T&E says weak ICAO voluntary CO2 deal is NOT mission accomplished for ICAO, Europe or aviation industry

The deal agreed by ICAO to at least make a start on limiting the growth of global aviation CO2 is very far below the level of ambition needed.  Transport & Environment have commented on just how inadequate it is. They say the agreement only offers to offset, not actually reduce, the CO2 from international flights, starting in 2021. Participation till 2027 is voluntary and its coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by ICAO and the industry. The European Commission will now examine the agreement and decide what action to recommend in the light of the current suspension of the  ETS coverage of flights into and out of Europe. A major problem is that the offsetting programme agreed so far lacks clear rules on both the quality of offsets that will be recognised and how they are accounted for, so double counting is not ruled out. To be of any use, offsets must be additional, ie. that would not have happened anyway. It is estimated that only about 20% of total aircraft CO2 emissions between 2021 and 2035 will be offset, meaning that the sector’s emissions are very far from being negated. T&E says that large historical emitters like Europe and the US must introduce additional measures to close aviation’s emissions gap, such as strengthening the EU ETS and stripping aviation’s harmful privileges regarding taxation and subsidies.
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Europe weighs up options after weak global deal on aviation CO2

More than 65 countries have signed up to offset, but not reduce, aircraft emissions from international flights, starting in 2021.

However, participation in the scheme until 2027 is voluntary and its coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by UN aviation body ICAO and industry.

The European Commission will now examine the agreement and decide what action to recommend be taken in light of the current suspension of the emissions trading system’s (ETS) coverage of flights into and out of Europe.

 

The Commission will need to cast a critical eye over the offsetting programme agreed by ICAO, which so far lacks clear rules on both the quality of offsets that will be recognised and how they are accounted for.

‘Double counting’ – when two or more individuals or organisations claim ownership of specific carbon offset projects – is one major problem with such programmes. Governments must also ensure the offsets bring carbon reductions that are additional – i.e. that would not have happened anyway.

EU lawmakers must also consider how aviation will contribute to meeting the bloc’s CO2 reduction targets. As the agreement only requires aircraft operators to offset their emissions above 2020 levels, carbon emissions from aviation can grow without restriction until then.

Questions will also be asked of how the deal helps Europe meet its 2030 CO2 reduction targets. Only about 20% of total aircraft CO2 emissions between 2021 and 2035 will be offset, according to estimates.

Andrew Murphy, T&E aviation policy officer, said: ‘The agreement reached by ICAO in Montreal says airlines can emit increasing amounts of CO2 so long as the carriers pay for offsetting projects in other sectors. That shifts the burden onto other sectors to do more and does zero to shift passengers to less polluting ways of travelling such as rail. The EU’s next move must be to ensure aviation does its share of carbon reductions in Europe at least.’

T&E called on ICAO and the aviation industry to finalise and implement robust criteria for offsets and then develop further measures if the world is to have any hope of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

It said that large historical emitters like Europe and the US must introduce additional measures to close aviation’s emissions gap, such as strengthening the EU ETS and stripping aviation’s harmful privileges regarding taxation and subsidies.

T&E aviation director Bill Hemmings said: ‘Airline claims that flying will now be green are a myth. Taking a plane is the fastest and cheapest way to fry the planet and this deal won’t reduce demand for jet fuel one drop. Instead offsetting aims to cut emissions in other industries.’

Aviation is currently responsible for an estimated 5% of global warming. Aircraft CO2 alone is projected to quadruple and will potentially account for 22% of all CO2 emitted globally in 2050.

Bill Hemmings concluded: ‘This deal is not mission accomplished for ICAO, Europe or industry. The world needs more than voluntary agreements. Without robust environmental safeguards the offsets won’t cut emissions, leaving us with a deal that amounts to little more than adding the price of a cup of coffee to a ticket.’

https://www.transportenvironment.org/news/europe-weighs-options-after-weak-global-deal-aviation-co2

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See earlier:

ICAO’s aviation offsetting deal is a weak start – now countries must go further to cut CO2

A deal was finally agreed by ICAO on 6th October. It was progress, in that there had never been any sort of agreement on global aviation CO2 emissions before. But it was not a great deal – and far too weak to provide the necessary restriction on the growth of global aviation CO2. It came in the same week that the Paris Agreement crossed its crucial threshold to enter into force, but the ICAO deleted key provisions for the deal to align its ambitions with the Paris aim of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees with best efforts to not exceed 1.5 degrees C. Tim Johnson, Director of AEF and the lead representative of The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) – the official environmental civil society observer at the global negotiations, said in relation to the UK: “But while today’s deal is applauded, this international effort falls well short of the effort required to bring UK aviation emissions in line with the Climate Change Act. With a decision on a new runway expected later this month, the UK’s ambition for aviation emissions must match the ambition of the Climate Change Act, and not simply the ICAO global lowest common denominator of carbon neutral growth from 2020. The ICAO scheme could make a contribution towards the ambition of the Climate Change Act, but it does not solve the whole problem.”

Click here to view full story…

Report shows EU’s ‘imperfect’ ETS still outperforms draft UN aviation deal on aviation CO2

When in April 2014 the EU agreed, reluctantly, to “stop the clock” on its inclusion of aviation in the ETS (Emissions Trading System) it was on the condition that this limiting of the scheme would be re-assessed in 2017, depending if ICAO had come up with an effective scheme to restrict aviation CO2 by then. Currently the EU ETS only includes carbon from flights within, (not to and from) the EU. But the deal that ICAO is likely to sign up to next month looks as if it will fail, by being too small in its scope, voluntary not obligatory, and depending on unknown biofuels and technologies in future, no environmental safeguards, as well as unreliable carbon offsets which may not in practice cut CO2 emissions. It will not meet ICAO’s stated goal of “carbon neutral growth” from 2020. Therefore, as the ICAO scheme does not meet the requirements of the EU, in order to suspend its ETS, the EU may find it necessary to revert to its full ETS system, to include flights out of (maybe also into) the EU as well as flights within the EU. The EU needs to ensure it gets agreement through ICAO that it can continue to include aviation in its ETS. The ETS scheme had its faults, but used emissions allowances instead of dubious offsets, was binding instead of voluntary, and include all CO2 emissions. To be fully effective, the cap on aviation carbon in the EU scheme needs to reduce each year. A new report “Aviation ETS – gaining altitude” sets out the details of how the ETS could work in future.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Professor Alice Larkin: Expanding Heathrow flies in the face of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Professor Larkin, an expert on climate policy, says measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel, such as the 3rd Heathrow runway, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and are inconsistent with tackling climate change.  In the past we have slightly limited the growth in UK aviation CO2 by having constraints on Heathrow and Gatwick runway capacity. The government now wants to remove that constraint. Professor Larkin says: “Researchers will need to raise their voices to new levels given this week’s decisions. The upcoming call from the Environmental Audit Committee for evidence of the impacts of the 3rd runway is a welcome opportunity on the horizon, but the government have to be willing to sit up and pay attention to the evidence of climate change scientists and prove their commitment to the Paris Agreement.” It is not enough to depend on future improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency, which have only been incremental. There have been no new, groundbreaking technical solutions to decarbonise the aviation sector. An increase in air travel cannot somehow be compatible with the Paris Agreement’s goals.  All this suggests that climate change science is being overlooked by the UK government to an even greater extent than it was before.
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Expanding Heathrow flies in the face of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

At a cabinet committee on Tuesday, the government approved plans to build a third runway at Heathrow, expanding UK airport capacity. There will be a public consultation on the effects of the expansion before the government makes a final decision as part of a national policy statement on aviation.

Here, Professor Alice Larkin urges the government to pay attention to climate change scientists.

  • So far, we have limited high levels of CO2 growth from the UK’s international flights by maintaining the existing level of airport capacity
  • Improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency have only been incremental
  • The decision, which overlooks climate change science, comes just days before the Paris Agreement comes into force

In the 2000s, our research fed into a heated debate on airport expansion in the UK. Based on some of our work, arguments were made against further airport expansion, on the grounds that this would be at odds with climate change commitments. Just a few years on, with an additional 180 Giga Tonnes of CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere, global climate change policy objectives have been strengthened, and air travel is still dominated by the privileged few.

