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
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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.

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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/

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Evan Davis “The Bottom Line” programme on aviation industry CO2 – basically “there is no plan”…

Evan Davis has done an edition of the BBC programme “The Bottom Line” on aviation and its claims about cutting its carbon emissions. His interview is revealing, in making clear how empty the industry’s claims of reducing its CO2 in future really are. Sector representatives admit it has broken its own pledges to grow carbon neutrally and lacks firm plans to achieve it by 2050. They talk about changing the sort of planes that fly, though ignoring that any new plane model that could fundamentally cut CO2 emissions per passenger is decades away, and all planes remain in service for perhaps 30 years. There is foolish over-optimism that electric planes might eventually transport enough passengers to make a difference – but it is decades away. All the current changes they are mentioning cut CO2 by far smaller amounts than the anticipated annual growth of the industry. As Evan says, “But this is sort of hot air…we’re used to from the aviation industry: ‘we’re all taking this very seriously, we’re signing up to these targets, by the way we missed it the last time we did it, but we’re ever more ambitions in the target we’re going to sign up to… there’s no plan.’ “
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The Future of Commercial Aviation

How can the aviation industry marry sustainability with increasing passenger numbers – with more and more of us flying cheaply since the deregulation of the airlines.

Listen to the programme at

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000713p

or    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000713p

from 17.40 minutes in:

Evan Davis: So what we know is, though, is that growth is exceeding the ability for the industry to improve its emissions. What are you guys going to do? Come on, I mean 2050, we’re meant to be on net zero carbon. What is the aviation industry expecting to deliver by 2050?

Industry: Ten years ago IATA made a pledge to grow neutrally with respect to carbon by 2020. We’re now in 2019. We haven’t yet been able to achieve that growth (50 per cent reduction by 2050).

Evan Davis:  Let’s assume that is going to be a Paris compatible target – a 50 per cent reduction by 2050. How on earth are you going to do that?

Industry: It’s going to fundamentally come with the insertion of new technology… There’s going to have to be some breakthrough technology…hybrid electric propulsion…

ED: But the point you’re saying is, you don’t have an answer…how far away is the hybrid plane for a start?

Industry: For long haul, I would say at least ten years. It takes five to ten years to develop a new aircraft so you’ve starting from scratch.

ED: You’re not even remotely close to that.

Industry: …it’s a challenge the industry is facing and investing to…

ED:  But this is sort of hot air…we’re used to from the aviation industry: ‘we’re all taking this very seriously, we’re signing up to these targets, by the way we missed it the last time we did it, but we’re ever more ambitions in the target we’re going to sign up to… there’s no plan.’

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000713p

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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.”
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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/

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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…

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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.
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Mayor of Newham’s challenge to London City Airport’s expansion is greeted by campaigners

16 August 2019

By Mike Brooke (Newham Recorder)

Image result for rokhsana fiaz

Campaigners have welcomed a demand by the mayor of Newham to halt London City Airport’s consultation on expansion with more daily flights until it shows how it will tackling noise and climate emissions.

City AirportConsultation Master Plan suggests more daily flights, early morning and late evening.

But the airport remains firm and insists that the consultation – on plans to almost double the number of landings and take-offs – continues until September 20.

The mayor called the consultation “fundamentally flawed” in a letter to the airport’s chief executive.

The letter “throws down the gauntlet to the airport”, say campaigners from Hacan East which represents households in the flight paths across east London.

“The significance of the mayor’s move cannot be overstated,” its chairman John Stewart said. “Newham is the planning authority for the airport.”

Newham Council which declared a “climate emergency” earlier this year is seeking more evidence about the airport’s plans to tackle pollution.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz says in her letter to airport chief executive Robert Sinclair: “The council would struggle to support London City Airport’s justification to increase the number of flights. Residents are gravely concerned about the high level forecasts.”

Newham has the most deaths in London attributed to pollution with 96 people a year dying prematurely from respiratory diseases, the mayor points out.

The local authority has set up an air quality and climate emergency task force to achieve “carbon neutral” by 2030 and “carbon zero” by 2050.

“The consultation is fundamentally flawed because of lack of clarity and information,” the mayor’s letter to the airport boss states.

“We expected to see ’emissions from airborne aircraft’ detailed in your aims to achieve the level 3-plus neutrality that you claim to seek by 2020.”

She calls on the airport to halt the public consultation immediately until it publishes the “omitted technical details”.

The airport says it is giving proper consideration to the mayor’s views, but the consultation remains open for people who want to have their say.

A spokesman said: “The draft master plan is an opportunity to share views on how the airport can respond to the significant demand for air travel in London and in particular east London.

“We recognise the challenge of climate change in our draft master plan. Our record to date on air quality, noise and carbon reduction demonstrates our commitment to a change in sustainable aviation.”

The 12-week consultation proposes to scrap the 24-weekend break, which would add more early morning and late evening flights.

https://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/politics/challenge-to-airport-expansion-1-6220270?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social_Icon&utm_campaign=in_article_social_icons

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Assembly calls for changes to City Airport airspace to prioritise Londoners over profit

14 August 2019

By Luke Acton (Newham Recorder)

City Hall’s environment committee has called on airspace decision-makers to prioritise the health and wellbeing of Londoners over the commercial interests of City Airport.

The call comes as a national effort gets under way to modernise the UK’s airspace to improve things like efficiency. The Civil Aviation Authority is the body in charge of that process.

With airports responsible for designing airspace routes under 7,000 feet, City has released a draft document outlining what it wants the new design to do.

Among the “musts” is the maintenance or enhancement of safety and airspace that provides “sufficient capacity to support future demand”.

