Local campaigners, AXO, encourage local residents to respond to the Southampton airport expansion consultation

There is a planning application consultation by Southampton Airport, that closes on 23rd December. The airport has published plans for a 164-metre runway extension.  The planning application, lodged with Eastleigh Borough Council, is the first phase of its growth set out in its “masterplan” which it charmingly calls (oxymoron) “A Vision For Sustainable Growth.”  The application is likely to be considered by the council on 21st January 2020.  Local opposition group, AXO (Airport Expansion Opposition) Southampton is urging people to read the application, and submit their comments. There are serious concerns about road congestion, and increases in air pollution – as well as the inevitable increase in noise. The longer runway would mean larger aircraft could use it. AXO warns that the application should not be decided before the CAA’s Airspace Change consultation process is completed, as this may change significantly the impact on residents under or near the flight path. It also should not be decided until the government has finalised its Aviation Strategy, for all UK aviation, expected in early-mid 2020, when it has taken into account the new legal situation for aviation carbon emissions, with a net-zero target for 2050.

.

  • Airport expansion needs to be considered on a regional/national level rather than at local level – expansion of Heathrow would draw custom away from regional airports, and the impact of expansion at other regional airports will impact on passenger flows through Southampton Airport
  • The expansion would lead to increased traffic generation with associated congestion and air pollution as well as air pollution from the flights themselves. The airport makes some very optimistic assumptions about its ability to increase use of public transport as a means of getting to the airport. In reality, rail cannot take much increase so it is likely the majority of traffic arriving at the airport will be on our already congested roads. The policy of Eastleigh BC to prioritise the Chickenhall Road link and effectively dismiss the ‘Eastleigh Railway Chord’ [to link the airport to Portsmouth and the East with greater ease] makes a mockery of the airport MD’s advertising of its rail links.
  • There will be increased noise for those under the flight path. At present over 5600 local people experience noise levels of 55dB and above – this is twice the loudness of 45dB recommended by the World Health Organisation. The number of people affected will increase with airport expansion.
  • Decision on this application should be delayed until after the Airspace Change consultation process is completed, as this may change significantly the impact on residents under or near the flight path.
  • Eastleigh Borough Council has declared a climate and environmental emergency. Airport expansion will lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions and is simply incompatible with addressing this climate emergency. The Airport’s own estimate is that carbon emissions will rise on average by 350,000 tonnes per year. For comparison, homes, industry and road traffic in the entire Borough of Eastleigh is responsible for 610,000t per year. No amount of presumed economic benefit can justify this level of increase in carbon emissions. There is no way of offsetting this level of emissions, and the airport is proposing mitigation for only the (already small) carbon emissions during the construction phase and for its own operations (current plans are for only 6,000 tonne reduction.
  • Neil Garwood (airport MD) has stated that only 2% of CO2 emissions were due to aviation. This is an absolute minimum figure that applies to global emissions. The UK government itself acknowledges that the current UK aviation emissions are 7% and set to go to 25% by 2050 – when aviation CO2 emissions are likely to be the single greatest offender in the UK. You should know this, because it has been reported extensively on the BBC – as have the recommendations by Lord Deben (the Chair of the Government Committee on Climate Change) that everyone’s appetite for air travel should be curbed and that airport expansion needs to be curtailed.
  • The expansion would lead to increased traffic generation with associated congestion and air pollution as well as air pollution from the flights themselves. The airport makes some very optimistic assumptions about its ability to increase use of public transport as a means of getting to the airport. In reality, rail cannot take much increase so it is likely the majority of traffic arriving at the airport will be on our already congested roads. The policy of Eastleigh BC to prioritise the Chickenhall Road link and effectively dismiss the ‘Eastleigh Railway Chord’ [to link the airport to Portsmouth and the East with greater ease] makes a mockery of the airport MD’s advertising of its rail links.
  • The economic benefits are overstated. The Airport promises 500 new jobs on the site, yet its last masterplan in 2004 promised an extra 391 jobs by 2015 – in fact there were 54 fewer. Its own figures show that nearly 80% of passengers are local people, so the effect on tourism from incoming visitors is limited. The percentage of flights taken for business has fallen. Moreover, in a time of climate emergency we should not be basing our economy on expansion of a sector that needs to be reduced.
  • Aviation expansion is a national issue, as we have a climate. Airport expansion therefore needs to be considered on a regional/national level rather than at local level for example, expansion of Heathrow would draw custom away from regional airports, and the impact of expansion at other regional airports will impact on passenger flows through Southampton Airport. These decisions should not be made locally on a case by case basis by the local authority that each airport happens to be located in, but should be decided nationally.
  • Decision on this application should be delayed until after the Airspace Change consultation process is completed, as this may change significantly the impact on residents under or near the flight path.

For more details from AXO, see

https://axosouthampton.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/reasons-for-objection-eastleigh/

.


AXO say:

Why we’re campaigning

Whilst accepting the need for a small regional airport at Southampton, we acknowledge that the Climate Crisis means we must all fly less.


What can you do?

1) Object to Eastleigh Council

The planning application for airport expansion has been submitted [application number F/19/86707] (If this link doesn’t work you enter the number on the planning register ‘simple search’ box).

The consultation period ends on the 23/12/19 so time for reading the application, the associated documents (the devil is in the detail) and commenting is limited. The application is likely to be considered by the Eastleigh Local Area Committee (ELAC) at its meeting on 21st January 2020 (7pm).

Don’t have time to read the planning application? We have! Read our summary of concerns that you may wish to use in your objection.

.


See earlier:

Southampton airport submits runway extension plans

Southampton airport has published plans for a 164-metre extension to its runway.

The planning application, lodged with Eastleigh Borough Council, is the first phase of growth outlined in the airport’s masterplan – recently re-named A Vision For Sustainable Growth.

The airport says extending the runway by 164 metres within its existing boundaries will allow it to increase passenger numbers from two to three million per year, “significantly” increase route choices and allow aircraft to reach further-afield destinations.

It would bring destinations in Scandinavia, the Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe within reach, Southampton airport said.

Managing director Neil Garwood said: “Our plans will make the airport resilient to changes in the aviation market as the longer runway permits year-round viability for an increased number of airlines.

“The longer runway will enable the airport to increase its financial contribution from £160 million to £400 million per year, create over 500 new jobs, and bring huge gains in connectivity and choice for our region.

“Our development plans have been carefully prepared by a project team including ecologists and technical experts, sensitive to the needs of the local community, including comprehensive noise and air quality management plans.

“The airport has nearly four million people in its catchment area, and we firmly believe enabling them to fly from their local airport and taking tens of thousands of needless car journeys off of our already congested roads is the most sustainable way to fly.

“In construction terms, the runway extension is relatively small, but the benefit it will make to our region’s connectivity is significant.”

