proposals, and the results they would have on non-Farnborough air traffic, having to re-route. There were also concerns about the environmental impact and safety. Many also fear the plans will facilitate an increase in number of flights. A 2nd feedback report is due to be published in early 2015, before an application is submitted to the CAA, after TAG has considered whether the objections and suggested alternatives can be incorporated into a refined airspace design.

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Responses from councils and parish councils to the Gatwick airspace consultation – many asking for it to be considered void

On 23rd May Gatwick launched a consultation on airspace changes it proposes. This is part of the airspace change programme to “modernise” flight paths, in line with the UK Future Airspace Strategy published by the CAA. The consultation was widely regarded as inadequate, badly written and presented, and effectively almost impossible for ordinary people – unused to the jargon and the technicalities – to either understand or respond to. The consultation finally ended on 16th August. Many organisations, and MPs, have asked for the consultation to be considered void, due to its deficiencies, and re-done to include maps, showing all proposed flight paths at Gatwick for arrivals and departures up to 10,000 feet. These were not included before, making responses difficult. These are some of the consultation responses sent in from local councils and parishes, representing their members. They all comment negatively on the quality of the consultation. One comments: “The air travel industry appears to be in total denial of the collateral damage which would be caused by these proposals”

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Boris Johnson’s Thames estuary airport hopes could “crash” as early as next week

Gwyn Topham, in the Guardian, speculates that Boris’ plans for a Thames estuary mega-airport may be given a merciful death very soon, if the Airports Commission decides against adding them to the short-list of airport schemes to be given detailed consideration. Boris and TfL submitted yet another report, on 26th August, pressing for the estuary scheme. But then within hours, Boris formally applied to be MP for the west London constituency, Uxbridge & South Ruislip, where many businesses depend on Heathrow, which he supposedly wants to close. Gwyn writes: “As early as next week the Commission may ease any Johnson embarrassment by finally dismissing the idea of a brand new hub.” Guardian article           [But if Boris gets to be the new MP, his fierce opposition to a 3rd Heathrow runway means there would be yet further pressure to back a Gatwick runway. That will not go down well with the intensely Conservative-voting areas of Kent, Sussex and Surrey, which would bear the brunt of these political manoeuverings] 

Carlisle CIty Council gives go-ahead to Carlisle airport overhaul – largely to be a freight centre

Plans for the £20 million overhaul of Carlisle Airport have been given the go ahead – again. A special meeting of Carlisle City Council took place on 18th August, with councillors asked to approved Stobart Group’s proposals for a massive freight distribution centre and revamped runway. One councillor expressed concerns over potential traffic congestion but no councillor voted against the motion to approve officers’ recommendations. The Stobart Group chief executive Andrew Tinkler said that work could begin within “a couple of months” – provided there are no legal challenges. The decision came despite the High Court quashing a previous planning permission decision, as new case law has since emerged which means that the need to take into account the viability of the airport is no longer relevant. However, opponents of the plans are questioning the legality of the council decision. Local people are asking for this decision to be called in. This freight depot proposal is deeply opposed by a large proportion of the local community. There is concern that the proposal was permitted because Tinkler showed a film, of Stobart employees begging for consent to be granted, at the planning meeting.

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“Grow Heathrow” squatters in Sipson pledge ‘peaceful’ resistance to bailiffs, due to evict them

The remarkable “Grow Heathrow”squatter community, occupying land near Heathrow in protest at the airport’s expansion, are expected to be evicted by bailiffs today – or soon. They say they will “peacefully” resist, but a range of non-violent means, including digging tunnels and locking themselves onto items. Grow Heathrow, which includes some 15 families, moved onto a derelict site near Sipson in 2010. The privately owned land had been a wasteland, and an area for anti-social activities. Grow Heathrow cleared rubbish from the site, and created a garden, as well as being as self sufficient in food as possible. They also ran creative and artistic workshops, and a positive and productive community. However, the land owner wants the land back, perhaps for sale to Heathrow airport (their 3rd runway plans would make most of Sipson impossible to live in). Many local people in Sipson have been delighted to have Grow Heathrow as neighbours, rather than a derelict site. The local MP, John McDonnell said he “wholeheartedly” supported the activists. “These are people who not only helped us fight off the third runway, they’ve actually occupied a site which would have been the sixth terminal for the expanded Heathrow Airport.”

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“Scrap new flight paths,” says GACC in their response to Gatwick’s airspace consultation

Gatwick Airport’s consultation on new flight paths ends on Thursday, 14th August. GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, the well regarded main environmental body concerned with Gatwick, with nearly 100 Borough, District and Parish Councils and environmental groups in the area as members) has submitted a powerful response (GACC AIRSPACE RESPONSE). The consultation has been highly inadequate, giving no flight path detail, and GACC is therefore asking the CAA to declare it void. GACC is demanding that all the new routes should be scrapped. They are asking that Gatwick and NATS should issue a new joint consultation, with detailed maps, showing all proposed flight paths at Gatwick for arrivals and departures up to 10,000 feet. GACC is also asking that the CAA should refuse permission for any new route outside existing NPRs until Gatwick agree to a scheme for compensation. Where flight paths are now concentrated on a single narrow line GACC is calling for compensation to be given to people whose houses are devalued. According to Brendon Sewill: “The law says that, when a new motorway is built, people with houses nearby must receive fair compensation. The same should apply to new motorways in the sky.”

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Heathrow campaign, HACAN, will not be taking part in the consultation on noise compensation, for a 3rd runway

On 21st July Heathrow published a consultation on how it hopes to persuade thousands of people, who would be badly affected by increased aircraft noise from its operations, to accept money as compensation. It is offering £550 million, if it is allowed to build a 3rd runway, in various schemes. The £550 million is a one-off, not an annual sum. The aim is to buy off opposition. The existence of the consultation aims to convey the impression that a 3rd runway is inevitable, and that Heathrow is being stunningly generous. Neither is true. The community group dealing in particular with noise due to Heathrow, HACAN, has had numerous complaints from residents who are furious about the assumptions being made in the Heathrow consultation. They do not like being steamrollered into discussions about compensation for something they deeply oppose. HACAN will not be taking any part in the consultation, and not encouraging its members to do so. They feel the compensation discussion “puts the cart before the horse”. Providing Heathrow with assistance in how best to win over residents, whose quality of life will be reduced by a new runway, is not in the interests of those overflown, now or in the future.

