There is a widely held belief that Heathrow’s NO2 air pollution is largely due to road vehicles, and as long as measures can be taken to reduce these a bit, then a 3rd runway could be allowed. However, research indicates that the aircraft are producing even more NOx than the road vehicles, and there is far less that can be done to cut these emissions. Indeed, if there were to be almost 50% more Heathrow flights, the amount of NOx generated by the aircraft alone would mean a massive increase locally. That is not taking into account all the extra road traffic that would inevitably be generated by a larger Heathrow, including businesses etc that locate near the airport and all their traffic. The 2013 figures from a study for Heathrow, by Ricardo-AEA Ltd show the amount of NOx emitted from planes up to 1000 metres altitude was 2761 tonnes NOx/ year, and 1524 tonnes from aircraft on the ground (ie a total of 4285 tonnes/ year). Also 274 tonnes/year from other airport sources. Then 350 tonnes/year from Heathrow associated trips on main roads in a 11km x 11km area, and 1661 tonnes/ year from non-Heathrow associated traffic in that 11x11km area. (ie. a total of 2011 for all road traffic). So the amount from planes is way over twice the amount from road vehicles. And that ignores the NOx from planes in the wider area, over 1000 metres altitude.
Heathrow Airport 2013 Air Quality Assessment
Report for Heathrow Airport
By Ricardo-AEA/R/3438 Issue Number 1
There is a lot of detail in the paper, but below are a couple of quotes.
This report presents an assessment of air quality in the neighbourhood of Heathrow Airport in the year 2013.
It considers the impacts of the operation of the airport (including road traffic to and from the airport), as well as non-airport sources of air pollution, in order to estimate both the overall picture of air quality and the airport’s contribution to it.
Broadly speaking, near Heathrow there are three main categories of air pollution:
Road traffic, some of which will be travelling to or from the airport;
Heathrow Airport itself, especially aircraft engines and the ground support vehicles and equipment that service the aircraft;
Other sources both local and more distant, such as domestic and commercial heating, industrial processes, and other vehicles and equipment powered by combustion engines. The study was designed with these purposes in mind. The work falls into three main parts:
First, an emissions inventory is calculated to estimate how much of each pollutant is emitted from the different sources.
Second, dispersion modelling calculates how the emissions are carried through the air, due to meteorological conditions such as wind speed and direction, and the resulting concentrations of pollution in the air.
These modelled concentrations are then compared with monitoring data as a check on the accuracy of the model.
The final total concentrations are also compared with the air quality limit values to see if there is a risk of them being exceeded.
They conclude on NOx:
Aircraft make a dominant contribution to the airport NOx emissions. It should be borne in mind that this is for aircraft emissions in the LTO cycle (so cruise emissions are excluded because they have no impact on local air quality), and road network emissions are presented only on major roads within the 11 km × 11 km area around the airport. Choosing a larger road network area would change the balance of calculated emissions.
On PM10 particles :
Focusing on airport-related sources, emissions from airport-related traffic on the road network are roughly equal to aircraft emissions, in contrast to NOx where aircraft emissions were dominant. However it should be repeated that choosing a different road network area would change the balance of calculated emissions.
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A group of local authorities has formally notified the Secretary of State for Transport that it intends to seek judicial review of the Government’s decision to give policy support in the Airports National Policy Statement (‘NPS’) for a 3rd Heathrow runway. The councils are challenging the Government on the grounds of air quality, climate change, and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) including failing properly to deal with the noise consequences and surface access impacts. On air quality they say, amongst other things, that the Government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality. On surface access the councils say, amongst other things, that the NPS fails to recognise the scale of the challenge to accommodate additional trips without unacceptable effects on the transport network and unacceptable effects from traffic pollution. The Government must now respond to the councils’ formal letter before action. If the Transport Secretary does not agree to quash the NPS, the local authorities will bring judicial review proceedings.The Boroughs taking the legal action are Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Windsor & Maidenhead Council, and Hammersmith & Fulham.The group has also been joined by the Mayor of London and Greenpeace.
Councils set for court challenge on Heathrow decision
19 July 2018 (Richmond Council)
A group of local authorities has today formally notified the Secretary of State for Transport that it intends to seek judicial review of the Government’s decision to give policy support in the Airports National Policy Statement (‘NPS’) for a third Heathrow runway.
The councils are challenging the Government on the grounds of air quality, climate change, strategic environmental assessment including failing properly to deal with the noise consequences and surface access impacts.
On air quality they say, amongst other things, that the Government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality.
On surface access the councils say, amongst other things, that the NPS fails to recognise the scale of the challenge to accommodate additional trips without unacceptable effects on the transport network and unacceptable effects from traffic pollution.
Councillor Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
“The Government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality despite having been taken to court and lost many times. Its decision in favour of the third runway should therefore be quashed.”
Councillor Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, added:
“The councils have shown extraordinary patience. We have given the Government numerous opportunities to address our concerns and answer our questions. All the evidence shows that a new Heathrow runway will be bad for the environment in our boroughs and bad for the health of our residents.”
The Government must now respond to the councils’ formal letter before action. If the Transport Secretary does not agree to a quashing of the NPS, then the local authorities will bring judicial review proceedings.
The local authority group comprises of the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Windsor and Maidenhead Council, and Hammersmith and Fulham.
The group has also been joined by the Mayor of London and Greenpeace.
Councils, Sadiq Khan and Greenpeace to legally challenge decision on Heathrow Airport Expansion
Hillingdon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Richmond and Wandsworth councils are all part of the legal challenge
By Qasim Peracha (Get West London)
19 JUL 2018
A group of councils, the Mayor of London and Greenpeace have formally notified the government of their plans to challenge Heathrow expansion in the courts.
The Airports National Policy Statement, which includes the approval of the plan to build a third north-west runway at Heathrow Airport was voted on by MPs on June 25.