Yet this week, the UK Government approved a third runway at Heathrow that will expand capacity and support further passenger growth. It would be reasonable then to ask some questions.

Has there been a new, groundbreaking technical solution to decarbonise the aviation sector? Can an increase in air travel somehow sit comfortably alongside the Paris Agreement’s goals? Did we just get the maths wrong the first time around? Sadly, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding ‘no’.

Whilst there have been improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency, these have been incremental. Alternative fuels continue to be researched, but their mainstream global penetration to propel civil aircraft remains decades away – and not just for technical reasons.

The only real saving grace from the climate perspective is that growth in UK-related passenger numbers has been lower than previously forecast. This has been partly due to the global economic downturn and also, in-part, due to a constraint on airport expansion. In other words, we’ve been somewhat successful in limiting high levels of CO2 growth from the UK’s international flights by maintaining the existing level of airport capacity.

All this suggests that climate change science is being overlooked to an even greater extent than it was before, in favour of (poorly evidenced) arguments in support of expanded airport capacity to increase economic growth.

What is particularly shocking about this turn of events, is that this is happening just days before the Paris Agreement comes into force.  The unavoidable reality is that the highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all sectors to urgently reduce CO2 emissions and accelerate away from using fossil fuels. Of course some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, but no sector can be excluded.

Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals remain few and far between. This means that demand-side measures that constrain further growth, and have been constraining growth in the past, must receive much greater attention.

Policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel, such as the third runway at Heathrow, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and are inconsistent with tackling climate change. Researchers will need to raise their voices to new levels given this week’s decisions. The upcoming call from the Environmental Audit Committee for evidence of the impacts of the third runway is a welcome opportunity on the horizon, but the government have to be willing to sit up and pay attention to the evidence of climate change scientists and prove their commitment to the Paris Agreement.

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About Alice Larkin

Alice Larkin is Professor in Climate Change and Energy Policy as part of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, based within the School of Mechanical, Civil and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Manchester.

http://blog.policy.manchester.ac.uk/posts/2016/10/expanding-heathrow-flies-in-the-face-of-the-paris-agreement-on-climate-change/

 

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Gambling our future on airport expansion

Gambling our future on airport expansion

28 Oct 2016

Guest blog: Professor Alice Larkin, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester.

The Paris Agreement is due to come into force on 4th November 2016, with a new ambitious goal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C …”.  

The nuanced language of “well below” accompanying the 2°C goal identifies strengthened ambition, and deserves a high profile.  It defines a more constrained available carbon budget, than previous Accords and Protocols.

So what is the importance of the Paris Agreement’s new goals for airport expansion? Well once a constrained carbon budget is defined, modellers can develop a variety of future scenarios for global energy systems that remain ‘in budget’.

These would include obvious elements such as an increase in renewable and very low carbon energy supply-side options and big changes to the levels and patterns of energy use, storage, and energy efficiency.

However, studies almost universally also include highly optimistic assumptions about a new suite of ‘negative emissions technologies’ (NETs) offering a ‘carbon sink’ to balance carbon sources in the second half of the century.

This balancing is considered necessary from a mathematical perspective because some sectors are assumed to be too difficult to decarbonise in an appropriate timescale – air travel is one such sector. Yet recent attention drawn to a huge reliance on NETs highlights the significant risks posed assuming these interventions can be deployed at the necessary rate and scale.  Gambling our future on airport expansion

Aircraft are extremely difficult to decarbonise, which is why research illustrates that demand-side measures have a key role to play in minimising aviation CO2. If NETs prove to offer only marginal cuts to CO2 in future, the damage will have been done.

Short-term measures to tackle rising CO2 through minimising the demand for fossil fuels now are essential. A moratorium on airport expansion is one such mechanism, yet the opposite decision has just been made in relation to Heathrow expansion.

The consequences of which will have global ramifications in the short-term, enduring well beyond our lifetimes.

http://www.buildingtalk.com/blog-entry/gambling-our-future-on-airport-expansion/

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See also

 

Statements by Professors Kevin Anderson and Alice Larkin, about how the UK should NOT be building a runway

Professor Larkin said:   “The highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all fossil fuel consuming sectors to urgently accelerate towards full decarbonisation – and while some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, no sector can be excluded. Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals are few and far between. As such, demand-side measures that constrain further growth, must receive much greater attention. Equally, policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel such as new runways, particularly within richer nations, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and should be avoided.”

Professor Anderson said:  “The UK Government’s enthusiasm for more airport capacity alongside its clamour for high-carbon shale gas demonstrates a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement. Both of these decisions will lock the UK into ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide for decades to come, putting short-term convenience and financial gain ahead of long-term and genuinely low-carbon prosperity. Such reckless disregard for the prospects of our own children and the well being of poor and climatically vulnerable communities arises from either a scientifically illiterate Government or one that cares nothing for its legacy. Whichever it may be, these are undesirable characteristics of a government facing the climate change and other strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Click here to view full story…

and

AEF damning assessment of Heathrow recommendation and its environmental impacts

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) is the main group in the UK assessing UK aviation policy for its environment impacts, with several decades of expertise. They have had a first look at the government’s Heathrow decision, and are underwhelmed. Some of their comments: On CO2 the DfT says that keeping UK carbon emissions to within the 37.5 MtCO2 cap while adding a Heathrow runway effectively cannot be done. AEF says the DfT now has no commitment to the 37.5 MtCO2 cap, and just includes vague references to the ICAO global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management -though both measures are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling.

AEF said on carbon emissions: 

As AEF has consistently pointed out, and as the Committee on Climate Change reminded Government today, there is no plan for delivering the aviation emissions limit required to deliver the Climate Change Act either with or without a new runway.

The last time we had a government supporting runway expansion, it specified that this would be conditional on the sector’s CO2 emissions being on course not to exceed 37.5 Mt by 2050, in line with the CCC’s advice. Today’s announcement included no such commitment, instead making vague references to the global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management – both measures that are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling, and that won’t bring us anywhere near to achieving the minimum level of ambition required under UK law.

So what does the Government have to say about how the CCC’s recommendation will be met? The answer is deeply buried in a technical paper released alongside the announcement which states that the Airports Commission’s carbon-capped scenario “is helpful for understanding the varying effects of constraining aviation CO2 emissions on aviation demand and the impact on the case for airport expansion but was described by the AC as ‘unrealistic in future policy terms’”. In other words it can’t be done.

Click here to view full story…

 

Read more »

Caroline Lucas: “The expansion of Heathrow is unforgivable – we will fight this decision”

Caroline Lucas, a long standing opponent of aviation expansion due to its carbon emissions, has expressed her anger at the government’s decision to back Heathrow. She says: “This is not a win for families who jet off on a holiday once a year – this is to pacify the needs of those privileged individuals who fly regularly.” … “the Government is ignoring the abundant evidence. .. For those of us who care about Britain’s role in combating climate change, and for people living in west London, today’s decision is a disaster.” … “We are living under a Government that says it wants to allow people to “take back control”, yet it is pressing ahead with a decision that will inflict more noise and pollution on a local community that’s already suffering…”  … “average CO2 levels are now more than 400 parts per million. The effects of burning more and more dirty fossil fuels are well known…” …  “Theresa May knows all of this of course and, at times, she appears to really care. Earlier this year she proudly told the House of Commons that the UK is the “second best country in the world for tackling climate change”. That’s why her decision back expansion at Heathrow is so unforgivable. ” … “today’s decision puts a wrecking ball through the UK’s climate change commitments.” … “we need practical proposals [like aa frequent-flyer levy] to keep aviation at levels that are compatible with fighting climate change, and which require no new runways.”
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The expansion of Heathrow is unforgivable – we will fight this decision

This is not a win for families who jet off on a holiday once a year – this is to pacify the needs of those privileged individuals who fly regularly

By Caroline Lucas @CarolineLucas   (Independent – Voices)

25 October 2016

Heathrow expansion protesters gather outside Parliament Reclaim the Power
It’s finally been confirmed: the Government is ignoring the abundant evidence and backing expansion of Europe’s biggest airport. For those of us who care about Britain’s role in combating climate change, and for people living in west London, today’s decision is a disaster.