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Court orders end to 2 flight paths over Brussels, which have been strongly opposed since February

In response to the heated opposition by thousands of Francophone residents of Brussels, and the successful “Pas Question” campaign, a court in Brussels has ordered that two of the new flight paths over the city should be stopped. These are a flight path called “Canal” and one called “turn left” from the airport. These flight paths came into operation on 6th February this year, under the “Plan Wathelet” and reflect the complicated politics of Belgium. The judgement, by the Brussels Court of First Instance, must be applied within 3 months or otherwise there is a penalty of a fine of €50,000 per day. The ordinance imposes in effect a return to the situation prior to February 6th. The association “Pas Question” describes the judgement as an “immense relief” that what they describe as a nightmare of living with the aircraft noise for 175 days has ended. They expect the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Mobility to take “immediate” measures required to implement the court decision and change flight paths away from heavily populated routes. There need to be impact assessment studies, and consultation, before flight paths are changed – a broader solution for all residents affected by the airport.

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Caroline Spelman MP calls for end to Birmingham flight path trials

Meriden MP Caroline Spelman has demanded the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, calls a halt to Birmingham Airport’s flight path trials across her borough, since 1st May, after being handed a petition with over 1,500 signatures. The petition, which has been signed by a number of local action groups, calls on Transport Secretary to intervene in the trial following complaints over noise. The airport has been trialling two options for new flight paths for the past 6 months as part of the new runway extension. But residents claim the aircraft are not sticking to the routes accurately, causing planes to fly closer to their homes. Caroline Spelman says the fact the planes are not flying the accurate routes has invalidated the trial, and a review is needed of what has gone wrong. “. If the airport plumps for a compromise route which is different from the original two options there would need to be a further consultation.” The airport claims its new runway extension, as well as creating distressing noise and disruption for several thousand people, will ” deliver global connectivity and thousands of new jobs in the future for local people.” The CAA will finally decide on the flight paths.

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Gatwick’s consultation shows some 85% of respondents oppose a 2nd Gatwick runway

Gatwick Airport held a consultation over April and May 2014, to try to get backing for its plans for a 2nd runway, and the option the airport wants – the wide spaced option with the runway used for both arrivals and departures. This has always been what the airport wanted, and the proposal the Airports Commission short listed. The consultation gave two options, that the airport did not want and has no interest in. The consultation also initially had no means for any respondent to express their opposition to any new Gatwick runway, but eventually a “none of these options” box was added – difficult to locate, far into the document. The survey results are now out. They are deeply irritating to the airport, as they show huge opposition to any runway. Of about 7,700 respondents, well over 80% said NO. Of the 7,700 or so, only 733 backed Option 3 ( the runway option Gatwick wants) and 2,165 did not want a runway at all. 4,003 responses came through the Woodland Trust and these are being discounted, unjustifiably, as though part of an e-campaign, many contained specific comments made by the respondents. Taking all the responses for no runway, they amount to some 85% of the total. Even discounting the Woodland Trust responses, 66% opposed a new runway.

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CCC confirm UK air passenger rise of 60% by 2050 only possible if carbon intensify of flying improves by one third

The Committee on Climate Change has reported to Parliament on progress on the UK’s carbon budgets. They say: “Under the current rate of progress future budgets will not all be met.” Carbon budgets do not currently include emissions from international aviation and shipping, but these are included in the 2050 carbon target. The government will review aviation’s inclusion in carbon budgets in 2016. In 2012 the UK’s international aviation emitted 32 MtCO2, and domestic aviation 1.6 MtCO2. The CCC and the Airports Commission say a new runway can fit within climate targets, but their own figures show aviation growth exceeding the target for decades. Growth in passengers of “around” 60% above 2005 levels could only fit within the carbon target if there is an improvement in the carbon intensity of aviation of around one-third by 2050. The Airports Commission’s own interim report says there can only be 36% growth in flights by 2050, to stay within targets. They say any more growth than that should not happen, “unless and until” there are the necessary technology improvements, cutting aviation emissions. But neither the government, nor the CCC, nor the Airports Commission can pin down what these will be, or when they will happen. UK aviation emissions remain the highest in Europe. CCC and AC aviation CO2 projections to 2050

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Plans to fit a new south east runway within UK climate targets are based on a ‘wing and a prayer’ – rather than reality

Two new reports have been produced, which seriously challenge the Airports Commission’s claim that it is possible to build a new runway and still meet the UK Government’s climate change targets. The reports also argue that building a new runway in the south east would worsen the north/south divide, as growth at the regional airports would need to be constrained in order to ensure CO2 emissions from aviation fall to their 2005 levels by 2050. The RSPB report, “Aviation, climate change and sharing the load” and the WWF report, by the AEF “The implications of a new South East runway on regional airport expansion” demonstrate that if a new runway is built, commitments under the Climate Change Act cannot be met unless significant constraints are imposed on the level of activity at regional airports. Both reports illustrate that if aviation emissions were allowed to soar, that would impose costs on the rest of the economy rising to perhaps between £1 billion and £8.4 billion per year by 2050 as non-aviation sectors would need to make even deeper emissions cuts. The regulatory regime for aviation carbon emissions is still just aspirational. Contrary to the impression given by the government and the Airports Commission, the issue of climate in relation to airport expansion has not been resolved.

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Residents in Chicago, fed up with O’Hare airport jet noise, take to the streets to fight it

O’Hare airport in Chicago has been upsetting residents to the northwest of the city, by changing flight paths, so some people are being over flown a great deal than before. This is the result of the O’Hare Modernization Project that took effect in October 2013. The changes mean that 85% of O’Hare arrivals and departures between 11 pm and 6am will fly over homes in certain suburbs. Those living under these flight paths face not only the noise, the annoyance, the potential impacts on their health and the loss of sleep, but also a decrease in their property prices. The local community campaign, FAiR (Fair Allocation in Runways) has been touring affected neighbourhoods giving out door hanger signs encouraging people to get active and fight the flight paths, or else “kiss your property values goodbye.” They plan to hand out door hangers to well over 30,000 homes. They also have “yard signs” (placards to stick in the front garden) for the campaign, selling these to raise campaign funds. Just as in London and near other UK airports, people are devastated by the new noise pollution. One commented that even with noise insulation, it was impossible to avoid the noise in the neighbourhood, even by going shopping, going swimming, going to the park. It cannot be avoided.

