Stansted Airport expansion plans will ‘ambush local communities and residents,’ according to Uttlesford Liberal Democrats

Uttlesford Liberal Democrats say that Stansted Airport is seeking to ‘ambush local communities and residents’ with its plans to become the UK’s 2nd biggest airport. They say the submitted planning application is “unravelling under the pressure of public scrutiny” and Stansted is not being ‘open’ with local residents. Thaxted Councillor Martin Foley said public opinion is not being taken into account, nor is there enough consideration in regards to the additional traffic following the expansion, branding plans too “simplistic”. The airport is “not being open and transparent in their application to expand its capacity to 43+ million passengers per annum.” …“Firstly, they have buried their demand for the removal of current restrictions on night flights at Stansted in an appendix to their main application.” Public consultation events have not been properly promoted, and the airport’s “assessment of the impact of the additional traffic generated by the expansion is simplistic and rudimentary.” Implausibly, the airport’s CEO tries to make out there will be a lower noise impact, even with 8 million more annual passengers (35 million up to 43 million). 
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Stansted Airport expansion plans will ‘ambush local communities and residents,’ according to Uttlesford Liberal Democrats

It’s claimed public opinion is being ignored

By Charlotte Page (Hertfordshire Mercury)
17 APR 2018

Uttlesford Liberal Democrats say that Stansted Airport is seeking to ‘ambush local communities and residents’ with its plans to become the UK’s second biggest airport.

Today (Tuesday, April 17) the party raised concerns after claiming that the submitted planning application is “unravelling under the pressure of public scrutiny”.

Despite London Stansted holding community consultations, the Lib Dems say the airport is failing to be ‘open’ with local residents.

Thaxted Councillor Martin Foley said public opinion is not being taken into account, nor is there enough consideration in regards to the additional traffic following the expansion, branding plans too “simplistic”.

He said:“Stansted Airport is not being open and transparent in their application to expand its capacity to 43+ million passengers per annum ~(MPPA).

“Firstly, they have buried their demand for the removal of current restrictions on night flights at Stansted in an appendix to their main application.

“Secondly, they are ignoring local public opinion as they have failed to adequately promote recent public consultation events on their application.

“Indeed, they failed to hold one in Stansted Mountfitchet, which is the nearest large settlement to the airport.

“Thirdly, their assessment of the impact of the additional traffic generated by the expansion is simplistic and rudimentary.”

The new gateway will be the seventh UK airport that Emirates operates out of in the UK.
Payments labelled ‘cash for favours’

Stansted Airport will become a quieter place, according to its CEO. With an increase by eight million passengers.

Similarly, Melvin Caton of Stansted Liberal Democrats said Stansted Airport is “determined to ride roughshod over local community opinion”.

He said: “I do hope that they don’t think they can take Uttlesford District Council and local communities for a ride. We won’t be a soft touch.

“The reasoning behind the application is highly dubious.

“They want to substitute the number of movements of small aircraft with large aircraft.

“It was clearly timed to pre-empt the content of the National Aviation Strategy due to be published in July, and pitched the expansion at 8.5MPPA to sneak below the 10MPPA threshold that requires central government to make the decision.”

However, while Stansted Airport could see an increase in passenger numbers by eight million per year chiefs insist that they will reduce noise impact.

The airport is not allowed to take more than 35 million passengers over 12 months, but the proposal would increase the cap to 43 million – a rise of 22 per cent.

CEO Ken O’Toole said the plans do not propose an increase in the number of flights and have been welcomed by businesses.

Similarly, the airport would like to clarify that there is no demand to remove current restriction on night flights within the application.

A spokesman for London Stansted said: “Stansted Airport consulted extensively with our local community over the last 12 months to help develop our planning application to increase the number of passengers we serve without increasing the number of flights we are permitted to operate and remaining within our noise limit approvals.

“We’re committed to maximising the social and economic benefits of growth in the most sustainable and efficient way possible for local residents, passengers, businesses and airline partners.

“The proposals outlined in our planning application will deliver 5,000 on-airport jobs and thousands more in the wider region, a doubling of the economic value-add created and millions more tourists using Stansted as their arrival point into the UK.

“We have met all our obligations on our legal and planning requirements to deliver this application and it is now for UDC to consider the views of all those with an interest in the proposal and determine it on its merits and within the required timescales.”

The public consultation period has been extended to Monday, April 30.

https://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/news/hertfordshire-news/stansted-airport-expansion-plans-ambush-1467831

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See also

Stop Stansted Expansion raises night flights and ‘noise nightmare’ concerns over airport’s expansion plans

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) says the airport wants to change conditions which have prevented it from lobbying government for more night flights. The plans were “buried” within its planning application to expand its annual throughput of passengers from 35 million to up to 43m. It claimed it was “a clandestine attempt to betray the community”, as it raised concerns about sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts caused by night flights. “For years SSE has been calling for tougher controls to bear down on the impacts night flights have on sleep disturbance and the quality of life and wellbeing of people across the region,” said SSE noise adviser Martin Peachey. “Stansted is already allowed more than twice as many night flights as Heathrow, and night flights are set to be completely banned at Heathrow within the next 10 years as a condition of expansion.” The airport says it is not seeking any change to current night flight limits, as the limit is already set above current usage.  SSE are also concerned that the long haul and freight aircraft which airport owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is hoping to attract to Stansted are “typically larger and noisier than most aircraft types currently based there” and with less stringent night noise controls, these could become a serious noise problem for local residents.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Even keen runway supporter, Slough Council, want assurances from Heathrow on damage to borough

Frustrations had been raised at Slough Borough Council (a keen supporter of the 3rd runway) after Heathrow seemingly ignored planning requirements it had set out, that would have ensured a ‘green envelope’ around Colnbrook, into which Heathrow would not intrude. Instead, the consultation set up by Heathrow showed plans for major new road developments within Colnbrook, and a taxiway that was just a few hundred meters from Pippins School. However, council leader, James Swindlehurst, said he had reached agreement with Heathrow that they will ‘review alternatives’ to the currently proposed roads for Colnbrook. They have also agreed to set up a workshop along with the council to explore other options. Heathrow has also announced that they are ‘committed’ to working with Pippins School to mitigate the impact of the expansion. [That probably means very little indeed, in reality].  The airport also pledged funding for a Historic Area Assessment for Colnbrook, which will work to identify buildings and landmarks with historical significance and determine what additional protections they need. [Any protection, other than the only effective one – not to build a massive airport in very close proximity to them]. 
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Negotiations underway to prevent Heathrow intrusion into Colnbrook

20.4.2018

By Greg Taylor (Junior Reporter – Slough Observer)

NEGOTIATIONS are underway to prevent the Heathrow expansion becoming an intrusion.

Frustrations had been raised at Slough Borough Council after Heathrow seemingly ignored planning requirements it had set out, that would have ensured a ‘green envelope’ around Colnbrook, into which Heathrow would not intrude.

Instead, the consultation set up by Heathrow showed plans for major new road developments within Colnbrook, and a taxiway that was just a few hundred meters from Pippins School.

However, council leader, James Swindlehurst, said he had reached agreement with Heathrow that they will ‘review alternatives’ to the currently proposed roads for Colnbrook.

They have also agreed to set up a workshop along with the council to explore other options. Heathrow has also announced that they are ‘committed’ to working with Pippins School to mitigate the impact of the expansion.

The airport also pledged funding for a Historic Area Assessment for Colnbrook, which will work to identify buildings and landmarks with historical significance and determine what additional protections they need.

Cllr Swindlehurst said: “I have always said the publication of the consultation was the start of a process, and that Slough would use its relationship with Heathrow to fight for the interests of our communities.

“Our support for expansion has never been in question. But as elected decision makers we will always work to ensure our communities are protected.”

Cllr Dexter Smith (Con, Colnbrook with Poyle) said: “The Historic Area Assessments are supposed to be done by the council every ten years – and the last was in 1997. It’s ten years out of date, so I welcome that.

“I’m glad there has been some movement, but this is not a fundamental change in position.”

http://www.sloughobserver.co.uk/news/16174171.Negotiations_underway_to_prevent_Heathrow_intrusion/

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See earlier:

 

Heathrow third runway: Slough council criticises revised plans

20 March 2018Pippins SchoolImage copyrightGOOGLE

Image captionPippins School could be demolished because of “worsening noise and air pollution”.

 

A school, homes and businesses will have to be demolished under revised plans for a new runway at Heathrow, a council has revealed.