Southampton airport has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, for “emissions within the airport’s control” and has owed to invest in the latest technology to maximise the use of sustainable power sources and developments such as electric aircraft.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/350446/southampton-airport-submits-runway-extension-plans

.


Almost 2,000 people sign petition against Southampton Airport expansion plans

About 1,900 people have signed a petition opposing the expansion of Southampton Airport. The local opposition campaign, Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO), will be asking Southampton Councillors not to back plans to extend the airport’s runway by 164 metres.  AXO members will present the petition to councillors at a full council meeting. The plans to extend the runway and increase the number of flights will increase carbon emissions, and are contrary to the council’s plans to cut CO2 locally.  The airport will submit its expansion planning application to Eastleigh Borough Council. AXO said that if Southampton is serious about declaring a climate emergency, the airport expansion should not be permitted. Airports and their backers try to use the argument that it is better for people to fly (as they assume people will continue to do, in growing numbers….) from a local airport, citing the carbon emissions of their trip to/from another larger airport. Those emissions are generally small compared to those of the flight itself. And the aim of having a local airport is to get people to fly more, as it is more convenient.  Net effect – more flights, more carbon. And more noise and local impacts around the airport.

Click here to view full story…

Local opposition growing to expansion plans by Southampton airport

A group within Southampton Friends of the Earth has set up a campaign to oppose Southampton Airport expansion. Despite the Government’s recent commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, there are many airport expansion applications across the UK. This expansion cannot enable the aviation sector to meet even its current, easy, carbon target – let alone the much more stringent one required for a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. The airport will probably submit its planning application to extend the runway by 170 metres to Eastleigh Borough Council in the next few weeks. The scoping report and Master Plan have received approval in principle from Southampton City Council. Twyford Parish Council has objected, due to a proposed increase of flights over the village. Eastleigh Greens are likely to be objecting as well.  Friends of the Earth Southampton are currently putting together a petition to Southampton City Council to ask them to re-think their support for airport expansion, given that the Government is asking for net zero carbon by 2050. Campaigners started a group here to oppose the proposed expansion but it has not got a name yet. People interested can get in touch via the local FoE group foesoton@gmail.com

Click here to view full story…

 

.

 

 

 

Read more »

Emirates boss says he took too long to accept climate crisis

It took Sir Tim Clark a long time to face up to the climate crisis. He was pretty sceptical about some of the climate claims.  He seems to have woken up a bit: “The stark reality of climate change is with us. I’m a climate change believer. I have to say, it took me a long time to get there.   “And we [in the aviation industry] aren’t doing ourselves any favours by chucking billions of tons of carbon into the air. It’s got to be dealt with.”  It’s a frank admission from one of the most powerful people in an industry that has many commercial reasons to bury its head in the sand.  He has little faith that electric battery alternatives will ever be capable of powering a big airliner. And while biofuels are an option, they won’t be scalable to meet demand. Synthetic fuels offer the best alternative, but these are years from being fit for purpose.  But he and the rest of the industry have no solutions to the problem of aviation CO2 emissions, and intend the industry to go on growing – even though realising it is a massive carbon headache. Just keep on polluting, but pretend to care a bit.
.

 

Dubai Air Show: Emirates boss says he took too long to accept climate crisis

The president of Emirates, the biggest long-haul airline in the world, was no climate change denier. But he was pretty sceptical about some of the claims.

Not now, though. “The stark reality of climate change is with us. I’m a climate change believer. I have to say, it took me a long time to get there.

“And we [in the aviation industry] aren’t doing ourselves any favours by chucking billions of tons of carbon into the air. It’s got to be dealt with,” he told the BBC.

It’s a frank admission from one of the most powerful people in an industry that has many commercial reasons to bury its head in the sand.

Another surprise is his admiration for climate change activists. “I quite like Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg for having brought a real focus to the issue; a focus on the fact that we are not doing enough at the speed we should be.

“I’m not condoning some of their methods. But Extinction Rebellion and Greta have a role to play… We really need this kind of thing to force us to make decisions.”

Activists have done more to highlight the issues than any government or industry body ever has, he says.

Sir Tim, 70 later this month, has spent half his working life helping to establish and then run the Dubai-based carrier. Emirates is now one of the world’s most successful airlines, carrying 150,000 people a day.

So, tackling the airline’s carbon footprint is not the first challenge he’s faced. But it’s up there with the biggest.

Emirates, which also includes a big cargo operation, burns through an astonishing 100 million barrels of oil each year. So finding a viable alternative to fossil fuels is not going to happen any time soon, Sir Tim says.

He has little faith that electric battery alternatives will ever be capable of powering a big airliner. And while biofuels are an option, they won’t be scalable to meet demand.

Sir Tim thinks synthetic fuels offer the best alternative, but these are years from being fit for purpose.

Nevertheless, meaningful change is happening, Sir Tim insists. “But the industry has been a very bad articulator of the good things we’ve done.”

Aero-engines are far more efficient – 50% more efficient than 30 years ago, he says. Use of lighter materials in manufacturing airframes means a lighter fuel burn.

Airlines are stripping out plastic use where they can – “more difficult than you’d imagine”- and changing the way aircraft taxi on runways.

It would also help if governments improved airspace use. “Aircraft don’t fly in a straight line. Even in Europe we have to make too many dog-legs,” he said.

There are plenty of other small changes – what he calls “low hanging fruit” – that cumulatively could make a big dent in the industry’s carbon footprint. “We are trying every trick in the book to improve things,” he said.

Except, emissions are forecast to rise over the next couple of years as air travel in the Middle East and Asia continues to grow. And Emirates is expanding its fleet to meet that growth. Sir Tim spoke to the BBC at the Dubai Air Show, where the airline has announced another blockbuster $16bn order for aircraft.

He understands that most activists and “flight shamers” won’t be happy until aircraft stop flying. But it’s not practical and, frankly, it’s just not going to happen, he said. Sir Tim also wonders if people in Europe and the US should be denying newly-affluent travellers elsewhere the same benefits the West had.

While he accepts there will be no meeting of minds with those on the other side of the table, he would like activists to at least know they have helped push through change. “We are no longer dragging our feet,” he said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-50481107?__twitter_impression=true

.

.

.

Read more »

Sadiq Khan attacks London City Airport expansion plans – “unfettered growth is not an option”

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has warned London City Airport that “unfettered growth is not an option” as he criticised its plans for expansion. He said residents must have a break from plane noise, and the airport should take its air pollution and environmental responsibilities more seriously.  The airport, in a densely populated area of east London, is increasingly used for holiday travel – not business – and it wants to increase the current cap of 111,000 flights/year to 137,000 by 2030 and to 151,000 by 2035.  It hopes for 5 million passengers this year, but wants up to 6.5 million per year.  The Mayor said the current plans “would not be in the interest of Londoners”. He said noise from planes was a “fundamental issue” as changes to flight paths three years ago meant some areas were being flown over too often. Also that breaks from flights – overnight, and for 24 hours from lunchtime on Saturday – “must not be eroded” and the airport should use new technology to give residents more relief, not just to maximise profits. He said the airport must consider CO2 emissions from flights in its carbon reduction plans, as its current target of “net zero emissions by 2050 “does not include flights – only airport terminals, vehicles, and other ground operations.