This will directly affect those living around Heathrow, with increased pollution, noise and daily disruption to their lives – and it will benefit only the wealthier fliers, with just 15 per cent of UK residents accounting for seven out of 10 of all flights taken. This is not a win for families who jet off on a holiday once a year (and most people don’t even do that); this is to pacify the needs of those privileged individuals who fly regularly.

We are living under a Government that says it wants to allow people to “take back control”, yet it is pressing ahead with a decision that will inflict more noise and pollution on a local community that’s already suffering – all for the benefit of aviation lobbyists and the business-class set.

The expansion announcement today comes days after leading scientists said that the world is entering a new “climate change reality”, as average carbon dioxide levels are now more than 400 parts per million. The effects of burning more and more dirty fossil fuels are well known, but worth reiterating. From an increase in devastating flooding in Britain, to wildfires in Indonesia and more hurricanes hitting the Caribbean – climate change affects everyone’s lives, but hits the most vulnerable communities hardest.

Theresa May knows all of this of course and, at times, she appears to really care. Earlier this year she proudly told the House of Commons that the UK is the “second best country in the world for tackling climate change”. That’s why her decision back expansion at Heathrow is so unforgivable. And let’s just be clear about this: today’s decision puts a wrecking ball through the UK’s climate change commitments. This decision comes in the same week that the UK Government is in court for failing to tackle illegal air pollution limits.

Lifting people into in the air requires a lot of energy, and there’s no prospect of that energy coming from low carbon sources anytime soon. That’s why, unlike every other part of the economy, aviation isn’t expected to reduce its emissions. This already generous exemption is now set to be magnified many times over. If we’re serious about climate change, we would need to make even deeper carbon cuts in other parts of the economy (and we’re already failing to do that).

Another solution would be to force Northern airports to limit flights and bring in a substantially higher tax on flying – are the Government going to take those actions? Of course not.

Those of us who want to reduce the impact of flying cannot just wish away increased demand – instead we need practical proposals to keep aviation at levels that are compatible with fighting climate change, and which require no new runways.

One such proposal, a frequent-flyer levy, would reduce demand for airport expansion through a fairer tax on flights that increases depending on the number of flights you take. It’s clear that the small minority of wealthy individuals who fly often are fuelling the demand for new runways. The proposed frequent-flyer levy would be a fair way to manage demand – the crucial missing part of any aviation policy serious about tackling climate change and protecting local communities.

Another alternative would be to redirect investment away from airport expansion and into improving railways and reducing fares – to end the ridiculous situation where flying is often cheaper than taking the train to nearby destinations.

Ministers know very well that airport expansion, at Heathrow or anywhere else for that matter, will leave our climate change commitments in tatters – and we need to make sure they know that climate campaigners and local residents have absolutely no plans to give up this battle.

Caroline Lucas is co-leader of the Green Party
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/heathrow-expansion-gatwick-green-party-theresa-may-carbon-emissions-wealthy-a7379136.html

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See also

John Sauven: The decision to back a 3rd Heathrow runway is a grotesque, cynical, folly

Writing in the Guardian, the Director of Greenpeace UK – John Sauven – explains why the government approval of a Heathrow runway is so cynical. The reality, which is well known by the government, and the “independent” Airports Commission, is that UK aviation carbon emissions are on target to far exceed the level at which they need to be, under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Adding an extra runway only exacerbates that problem. If the UK was half serious about its global obligations to cut CO2 (which it does not appear to be) the simplest solution would be not to build a new runway – which needlessly raises emissions. But instead, as the job of the Commission was to get a Heathrow runway to appear possible and desirable, they made some obscure assumptions (well hidden in endless supporting documents) which were not intended to be understood. Realising CO2 would be too high, they postulated a sky high price of carbon. That would mean the price of air tickets would rise dramatically, cutting exactly the extra demand the runway had been built to cater for. Otherwise, either the emissions of the regional airports would have to be cut, to let the monster Heathrow continue to expand – or else the UK just abandons any pretence of an aviation carbon target. Both are cynical, demonstrating the absence of any credible aviation carbon policy. It demonstrates that the government is at best half hearted on climate commitments.

Click here to view full story…

AEF damning assessment of Heathrow recommendation and its environmental impacts

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) is the main group in the UK assessing UK aviation policy for its environment impacts, with several decades of expertise. They have had a first look at the government’s Heathrow decision, and are underwhelmed. Some of their comments: On CO2 the DfT says that keeping UK carbon emissions to within the 37.5 MtCO2 cap while adding a Heathrow runway effectively cannot be done. AEF says the DfT now has no commitment to the 37.5 MtCO2 cap, and just includes vague references to the ICAO global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management -though both measures are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling. On air pollution, the DfT says “a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place, in line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published in December 2015.” But AEF says Government appears to have little idea what those mitigation measures will be, and the deliverability of the plan has already, therefore, been questioned through the courts. And on noise AEF says the noise impact will depend heavily on the precise location of flight paths, which are unknown.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

John Sauven: The decision to back a 3rd Heathrow runway is a grotesque, cynical, folly

Writing in the Guardian, the Director of Greenpeace UK – John Sauven – explains why the government approval of a Heathrow runway is so cynical. The reality, which is well known by the government, and the “independent” Airports Commission, is that UK aviation carbon emissions are on target to far exceed the level at which they need to be, under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Adding an extra runway only exacerbates that problem.  If the UK was half serious about its global obligations to cut CO2 (which it does not appear to be) the simplest solution would be not to build a new runway – which needlessly raises emissions. But instead, as the job of the Commission was to get a Heathrow runway to appear possible and desirable, they made some obscure assumptions (well hidden in endless supporting documents) which were not intended to be understood. Realising CO2 would be too high, they postulated a sky high price of carbon. That would mean the price of air tickets would rise dramatically, cutting exactly the extra demand the runway had been built to cater for.  Otherwise, either the emissions of the regional airports would have to be cut, to let the monster Heathrow continue to expand – or else the UK just abandons any pretence of an aviation carbon target. Both are cynical, demonstrating the absence of any credible aviation carbon policy.  It demonstrates that the government is at best half hearted on climate commitments.
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The decision to back a third runway at Heathrow is a grotesque folly

Business flights are declining, CO 2 levels are climbing, and the cost of expansion is staggering. Only shameless cynicism can explain this outcome
25.10.2016  (The Guardian)

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The government’s decision to back a third runway at Heathrow has been informed by a mishmash of misinformation and missing information. To take just one example, business flights are in decline. They’ve been in decline for years. And yet the debate is conducted as though they were not only increasing, but increasing at a rate that our current infrastructure is unable to cater for, and our economy is suffering as a result. But they’re not, they’re declining.

Here’s another. Heathrow can’t afford to expand with its own money. Surface access costs for Heathrow are only affordable with a huge subsidy from the taxpayer. Heathrow will only pay £1bn for the additional road and rail links required to get the extra passengers to and from Heathrow.Transport for London say it will cost £18bn. Anyone see a small discrepancy?

There may be general, underlying sociological trends which explain why the big issues of our time are decided on the basis of incomplete and misleading information, but with the runway argument there is an additional reason. We privatised the decision.

By turning it into a competition between Heathrow and Gatwick lobbyists, we allowed the debate to be conducted by two parties that both firmly agreed that building a new runway in the south-east should be the nation’s top priority.

They were both happy to point out the relative flaws in their rival’s plans, but are equally content to ignore any flaws which affect both.The media accepted the framing, and so despite extensive coverage, the biggest, most important flaw has been missing from the debate. The BBC has covered Heathrow on all of its flagship news and politics shows – Newsnight, the Daily Politics, the Today Programme – without even touching on the main issue.

It’s easy to miss something that’s invisible, silent, odourless and tasteless. Particularly when you have a strong financial incentive to do so. And the entire aviation industry has a very strong financial incentive to ignore CO2. They’ve been successfully ignoring it for decades, and last month’s UN-affiliated international aviation conference made it abundantly clear that it is content to continue with its current approach.

Unfortunately, there are no imminent technologies that, in the short to medium term, will make aviation a low-carbon industry. The only feasible way to significantly reduce aviation’s impact on the climate is to significantly reduce aviation.

The Climate Change Act requires the UK economy to reduce its emissions by 80% from 1990 levels, by 2050. Aviation is allowed to increase its emissions by 120% from 1990 levels. They are on course to exceed that 120% without any new runways. So how will building a new runway in the south-east reduce the number of flights down to a level consistent with that target? Unsurprisingly, it won’t. In fact, entirely predictably, it will hugely increase flights and emissions.