Slough Borough Council said Pippins School in Colnbrook would be closer to the runway than previously thought.

It claims changes to the M25 will also affect a local trading estate, and lead to increased congestion and pollution.

Heathrow told the BBC it will continue to “explore options” to mitigate the impact on affected facilities.

A spokesperson said the airport is almost at the end of a 10-week consultation period but “there are currently no plans to compulsory purchase Pippins School”.

They added: “We will continue to work with all community facilities close to the new boundary – including schools – to explore options for mitigating the impacts of Heathrow expansion. This will include options including a world class noise insulation package and commitments around air quality.”

Slough Borough Council, which is supportive of development and a new runway, have criticised plans in the airport’s initial consultation.

It claims that raising the runway above ground level as it crosses the M25 could have “serious impacts” on Pippins School and nearby homes because of “worsening noise and air pollution”.

The authority added in a statement that, having inspected the plans, the school and nearby houses would be likely to be part of a compulsory purchase order.

Dialogue with Heathrow was therefore needed, it claimed, to rebuild the school at another, more suitable, location.

The leader of Slough council, James Swindlehurst, said they were objecting to the wider proposals in the hope of “shaping the ideas” Heathrow were producing.

Diverting the M25 by 150 metres to the west, he claimed, could involve the loss of homes at Elbow Meadow and buildings on the Galleymead Trading Estate in Colnbrook.

He told BBC Berkshire: “At the moment, the road hugs the M25, and the M25 hugs the airport, and we want to keep it like that”.

A Public Safety Zone, which protects people against an aircraft accident on take-off or landing, would also extend over, and “seriously blight”, houses in nearby Brands Hill, the council said.

Pippins School said it would not comment until they have discussed the proposals with Heathrow.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-43469213

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See earlier

Slough invites comment on its air pollution strategy – but gagging agreement prevents much mention of Heathrow …

Slough residents are being asked for their views on the draft Slough Low Emission Strategy (LES). Slough has high levels of air pollution that affect the health of residents. While several factors contribute to the borough’s air quality, the emissions from road transport vehicles are the most significant source – and much of this traffic is Heathrow-related. The strategy says it “recognises the challenges and opportunities that may arise from the construction of a 3rd runway at Heathrow.” The Slough council draft LES supports its new transport strategy and forms part of the Slough Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP). It lays out an integrated, year on year plan to improve air quality up to 2025, “reducing vehicle emissions by accelerating the uptake of cleaner fuels and technologies.”  The Slough Cabinet member for environment and leisure, said: “The health and wellbeing of our residents and the people who visit and work in Slough is paramount ….”  The strategy says it will “Link and compliment with a potential Ultra-Low Emission Zone at Heathrow.” Slough signed an agreement with Heathrow in mid 2015, to get benefits from a runway, provided they always back the runway. “1.5  Slough Council’s Cabinet commits to publicly support the expansion of Heathrow Airport with immediate effect and until Heathrow is granted the DCO. ” The council does not dare to complain!

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/11/slough-invites-comment-on-its-air-pollution-strategy-but-gagging-order-prevents-much-mention-of-heathrow/

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Slough Council secret deal with Heathrow includes gagging order, making it impotent in fighting for a better deal from Heathrow for 3 – 4 years

Residents of Colnbrook, close to Heathrow and due to be badly affected by a 3rd runway, submitted a FoI request to get the details for the secret, but legally binding, deal done between Slough Borough Council and Heathrow airport. The details of the deal are worrying. As well as finding out that Colnbrook, and help for the residents, do not feature in the deal, it has emerged that  Slough Council has accepted what amounts to a self-imposed gagging order, unable to criticise Heathrow for the next 3 to 4 years,until Heathrow is granted a Development Consent Order (DCO).  As well as a boost for investment in the town and improved access from central Slough to the airport, the secret agreement sees Heathrow commit to supporting the Council’s representations to Government to seek compensation for lost business rates, put by the council itself at up to £10 million earlier this year.  In return, however, Cabinet is legally bound to giving public support for the airport until final permission, is granted.  A Development Consent Order is at least three years away, possibly four.  Residents expected that their council would have argued for “world class” compensation and mitigation.  

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Stop Stansted Expansion raises night flights and ‘noise nightmare’ concerns over airport’s expansion plans

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) says the airport wants to change conditions which have prevented it from lobbying government for more night flights. The plans were “buried” within its planning application to expand its annual throughput of passengers from 35 million to up to 43m. It claimed it was “a clandestine attempt to betray the community”, as it raised concerns about sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts caused by night flights. “For years SSE has been calling for tougher controls to bear down on the impacts night flights have on sleep disturbance and the quality of life and wellbeing of people across the region,” said SSE noise adviser Martin Peachey. “Stansted is already allowed more than twice as many night flights as Heathrow, and night flights are set to be completely banned at Heathrow within the next 10 years as a condition of expansion.” The airport says it is not seeking any change to current night flight limits, [as the limit is already set above current usage.]  SSE are also concerned that the long haul and freight aircraft which airport owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is hoping to attract to Stansted are “typically larger and noisier than most aircraft types currently based there” and with less stringent night noise controls, these could become a serious noise problem for local residents.
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Campaigners raise night flights and ‘noise nightmare’ concerns over Stansted expansion plans

17 April 2018

By Sarah Chambers (EADT)

The owners of Stansted Airport have stressed that they are not seeking any change to current night flight limits at the site, after campaigners claimed they were trying to overturn the current legal conditions.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) claims the airport wants to change conditions which have prevented it from lobbying government for more night flights.

But the group said the plans were “buried” within its planning application to expand its annual throughput of passengers to up to 43m.

It claimed it was “a clandestine attempt to betray the community”, as it raised concerns about sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts caused by night flights.

“For years SSE has been calling for tougher controls to bear down on the impacts night flights have on sleep disturbance and the quality of life and wellbeing of people across the region,” said SSE noise adviser Martin Peachey.

“Stansted is already allowed more than twice as many night flights as Heathrow, and night flights are set to be completely banned at Heathrow within the next 10 years as a condition of expansion.”

But an airport spokesman said: “We recognise that night flights are a sensitive issue for local residents and our application does not seek any change to the current night flight limits at Stansted.

“These flights are regulated separately by central government with the current controls applying until 2022.

“Night flights are a small but important part of our operation with both passenger airlines and cargo operators attaching a high value to the ability to operate at night.

“Stansted has grown in a measured and environmentally sustainable way and the introduction of the latest generation of quieter, more efficient aircraft will ensure that we continue to minimise aircraft noise.”

Campaigners are also concerned that the long haul and freight aircraft which airport owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is hoping to attract to Stansted are “typically larger and noisier than most aircraft types currently based there”. and that they would also exacerbate problems with noise disturbance suffered. “If MAG succeeded in having the present restrictions on night flights relaxed, the floodgates could rapidly open to a noise nightmare,” they claimed.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/campaigners-raise-night-flights-and-noise-nightmare-noise-concerns-over-stansted-expansion-plans-1-5479923

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See also

Stansted Airport expansion plans will ‘ambush local communities and residents,’ according to Uttlesford Liberal Democrats

Uttlesford Liberal Democrats say that Stansted Airport is seeking to ‘ambush local communities and residents’ with its plans to become the UK’s 2nd biggest airport. They say the submitted planning application is “unravelling under the pressure of public scrutiny” and Stansted is not being ‘open’ with local residents. Thaxted Councillor Martin Foley said public opinion is not being taken into account, nor is there enough consideration in regards to the additional traffic following the expansion, branding plans too “simplistic”. The airport is “not being open and transparent in their application to expand its capacity to 43+ million passengers per annum.” …“Firstly, they have buried their demand for the removal of current restrictions on night flights at Stansted in an appendix to their main application.” Public consultation events have not been properly promoted, and the airport’s “assessment of the impact of the additional traffic generated by the expansion is simplistic and rudimentary.” Implausibly, the airport’s CEO tries to make out there will be a lower noise impact, even with 8 million more annual passengers (35 million up to 43 million).