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Four Inner Thames estuary airport studies for Airports Commission finally kill off “Boris Island”

The Airports Commission has now published all four of the studies it has commissioned on an Inner Thames Estuary (ITE) airport. These reports are on environmental impacts, operational feasibility and attitudes to moving to an estuary airport, socio-economic impacts, and surface access. The first report, on environmental impacts was utterly damning, confirming the massive extent of the harm done to highly conserved habitats and their wildlife, and the near impossibility of successfully moving the wildlife elsewhere. Now the report on the feasibility of moving the airport shows the problems of flood risk, fog, wind direction, bird strike, explosives on the SS Montgomery and the Isle of Grain gas terminal – with many practically insurmountable. The report on socio-economic impacts demonstrates that aeronautical charges would have to be very high to pay for the airport, and be too high to compete with Dubai etc. Heathrow would have to close, at immense cost. The surface access report shows the cost of even minimal rail services to get most passengers to the airport would be £10 billion and more like £27 billion for a good service. The cost of road improvements would be £10 to £17 billion. The reports’ conclusions now make it nearly inconceivable that a Thames Estuary Airport will ever be constructed.

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Battle of Balsall Common’ over plane noise, from Birmingham flight path trial, goes to Parliament

The Battle of Balsall Common – which has triggered waves of complaints of noise nuisance from planes taking off at Birmingham Airport – is to go to Parliament. Angry residents are raising a protest petition to be sent to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, to ask him to look at this trial, and call it in. People affected say their lives are being made a misery by trials launched in May in advance of new flight paths being made permanent. This has happened because of the runway extension. People are deeply angry and anxious, because these flight paths are away from the NPR routes (Noise Preferential Routes), which everyone has known about for years. People have checked, in the past, to ensure they have not chosen to live near an NPR. Now, areas which nobody could have guessed would be overflow have planes overhead every few minutes. Campaigners took to the streets of Balsall Common last weekend to get signatures, in a bid to force a Government rethink of the new flight path. David Ellis, of the Balsall Common Action Group, said: ““We are told they are over 3,000 feet but that is not the point – the noise is the problem.” There will be a public meeting on July 16th on the problem.

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Around 20,000 attended a damp but determined weekend at Notre Dame des Landes, against planned Nantes airport

Un festival de musique a été organisé à Notre Dame des Landes, le 5 juillet. Up to 20,000 or so people (estimates vary) gathered at Notre Dame des Landes over the weekend of 5th and 6th July, from across France, to support the campaign against the planned airport, and show their solidarity. Though dampened by almost continuous rain on the first day, spirits were not dimmed, and some 50 talks and debates went on – under canvas. There were also concerts by popular French singers, as well as stalls and activities for all ages. Some of those taking part in the weekend are opposing other Large Unnecessary Imposed Projects (Les Grands Projets Inutiles Imposés) across France, with a sincere desire to stop mega-projects that do great environmental harm, for dubious economic benefit. Work on the airport project has been frozen since 2012, largely due to legal obstructions. The last large protest by the Nantes opponents, organised by ACIPA, was on 22 February 2014, attended by between 20 000 and 50 000 people in streets of Nantes, which was severely policed, and from which there were injuries and some public damage.This weekend’s event was peaceful, and once the sun came out, the sky was filled with protest kites.

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Improving its passenger service would undercut Heathrow’s case for a 3rd runway

In much the same way as landowners, especially in the Green Belt, tend to try to let their land get into such bad condition that planners allow planning permission on it, so it is with Heathrow. A comment piece by Philip Stephens, an associate editor of the Financial Times, reflects how Heathrow has a vested interest in managing to make the service they provide inadequate. The more passengers are inconvenienced – and told it is because the airport is so full – the stronger Heathrow hopes its case becomes to be allowed to expand. Philip says: “Absolute genius…….[Heathrow wants passengers to believe that] … If the government gave the go-ahead for expansion – specifically a 3rd runway – all would be well. Try that again: the only way to improve the dismal lot of passengers is guarantee Heathrow still higher profits. As I said, brilliant!” And “Heathrow dominates London’s air traffic and the two companies [Heathrow and BA] have a quasi-monopoly. They are extracting large rents. This is how monopolists behave, the more so when overseen by a weak regulator. Most importantly, a half-decent level of passenger service would be counter-productive because it would undercut the case for that 3rd runway.”

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Report for Airports Commission on environmental impact sinks Boris’s estuary airport plans

Boris Johnson’s dreams of a massive airport in the Thames Estuary have had a major setback, from the new report produced for the Airports Commission, looking at the environmental impacts. The study shows it would cause huge environmental, financial and safety risks and would cause “large scale direct habitat loss” to hundreds of thousands of migrating birds. The cost of creating replacement habitats could exceed £2 billion and may not even be possible. Even if replacement habitat could be found, planes using the airport would still be at a “high risk” of lethal bird strike. In order to counter this risk, even larger areas of habitat would need to be destroyed to secure the airport. The report also found huge regulatory hurdles to any potential estuary airport going ahead. Under environmental regulations,the airport’s backers would have to prove there were “imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI)” for placing the airport in such an environmentally sensitive area. Even if that could be proven, they would also need to demonstrate that all of the habitat displaced by the airport could be placed elsewhere. The report found that while this was “technically possible,” it was highly uncertain, as such a large scale displacement had never been attempted before.

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Heathrow 3rd runway would mean demolishing Colnbrook incinerator and relocating it – maybe to Stanwell?

The Heathrow airport plan for a 3rd runway to the north-west of the airport, demolishing most of Harmondsworth and making Sipson impossible to live in, also demolishes the current incinerator at Colnbrook, run by Grundon. In Heathrow’s expansion plans they propose that a new incinerator should be built just south of the airport, in Stanwell -between Long Lane and Stanwell Farm. This is, at best, controversial. Residents are concerned about the prospect of an incinerator so close to their homes and with the spectre of the eco-park in Shepperton also looming, questions of just how much Spelthorne can take are being asked. The hope it, by advocates of locating a new incinerator there, that the prevailaing wind from the west would blow any pollution away from Stanwell, and towards the east or north east. Incinerators are unpopular in most areas, as people fear not only dioxins in air pollution, but also the associated heavy traffic from lorries. People in Spelthorne are not convinced they want to host two large incinerators.