Or so a naive observer might think. The serious players in this debate have a different answer to that question. The Davies commission, that entirely independent and impartial inquiry into what colour Heathrow’s third runway should be, has said that it will fit within the UK’s carbon budget. So that’s that, issue resolved. Except, it won’t explain how. This reluctance encompasses the majority who don’t understand how Sir Howard Davies came to such a counterintuitive conclusion, and the small minority who understand all too well.

Davies’ “solution” exists as fragments scattered through his 600-page multi-volume report in an as obscure and obfuscatory manner as he could manage. It’s designed, very effectively, not to be understood. It consists primarily of demand-control measures, primarily carbon taxes. Davies is saying (or rather whispering in pig Latin with a paper bag on his head) that we can build a new runway that has the specific purpose of increasing flights so long as we increase the price of those flights so much that demand drops to a level that reduces the number of flights overall. There are two ways to interpret this “solution”.

One is to accept that everyone is on the level. The new runway will be built, flights will increase, the emissions from aviation will soar ever higher above their target level, and then the government will introduce a carbon tax or similar instrument which will be so punitive, adding hundreds of pounds to every ticket, that demand will drop dramatically back to levels not seen for 40 years. The consequence would be a severe scaling back, or perhaps even closure of airports, in poorer regions of Britain, but not, perhaps, in west London. According to this interpretation, the new runway is not an attempt to increase capacity at all, but to move existing capacity south. And this is in some way a good and useful thing that we should spend billions of public money to support.

The other plausible interpretation is that Davies’ plan for hitting aviation’s carbon targets isn’t really serious. So, the plan for demand-control measures was seen as a necessary thing to have for legal purposes, in order to get the runway built, but was always known to be just as daft as it sounds, and that’s why it was effectively hidden from view.

I’m not certain which is more cynical, the idea that the government is willing to spend taxpayers’ money to redistribute mobility from the poor to the rich, or the idea that Davies’ report is designed to be a black box that allows aviation to expand so long as no one looks inside, an invisible solution to an invisible problem.

Unfortunately, the invisible problem is real.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/25/heathrow-third-runway-davies-commission

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See also

Statements by Professors Kevin Anderson and Alice Larkin, about how the UK should NOT be building a runway

 

Statement by Professor Alice Larkin

“The highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all fossil fuel consuming sectors to urgently accelerate towards full decarbonisation – and while some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, no sector can be excluded. Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals are few and far between. As such, demand-side measures that constrain further growth, must receive much greater attention. Equally, policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel such as new runways, particularly within richer nations, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and should be avoided .”

Professor Alice Larkin:  

Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy, University of Manchester 


Statement by Professor Kevin Anderson

“The UK Government’s enthusiasm for more airport capacity alongside its clamour for high-carbon shale gas demonstrates a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement. Both of these decisions will lock the UK into ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide for decades to come, putting short-term convenience and financial gain ahead of long-term and genuinely low-carbon prosperity. Such reckless disregard for the prospects of our own children and the well being of poor and climatically vulnerable communities arises from either a scientifically illiterate Government or one that cares nothing for its legacy. Whichever it may be, these are undesirable characteristics of a government facing the climate change and other strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Professor Kevin Anderson: University of Manchester and Uppsala

Kevin Anderson is Professor of Energy and Climate Change in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester. He is Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and is research active with recent publications in Royal Society journals and Nature. He engages widely across all tiers of government; from reporting on aviation-related emissions to the EU Parliament, advising the Prime Minister’s office on Carbon Trading and having contributed to the development of the UK’s Climate Change Act.

With his colleague Alice Bows, Kevin’s work on carbon budgets has been pivotal in revealing the widening gulf between political rhetoric on climate change and the reality of rapidly escalating emissions. His work makes clear that there is now little chance of maintaining the rise in global temperature at below 2C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary. Moreover, Kevin’s research demonstrates how avoiding even a 4C rise demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda and the economic characterisation of contemporary society.

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AEF damning assessment of Heathrow recommendation and its environmental impacts

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) is the main group in the UK assessing UK aviation policy for its environment impacts, with several decades of expertise. They have had a first look at the government’s Heathrow decision, and are underwhelmed. Some of their comments:  On CO2 the DfT says that keeping UK carbon emissions to within the 37.5 MtCO2 cap while adding a Heathrow runway effectively cannot be done. AEF says the DfT now has no commitment to the 37.5 MtCO2 cap, and just includes vague references to the ICAO global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management -though both measures are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling. On air pollution, the DfT says “a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place, in line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published in December 2015.” But AEF says Government appears to have little idea what those mitigation measures will be, and the deliverability of the plan has already, therefore, been questioned through the courts. And on noise AEF says the noise impact will depend heavily on the precise location of flight paths, which are unknown. 
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What answers has the Government found to the environmental hurdles facing a third runway?

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With the Government now having officially announced its support for a new runway at Heathrow, despite having slashed the Airports Commission’s claim of a £147 billion benefit to the UK by almost 60% (referring instead to a benefit over sixty years of ‘up to £61 billion’), we take a first look at what they have to offer in terms of answers to some key environmental challenges.

Climate Change

As AEF has consistently pointed out, and as the Committee on Climate Change reminded Government today, there is no plan for delivering the aviation emissions limit required to deliver the Climate Change Act either with or without a new runway.

The last time we had a government supporting runway expansion, it specified that this would be conditional on the sector’s CO2 emissions being on course not to exceed 37.5 Mt by 2050, in line with the CCC’s advice. Today’s announcement included no such commitment, instead making vague references to the global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management – both measures that are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling, and that won’t bring us anywhere near to achieving the minimum level of ambition required under UK law.

So what does the Government have to say about how the CCC’s recommendation will be met? The answer is deeply buried in a technical paper released alongside the announcement which states that the Airports Commission’s carbon-capped scenario “is helpful for understanding the varying effects of constraining aviation CO2 emissions on aviation demand and the impact on the case for airport expansion but was described by the AC as ‘unrealistic in future policy terms’”. In other words it can’t be done.

Air pollution

With the Heathrow area consistently breaching legal limits for nitrogen dioxide and the Airports Commission anticipating that expansion at the airport would have an adverse or significantly adverse impact on air quality, this represents a clear legal obstacle that the Government must be ready to take on. Today’s announcement indicates that a ‘re-analysis’ by Government of air pollution levels subsequent to the Airports Commission’s report has shown that “a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place, in line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published in December 2015.”

The problem is that Government appears to have little idea what those mitigation measures will be, and the deliverability of the plan has already, therefore, been questioned through the courts. ClientEarth, which brought the action, said today in a statement “Those plans were so poor that last week we took them [the Government] back to the High Court to force action on air pollution. The government needs to produce an in-depth and credible plan to drastically cut air pollution to meet its legal obligations rather than digging an even deeper hole for itself.”

Noise

With Heathrow’s noise already affecting more people than its five main European rivals combined, the likely noise impact of expansion has always been at the heart of much of the political opposition to a new runway. Today’s announcement includes the statement that “The government will propose that a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights will be introduced” but gives no indication of preference for whether this will run from 11:30pm to 6:00am as recommended by the Airports Commission or from 11:00pm to 5:30am as proposed by the airport, with numerous flights potentially scheduled from 5:30 in the morning. Meanwhile the noise impact, including for the hundreds of thousands predicted to be newly affected, will depend heavily on the precise location of flight paths – an issue potentially as contentious as the expansion itself.

The Conservatives’ mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has already announced his decision to resign in response to the Government announcement, and the Government is now relying on the support of both Parliament and the Lords to get approval for an Airports National Policy Statement supporting expansion (not to be published for consultation until next year). This is – of course – not the end of the debate but in many ways just the beginning.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/10/25/what-answers-has-the-government-found-to-the-environmental-hurdles-facing-a-third-runway/


 

Dark day for communities and for the UK’s chance of tackling climate change, as Heathrow announcement shows reckless disregard for environmental targets

PRESS RELEASE  by AEF

The environmental NGO, Aviation Environment Federation [1], which represents communities around the UK’s airports, has strongly criticised the Government’s decision to back a third runway at Heathrow.

