Spelthorne Council has been a backer of Heathrow expansion for some time, as has its MP, Kwasi Kwateng. Now the council has set out a list of 10 demands from Heathrow, if there is a 3rd runway, n its response to its recent consultation. These include a requirement that residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell join the Wider Property Offer Zone (WPOZ) and that no immigration centre is built in the borough. They want to “secure the best possible outcomes for our residents and businesses, in particular those most affected in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell.” Some of the demands are that residents will be able to either stay in the area or sell their homes to Heathrow for 125% their market value. Also that Heathrow will pay for the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone across Stanwell and Stanwell Moor, so residents would not have to pay for a fee for their annual parking permit. The Council wants community legacy benefits so Heathrow will “fully mitigate and compensate for the disruption, loss of open space, additional traffic, air quality and noise impacts, and removal of community buildings.” They want Heathrow to build an “enhanced multi-purpose community hall” and a new leisure centre for the community. And demands on surface access, noise, air quality, Staines Moor and much else besides.
Spelthorne makes list of demands for Heathrow airport to agree to before planned expansion
Among them is a “requirement” that no immigration centre is built in the borough as part of the airport expansion
By Matthew Lodge (Get Surrey)
16th APR 2018
A list of demands has been published by Spelthorne Borough Council in response to the proposed Heathrow expansion.
Before the airport’s consultation period ended on March 28, the council published what it describes as a “list of requirements” that it will seek assurances on.
Its report includes a list of 10 requirements they believe the airport should meet if the expansion goes ahead.
The list includes many things including a requirement that residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell join the Wider Property Offer Zone and that no immigration centre is built in the borough.
Councillor Ian Harvey, leader of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: “While we support Heathrow expansion in principle, Spelthorne’s primary aim must be to secure the best possible outcomes for our residents and businesses, in particular those most affected in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell.
“Residents need reassurance that Heathrow will fully meet any pledges made to minimise the impacts of whatever scheme is taken forward, and to know that they are going to be properly compensated.”
A spokesman for Heathrow said: “We welcome the feedback from Spelthorne Council on our emerging options for the future development of the airport.
“We meet regularly with the council and will continue to work constructively with them on local issues and find ways that we can help to improve the area and minimise negative impacts from our current and future operations.”
Whether the airport will agree to everything on the list remains to be seen, but in the meantime you can see it in its entirety below:
1. Expanded Wider Property Offer Zone (WPOZ)
There have been calls from residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell to be included in the WPOZ, which the council has now backed.
If included in the WPOZ, residents would be able to either stay in the area or sell their homes to Heathrow for 125% their market value.
The report states the council believes the WPOZ should be extended to include all of Stanwell Moor and all of Stanwell lying north of Clyde Road, Explorer Avenue and Ravensbourne Avenue.
This will be welcome news to supporters of the Sell to Heathrow campaign, which already has the support of local MP Kwasi Kwarteng.
2. Parking controls
Under the expansion proposals, there would be a significant increase in the amount of traffic movement to the south and west of the airport.
The council is asking the airport to pay for the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone across Stanwell and Stanwell Moor.
This would mean residents would not have to pay for a fee for their annual parking permit.
There have been problems with taxis parking in the villages while waiting to pick up passengers from the airport, something the report says “has caused antisocial behaviour” and stopped residents being able to park in their homes.
3. Community legacy benefits
The council believes that residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell should be compensated for the impact expansion will have on their lives.
It says it expects Heathrow to “fully mitigate and compensate for the disruption, loss of open space, additional traffic, air quality and noise impacts, and removal of community buildings.”
The council wants the airport to build an “enhanced multi-purpose community hall” for Stanwell Moor and Stanwell Village, while at the same time building a new leisure centre for the community.
Among other things, the council says the airport should provide perimeter paths for buggy walks, disabled cycling, safe cycling for young children and beginners jogging.
It says that all this and more should be put in place before the expansion goes ahead as a mark of the airport’s commitment to the community.
4. No Immigration Removal Centres
It is proposed in the plans that a site near Stanwell Moor could become the new home of the relocated Immigration Removal Centre.
This has caused much concern among local residents, who are concerned about the affect it would have on the area.
The council has come out strongly against this, stating “this is a totally unacceptable use of the site” and that they “object in the strongest possible terms to its relocation here”.
It has also asked about whether the “host” council of the centre would face obligations rehousing those who have left the centre.
5. Surface access/public transport
The council, much like the Commons Transport Select Committee, has expressed concerns about whether the current surface access proposals are suitable for the increased traffic flow to the airport.
In the report it asks for Heathrow to commit to funding public transport from Stanwell Moor and Stanwell to the airport, and support the borough in its quest to join Zone 6 of the London Transport Oyster Card operating zone.
It also asks that the airport backs a proposal that would see a light railway built that could take people to the airport from Staines town centre.
6. Air Quality
The effect the expansion would have on air quality in the communities surrounding the airport has caused a lot of concern to many people.
The council says that even if air quality falls within legal limits, assessments will still need to consider the health effects on the local population.
The airport is asked to commit to “continuous improvement in local air quality and at the very worst air quality should be no worse for our residents than it is now”.
The council acknowledges the large impact noise from the airport has on residents who live near the airport.
The report states it is expected that noise levels are kept below 51 decibels by the implementation of an “ongoing and challenging programme of continuous improvement to reduce the noise footprint of Heathrow”.
The council also says it would “strongly resist” any intention to increase runway capacity after the third runway is completed if it can’t be proven “such a proposal would cause ‘no worsening of the noise environment’ or ‘no reduction in the respite period'”.
It says there must be a continuous noise monitoring system in place to make sure noise problems do not develop over time as technology changes and if it does, it is identified as the earliest opportunity.