Click here to view full story…

 

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Spelthorne sets out list of demands for Heathrow to protect its residents – if there was a 3rd runway

Spelthorne Council has been a backer of Heathrow expansion for some time, as has its MP, Kwasi Kwateng. Now the council has set out a list of 10 demands from Heathrow, if there is a 3rd runway, n its response to its recent consultation.  These include a  requirement that residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell join the Wider Property Offer Zone (WPOZ) and that no immigration centre is built in the borough. They want to “secure the best possible outcomes for our residents and businesses, in particular those most affected in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell.” Some of the demands are that residents will be able to either stay in the area or sell their homes to Heathrow for 125% their market value. Also that Heathrow will pay for the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone across Stanwell and Stanwell Moor, so residents would not have to pay for a fee for their annual parking permit. The Council wants community legacy benefits so Heathrow will “fully mitigate and compensate for the disruption, loss of open space, additional traffic, air quality and noise impacts, and removal of community buildings.” They want Heathrow to build an “enhanced multi-purpose community hall” and a new leisure centre for the community. And demands on surface access, noise, air quality, Staines Moor and much else besides.
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Spelthorne makes list of demands for Heathrow airport to agree to before planned expansion

Among them is a “requirement” that no immigration centre is built in the borough as part of the airport expansion

By Matthew Lodge  (Get Surrey)

16th APR 2018

A list of demands has been published by Spelthorne Borough Council in response to the proposed Heathrow expansion.

Before the airport’s consultation period ended on March 28, the council published what it describes as a “list of requirements” that it will seek assurances on.

Its report includes a list of 10 requirements they believe the airport should meet if the expansion goes ahead.

The list includes many things including a requirement that residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell join the Wider Property Offer Zone and that no immigration centre is built in the borough.

Councillor Ian Harvey, leader of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: “While we support Heathrow expansion in principle, Spelthorne’s primary aim must be to secure the best possible outcomes for our residents and businesses, in particular those most affected in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell.

“Residents need reassurance that Heathrow will fully meet any pledges made to minimise the impacts of whatever scheme is taken forward, and to know that they are going to be properly compensated.”

A spokesman for Heathrow said: “We welcome the feedback from Spelthorne Council on our emerging options for the future development of the airport.

“We meet regularly with the council and will continue to work constructively with them on local issues and find ways that we can help to improve the area and minimise negative impacts from our current and future operations.”

Whether the airport will agree to everything on the list remains to be seen, but in the meantime you can see it in its entirety below:

1. Expanded Wider Property Offer Zone (WPOZ)

There have been calls from residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell to be included in the WPOZ, which the council has now backed.

If included in the WPOZ, residents would be able to either stay in the area or sell their homes to Heathrow for 125% their market value.

The report states the council believes the WPOZ should be extended to include all of Stanwell Moor and all of Stanwell lying north of Clyde Road, Explorer Avenue and Ravensbourne Avenue.

This will be welcome news to supporters of the Sell to Heathrow campaign, which already has the support of local MP Kwasi Kwarteng.

2. Parking controls

Under the expansion proposals, there would be a significant increase in the amount of traffic movement to the south and west of the airport.

The council is asking the airport to pay for the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone across Stanwell and Stanwell Moor.

This would mean residents would not have to pay for a fee for their annual parking permit.

There have been problems with taxis parking in the villages while waiting to pick up passengers from the airport, something the report says “has caused antisocial behaviour” and stopped residents being able to park in their homes.

3. Community legacy benefits

The council believes that residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell should be compensated for the impact expansion will have on their lives.

It says it expects Heathrow to “fully mitigate and compensate for the disruption, loss of open space, additional traffic, air quality and noise impacts, and removal of community buildings.”

The council wants the airport to build an “enhanced multi-purpose community hall” for Stanwell Moor and Stanwell Village, while at the same time building a new leisure centre for the community.

Among other things, the council says the airport should provide perimeter paths for buggy walks, disabled cycling, safe cycling for young children and beginners jogging.

It says that all this and more should be put in place before the expansion goes ahead as a mark of the airport’s commitment to the community.

4. No Immigration Removal Centres

It is proposed in the plans that a site near Stanwell Moor could become the new home of the relocated Immigration Removal Centre.

This has caused much concern among local residents, who are concerned about the affect it would have on the area.

The council has come out strongly against this, stating “this is a totally unacceptable use of the site” and that they “object in the strongest possible terms to its relocation here”.

It has also asked about whether the “host” council of the centre would face obligations rehousing those who have left the centre.

5. Surface access/public transport

The council, much like the Commons Transport Select Committee, has expressed concerns about whether the current surface access proposals are suitable for the increased traffic flow to the airport.

In the report it asks for Heathrow to commit to funding public transport from Stanwell Moor and Stanwell to the airport, and support the borough in its quest to join Zone 6 of the London Transport Oyster Card operating zone.

It also asks that the airport backs a proposal that would see a light railway built that could take people to the airport from Staines town centre.

6. Air Quality

The effect the expansion would have on air quality in the communities surrounding the airport has caused a lot of concern to many people.

The council says that even if air quality falls within legal limits, assessments will still need to consider the health effects on the local population.

The airport is asked to commit to “continuous improvement in local air quality and at the very worst air quality should be no worse for our residents than it is now”.

7. Noise

The council acknowledges the large impact noise from the airport has on residents who live near the airport.

The report states it is expected that noise levels are kept below 51 decibels by the implementation of an “ongoing and challenging programme of continuous improvement to reduce the noise footprint of Heathrow”.

The council also says it would “strongly resist” any intention to increase runway capacity after the third runway is completed if it can’t be proven “such a proposal would cause ‘no worsening of the noise environment’ or ‘no reduction in the respite period'”.

It says there must be a continuous noise monitoring system in place to make sure noise problems do not develop over time as technology changes and if it does, it is identified as the earliest opportunity.

8. Night flights banned

Spelthorne Borough Council says there should be strict penalties for any breaches of this ban and that any money recouped from this must be put back into the communities affected.

It is also concerned by the timings of the night ban suggested by Heathrow, saying it is “clearly commercially driven”.

The council wants to see planes gain as much altitude as quickly as possible, and the removal of the “stacking” arrangements that prevents this from happening at the moment.

9. Borough Boundary

The council would like it to be made absolutely clear that Heathrow will not push for boundary change in the local authority.

A boundary change could mean the airport falls out of the jurisdiction of Spelthorne Borough Council and into another.

Any other local authority would “have no interest in protecting and supporting our communities”, the council says.

The borough council also wants to receive a “significantly increased proportion of the business rates generated by the wider expanded airport” as restitution for the impacts it will bring.

10. Staines Moor

Among the proposals for the expansion, there are plans that could involve disturbing Staines Moor, which is a designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The council, concerned about the effect expansion could have on this area which has “huge floral and invertebrate diversity”.

It believes it is “essential” that if the River Colne, which flows through the area, has to be diverted, it must be done in a way that keeps the flow and character of the river “unaltered” on the moor.

https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/spelthorne-makes-list-demands-heathrow-14443805  

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and there are more links to other local stories relating to Heathrow at the link above ….

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See earlier:

Spelthorne Council Leader admits Heathrow expansion ‘not an easy issue’ while continuing support for 3rd runway, not in his constituency

Support for the expansion of Heathrow has been reaffirmed by Spelthorne Borough Council.  The decision to maintain its stance, held since 2008, when the authority withdrew from the 2M group of councils including Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon who opposed Heathrow expansion, was made at an extraordinary council meeting on January 16th. The meeting was called following the publication of the Airports Commission interim report on 17th December, short-listing 2 runway options at Heathrow. for an extended northern runway and the airport’s own plan of demolishing medieval villages to the north to build a third runway. Heathrow’s own proposal is for a runway to the north-west, which does not affect Spelthorne (to the south) very much. It would mean demolition of Harmodsworth, or making it near impossible to live in. Spelthorne Council leader Robert Watts said: “Expanding airports is challenging. …. This is not an easy issue.” Spelthorne has always supported Heathrow expansion. In 2012 their own MP even advocated demolishing part of his borough, to build a runway – till he realised it was not a local vote-winner.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/01/spelthorne-council-leader-admits-heathrow-expansion-not-an-easy-issue-while-continuing-support-for-3rd-runway-not-in-his-constituency/

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IMO: Shipping sector agrees to tackle its CO2 but faster action needed to meet Paris climate goals (aviation still avoiding real CO2 cuts)

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IMO: Shipping sector gets on board to tackle climate change but faster near-term action needed to meet Paris climate goals

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed on an initial strategy to decarbonise international shipping and reduce emissions from ships by at least 50% by 2050. While this agreement falls short of the 70 to 100% reductions by 2050 that the Pacific Islands, the EU and others were calling for ahead of the meeting, it keeps a window open to meet the Paris climate goals and is undeniably a game changer for the shipping sector.