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Holland-Kaye wants raised Heathrow landing charge, and public subsidy by cutting APD, to pay for runway

John Holland-Kaye has now taken over as CEO of Heathrow, from Colin Matthews. He has already angered airlines by saying he wants to give an adequate return to foreign investors in a 3rd runway, by raising the landing charges at Heathrow. Mr Holland-Kaye wants the landing charge to rise – in real terms – from £20 now, per passenger, to £24 within a few years, and it might rise to £27 by around 2040 (though predictions that far ahead are futile). Heathrow has been battling with its regulator, the CAA, for years on the level of its aeronautical charges. The CAA recently cut its cost of capital to 5.35% in the 5 years to 2019, though Heathrow says its weighted average cost of capital needs to be 6% in the period between 2019 and 2048, to repay its investors. Mr Holland-Kaye also let slip that he wants a cut in Air Passenger Duty (APD) on long haul flights, which would effectively be a loss to the Treasury, and thus be the equivalent of a public subsidy, for a 3rd Heathrow runway. The level of APD on the longest flights was cut this year in the budget, combining the two top distance bands, effectively giving them a government subsidy. He also said he “could not rule out the case for a 4th one in the future.”

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Heathrow’s noise claims do not stack up, according to new reports

Heathrow’s claims that a third runway will improve the overall noise climate for residents do not stack up, according to analysis done by HACAN. Their new briefing, “Do Heathrow’s noise claims stack up?” has compared Heathrow’s arguments with the findings of 2 recently-published reports (by the CAA and by the Mayor of London) and concludes that “Heathrow’s claims are unravelling in the face of the independent evidence.” The most damning indictment of Heathrow is in the Atkins report showing their claim that a 3rd runway will mean “at least 30% noise reduction” by 2030 is based on the assumption that the new runway will be only operating at one-third capacity. Both reports challenge Heathrow’s prediction that 90% of the planes using the airport in 2026, when any new runway is expected to open, will be the quieter ‘new generation’ aircraft. They are dubious of steeper landings, and believe people under the current flight paths will get shorter respite periods in order to give people under the new flight paths some respite too. HACAN chair John Stewart said the 2 new independent reports illustrate the near-impossibility of sorting out noise at Heathrow.

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Gatwick airport announces first profits for years and returns for its investors … UK tax?

Gatwick airport has announced its results for the year to 31st March 2014. It has made a profit, for the first time in 4 years. Gatwick says its passenger numbers reached 35.9 million in 2013/14 (4.8% up on 2012/13). Their turnover is up 10.2% to £593.7 million and EBITDA is up 14.2% to £259.4 million, with a resulting profit of £57.5 million. This compared to a loss in the financial year ending 31 March 2013 of £29.1 million. The airport has spent a great deal improving the airport, and so made losses – and paid no tax to the UK government for years. Gatwick says their investments and more marketing is being effective in attracting more passengers. It now has more aircraft movements at peak times (a cause of the noise nuisance being caused from new flight paths). Gatwick now claims 20% are travelling on business, largely on EasyJet. The figure was 17.5% in 2012. Gatwick says it will now be paying dividends to its investors, though it has not in recent years. It expects to pay £125m to investors in the current financial year, £65m return in the 2015/16 financial year and £60m in 2016/17. [Maybe also pay some UK tax?]

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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.

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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

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MPs initiate “Gatwick Coordination Group” – saying 2nd runway is not in the local or national interest

MPs Crispin Blunt, Sir Paul Beresford, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry have formed the Gatwick Coordination Group. The Group is established to represent the serious local concern at the plan for a 2nd runway. The MPs’ group released a statement saying they believe a 2nd Gatwick runway would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment. They say the level of development, associated with an airport serving nearly three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place. Also that there is no adequate plan yet presented to provide the necessary infrastructure, of all types, to support this development. “The size of the Gatwick site only lends itself to a single runway airport, serving as a sensible, competitive alternate to London’s main hub airport. While they pursue that objective, Gatwick Airport Limited will have our support, but this proposal is not in the local interest, nor is it in the national interest, and this group will work to prove that case.”

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Level playing field on transport costs vital to proper assessment of runway options – says TfL

TfL assumptions on transport costs for runway options June 2014The issue of surface access to airports was the subject of the RunwaysUK conference on 2nd June. Michèle Dix, planning director of Transport for London, said that the costs for surface access for each of the runway options must be assessed against a level playing field of criteria. Michèle said it was vital that estimates by runway promoters reflected that actual needs of transport in the capital. “You need to compare like with like. What are the true and full costs of accommodating this additional demand? If airports are placing a greater demand on the network then we need a greater transport provision.” The Thames estuary proposal had not compared the surface access needs, like for like. She estimated that comparable “optimal” investment level of investment needed – the total package of transport schemes required to deliver an optimal level of surface transport access – for Heathrow was £17.6bn, Gatwick £12.4bn and an Inner Thames Estuary airport £19.1bn.  Even just “high” provision, rather than “optimal”, would need £7 billion for Heathrow, £11.6 billion for Gatwick; and £10.9 billion for the Inner Thames Estuary option.

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Gatwick claims that with better public transport it will be “road & rail ready” for 2nd runway by 2021

Gatwick has produced a glossy document setting out how it will have fantastic road and rail links in place by 2021, that there will be no road or rail congestion, and everyone will have smoother and easier journeys. And at no cost to anyone. There are some stunning omissions. Most things that are inconvenient are just left out. They say “Gatwick will increase the cost efficiency in the rail industry by filling off-peak trains as well as providing passengers for trains operating in the opposite direction to peak commuter services. While it is estimated that, on the busiest trains, only 5% of travellers will be air passengers, the overall benefit they will bring will be around £3 billion in additional fare income.” Gatwick says: “Junction 9 of the M23 … will need to be upgraded to cater for expansion. Gatwick has committed to funding a doubling of this motorway junction capacity.” The only thing Gatwick has said it will pay for. Also: “we have re-designed the local road network to be no busier than it is today, even after a general increase in demand, which will lessen local noise and air quality effects of background traffic, benefit economic activity and the quality of life of those using and living along the affected roads.”  ……….Really?

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GACC calls on all councils around Gatwick to hold public meetings on flight path plans

Gatwick airport is consulting on future changes to flight paths. The consultation is long, complicated and almost incomprehensible to the average lay person. It is very hard indeed for those to be over flown, with no experience of aircraft noise, to understand. The proposals could have a serious impact on many towns and villages around the airport, and potentially affect an area from Guildford to Tunbridge Wells and from Petworth to Sevenoaks. Now GACC has called on all parish councils and town councils around Gatwick airport to hold public meetings to enable residents to understand and discuss the new flight paths proposed by the airport. If the parish or town is not affected by the new flight paths, then GACC suggest that a meeting should be held to discuss the proposals for a new runway. John Byng, Vice chairman of GACC, said: ‘Many people are telling us that the flight path document is difficult to understand. The proposals affect each area differently, so we believe that local meetings are the best answer.’ GACC will be asking for a simpler version of the consultation to be sent to all those under the new flight path, and for maps showing the full length of the new flight paths, not merely below 4,000 feet.