Cait Hewitt, AEF Deputy Director, said:

This is a dark day for local communities, and suggests a reckless disregard for the climate change damage that a new runway will bring.

Within weeks of the Paris Agreement on climate change becoming binding, the UK appears to be turning its back on earlier promises to play our part in ensuring a safe and stable climate. Heathrow is already the UK’s biggest single source of emissions [3], and is responsible for more CO2 from international flights than any other airport in the world [4]. As the Government has no meaningful plans for tackling CO2 from aviation despite UK and international climate change commitments, a new runway will see aviation emissions soar.

The decision is also a betrayal of local people who are already exposed to dangerous and illegal levels of air pollution, and to noise at levels known to harm health. Even if the airport introduces a partial night flight ban that may provide some respite for existing communities, hundreds of thousands of people will be overflown for the first time as a result of expansion, at an airport that already impacts more people than its five major European rivals combined.

Today’s decision is not final. This is not the first time that a UK government has announced its support for a new South East runway. On each occasion in the past that that the government has supported expansion, it has not proceeded once the full economic and environmental costs have become clear.

Parliament will now have its say on the Government’s decision. It is vital that MPs look beyond the headline figures from the Airports Commission’s final report, since many of the costs of expansion were hidden in appendices. Factoring in these costs shows that the environmental damage created by a new runway will result in a relatively small economic benefit and could even be negative. Over the summer we sent politicians from all major parties 50 reasons to oppose a new runway. MPs must now see if the Government has answers to these challenges.”

Contact: Name / email

AEF office: 0203 102 1509

Tim Johnson, AEF Director: (tim@aef.org.uk)

Cait Hewitt, AEF Deputy Director: (cait@aef.org.uk)

NOTES

[1] The Aviation Environment Federation is the only national NGO campaigning exclusively on environmental impacts of aviation including noise, air pollution and climate change. We represent community groups around many of the UK airports in our work to secure effective regulation of the aviation industry at national and international levels. www.aef.org.uk

[2] AEF’s 50 reasons are available to download at: http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/AEF_50-reasons_Final.pdf with full references at: http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/09/08/50-reasons-campaign-references/

[3] Drax emissions from UK Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (verified emissions accounting for biomass); Heathrow emissions projections from Jacobs, Carbon Assessment, November 2014, prepared for the Airports Commission

[4] https://southgateaviation.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/global-domestic-footprint-finalv6.pdf(page 41)

[5] The UN reached agreement earlier this month on a global aviation emissions offsetting scheme, a welcome indication that all countries recognise the challenge of aviation emissions. While the agreement represents a first step towards bringing the sector into line with climate ambition, however, it will be unable to deliver the emissions reductions required by either UK climate legislation or the Paris Agreement.

[6] Click here for supporting information.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/10/25/dark-day-for-communities-and-for-the-uks-chance-of-tackling-climate-change-as-heathrow-announcement-shows-reckless-disregard-for-environmental-targets/

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Environment Audit Cttee will be calling Ministers to give evidence on Heathrow runway environmental impacts

The Environment Audit Committee has announced (already) that, after the government’s  announcement that it backs a Heathrow runway, it will be calling Ministers to scrutinise how environmental concerns are being mitigated. The EAC has scrutinised the Airports Commission in the past, on environmental problems of a Heathrow runway.  The EAC wants assurances from the Government that a new runway will comply with key environmental conditions.  Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Committee, said it would be necessary to look at what the runway means for local residents, on air quality and noise standards and also on carbon emissions. She said: …”we need a clear plan to reduce emissions from aviation to meet our climate change targets. … The Government must ensure that current legal EU air pollution limits are retained after we leave, to protect the health and wellbeing of local people. We wait to hear what the airport’s plans are for covering the costs of local transport. … On noise we welcome Heathrow’s announcement that it will accept a ban on night flights. Ministers must ensure that local communities receive predictable respite from planes flying over their homes.”  The EAC report, published in November 2015, called upon the Government and Heathrow to demonstrate how issues were to be dealt with. They are not persuaded by the replies.
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EAC seeks Government assurances on Heathrow expansion

25 October 2016

From the Environment Audit Committee website

Committee announces it will be calling Ministers to scrutinise how environmental concerns are being mitigated

Reacting to the Government’s announcement of  its approval for Heathrow expansion, the Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee Mary Creagh MP is seeking assurances from the Government that any new airport capacity will comply with key environmental conditions.

Chair’s comments

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“My committee recently looked at what a third runway at Heathrow would mean for local residents and we will be seeking assurances from the Government that the airport’s proposals meet strict carbon emissions, air quality and noise standards.”

“We have seen some international progress on tackling carbon emissions from aviation recently, but we need a clear plan to reduce emissions from aviation to meet our climate change targets.”

“The Government must ensure that current legal EU air pollution limits are retained after we leave, to protect the health and wellbeing of local people. We wait to hear what the airport’s plans are for covering the costs of local transport.”

“On noise we welcome Heathrow’s announcement that it will accept a ban on night flights. Ministers must ensure that local communities receive predictable respite from planes flying over their homes.”

The EAC report, published in November 2015, called upon the Government and Heathrow to demonstrate that Heathrow expansion can be reconciled with our climate change commitments and legal air pollution limits. It called for an improvement in surface transport and a ban on night flight.

Background

The Climate Change Act 2008 requires the Government to set a series of 5 year carbon budgets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.  The statutory Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on meeting these budgets, says its ‘planning assumption’ is that 2050 aviation emissions should to be around 2005 levels (i.e. 37.5 MtCO2).

The UK’s legal air pollution limits are set out in EU Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality, which was transcribed into UK law. The Directive limits values in respect of certain key pollutants – including an annual mean limit value of 40 μg/m3 NO2. Compliance is assessed through measurements carried out by “receptors” next to roads. The deadline for compliance was 2010 but 38 out of 43 areas remain above the limit values, including Greater London.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2015/heathrow-expansion-chair-announcement-16-17/

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Government decides on new runway at Heathrow – with no certainty on air pollution, noise or CO2

The government has made its announcement that it backs a 3rd runway at Heathrow, using the north west option (not the extended northern runway).  It has decided to entirely follow the recommendation of the Airports Commission, by backing one runway only.  The statement from Chris Grayling is on the DfT website, with a list of supporting documents. The government glosses over details of how it could ensure the runway did not cause worse air pollution, or worse noise, or higher CO2 emissions. Neither the DfT statement, nor Chris Grayling’s contributions in the House, give any clarity or reassurances on most of the problems that a 3rd runway will create.  There will be a consultation, starting in early 2017, on the National Policy Statement, which has to be agreed by both House of Parliament before Heathrow could go ahead with the planning stages for its runway. The government’s statements say things like: “Despite the increase in flights Heathrow Airport Ltd has made firm commitments to noise reduction. The government will propose that a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights …”   And “the government proposes new legally binding noise targets, encouraging the use of quieter planes, and a more reliable and predictable timetable of respite for those living under the final flight path.” And new work “confirms that a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place”….. ie. vague waffly aspirations, with zero practical details.
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Parliament TV

Chris Grayling announced the government’s backing for Heathrow in Parliament. It can be seen on Parliament TV at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/19249e8d-d508-45cd-9b6b-0330e902f178 starting at about 13.04.

The Hansard version of the statement and questions in the Commons is at  https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-10-25/debates/4D74A7CB-8921-48BD-9960-FD15D5D1EEDF/AirportCapacity

There were many excellent comments by a number of MPs.  Chris Grayling could not give convincing responses to any of the criticisms or the fears of MPs  opposed to the plan.


Government decides on new runway at Heathrow

From: Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP – DfT press release

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Government Heathrow Airport announcement.

– expanding Heathrow will better connect the UK to long haul destinations in growing world markets, boosting trade and creating jobs
– passengers will benefit from more choice of airlines, destinations and flights
– expansion at Heathrow will be subject to a world class package of compensation and mitigation measures for local communities

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In a major boost for the UK economy the government today (25 October 2016) announced its support for a new runway at Heathrow – the first full length runway in the south-east since the second world war. The scheme will now be taken forward in the form of a draft ‘National policy statement’ (NPS) for consultation.

The government’s decision on its preferred location, which will be consulted on in the new year, underlines its commitment to keeping the UK open for business now and in the future and as a hub for tourism and trade. Today’s decision is a central part of the government’s plan to build a global Britain and an economy that works for everyone. This is just one of a series of major infrastructure investments that will create jobs and opportunities for every part of the UK.