This plan serves as a welcome first step to phase out emissions from the sector, but the IMO must now build on the agreed minimum target of 50% reductions in subsequent reviews of the strategy to comply with its fair share of emissions under the Paris Agreement. It must commit to the rapid and strong implementation of near-term measures, which will be discussed later this year, to stay on track with the Paris climate goals to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Shipping accounts for 2% of global emissions and it is time the IMO got on board with the rest of the world to seriously tackle climate change.

Members and partners of the Climate Action Network reacted to the outcome:

Some of the many quotations from the article: 

Kelsey Perlman on behalf of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) said: “Today’s outcome puts international shipping ahead of aviation, short of the type of ambition required by the Paris Agreement, but with a clear, long-term commitment to decarbonize in-sector and peak emissions as soon as possible. This decision should light a fire under ICAO, which has been dragging its feet for over a decade on a vision for long-term decarbonization, arriving only at the mid-term emissions target of carbon neutral growth from 2020 levels. The agreement on shipping emissions today should make people question whether aviation’s emissions should be allowed to grow with no concrete plan to decarbonize.”

Bill Hemmings, shipping director, Transport & Environment, said: “The IMO should and could have gone a lot further but for the dogmatic opposition of some countries led by Brazil, Panama, Saudi Arabia. Scant attention was paid to US opposition. So this decision puts shipping on a promising track. It has now officially bought into the concept of decarbonisation and the need to deliver in-sector emission reductions, which is central to fulfilling the Paris agreement.”

Manfred Treber, senior adviser climate/transport, Germanwatch said: “The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 had stated that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) should pursue the limitation or reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol from international aviation, the IMO should do this for emissions from marine bunker fuels.
It took 19 years until ICAO agreed on CORSIA as a first global instrument to begin to fulfil this task. Now after 21 years – meanwhile the Paris Agreement had been adopted and has entered into force – we welcome that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is joining the world to combat climate change. We all know that their step is by far not sufficient to bring us close to the goals of the Paris Agreement with net zero emissions in the second part of this century.”

Aoife O’Leary, legal analyst, Environmental Defense Fund Europe said: The shipping sector’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target represents an important step forward. The IMO has been talking about climate change for twenty years but the strategy agreed this week marks the beginning of a focused debate about the policies and measures that will help it to modernise and regain the status of a clean and efficient mode of transport. The target falls short on ambition but should be sufficient to drive policy development and consequently investment in clean fuels and technology.  EDF remains committed to working with stakeholders including those in the industry to find the ways that will work in order to peak shipping emissions as soon as possible.”

 

For all the comments, see

http://www.climatenetwork.org/press-release/imo-shipping-sector-gets-board-tackle-climate-change-faster-near-term-action-needed

 

 

Global shipping in ‘historic’ climate deal

By David Shukman (BBC) Science editor
13 April 2018

The global shipping industry has for the first time agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases.

The move comes after talks all week at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.

Shippings has previously been excluded from climate agreements, but under the deal, emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

One minister from a Pacific island state described the agreement as “history in the making”.

Shipping generates roughly the same quantity of greenhouse gas as Germany and, if it were accounted for as a nation, would rank as the world’s sixth biggest emitter.

Like aviation, it had been excluded from climate negotiations because it is an international activity while both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement involved national pledges to reduce greenhouse gases.

The United States, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and a few other countries had not wanted to see a target for cutting shipping emissions at all.

By contrast the European Union, including Britain, and small island states had pushed for a cut of 70-100%.

So the deal for a 50% reduction is a compromise which some argue is unrealistic while others say does not far enough.

Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, who had chaired the controversial talks, said: “This initial strategy is not a final statement but a key starting point.”

Although it has the world’s second largest register of shipping, it had warned that failure to achieve deep cuts would threaten the country’s survival as global warming raises sea levels.

As the talks concluded, the nation’s environment minister David Paul said: “To get to this point has been hard, very hard. And it has involved compromises by all countries. Not least by vulnerable island nations like my own who wanted something, far, far more ambitious than this one.”

Mr Paul added: “This is history in the making… if a country like the Marshall Islands, a country that is very vulnerable to climate change, and particularly depends on international shipping, can endorse this deal, there is no credible excuse for anybody else to hold back.”

Laurent Parente, the ambassador of Vanuatu, also a Pacific island nation, was not satisfied but hoped the deal would lead to tougher action in future.

“It is the best we could do and is therefore what this delegation will support as the initial strategy that we have no doubt will evolve to higher ambitions in the near future.”

By contrast, the head of the US delegation to the talks, Jeffrey Lantz, made clear his country’s opposition to the deal.

“We do not support the establishment of an absolute reduction target at this time,” he said.

“In addition, we note that achieving significant emissions reductions, in the international shipping sector, would depend on technological innovation and further improvements in energy efficiency.”

Mr Lantz reiterated that the US, under President Trump, has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

He also criticised the way the IMO had handled the talks, describing it as “unacceptable and not befitting this esteemed organisation.”

But a clear majority of the conference was in favour of action.

The UK’s shipping minister, Nusrat Ghani, described the agreement as ” a watershed moment with the industry showing it is willing to play its part in protecting the planet”.

The move will send a signal through the industry that rapid innovation is now needed.

Ships may have to operate more slowly to burn less fuel. New designs for vessels will be more streamlined and engines will have to be cleaner, maybe powered by hydrogen or batteries, or even by the wind.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43759923

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AEF comment on the DfT’s Aviation Strategy – environmental impacts must be central to policy, not an add-on

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) has commented on the Government’s Aviation Strategy, produced on 7th. They say that while the UK aspires “to be a world leader in aviation when it comes to facilities and services, the same cannot be said for environmental protection, at least when it comes to climate change. A world-class package of environmental protection doesn’t currently seem to be on the agenda.” They say “The Aviation Strategy objectives should include an environmental objective that is not wrapped up in a commitment to growth, and the implications of this objective should be considered from the start.” AEF reiterate that aviation’s “unlimited growth is incompatible with achieving environmental commitments” and the DfT is not even questioning whether aviation growth was a positive outcome to aim for. Instead of the 3 separate consultations on aspects of UK aviation policy over the next 18 months, (with environment at the end) there will be a single Green Paper this autumn. The AEF hopes this allows for environmental impacts to be considered throughout the period of policy development and not as an afterthought (as it originally appeared). The DfT policy is focused on airline passengers and improving the service to them, but it should instead be in the interest of the whole population, including those affected by airports and aircraft.
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Government publishes its ‘next steps’ towards an aviation strategy

13.4.2018 (Aviation Environment Federation)

On Saturday 7thApril the Government published the outcome of its call for evidence on the Aviation Strategy ‘Beyond the Horizon’. It’s not a particularly inspiring read in terms of environmental ambition. While the Government aspires for the UK to be a world leader in aviation when it comes to facilities and services, the same cannot be said for environmental protection, at least when it comes to climate change. A world-class package of environmental protection doesn’t currently seem to be on the agenda.

But the document does at least put many of the right issues on the table (including some, such as aviation’s non-CO2 impacts, that have long been neglected) and we plan to engage actively with the Government and others on the environmental aspects of the strategy between now and publication of the Green Paper. We’ve taken a look back at five points we argued in our response to the call for evidence, looked for evidence in the outcome document of any changes in the Government’s position on these, and set out what we’ll be calling for as the policy develops.

  1. We said: The Aviation Strategy objectives should include an environmental objective that is not wrapped up in a commitment to growth, and the implications of this objective should be considered from the start

In our response to the call for evidence, we highlighted evidence that unlimited growth is incompatible with achieving environmental commitments, and that these objectives could not properly be dealt with together.

The outcome document notes that “Environment and community groups felt that the document gave insufficient prominence to carbon emissions and downplayed other environmental impacts as secondary to supporting growth, without questioning whether growth was a positive outcome to aim for.”

Nevertheless the Government plans to stick with its original wording for the objective to “support growth while tackling environmental impacts” with the justification that “the interdependencies of these issues has confirmed the Government’s view that they should all be addressed together as part of a single objective in the aviation strategy”.

Meanwhile, the plan to run three separate consultations over the next 18 months, with environment at the end, has been replaced by a proposal for a single Green Paper this autumn. We hope that this allows for environmental impacts to be considered throughout the period of policy development and not as an afterthought (as it originally appeared).

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

We’ll continue to present evidence for the need to keep environmental impacts within acceptable limits, whether or not they align with industry and government aspirations for growth.