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American FoI documents show USA is barring John Stewart from the country on allegations it admits are unfounded

On 29th September 2011 John Stewart set off for the USA for a speaking tour. He was arrested and taken off the plane by armed US police at New York JFK airport, under suspicion – in theory – of threatening Barak Obama. But he was held for lengthy questioning. He remains barred from entering the US. Now the Telegraph’s David Millward reports that official US documents obtained by The Telegraph under American FoI legislation have raised fresh questions over John’s treatment. John spearheaded the campaign to block a 3rd Heathrow runway in 2010, and continues to lead the anti-runway campaign. Documents now show that less than an hour before John’s Delta Airlines flight landed at JFK – it received reports that he had made a threat against the president. The source of this incorrect information remains unknown. It is now clear that the US authorities knew as early as 4.29pm that: “previous reports were unsubstantiated”. But the questioning by the American secret service and FBI continued until around 9.15pm. The authorities decided to deport John, with no reason given, and with no redress.

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CAA urges UK aviation to improve noise performance & engage communities better, so it can continue to grow

The CAA have produced a new report about aircraft noise in the context of airport expansion. They realise that airports and airlines should do all they can to reduce noise. Some of their recommendations are that when looking to expand, airports should do more to ensure local residents see benefits from additional capacity – whether through funding community schemes, direct payments, or tax breaks. Also that airports seeking expansion should significantly increase spending on noise mitigation schemes to get closer to international competitors – including full insulation for those most affected. Airlines should focus on noise performance when purchasing new aircraft, and airports should structure their landing charges to incentivise airlines to operate so called “cleaner” (lower carbon emissions?), and less noisy flights. The CAA also propose creating a new Airport Community Engagement Forum, bringing together local residents, the aviation industry, policy makers and planners focussed on how (not whether) new airport capacity can be developed and operated with least annoyance, or complaint, from those over flown.

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Gatwick flight path changes revealed as 12 week airspace consultation launched

Gatwick airport has started another consultation on changes to its flight paths. This will last for 12 weeks and end on 15th August. The earlier “consultation” done by Gatwick, that ended on 15th May did not include any flight path details, which many who attended the exhibitions found frustrating. Gatwick’s consultation is complex and not intended to be easy for a non-expert to understand. It is rich in acronyms and jargon, that is not properly explained. One could conjecture that making the consultation so hard to understand is deliberate. At its heart the consultation is about Gatwick managing to get more planes using its current flight paths, with changes to get planes taking off separating earlier, so more planes can use the runway with shorter intervals between them. There remains the issue of whether the noise should be concentrated down narrow routes, or dispersed in “swathes” of several kilometres. The Noise Preferential Routes, for planes below 3,000 feet or 4,000 feet, are meant to be routes where the least noise nuisance is caused. However, planes above 4,000 feet are still a real noise irritation. Gatwick’s proposals for more planes on more routes will mean many more people being exposed to a lot more plane noise, either way.

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Airports Commission data shows the UK has NO urgent airport capacity crisis

While the endlessly repeated publicity from the airports and airlines, and their lobbyists, has succeeded in getting most people in the UK to believe there is some sort of airport capacity crisis, the reality is different. The Airports Commission has been given the task of looking at this alleged shortage of airport capacity, and understanding it in detail. While the Commission’s interim report in December said the “UK requires one net additional runway in south east by 2030″ they add that the “UK does not have a connectivity crisis today.” The Commission has produced several charts to illustrate this, and says many more could be produced showing how well served the UK is, by different measures. Their charts illustrating short haul destinations by country show the UK far ahead of European rivals; UK 2nd only to Germany on long haul destinations; UK first in Europe for long haul services (now overtaken by Dubai); London far ahead of European rivals by destination for both cities and countries. The UK really is better connected than its rivals, and the Commission say there is “Little evidence of a significant downward trend in UK/London connectivity.”

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Survey by Medway Council & Kent County Council shows 84% against Thames Estuary airport

Five out of six people would oppose building a new airport in the Thames Estuary if it meant closing Heathrow and other airports, a survey has found. An estuary airport on the Isle of Grain and the closure of Heathrow has been proposed by London Mayor Boris Johnson. The online survey of 2,000 adults from across the UK was commissioned by Medway Council and Kent County Council, which oppose a new Thames Estuary airport. They say that financially, geographically and environmentally the estuary airport project is wrong – and it would be a huge waste of public money. The survey found 38% of those asked supported an estuary airport. But when they were told Heathrow, City and Southend airports could close as a result, (which they would probably have to) the support dropped to 16%, or just over one in six. Boris is due to submit final plans for the estuary airport to the Airports Commission today. The cost of the airport has now risen to £148bn for the Isle of Grain option. Boris wants a city of 190,000 homes on the Heathrow site, if the airport shuts [which is utterly unlikely].

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Over 4,000 take part in Frankfurt’s 100th protest evening – including supporters from Heathrow and Gatwick

May 20, 2014      Many more photos, and video links The 4th runway at Frankfurt airport was opened in October 2011. The flightpaths for this runway overfly thousands of residents in the Frankfurt, many of whom had not previously been overflown. They suddenly found the noise of aircraft overhead every few minutes, relentlessly (day after day, week after week) for most of the day intolerable. Other areas were also affected by changes to flight paths. Ever since the opening, the people of Frankfurt have absolutely refused to accept this, and have campaigned continuously and relentlessly. They hold unique and remarkable protests, almost every Monday night, in the airport terminal. These are attended by well over 1,000 people, every time. On 19th May, the 100th airport terminal protest was held, with around 4,000 (maybe more) protesters. Some campaigners from the Heathrow and Gatwick campaigns went out (by train) to show solidarity and share this remarkable achievement with their German friends. John Stewart, Chair of HACAN and of AirportWatch, addressed the protest, saying they were making aviation history, and the tenacity, persistence and determination of the opposition to Frankfurt flights is increasingly a matter of concern to the aviation industry.