Among lower priorities, things the new design “should” achieve, is minimisation of CO2 and noise, as well as lower air pollution.

Different groups and organisations are now responding to the plan. Assembly Member Caroline Russell is a Green Party politician and chairwoman of the environment committee.

She said: “According to the Civil Aviation Authority, there are already 331,000 people overflown by flights arriving at City Airport, and 416,300 overflown by departures, all under the altitude of 4,000 feet.

“The damaging effect of aircraft noise on Londoners’ lives can no longer be ignored.

“The London Assembly is recommending that any changes to airspace and flight paths at London City Airport prioritise the health and wellbeing of overflown Londoners, over and above the commercial interests of the airport.”

A spokesman for London City thanked the committee for its response, adding that air capacity is vital for jobs, to support business and to encourage trade and tourism.

“As London’s most central airport, we know we have a responsibility to be a good neighbour, which is exactly why we are participating in this airspace modernisation programme, which is anticipated to result in quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys.

“We have also previously highlighted evidence to the environment committee of the extensive work we are doing with airlines, manufacturers, air traffic control services, and other stakeholders, to actively limit noise and mitigate its effects.”

The airspace document comes as City is also consulting on its draft master plan, which calls for more flexibility for early and late flights, and during the 24-hour weekend break.

https://www.romfordrecorder.co.uk/news/new-airspace-plan-priorities-1-6216031?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social_Icon&utm_campaign=in_article_social_icons

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See earlier:

 

HACAN East new major campaign against London City’s expansion plans, asking people to fill in postcard responses to the consultation.

HACAN East has launched a major campaign against London City’s expansion plans. It is encouraging people to fill in postcards opposing the expansion plans, and send them in to Freepost LCY MASTER PLAN CONSULTATION. People can also download and display posters. The postcards call on residents to back the existing 24 hour weekend ban on aircraft using London City.  HACAN East wants the airport drop its proposals to end the 24 hour break as well as its plans to almost double flight numbers from today’s levels and to increase flights in the early morning and late evening. The postcards say: I SUPPORT the 24 hour London City Airport weekend flight ban. I DO NOT want up to 40,00 more flights. I DO NOT want more early morning or late evening flights. I DO NOT want more climate damaging airport expansion. Overall, I DO NOT support the plans in the draft master plan.

Click here to view full story…

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

Click here to view full story…

What is driving London City Airport’s expansion plans? John Stewart comment

John Stewart, from Hacan East, has looked at why London City Airport is planning huge expansion. The airport Master Plan wants to lift the current cap of 111,000 flights allowed each year to 137,000 by 2030 and to 151,000 by 2035. He says the airport is aiming to promote itself as a major player on the aviation scene, and a key driver of the regional economy, not just a niche business airport. It now often holds receptions at the party conferences, and is raising its profile to get backing for its growth plans. The current owners bought the airport for £2 billion in 2016, and want to make a good return. Business passengers used to be about 60% of the total, but now 50% – with the plans suggesting 36% by 2035. Most business passengers fly in the morning and evening, so leisure flights use the hours in the middle of the day. It can’t offer budget flights because Ryanair and EasyJet planes are too big to use the airport. London City has set out to change to portray itself as a key driver, maybe even the key driver, of the economic development of East, NE and SE London.  It is pushing this to MPs and also local authorities in its regions in order to convince them it is in their interest to back expansion.

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…

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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.”
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Plan B Skeleton Argument

The summary states:

Nb.  At the time of drafting the original Grounds of Appeal, The Climate Change Act 2008 s. 1 maintained a “carbon target” of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to a 1990 baseline. On 27 June 2019 that target was amended by statutory instrument to read “at least 100%”. The Grounds of Appeal have been revised in this skeleton argument in order to reflect that amendment.

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A. INTRODUCTION

1. The Appellant wishes to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision ([CB/x/y] and [CB/x/y]) to designate the Airports National Policy Statement (“the ANPS”) in support of the expansion of Heathrow Airport under the Planning Act 2008 (“the 2008 Act”), on the basis of his failure to give proper consideration to “government policy relating to … climate change” contrary to the statutory requirement of s. 5(8) of the 2008 Act.

2. Specifically the Secretary of State 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 Act.

3. Since climate change is a global threat, which no one country can tackle in isolation, national climate change policies are determined as contributions to maintaining a global climate change temperature limit. The final report of the Airports Commission highlighted the importance of the global climate change context as a constraint on UK aviation capacity [CB/x/y]: “Any change to UK’s aviation capacity would have to take place in the context of global climate change, and the UK’s policy obligations in this area.”

4. In July 2015, when the Airports Commission report was published, the political consensus was that extreme danger from climate change could be avoided by limiting average global warming to 2˚C above pre-industrial levels. It is common ground between the parties that the now superseded “carbon target” in the Climate Change Act 2008 (“CCA”), which was to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, was derived from that 2˚C global limit.

5. In December 2015, however, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (“The Paris Agreement”) introduced a step change to global (and hence national) climate change policy. Amid gathering evidence that even 2˚C warming would pose intolerable risks for humanity, the UK Government played a leading role in negotiating the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which committed governments to holding warming to “well below” 2˚C while aiming for a 1.5˚C limit.

6. In March 2016 the Government made an unequivocal policy commitment to introduce a new “net zero” carbon target to bring the UK into line with the Paris Agreement 1. A “net zero” target means emissions reduction of 100% as opposed to 80%. Such a target does not require actual emissions of carbon to be reduced to zero. It means only that remaining emissions must be balanced by action to remove an equivalent amount of carbon from the atmosphere (eg through reforestation).