.

 

Sadiq Khan attacks London City Airport expansion plans

By Jessie MathewsonLocal democracy reporter
East London and West Essex Guardian
Sadiq Khan warned London City Airport that “unfettered growth is not an option” as he criticised its plans for expansion.

The Mayor of London said residents must have a break from flight noise, and the airport should take its air pollution and environmental responsibilities more seriously.

The airport, in the Royal Docks, Newham, East London, wants more people to use it, particularly holiday travellers – it expects a record 5 million passengers this year, up 40 per cent in the past five years.

It consulted on its draft plan from June until late September, and is currently assessing responses.

Residents are concerned the expansion plans would end the 24-hour break from overhead flights at weekends.

And the Mayor said he could not support the plans in their current form because “it would not be in the interest of Londoners”.

Mr Khan said noise from planes remained a “fundamental issue” as changes to flight paths three years ago meant some areas were being flown over too often.

He said breaks from flights – overnight, and for 24 hours from lunchtime on Saturday – “must not be eroded” and the airport should use new technology to give residents more relief, not just to maximise profits.

The Mayor also said it should set higher targets for public transport access to reduce the air pollution it causes, and questioned plans to expand parking by 20 per cent.

And Mr Khan said the airport must consider emissions from flights in its carbon reduction plans.

The airport’s current target of net zero emissions by 2050 does not include flights – only airport terminals, landing vehicles, and other ground operations.

In a letter to its chief executive Robert Sinclair, the Mayor said: “The airport’s ambitions are clear, but the draft master plan raises significant concerns.

“The airport must takes its environmental responsibilities and its impact on Londoners seriously.

“It is essential for the airport to recognise that unfettered growth is not an option and that it must be proactive in addressing its noise, air quality and carbon impacts.”

Mr Khan joins the London Assembly’s Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green groups, as well as the Mayors of Newham and Tower Hamlets in opposing the draft plans.

Newham, Tower Hamlets, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Lewisham and Hackney councils have also criticised the current proposals.

Alan Haughton, a Blackwall resident and campaigner with Hacan East, a group opposing the airport’s expansion, welcomed Mr Khan’s letter.

He said: “It’s a very strong response from the Mayor. He obviously gets that London City Airport is acting irresponsibly with what it has put in its draft master plan.”

Mr Haughton said the airport should now provide more details of proposed changes to flight paths so residents could better understand the noise impact.

He said: “The airport need to stop. They need to kill this dead in the water – no one wants it.

“They need to scrap all expansion plans and all plans for weekend flights – until we have clear concise flight paths everything else must be on hold.”

A spokesperson for London City Airport said consulting on its plans had been the “ideal opportunity” to gather views on its future.

He said: “We take our environmental responsibilities seriously, both to local residents and to London as a whole, and our record to date on air quality, noise and carbon reduction demonstrates this commitment.

“In the event that the airport were to submit more detailed proposals in the future, these would be subject to full assessment of environmental impacts, as part of our rigorous focus on sustainable growth.”

https://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/17993568.sadiq-khan-attacks-london-city-airport-expansion-plans/

.


See also:

 

Tower Hamlets Mayor’s letter to London City Airport consultation, opposing changes that will negatively impact residents

The Mayor Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, has sent a letter to the London City Airport consultation, to express his concerns about the airport’s expansion plans. This is in addition to the more detailed response sent by the council itself. Mr Biggs says: …”the negative impacts of increasing flights at LCA would be unacceptable in terms of increasing noise levels and exacerbating climate change. The level of noise coming from aircraft needs to be tightly regulated and we believe lower thresholds for disturbance need to put in place. …  To protect residents from noise disruption LCA must retain the current 24 hour closure of the airport at weekends between 12.30pm Saturday – 12.30pm Sunday to provide respite for our residents from the noise. To limit the level of disturbance caused to our residents the restrictions on early morning, late night and weekend flights should also be retained,  …In Tower Hamlets we have declared a climate emergency and 40% of our residents live in areas with unacceptable levels of air quality. I would like to see further commitments by the airport on its plans to limit the amount of emissions from airport operations.”  See the full letter.

Click here to view full story…

Redbridge councillors agree to oppose ‘detrimental’ London City Airport expansion plans

Redbridge Councillors have agreed to oppose  (43 : 10) London City Airport’s expansion plans and express serious concern about the “detrimental effect” of noise and air pollution on the health and wellbeing of Redbridge residents.  Proposing the motion, Councillor Sheila Bain and Councillor John Howard spoke about the “profound noise and environmental impact” the proposals will have on residents, particularly those living directly under the flight paths. The motion also asked councillors to note a lack of evidence to support the claims that noise pollution, air quality and emissions will not be affected and the lack of adequate consultation by London City Airport with residents affected by the proposals, most of whom are unaware of the consultation taking place.  Councillor Paul Donovan said: “City Airport needs to think again, listen to what people are saying and realise that whilst they may need to make more money, that the environment, health and welfare of those of us living below these flight paths is more important.”

Click here to view full story…

Mayor of Newham’s challenge to London City Airport’s expansion as “fundamentally flawed, due to lack of clarity & information”

Campaigners have welcomed a demand by the mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, to halt London City Airport’s consultation on expansion with more daily flights – until it shows how it will tackling noise and CO2 emissions. City Airport’s Consultation Master Plan suggests almost doubling the number of daily flights, with more early morning and late evening. The airport insists its consultation will continue till 20th September. The mayor called the consultation “fundamentally flawed because of lack of clarity and information” in a letter to the airport’s chief executive. She calls on the airport to halt the public consultation immediately until it publishes the “omitted technical details”. “The significance of the mayor’s move cannot be overstated. Newham is the planning authority for the airport,” said Hacan East chairman John Stewart.  Newham Council which declared a “climate emergency” earlier this year, and is seeking more evidence about the airport’s plans to tackle CO2 emissions and air pollution. A huge number of people are already badly affected by aircraft noise. Newham already has a large number of deaths, occurring prematurely, due to air pollution. London City airport growth – pollution from aircraft – would only add to that, as well as the noise assault.

Click here to view full story…

.