However, several local groups and environmental charities were opposed to the scheme, including Hillingdon Council and Hammersmith & Fulham Council .
A coalition of the councils, environmental pressure group Greenpeace and Sadiq Khan are now going to seek a judicial review of the government’s decision to back Heathrow as the site for airport expansion in the south-east.
Heathrow had been selected by the government as its preferred choice for expansion in October 2016, ahead of rival bids from other airports including Gatwick.
The coalition is proposing its challenge on the grounds of air quality, climate change and strategic environmental assessment including failing properly to deal with the noise consequences and surface access impacts.
They also allege that the government misunderstood and misapplied the law when it comes to air quality. On surface access, they argue that it is impossible to accommodate additional traffic movements “without unacceptable effects on the transport network and unacceptable effects from traffic pollution”.
Councillor Ray Puddifoot , Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “We have given the Government numerous opportunities to address our concerns and answer our questions and they have demonstrably failed to do so.
“The Government has misunderstood and misapplied the law on air quality, despite having already lost recent legal challenges on this issue.
“The evidence of unacceptable damage to the environment and the health and wellbeing of many thousands of people is untenable in both law and common sense.”
The only way for the government to avoid legal action on its NPS statement is to quash its policy, the coalition warned.
Other members of the group include Wandsworth and Richmond councils.
Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “London’s determination to kill off this environmentally ruinous and highly disruptive scheme is growing, so it’s no surprise that the Mayor has joined the cross-party group of councils in their legal action.
“With the confidence of their lawyers high, the courts could be ruling out the third runway, once and for all, long before Heathrow have even had a chance to launch their campaign for a fourth”.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We will support the Department for Transport in its response.
“We are confident in the process that has taken place so far, meaning that legal challenges are unlikely to be successful: the Airports National Policy Statement is supported by extensive evidence prepared by both the Department for Transport and the Airports Commission and has been subject to multiple rounds of public consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny.
“Judicial reviews are a completely normal process in infrastructure projects of this size and our work on our planning application continues, to ensure the timeline for the delivery of an expanded Heathrow is not affected.”
Legal challenges against Heathrow runway plans – first chance for proper assessment of the NPS details – plans delay inevitable
Although MPs voted to back the Heathrow 3rd runway, lawyers say legal challenges are likely to substantially delay – by at least a year – the start of construction, even if they cannot prevent it. As well as the legal challenge by 5 London councils, and the Mayor of London, that has now started, there will be one by “Heathrow Hub”, the rival runway scheme. The challenges will go to the High Court and could take up to 6 months. The losing party could then appeal to the Court of Appeal, and even if they lose there, they could then appeal to the Supreme Court. The legal process is the first opportunity for Heathrow expansion opponents to take the proposal for a 3rd runway to the High Court, and have all the issues properly assessed – not merely depending on information provided by and for the Department for Transport. There will also be a second opportunity to challenge the plans after the development consent order (DCO) is completed. Under the current plans, Heathrow intends to lodge its development consent order with the secretary of state in 2021, ahead of a 2025 completion date – but that could be delayed due to the legal challenges. Then there must be a General Election by 2022, which Labour might win – with no guarantee they would not oppose the runway plans.
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Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Windsor &Maidenhead, and Richmond Councils have accused the government of misleading MPs on the Heathrow runway plans (the Airports NPS). They say the government has only incorporated 3 out of 25 of the recommendations by the Transport Select Committee (TSC) recommendations into the final NPS, while trying to give the impression it has taken far more account of them. Chris Grayling told the Commons (5th June) that 24 of the 25 recommendations had been “acted upon” and that expansion at Heathrow had been agreed by the Cabinet. The 4 councils are calling on Mr Grayling to return to Parliament and explain to MPs why the TSC advice has been brushed aside. The Councils need to see a definition of an acceptable maximum number of people newly exposed to plane noise, by a 3rd runway. Among their demands, they want assurance that planning approval would only be granted if the target for no more airport-related traffic can be met. Also a more stringent interpretation of air quality compliance including ‘headroom’ to manage future increases in pollution – and clarity on how the requirement for 15% of new slots will be secured for domestic connections, rather than just warm, woolly wording.
Government accused of ignoring select committee recommendations in final Heathrow expansion policy
Hillingdon Council, alongside Wandsworth, Windsor and Maidenhead, and Richmond have accused the government of misleading MPs
By Qasim Peracha (Get West London)
9 JUNE 2018
A coalition of anti- Heathrow expansion councils have accused the government of only incorporating three out of 25 select committee recommendations in its Heathrow plan.
Hillingdon Council , alongside Wandsworth, Richmond , and Windsor and Maidenhead have been opposed to the third runway being added to Heathrow Airport and have in the past launched legal challenges against expansion.
Following the publication of the National Policy Statement on Airports, the councils have accused the government of not including recommendations made by the Transport Select Committee (TSC).
The coalition of councils say that of the 25 recommendations, the government omitted 22 in its final report published on Tuesday (June 5).
After the report was published, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told the Commons 24 of the 25 recommendations had been “acted upon” and that expansion at Heathrow had been agreed by the cabinet.
The coalition is now calling on Mr Grayling to return to parliament and explain to MPs why, after months of scrutiny by the select committee, its recommendations were not included in the final National Policy Statement (NPS).
According to the councils, recommendations asking for a definition of an acceptable maximum number of people newly exposed to noise and for planning approval to be granted only if the target for no more airport-related traffic can be met are missing from the final statement.
A vote is due to be held in the coming days, where MPs will be given a final decision on expansion.