  1. We said: The commitment to put consumer interests at the centre of the strategy could prevent effective policy-making

The aviation strategy will be strongly consumer-focused and market-driven, the call for evidence had specified. We argued that government policy on aviation, including on its environmental impacts, should be in the interest of the whole population, not just consumers, including the half who don’t take a single flight in any given year.

The ‘market-driven’ language is less evident in the outcome document, but the consumer focus remains clear. In particular, the document makes clear that action on environment, and investment in new technologies, will be considered only if that’s not too costly for consumers and the industry. UK action on climate change could, for example, put our airlines at a competitive disadvantage and increase fares for passengers, the document argues, while the possibility of noise reduction will be considered “in the context of airport growth”. The possibility that environmental objectives should be met even if they conflict with direct passenger interests is not addressed.

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

AEF will continue to make the case that the Government won’t be able to meet its own aim of a sustainable aviation sector if its key test for all policy decisions is focused narrowly on serving direct consumer interests, and that Government policy should focus on the wider public interest.

  1. We said: Heathrow expansion should not be decided till the strategy is in place

It makes no sense, we argued, for expansion of the UK’s biggest, noisiest airport (in terms of the number of people affected), and its biggest single source of CO2 emissions from any sector, to take place in the absence of national policy on environmental impacts. The outcome document has not acknowledged any concern about this issue.

Meanwhile some airports, such as Luton, have set out expansion plans that are large enough in scale to fall under the NPS process (the one being used for Heathrow expansion). It’s unclear at present how the Government plans to treat such applications – whether it would amend the current Airports NPS (which deals only with Heathrow) or draft new legislation.

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

Heathrow expansion is not yet a done deal and we’ll continue to argue that MPs should vote against the National Policy Statement in the absence of convincing evidence that it can and will be compatible with meaningful environmental limits. These limits should be set out or reflected in the Aviation Strategy, to ensure a common baseline for all UK airports, and to allow the impact of UK aviation as a whole to be considered.

  1. We said: The proposal to take action to support airports where there is urgent need for growth, in advance of the strategy being finalised, is either meaningless, or a cause for concern

The call for evidence had an odd section on ‘Making Best Use of Existing Capacity’ that noted likely demand among airports to increase passenger throughput and argued that “Due to the recent rise in growth, the Government believes that this issue cannot wait until the publication of a new Aviation Strategy.”

We said that it was unclear what the proposal was, since applications would still need to go through the planning process and the Government doesn’t typically stand in the way. We would nevertheless strongly oppose, we said, a policy whereby these authorities were encouraged to approve any applications for growth in the absence of strategic guidance from Government on how to assess environmental impacts.

The outcomes document doesn’t shed any light, that we can see, on this issue. Some airports have been hoping that the strategy will include specific policy support for expansion at particular airports or in particular regions. There’s no evidence so far that the Government plans to get involved in this level of detail.

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

Airport development decisions taken at the local level should be guided by a strong policy framework on environmental impacts, which provides a common baseline, and takes into account cumulative impacts, where relevant, from more than one airport.

  1. We said: The proposed ‘policy tests’, including that policy should be evidence-led, should be rigorously implemented

The Call for Evidence proposed that the Government’s approach to developing the strategy would be guided by a set of policy tests:

  • What is the rationale for action?
  • What is Government’s role?
  • What does the evidence say?
  • Have all of the options been considered?
  • What is the effectiveness of any proposed action?

We said that we fully supported the application of these tests. There is no mention of them, however, in the outcome document.

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

We’ll be making the case for effective, evidence-led government action on aviation’s environmental impacts, focusing on areas where the market won’t deliver what’s needed unless the Government gives the right policy steer.    

https://www.aef.org.uk/2018/04/13/government-publishes-its-next-steps-towards-an-aviation-strategy/

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Queen jokes that noisy plane ‘sounds like President Trump’ during chat in Windsor with Sir David Attenborough

The Queen and Sir David Attenborough, were recording for a programme in Windsor. Their genial chatter was marred by the overhead din of aircraft or helicopters. The Queen could not contain her irritation. “Why do they go round and round when you want to talk?” she pondered aloud. Poking fun at the noisy aircraft favoured by US leaders, she joked: “Sounds like President Trump or President Obama.” It is not the first time the monarch has expressed frustration about living under a flight path. Last year, she bemoaned the increasing “noise from the air” that disturbs the peace when she is enjoying the gardens at Frogmore House in Windsor. “These days there is more noise from the air than in 1867, but Frogmore remains a wonderfully relaxing environment.” Heathrow airport is barely a seven mile drive from Frogmore House and its flight path passes very close to the royal retreat. It was suggested in 2015 that the monarch could receive millions of pounds in compensation to soundproof Windsor Castle due to the noise of planes from an expanded Heathrow.
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Queen jokes that noisy plane ‘sounds like President Trump’ during cordial chat with Sir David Attenborough

By Victoria Ward (Telegraph)
10 APRIL 2018

In any other circumstance, two 91-year-olds strolling slowly around a garden, complaining about the prevalence of noisy aircraft would hardly be of note.

But when that elderly couple happens to be the Queen and Sir David Attenborough, old friends and undisputed national treasures, the nature of their conversation is rather more of interest.

As it happened, the pair’s genial chatter was marred by the aforesaid overhead din.

The Queen could not contain her irritation. “Why do they go round and round when you want to talk?” she pondered aloud.

Poking fun at the noisy aircraft favoured by US leaders, she joked: “Sounds like President Trump or President Obama.”

It is not the first time the monarch has expressed frustration about living under a flight path.

Last year, she bemoaned the increasing “noise from the air” that disturbs the peace when she is enjoying the gardens at Frogmore House in Windsor.

In a pre-recorded message, she told BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time: “I very much hope you have enjoyed visiting Frogmore House and garden, which holds a special place in my family affections.

“Indeed, I would echo the sentiments of Queen Victoria, who, 150 years ago, wrote of this dear lovely garden where all is peace and you only hear the gum of bees, the singing of the birds.

“These days there is more noise from the air than in 1867, but Frogmore remains a wonderfully relaxing environment.”

Heathrow airport is barely a seven mile drive from Frogmore House and its flight path passes very close to the royal retreat.

It was suggested in 2015 that the monarch could receive millions of pounds in compensation to soundproof Windsor Castle due to the noise of planes from an expanded Heathrow.

But aside from the noise pollution, the Queen and Sir David clearly revelled in each other’s company.

The pair, who were born just a month apart, had met after the former agreed to escort Sir David personally around the Buckingham Palace tree collection.

Their summer stroll was the culmination of a year’s filming that also involved her grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry, for the Queen’s Green Planet documentary, which follows the progress of a project known as the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, which aims to create a network of forests around the globe, second only in size to the Amazon rainforest.

Sir David admitted that despite their many previous meetings he was a little nervous about the garden walk because “all sorts of things could have gone wrong.”

“There were problems in that where the palace is, geographically, there are always police sirens and ambulance sirens that make filming difficult,” he told the Radio Times.

“But she took it all in her stride. It was a privilege of course, a very nice occasion — and she was very gracious. “She is very unsolemn, very good at putting people at their ease.”

At one point, the Queen teased Sir David because he was struggling to identify the nametags on two oak trees planted to celebrate the births of Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

“The truth was I couldn’t find my glasses,” he said.

The monarch also chuckled when Sir David pointed out a sundial “neatly planted in the shade”.

Asked how two nonagarians were still going strong, protecting the planet, he said: “We must be very lucky in our constitutions.

“There are very many virtuous people I can think of who can’t walk at my age, so it’s a matter of luck isn’t it?”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/10/queens-conversation-drowned-noisy-plane-chats-sir-david-attenborough/

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GIP may be considering selling its 42% stake in Gatwick airport

Investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners is considering the sale of its 42% stake in  Gatwick Airport, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It is believed that GIP plans to initially seek buyers for its stake among existing shareholders before reaching out to other potential buyers, but this is still speculation. It is not clear if any banks have been hired for the transaction, and GIP may change its mind.  Representatives for GIP and Gatwick declined to comment. While GIP is the largest shareholder in the airport, its other owners include funds from Abu Dhabi, California and South Korea. GIP, which manages about $40 billion in assets, bought Gatwick with the consortium of investors in 2009 for about $2.5 billion. Gatwick handled 45.6 million passengers in 2017 and continues to lobby the UK government for permission to build a 2nd runway, to take trade away from Heathrow. GIP, founded in May 2006, manages assets ranging from ports and pipelines to multiple airports and a vast wind farm in the North Sea. Over 10 years, GIP has expanded its roster of backers to include some of the world’s biggest sovereign funds and various US pension funds.
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GIP Considers Sale of Stake in Gatwick Airport

April 10, 2018, (Bloomberg)

Investment fund is seeking to offload its 42 percent stake
GIP bought London airport in 2009 with group of investors

Investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners is considering the sale of its 42 percent stake in London’s Gatwick Airport, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The fund plans to initially seek buyers for its stake among existing shareholders before reaching out to other potential suitors, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is confidential. Financial advisers have contacted New York-based GIP about a possible sale, though it isn’t clear if any banks have been hired, they said. No final decisions have been made and the fund may decide not to proceed with a transaction, the people said.