A new runway at Heathrow will bring economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61 billion. Up to 77,000 additional local jobs are expected to be created over the next 14 years and the airport has committed to create 5,000 new apprenticeships over the same period.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

The step that government is taking today is truly momentous. I am proud that after years of discussion and delay this government is taking decisive action to secure the UK’s place in the global aviation market – securing jobs and business opportunities for the next decade and beyond.

A new runway at Heathrow will improve connectivity in the UK itself and crucially boost our connections with the rest of the world, supporting exports, trade and job opportunities. This isn’t just a great deal for business, it’s a great deal for passengers who will also benefit from access to more airlines, destinations and flights.

This is an important issue for the whole country. That is why the government’s preferred scheme will be subject to full and fair public consultation. Of course it is also hugely important for those living near the airport. That is why we have made clear that expansion will only be allowed to proceed on the basis of a world class package of compensation and mitigation worth up to £2.6 billion, including community support, insulation, and respite from noise – balancing the benefits and the impacts of expansion.

Expansion at the airport will better connect the UK to long haul destinations across the globe and to growing world markets including in Asia and South America, bringing a significant boost to trade.

Heathrow already handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined, accounting for 31% of the UK’s non-EU trade, and its expansion will create even more opportunities for UK business to get their goods to new markets.

While there are clear gains for business, passengers will also benefit from a greater choice of airlines, destinations and flight times. The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, anticipated that a new runway would bring in new capacity to meet demand and allow greater levels of competition, lowering fares even after taking into account the costs of construction.

Expansion costs will be paid for by the private sector, not by the taxpayer. It will be for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), as the independent industry regulator, to work with Heathrow Airport Ltd and airlines operating at the airport, on the detailed design and costs to ensure the scheme remains affordable. The government expects the industry to work together to drive down costs to benefit passengers. The aim should be to deliver a plan for expansion that keeps landing charges close to current levels.

This new runway will deliver major economic and strategic benefits to the UK, but it must be delivered without hitting passengers in the pocket. The Airports Commission was clear that this is achievable as is the CAA.

A third runway will also support new connections to the UK’s regions as well as safeguarding existing domestic routes. Heathrow has proposed a further 6 new routes to Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley to be added after expansion. The 8 existing routes offered today are: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Belfast City, Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds Bradford. This would provide 14 domestic routes in total, and spread benefits right across the country.

Government will also take all necessary steps including, where appropriate, ring-fencing a suitable proportion of new slots for domestic routes, to ensure enhanced connectivity within the UK.

Despite the increase in flights Heathrow Airport Ltd has made firm commitments to noise reduction. The government will propose that a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights will be introduced for the first time at Heathrow and will make more stringent night noise restrictions a requirement of expansion. The timing of this ban will be determined through consultation.

Furthermore, the government proposes new legally binding noise targets, encouraging the use of quieter planes, and a more reliable and predictable timetable of respite for those living under the final flight path. The airport has also pledged to provide over £700 million for noise insulation for residential properties.

In addition, modernising use of our air space will boost the sector and will help to further reduce noise and carbon emissions. Proposals will be brought forward to support improvements to airspace and how to manage noise, including the way in which affected communities can best be engaged and whether there is a role for a new independent aviation noise body as the Airports Commission recommended.

The Airports Commission concluded that even with the extra flights added by the airport’s expansion fewer people would be affected by noise from Heathrow by 2030 than are today.

Following the clear recommendation of the Airports Commission the government conducted more work on the environmental impact. That work is now complete and confirms that a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place, in line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published in December 2015.

The UK has already achieved significant improvements in air quality across a range of pollutants. Emissions of nitrogen oxides in the UK fell by 41% between 2005 and 2014. Heathrow’s scheme includes plans for improved public transport links and for an ultra-low emissions zone for all airport vehicles by 2025. The government will make meeting air quality legal requirements a condition of planning approval.

A draft NPS setting out why the government believes this scheme is the right one for the UK will be published in the new year when the public will be consulted on the proposals.


Facts

An extra runway at Heathrow will deliver:

  • economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61 billion over 60 years
  • lower fares relative to no expansion, fewer delays, better connections to destinations including to Asia and South America
  • up to 77,000 additional local jobs created by 2030
  • Heathrow have committed to 5,000 new apprenticeships by 2030
  • an extra 16 million long haul passenger seats in 2040
  • 6 new regional routes proposed by Heathrow – giving 14 in total
  • following consultation a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights will be introduced for the first time at Heathrow
  • a mitigation package for the local community most affected by expansion worth up to £2.6 billion

This [£2.6 billion] includes:

  • people with homes subject to compulsory purchase receiving 125% of full market value for their homes, plus stamp duty, legal fees and moving costs
  • a package of over £700 million of noise insulation for homes
  • £40 million to insulate and ventilate schools and other community buildings

In addition, up to £450 million could be available to local authorities through business rate retention. A Community Compensation Fund could make a further £750 million available to local communities. This will be determined through the planning process.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-decides-on-new-runway-at-heathrow


Further information

[Law firm Bircham Dyson Bell say the paragraph by the DfT contained inaccuracies. Below is the DfT paragraph, with the sections that are incorrect shown in light orange, and the corrections from BDB shown in red italics.]

Airport expansion will be delivered through a thorough, faster planning process, under the 2008 Planning Act and 2011 Localism Act. The government will set out the need for the airport scheme it wants, along with supporting evidence, in its National Policy Statement. The public and Members of Parliament will be consulted and there will be a vote in the House of Commons on the final draft of the NPS.  This will be followed by a planning application  development consent order by the airport to the Planning Inspectorate who will examine the application take a view and advise government of his decision its recommendation. Final sign off will be by the Secretary of State for Transport and then construction will start once any pre-commencement requirements have been discharged.

In time a new runway will also require the redesign of the airport’s flightpaths. This will form part of a wider programme of airspace modernisation which is already needed across the country in the coming years. The government expects to consult in the new year on a range of national proposals covering noise and airspace.

Expansion at Heathrow Airport Ltd will be accompanied by a comprehensive package of mitigation measures which will be subject to consultation with the public as part of the draft NPS consultation process. The measures will also be subject to regulatory approval by the CAA.

The Department for Transport has also set up a working group with Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs on air quality. This is part of a 10 year project to accelerate improvements in air quality.

Today’s announcement follows an unprecedented UN global agreement achieved earlier this month to combat aviation emissions. Under the deal, airlines will offset their emissions with reductions from other sectors to deliver carbon neutral growth for the aviation sector from 2020. The government believes that a new runway at Heathrow can be delivered within the UK’s carbon obligations.

Meanwhile, the government wants to see the continued prosperity of the UK’s second busiest airport, and the world’s busiest single runway airport, Gatwick. Its continued success will drive competition in the sector, which is good for passengers and the prosperity of the nation, drawing inward investment, trade and growth.

The Airports Commission lead by Sir Howard Davies, was set up in September 2012. It published its final report in July 2015. In December 2015 the then Secretary of State for Transport Sir Patrick McLoughlin announced that government accepted the case for airport expansion in the  case for airport expansion in the south-east and the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options for expansion.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-decides-on-new-runway-at-heathrow

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There are more documents added by DfT on 25th October 2016

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/heathrow-airport-expansion

Background

Background and rationale for the government’s preferred option for south-east airport expansion.

  1. Heathrow Airport expansion: around the UK

    • Guidance
  2. Heathrow Airport expansion: connectivity

    • Guidance
  3. Heathrow Airport expansion: economic benefits

    • Guidance
  4. Heathrow Airport expansion: environment and local impacts

    • Guidance

Technical reports

Technical analysis and further work carried out by the Department for Transport to support the government’s preferred option for south-east airport expansion. These reports expand on the Airports Commission’s final report and supporting documents.