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GACC says the public misled by Gatwick’s “consultation” – with far higher figures in airport’s submission to Airports Commission

GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has now studied the new runway plans announced by Gatwick Airport Ltd on 13 May. Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC said: “They are horrendous – much larger in scale than in the recent consultation. The proposals will so infuriate local people that they will be determined to oppose the runway scheme at every stage. Any hopes that the airport may have had of building a new runway on time will have disappeared.” The new plans are set out in a 3,200 page document that has been sent to the Airports Commission but which has not been published. The Gatwick press summary shows that the new airport would be bigger than anything previously envisaged. The maximum number of passengers per year has gone up to 97 million compared to a maximum of 87 million in the consultation. That would make Gatwick much bigger than Heathrow today (72 million in 2013), and nearly three times as big as Gatwick today (35 million). The new plans show utter disdain for the 6,000 people who have visited the runway exhibitions during the past months “consultation”, and for the thousands more who have responded online. It is clear that Gatwick’s owners had already decided on their preferred option. GACC has been proved 100% correct it was a phoney consultation.

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Gatwick submits its 2nd runway plans to Airports Commission – little detail published, but loads of spin

Gatwick is submitting its proposal for a 2nd runway to the Airports Commission. Unlike Heathrow it has not produced a glossy version for the public, but says it has produced a 3,200 page “evidence-based” report. They claim it would produce more economic benefit to the UK and not cost the taxpayer anything. By contrast the KPMG report done in December for the Airports Commission said it might cost the taxpayer up to £17.7 billion. Gatwick claims: “The economic benefit to the UK of this enhanced competition will be £40 billion more than Heathrow’s 3rd runway.” Gatwick tries to make out their runway is an obvious choice, and say of their rival Heathrow: “Why tunnel part of the busiest motorway in Europe – the M25 – causing serious traffic disruption, when you can build on land already set aside for expansion?” They say: “The Gatwick proposal is best placed to align with key future trends – including continued market share gains by Low Cost Carriers, the spread of new technology hub-busting aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, and the rapid rise of new hubs in the Middle East and Far East.” Loads of positive spin, absolutely ignoring all the negatives associated with building an airport the size of Heathrow in semi-rural Sussex.

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Heathrow publishes glossy 48 page document promoting its north-west 3rd runway plans

Heathrow airport has released a glossy 48 page document, for the public, promoting its north-west runway option. The document is very high on spin, aspiration, laudable future hopes and intentions of all sorts – but very thin on any detail of how these might realistically happen. Wishful thinking, writ large. For instance, on carbon emission, there are hopes of huge cuts through aircraft not yet invented, fuels also not yet in existence, and carbon trading – not yet in existence. Heathrow makes 10 commitments, but gives no detail about time-scale or who would enforce these commitments, or what would be the penalty for failing to deliver them. There are hopes of better air quality near the airport, 100,000 new jobs, £100 billion (no time scale given – probably over years ….) to the UK economy, and a lot on listening to the public. There are some very carefully chosen sentences about the increase in aircraft noise and numbers affected. Heathrow says it will reduce aircraft noise etc ….”by encouraging the world’s quietest aircraft to use Heathrow, routing aircraft higher over London, delivering periods with no aircraft overhead and allocating £250m to provide noise insulation.”  The airport will submit its plans to the Airports Commission on 14th May.

Click here to view full story…       Document is at  “Taking Britain forward”


Heathrow hopes to buy off Harmondsworth with about £320,000 per property demolished

Heathrow is to spend hundreds of millions of pounds in an attempt to buy off local opposition to a proposed 3rd runway, with plans to use a massive new fund to compensate homeowners and insulate homes and public buildings against aircraft noise. Heathrow knows noise is a key reason why its runway is politically toxic. It also knows the bad publicity of destroying Harmondsworth and Sipson, and making other areas un-liveable. Now – publicising its runway plan tomorrow – Heathrow is proposing to pay the market price, unblighted, of homes plus 25% and the costs of legal fees, moving costs and stamp duty of buying a new home. For a £250,000 property, homeowners would receive £312,500 compensation, plus £7,500 stamp duty costs and legal fees. [About £320,000 each - for a £250,000 house. ie £304 million for the 950 houses Heathrow would demolish]. This of course does not cover homes nearby, where life would become unpleasant. Heathrow is planning another public consultation in July to decide how the money should be divided up. There might also be more money for noise insulation in areas beyond the usual”noise contour” (57dB) and help for schools.

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Gatwick chairman says 2nd runway would benefit UK by just £667 million per year

The day before Heathrow will publicise its runway plans, the Chairman of Gatwick has done his bit for Gatwick’s PR. He has told the Telegraph that he claims the economic benefits of choosing Gatwick’s 2nd runway plans over Heathrow expansion would be £40 billion over the next 60 years. (That is a very tiny sum indeed per year. It is about £0.67 billion ( ie.£667 million) /year benefit …. about £13 per passenger ( with 50 million passengers)? The alleged Gatwick benefit is massively eclipsed by the tourism deficit in 2012 of some £13.8 billion per year link to which Gatwick contributes heftily). Sir Roy says (which is quite true) that Heathrow is a “politically toxic” monopoly and he obligingly sets out a lot of good reasons why a new runway should not, and cannot, be built at Heathrow. Heathrow retaliates by saying their new runway would make air fares cheaper … on and on it goes. Who can envy Sir Howard Davies his job? Sir Roy McNulty of course conveniently ignores the estimate by KPMG link for the Airports Commission that a new Gatwick runway would need as much as £17.7 billion in public funding, much of it stumped up by people who do not even fly, or use Gatwick. Kinda negates the alleged benefits…. .

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Kent’s Manston Airport to close on 15th May

The owners of Manston Airport say it is to close on 15th May with the loss of up to 150 jobs as a buyer has not been found. The bid by a US firm, RiverOak Investment, was rejected a few days ago, and another bid fell through in April. An airport spokesman said there had not been “a viable alternative” to allow the airport to remain open. The spokesman said Manston had also considered business proposals put forward by staff but those would have still required losses to be subsidised. The local MP, Sir Roger Gale, said the airport should have negotiated over the offers. Individual consultation will now take place with all staff members “who will be supported through this process.” In March, the airport said it was losing £10,000 a day. Several airlines have pulled out, including KLM, which ran two daily flights to Amsterdam. Local campaigners keep hoping this is not the end yet, and they are trying to keep fighting “to the bitter end.”