Representatives for GIP and Gatwick declined to comment. While GIP is the largest shareholder in the airport, its other owners include funds from Abu Dhabi, California and South Korea, according to its annual report.

GIP, which manages about $40 billion in assets, bought London’s second-busiest airport with the consortium of investors in 2009 for about $2.5 billion. Gatwick has been under pressure due to intensifying competition from at least two other airports in the city after Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, and Stansted, the biggest hub for Ryanair Holdings Plc, this year said they could add almost 30 million more passengers between them yearly without requiring extra runways.

Gatwick has a single landing strip and was able to handle 45.6 million passengers in 2017. Heathrow, which has been effectively full for a decade, is in the middle of a consultation period to add a third runway after getting the green light from Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration in 2016. Gatwick meanwhile is continuing to lobby the U.K. government for permission to also add another runway, with Chief Executive Officer Stewart Wingate saying in October that the airport would privately finance its own growth.

GIP, founded in May 2006, manages assets ranging from ports and pipelines to multiple airports and a vast wind farm in the North Sea. Over 10 years, GIP has expanded its roster of backers to include some of the world’s biggest sovereign funds and a slate of U.S. pensions.

— With assistance by Benjamin D Katz

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-10/gip-is-said-to-consider-sale-of-its-stake-in-gatwick-airport\

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See earlier:

Speculation grows that GIP and the consortium of Gatwick owners will sell the airport soon

Gatwick’s private equity owners have had a £175 million dividend as speculation mounts over a sale of the airport. The dividend, paid in October 2017, was up from £125m a year earlier and followed 6 months of rising passenger numbers and profits.  Gatwick is owned by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and a consortium of investors, who bought it for £1.5 billion in 2009 from the former airports monopoly BAA.  They have improved the airport, attracting more airlines, and now have 44 million annual air passengers. That has increased the value of the airport to an estimated £6 – £8 billion. GIP also owned London City airport, which they sold almost 2 years ago for over £2 billion, making a huge profit. City experts believe GIP is now looking to sell one or both of its 2 remaining UK airports, Gatwick and Edinburgh – or at least reduce its stake.  A sale of Gatwick would be a vast profit. There is speculation that GIP would have sold Edinburgh earlier, but held back due to the German election and complications of Brexit. Gatwick is still keen to build a 2nd runway, but the government prefers a 3rd Heathrow runway. Consultations on that will continue in 2018, and Gatwick continues to press for its runway – as that would raise the selling price.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/01/speculation-grows-that-gip-and-the-consortium-of-gatwick-owners-will-sell-the-airport-soon/

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CAA data, only obtained through FoI request, shows about 2.2 million people would be affected by noise from a 3 runway Heathrow

Over 2 million people could be affected by noise from an expanded Heathrow according to secret documents obtained by campaigners. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had previously claimed in October 2016 that an expanded Heathrow (up to 50% more flights) would be quieter in 2030 than today. This claim (obviously ludicrous) was not repeated in the revised draft consultation on the Airports National Policy statement (NPS) published in October 2017. This predicted that 92,700 additional people in the area around Heathrow would be exposed to noise by 2030 as a consequence of the 3rd runway. Now, following an FOI request for the noise data contained in the CAA’s economic analysis, a new figure emerges of 972,957 households who would experience greater noise by 2060. This is the time frame for the full introduction of ‘quieter’ (= slightly less noisy) planes. Based on CAA assumptions on household size this figure is equivalent to 2.2 million people. The third runway, if approved, is expected to be fully open by 2028. At this point it is claimed that a maximum of 90% of the aircraft fleet would have been updated.  This excludes many of the noisier four-engine planes. It is likely therefore that at this point the numbers of people experiencing increased noise would be significantly higher.

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THIRD RUNWAY NOISE TO HIT OVER 2M PEOPLE

9.4.2018 (No 3rd Runway Coalition press release)

Over 2 million people could be affected by noise from an expanded Heathrow according to secret documents obtained by campaigners.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had previously claimed in October 2016 that an expanded Heathrow would be quieter in 2030 than today (1).

This claim was not repeated in the revised draft consultation on the airports national policy statement (NPS) published in October 2017. This predicted that 92,700 additional people in the area around Heathrow would be exposed to noise by 2030 as a consequence of the third runway (2).

Now following an FOI request for the noise data contained in the CAA’s economic analysis, a new figure emerges of 972,957 households who would experience greater noise by 2060. This is the time frame for the full introduction of ‘quieter’ planes (3).

Based on CAA assumptions on household size this figure is equivalent to 2.2 million people.

The third runway, if approved, is expected to be fully open by 2028. At this point it is claimed that a maximum of 90 per cent of the aircraft fleet would have been updated.  This excludes many of the noisier four-engine planes. It is likely therefore that at this point the numbers of people experiencing increased noise would be significantly higher.

The detailed workings obtained from the CAA also show that within this figure there are 420,000 people who already suffer significant noise who would experience a doubling of flights overhead every day.

The 2.2 million figure is a best-case scenario. It relies on a flightpath strategy that aims to minimise the overall numbers affected. A different option which aimed to minimise the numbers newly affected by noise could increase the overall figure by 24% based on CAA calculations. (3)

Together with the noise from older planes that had not been replaced this could take the overall numbers affected to 3 million.

People’s real-life experience of noise is not reflected in the figures. The NPS proposes reducing the current half-day’s respite to one third. It also proposes that daytime flights should start every day at 0530 instead of 0600 currently.

The lack of information in the NPS on flight paths and the failure by the CAA to consider alternative flight path strategies makes it impossible for people to know if they will be affected and by how much.

Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:

“It has long been clear that the DfT have understated the numbers who will be impacted by an expanded Heathrow’s noise. Every analyst has pointed out that – by considering just one, and the most unrealistic flight path scenario – the figures were being massaged.

So, it’s hardly surprising to learn that these CAA calculations were not presented to the public and parliament. The DfT wish to conceal the true impact of expanding this highly disruptive airport, that sits at the heart of our country’s most densely populated region. And news of this concealment simply completes the narrative”. 

John McDonnell MP said:

“As the true impact of expanding Heathrow is revealed, the more politicians are realising that it is a political costly and environmental liability for any political party that tries to force it through”

Zac Goldsmith MP said:

“It is astonishing that even while virtually every argument put forward in the Airports Commission and subsequently by Government to support the third runway has had to be abandoned or significantly revised, the Government’s position on the third runway has not altered one jot.

“The Government’s own figures show that Heathrow expansion is the most polluting, most expensive, least economically beneficial, and most difficult to deliver of the options. And now we learn that, disgracefully, the Government has deliberately downplayed the number of people who stand to be affected by noise.”

The CAA’s economic analysis, which uses the DfT’s webTAG appraisal model, was made available on January 31, 2018 following a Freedom of Information request (3).

ENDS.

Notes:

  1. Chris Grayling, Statement to Parliament, 25 October 2016 https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/airport-capacity
  2. Appraisal of Sustainability, Revised NPS, October 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/654320/aos-revised-draft-airports-nps-non-technical-summary.pdf p. 22
  3. FOI https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aviation_policy_framework_metric_2#incoming-1104762

For more information – Rob Barnstone, 07806 947050; Robert.barnstone@outlook.com  

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Heathrow third runway noise would affect 2.2m people, analysis finds

Official files show government expects 973,000 households to face increased daytime noise

More than 2 million people would be exposed to additional aircraft noise if Heathrow builds a third runway, according to a government analysis.

Ministers have argued that Britain’s biggest airport will affect fewer people with noise in future, due to quieter planes. But government calculations suggest a new runway would still have a negative impact on nearly a million households, or 2.2 million people.