7. In April 2018 the Government announced it would commission the Committee on Climate Change (“the CCC”), the Government’s statutory adviser on climate change, to provide formal advice on the implementation of a new target 2; and on 1 May 2018, the Rt Hon Claire MP, on behalf of the Government, informed Parliament that the CCC had been asked to advise on how to reach “net zero” emissions by 2050 3.

8. The Government’s position aligned to an emerging consensus that, if the Paris temperature limit were to be maintained, global emissions would need to reach net zero by 2050. In January 2018, for example, the European Parliament had voted for net zero emissions by 2050 4.

9. Thus at the time of the Secretary of State’s designation of the ANPS, in June 2018, it was already clear that:

(1) it was Government policy to introduce a new net zero carbon target in accordance with the more stringent Paris Agreement temperature limit;

(2) that that target would be substantially more ambitious than the minimum level of 80% set out in the CCA at the time; and

(3) that the new target was likely to be 100% emissions reduction by 2050.

10. In the context of a long term national infrastructure project, such as the proposed expansion of the UK’s national airport, it would have been sensible to have considered these profound developments in government policy on climate change. The Secretary of State should at least have turned his mind to the question of whether the ANPS was likely to be compatible with the more stringent target that was envisaged.

11. The Secretary of State, however, 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. He proceeded on the basis that the seminal Paris Agreement and the Government commitment to introduce a net zero target in line with that agreement were “irrelevant” to government policy on climate change and hence irrelevant to his decision.

12. 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.

13. The short-sightedness of his approach has been highlighted by subsequent events.

14. The judgement of the Court below was published on the morning of 1 May 2019.

15. On 2 May 2019, the CCC published its advice on a new carbon target, as requested by the Government, recommending the introduction of a net zero target by 2050, in accordance with the Government’s stated intention of May 2018 [SB/x/y].

16. On 27 June 2019, the CCA s.1 carbon target of at least 80% emissions reduction by 2050 was replaced, via statutory instrument, with the substantially more ambitious target of “at least 100%” by 2050 (ie a “net zero” target) [SB/x/y].

17. The Secretary of State must now concede that the benchmark used to assess the ANPS was fundamentally less demanding than current government policy on climate change: current government policy is to reduce emissions by at least 100% by 2050 in accordance with a global temperature limit of “well below 2˚C” and 1.5˚C.

18. Presumably, the Secretary of State will say that at the time of the designation of the ANPS, in June 2018 he could not have predicted these “developments” in Government policy.

19. In truth, while Government policy was not implemented into law until June 2019, the policy commitment to introduce a new net zero target in accordance with the Paris Agreement had been made in March 2016 and by May 2018 it was already clear that the Government was aiming to decarbonise the economy by 2050. It was not sensible for the Secretary of State to ignore that position.

20. In any event, it is now apparent that contrary to the express purpose of the 2008 Act, Government policy on aviation and climate change are now advancing in contrary directions. In the Appellant’s submission, this is the inevitable consequence of the Secretary of State’s blinkered approach.

21. The Court below ruled in favour of the Secretary of State on the basis that “neither policy nor international agreement can override a statute”. In reality there was no question of “overriding” a statute, since the CCA, prior to amendment, imposed only a minimum requirement in terms of emissions reduction. Further, the express terms of s. 5(8) of the 2008 Act required the Secretary of State to take account of government policy and not to confine his consideration to the statutory minimum obligation.

 

…….. and the document continues (15 pages) at

https://planb.earth/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Appeal-skeleton-Oct-final.pdf

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See also

 

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.”

Click here to view full story…

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Heathrow legal challenge Appeals to be live-streamed from the Court of Appeal (from 17th October)

On 23rd July 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled that there were grounds for appeal for all four of the legal judicial reviews, challenging the Governments support for the expansion of Heathrow. These will take place at the Court of Appeal, from 17th October, for 6 days, and will be live-streamed. On 1st May 2019, the High Court dismissed the judicial review claims made by five separate parties that the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), as approved by Parliament in June 2018, was unlawful.  Paul Beckford, Policy Director of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, the leading campaign organisation opposing the expansion of Heathrow, said: “This is excellent news for transparency. It is vital that the public get the opportunity to hear that the Government chose to proceed with expansion at Heathrow because the former Secretary of State for Transport (Grayling) did not consider the Paris Agreement relevant. The fact that a net zero target has now been included in the Climate Change Act makes the climate case against expansion even stronger.”

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HEATHROW EXPANSION COURT CASE TO BE LIVE STREAMED

14th August 2019 (No 3rd Runway Coalition press release)

The legal cases challenging the Governments support for the expansion of Heathrow Airport will be live streamed from the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal has announced that the appeal hearings, which will take place over 6 days from 17 October. (1)

On 1 May 2019, the High Court dismissed the judicial review claims made by five separate parties that the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), as approved by Parliament in June 2018, was unlawful.

Four of those claimants lodged appeals against the judgement in terms of the undue consideration given to the environment, noise and climate change. (2) On 23 Jul 2019, The Court of Appeal ruled that there were grounds for appeal.

Yesterday, the environmental organisation Plan B filed its skeleton argument for the appeal hearing. (3)

Welcoming the news, Paul Beckford, Policy Director of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, the leading campaign organisation opposing the expansion of Heathrow, said:

This is excellent news for transparency. It is vital that the public get the opportunity to hear that the Government chose to proceed with expansion at Heathrow because the former Secretary of State for Transport did not consider the Paris Agreement relevant. The fact that a net zero target has now been included in the Climate Change Act makes the climate case against expansion even stronger.”