8. Night flights banned
Spelthorne Borough Council says there should be strict penalties for any breaches of this ban and that any money recouped from this must be put back into the communities affected.
It is also concerned by the timings of the night ban suggested by Heathrow, saying it is “clearly commercially driven”.
The council wants to see planes gain as much altitude as quickly as possible, and the removal of the “stacking” arrangements that prevents this from happening at the moment.
9. Borough Boundary
The council would like it to be made absolutely clear that Heathrow will not push for boundary change in the local authority.
A boundary change could mean the airport falls out of the jurisdiction of Spelthorne Borough Council and into another.
Any other local authority would “have no interest in protecting and supporting our communities”, the council says.
The borough council also wants to receive a “significantly increased proportion of the business rates generated by the wider expanded airport” as restitution for the impacts it will bring.
10. Staines Moor
Among the proposals for the expansion, there are plans that could involve disturbing Staines Moor, which is a designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The council, concerned about the effect expansion could have on this area which has “huge floral and invertebrate diversity”.
It believes it is “essential” that if the River Colne, which flows through the area, has to be diverted, it must be done in a way that keeps the flow and character of the river “unaltered” on the moor.
and there are more links to other local stories relating to Heathrow at the link above ….
Spelthorne Council Leader admits Heathrow expansion ‘not an easy issue’ while continuing support for 3rd runway, not in his constituency
Support for the expansion of Heathrow has been reaffirmed by Spelthorne Borough Council. The decision to maintain its stance, held since 2008, when the authority withdrew from the 2M group of councils including Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon who opposed Heathrow expansion, was made at an extraordinary council meeting on January 16th. The meeting was called following the publication of the Airports Commission interim report on 17th December, short-listing 2 runway options at Heathrow. for an extended northern runway and the airport’s own plan of demolishing medieval villages to the north to build a third runway. Heathrow’s own proposal is for a runway to the north-west, which does not affect Spelthorne (to the south) very much. It would mean demolition of Harmodsworth, or making it near impossible to live in. Spelthorne Council leader Robert Watts said: “Expanding airports is challenging. …. This is not an easy issue.” Spelthorne has always supported Heathrow expansion. In 2012 their own MP even advocated demolishing part of his borough, to build a runway – till he realised it was not a local vote-winner.
Read more »
International shipping and international aviation are the two sectors omitted from the Paris Agreement. But now the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed on an initial strategy to decarbonise international shipping and reduce CO2 emissions from ships by at least 50% by 2050. The agreement keeps a window open for the sector to help meet the Paris climate goals. Though a welcome first step, the IMO must now build on the agreed minimum target of 50% reductions in subsequent reviews to comply with its fair share of emissions under the Paris Agreement. Aviation still only intends to offset the carbon emissions from its anticipated fast future growth, rather than actually reduce them. Kelsey Perlman, speaking for the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) said: “Today’s outcome puts international shipping ahead of aviation … [it] should light a fire under ICAO, which has been dragging its feet for over a decade on a vision for long-term decarbonization, arriving only at the mid-term emissions target of carbon neutral growth from 2020 levels. The agreement on shipping emissions today should make people question whether aviation’s emissions should be allowed to grow with no concrete plan to decarbonize.”
IMO: Shipping sector gets on board to tackle climate change but faster near-term action needed to meet Paris climate goals
This plan serves as a welcome first step to phase out emissions from the sector, but the IMO must now build on the agreed minimum target of 50% reductions in subsequent reviews of the strategy to comply with its fair share of emissions under the Paris Agreement. It must commit to the rapid and strong implementation of near-term measures, which will be discussed later this year, to stay on track with the Paris climate goals to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Shipping accounts for 2% of global emissions and it is time the IMO got on board with the rest of the world to seriously tackle climate change.
Members and partners of the Climate Action Network reacted to the outcome:
Some of the many quotations from the article:
Kelsey Perlman on behalf of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) said: “Today’s outcome puts international shipping ahead of aviation, short of the type of ambition required by the Paris Agreement, but with a clear, long-term commitment to decarbonize in-sector and peak emissions as soon as possible. This decision should light a fire under ICAO, which has been dragging its feet for over a decade on a vision for long-term decarbonization, arriving only at the mid-term emissions target of carbon neutral growth from 2020 levels. The agreement on shipping emissions today should make people question whether aviation’s emissions should be allowed to grow with no concrete plan to decarbonize.”
Bill Hemmings, shipping director, Transport & Environment, said: “The IMO should and could have gone a lot further but for the dogmatic opposition of some countries led by Brazil, Panama, Saudi Arabia. Scant attention was paid to US opposition. So this decision puts shipping on a promising track. It has now officially bought into the concept of decarbonisation and the need to deliver in-sector emission reductions, which is central to fulfilling the Paris agreement.”
Manfred Treber, senior adviser climate/transport, Germanwatch said: “The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 had stated that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) should pursue the limitation or reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol from international aviation, the IMO should do this for emissions from marine bunker fuels.
It took 19 years until ICAO agreed on CORSIA as a first global instrument to begin to fulfil this task. Now after 21 years – meanwhile the Paris Agreement had been adopted and has entered into force – we welcome that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is joining the world to combat climate change. We all know that their step is by far not sufficient to bring us close to the goals of the Paris Agreement with net zero emissions in the second part of this century.”
Aoife O’Leary, legal analyst, Environmental Defense Fund Europe said: “The shipping sector’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target represents an important step forward. The IMO has been talking about climate change for twenty years but the strategy agreed this week marks the beginning of a focused debate about the policies and measures that will help it to modernise and regain the status of a clean and efficient mode of transport. The target falls short on ambition but should be sufficient to drive policy development and consequently investment in clean fuels and technology. EDF remains committed to working with stakeholders including those in the industry to find the ways that will work in order to peak shipping emissions as soon as possible.”