Transport Select Committee recommendations allegedly omitted by the government include:
- more detail on the evidence on environmental, health and community impacts on all three short-listed schemes
- updated population estimates to reflect the increased number of air traffic movements from a northwest runway scheme
- a more stringent interpretation of air quality compliance including ‘headroom’ to manage future increases in pollution
- planning approval to be granted only if the target for no more airport-related traffic can be met
- a clear definition of how the requirement for 15 per cent of new slots will be secured for domestic connections
- updated noise modelling to reflect a range of flightpath scenarios
- a definition of an acceptable maximum number of people newly exposed to noise
a condition that planning consent would only be granted if the Secretary of State was satisfied that the scheme would avoid ‘significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life from air quality’.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot , leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “It is a disgrace that the government has failed to address the TSC’s significant concerns regarding exposure to noise and pollution in its final NPS report, showing little regard or protection for those people whose lives will affected by increased noise and air pollution from a third runway at Heathrow.
“There is not even any attempt to consider a range of different flight path options so that people could have some idea if they will be affected by Heathrow expansion, and for how long each day they will be subjected to aircraft noise.
“This once again demonstrates what a flawed and ill thought through project this is.”
The cabinet has given the go-ahead for a new third runway at Heathrow Airport (Image: PA)
However, the coalition has been attacked by pro-expansion group Back Heathrow, which said the councils were “disingenuous” and “at it again”.
Parmjit Dhanda, Back Heathrow executive director and former government minister under Gordon Brown, said: “The ink is barely dry on ballot papers and these four local councils are at it again.
“They have already wasted over a million pounds of tax-payers money over the last decade on legal challenges, when they could have spent it on local services.
“They are now shaping up to waste even more money on legal challenges if don’t get their own way when MPs vote on expansion in the coming days.
“We have now seen council leaders in Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Maidenhead & Windsor putting out press releases that appear to be part of a ‘softening up exercise’ to spend even more of your money opposing a democratic decision, if Parliament backs a new runway.”
Back Heathrow Executive Chairman Parmjit Dhanda (left) with Ealing Southall MP Virendra Sharma at a pro-Heathrow reception (Image: Back Heathrow)
The group says it has the support of more than 100,000 residents who believe the airport’s expansion will bring jobs and prosperity to west London and the Thames Valley.
Mr Dhanda added: “The councils have been disingenuous on this. The government says it has accepted 24 out of 25 recommendations, but many of these recommendations will be incorporated in to the planning stage of the process and that includes important measures on air quality and noise.
“The councils haven’t said that, and are only looking to delay and confuse, which will ultimately delay creation of 77,000 jobs for local people.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The committee was clear when they published their report that they accepted the need for airport expansion in the south east and that the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme is the best option for delivering it. We have welcomed and have acted on 24 of their 25 recommendations.
“Where appropriate we have done this through amendments to the National Policy Statement. In other cases we have confirmed that these are issues best addressed later in the planning process, once detailed proposals are developed, or through the national Aviation Strategy, which we are taking forward this year.”
Comment by the AEF on the government’s attempt to ignore CO2 emissions due to Heathrow 3rd runway
In the final version of the NPS, together with updated versions of the draft of papers and analysis that accompany it, the DfT claims to have implemented 24 out of the 25 recommendations of the Transport Committee, which provided official parliamentary scrutiny of the proposals. But it is hard to spot much change in the final NPS than the earlier version – especially on the key environmental challenges to expansion. The AEF comments that the climate change impact of Heathrow expansion was not even mentioned in Grayling’s statement to the House of Commons. Yet the project is in fact no easier to reconcile with climate change targets now than it was in 2010, when a court ruled that it would be “untenable in law and common sense” for the Government to continue to uphold its policy to build a third runway without showing how this would be compatible with the climate change legislation passed in 2008. While current plans to achieve the Climate Change Act are built around an assumption that aviation emissions will be no higher than 37.5 Mt by 2050, with a 3rd Heathrow runway CO2 emissions nationally would be over 40 Mt, under the DfT’s policy of support for growth at other airports. The Government has just ignored the advice of the Committee on Climate Change.
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The European Commission is stepping up its enforcement against 7 Member States who have breached agreed EU rules on air pollution limits. It has now referred France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania and the UK to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to respect agreed air quality limit values and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. The Commission is also issuing additional letters of formal notice to Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom on the grounds that they have disregarded EU vehicle type approval rules. On NO2 pollution the UK, in 16 air quality zones, among them London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow air pollution limits were exceeded (with annual concentrations reported in 2016 as high as 102 µg/m3 in London). In total, there are 13 NO2 level infringement cases pending against Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, France, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and the UK. Today’s decision on Germany, France and the UK are the first ones to be referred to the Court. Suggestions to improve air quality are air quality standards, national emission reduction targets, and emission standards for key sources of pollution such as vehicles and industry.
Heathrow has a very serious problem with air pollution already, which would inevitably get worse with a 3rd runway, about 50% more planes, and about 50% more passengers getting to and from the airport, as well as staff, people working in allied businesses etc. Neither Heathrow nor the government has any real idea how to deal with this problem that a 3rd runway would cause.
Air quality: Commission takes action to protect citizens from air pollution
Brussels, 17 May 2018
The Commission is standing up for Europeans’ need to breathe clean air.
The Commission is providing national, regional and local actors with practical help to improve air quality in Europe, and stepping up its enforcement against 7 Member States who have breached agreed EU rules on air pollution limits and type approval for cars.
Commissioner for Environment, Karmenu Vella said: “The decision to refer Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU has been taken on behalf of Europeans. We have said that this Commission is one that protects. Our decision follows through on that claim.
“The Member States referred to the Court today have received sufficient ‘last chances’ over the last decade to improve the situation. It is my conviction that today’s decision will lead to improvements for citizens on a much quicker timescale. But legal action alone will not solve the problem. That is why we are outlining the practical help that the Commission can provide to the national authorities’ efforts to promote cleaner air for European cities and towns.”
Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska added: “We will only succeed in fighting urban air pollution if the car sector plays its part. Zero emissions cars are the future. Meanwhile, complying with emissions legislation is a must. Manufacturers that keep disregarding the law have to bear the consequences of their wrongdoing.”
In a Communication entitled ‘A Europe that protects: Clean air for all’, adopted today, the Commission outlines measures available to help Member States fight air pollution. The Commission also underlines the need to step up cooperation with Member States by engaging with relevant authorities in new ‘Clean Air Dialogues’, and by using EU funding to support measures to improve air quality.
In addition, the Commission is today referring France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to respect agreed air quality limit values and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. The Commission is also issuing additional letters of formal notice to Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom on the grounds that they have disregarded EU vehicle type approval rules.
Measures to fight air pollution
The measures proposed by the Commission today rest on three main pillars: air quality standards; national emission reduction targets; and emission standards for key sources of pollution, for example from vehicle and ship emissions to energy and industry.
To address air pollutant emissions from traffic, the Commission will further strengthen its work with national, regional and local authorities on a common integrated approach for urban vehicle access regulations, under the EU Urban Agenda.
In addition, the Commission has led a wide-ranging reform to ensure that air pollutant emissions from vehicles are measured in real driving conditions (see FAQs).
Stepping up enforcement
6 Member States referred to Court
The Commission is taking action to address the significant and persistent exceedances of limit values for two key pollutants with health impacts: nitrogen dioxide, which is mostly a result of road traffic and industry, and particulate matter, which is mainly present in emissions from industry, domestic heating, traffic, and agriculture.
The Commission decided to refer France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the EU for failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. Hungary, Italy, and Romania are referred to the Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter (PM10). The limits set out under EU legislation on ambient air quality (Directive 2008/50/EC) had to be met in 2010 and 2005 respectively.
This step follows an Air Quality Ministerial Summit convened by Commissioner Vella, on 30 January 2018, as a final effort to find solutions to address the serious problem of air pollution in nine Member States. The 6 Member States in question did not present credible, effective and timely measures to reduce pollution, within the agreed limits and as soon as possible, as required under EU law. The Commission has therefore decided to proceed with legal action.
As regards the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Spain the measures being put in place or planned, as communicated to the Commission following the Air Quality Ministerial Summit, appear to be able to appropriately tackle the identified gaps, if correctly implemented. For this reason the Commission will continue to closely monitor the implementation of these measures as well as their effectiveness in redressing the situation as soon as possible.
Infringement procedures escalated for 4 Member States
The Commission is taking further steps in its infringement procedures against 4 Member States on the grounds that they have disregarded EU vehicle type approval rules. The Commission decided today to issue additional letters of formal notice to Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom.
EU type-approval legislation requires Member States to have effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalty systems in place to deter car manufacturers from breaking the law. Where such a breach of law takes place, for example by using defeat devices to reduce the effectiveness of emission control systems, remedial measures – such as recalls – must be ordered and penalties must be applied (Articles 30 and 46 of Directive 2007/46 and Article 13 of Regulation 715/2007).
The Commission opened infringement proceedings against Germany, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom in December 2016 with regard to Volkswagen Group and sent complementary letters of formal notice in July 2017 requesting further clarifications.
Today, the Commission is sending additional letters of formal notice to request more information on the national investigations and legal proceedings related to these infringements. In addition, following the discovery of new cases of engine-management irregularities in several diesel cars (Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and several Audi A6 and A7 vehicles) the Commission asks Germany and Luxembourg, as the competent type-approval authorities, which remedial measures and penalties are envisaged. The Commission is also requesting clarifications from the United Kingdom on planned national legislation.
In May 2017, the Commission launched an infringement procedure against Italy for failure to fulfil its obligations under the EU vehicle type-approval legislation with regards to Fiat Chrysler cars. In the meantime, Italy took corrective measures by ordering the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group to conduct a mandatory recall in the EU. Today, as part of the ongoing exchange, the Commission requests additional information on the concrete corrective measures taken and penalties applied.
An additional letter of formal notice constitutes an official request for information. The Member States now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2):
Germany – in 26 air quality zones, among them Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Köln; annual concentrations reported in 2016 were as high as 82 µg/m3 against a limit value of 40 µg/m3 (in Stuttgart);
France – in 12 air quality zones, among them Paris, Marseille and Lyon; annual concentrations reported in 2016 were as high as 96 µg/m3 (in Paris);
The United Kingdom – in 16 air quality zones, among them London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow; annual concentrations reported in 2016 were as high as 102 µg/m3 (in London).
In total, there are 13 infringement cases pending against Member States (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, France, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom).
Today’s decision on Germany, France and the United Kingdom are the first ones to be referred to the Court; all three cases follow Reasoned Opinions communicated in February 2017.
and there is more …. at
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Transport for London (TfL) estimates perhaps a £50 fee per passenger car and taxi trip would be needed for the airport to meet its own promise that road journeys would not increase with expansion. ( Source – AEF – Aviation Environment Federation).
Drivers may face £15 Heathrow Airport congestion charge
By Steven Swinford, deputy political editor (Telegraph)
29 APRIL 2018
Heathrow may impose a £15 congestion charge on holidaymakers driving to the airport in a bid to meet emissions targets, The Telegraph has learned.
Motorists will face the charge on the 82 miles of road surrounding the airport in a bid to encourage millions of passengers to leave their cars at home.
The airport is consulting on plans for a “low emissions zone” which would charge all vehicles based on their emissions, but views it as a “last resort”.
However Whitehall sources said Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, believes it is the only realistic way that the airport can meet stringent emissions targets.
The third runway will accommodate 740,000 flights a year, about 50 per cent more than the current limit, with passenger numbers expected to almost double to 130million a year by 2050.
Increased traffic too and from Heathrow is seen as one of the biggest barriers to meeting emissions targets.