Notes:

  1. https://www.judiciary.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/going-to-court/court-of-appeal-home/the-court-of-appeal-civil-division-live-streaming-of-court-hearings/
  2. The claimants consist of the following parties:
  • Local authorities of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham, Windsor & Maidenhead, Greenpeace UK, with the Mayor of London
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Plan B Earth
  • Heathrow Hub Ltd
  1. https://planb.earth/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Appeal-skeleton-Oct-final.pdf

Plan B Skeleton Argument

The summary states:

Nb. At the time of drafting the original Grounds of Appeal, The Climate Change Act 2008 s. 1 maintained a “carbon target” of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to a 1990 baseline. On 27 June 2019 that target was amended by statutory instrument to read “at least 100%”. The Grounds of Appeal have been revised in this skeleton argument in order to reflect that amendment.

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A. INTRODUCTION

1. The Appellant wishes to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision ([CB/x/y] and [CB/x/y]) to designate the Airports National Policy Statement (“the ANPS”) in support of the expansion of Heathrow Airport under the Planning Act 2008 (“the 2008 Act”), on the basis of his failure to give proper consideration to “government policy relating to … climate change” contrary to the statutory requirement of s. 5(8) of the 2008 Act.

2. Specifically the Secretary of State 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 Act.

3. Since climate change is a global threat, which no one country can tackle in isolation, national climate change policies are determined as contributions to maintaining a global climate change temperature limit. The final report of the Airports Commission highlighted the importance of the global climate change context as a constraint on UK aviation capacity [CB/x/y]: “Any change to UK’s aviation capacity would have to take place in the context of global climate change, and the UK’s policy obligations in this area.”

4. In July 2015, when the Airports Commission report was published, the political consensus was that extreme danger from climate change could be avoided by limiting average global warming to 2˚C above pre-industrial levels. It is common ground between the parties that the now superseded “carbon target” in the Climate Change Act 2008 (“CCA”), which was to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, was derived from that 2˚C global limit.

5. In December 2015, however, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (“The Paris Agreement”) introduced a step change to global (and hence national) climate change policy. Amid gathering evidence that even 2˚C warming would pose intolerable risks for humanity, the UK Government played a leading role in negotiating the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which committed governments to holding warming to “well below” 2˚C while aiming for a 1.5˚C limit.

6. In March 2016 the Government made an unequivocal policy commitment to introduce a new “net zero” carbon target to bring the UK into line with the Paris Agreement 1. A “net zero” target means emissions reduction of 100% as opposed to 80%. Such a target does not require actual emissions of carbon to be reduced to zero. It means only that remaining emissions must be balanced by action to remove an equivalent amount of carbon from the atmosphere (eg through reforestation).

7. In April 2018 the Government announced it would commission the Committee on Climate Change (“the CCC”), the Government’s statutory adviser on climate change, to provide formal advice on the implementation of a new target 2; and on 1 May 2018, the Rt Hon Claire MP, on behalf of the Government, informed Parliament that the CCC had been asked to advise on how to reach “net zero” emissions by 2050 3.

8. The Government’s position aligned to an emerging consensus that, if the Paris temperature limit were to be maintained, global emissions would need to reach net zero by 2050. In January 2018, for example, the European Parliament had voted for net zero emissions by 2050 4.

9. Thus at the time of the Secretary of State’s designation of the ANPS, in June 2018, it was already clear that:

(1) it was Government policy to introduce a new net zero carbon target in accordance with the more stringent Paris Agreement temperature limit;

(2) that that target would be substantially more ambitious than the minimum level of 80% set out in the CCA at the time; and

(3) that the new target was likely to be 100% emissions reduction by 2050.

10. In the context of a long term national infrastructure project, such as the proposed expansion of the UK’s national airport, it would have been sensible to have considered these profound developments in government policy on climate change. The Secretary of State should at least have turned his mind to the question of whether the ANPS was likely to be compatible with the more stringent target that was envisaged.

11. The Secretary of State, however, 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. He proceeded on the basis that the seminal Paris Agreement and the Government commitment to introduce a net zero target in line with that agreement were “irrelevant” to government policy on climate change and hence irrelevant to his decision.

12. 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.

13. The short-sightedness of his approach has been highlighted by subsequent events.

14. The judgement of the Court below was published on the morning of 1 May 2019.

15. On 2 May 2019, the CCC published its advice on a new carbon target, as requested by the Government, recommending the introduction of a net zero target by 2050, in accordance with the Government’s stated intention of May 2018 [SB/x/y].

16. On 27 June 2019, the CCA s.1 carbon target of at least 80% emissions reduction by 2050 was replaced, via statutory instrument, with the substantially more ambitious target of “at least 100%” by 2050 (ie a “net zero” target) [SB/x/y].

17. The Secretary of State must now concede that the benchmark used to assess the ANPS was fundamentally less demanding than current government policy on climate change: current government policy is to reduce emissions by at least 100% by 2050 in accordance with a global temperature limit of “well below 2˚C” and 1.5˚C.

18. Presumably, the Secretary of State will say that at the time of the designation of the ANPS, in June 2018 he could not have predicted these “developments” in Government policy.

19. In truth, while Government policy was not implemented into law until June 2019, the policy commitment to introduce a new net zero target in accordance with the Paris Agreement had been made in March 2016 and by May 2018 it was already clear that the Government was aiming to decarbonise the economy by 2050. It was not sensible for the Secretary of State to ignore that position.

20. In any event, it is now apparent that contrary to the express purpose of the 2008 Act, Government policy on aviation and climate change are now advancing in contrary directions. In the Appellant’s submission, this is the inevitable consequence of the Secretary of State’s blinkered approach.

21. The Court below ruled in favour of the Secretary of State on the basis that “neither policy nor international agreement can override a statute”. In reality there was no question of “overriding” a statute, since the CCA, prior to amendment, imposed only a minimum requirement in terms of emissions reduction. Further, the express terms of s. 5(8) of the 2008 Act required the Secretary of State to take account of government policy and not to confine his consideration to the statutory minimum obligation.