RESIDENTS DISMAYED BY LONDON CITY AIRPORT EXPANSION PLANS TO DOUBLE FLIGHT NUMBERS

London City’s Master Plan has been released, for consultation, and it is very bad news for local residents who suffer from the noise of its planes.  It is proposing to double the number of flights by 2035; to end the break when currently there are no flights between 12:30pm on Saturday and 12.30pm on Sunday; and to bring in more planes in the early morning and late evening. Residents are dismayed by the London City expansion revealed in its Master Plan published today.  The airport wants to lift the current cap of 111,000 flights allowed each year to 137,000 by 2030 and to 151,000 by 2035. Last year there were just over 75,000 flights. John Stewart, chair of HACAN East, which gives a voice to residents under the airport’s flight paths, said, “For all its green talk, this plan would be disastrous for residents.  Flight numbers could double from today’s levels.” Increasingly the airport caters for leisure passengers, not business. The consultation ends on 20th September.  The airport would need to go to a Planning Inquiry to get permission for any proposals it intends to take forward, after applying to Newham Council for its plans. Newham borough has pledged to make the borough “carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon zero by 2050”.  The airport will not be helping with that.

Click here to view full story…

.

.

.

.

 

.

 

Read more »

Heathrow tries to make out that its 3rd runway is vital, as it will lower fares (so increasing yet further the number flying)

Heathrow has accused British Airways of acting against “the consumer and national interest” by attempting to slow down its expansion and “depriving passengers of lower fares.” They would say that, wouldn’t they?  BA’s parent company, IAG, has complained to the CAA about the approximately £3.3bn Heathrow will spend on preparations for the third runway, accusing the airport of covering up costs that will affect airlines.  BA is of course not pure in this; it wants to prevent other airlines at Heathrow, competing with it. It has no qualms about its CO2 emissions rising. Heathrow wants airlines (IAG is the main airline company using Heathrow) to pay towards its 3rd runway plans, before the expansion is complete. IAG is not at all keen on that. Rather pathetically, Heathrow is terrified of being overtaken by any other European airport. Holland-Kaye said: “In two years’ time Charles de Gaulle [in Paris] will overtake Heathrow as the biggest airport in Europe.”  They like to make out that would be a terrible thing for Britain (which it would not be).
.

 

 

Heathrow accuses BA of acting against UK and consumer interests

Airport boss hits back in third runway row by saying airline is trying to slow down expansion

Heathrow has accused British Airways of acting against “the consumer and national interest” by attempting to slow down expansion of the airport and depriving passengers of lower fares.

BA’s parent company, IAG, has complained to the regulator about the approximately £3.3bn Heathrow will spend on preparations for the third runway, accusing the airport of covering up costs that will affect airlines.

The airport’s chief executive hit back at IAG for keeping fares high and attempting to stave off competition. John Holland-Kaye said: “The affordability debate has been around the wrong thing, landing charges of £20 per passenger, rather than competition on fares.

“We’re getting on with building the third runway. What IAG would prefer to do is not spend money until after we’ve got planning permission, and delay by two or three years. That’s not in the consumer interest or national interest. In two years’ time Charles de Gaulle [in Paris] will overtake Heathrow as the biggest airport in Europe.”

Virgin Atlantic has been campaigning to gain up to a third of the new slots from the third runway, saying it would allow the airline to become the UK’s second flag carrier and target up to 84 new routes and lower fares by 10% on routes where there is currently no competition.

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic’s founder and main shareholder, said BA “should have a competitor that has 35-40% [of slots] at least”. He added: “We ‘re going to show where BA has sole use on a [route], fares are higher – and by having a competitor we can keep them more honest.”

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive, said: “We have 5% of the slots and we want 15%. There are 18.5 million passengers at Heathrow flying on monopoly routes who could have lower fares.”

This month Willie Walsh, the IAG chief executive, said he believed the third runway would not get built and he called on the Civil Aviation Authority to prevent the cost being passed on through airline charges. “Ultimately this is money that is being spent – and in my opinion wasted – that gets passed through to consumers,” he said.

Holland-Kaye praised Virgin’s plans and said he thought a 10% reduction in fares was “a conservative estimate”. He said: “This is transformational. This is a massive opportunity to get real competition in check and lower ticket prices.”

He said slot allocation would need to be overhauled to ensure either easyJet or Virgin could build a network, including key short-haul routes. “They need that to be a credible scale player.”

Meanwhile Branson, speaking in Tel Aviv, revealed that the planned flotation of Virgin Galactic, his passenger spaceflight venture, was expected to take place on Monday on the New York stock exchange. He said he would be “floating in a different way on Monday, and in space next year”.

The IPO is expected to value the company at $1.5bn (£1.15bn). More than 600 prospective passengers have placed deposits on a $250,000 fare for the 90-minute flight out of the Earth’s atmosphere.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/23/heathrow-accuses-ba-acting-against-uk-consumer-interests?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

.


See earlier:

Willie Walsh (IAG) warns again of excessive, out-of-control, unknown Heathrow 3rd runway costs

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, has always been against the very high costs of expanding Heathrow. He has again said he does not trust Heathrow to keep costs reasonable, and he is opposed to expansion – for which costs would escalate. He said Heathrow has “understated” the costs of expanding and the project is “out of control”, and there was “absolutely no way” Heathrow could build everything planned on budget. He thinks that while Heathrow continues to quote a figure of £14 billion for the investment required, the “true costs” would be over £32 billion. He believes building the 3rd runway and associated works alone will require £14 billion. And then a further £14.5 billion would be required to add terminal capacity and other infrastructure on the existing site. Walsh thinks just extending Terminal 5 could cost a further £3.5 billion. Heathrow now claim their costs even before building anything, are £3.3 billion for planning and preparation. Far higher than earlier estimates.  It is a risk that the runway would be under-utilised, as costs would have to be too high – to pay for the excessive spending – to tempt airlines to use it.  That would also make any net economic benefit to the UK very negative. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2019/08/willie-walsh-iag-warns-again-of-excessive-out-of-control-unknown-heathrow-3rd-runway-costs/

.

.

Heathrow plans to increase 3rd runway costs – to £2.9 bn – before approval, hoping it will be too costly to scrap its plans

Heathrow plans to triple the amount it spends on its third runway proposal, to £2.9bn – well before getting final approval. This either means air passengers using Heathrow would be charged more (something the industry and the government do not want), or else the taxpayer will be charged. Even if the runway never goes ahead.  The CAA has a consultation about the costs and how Heathrow has been speeding up the process, spending ever more money. (The legal challenges are now going to appeal in October, but Heathrow is pressing ahead with its DCO consultations). Especially on carbon emissions, air pollution and noise grounds, it is entirely possible the runway will be blocked and the DCO will not be granted.  The CAA says it has asked Heathrow “to consider different options for this spending and the implications of this spending for the overall programme timetable and the interests of consumers.” [Not to mention the taxpayer, who may end up paying …] Heathrow is increasing the amount of its “Category B” costs and “early Category C” costs. They want to increase the amount spent already to be so large, that it effectively cannot be cancelled. Detailed costs still have to be outlined, but Heathrow is expected to submit its initial business plan to the CAA for review towards the end of this year.