For all the comments, see
Global shipping in ‘historic’ climate deal
By David Shukman (BBC) Science editor
13 April 2018
The global shipping industry has for the first time agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases.
The move comes after talks all week at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.
Shippings has previously been excluded from climate agreements, but under the deal, emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.
One minister from a Pacific island state described the agreement as “history in the making”.
Shipping generates roughly the same quantity of greenhouse gas as Germany and, if it were accounted for as a nation, would rank as the world’s sixth biggest emitter.
Like aviation, it had been excluded from climate negotiations because it is an international activity while both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement involved national pledges to reduce greenhouse gases.
The United States, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and a few other countries had not wanted to see a target for cutting shipping emissions at all.
By contrast the European Union, including Britain, and small island states had pushed for a cut of 70-100%.
So the deal for a 50% reduction is a compromise which some argue is unrealistic while others say does not far enough.
Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, who had chaired the controversial talks, said: “This initial strategy is not a final statement but a key starting point.”
Although it has the world’s second largest register of shipping, it had warned that failure to achieve deep cuts would threaten the country’s survival as global warming raises sea levels.
As the talks concluded, the nation’s environment minister David Paul said: “To get to this point has been hard, very hard. And it has involved compromises by all countries. Not least by vulnerable island nations like my own who wanted something, far, far more ambitious than this one.”
Mr Paul added: “This is history in the making… if a country like the Marshall Islands, a country that is very vulnerable to climate change, and particularly depends on international shipping, can endorse this deal, there is no credible excuse for anybody else to hold back.”
Laurent Parente, the ambassador of Vanuatu, also a Pacific island nation, was not satisfied but hoped the deal would lead to tougher action in future.
“It is the best we could do and is therefore what this delegation will support as the initial strategy that we have no doubt will evolve to higher ambitions in the near future.”
By contrast, the head of the US delegation to the talks, Jeffrey Lantz, made clear his country’s opposition to the deal.
“We do not support the establishment of an absolute reduction target at this time,” he said.
“In addition, we note that achieving significant emissions reductions, in the international shipping sector, would depend on technological innovation and further improvements in energy efficiency.”
Mr Lantz reiterated that the US, under President Trump, has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
He also criticised the way the IMO had handled the talks, describing it as “unacceptable and not befitting this esteemed organisation.”
But a clear majority of the conference was in favour of action.
The UK’s shipping minister, Nusrat Ghani, described the agreement as ” a watershed moment with the industry showing it is willing to play its part in protecting the planet”.
The move will send a signal through the industry that rapid innovation is now needed.
Ships may have to operate more slowly to burn less fuel. New designs for vessels will be more streamlined and engines will have to be cleaner, maybe powered by hydrogen or batteries, or even by the wind.
Read more »
The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) has commented on the Government’s Aviation Strategy, produced on 7th. They say that while the UK aspires “to be a world leader in aviation when it comes to facilities and services, the same cannot be said for environmental protection, at least when it comes to climate change. A world-class package of environmental protection doesn’t currently seem to be on the agenda.” They say “The Aviation Strategy objectives should include an environmental objective that is not wrapped up in a commitment to growth, and the implications of this objective should be considered from the start.” AEF reiterate that aviation’s “unlimited growth is incompatible with achieving environmental commitments” and the DfT is not even questioning whether aviation growth was a positive outcome to aim for. Instead of the 3 separate consultations on aspects of UK aviation policy over the next 18 months, (with environment at the end) there will be a single Green Paper this autumn. The AEF hopes this allows for environmental impacts to be considered throughout the period of policy development and not as an afterthought (as it originally appeared). The DfT policy is focused on airline passengers and improving the service to them, but it should instead be in the interest of the whole population, including those affected by airports and aircraft.
Government publishes its ‘next steps’ towards an aviation strategy
13.4.2018 (Aviation Environment Federation)
On Saturday 7thApril the Government published the outcome of its call for evidence on the Aviation Strategy ‘Beyond the Horizon’. It’s not a particularly inspiring read in terms of environmental ambition. While the Government aspires for the UK to be a world leader in aviation when it comes to facilities and services, the same cannot be said for environmental protection, at least when it comes to climate change. A world-class package of environmental protection doesn’t currently seem to be on the agenda.
But the document does at least put many of the right issues on the table (including some, such as aviation’s non-CO2 impacts, that have long been neglected) and we plan to engage actively with the Government and others on the environmental aspects of the strategy between now and publication of the Green Paper. We’ve taken a look back at five points we argued in our response to the call for evidence, looked for evidence in the outcome document of any changes in the Government’s position on these, and set out what we’ll be calling for as the policy develops.
We said: The Aviation Strategy objectives should include an environmental objective that is not wrapped up in a commitment to growth, and the implications of this objective should be considered from the start
In our response to the call for evidence, we highlighted evidence that unlimited growth is incompatible with achieving environmental commitments, and that these objectives could not properly be dealt with together.
The outcome document notes that “Environment and community groups felt that the document gave insufficient prominence to carbon emissions and downplayed other environmental impacts as secondary to supporting growth, without questioning whether growth was a positive outcome to aim for.”
Nevertheless the Government plans to stick with its original wording for the objective to “support growth while tackling environmental impacts” with the justification that “the interdependencies of these issues has confirmed the Government’s view that they should all be addressed together as part of a single objective in the aviation strategy”.
Meanwhile, the plan to run three separate consultations over the next 18 months, with environment at the end, has been replaced by a proposal for a single Green Paper this autumn. We hope that this allows for environmental impacts to be considered throughout the period of policy development and not as an afterthought (as it originally appeared).