Department for Transport documents, released by the Civil Aviation Authority after a freedom of information request, show the government expects 973,000 households around Heathrow to experience increased daytime noise by 2050 after a third runway is built.

It said 673,800 households affected by Heathrow’s two runways will experience less noise once expansion takes place, making a net 300,000 worse off.

The DfT work was carried out for a revised national policy statement published last year, which gives the green light to Heathrow expansion if approved by a parliamentary vote expected this summer.

Campaigners and parliamentary opponents of expansion accused the government of attempting to bury the figures.

Paul McGuinness, the chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “It has long been clear that the DfT have understated the numbers who will be impacted by an expanded Heathrow’s noise.

“So it’s hardly surprising to learn that these calculations were not presented to the public and parliament. The DfT wish to conceal the true impact of expanding this highly disruptive airport.”

According to the Heathrow anti-noise group Hacan, households in Heston, Osterley Park, Brentford and parts of Chiswick and Hammersmith would be brought directly under a new flight path.

When announcing the government’s backing for a third runway in 2016, the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, told the House of Commons: “Even with expansion, fewer people will be affected by aircraft noise than today.”

In February, he told the transport select committee: “If you look ahead 20 years, I expect an expanded Heathrow airport to be quieter than the existing two-runway airport.”

The policy statement acknowledged that 92,700 more people around Heathrow would by 2030 be affected by noise at levels recognised as causing disturbance, although it said the numbers would diminish as plane technology improved.

The DfT said increased noise would be addressed by home insulation and compensation. “We have been clear that expansion at Heathrow would not be allowed to proceed without a world-class package of compensation and mitigation measures for local communities,” a spokesperson said.

“This includes noise insulation for homes and community buildings and a community compensation fund worth up to £50m per year. We have consulted extensively on the options for airport expansion and will continue to engage with MPs and their communities as the proposals develop.”

Heathrow insisted fewer people would be affected by noise than at present, even with another runway. “We stand by our commitment to expand Heathrow while reducing the number of people affected by noise, compared to today. We are currently consulting with our local communities on airspace modernisation, which will redesign how planes fly over Heathrow in coming years,” a spokesperson said.

“Any future modelling of noise impacts must take into account these changes, as well as the stringent mitigation and insulation plans Heathrow will put in place, which will continue to reduce the number of people affected by our operations.”

The airport has managed to double passenger numbers and decrease its noise footprint in recent decades, as the oldest and loudest planes have been phased out. It expects to be held to a 6.5-hour night flight ban as a condition of building a third runway.

Airspace around Heathrow is also to be redesigned, which could see fewer newly affected households, although with 50% more flights, taking the total number to up to 740,000 a year, limiting additional flightpaths would concentrate the burden on areas that are already overflown.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/09/heathrow-third-runway-noise-affect-people-government-documents

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Reality Check: Why politicians should reject the 3rd Heathrow runway. By Sally Cairns and Carey Newson

For a masterful summary (2 pages with all references) of the reasons why the UK government should not be persuaded into allowing a 3rd Heathrow runway, see this briefing by Sally Cairns and Carey Newson, from Transport for Quality of Life. They sum up all the ways in which the business case for the runway is flawed and the environmental case rests on hugely optimistic assumptions. They list these as: “planes will get cleaner and quieter at a faster rate than has previously been expected; cars and vans will also get dramatically cleaner; freight movements will somehow be optimised; the latest National Air Quality Plan will deliver all anticipated air quality improvements; the fledgling international aviation carbon offsetting scheme will generate a high enough carbon price; the national Aviation Strategy (not yet written) will come up with cost-effective mechanisms for constraining aviation emissions further; the new Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise will prove effective; a review of airspace (that has not taken place for over 40 years, as it is so controversial) will take place soon; HS2, Crossrail and the Piccadilly line upgrades will attract air passengers and airport staff in sufficiently large numbers; funding will be found for Western and Southern rail access; etc. It seems very unlikely that all of these will fall into place.” 
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Radical Transport Policy Two-Pager #2

Reality Check: Why politicians should reject the third runway

by Sally Cairns and Carey Newson (Transport for Quality of Life.com)

The business case for a third runway is flawed and the environmental case rests on hugely optimistic assumptions.


Given how long the debate about Heathrow expansion has worn on, it may be tempting for politicians to think “let’s just get on with it”. There is a danger that the sheer weight of paper generated, the time spent debating the issue, and the dogged persistence of the airport’s operator, which has spent £30m promoting its cause1 , now tips the scales towards development, whatever the social and environmental cost. But a third runway represents a very serious threat to the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of people living around the airport2 and could also compromise the UK’s ability to deliver on its climate change commitments3 . The decision should be the right one, not just the easiest.

Proponents of expansion argue that there is an urgent economic need for the runway; that mitigating measures will protect the health of those affected; and that we will still be able to meet our climate targets. Up close, however, these claims rest on a web of tenuous assumptions and highly optimistic predictions. And, although the House of Commons transport committee has just come out in favour of expansion 4 , the endless caveats to its judgment only highlight the huge uncertainties surrounding the scheme.

Take, first, the claim that we urgently need new capacity for business travellers. In practice, over the last ten years, the number of flights made for business at the UK’s five largest airports, including Heathrow, has not increased5 . Latest DfT forecasts also suggest that a new runway will make little difference to the number of flights taken for business across the UK in the future 6 .

Instead, the argument made is that business travellers will enjoy more services to key destinations, fewer delays, and (even) cheaper fares 7 . However, this is all subject to future business decisions made by the airport’s operator. The level of fares, for instance, depends on whether Heathrow avoids passing on costs of the new runway to its users – something the airlines are deeply sceptical about 8 , and one of many areas where the transport committee is now calling for safeguards. Meanwhile, although Heathrow’s hub status may enable it to offer services to more obscure places, there is no guarantee that flights will therefore go to emerging business destinations, rather than more lucrative holiday hotspots.

We might expect the Government’s economic assessment to tell us about the effects on UK-wide prosperity. However, the majority of calculated economic benefits for expansion come from adding together estimates of small reductions in journey times or fares for individual passengers. Making flying quicker and cheaper is not beneficial for ferry or rail operators, or thousands of UK businesses that depend on domestic tourism. In 2016, UK residents flying abroad for leisure spent £33.5bn, whilst overseas visitors flying here for leisure spent only £14.5bn – a deficit of £19bn 9 . This loss to the UK’s tourism economy is not even factored into the cost-benefit analysis of the third runway.

And latest Government forecasts also suggest that regional airports will lose out from expansion, since, with the third runway, they will have 17 million fewer passengers by 2050 than they would without it10 .

The validity of the case for expansion is further undermined by the sheer volatility of the figures presented. The maximum estimated benefits (over 60 years) have been repeatedly revised, from £211bn in 2014 11, down to £74bn in 2017 12. When the costs of the project are then added in, latest official figures show that, in some scenarios, the overall ‘net present value’ for the expansion is actually negative 13 .

Worse still, the environmental case for the runway relies on a series of hugely optimistic forecasts. In evidence to the transport committee, advocates of the runway argued that there will be no additional road traffic, that air quality will stay within legal limits, that noise impacts can be effectively managed, and that Climate Change Act requirements will not be breached.

However, this rests on the following assumptions:

  • planes will get cleaner and quieter at a faster rate than has previously been expected 14,15;
  • cars and vans will also get dramatically cleaner 16;
  • freight movements will somehow be optimised 17;
  • the latest National Air Quality Plan will deliver all anticipated air quality improvements 18;
  • the fledgling international aviation carbon offsetting scheme will generate a high enough carbon price 19;
  • the national Aviation Strategy (not yet written) will come up with cost-effective mechanisms for constraining aviation emissions further 20; 
  • the new Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise will prove effective; a review of airspace (that has not taken place for over 40 years, because it is so controversial) will take place soon 21;
  • HS2, Crossrail and the Piccadilly line upgrades will attract air passengers and airport staff in sufficiently large numbers;
  • funding will be found for Western and Southern rail access 22; etc  

It seems very unlikely that all of these will fall into place.

Doubts about the timing and effectiveness of such measures are also expressed by the Commons Transport Committee, which is calling for more safeguards to be written into the Airports National Policy Statement, including conditions withholding the use of new capacity if targets are not met. However, for Heathrow to open in 2026, the scale of what would have to be delivered in the next eight years is immense. It is unclear how, at this stage, any re-written paperwork can provide the certainty needed. Nor does it seem credible to believe that, after billions have been spent on building the runway, politicians will tell Heathrow they can’t use it.