 

…….. and the document continues (15 pages) at

https://planb.earth/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Appeal-skeleton-Oct-final.pdf

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AEF explains why Gatwick expansion adds to UK’s aviation CO2 headache – at least 1 million tonnes more CO2 per year

If Gatwick was allowed to increase its number of flights and passengers, that would be a huge increase in its carbon emissions. Already the UK aviation sector is not on track to stay under even the outdated cap of 37.5MtCO2. That was when the UK was aiming for an 80% cut in carbon emissions, compared to 1990, by 2050. But now the UK has signed up to zero carbon  – ie. 100% cut – by 2050.  The corresponding carbon cap for aviation would then be more like below 30MtCO2 by 2050. As the ongoing growth, from incremental increases in flights and passengers from most UK airports, will take the UK aviation sector well over the 37.5MtCO2 limit, let alone the 30MtCO2 cap. So there is absolutely no room for a Heathrow 3rd runway, or the semi-new-runway at Gatwick – achieved by making use of its emergency runway for much of the time. The AEF has pointed out that Gatwick’s Masterplan is for 390,000 flights per annum by 2032/33, around 39% more than in 2018.  Gatwick carefully avoids giving any CO2 estimates in future, let alone to 2050. Extrapolating the carbon emissions from 2017 estimates by the DfT, it is likely that Gatwick’s carbon emissions would rise by about 1Mt CO2 per year, to 3.6MtCO2 (or more, if Gatwick has a larger % of long-haul flights in future) if it uses its emergency runway as a second runway. 
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Why Gatwick expansion adds to the aviation carbon headache

By AEF (Aviation Environment Federation)

In July, Gatwick Airport published its master plan setting out its intention to progress detailed design and development work to bring the existing standby runway into regular use alongside the main runway, while continuing to safeguard land for an additional runway to the south.

Growth projections underpinning the master plan suggest that use of the standby runway could see passenger numbers grow to 70 million passengers per annum (mppa) by 2032/33, a 53% increase on the 45.7 million passengers who used the airport in 2017/18.

Aircraft movements are set to grow at a slower rate due to an estimated 10% increase in the average number of passengers per plane, but by 2032/33 they could reach 390,000 movements per annum, around 39% more than the airport handled last year.

While the airport says it has no immediate plans to seek permission for an additional runway, the master plan suggests that if it’s built, the airport’s capacity could eventually reach 95 million passengers per annum.

What about the carbon implications of using Gatwick’s standby runway?

But what about the carbon implications of using Gatwick’s standby runway? At first glance it’s hard to find the complete answer. The master plan does point to an increase in the airport’s emissions from 0.77MtCO2 in 2017 to 0.95MtCO2 in 2028, but this assessment is limited in both scope and duration: the analysis shows the emissions that Gatwick is directly responsible for (such as fuel used by vehicles at the airport, and the electricity purchased), as well as indirect emissions from passenger journeys to and from the airport and staff commuting.

Aircraft emissions are also included in this calculation, but crucially, only for the landing and take-off cycle, capturing the flights emissions below an altitude of 3,000 feet only.

The majority of in-flight emissions, those produced in the climb and cruise phases, are excluded. It also fails to look beyond 2028 which limits its relevance when it comes to analysing how expansion could impact the UK’s ability to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Department for Transport’s 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts for air passengers, aircraft movements and CO2 emissions at UK airports, provide better evidence for the likely carbon impacts of expansion out to 2050. Unlike Gatwick’s estimate, the DfT forecasts calculate the emissions for the entire flight and attribute them to UK airports on the basis of all departing flights.

In a 2050 scenario where Heathrow builds and operates a third runway, Gatwick Airport (without using its standby runway), is assumed to handle 52 mppa, served by 297,000 aircraft movements annually, and generating 2.7MtCO2.

Assuming Gatwick’s standby runway continues to serve a similar range of destinations with the same aircraft fleet mix, and extrapolating the data from the DfT’s scenario and applying it to an increased passenger throughput of 70mppa, this would equate to 3.63MtCO2 in 2050, an increase of nearly 1MtCO2.

This may prove to be a conservative figure if Gatwick develops a wider range of long-haul destinations than assumed by the DfT model, or if its passenger numbers increase beyond 70mppa between 2033 and 2050.

It is also dependant on delivery of a large number of modelling assumptions including the application of a carbon price that reaches £221 per tCO2 by 2050 (substantially higher than the carbon prices that apply to aviation today, or that are likely to apply in the coming years) and a 48% improvement in aircraft efficiency between 2016 and 2050.

In relation to the Climate Change Act’s original 80% reduction target, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) consistently advised Government that it should plan for UK aviation emissions in 2050 to be no higher than they were in 2005 (when the sector emitted 37.5Mt CO2).

CCC is now expected to write to the Secretary of State for Transport [now Grant Shapps] this autumn setting out its recommendations for the aviation sector consistent with delivering the newly legislated net zero target.

Based on the CCC’s modelling scenarios, there is a strong suggestion that the sector may need to limit its emissions to somewhere between 22-30MtCO2 by 2050, balanced by carbon removals, if the UK is to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the economy.

However, with the addition of a third runway at Heathrow, the DfT forecasts show that emissions will not even meet the current 37.5Mt planning assumption and will rise to around 40Mt by 2050.

As this forecast assumes other airports will only grow to the levels determined by their existing terminal and runway capacities, the prospect of an additional 1MtCO2 from use of Gatwick’s standby runway, plus any increases from proposed airport developments elsewhere, will heighten the scale of the problem.