What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper
We’ll continue to present evidence for the need to keep environmental impacts within acceptable limits, whether or not they align with industry and government aspirations for growth.
We said: The commitment to put consumer interests at the centre of the strategy could prevent effective policy-making
The aviation strategy will be strongly consumer-focused and market-driven, the call for evidence had specified. We argued that government policy on aviation, including on its environmental impacts, should be in the interest of the whole population, not just consumers, including the half who don’t take a single flight in any given year.
The ‘market-driven’ language is less evident in the outcome document, but the consumer focus remains clear. In particular, the document makes clear that action on environment, and investment in new technologies, will be considered only if that’s not too costly for consumers and the industry. UK action on climate change could, for example, put our airlines at a competitive disadvantage and increase fares for passengers, the document argues, while the possibility of noise reduction will be considered “in the context of airport growth”. The possibility that environmental objectives should be met even if they conflict with direct passenger interests is not addressed.
What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper
AEF will continue to make the case that the Government won’t be able to meet its own aim of a sustainable aviation sector if its key test for all policy decisions is focused narrowly on serving direct consumer interests, and that Government policy should focus on the wider public interest.
We said: Heathrow expansion should not be decided till the strategy is in place
It makes no sense, we argued, for expansion of the UK’s biggest, noisiest airport (in terms of the number of people affected), and its biggest single source of CO2 emissions from any sector, to take place in the absence of national policy on environmental impacts. The outcome document has not acknowledged any concern about this issue.
Meanwhile some airports, such as Luton, have set out expansion plans that are large enough in scale to fall under the NPS process (the one being used for Heathrow expansion). It’s unclear at present how the Government plans to treat such applications – whether it would amend the current Airports NPS (which deals only with Heathrow) or draft new legislation.
What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper
Heathrow expansion is not yet a done deal and we’ll continue to argue that MPs should vote against the National Policy Statement in the absence of convincing evidence that it can and will be compatible with meaningful environmental limits. These limits should be set out or reflected in the Aviation Strategy, to ensure a common baseline for all UK airports, and to allow the impact of UK aviation as a whole to be considered.
We said: The proposal to take action to support airports where there is urgent need for growth, in advance of the strategy being finalised, is either meaningless, or a cause for concern
The call for evidence had an odd section on ‘Making Best Use of Existing Capacity’ that noted likely demand among airports to increase passenger throughput and argued that “Due to the recent rise in growth, the Government believes that this issue cannot wait until the publication of a new Aviation Strategy.”
We said that it was unclear what the proposal was, since applications would still need to go through the planning process and the Government doesn’t typically stand in the way. We would nevertheless strongly oppose, we said, a policy whereby these authorities were encouraged to approve any applications for growth in the absence of strategic guidance from Government on how to assess environmental impacts.
The outcomes document doesn’t shed any light, that we can see, on this issue. Some airports have been hoping that the strategy will include specific policy support for expansion at particular airports or in particular regions. There’s no evidence so far that the Government plans to get involved in this level of detail.
What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper
Airport development decisions taken at the local level should be guided by a strong policy framework on environmental impacts, which provides a common baseline, and takes into account cumulative impacts, where relevant, from more than one airport.
We said: The proposed ‘policy tests’, including that policy should be evidence-led, should be rigorously implemented
The Call for Evidence proposed that the Government’s approach to developing the strategy would be guided by a set of policy tests:
- What is the rationale for action?
- What is Government’s role?
- What does the evidence say?
- Have all of the options been considered?
- What is the effectiveness of any proposed action?
We said that we fully supported the application of these tests. There is no mention of them, however, in the outcome document.
What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper
We’ll be making the case for effective, evidence-led government action on aviation’s environmental impacts, focusing on areas where the market won’t deliver what’s needed unless the Government gives the right policy steer.
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Investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners is considering the sale of its 42% stake in Gatwick Airport, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It is believed that GIP plans to initially seek buyers for its stake among existing shareholders before reaching out to other potential buyers, but this is still speculation. It is not clear if any banks have been hired for the transaction, and GIP may change its mind. Representatives for GIP and Gatwick declined to comment. While GIP is the largest shareholder in the airport, its other owners include funds from Abu Dhabi, California and South Korea. GIP, which manages about $40 billion in assets, bought Gatwick with the consortium of investors in 2009 for about $2.5 billion. Gatwick handled 45.6 million passengers in 2017 and continues to lobby the UK government for permission to build a 2nd runway, to take trade away from Heathrow. GIP, founded in May 2006, manages assets ranging from ports and pipelines to multiple airports and a vast wind farm in the North Sea. Over 10 years, GIP has expanded its roster of backers to include some of the world’s biggest sovereign funds and various US pension funds.
GIP Considers Sale of Stake in Gatwick Airport
April 10, 2018, (Bloomberg)
Investment fund is seeking to offload its 42 percent stake
GIP bought London airport in 2009 with group of investors
Investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners is considering the sale of its 42 percent stake in London’s Gatwick Airport, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The fund plans to initially seek buyers for its stake among existing shareholders before reaching out to other potential suitors, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is confidential. Financial advisers have contacted New York-based GIP about a possible sale, though it isn’t clear if any banks have been hired, they said. No final decisions have been made and the fund may decide not to proceed with a transaction, the people said.
Representatives for GIP and Gatwick declined to comment. While GIP is the largest shareholder in the airport, its other owners include funds from Abu Dhabi, California and South Korea, according to its annual report.