Click here to view full story…

.

.

.

 

.

.

.

.

.

 

Read more »

Redbridge councillors agree to oppose ‘detrimental’ London City Airport expansion plans

Redbridge Councillors have agreed to oppose  (43 : 10) London City Airport’s expansion plans and express serious concern about the “detrimental effect” of noise and air pollution on the health and wellbeing of Redbridge residents.  Proposing the motion, Councillor Sheila Bain and Councillor John Howard spoke about the “profound noise and environmental impact” the proposals will have on residents, particularly those living directly under the flight paths. The motion also asked councillors to note a lack of evidence to support the claims that noise pollution, air quality and emissions will not be affected and the lack of adequate consultation by London City Airport with residents affected by the proposals, most of whom are unaware of the consultation taking place.  Councillor Paul Donovan said: “City Airport needs to think again, listen to what people are saying and realise that whilst they may need to make more money, that the environment, health and welfare of those of us living below these flight paths is more important.”
.

 

Redbridge councillors agree to oppose ‘detrimental’ London City Airport expansion plans

20 September 2019

By Imogen Braddick (Ilford Recorder)

Councillors have agreed to oppose London City Airport’s expansion plans and express serious concern about the “detrimental effect” of noise and air pollution on the health and wellbeing of Redbridge residents.

Proposing the motion, Councillor Sheila Bain and Councillor John Howard spoke about the “profound noise and environmental impact” the proposals will have on residents, particularly those living directly under the flight paths.

Cllr Bain said: “City Airport have had no regard in this masterplan to the severe noise and environmental impact of their expansion plans on the quality of life of our residents or the damaging effects on climate change.

“They have not engaged with residents on their proposals through a proper consultation. These proposals are all about profit before people.”

The motion also asked councillors to note a lack of evidence to support the claims that noise pollution, air quality and emissions will not be affected and the lack of adequate consultation by London City Airport with residents affected by the proposals, most of whom are unaware of the consultation taking place.

Councillor Paul Donovan said: “City Airport needs to think again, listen to what people are saying and realise that whilst they may need to make more money, that the environment, health and welfare of those of us living below these flight paths is more important.”

The motion to oppose the plans was agreed by 43 councillors, with 10 abstentions.

A public meeting to discuss the airport’s proposals is set for October 3 at Wanstead Library from 7-9pm.

https://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/redbridge-council-oppose-london-city-airport-expansion-1-6281467

.

.

 

Read more »

Local opposition growing to expansion plans by Southampton airport

A group within Southampton Friends of the Earth has set up a campaign to oppose Southampton Airport expansion. Despite the Government’s recent commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, there are many airport expansion applications across the UK. This expansion cannot enable the aviation sector to meet even its current, easy, carbon target – let alone the much more stringent one required for a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. The airport will probably submit its planning application to extend the runway by 170 metres to Eastleigh Borough Council in the next few weeks. The scoping report and Master Plan have received approval in principle from Southampton City Council. Twyford Parish Council has objected, due to a proposed increase of flights over the village. Eastleigh Greens are likely to be objecting as well.  Friends of the Earth Southampton are currently putting together a petition to Southampton City Council to ask them to re-think their support for airport expansion, given that the Government is asking for net zero carbon by 2050. Campaigners started a group here to oppose the proposed expansion but it has not got a name yet. People interested can get in touch via the local FoE group foesoton@gmail.com
.

 

Southampton airport expansion plans

The airport’s Masterplan is at  https://www.southamptonairport.com/draft-masterplan-2018/

There was a consultation last year, which closed in October.

The airport wants to extend the runway and increase the number of flights, allowing it to more than double passenger numbers from two million to five million a year by 2037.  A final version of the plans was then drawn up with a planning application due to be submitted soon.

The group’s FoE pages as contact: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofEarthSouthampton/  and https://friendsoftheearth.uk/groups/southampton

People interested are invited to join the FoE mailing list. There will only be occasional emails about airport stuff – so best way to keep in touch –  email foesoton@gmail.com

Friends of the Earth Southampton are currently putting together a petition to Southampton City Council to ask them to re-think their support for airport expansion, given that the Government is asking for net zero carbon by 2050.

FoE is hoping for the November full Council meeting. However, they say if Eastleigh Borough Council puts the airport’s application for expansion into its September Planning Committee we will have to abandon the petition and go for an all out campaign asking people to contact their councillors to object, and putting in objections to the planning application.

We have heard that Hampshire Climate Action Network is putting together a Hampshire-wide group against airport expansion too.

There are issues about trees being felled. The airport are trying to argue that they can fell the trees in a copse under a “tree management” banner, rather than it being prior to and facilitating expansion. The trees are within the City Council boundary and are all protected. However, the City Council (although it objected to this work in 1983 and 2003) is giving the work the nod.

There is quite a bit of obfuscation going on about who is for approving the tree felling – whether it is the Forestry Commission for the large trees or Southampton City Council for the  Tree Protection Zone? The Forestry Commission has said “not us – its SCC” but it remains unclear.

The expansion issue compounded by the consultation and proposals for air space changes. Parts of Southampton could be badly affected by increased noise from more jets taking off daily.

Campaigners started a group here to oppose the proposed expansion of Southampton Airport. We haven’t got a name yet, but we can be contacted via the local FoE group.

It’s likely that the airport will submit it’s application to extend the runway by 170 metres to Eastleigh Borough Council in the next few weeks. The scoping report and Master Plan have received approval in principle from Southampton City Council. Twyford Parish Council has objected, due to a proposed increase of flights over the village. Eastleigh Greens are likely to be objecting as well.

.


See earlier:

Southampton Airport expansion moving forward as bosses prepare to submit plans

7th May 2019

Southampton Airport is pushing ahead with major expansion plans which could double the number of passengers travelling through the airport.

Bosses will submit a formal planning application to the local authority, following a public consultation.

But campaigners say it would increase noise pollution and damage the environment.

The airport has released impressions of how the expanded airport could look
Under the plans announced last year, the runway would be made longer, allowing more flights to travel to more destinations.

The terminal would also be expanded, with 4,000 extra parking spaces being built.

Airport executives predict that flight numbers would increase from just over 39,000 a year now, to more than 50,000 in ten years – reaching 58,000 by 2037.

The airport says:  “Our ambitions to grow the airport to provide more choice, more connectivity for passengers, are really taking shape now.”

Hundreds of people took part in a major consultation on the plans and the airport say it has taken into account concerns raised.

But not everyone agrees with the plans, with some worried about the affect it could have on their neighbourhood and the environment.

GARETH NARBED, CAMPAIGNER said:  “I’m appalled actually by the potential effects on the whole of Southampton…the expansion plan is really going to have a major effect on a lot of people.”