Pollution on the M4, north of the airport, is already up two thirds higher than the legal maximum.
Ministers believe that the airport will be able to meet the targets with the help of an increased number of public transport routes, including a new direct rail link from Reading and another south of the airport into Waterloo station.
A station for London’s east-west Crossrail line will also be opened, bus routes will be extended and more electric vehicles and car sharing clubs for airport staff will be promoted.
Ed King, President of the AA, said: “Many people go by car to the airport for good reason – they have heavy baggage and children with them. It’s not always practical to go by train or coach. For many people access by car is essential.
“We would be worried that this would be the thin end of the wedge and it could expand elsewhere. In effect the price of getting to the airport and parking might overtake the price of fares. It’s a crazy situation, particularly for families on low incomes.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, said: “It is also not fair on passengers who have no other realistic way of travelling to the airport. Charging should not be introduced until all planned improvements to the public transport network have been completed.
“Investment in surface access should be the priority – not pricing people off the roads – and the Government should now come forward and use its upcoming National Policy Statement to set out which road and rail schemes it intends to support including much-needed clarity on the funding of these projects and an accompanying plan for delivery.”
A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said: “We have an ambitious plan to treble our rail capacity by 2040 and enable 30 million more passengers to use public transport.
“If needed, we have said a congestion charge could be another way to reduce road journeys and support our sustainable transport plans as part of our “triple lock” guarantee.”
Driving to Heathrow ‘could soon cost you an extra £15’ as congestion charge considered for 82 miles around airport
Critics have labelled the proposed move unfair as airport bosses weigh up how to meet emissions targets
Holidaymakers who drive to Heathrow could soon be hit with a congestion charge in a move branded ‘unfair’ by critics.
Airport bosses are considering the measure to try and persuade tourists to leave their cars at home and help meet strict emissions targets.
It has been reported that more than 80 miles of roads around the transport hub would be affected – but critics claim it would unfairly impact on passengers with no other way of reaching Heathrow.
According to reports, drivers could be hit with a £15 charge – but airport bosses say they “don’t recognise” this figure.
The move is currently considered a ‘last resort’, The Telegraph reports.
But the newspaper says Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is in favour of the low emissions zone, believing it is the only way to meet emissions targets.
Officials hope that improvements to rail links serving Heathrow, including a new Crossrail station which will link it with Berkshire and East London, will encourage more people to take the train instead of driving.
It comes amid concerns over pollution levels on the nearby M4, which is currently two thirds above the legal cap.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the association of UK airlines, have branded it another tax on passengers.
In a statement he said: “Airlines remain opposed to what in effect will be another tax on air travel at a time when the Government continues to penalise passengers through sky-high levels of Air Passenger Duty, and passenger charges at Heathrow remain the highest in the world.
“It is also not fair on passengers who have no other realistic way of travelling to the airport.
He continued: “Investment in surface access should be the priority – not pricing people off the roads – and the Government should now come forward and use its upcoming National Policy Statement to set out which road and rail schemes it intends to support including much needed clarity on the funding of these projects and an accompanying plan for delivery.”
A Heathrow spokesman said this morning: “We don’t recognise the 82 miles or the £15 quoted.
“We have an ambitious plan to treble our rail capacity by 2040 and enable 30 million more passengers to use public transport.
“If needed, we have various options to apply emissions based charging to vehicles travelling to and from the airport – for example, using drop off charges based on vehicle emissions as other UK airports do – which could be another way to reduce road journeys and support our sustainable transport plans.”
No 3rd Runway Coalition response:
Reacting to the news that Heathrow customers face a £15 car charge in order to tackle emissions targets, Robert Barnstone, Coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:
“This latest additional Heathrow charge simply highlights a critical problem with expanding Heathrow: pollution targets would be so difficult to meet that the airport will have to whack travellers and families with a £15 charge for accessing the airport by car.
“Public transport use must be strongly encouraged at every opportunity, but if a hefty cost has to be imposed for driving to Heathrow, it just acts as evidence that expansion will mean an even pricier airport in reality”
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.”
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.
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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The government has published its Aviation Strategy, which the DfT says “will set out the longterm direction for aviation policy to 2050 and beyond.” The first phase of its development was the publication of a call for evidence in July 2017. The Aviation Strategy says it will now “pursue 6 objectives, which are unchanged following the consultation.” It is very much focused on the passenger, the passenger experience, helping the aviation industry, expanding aviation and “building a global and connected Britain.” The Strategy “sets out further detail on the challenges associated with these objectives and some of the action that the government is considering and which will form part of further consultation later in the year.” The DfT says: “The government will continue the dialogue that has already begun on these issues. The next step will be the publication of detailed policy proposals in a green paper in the autumn of 2018. This will be followed by the final Aviation Strategy document in early 2019.” There is mention of the environmental problems (carbon, noise, air pollution) but they are given scant attention, and it is presumed they can all be reduced – even while the sector has huge growth. A 3rd runway at Heathrow is assumed to happen.
DfT says: “Government puts consumers at heart of the aviation industry”
- greater focus on passengers, to improve their experience throughout their journey
- creating an ever cleaner, greener sector which prioritises sustainable growth
- building a global and connected Britain with more trade opportunities
The government will today (7 April 2018) set out its plans to make the country’s aviation sector world-leading in prioritising passengers, fostering sustainable growth and promoting trade.
The aviation strategy next steps document outlines proposals which will build on the aviation industry’s work to improve the flying experience for passengers at every stage of their journey. Read it here
This will include new measures to help passengers make a more informed choice about their flight including providing more transparency on additional costs.
The document also outlines how the government will work with industry to ensure all passengers have a dignified and comfortable travelling experience, including ways to improve accessibility at airports and on aircraft and tackling the issue of disruptive passengers.
Work will be carried out to improve the compensation scheme for consumers, ensuring passengers are properly informed about their rights to claim when things go wrong and exploring greater powers to enforce regulations.
Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister, said:
Our world class aviation industry has a proud and accomplished history, from pioneering the first international routes to championing consumer choice.
Working with industry, we want to improve the flying experience from booking to arrival, ensuring passengers are truly at the heart of the aviation sector.
This demonstrates our commitment to creating a transport system which works for passengers as we build a Britain fit for the future.
The government is also providing more details about its ambitious plan to make Britain’s aviation sector the world’s greenest, including proposals to tackle issues around noise, greenhouse gas emissions and airspace congestion.
Environmental proposals include the introduction of new noise targets, strengthened noise controls at airports and improved compensation for people living near airports. The government will work with industry to reduce the usage of single use plastics and improve recycling rates.
The government will also explore measures with industry to support the use of quieter and more fuel efficient aircraft, as well as the emergence of electric and hybrid technology.
The ‘next steps’ document makes clear the government’s commitment to ensuring the aviation sector continues to grow.
The sector already contributes at least £22 billion to the UK economy each year and the strategy will examine what can be done to help it develop even further.
The strategy will examine the agreements UK has with other countries to operate flights, identify opportunities to improve connectivity and open up new routes for overseas investment.
Other proposals include reviewing the allocation of airport landing slots to ensure the process is fair, transparent and fosters a competitive marketplace which benefits consumers by offering more choice.
An initial call for evidence for the aviation strategy was launched in July of last year, receiving almost 380 responses. The proposals being outlined in the ‘next steps’ document will be consulted on further in the autumn, with the final strategy due for publication in early 2019.
The aviation strategy is designed to achieve a safe, secure and sustainable aviation sector that meets the needs of consumers and of a global, outward-looking Britain. It will look to:
- help the aviation industry work for its customers
- ensure a safe and secure way to travel
- build a global and connected Britain
- encourage competitive markets
- support growth while tackling environmental impacts
- develop innovation, technology and skill
Beyond the horizon
The future of UK aviation
Next steps towards an Aviation Strategy
The section on carbon is on Pages 60 – 63.
The section on noise is on Pages 63 – 67
On biofuels, it says Page 63:
“6.22 Sustainable alternative aviation fuels are widely seen as essential to the long term sustainability of the aviation sector. The government has legislated to extend eligibility of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation to aviation fuels and through the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition government has made £22 million of matched capital funding available to support the production of low carbon fuels for aviation and Heavy Goods Vehicles. Through the Aviation Strategy the government will consider policies it can put in place to further assist the long term uptake of sustainable alternative fuels in this sector which is particularly difficult to decarbonise.”
A part of its section on carbon states:
“6.14 In Europe, aviation has been included in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) since 2012. As set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, the government is considering the UK’s future participation in the EU ETS after our exit from the EU. Whatever our future relationship with the EU, the government will seek to ensure that our approach is at least as ambitious as the existing scheme and provides a smooth transition for the relevant sectors.
“6.15 It has long been the government’s position that international aviation emissions are best tackled at the international level. This reflects the inherently global nature of both the aviation industry and the challenge of climate change. Airline schedules are designed so that an aircraft may fly between any number of states in any given day and be registered to an operator in a different state altogether. Assigning portions of the aircraft’s emissions to different states is problematic, particularly in the absence of an agreed international methodology.
“6.16 Stronger action at the UK level without an equivalent level of action internationally is likely to impose greater costs on airlines flying to and from the UK, thereby putting UK airlines at a greater competitive disadvantage compared to foreign airlines and potentially increasing fares. Passengers may, as a result, choose to travel through other airport hubs which would simply move the emissions elsewhere rather than reducing them (known as carbon ‘leakage’).
“6.17 In addition to the government’s emphasis on international action, it has always been willing to consider all cost effective measures to ensure that the sector continues to contribute to the UK’s emissions reduction obligations, including under the Climate Change Act and Paris Agreement.”
DfT’s webpage on its Aviation Strategy
Beyond the horizon: the future of aviation in the UK
The next steps towards a new aviation strategy
The aviation industry is a British success story; rooted in a deep heritage of being at the forefront of global aviation.
To build on this success we are developing a new strategy to support industry in delivering even greater improvements for passengers, the environment and our country.
Between July and October 2017 we asked for views on how we should consult to develop this new strategy as well as what issues we should cover.
We have now published a ‘next steps’ document, which identifies the challenges for aviation in the years to come and discusses how we can respond to them.
It also sets out how we will engage with industry throughout 2018. This will result in a final aviation strategy by early 2019.
Read the ‘aviation strategy next steps’
Our 6 objectives for a new aviation strategy
Aviation matters – it drives economic growth across the whole United Kingdom, connects us with the world, removes barriers to trade and supports jobs and skills. We have an aviation history to be proud of and we’re building on a track record of success.
But we also recognise the challenges that our aviation sector faces in maintaining this leading position. So the time is now right to develop a new aviation strategy that will set out the long-term vision for aviation taking us to 2050 and beyond.
These are our 6 objectives for a new aviation strategy.
Help the aviation industry work for its customers
Enhancing the consumer experience through improved accessibility, better information and support when things go wrong.
Ensure a safe and secure way to travel
Championing the UK’s aviation security and safety record and ensuring our approaches remain cutting edge and responsive to new challenges.
Build a global and connected Britain
The importance of aviation to building a global Britain that is outward looking, with a strong economy that benefits the whole of the UK.
Encourage competitive markets
Examining the sector to see whether market failures exist and how government can encourage more competition.
Support growth while tackling environmental impacts
Building capacity and promoting regional growth and connectivity whilst balancing this with the need to tackle environmental impacts.
Develop innovation, technology and skills
How we can make best use of new technology and build on the aviation sector’s track record of success in encouraging innovation.