GIP, which manages about $40 billion in assets, bought London’s second-busiest airport with the consortium of investors in 2009 for about $2.5 billion. Gatwick has been under pressure due to intensifying competition from at least two other airports in the city after Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, and Stansted, the biggest hub for Ryanair Holdings Plc, this year said they could add almost 30 million more passengers between them yearly without requiring extra runways.
Gatwick has a single landing strip and was able to handle 45.6 million passengers in 2017. Heathrow, which has been effectively full for a decade, is in the middle of a consultation period to add a third runway after getting the green light from Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration in 2016. Gatwick meanwhile is continuing to lobby the U.K. government for permission to also add another runway, with Chief Executive Officer Stewart Wingate saying in October that the airport would privately finance its own growth.
GIP, founded in May 2006, manages assets ranging from ports and pipelines to multiple airports and a vast wind farm in the North Sea. Over 10 years, GIP has expanded its roster of backers to include some of the world’s biggest sovereign funds and a slate of U.S. pensions.
— With assistance by Benjamin D Katz
Speculation grows that GIP and the consortium of Gatwick owners will sell the airport soon
Gatwick’s private equity owners have had a £175 million dividend as speculation mounts over a sale of the airport. The dividend, paid in October 2017, was up from £125m a year earlier and followed 6 months of rising passenger numbers and profits. Gatwick is owned by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and a consortium of investors, who bought it for £1.5 billion in 2009 from the former airports monopoly BAA. They have improved the airport, attracting more airlines, and now have 44 million annual air passengers. That has increased the value of the airport to an estimated £6 – £8 billion. GIP also owned London City airport, which they sold almost 2 years ago for over £2 billion, making a huge profit. City experts believe GIP is now looking to sell one or both of its 2 remaining UK airports, Gatwick and Edinburgh – or at least reduce its stake. A sale of Gatwick would be a vast profit. There is speculation that GIP would have sold Edinburgh earlier, but held back due to the German election and complications of Brexit. Gatwick is still keen to build a 2nd runway, but the government prefers a 3rd Heathrow runway. Consultations on that will continue in 2018, and Gatwick continues to press for its runway – as that would raise the selling price.
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For a masterful summary (2 pages with all references) of the reasons why the UK government should not be persuaded into allowing a 3rd Heathrow runway, see this briefing by Sally Cairns and Carey Newson, from Transport for Quality of Life. They sum up all the ways in which the business case for the runway is flawed and the environmental case rests on hugely optimistic assumptions. They list these as: “planes will get cleaner and quieter at a faster rate than has previously been expected; cars and vans will also get dramatically cleaner; freight movements will somehow be optimised; the latest National Air Quality Plan will deliver all anticipated air quality improvements; the fledgling international aviation carbon offsetting scheme will generate a high enough carbon price; the national Aviation Strategy (not yet written) will come up with cost-effective mechanisms for constraining aviation emissions further; the new Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise will prove effective; a review of airspace (that has not taken place for over 40 years, as it is so controversial) will take place soon; HS2, Crossrail and the Piccadilly line upgrades will attract air passengers and airport staff in sufficiently large numbers; funding will be found for Western and Southern rail access; etc. It seems very unlikely that all of these will fall into place.”
Radical Transport Policy Two-Pager #2
Reality Check: Why politicians should reject the third runway
by Sally Cairns and Carey Newson (Transport for Quality of Life.com)
The business case for a third runway is flawed and the environmental case rests on hugely optimistic assumptions.
Given how long the debate about Heathrow expansion has worn on, it may be tempting for politicians to think “let’s just get on with it”. There is a danger that the sheer weight of paper generated, the time spent debating the issue, and the dogged persistence of the airport’s operator, which has spent £30m promoting its cause1 , now tips the scales towards development, whatever the social and environmental cost. But a third runway represents a very serious threat to the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of people living around the airport2 and could also compromise the UK’s ability to deliver on its climate change commitments3 . The decision should be the right one, not just the easiest.
Proponents of expansion argue that there is an urgent economic need for the runway; that mitigating measures will protect the health of those affected; and that we will still be able to meet our climate targets. Up close, however, these claims rest on a web of tenuous assumptions and highly optimistic predictions. And, although the House of Commons transport committee has just come out in favour of expansion 4 , the endless caveats to its judgment only highlight the huge uncertainties surrounding the scheme.
Take, first, the claim that we urgently need new capacity for business travellers. In practice, over the last ten years, the number of flights made for business at the UK’s five largest airports, including Heathrow, has not increased5 . Latest DfT forecasts also suggest that a new runway will make little difference to the number of flights taken for business across the UK in the future 6 .
Instead, the argument made is that business travellers will enjoy more services to key destinations, fewer delays, and (even) cheaper fares 7 . However, this is all subject to future business decisions made by the airport’s operator. The level of fares, for instance, depends on whether Heathrow avoids passing on costs of the new runway to its users – something the airlines are deeply sceptical about 8 , and one of many areas where the transport committee is now calling for safeguards. Meanwhile, although Heathrow’s hub status may enable it to offer services to more obscure places, there is no guarantee that flights will therefore go to emerging business destinations, rather than more lucrative holiday hotspots.
We might expect the Government’s economic assessment to tell us about the effects on UK-wide prosperity. However, the majority of calculated economic benefits for expansion come from adding together estimates of small reductions in journey times or fares for individual passengers. Making flying quicker and cheaper is not beneficial for ferry or rail operators, or thousands of UK businesses that depend on domestic tourism. In 2016, UK residents flying abroad for leisure spent £33.5bn, whilst overseas visitors flying here for leisure spent only £14.5bn – a deficit of £19bn 9 . This loss to the UK’s tourism economy is not even factored into the cost-benefit analysis of the third runway.
And latest Government forecasts also suggest that regional airports will lose out from expansion, since, with the third runway, they will have 17 million fewer passengers by 2050 than they would without it10 .