The airport says it’s due to submit plans to the council later in the summer.

Last updated Tue 7 May 2019

https://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2019-05-07/southampton-airport-expansion-moving-forward-as-bosses-prepare-to-submit-plans/

.

.

 

Read more »

What will be the impact of the UK ambition of “Net Zero” on the Airports NPS?

Lawyers, BDB Pitmans, for whom airport planning is an area of work, have commented on the change by the UK to a net zero carbon target by 2050 – and its effect on the aviation sector. They say the 1990 baseline was 778 million tonnes of CO2. With the 80% cut target, until 27th June, the UK had to cut CO2 emissions to 155.6 million tonnes by 2050. It now has to be reduced to 0 tonnes. The government understands that: “Achieving net-zero GHG emissions for the UK will rely on a range of Speculative options that currently have very low levels of technology readiness, very high costs, and/or significant barriers to public acceptability.” One change that will be needed is for people to fly less. The legal challenges in March 2019 against the Airports NPS had grounds relating to carbon emissions, but these were dismissed, on the basis of developments like the Paris Agreement had not yet being translated into UK law. Now the Appeal Court will hear the legal challenges, and as the CO2 target has been changed, presumably the conclusions of the NPS are now vulnerable. The Sec of State for Transport will need to review the NPS, considering whether there has been a “significant change in any circumstances.”
.

 

831: NET ZERO COMES INTO FORCE

28.6.2019  (By Angus Walker, Partner at bdb pitmans – lawyers)

Today’s entry reports on a highly significant amendment to the Climate Change Act 2008.

It is only changing an ‘8’ into ’10’, but will have a considerable effect on the future of life in the UK, including but not nearly limited to infrastructure projects.

Parliament has approved a change to section 1(1) of the Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA), an act that was given royal assent on the same day as the Planning Act 2008.

Section 1(1) stated until yesterday:

‘It is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline.’

It now states:

‘It is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 100% lower than the 1990 baseline.’

[The Sec of State referred to is Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). AW comment]

Spot the difference? The 1990 baseline was 778 million tonnes of CO2, and so until yesterday that had to be reduced to 155.6 million tonnes by 2050. It now has to be reduced to 0 tonnes.

The change was approved by the Commons on Monday (24 June) and the Lords on Wednesday (26 June).

The Lords had a ‘regret’ motion passed (that there wasn’t enough information on how the new target would be met, amongst other things), but still approved the change. It was then signed into law by the relevant minister Chris Skidmore MP later that day.

By its terms it came into force yesterday (27 June).

Of the justifications for changing the target available in the CCA, the Government has chosen the following in the preamble to the statutory instrument making the amendment:

‘The Secretary of State considers that since the Act was passed, there have been significant developments in scientific knowledge about climate change that make it appropriate to amend the percentage specified in section 1(1) of the Act.’

The new target is commonly referred to as ‘net zero’. That phrase is also the title of the Committee on Climate Change’s advice, which must be obtained before the threshold can be changed.

Note that the advice was published in May and was sought in October 2018, so it is unfair to say that Theresa May only thought about this since resigning as leader of the Conservative Party – the wheels were in motion much earlier. The speed with which the change has been made could, however, have been prompted by her desire to leave a legacy.

The scale of the challenge should not be underestimated. The Net Zero report says (on page 168 and elsewhere): ‘Achieving net-zero GHG emissions for the UK will rely on a range of Speculative options that currently have very low levels of technology readiness, very high costs, and/or significant barriers to public acceptability.’

The speculative options considered (on pages 156-158, which are in addition to the recommendations to achieve the previous 80% reduction) are:

  • behavioural changes (ie eating less meat and flying less);
  • changes in land use such as growing more trees (50,000 hectares a year – more than two Rutlands);
  • removing CO2 directly from the air (four methods are suggested) and
  • (inventing and) using synthetic fuels.

Note that the Airports National Policy Statement legal challenge in March this year had grounds relating to climate change. These were dismissed because although developments such as the Paris Agreement had happened, they had not yet been translated into UK law – the Climate Change Act 2008 target was the thing.

Now that that target has been changed, presumably the conclusions of the NPS are now vulnerable.

The judges said (at paragraph 648 of the judgment):

‘In our view, given the statutory scheme in the CCA 2008 and the work that was being done on if [sic] and how to amend the domestic law to take into account the Paris Agreement, the Secretary of State did not arguably act unlawfully in not taking into account that Agreement when preferring the NWR Scheme and in designating the ANPS as he did. As we have described, if scientific circumstances change, it is open to him to review the ANPS; and, in any event, at the DCO stage this issue will be re-visited on the basis of the then up to date scientific position.’

That the judgment came out on 1 May and Net Zero came out on 2 May is no doubt a coincidence – even having received Net Zero, the Government could have taken ages to decide what to do with it rather than legislating only eight weeks later.

The Secretary of State  [presumably the Sec of State for Transport, not BEIS ?  AW note] must review an NPS or part of one if he or she thinks it is appropriate, which means considering:

‘(a) since the time when the statement was first published or (if later) last reviewed, there has been a significant change in any circumstances on the basis of which any of the policy set out in the statement was decided,  (see link)
(b) the change was not anticipated at that time, and
(c) if the change had been anticipated at that time, any of the policy set out in the statement would have been materially different.’ [point number 108 ]

The NPS says, eg at paragraph 3.52   link :

‘The Government agrees with the evidence set out by the Airports Commission that expansion at Heathrow Airport is consistent with the UK’s climate change obligations’.

Note that international aviation and shipping are currently not included in the calculation of UK emissions under the CCA. The Government appeared to say that they will be included when it comes to ‘net zero’ (see the debate in the Lords at column 1086) but was more circumspect in a written answer on the same day.

As can be seen from the above, the significance of this alteration to climate change targets is enormous and has the potential to affect life in the UK dramatically over the next 30 years.

By 2050, for any CO2 we emit, we will have to have in place equivalent carbon capture technology to cancel it out. So it doesn’t mean CO2 emissions will be impossible, but we will need technology in place that has not yet been invented on a large scale and an awful lot of trees.

Cancelling the £1 billion carbon capture and storage competition in November 2015 won’t help with that.

https://www.bdbpitmans.com/blogs/planning-act-2008/831-net-zero-comes-into-force/

.
.


See also

Plan B Earth skeleton argument for Heathrow legal Appeal in October – that Grayling’s designation of the NPS was unlawful

The legal challenge by Plan B Earth is one of the four that will be heard at the Appeal Court from the 17th October. They have published their skeleton argument, which says, in summary that on 27th June 2019, the UK carbon target was amended by statutory instrument to read “at least 100%” cut by 2050 (ie. net zero) rather than the previous target of an 80% cut.  Plan B say the “Secretary of State [Grayling] proceeded on the false premise that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Government’s commitment to introducing a net zero carbon target in accordance with the Paris Agreement were “irrelevant” considerations for the purposes of s.5(8) of” the 2008 Climate Change Act.  And the Secretary of State “chose to ignore these developments and proceeded as if there had been no material developments in government policy relating to climate change since 2008 and as if no change were in contemplation.”  And  “The basis of the Appellant’s claim that the designation of the ANPS was unlawful, and that it should be quashed, is that the Secretary of State approach to these matters was fundamentally flawed.”