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Gatwick 2nd runway aircraft noise could threaten Hever Castle – it harms the visitor experience

Hever Castle – the childhood home of Anne Boleyn – near Edenbridge in Kent fears increased aircraft noise, from Gatwick planes, could deter people from visiting the attraction. The chief executive of Hever, Duncan Leslie, said: “If they increased aeroplanes I would be surprised if this business survived long term.” The noise is already bad, though Gatwick is 21 miles away, and a 2nd runway could make the situation worse. Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, lived at Hever, which dates back to 1270. The relentless aircraft noise, with planes some 3 – 4,000 feet overhead, detracts from the experience of Hever, and for much of the day with a westerly wind, there is a plane about once a minute. Alastair McDermid, Gatwick’s airports commission director, said a new runway would be to the south of the existing one and would not necessarily increase noise at Hever. Gatwick is holding a consultation at present, and has done 16 exhibitions about it. However, they have chosen not to give any details on flight paths, which has caused a lot of annoyance.

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Gatwick Runway Exhibitions a huge success – for the opposition!

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

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

May 1, 2014 Luton Airport operators LLAOL have announced that Eric Pickles, Secretary of State at the DCLG, has decided not to call in Luton airport’s expansion plans. This means Luton Borough Council can now grant planning permission for works designed to achieve a doubling of annual passenger capacity. Local opponents of the expansion are horrified and saddened. Earlier a local opinion poll showed some 70% of the public who responded to the consultation over Luton Airport Expansion said “NO” to it. Local community group opposing the expansion, HALE, commented that the application is effectively large enough to be a NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) as it could perhaps add 10 million passengers per year. NSIPs have to be called in, as their scale and the extent of their influence warrant proper scrutiny, in detail. The airport and the government, have failed to take proper account of the local impacts of an extra 9 million passengers per year on local transport infrastructure, and the effect of noise from 60% more flights. “The throwaway comment at the end about being a good neighbour is meaningless …” Luton Council gave consent to the plans in December but Eric Pickles asked to review the decision. Click here to view full story…


 

“Gatwick Obviously” poster subvertised into ” Gatwick Seriously?”

29.4.2014   ” A new runway at Gatwick could be ready by 2025, bringing huge economic benefits to its owners, while you get more traffic, more noise and a new town the size of Crawley. And they say it’s the obvious choice.”  Gatwick Obviously  1  Spot the differences.  Gatwick Seriously (Box 4 refers to the only way, on the Gatwick consultation form, it is possible to express opposition to any of the airport’s runway schemes).


 

Head of Gatwick Diamond tries to make out that a “silent majority” want a 2nd runway (they just don’t bother to say so)

April 25, 2014 The Gatwick Diamond is a business organisation, whose mission is to boost business in a large area around Gatwick, in all directions. They do not appear to have much environmental awareness, and have a blinkered approach of backing anything that might bring “growth.” Needless to say, they give their unwavering, and uncritical, support for a 2nd Gatwick runway. There are self-interest motives for many of their members in doing so. The airport has organised a recent spate of exhibitions across the area, promoting its runway, and with a “consultation” (which gives no proper option for those responding to say NO to a runway). Despite the huge amount of money it has cost, it appears Gatwick has found the majority attending are either against its plans, or deeply sceptical. This is confirmed by the local community group, GACC, which has had a presence outside each exhibition. Now the head of the Gatwick Diamond, Jeremy Taylor, has said there is huge backing from a “silent majority” for the runway, but they just have not expressed it. Jeremy – this is how democracy works. If people do not turn up to vote for an election, it does not matter what they might have thought, sitting at home. If you don’t vote, your vote does not get counted. Governments are not elected into power because somehow we manage to divine the views of those not voting.       Click here to view full story…


 

GACC launch its “Gatwick’s Big Enough” campaign against any 2nd runway

Gatwick's BIG enough April 14, 2014 Gatwick Fact File April 2014 The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, GACC, has launched its campaign against a new Gatwick runway under the slogan “Gatwick’s Big Enough.” It has been carefully chosen to show that there is no opposition to the airport as it is, only to the plans to double its size. Thousands of car stickers have been posted to members with this logo. The campaign has also been attending all the Gatwick Airport exhibitions around the area, and has produced a new Fact File. This sets out the information that the airport is not telling people, on the actual impacts a new runway would have, in terms of noise, stress on infrastructure and public services, total change in the character of the area even some distance away, and deteriorating quality of life for many. In GACC’s experience, having been to several Gatwick exhibitions, “It is our impression that many people go in with an open mind but come out alarmed at the scale of what is proposed” and ‘My impression was that the overwhelming majority {in Crawley} were against a new runway” and many people “were irritated by the lack of information on flight paths.”      Click here to view full story…


Study suggests London City Airport site could be put to more economically & socially efficient use by closing the airport

London City Airport April 11, 2014 A new report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) makes the case for closing London’s City Airport and redeveloping the site to create more jobs, boost local business and build new homes. The report looked at the actual contribution, and the restrictions, caused by the airport on the surrounding area, and it has come to some conclusion that may seem surprising. They found London City Airport creates little value to the UK economy – despite occupying 500,000 square metres at the heart of London. Its direct contribution in 2011 was £110m – compared to £513 million generated by the nearby ExCeL Centre. It provides relatively few jobs, and restrictions on development near the airport due to the public safety zone and height restrictions in the nearby area limit many potentially more efficient uses of the land. Local residents bear all the costs but reap few of the benefits – the average salary of a London City Airport passenger is over £90,000, while 40% of Newham residents earn less than £20,000. Only about 28% of the airport jobs go to Newham people. London’s transport no longer needs City Airport – City Airport’s passengers account for just 2.4% of London’s total flight demand. These passengers could be readily absorbed by Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted. By 2019 Crossrail will allow City workers to reach Heathrow in just 30 minutes.   Click here to view full story…


 

GACC describes Gatwick consultation as “plush and bogus” – it gives no proper chance to say “no” to a new runway

April 4, 2014 The consultation published by Gatwick Airport today is described by GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) as ‘plush but bogus.’ It is plush because no expense has been spared in an attempt to make a new Gatwick runway look inevitable. But it makes no economic or environmental sense to build a new Gatwick runway when Stansted is not forecast to be full until around 2040. It is bogus because the Airports Commission has already ruled out Option 1, the close-parallel runway. GACC’s objections remain as strong as ever. They will campaign vigorously against any new runway. The consultation document contains no maps showing future flight paths – which is an issue of huge significance to local people. It also ignores the inconvenient issue of necessary increases in landing fees, to pay for a runway + terminal. The consultation is deeply flawed, as it gives no proper option to oppose any new runway. There is merely one small option of “None of these options” buried in its section D. That is difficult to find and somewhat confusing (it could mean a preference for some other runway location). A proper consultation would have given the public a straightforward chance to say ‘No’. Click here to view full story…