Download the full outcome
The aim of the new aviation strategy is to achieve a safe, secure and sustainable aviation sector that meets the needs of consumers and of a global, outward-looking Britain.
We sought views on the aviation strategy from industry, business, consumers, environmental groups and anyone with an interest in aviation.
The next steps document outlines our 6 key objectives for the strategy, challenges ahead and actions the government is considering to address these.
We will hold a consultation on the policy detail for all 6 of the strategy objectives later this year, leading to the publication of a final aviation strategy in 2019.
This call for evidence is the first stage of developing a new aviation strategyfor the UK.
This document sets out our overall aims and approach and seeks views on:
- our proposed approach
- the issues that we would like to explore through the development of the strategy
We want to be guided by you. This is your opportunity to shape the future of aviation.
An updated version of this document was published on 9 August 2017 correcting a typographical error in figure 12 on page 43.
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The Mayor of London has published the Transport Strategy for London, which sets out the Mayor’s policies and proposals to reshape transport in London over the next two decades. The Strategy is firmly opposed to a 3rd Heathrow runway. Its section on Heathrow states: “The demand generated by the current airport combined with local traffic already place considerable strain on the roads and railways serving the airport and contribute to levels of NO2 that are well in exceedance of legal limits. The Mayor considers that, as a result of the additional flights and associated traffic, any expansion at Heathrow would significantly impair London’s ability to meet international air quality obligations in the shortest possible timescale and would contribute to an overall worsening of air quality relative to the situation without expansion. Heathrow already exposes more people to significant aircraft noise than its five main European rivals combined, and the proposed increase in flights cannot avoid many people being newly exposed to significant noise. Moreover, it would be unacceptable if the air quality gains secured by the Mayor and the potential noise improvements as a result of new technologies were not allowed to accrue to local communities to improve public health, but were instead used to enable expansion of Heathrow airport.”
The Mayor will continue to oppose expansion of Heathrow airport unless it can be shown that no new noise or air quality harm would result and the benefits of future regulatory and technology improvements would be fairly shared with affected communities. Any such expansion must also demonstrate how the surface access networks will be invested in to accommodate the resultant additional demand alongside background growth.
Mayor London – Transport Strategy
Heathrow section P 137
The Government announced its preference for a new north west runway at Heathrow in October 2016. This would increase the airport’s current cap by more than 50 per cent, from 480,000 flights to 740,000 flights per year. The Mayor is engaging with the planning process around Heathrow expansion to ensure his fundamental concerns are raised and addressed.
The demand generated by the current airport combined with local traffic already place considerable strain on the roads and railways serving the airport and contribute to levels of NO2 that are well in exceedance of legal limits. The Mayor considers that, as a result of the additional flights and associated traffic, any expansion at Heathrow would significantly impair London’s ability to meet international air quality obligations in the shortest possible timescale and would contribute to an overall worsening of air quality relative to the situation without expansion.
Heathrow already exposes more people to significant aircraft noise than its five main European rivals combined, and the proposed increase in flights cannot avoid many people being newly exposed to significant noise. Moreover, it would be unacceptable if the air quality gains secured by the Mayor and the potential noise improvements as a result of new technologies were not allowed to accrue to local communities to improve public health, but were instead used to enable expansion of Heathrow airport.
The Mayor will continue to oppose expansion of Heathrow airport unless it can be shown that no new noise or air quality harm would result and the benefits of future regulatory and technology improvements would be fairly shared with affected communities. Any such expansion must also demonstrate how the surface access networks will be invested in to accommodate the resultant additional demand alongside background growth.
The forecast additional airport-related highway trips are an essential component of the air quality impacts and one that any expansion would have to address. Without significant rail investment, the airport’s aspiration for ‘no net increase in highway trips’ is not credible and would place further pressure on already congested streets, including through the increase in freight vehicles that would result from any expansion.
If the aspiration for no new highway trips is achieved, this would result in an increase in public transport trips of more than 250 per cent. But without significant new infrastructure, it will place severe strain on the public transport networks that serve the airport. Existing committed schemes such as the Elizabeth line and the Piccadilly line upgrade – designed to support London’s population growth – will not be able to accommodate this increase. Delivering the shift to public transport requires Government commitment to further schemes to provide sufficient additional capacity and connectivity, notably:
• A western rail link to Heathrow – direct services from the Thames Valley: Slough, Maidenhead and Reading
• A southern rail link to Heathrow – direct services via a route with sufficient spare capacity from central, south and south west London, as well as Surrey
Any proposals must ensure that they can deliver significant additional capacity and connectivity that are capable both of attracting sufficient passenger and staff trips that would otherwise be made in cars and taxis, and of accommodating the additional demand. This cannot be at the expense of non-airport trips and services, nor should it erode the ability of the transport network – including already planned schemes – to enable growth.
There is an important role for improvements to bus, cycling and walking infrastructure serving the airport, particularly for staff journeys. It is also essential that the access for disabled people to the airport is improved.
The Mayor will:
a) Work with industry partners and stakeholders to assess options for surface access to Heathrow, and
b) Seek a commitment from Government to fund and deliver within an appropriate timescale the extensive transport measures required to support the expansion of Heathrow.
See full report at
Mayor’s Transport Strategy 2018
The Mayor’s Transport Strategy has now been published. The document sets out the Mayor’s policies and proposals to reshape transport in London over the next two decades.
The London Assembly considered the Transport Strategy after a detailed consultation by Transport for London (TfL), and amendment of the original draft published in 2017.
Transport has the potential to shape London, from the streets Londoners live, work and spend time on, to the Tube, rail and bus services they use every day.
By using the Healthy Streets Approach to prioritise human health and experience in planning the city, the Mayor wants to change London’s transport mix so the city works better for everyone.
Three key themes are at the heart of the strategy.