Click here to view full story…

.

.

.

 

.

Read more »

Flight Free UK blog – “Train travel is a gem waiting for rediscovery”

People are signing up to the Flight Free UK website in good numbers. The campaign is asking people to commit to not fly at all in 2020. Many who have pledged not to fly have done blogs, about their experience. Now environmental scientist Alexandra Jellicoe report on her recent trip to Italy, by train. She loved the space in the train, the pull-down table for her laptop, the ability to walk down the train to the restaurant for a meal or snack. Alexandra worked out that her train trip probably cause the emission of about 480kg CO2 than if she had flown. By train, or even by road, you are reconnected with the place and the culture through which you are moving. You appreciate the huge distance travelled. You can stop off at places en route, for a few hours or a night, pleasantly and interestingly extending your holiday. Alexandra says: “I’ve completely reimagined how to explore the world. A holiday is no longer a jet to Mexico to lie by the beach for a week nor a quick weekend in Rome. I’ve rediscovered travel as something to be savoured rather than an inconvenience between home and holiday…. and a compulsion to discover new ways to live in a world so damaged by modern lifestyles. …Choosing NOT to fly has a powerful impact.”

.

 

Train travel is a gem waiting for rediscovery

By Alexandra Jellicoe

For Flight Free UK blog

Image result for flight free uk

Slow travel makes the whole experience far richer, as discovered by environmental scientist Alexandra Jellicoe on a recent trip to Italy.

It’s not often you get bumped up to first class for a tenner. I can’t believe my luck. The seats are like armchairs and pivot so you can recline into a perfect sleeping position. The pull-down table so generous I have plenty of space for my laptop, a coffee and a sandwich without having to channel my ninja skills, ready to catch a falling object at any moment. I managed to book last minute and the cabin is almost empty, the temperature perfectly controlled to ensure maximum comfort and I can stroll next door anytime I like for a hot meal. Oh, and did I mention the view? Train travel around Europe is a gem waiting for rediscovery.

I’ve been on a retreat at Villa Lugara near Baiso, Italy. I don’t envy my holiday mates on their return home, flying Ryan Air from Bologna to Bristol. Squished in like cattle, made to wait for two hours on the hot tarmac without explanation of the delay and refused free water. Modern air travel has been perversely designed to be endured rather than enjoyed. Tell me, when did you last enjoy a flight?

Perhaps this is the right time to mention that Ryan Air has recently joined the fossil fuel crew as one of the top ten most polluting companies on the planet. The latest research reveals that it’s not only carbon emissions are causing global heating: contrails left by aeroplanes are now so wide spread that their warming effect is greater than that of all the carbon dioxide emitted by aeroplanes that has accumulated in the atmosphere since the first flight of the Wright brothers. My choice to travel by train rather than fly has saved 480kg Co2 from the atmosphere. Currently, there are over 100,000 flights around the world every single day which melts Arctic ice the equivalent size to approximately thirty-seven Empire State buildings. Choosing NOT to fly has a powerful impact.

Slow travel is set to make a comeback. Travel that reconnects you with place and culture. If I didn’t have to whizz back to the UK to be with my young children, I would have stopped a day or two in all the places I’ve had to catch connecting trains – Paris, Turin, Milan, Bologna. Lingering to imbibe each cities’ culture, welcoming uncertainty as I navigate my way through unmapped streets and stumble over half understood conversations. Each city entices me to stay longer. This is not a holiday, this is akin to being the protagonist of a Hemmingway novel.

The booking engine LOCO2 offer a simple Europe-wide city to city search of alternative travel routes including overnight sleepers (expensive), high speed day trains (cheap) and every alternative you can think of in-between.

Trains are the lowest carbon emission form of easily accessible public transport. As a passionate traveller, mother and environmental scientist I’ve completely reimagined how to explore the world. A holiday is no longer a jet to Mexico to lie by the beach for a week nor a quick weekend in Rome. I’ve rediscovered travel as something to be savoured rather than an inconvenience between home and holiday. And this excitement has been triggered by a compulsion to discover new ways to live in a world so damaged by modern lifestyles.

Reduction in carbon emissions is critical to reduce global heating and whilst air travel may always be with us, it can no longer be the default mode of international transport. In order to prevent global heating in excess of 1.5 degrees we need Government action now, but we also need to reimagine our lifestyles. For many, modern travel lacks soul and adventure – jetting around the world in search of sun without engaging with the local people and culture deprives not only the traveller but also the destination community. The trend is economically non-specific and all are affected from the package holiday tourist to residents of vast complex five-star hotels. Slow travel immerses you in local culture and all are enriched.

I have to cross Paris from the Gare du Lyon to the Gare du Nord to catch my connecting train to London. Europe is experiencing a freak heatwave. I step down from the TGV and the 45-degree heat brings back memories of working in Sub-Saharan Africa. This oppressive weather makes it impossible to think and the city isn’t designed to withstand desert temperatures. As an environmental scientist my expertise is the provision of safe water to remote global communities. I’ve worked with indigenous tribes and small island developing states, both of which have been battling the consequences of climate change for decades. Yet little has been done to protect these vulnerable communities. Many have lost their homes and become aid dependent. As the consequences of unpredictable weather systems now threaten my own children, I feel that it is my duty to dedicate my life to protecting them – I may make little difference but I’m essentially an optimist, and hope is catching.

This summer we’re spending a month in France. We’ll take the kids by train, stop off in Paris, Lyon and Annecy. My eldest is always questioning the difference in local customs to ours and it’s this breadth of understanding and enquiry that I hope to inspire in all of my children. Travel, real travel, promotes empathy, compassion and tolerance of others, emotions that are severely under threat in modern society. If we’re lucky we may even pick up a little of the language too.

Alexandra Jellicoe runs environmental magazine/blog Monkey Wrench, where you can read an expanded version of this article.

.

Fight Free UK

https://www.flightfree.co.uk/campaign

Do you feel powerless taking action as an individual? Would you feel differently if you knew many others were taking the same action?

Flight Free UK is a people-powered campaign which asks people to agree not to fly in the year of 2020 – knowing that 100,000 others have pledged to do the same. It’s about taking collective responsibility to reduce the amount we fly in order to lessen our impact on the planet.

Flying less is one of the most powerful ways we as individuals can reduce our carbon footprint, and with experts predicting that we have just a handful of years to take meaningful action on climate change, there has never been a better time to address the issue.