The validity of the case for expansion is further undermined by the sheer volatility of the figures presented. The maximum estimated benefits (over 60 years) have been repeatedly revised, from £211bn in 2014 11, down to £74bn in 2017 12. When the costs of the project are then added in, latest official figures show that, in some scenarios, the overall ‘net present value’ for the expansion is actually negative 13 .
Worse still, the environmental case for the runway relies on a series of hugely optimistic forecasts. In evidence to the transport committee, advocates of the runway argued that there will be no additional road traffic, that air quality will stay within legal limits, that noise impacts can be effectively managed, and that Climate Change Act requirements will not be breached.
However, this rests on the following assumptions:
- planes will get cleaner and quieter at a faster rate than has previously been expected 14,15;
- cars and vans will also get dramatically cleaner 16;
- freight movements will somehow be optimised 17;
- the latest National Air Quality Plan will deliver all anticipated air quality improvements 18;
- the fledgling international aviation carbon offsetting scheme will generate a high enough carbon price 19;
- the national Aviation Strategy (not yet written) will come up with cost-effective mechanisms for constraining aviation emissions further 20;
- the new Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise will prove effective; a review of airspace (that has not taken place for over 40 years, because it is so controversial) will take place soon 21;
- HS2, Crossrail and the Piccadilly line upgrades will attract air passengers and airport staff in sufficiently large numbers;
- funding will be found for Western and Southern rail access 22; etc
It seems very unlikely that all of these will fall into place.
Doubts about the timing and effectiveness of such measures are also expressed by the Commons Transport Committee, which is calling for more safeguards to be written into the Airports National Policy Statement, including conditions withholding the use of new capacity if targets are not met. However, for Heathrow to open in 2026, the scale of what would have to be delivered in the next eight years is immense. It is unclear how, at this stage, any re-written paperwork can provide the certainty needed. Nor does it seem credible to believe that, after billions have been spent on building the runway, politicians will tell Heathrow they can’t use it.
Surely, instead, before taking any decision, it makes sense to wait and see whether, as promised, in the next few years, air quality improves, planes get quieter, airspace becomes better organised, carbon emissions can be managed, and an increasing share of air passengers and staff start using public transport. If these things don’t happen – or, indeed, if the airport operator then decides that it is no longer financially viable to build the runway – politicians will have made the right choice, safeguarding both the health of local communities and the UK’s climate commitments. Giving a green light to expansion now is an enormous gamble with the future.
Sally Cairns and Carey Newson are independent researchers and Associates of specialist transport consultancy, Transport for Quality of Life. Input to this article was also provided by Cait Hewitt and Tim Johnson of the Aviation Environment Federation. A version of this Two-Pager was first published as an article in Local Transport Today: “Approving a third runway at Heathrow is the easy option. But it would also be wrong.” LTT Issue 744, 3rd April 2018.
1 John Holland-Kaye, CEO Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd: [In response to a direct question about the amount of money spent ‘solely on promoting the third runway’] “Solely on promoting it, the number I have in mind is £30 million.” Emma Gilthorpe, Executive Director Expansion, Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd: “More than that has gone into community engagement, which I would not consider to be promotional. I would consider that just being a good responsible business.” Q360, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 5/2/18.
2 Val Shawcross CBE, Deputy Mayor of London: “..something like three quarters of a million people are already affected, so the potential expansion could push one million people to experience significant noise nuisance.” Q264, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18.
3 The aviation forecasts currently suggest that Heathrow expansion will lead to total UK aviation emissions from departing aircraft of 39.9MtCO2 p.a. by 2050, which exceeds the total needed to meet the Climate Change Act requirements (DfT 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts, Table 39, p110). A review of theoretical additional carbon abatement measures was published in conjunction with the revised NPS, however, critics have highlighted the potentially high costs and practical challenges to implementing them. https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2017/12/AEF-comments-on-NPS-reconsultation.pdf
4 House of Commons Transport Committee (2018) Airports National Policy Statement. HC548. Third report of session 2017-19 5 Airports Commission (2015) Final Report shows the trend in the number of international terminal passengers travelling for business at the UK’s
5 largest airports between 2000 and 2013, Figure 3.1, page 70. According to Civil Aviation Statistics, the total number of terminal passengers travelling for business at the UK’s five largest airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and Manchester) was 40.5 million in 2006, 34.9 million in 2011 and 34.8 million in 2016.
6 DfT (2017) UK Aviation Forecasts. Table 31, page 100. In the unconstrained capacity scenario, the forecast is for 93 million business passengers p.a. (including UK business, foreign business and domestic business) in 2050. In the constrained scenario, the forecast is for 91 million. The forecast difference in total passenger numbers is 494 mppa compared with 410 mppa. Allowing a third runway at Heathrow (which is expected to reduce constraints, but not reach the ‘unconstrained’ scenario) is expected to result in total passenger numbers of 435 mppa (Table 34). The Transport Committee’s report (page 17) states that “the passenger growth facilitated by a NWR scheme is accounted for almost entirely by leisure passengers (i.e. those travelling for holiday purposes or those visiting friends and relatives sometimes referred to as VFR) and international transfer passengers”.