1. Healthy Streets and healthy people
Creating streets and street networks that encourage walking, cycling and public transport use will reduce car dependency and the health problems it creates.
2. A good public transport experience
Public transport is the most efficient way for people to travel over distances that are too long to walk or cycle, and a shift from private car to public transport could dramatically reduce the number of vehicles on London’s streets.
3. New homes and jobs
More people than ever want to live and work in London. Planning the city around walking, cycling and public transport use will unlock growth in new areas and ensure that London grows in a way that benefits everyone.
Read the evidence behind the strategy on TfL’s Mayor’s Transport Strategy page.
Mayor of London publishes draft Transport strategy for consultation – not in favour of Heathrow runway
The Mayor of London has published his draft Transport strategy for consultation. It states: “A three-runway Heathrow, however, would have severe noise and air quality impacts and put undue strain on the local public transport and road networks, and alternative airport expansion options should be considered. London’s growth is important, and it must be made to work for all of the city’s current and future residents.” And Policy 20: “The Mayor will continue to oppose expansion of Heathrow airport unless it can be shown that no new noise or air quality harm would result and the benefits of future regulatory and technology improvements would be fairly shared with affected communities. Any such expansion must also demonstrate how the surface access networks will be invested in to accommodate the resultant additional demand alongside background growth.” Also Proposal 96″ “The Mayor will seek a commitment from Government to fund and deliver within an appropriate timescale the extensive transport measures required to support the expansion of Heathrow.” The consultation closes on 2nd October 2017. It can be found here. People responding do not have to answer every question, but can say if they agree or disagree, and whether the Mayor should consider other aspects.
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The Cross-Parliamentary EFRA Committee report on Improving Air Quality, released on 15th March, calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals on clean air that unify and update existing laws in a new Clean Air Act. This includes whether to adopt WHO air quality guidelines for all pollutants. The report also states that the latest air quality plan will not “deliver improvements at a pace and scale proportionate to the size of the challenge.” The High Court agrees. Significant improvements to the plan, and to the Government’s wider approach to air quality, are needed to protect the public from toxic air and that the Government’s forthcoming action plan “must ensure air quality policies are properly aligned with public health and climate change goals.” Reacting, Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition said: “If the government wishes to get serious on clean air, by adopting stronger measures … a 3rd runway at Heathrow simply can’t proceed. As it is, Heathrow already regularly exceeds Nox and particulates targets. And even the government’s best-case scenario for an expanded Heathrow expects there to be a “high risk” that air quality targets will be breached. If the government wishes to signal a purer intent on air quality, abandonment of this project would at least represent a meaningful start.”
Statement from the No 3rd Runway Coalition:
Thursday 15 March 2018
The Cross-Parliamentary committee report (1) on Improving Air Quality, released on 15 March, calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals on clean air that unify and update existing laws in a new Clean Air Act, including whether to adopt World Health Organization air quality guidelines for all air pollutants.
The report also states that the latest air quality plan will not “deliver improvements at a pace and scale proportionate to the size of the challenge. The High Court agrees. Significant improvements to the plan, and to the Government’s wider approach to air quality, are needed to protect the public from toxic air” and that the Government’s forthcoming action plan “must ensure air quality policies are properly aligned with public health and climate change goals.”
Reacting, Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition said:
“If the government wishes to get serious on clean air, by adopting stronger measure, such as a Clean Air Act and World Health Organisation air quality guidelines, as the cross-party EFRA Committee’s parliamentary report urges, a third runway at Heathrow simply can’t proceed.
“As it is, Heathrow already regularly exceeds Nox and particulates targets. And even the government’s best-case scenario for an expanded Heathrow expects there to be a “high risk” that air quality targets will be breached. If the government wishes to signal a purer intent on air quality, abandonment of this project would at least represent a meaningful start.”
- House of Commons, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit, Health and Transport Committees; Improving Air Quality, 15 March 2018.
For more information:
Rob Barnstone, 07806 947050; Robert.email@example.com
UK Government accused of treating air quality as ‘box-ticking exercise’
The UK Government has been accused of treating air quality as a “box-ticking exercise” and is being urged to take “bold, meaningful action”.
A joint report following an unprecedented four-way inquiry by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit, Health and Social Care and Transport Committees slams the government for failing to protect the public from “poisonous air”.
It said that is “unacceptable” as air pollution results in an estimated 40,000 early deaths each year, costing the UK £20 billion annually.
MPs on the committees believe there is an “urgent need for national leadership and consensus building” to bring about a step change in how air pollution is tackled and has set out a number of recommendations, including introducing a Clean Air Act to improve current legislation. They add:
- The government must develop a “properly resourced” national air quality support scheme for all local authoritiesstruggling with air pollution.
- The transport sector should be required to contribute to a new clean air fund, following the “polluter pays” principle, “on a scale that adequately compensates for the health costs of diesel pollution.
- The current 2040 date by which manufacturers must end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel vehicles should be brought forward.
- Manufacturers of private, public and commercial vehicles should also take steps to reduce emissions from tyres and braking mechanisms, known as the ‘Oslo Effect’, which is said to be a significant contributor to air pollution.
- The launch of a national health campaign highlighting the dangers of air pollution, including the fact air quality could be “far worse inside a vehicle than on the street”.
The recommendations follow the High Court’s recent ruling on the government’s current air pollution plans as “unlawful”.
Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said: “The government’s latest plan does not present an effective response to the scale of the quality catastrophe in the UK. We are concerned that the government is treating air quality as a box-ticking exercise. Real change will require bold, meaningful action.”
The government said air pollution has “improved significantly” since 2010 but it recognises there is more to do.
A spokesperson added: “We have put in place a £3.5billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions, will end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040 and later this year we will publish a comprehensive clean air strategy which will set out further steps to tackle air pollution.
“We will carefully consider the joint committee’s report and respond in due course.”
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