  1. Airport expansion: DfT review of the Airports Commission’s final report

    • Research and analysis
    • Review of the Airports Commission’s final report  (dated Dec 2015)

    • This review:
      • assesses the degree to which the Airports Commission’s work aligns with its terms of reference set by government
      • considers and identifies whether there are any apparent or potential gaps in the evidence developed and considered by the Commission
      • highlights where recommendations may deviate from government policy
      • documents where implementation of the Commission’s recommendations requires action by government or others
  2. Airport expansion: further analysis of air quality data

  3. Airport expansion: further review and sensitivities report

  4. Airport expansion: global comparison of airport mitigation measures

    • Research and analysis
    • Airport capacity programme global comparison of airport mitigation measures

    • The Airport’s Commission final report recommended that the compensation and mitigation package to be provided as part of expanding airport capacity at Heathrow airport should be ‘world class’. The government wanted to understand what a ‘world class’ compensation package was and whether the packages on offer by Heathrow Airport Limited and Gatwick Airport Limited could be considered as such. The Department for Transport engaged Ernst & Young to prepare a report on the approaches taken by other international airports in addressing the local impacts of the airport.
  5. Airport expansion: Highways England assurance report

  6. Heathrow Airport Limited: statement of principles

    • Guidance
    • Heathrow Airport Limited: statement of principles

    • Following the publication of the Airports Commission’s report the government engaged with the promoters of all 3 shortlisted options. The statement of principles records the outcomes of engagement between government and Heathrow Airport Limited in July 2015.It sets out the scheme promoter’s expectations and commitments in principle as to how its scheme would be taken forward if preferred by government as the best way to meet the need for more runway capacity in London and the south-east.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/heathrow-airport-expansion

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Letter in the Guardian, from climate-aware organisations, on the disastrous impact of a new runway

In an open letter, a large number of environmental and climate-aware organisations have written about the disastrous impacts of allowing the expansion of the UK aviation sector by building a new runway.  The letter says: “With the scrapping of vital decarbonisation policies and funding, the UK is already way off-track to meet our climate change commitments. The impacts of any new runway will be devastating to people’s lives and to the planet. … the biggest tragedy of the government’s failure is a global one. … The push for more runway space is not about demand from business – that has been dropping for over a decade. Nor is it about people taking one or two annual holidays. Growth is being driven by the frequent leisure flyers taking weekend breaks and shopping trips by plane. Half of the UK population don’t fly in any given year, yet all of us subsidise the holidays of the rich. The UK must not abandon our commitments under the Paris agreement and the Climate Change Act for the convenience of binge flyers. We will not allow our government to ignore the promises they have made to us and to the world.”  There are also statements by Professor Kevin Anderson and Professor Alice Larkin, on how building a new runway is entirely incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate. Kevin described adding a runway as demonstrating “a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement.”
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Airport expansion’s disastrous effects, near and far

Letters – The Guardian

The government’s decision to greenlight aviation expansion (Chris Grayling: decision on airport expansion to be made on Tuesday, theguardian.com, 23 October) is a predictable failure, but not an acceptable one.

With the scrapping of vital decarbonisation policies and funding, the UK is already way off-track to meet our climate change commitments. The impacts of any new runway will be devastating to people’s lives and to the planet.

Locally it will see the demolition of hundreds of homes, result in increased noise pollution, and illegal levels of air pollution – already responsible for almost 10,000 premature deaths in London every year.

But the biggest tragedy of the government’s failure is a global one. Only around 5% of the world’s population flies at all, yet the impacts of climate change – droughts, floods and heatwaves – are already hitting poorer communities in the global south, who are the least likely to ever set foot on a plane.

The UK must not abandon our commitments under the Paris agreement and the Climate Change Act for the convenience of binge flyers. We will not allow our government to ignore the promises they have made to us and to the world.

Craig Bennett CEO, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland,

Nicky Bull Chair, Operation Noah,

Amy Cameron, Director, 10:10,

Sarah Clayton. Coordinator, AirportWatch,

Peter Deane, Biofuelwatch,

Bill Hemmings, Director, aviation and shipping, European Federation for Transport and Environment,

Claire James, Campaigns coordinator, Campaign Against Climate Change

Rosalie James, Chair, Aircraft Noise 3 Villages(Lightwater, Windlesham & Bagshot),

Tim Johnson, Director, Aviation Environment Federation

James MacColl,  Head of campaigns, Campaign for Better Transport,

Kara Moses, Environment editor, Red Pepper 

Leo Murray.  Director, Fellow Travellers

Danielle Paffard, UK divestment campaigner, 350.org 

John Sauven,  Executive director, Greenpeace UK

Kia Trainor,  Director, CPRE Sussex

Anna Vickerstaff,  Co-director, UK Youth Climate Coalition

Vivienne Westwood, Climate Revolution

Peter Willan, Chair, Richmond Heathrow Campaign

… and seven others

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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/23/airport-expansions-disastrous-effects-near-and-far


See also

 

Statement by Professor Alice Larkin

“The highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all fossil fuel consuming sectors to urgently accelerate towards full decarbonisation – and while some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, no sector can be excluded. Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals are few and far between. As such, demand-side measures that constrain further growth, must receive much greater attention. Equally, policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel such as new runways, particularly within richer nations, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and should be avoided .”

Professor Alice Larkin:  

Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy, University of Manchester 


Statement by Professor Kevin Anderson

“The UK Government’s enthusiasm for more airport capacity alongside its clamour for high-carbon shale gas demonstrates a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement. Both of these decisions will lock the UK into ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide for decades to come, putting short-term convenience and financial gain ahead of long-term and genuinely low-carbon prosperity. Such reckless disregard for the prospects of our own children and the well being of poor and climatically vulnerable communities arises from either a scientifically illiterate Government or one that cares nothing for its legacy. Whichever it may be, these are undesirable characteristics of a government facing the climate change and other strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Professor Kevin Anderson: University of Manchester and Uppsala

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Statements by Professors Kevin Anderson and Alice Larkin, about how the UK should NOT be building a runway

 

Statement by Professor Alice Larkin

“The highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all fossil fuel consuming sectors to urgently accelerate towards full decarbonisation – and while some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, no sector can be excluded. Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals are few and far between. As such, demand-side measures that constrain further growth, must receive much greater attention. Equally, policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel such as new runways, particularly within richer nations, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and should be avoided .”

Professor Alice Larkin:  

Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy, University of Manchester 


Statement by Professor Kevin Anderson

“The UK Government’s enthusiasm for more airport capacity alongside its clamour for high-carbon shale gas demonstrates a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement. Both of these decisions will lock the UK into ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide for decades to come, putting short-term convenience and financial gain ahead of long-term and genuinely low-carbon prosperity. Such reckless disregard for the prospects of our own children and the well being of poor and climatically vulnerable communities arises from either a scientifically illiterate Government or one that cares nothing for its legacy. Whichever it may be, these are undesirable characteristics of a government facing the climate change and other strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Professor Kevin Anderson: University of Manchester and Uppsala

Kevin Anderson is Professor of Energy and Climate Change in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester. He is Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and is research active with recent publications in Royal Society journals and Nature. He engages widely across all tiers of government; from reporting on aviation-related emissions to the EU Parliament, advising the Prime Minister’s office on Carbon Trading and having contributed to the development of the UK’s Climate Change Act.

With his colleague Alice Bows, Kevin’s work on carbon budgets has been pivotal in revealing the widening gulf between political rhetoric on climate change and the reality of rapidly escalating emissions. His work makes clear that there is now little chance of maintaining the rise in global temperature at below 2C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary. Moreover, Kevin’s research demonstrates how avoiding even a 4C rise demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda and the economic characterisation of contemporary society.

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If government wants a new runway, why does the UK have no aviation climate strategy?

Business Green has looked at the implications of the UK allowing a new runway for our carbon emissions, and found the government has only an embarrassing space where a credible aviation carbon strategy should be. Government has repeatedly refused the CCC’s requests for clarity on UK aviation carbon policy. It has so far refused to engage with the fact the aspirational target to keep UK aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050 is both arbitrary and too weak, and even then the Airports Commission made clear that meeting it requires heroically ambitious (unrealistic) assumptions on future carbon pricing and clean tech adoption.  The Commission hoped that adding a runway would be manageable “if the rest of the economy decarbonises as people expect and aircraft become more fuel efficient”. There is no guarantee of either of those – and in their absence, aviation emissions would rise too high.  The Commission was aware that adding a south east runway would require hardly any expansion at regional airports. Allowing the expansion of aviation means all other sectors having to cut their CO2 emissions by 85% by 2050. Currently the UK is not on track to deliver the decarbonisation of the wider economy as planned.  Large swathes of the economy will have to become virtually zero emission just to give aviation more headroom. “The basic principle of climate action should be to try and pull risk out of the system; new runways simply load more risk in.”
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If the government wants Heathrow expansion, why hasn’t an aviation climate strategy been cleared for take-off?