7 Caroline Low, Director of Airport Expansion and Aviation and Maritime Analysis: “The number of people travelling is not dissimilar, because in any scenario, business travellers will pay to travel…” “…the benefits we monetise are reduced delays, increased frequency and reduced fares…” Q464 and 465, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 7/2/18
8 Craig Keeger, CEO Virgin Atlantic: “…we find ourselves today – being quite concerned that we or our customers, or some combination thereof, would effectively be left holding the bag for any overspending in what is now, at this point, a very unpredictable outcome.” Q578 Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group: “It is a huge cost, and the risk at this stage is completely unknown, because we do not know what we are talking about…We are being asked to sign a blank cheque.” Q585, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 20/2/18
9 Office for National Statistics (2017) Travel trends: 2016. Figures taken from the underlying data tables (2.09 and 3.09), in order to exclude international travel done for business, or by sea or channel tunnel. Leisure includes holidays, visiting friends or relatives, and ‘miscellaneous’. In 2012, the equivalent figures were £23.2 billion versus £11.5 billion, a difference of £12 billion. It is also notable that, in 2016, 78% of leisure spending by UK residents flying overseas was on holidays, whereas this was only the case for 48% of leisure spending by overseas visitors. Inbound foreign holiday makers (travelling by air) only spent £7 billion in the UK in 2016. This is a significant difference to the figure of ‘over £22 billion’ for ‘inbound tourism’ given on page 14 of the revised NPS. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/leisureandtourism/articles/traveltrends/2016
10 Department for Transport (2017) Updated appraisal report: airport capacity in the South East. Table 3.7, p21.
11 Airports Commission (2014) Consultation document: Gatwick Airport Second Runway, Heathrow Airport Extended Northern Runway, Heathrow Airport North West Runway, p75, para 3.128
12 Department for Transport (2017) Revised Draft Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England. p23, para 3.26
13 Department for Transport (2017) Updated appraisal report: airport capacity in the South East. Tables 9.2 and 9.3, p44 and 46.
14 The aviation forecasts assume that there will be a 46-48% improvement in fuel efficiency between 2016 and 2050 (DfT 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts. Table 8, page 55). In 2013, the expectation, in line with mid-point technology assumptions used by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation, was for a 32% improvement, according to the Aviation Environment Federation. https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2017/12/AEF-comments-on-NPS-reconsultation.pdf
15 Stephen Clark, No Third Runway Coalition: “… a heroic gamble is being taken on a quieter fleet. Some of these changes are not happening… The new generation A380s are not being ordered at the moment. There are other new types of quieter planes where production has been scaled right back. This is a huge gamble, and it has not been properly investigated.” Q304, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18
16 BEIS (2017) The Clean Growth Strategy refers to intentions for almost every car and van to be zero emissions by 2050 and to end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040 (p85). Meanwhile, the Defra/DfT (2017) Draft UK air quality plan for tackling nitrogen dioxide: technical report includes graphs in Annex H, which indicate the scale of reduction in nitrogen dioxide expected over time, most of which is anticipated to come from reductions in NOx from vehicles.
17 Alex William, Director of City Planning, Transport for London: “..the NPS sets out no objectives to reduce, manage or consolidate that [freight] to reduce the impacts on the wider network. HAL would like an arrangement where there is no increase in the overall volume of trips. We see no strategy from HAL as to how that will be achieved. It is the right objective in our view, but there is no detailed evidence base to say how it will be achieved.” Q244, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18
18 The updated air quality analysis highlights that there is a ‘high’ risk that the Heathrow scheme could delay or worsen compliance with limit values, and that “the mitigation of risks relies on the effective implementation of the Government’s 2017 Plan measures and RDE legislation to reduce emissions from road transport.” DfT/WSP (2017) 2017 Plan Update to Air Quality Re-Analysis, p4
19 The aviation forecasts assume that a theoretical global carbon trading scheme is operational, with BEIS estimating the associated cost of carbon to be £77/tonne in 2030 (DfT 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts, para 5.16, p78). This cost feeds through to fares, and thereby causes some suppression of demand, resulting in lower carbon emissions than would otherwise occur. However, in reality, aviation will not participate in a global trading scheme, as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has agreed to introduce an offsetting scheme, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). ICAO analysis suggests the carbon costs of CORSIA will be only £11/tonne in 2030, and will therefore fail to have the same effect on demand and CO2 reduction. https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2017/12/AEF-comments-on-NPS-reconsultation.pdf
20 See footnote 3
21 Lilian Greenwood, Transport Select Committee Chair: “…ultimately, you are having to make choices about who is affected – who is going to be overflown. These are hugely contentious and have proved very difficult issues in the past, have they not?” Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport: “They are very difficult issues…” Q535, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 7/2/18
22 Alex Williams, Director of City Planning, Transport for London: “We hear warm words in the NPS [about western and southern rail access], but we do not hear firm statements about commitment… We see them as essential to getting anywhere near the mode shift targets.” Brendon Walsh, Chairman of the Officer Group, Heathrow Strategic Planning Group: ”The Heathrow Strategic Planning Group represents 12 local authorities and the local LEPs in the area. We too agree that it is essential rather than desirable to see southern and western rail access.” Q238 House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18
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The Government’s Aviation Strategy will now not be presented to Parliament until summer 2019 despite the initial consultation in July 2017 promising the full strategy to be presented to Parliament “before the end of 2018”. The reason for the delay is unclear but campaigners say the strategy could in fact be put in jeopardy because of its reliance on Heathrow expansion – a project which has major parliamentary and legal hurdles to overcome. Rob Barnstone, Coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “This strategy is written on the basis that Heathrow expansion is a done deal. It is in fact very uncertain with parliamentary and legal hurdles which it will struggle to overcome. The Government seems hell-bent on expanding Heathrow, despite evidence that alternative options for growth in the sector would bring a greater benefit to regions across the UK and not just in the south east, as usual.” It has always been profoundly unsatisfactory, and illogical, for a key part of the UK aviation sector – Heathrow airport – being decided upon BEFORE the UK aviation policy for the whole sector. Rationally, it would be the other way round – aviation policy first, and then decide on whether Heathrow should expand.