Surely, instead, before taking any decision, it makes sense to wait and see whether, as promised, in the next few years, air quality improves, planes get quieter, airspace becomes better organised, carbon emissions can be managed, and an increasing share of air passengers and staff start using public transport. If these things don’t happen – or, indeed, if the airport operator then decides that it is no longer financially viable to build the runway – politicians will have made the right choice, safeguarding both the health of local communities and the UK’s climate commitments. Giving a green light to expansion now is an enormous gamble with the future.

 

Sally Cairns and Carey Newson are independent researchers and Associates of specialist transport consultancy, Transport for Quality of Life. Input to this article was also provided by Cait Hewitt and Tim Johnson of the Aviation Environment Federation. A version of this Two-Pager was first published as an article in Local Transport Today: “Approving a third runway at Heathrow is the easy option. But it would also be wrong.” LTT Issue 744, 3rd April 2018.

https://www.transportforqualityoflife.com/u/files/180406_Heathrow_reality_check.pdf

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Notes:

1 John Holland-Kaye, CEO Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd: [In response to a direct question about the amount of money spent ‘solely on promoting the third runway’] “Solely on promoting it, the number I have in mind is £30 million.” Emma Gilthorpe, Executive Director Expansion, Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd: “More than that has gone into community engagement, which I would not consider to be promotional. I would consider that just being a good responsible business.” Q360, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 5/2/18.

2 Val Shawcross CBE, Deputy Mayor of London: “..something like three quarters of a million people are already affected, so the potential expansion could push one million people to experience significant noise nuisance.” Q264, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18.

3 The aviation forecasts currently suggest that Heathrow expansion will lead to total UK aviation emissions from departing aircraft of 39.9MtCO2 p.a. by 2050, which exceeds the total needed to meet the Climate Change Act requirements (DfT 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts, Table 39, p110). A review of theoretical additional carbon abatement measures was published in conjunction with the revised NPS, however, critics have highlighted the potentially high costs and practical challenges to implementing them. https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2017/12/AEF-comments-on-NPS-reconsultation.pdf

4 House of Commons Transport Committee (2018) Airports National Policy Statement. HC548. Third report of session 2017-19 5 Airports Commission (2015) Final Report shows the trend in the number of international terminal passengers travelling for business at the UK’s

5 largest airports between 2000 and 2013, Figure 3.1, page 70. According to Civil Aviation Statistics, the total number of terminal passengers travelling for business at the UK’s five largest airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and Manchester) was 40.5 million in 2006, 34.9 million in 2011 and 34.8 million in 2016.

6 DfT (2017) UK Aviation Forecasts. Table 31, page 100. In the unconstrained capacity scenario, the forecast is for 93 million business passengers p.a. (including UK business, foreign business and domestic business) in 2050. In the constrained scenario, the forecast is for 91 million. The forecast difference in total passenger numbers is 494 mppa compared with 410 mppa. Allowing a third runway at Heathrow (which is expected to reduce constraints, but not reach the ‘unconstrained’ scenario) is expected to result in total passenger numbers of 435 mppa (Table 34). The Transport Committee’s report (page 17) states that “the passenger growth facilitated by a NWR scheme is accounted for almost entirely by leisure passengers (i.e. those travelling for holiday purposes or those visiting friends and relatives sometimes referred to as VFR) and international transfer passengers”.

7 Caroline Low, Director of Airport Expansion and Aviation and Maritime Analysis: “The number of people travelling is not dissimilar, because in any scenario, business travellers will pay to travel…” “…the benefits we monetise are reduced delays, increased frequency and reduced fares…” Q464 and 465, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 7/2/18

8 Craig Keeger, CEO Virgin Atlantic: “…we find ourselves today – being quite concerned that we or our customers, or some combination thereof, would effectively be left holding the bag for any overspending in what is now, at this point, a very unpredictable outcome.” Q578 Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group: “It is a huge cost, and the risk at this stage is completely unknown, because we do not know what we are talking about…We are being asked to sign a blank cheque.” Q585, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 20/2/18

9 Office for National Statistics (2017) Travel trends: 2016. Figures taken from the underlying data tables (2.09 and 3.09), in order to exclude international travel done for business, or by sea or channel tunnel. Leisure includes holidays, visiting friends or relatives, and ‘miscellaneous’. In 2012, the equivalent figures were £23.2 billion versus £11.5 billion, a difference of £12 billion. It is also notable that, in 2016, 78% of leisure spending by UK residents flying overseas was on holidays, whereas this was only the case for 48% of leisure spending by overseas visitors. Inbound foreign holiday makers (travelling by air) only spent £7 billion in the UK in 2016. This is a significant difference to the figure of ‘over £22 billion’ for ‘inbound tourism’ given on page 14 of the revised NPS. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/leisureandtourism/articles/traveltrends/2016

10 Department for Transport (2017) Updated appraisal report: airport capacity in the South East. Table 3.7, p21.

11 Airports Commission (2014) Consultation document: Gatwick Airport Second Runway, Heathrow Airport Extended Northern Runway, Heathrow Airport North West Runway, p75, para 3.128

12 Department for Transport (2017) Revised Draft Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England. p23, para 3.26

13 Department for Transport (2017) Updated appraisal report: airport capacity in the South East. Tables 9.2 and 9.3, p44 and 46.

14 The aviation forecasts assume that there will be a 46-48% improvement in fuel efficiency between 2016 and 2050 (DfT 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts. Table 8, page 55). In 2013, the expectation, in line with mid-point technology assumptions used by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation, was for a 32% improvement, according to the Aviation Environment Federation. https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2017/12/AEF-comments-on-NPS-reconsultation.pdf

15 Stephen Clark, No Third Runway Coalition: “… a heroic gamble is being taken on a quieter fleet. Some of these changes are not happening… The new generation A380s are not being ordered at the moment. There are other new types of quieter planes where production has been scaled right back. This is a huge gamble, and it has not been properly investigated.” Q304, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18

16 BEIS (2017) The Clean Growth Strategy refers to intentions for almost every car and van to be zero emissions by 2050 and to end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040 (p85). Meanwhile, the Defra/DfT (2017) Draft UK air quality plan for tackling nitrogen dioxide: technical report includes graphs in Annex H, which indicate the scale of reduction in nitrogen dioxide expected over time, most of which is anticipated to come from reductions in NOx from vehicles.

17 Alex William, Director of City Planning, Transport for London: “..the NPS sets out no objectives to reduce, manage or consolidate that [freight] to reduce the impacts on the wider network. HAL would like an arrangement where there is no increase in the overall volume of trips. We see no strategy from HAL as to how that will be achieved. It is the right objective in our view, but there is no detailed evidence base to say how it will be achieved.” Q244, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18

18 The updated air quality analysis highlights that there is a ‘high’ risk that the Heathrow scheme could delay or worsen compliance with limit values, and that “the mitigation of risks relies on the effective implementation of the Government’s 2017 Plan measures and RDE legislation to reduce emissions from road transport.” DfT/WSP (2017) 2017 Plan Update to Air Quality Re-Analysis, p4

19 The aviation forecasts assume that a theoretical global carbon trading scheme is operational, with BEIS estimating the associated cost of carbon to be £77/tonne in 2030 (DfT 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts, para 5.16, p78). This cost feeds through to fares, and thereby causes some suppression of demand, resulting in lower carbon emissions than would otherwise occur. However, in reality, aviation will not participate in a global trading scheme, as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has agreed to introduce an offsetting scheme, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). ICAO analysis suggests the carbon costs of CORSIA will be only £11/tonne in 2030, and will therefore fail to have the same effect on demand and CO2 reduction. https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2017/12/AEF-comments-on-NPS-reconsultation.pdf

20 See footnote 3

21 Lilian Greenwood, Transport Select Committee Chair: “…ultimately, you are having to make choices about who is affected – who is going to be overflown. These are hugely contentious and have proved very difficult issues in the past, have they not?” Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport: “They are very difficult issues…” Q535, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 7/2/18

22 Alex Williams, Director of City Planning, Transport for London: “We hear warm words in the NPS [about western and southern rail access], but we do not hear firm statements about commitment… We see them as essential to getting anywhere near the mode shift targets.” Brendon Walsh, Chairman of the Officer Group, Heathrow Strategic Planning Group: ”The Heathrow Strategic Planning Group represents 12 local authorities and the local LEPs in the area. We too agree that it is essential rather than desirable to see southern and western rail access.” Q238 House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18

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