 

European Parliament votes to continue with partial inclusion of aviation in weakened ETS – for intra-EU flights only till at least 2016

April 3, 2014 The European Parliament voted on 3rd April to alter the ETS so that, instead of airlines being charged for all the carbon of flights into and out of the EU, the scheme will only cover carbon emissions for intra-EU flights. This is the “Stop the Clock” (STC) deal, which started in 2013. It means charges for CO2 emissions will be made for flights by European airlines, and for the very few by non-EU airlines between European airports. This severe weakening of the ETS has been caused by relentless pressure from foreign powers (USA, China, India and Russia as the main opponents), and means the ETS will only cover a small fraction of total aviation carbon emissions associated with flights to and from all European countries. The vote on 3rd reverses the position taken by the European Parliament’s environment committee last month, when it rejected the change to intra-EU flights only, and very narrowly voted on a compromise that would have required non-EU flights to still pay for their CO2 emissions within EU airspace. The “Stop the Clock” weak version of the ETS will now run until the end of 2016 and the agreement allows for a return to the original full scope of the scheme from 2017 should an agreement at ICAO to implement a global market-based mechanism from 2020 not be reached at its Assembly in 2016. Click here to view full story…


 

Heathrow business case looks shaky if it had to give £100 million + per year noise compensation to households

April 3, 2014 Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia says Heathrow’s business case is beginning to look very shaky. Heathrow’s owners would have to spend £100 million every year to households around the airport if it is to match Gatwick’s new noise compensation offer. In its PR efforts to win over local opposition, Gatwick has offered to pay £1,000 each to existing homes inside a 57 decibel catchment around the airport, once (if) a 2nd runway is built. This would include 4,100 homes, and the cost would be £4.1 million per year. Wandsworth calculates payments on this scale would cost Heathrow about £100 million per year. Gatwick has also offered to pay up to 2,000 qualifying local households a one-off grant of up to £3,000 towards noise insulation. If Heathrow was to match the terms of this scheme it could cost the airport a further £210 million per year. M r Govindia said the Airports Commission must give proper consideration to the “real noise impact of an airport set in the most densely populated part of the country. ….Once you weigh the real environmental costs – and those for improved surface access – against the claimed benefits of an additional runway, Heathrow’s business case begins to look very shaky.” Click here to view full story…


 

Boris sets out his 4 ideas for future of Heathrow site if airport is closed

April 1, 2014 Boris has produced a report on what might happen to Heathrow and its surrounding area, if the airport was shut (and a massive airport built on the Thames estuary). The report sets out 4 schemes. Boris says he is “prompting a genuine, honest discussion about what London could achieve in a world post Heathrow.” He said: “The money seems to be going on Gatwick, but I do not think that is the long-term solution that London needs – in having a dual hub solution.” The 4 schemes are for a new education and technology quarter, with 2 new large campus universities; a new town, with over 48,000 homes for 112,000 people and 76,000 jobs created in total ; a new residential quarter, on the scale of Hammersmith and Fulham, with 82,000 new homes supporting a population of 200,000, and 54,000 jobs; or a Heathrow City, with education and commercial research, high value manufacturing, knowledge parks and office development – with 80,000 homes and 90,000 jobs created. The report says many of the jobs currently provided at Heathrow would “move to the new airport and be easily accessible via the world class transport links proposed.” There is a separate report by Hillingdon with its two scenarios for the Heathrow area. Click here to view full story…


 


 

Green organisations tell Sir Howard Davies that allowing another runway jeopardises UK climate goals 

8 NGO logos for Airports Commission letter

November 1, 2013        Eight of the key environmental organisations in the UK have written an open letter to Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission, to express their concern about the Commission’s “emerging thinking” that more runway capacity is needed for the south east, as expressed in Sir Howard’s speech on 7th October. They have serious concerns about how adding a new runway could be compatible with UK climate targets, and they call on the Commission to demonstrate how its recommendations will avoid gambling on our future ability to meet the UK climate target. The NGOs say the Committee on Climate Change’s analysis concluded that stabilising UK aviation’s emissions at their 2005 level could translate to a maximum 60% growth in the number of passengers at UK airports. They set out 4 key arguments why no new runway capacity is needed even if passenger numbers are permitted to grow by up to 60%. They also urge the Commission to retain a “no new runways” option in its deliberations as the best way of achieving the targets set in the UK Climate Change Act. The eight green NGOs which have signed the letter are: Aviation Environment Federation; Campaign for Better Transport; Friends of the Earth; Greenpeace; RSPB; Stop Climate Chaos; The Woodland Trust; WWF-UK. Click here to view full story…



Aviation now contributes 4.9% of climate change worldwide

Work by the IPCC now estimates that aviation accounted for 4.9% of man-made climate impacts in 2005. This contrasts with the 2% figure that is constantly quoted by aviation lobbyists, and 3% which the same authors quoted two years ago. They have now revised their estimates with 2 important changes: including for the first time estimates of cirrus cloud formation and allowing for aviation growth between 2000 and 2005. The effect of these is to increase aviation’s impacts to 3.5% without cirrus and 4.9% including cirrus. 23.5.2009  More  …


Committee on Climate Change.

4th Carbon Budget UK should commit to a 60% cut in emissions by 2030 as a contribution to global efforts to combat climate change.

Aviation emissions must be no higher in 2050 than in 2005, and to do this, all other sectors must cut by 85% by 2050 to allow aviation to grow by 60%

The Committee on Climate Change today recommended a Carbon Budget for 2023-27 and a target for emissions reductions in 2030 – halfway between now and 2050. The recommended target for 2030, to cut emissions by 60% relative to 1990 levels (46% relative to current levels), would then require a 62% emissions reduction from 2030 to meet the 2050 target in the Climate Change Act. The Carbon Budget says international aviation and shipping should be included, and it is vital that UK aviation emissions in 2050 are no higher than in 2005.  Also that, as technologies to cut aviation emissions are not readily available, other sectors of the economy will need to cut by 85% in 2050 in order to let aviation grow by 60%.  7.12.2010  More ….. . . .