This will threaten the UK’s ability to meet its climate target, reinforcing AEF’s argument, set out in our response to the Government’s recent aviation strategy consultation, that further runways should be ruled out on climate grounds.

https://www.aef.org.uk/2019/08/15/why-gatwick-expansion-adds-to-the-aviation-carbon-headache/

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Press release from CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)

15thAugust 2019

According to Aviation Environment Federation’s (AEF) report released today, over 1m extra tonnes of carbon would be released by Gatwick Airport every year if the airport were allowed to go ahead and use their emergency runway on a daily basis.

“This finding is absolutely horrifying for us inhabitants of this fragile planet we call home,” says CAGNE, the umbrella community and environmental group concerned with Gatwick Airport.  

The Gatwick Airport master plan for a 3-runway airport launched on 18thJuly dedicated only one page to the impact its growth would have on the planet.  It seems to have looked to weaken the story of climate impacts of aviation as its planes burns fossil fuel by only accounting for departures and arrivals up to an altitude of 3,000ft.  The amount of CO2 it would release into our atmosphere painted as insignificant, and yet the airport management sets out 150 pages of business camouflage to hide this fact from local authorities, elected members, and the public.

Released today by the respected international authority on the environment in relation to aviation, the Aviation Environment Federation, details how Gatwick Airport would be releasing over 1m tonnes of carbon MORE each year if permitted to use the emergency runway as a second runway in conjunction with the main runway as proposed.

AEF state that the majority of in-flight emissions, those produced in the climb and cruise phases, (all except those below 3,000 ft approaching or leaving the airport – the LTO – Landing and Take-Off cycle) are excluded by Gatwick. It also fails to look beyond 2028 which limits its relevance when it comes to analysing how expansion could impact the UK’s ability to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“Gatwick and the industry are simply offering too many assumptions about realistic improvements the aviation industry will make to allow them to continue to grow unconditionally to the detriment of our planet and the climate crisis we now all face,” says CAGNE.

The government forecasts assume other airports will only grow to the levels determined by their existing terminal and runway capacities, the prospect of an additional 1MtCO2 from use of Gatwick’s standby runway, plus any increases from proposed airport developments elsewhere, will heighten the scale of the problem. This will threaten the UK’s ability to meet its climate target, reinforcing AEF’s argument, states AEF.

“Understandably, the new owners of Gatwick Airport, VINCI, are very keen to expand as much as they are allowed to, but this price for leisure travel is too high for our planet and for the local communities of Sussex, Surrey and Kent that will be hit the hardest by such unsustainable growth,” says CAGNE.

Note to Editor

Full report can be found at www.aef.org.uk

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Heathrow gets £9M payout from DfT for HS2 work at Old Oak Common affecting Heathrow Express

In mid-July, before he left the job, Transport secretary Chris Grayling signed off on a £9M payout to be handed to Heathrow Airport to prepare for HS2.  The pre-emptive payment from the DfT to Heathrow is compensation for knocking down a rail depot at Old Oak Common where Heathrow Express trains are kept.  The £9M figure was reported in Heathrow Express’ annual accounts. It is understood that the sum will be paid irrespective of whether or not HS2 gets the go ahead, with the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson in charge. A DfT spokesperson said the compensation would be part of “a series of agreements to secure the future of the Heathrow Express service, while enabling the construction of a new HS2 station at Old Oak Common”.  For the £9 million, Heathrow Express “agreed to vacate its train care depot at Old Oak Common to make way for the development of HS2.” In the Lords, on 24th July (the day Boris became PM), Lib Dem Baroness Elizabeth Randerson asked the DfT if the £9 million was still being paid, and the then Transport Minister Baroness Vere replied that “Work continues on HS2 and that £9 million was part of that work.” 

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Heathrow Express is a wholly owned subsidiary of Heathrow Airport Holdings.

Question by Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport)
House of Lords Debate

24th July 2019

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2019-07-24a.750.2#g751.2

My Lords, the Minister is very firm in her assurances, and I would like to think that we can be convinced that HS2 will be built. However, the new Prime Minister has cast serious doubt on it and the Minister has referred to HS2 being subject to review. I therefore ask her to explain why £9 million has been given as compensation to Heathrow Airport in preparation for HS2, despite this ongoing review. Can she confirm the press reports that the £9 million will be paid even if HS2 does not go ahead?

Reply by Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Work continues on HS2 and that £9 million was part of that work. To date, HS2 has spent £7.4 billion. The review I referred to was done by the current chairman of HS2; it may be that there is a separate, second external review. I welcome the new Prime Minister’s reported focus on infrastructure. Infrastructure is critically important to our country and very complex, and sometimes it represents a large and slow-moving target for criticism. It is essential that we get infrastructure right and that it is fit for purpose.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2019-07-24a.750.2#g751.2

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Heathrow receives £9M payout for HS2 work at Old Oak Common

16 JUL, 2019

BY SAM SHOLLI (New Civil Engineer)

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has signed off on a £9M payout to be handed to Heathrow Airport to prepare for High Speed 2 (HS2).

Heathrow will be pre-emptively handed the money by the DfT as compensation for knocking down a rail depot at Old Oak Common where Heathrow Express trains are kept.

The £9M figure was reported in Heathrow Express’ annual accounts.

It is understood that the sum will be paid irrespective of whether or not HS2 gets the go ahead following the Tory leadership race.

A government spokesperson said the compensation would be part of “a series of agreements to secure the future of the Heathrow Express service, while enabling the construction of a new HS2 station at Old Oak Common”.

“As noted in Heathrow’s accounts, £9M is part of our upfront compensation for additional operating costs incurred under these agreements,” the spokesperson also said.