By James Murray  (Business Green)

18 October 2016

The government appears willing to approve a new runway without so much as a fig leaf to cover the embarrassing space where a credible green aviation strategy should be

It should be the Jumbo Jet in the Cabinet Room. As the Cabinet today discusses whether to give the go-ahead for the expansion of Heathrow, the climate change implications of a new runway ought to be the dominant item on the agenda. And yet if mainstream media coverage and political commentary is any guide, it will barely get a look in.

Political considerations will, of course, be given an airing, as Theresa May mulls the intense criticism and highly-charged by-election that will be triggered if she gives the project the green light.

Importantly, environmental issues will also be addressed, primarily because concerns about air pollution remain the biggest legal blockade faced by Heathrow.

That is why it is more than a little disquieting that a non-peer reviewed report on future air pollution at Heathrow drawing on heroically optimistic assumptions about future adoption of zero emission [NO2] transport technologies could lead the BBC News under the banner headline ‘Heathrow runway ‘within EU pollution laws”.

It is also why today’s latest round in the legal battle between ClientEarth and the government over UK breaches of EU air quality rules will be causing sweated brows at Heathrow as well as in Defra. May could yet approve Heathrow and still find the project locked in years of completely legitimate legal rows over its impact on local air quality.

However, with the government adamant if Heathrow does not go ahead Gatwick will there appears to be zero appetite for a serious discussion about what new runways mean for the UK’s climate change efforts.

From the narrowest political perspective there are actually good reasons for this staggering omission.

Howard Davies initial report on airport expansion argued a new runway could be made compatible with the UK’s climate change goals, giving the government the political cover it needed to swat the climate issue aside.

However, what the government has thus far refused to engage with is the fact the aspirational target to keep UK aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050 is both arbitrary and too weak, and even then the Davies report made clear meeting it requires heroically ambitious assumptions on future carbon pricing and clean tech adoption.

The final report adopted a similar line, with Davies arguing a new runway is manageable within the UK’s climate change commitments “if the rest of the economy decarbonises as people expect and aircraft become more fuel efficient”.

This pro-expansion argument was then given a further boost last month when the UN’s ICAO finally agreed an international carbon offset deal, which will impose an emissions price on flights in and out of the UK’s new runway and is underpinned by the industry’s commitment to ensure emissions flatline from 2020. “Look,” Ministers will be able to say. “It all adds up. The additional flights will be offset and there is room in our carbon budgets for a more aviation emissions through to 2050.”

The flaws in this argument are remarkably obvious, if only the government had the nerve to push back against the optimistic analysis it so desperately wanted to receive.

Firstly, as Davies in fairness makes plain, expansion at Heathrow makes further runways at other airports all but impossible.

A Campaign for Better Transport report this summer pointed out how the Davies Report’s assumptions include extremely high carbon prices – an extra £68 on a flight from London to New York, for example – that would serve to actually restrict flight numbers from regional airports.

One government minister told the BBC this week they would like to see new runways at both Heathrow and Gatwick – they are either unaware of or don’t care about the climate change implications.

In reality, expansion at Heathrow could necessitate contraction at other airports if carbon budgets are to be met.

Secondly, even supporters of the UN deal to offset aviation emissions admit in its current form it is too weak and will be phased in too slowly. It is not yet compatible with the Paris Agreement’s 2C goal and is based on optimistic assumptions about the integrity of offsets and the pace of clean tech development.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Davies suggestion Heathrow expansion is compatible with the UK’s climate commitments if wider decarbonisation proceeds as planned and low emission aviation technology materialises is self-evidently based on a massive ‘if’.

Currently the UK is not on track to deliver the decarbonisation of the wider economy as planned.

We all await the promised emission reduction plan with huge anticipation and the government insists it will meet the targets set out in the Climate Change Act, even if it has just been confirmed the crucial plan could be delayed until next February.

But expansion of Heathrow makes delivery of the UK’s currently faltering decarbonisation efforts even more challenging – large swathes of the economy will have to become virtually zero emission just to give aviation more headroom.  [Already the Climate Change Act imposes a legal target of 80% reductions by 2050. But if flights are to keep growing as the commission expects, those cuts would have to rise to 85%.  Monbiot]

The basic principle of climate action should be to try and pull risk out of the system; new runways simply load more risk in.

Moreover, even if the decarbonisation of the economy proceeds smoothly from this point on (spoiler alert: it won’t) UK aviation could still blow its carbon budget if hugely ambitious improvements in fuel efficiency and low carbon technology are not delivered as envisaged.

The government’s long term climate strategy once again rests on a hit and hope approach to new technology development that is not backed by a sufficiently robust plan for ensuring these promising innovations emerge.

The parallels with the fracking debate are marked. There is arguably an environmentally credible route forward for fracking in the UK based on more robust regulations and inspection regimes, the large scale development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, and a viable plan for delivering greener heating technologies.

Instead, the government has sought to steamroller opposition to fracking while singularly failing to deliver the safeguards and long term strategy that could potentially make it viable.

Exactly the same thing is happening with aviation expansion. An environmentally credible pathway has been sketched out, but where is the huge R&D effort and firm policy measures to address completely understandable concerns this pathway will not be followed?

Aviation industry progress on biofuels has been reasonably impressive over the past decade, but the UK’s first jet biofuel project was shelved earlier this year and research efforts on the scale that is required remain patchy at best. A co-ordinated transport and carbon pricing policy to bring an end to short haul flights remains a pipe dream.

Aviation remains the area of climate policy where the gap between the politically palatable and the politically necessary is at its widest.

Governments can make the case for clean energy based on long term cost and health benefits, they can make the case for electric cars that tackle air pollution, and insulation that makes our homes warmer.

It is a whole lot harder to make the case for huge surcharges on your summer holiday, even before you consider the difficulty of convincing emerging economies to curb their aviation growth. There simply has to be a technical solution, and yet government efforts to engineer the necessary technical progress remain sparse to the point of virtual non-existence.

This is why the failure to properly debate the climate implications of airport expansion by both the government and the media is so concerning. Any serious engagement with the topic would have concluded a new runway is an extremely risky proposition that is hard to justify.

If Ministers had then still concluded short and medium term economic concerns outweigh the climate costs, then they would have also had to acknowledge the only way to mitigate the resulting risks would be through a concerted and coherent strategy for delivering promised clean tech improvements.

It would still be a pretty reckless approach given the scale and pace of the climate crisis, but it would improve the chances of low carbon aviation one day becoming a reality while retaining the sense Number 10 regards climate action as a genuine priority.

Such a move would have been dismissed by green groups as a fig leaf, but sometimes fig leaves are important – without them you are naked.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/blog-post/2474489/if-the-government-wants-heathrow-expansion-why-hasnt-an-aviation-climate-strategy-been-cleared-for-take-off

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See also:

Little new on aviation in CCC advice after Paris Agreement – STILL waiting for Government policy on aviation CO2

The Committee on Climate Change has produced its advice to government on UK climate action following the Paris Agreement last December. It sees aviation as a “challenging” or “hard to treat” sector from which to cut emissions. The CCC advocates greenhouse gas removal options (e.g. afforestation, carbon-storing materials, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage) to help deal with these CO2 emissions. It is aware that the option for these measures is limited, though it suggests 10% use of biofuel in aircraft eventually (and reduced red meat consumption in diets as a solution …) The CCC suggests shifting demand to lower emissions alternatives (e.g. virtual conferencing in place of international air travel). The CCC say government should develop strategies for greenhouse gas removal technologies and reducing emissions from the hardest-to-treat sectors eg. aviation. The CCC continues to say UK aviation CO2 emissions should not be above 37.5MtCO2 by 2050. They have said (Nov 2015) that government should publish an effective policy framework for aviation emissions by autumn 2016. This has NOT happened. While international aviation is not yet included in UK carbon budgets, the CCC said in Nov 2015 that it would “provide further advice following the ICAO negotiations in 2016, and recommend that Government revisit inclusion at that point.” No mention of that yet.

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