Many of us fly without a second thought – it is an ingrained part of our culture, and a part of our global society, as people, goods and services are transported around the globe. Flight Free UK aims to raise awareness of the impact of those flights and inspire people to take action.

It is easy to think that individual actions don’t make a difference, and not to bother trying. But if we can show that there are 100,000 people who are prepared to take an air-free year, we send a clear signal to industry and politicians – and also to each other – that there are many who are willing to change their lifestyles to protect the climate.

.

Image result for flight free uk


Sign the pledge and join the growing number of people who will be flight-free in 2020. 

Make the pledge to be flight-free in 2020

#flightfree2020

When you sign up your name will automatically be counted towards the total signatories.* Your email address will be added to our mailing list where you’ll receive one email per month updating you on the campaign. You may unsubscribe at any time, but we’ll still hold your data otherwise your pledge won’t be counted. For information on how we use your data, please see our Privacy Policy.

*For your signature to count towards the 100,000, you must be a UK resident. If you select a different country your pledge will be held on the database as an international pledge.

.

.
.

Read more »

Caroline Russell: Action is needed on aircraft noise

Caroline writes in a blog that in parts of London, people are now living with severe levels of noise disruption. This is not acceptable, and urgent, decisive action is needed across the board to alleviate it. For some, the onslaught from Heathrow planes is made worse by the addition of London City planes using narrow, concentrated routes. The noise has significant health impacts for many. A report by the London Assembly’s Environment Committee, which Caroline chairs, concluded that the Government and CAA should regulate noise disturbance more stringently. They should use lower thresholds for noise disturbance (taking into account WHO guidelines and the need for residents to keep windows open) and mapping the combined effect of all London’s airports, especially Heathrow and City.  The WHO guidance is that 45dB is the threshold for health impacts, but the UK government persists with 54dB as the ‘disturbance’ threshold. Also that flight paths should be rotated, to give relief to those under concentrated flight paths – and flight paths should be designed to minimise noise impacts, including avoiding overlapping flight paths. Increasing exposure to aircraft noise is unacceptable, and must be challenged
.

 

Action needed on aircraft noise

27.7.2019  (By Caroline Russell, Green Party London Assembly Member)

Blog for the No 3rd Runway Coalition

In concentrated pockets in London people are now living with severe levels of noise disruption. This is not acceptable, and urgent, decisive action is needed across the board to alleviate it.

For some overflown Londoners the situation has worsened, with City Airport adopting performance based navigation (PBN) – an operation practice that concentrates arriving flights into narrower corridors.

The experience of people living with the daily nightmare of overhead noise are deeply worrying, as being unable to concentrate, relax or even sleep because of noise disruption has significant health impacts.

A recent report on aircraft noise produced by the London Assembly’s Environment Committee, which I chair, concluded that:

  • The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority should regulate noise disturbance more stringently.

  • This should include the use of lower thresholds for disturbance (taking into account WHO guidelines and the need for residents to keep windows open) and mapping the combined effect of all London’s airports, especially Heathrow and City.

  • Flight paths should be rotated to give respite for those living under concentrated flight paths.

  • Flight paths should be designed to minimise noise impacts: stacking, low-level overflying, and overlapping flight paths should be minimised.

  • All airports should provide predictable periods of respite for residents living under concentrated flight paths.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued guidance confirming that aircraft noise above 45 decibels on average is associated with ill-health, including cardiovascular disease and increases in hypertension.

Our current Government guidance is much less stringent, using a ‘disturbance’ threshold of 54 decibels – it was really disappointing that the recent Aviation Strategy Green Paper does not remedy this.

The impact of aircraft noise is also particularly damaging to children’s education, negatively affecting reading comprehension and memory skills.

The RANCH project, an international study that examined the effects of noise exposure, looked at reading comprehension in 2,010 children aged between 9 and 10 from 89 schools around Amsterdam Schiphol, Madrid Barajas, and London Heathrow airports. They found that a 5 decibel increase in noise exposure is associated with a two-month delay in learning for primary school children in the UK.[1]

And yet Heathrow Airport still proposes to build a new runway to increase flights from around 475,000 to around 740,000 a year. This will have a devastating impacet. The House of Commons Transport Select Committee concluded that more than 323,000 people will be newly affected by noise pollution if expansion at Heathrow goes ahead.[2]

Around 460 schools neighbouring Heathrow already hear aircraft noise above 54 decibels, higher than the onset threshold of the effect on children’s memory and learning. Some have resorted to building pods in the playground for children to shelter in to minimise noise exposure – but playgrounds should be for playing, for kids to stretch their legs, not to have to dash into hiding every few minutes.

A third runway would mean a minimum of 24 more schools suffering from aircraft noise that busts the maximum levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.

The latest noise guidance (Survey of Noise Attitudes, 2014) shows our sensitivity to noise has increased, but this wasn’t reflected in the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement.

The Government refuses to set what it determines an ‘acceptable’ increase in noise level, and can therefore avoid being held to account for the damage they are and will inflict on overflown Londoners.

The drive towards filling airspace capacity must be checked. For too many people, including children, aircraft noise is a major intrusion into their everyday lives. It is not an acceptable price to pay for air travel. It isn’t right and must be challenged.

Caroline Russell

London Assembly Member

Green Party

[1] Clarke et al (2005) “Exposure-Effect Relations between Aircraft and Road Traffic Noise Exposure at School and Reading Comprehension” https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b9cc/64b991c3f981bf9e57dcfdd58e68953d41d6.pdf

[2] TSC (2018) Inquiry into the Airports NPS, Figure 43, p.133 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmtrans/548/548.pdf

.

.

.

 

Read more »

Hammersmith Society gives its advice on Heathrow consultation – to respond, just say “NO”

The Hammersmith Society aims to ensure the borough is a “safer, more convenient and better place in which to live, work and enjoy ourselves.” They have been looking at Heathrow’s consultation on its expansion plans – equivalent to adding on a new airport the size of Gatwick. They warn that if people fill in the response document, giving a preference for one or other option in the questions, this may (quite illegitimately) be taken by Heathrow as “support” for their plans. So the Society’s advice is that people do not engage with the questions; the whole plan is bad for Hammersmith, so JUST SAY NO. The Society says on Heathrow plans to burn biomass and plant some trees  “that’s hardly the point considering the carbon footprint of the industry it facilitates – it’s not even a drop in the ocean – this amounts to lip-service greenwash, rather insulting to our intelligence”. On the consultation, the Society comments: “the weight of documents is tremendous, and more than a little excessive.  The reader eventually concludes this is an attempt to bamboozle and wear down those trying to interpret them, to make them give up in the belief that the project must have been well thought-through, because of the weight of documentation alone.”
.

 

Read more »