A Heathrow Express spokesperson added: “As part of this agreement Heathrow Express agreed to vacate its train care depot at Old Oak Common to make way for the development of HS2.”

News of the £9M expense comes after it was revealed that HS2 Ltd had terminated its search for a contractor to design and build the £435M Birmingham Curzon Street Station after increasing concern regarding risk transfer.

The high speed rail project’s promoter has now relaunched its procurement process to provide a “better balance” and create “a more competitive process”.

https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/grayling-agrees-9m-hs2-compensation-sum-heathrow-16-07-2019/ 

 

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London Assembly – wholly opposed to Heathrow expansion – urges people to respond, rejecting 3rd runway plans

The London Assembly is totally opposed to a 3rd Heathrow runway. They have set out clearly 5 key reasons why it should be opposed, and are asking Londoners to reject the plans. They point out that the Heathrow consultation is confusing, and very difficult indeed for anyone who is not an expert to fill in. The Assembly says: “We are gravely concerned that Heathrow is prioritising the interests of the airline industry and passengers over and above the wellbeing of Londoners, who are going to be the most affected by the expansion.”   The plans would mean unacceptable levels of noise, air pollution, carbon emissions and amounts of road traffic. The extra noise is likely to harm health and well-being of thousands of people. As the consultation is too hard to respond to, using the online or paper forms, the Assembly suggests that people send a short message to the Heathrow email address feedback@heathrowconsultation.com  The text they suggest – vary it however you wish – is “Heathrow expansion fundamentally goes against the UK’s commitment to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality in the capital.  It’s going to make air pollution worse, increase carbon emissions and increase noise, and we don’t support it. I stand with hundreds of others calling for it to be CANCELLED.”
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Five reasons why the expansion of Heathrow is the wrong move for London

by the London Assembly

London Assembly
Aug 15th 2019
Heathrow Airport’s new runway proposal would enable it to grow from around 475,000 to around 740,000 flights a year.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: it’s bad for the environment, and it’s bad for Londoners.

Here’s why:

5️⃣ The consultation process has been confusing for Londoners

We are gravely concerned that Heathrow is prioritising the interests of the airline industry and passengers over and above the wellbeing of Londoners, who are going to be the most affected by the expansion. Thus far, the consultation process has been highly inaccessible to those without the time or inclination to work through several hundred-page documents, and numerous webpages to find information on areas that may impact them.

Many Londoners are cynical about the consultation process; here’s what people have been saying in response to the consultation on Facebook:

Future consultation processes must be accessible to local people and communities, in all areas but especially those overflown. Further, future consultations should facilitate engagement between communities, so that advocacy efforts do not leave any one community behind.

4️⃣ Noise pollution will drastically increase

The World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that average noise levels above 45dB are associated with adverse health effects. We asked Heathrow representatives to indicate the number of people newly affected by noise as a result of the expansion. None of the representatives could provide this figure, despite its relevance to the discussion on noise impacts.

The UK Government found that, with the expansion, an extra 539,327 people would be affected should the threshold of annoyance be extended down to their limit of 51dB, taking the total number of people in the noise annoyance footprint to over 1.15 million.

Further, NHS guidelines say that getting less than seven hours of sleep can damage mental and physical health. The proposed expansion plans suggest the ban on night flights would be between 23:00p.m. and 5:30a.m — just 6 and a half hours.

We’re recommending that Heathrow commissions an independent noise impact assessment to better understand the harms of aviation noise and determine an appropriate, evidence-based noise threshold. In addition to that research, we’re calling for specific, stringent and binding targets for noise reduction, based on lower thresholds of disturbance, as specified by the WHO.

3️⃣ There will be more air pollution

The Government has said that any increase in pollution from an expanded Heathrow would be acceptable as long as emissions remain within legal limits — i.e. do not exceed the worst pollution levels in the whole Greater London area. But if air quality is improved in one area of London, that shouldn’t mean it is acceptable for Heathrow to increase its contributions to air pollution.

It would be illegal to worsen and prolong local breaches in health-based air pollutant concentration limits.

2️⃣ There will be more pollution from cars

The proposed expansion of Heathrow will significantly increase traffic, and there’s been a real lack of planning for improving surface access (the way cars, buses and lorries will be managed going to and from Heathrow). This increase will have a serious impact on air quality in an area already experiencing high — and potentially illegal — levels of pollution.

Currently, 40% of Heathrow’s passengers are using public transportation, up only 1% in the last 10 years. The Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) required Heathrow to drive up the number of passengers using public transport to 50% by 2030 and 55% by 2040. With another 10 to 12 million passengers travelling to and from the airport with the expansion, how is it possible Heathrow will deliver on its goals?

Heathrow has said it relies on public transportation improvements like Crossrail, High Speed 2, Western and Southern Rail, and buses and coaches. But most of these plans fall outside the governance and financial jurisdiction of Heathrow — meaning taxpayers will ultimately bear the burden. We need to know what surface access is required, how much it would cost and who would be expected to pay for it.

And further, these objectives are significantly lower than the Mayor’s city-wide target of 80% of journeys being taken by walking, cycling and public transport by 2041. Heathrow’s targets should be consistent with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and the draft London Plan, so as to not undermine city-wide efforts.

1️⃣ There will be increased carbon emissions

Heathrow is the biggest single source of carbon emissions in the UK, and though the Government just announced plans to meet new, much tougher “net zero” greenhouse gas target by 2050 — aviation is not currently included in these carbon budgets.

CO2 emissions after expansion will be eight to nine million tonnes higher per year. This is equivalent to over seven million passenger vehicles driven for one year.

Proposed plans to reduce emissions rely primarily on technological improvements — but there is no credible evidence that technology will be available fast enough to support and deliver on Heathrow’s net-zero carbon objectives. For instance, Heathrow indicated landing fees would be waived for electric planes. But Cait Hewitt of the Aviation Environment Federation said in our meeting that they “foresaw no [implementation of the use of] electric aircraft this side of 2050.” Therefore, waiving of landing fees is not a fitting incentive for the near future.

So how can Heathrow expand while ensuring the Government meets its carbon objectives? That’s what we need to know before we move ahead with expansion.

We sent this list to Heathrow Airport Consultation. Add your voice if you agree>>


If you would like to relay this information to the Heathrow Consultation process, copy and paste the below paragraph and send to: feedback@heathrowconsultation.com

Heathrow expansion fundamentally goes against the UK’s commitment to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality in the capital.

It’s going to make air pollution worse, increase carbon emissions and increase noise, and we don’t support it.

I stand with hundreds of others calling for it to be CANCELLED.  http://bit.ly/5ReasonsForNoHeathrow

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AEF produces extensive guide to understanding how the planning system can influence airport development

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) has published a guide explaining the role of the UK planning system in controlling development at airports and airfields, and how planning conditions have been used to limit the impact of operations. The guide, in plain English, outlines provisions and policies in the planning system that are relevant for airport development projects. The Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) applies to smaller scale developments, whilst the Planning Act (2008) has introduced a new process applicable to larger infrastructure projects, like extending or adding runways. AEF says national policy imposes very few meaningful environmental limits on airport operations or expansion, and successive governments have been reluctant to intervene. That means it is largely up to local councils to negotiate controls or limits. An exception is that Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick airports have been “designated” for noise regulation by the Government. Some of the issues covered are those relating to smaller airports; permitted development rights; “established use” rights; conditions and planning agreements; Section 106 Agreements; the stages of the planning application process; the Airports National Policy Statement; and the Development Consent Order process for the largest developments.
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AEF releases guidance on aviation planning

AEF has today published the next in a series of guides aimed at explaining how aviation’s environmental impacts are addressed and managed.

Understanding aviation-related planning explains the role of the UK planning system in controlling development at airports and airfields, and how planning conditions have been used to limit the impact of operations.

The guide goes on to outline the planning system, with a particular focus on aviation-specific provisions and policies. The Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) applies to smaller scale developments, whilst the Planning Act (2008) has introduced a new process applicable to larger infrastructure projects, it explains.

https://www.aef.org.uk/2019/08/14/aef-releases-planning-guidance-for-aviation


Understanding aviation-related planning

Why is the planning system important for aviation?

National policy imposes very few meaningful environmental limits on airport operations or expansion, and successive governments have been reluctant to intervene. Consequently, it’s almost always at the local level, within the planning system, where the impacts of airport operations are consulted on with stakeholders, and where any controls or limits are negotiated.

There are exceptions, however. Since the 1980s, Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick airports have been “designated” for noise regulation by the Government. This means that Government restrictions run alongside those laid down by local planning authorities through the planning process. The Department for Transport (DfT) periodically consults on its approach to noise controls at the designated airports, particularly in relation to night time aviation noise, which provides opportunities for members of the public to comment.

As the information and examples below will show, the planning system has always occupied an important place within the aviation industry. However, a 2018 statement made by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) during its Airspace Modernisation Strategy consultation reinforces the strategic importance of the planning system as the process for determining the appropriate scale of the industry’s impacts. Aviation growth, and its noise and other environmental impacts, the CAA said, should be managed not through the airspace change process, which it authorises, but through the planning system.

The CAA envisages, for example, that regional and local government policy and decision-makers can limit the number of new runways at an airport, or place restrictions on their use.
But, given the limited ability of the planning system to set appropriate controls in every situation, AEF argues that there is a case for the DfT and the CAA to retain the right to impose limits way of conditions on airspace use where this is the best or only means of providing environmental protection.

What is the planning system?

The planning system was put in place in the 1940s to facilitate a coordinated approach to land use in the UK. It introduced the requirement to obtain planning permissions from local authorities for building works, and for a change of land use.

With some exceptions (outlined below), the planning system controls what happens on the ground at airfields and airports. This includes, as examples, proposals to develop new hangars and terminals, extensions to existing runways, or the construction of new ones, such as the one currently planned for Heathrow Airport.

What is the relevant aviation-related planning legislation?

The planning system has evolved considerably since the first planning act in 1947, and is subject to several Acts of Parliament, and a very wide range of policies and guidance that are out of scope for this short guide. However, keep in mind that legislation, policy and guidance that applies to proposed developments will differ depending on the scale of the proposals put forward and their impacts.

In this way, the planning system falls into two main legislative strands: (1) The Town and Country Planning Act (1990), and (2) the Planning Act (2008). In the context of aviation, The Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) applies to smaller development consents, which are dealt with locally. The 2008 Planning Act (PA) applies development proposals that are considered to be of national significance, and it is discussed separately below.

Whether the TCPA or the PA applies, you are also likely to come across references to the Localism Act (2011), which amended both.

The Climate Change Act (2008) is also very relevant, as all planning policy and considerations must take into account the legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions laid out in Section 1 of the Act (recently amended to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050).

For a full list of planning-related legislation, click here.


The AEF document continues with a lot of excellent, important and useful detail on the planning process, and how it affects airport plans and developments.

Some of the issues covered are:

issues relating to smaller airports;

permitted development rights;

“established use” rights;

conditions and planning agreements;

Section 106 Agreements;

the stages of the planning application process;

the Airports National Policy Statement; and

the Development Consent Order process for the largest developments.

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For the full details, see https://www.aef.org.uk/a-short-guide-to-aviation-related-planning-2/

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