Government pushes aviation strategy back six months
7.4.2018 (No 3rd Runway Coalition press release)
The Government’s Aviation Strategy will now not be presented to Parliament until summer 2019 (1) despite the initial consultation promising the full strategy to be presented to Parliament “before the end of 2018” (2).
The reason for the delay is unclear but campaigners say the strategy could in fact be put in jeopardy because of its reliance on Heathrow expansion – a project which has major parliamentary and legal hurdles to overcome.
Rob Barnstone, Coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:
“This strategy is written on the basis that Heathrow expansion is a done deal. It is in fact very uncertain with parliamentary and legal hurdles which it will struggle to overcome.
“The Government seems hell-bent on expanding Heathrow, despite evidence that alternative options for growth in the sector would bring a greater benefit to regions across the UK and not just in the south east, as usual.”
For more info: Rob Barnstone, 07806 947050
In July 2017 the DfT said: (page 6 of document)
These consultations will take place during 2017 and 2018. A final Aviation Strategy will then be published by the end of 2018.
The April 2018 DfT document says: (page 84 of document)
This Next Steps document will start a period of intense engagement and policy development that will inform the contents of the green paper. This will ensure that the government is able publish a comprehensive and fully informed aviation strategy in early 2019.
and instead of consultation, it is now to be a period of “widespread engagement, to include a series of roundtables & workshops.” Page 85.
DfT publishes Aviation Strategy, with focus on growth and helping passengers – little on environmental impacts
The government has published its Aviation Strategy, which the DfT says “will set out the longterm direction for aviation policy to 2050 and beyond.” The first phase of its development was the publication of a call for evidence in July 2017. The Aviation Strategy says it will now “pursue 6 objectives, which are unchanged following the consultation.” It is very much focused on the passenger, the passenger experience, helping the aviation industry, expanding aviation and “building a global and connected Britain.” The Strategy “sets out further detail on the challenges associated with these objectives and some of the action that the government is considering and which will form part of further consultation later in the year.” The DfT says: “The government will continue the dialogue that has already begun on these issues. The next step will be the publication of detailed policy proposals in a green paper in the autumn of 2018. This will be followed by the final Aviation Strategy document in early 2019.” There is mention of the environmental problems (carbon, noise, air pollution) but they are given scant attention, and it is presumed they can all be reduced – even while the sector has huge growth. A new runway at Heathrow is assumed to happen.
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The government has published its Aviation Strategy, which the DfT says “will set out the longterm direction for aviation policy to 2050 and beyond.” The first phase of its development was the publication of a call for evidence in July 2017. The Aviation Strategy says it will now “pursue 6 objectives, which are unchanged following the consultation.” It is very much focused on the passenger, the passenger experience, helping the aviation industry, expanding aviation and “building a global and connected Britain.” The Strategy “sets out further detail on the challenges associated with these objectives and some of the action that the government is considering and which will form part of further consultation later in the year.” The DfT says: “The government will continue the dialogue that has already begun on these issues. The next step will be the publication of detailed policy proposals in a green paper in the autumn of 2018. This will be followed by the final Aviation Strategy document in early 2019.” There is mention of the environmental problems (carbon, noise, air pollution) but they are given scant attention, and it is presumed they can all be reduced – even while the sector has huge growth. A 3rd runway at Heathrow is assumed to happen.
DfT says: “Government puts consumers at heart of the aviation industry”
- greater focus on passengers, to improve their experience throughout their journey
- creating an ever cleaner, greener sector which prioritises sustainable growth
- building a global and connected Britain with more trade opportunities
The government will today (7 April 2018) set out its plans to make the country’s aviation sector world-leading in prioritising passengers, fostering sustainable growth and promoting trade.
The aviation strategy next steps document outlines proposals which will build on the aviation industry’s work to improve the flying experience for passengers at every stage of their journey. Read it here
This will include new measures to help passengers make a more informed choice about their flight including providing more transparency on additional costs.
The document also outlines how the government will work with industry to ensure all passengers have a dignified and comfortable travelling experience, including ways to improve accessibility at airports and on aircraft and tackling the issue of disruptive passengers.
Work will be carried out to improve the compensation scheme for consumers, ensuring passengers are properly informed about their rights to claim when things go wrong and exploring greater powers to enforce regulations.
Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister, said:
Our world class aviation industry has a proud and accomplished history, from pioneering the first international routes to championing consumer choice.
Working with industry, we want to improve the flying experience from booking to arrival, ensuring passengers are truly at the heart of the aviation sector.
This demonstrates our commitment to creating a transport system which works for passengers as we build a Britain fit for the future.
The government is also providing more details about its ambitious plan to make Britain’s aviation sector the world’s greenest, including proposals to tackle issues around noise, greenhouse gas emissions and airspace congestion.
Environmental proposals include the introduction of new noise targets, strengthened noise controls at airports and improved compensation for people living near airports. The government will work with industry to reduce the usage of single use plastics and improve recycling rates.
The government will also explore measures with industry to support the use of quieter and more fuel efficient aircraft, as well as the emergence of electric and hybrid technology.
The ‘next steps’ document makes clear the government’s commitment to ensuring the aviation sector continues to grow.
The sector already contributes at least £22 billion to the UK economy each year and the strategy will examine what can be done to help it develop even further.
The strategy will examine the agreements UK has with other countries to operate flights, identify opportunities to improve connectivity and open up new routes for overseas investment.
Other proposals include reviewing the allocation of airport landing slots to ensure the process is fair, transparent and fosters a competitive marketplace which benefits consumers by offering more choice.
An initial call for evidence for the aviation strategy was launched in July of last year, receiving almost 380 responses. The proposals being outlined in the ‘next steps’ document will be consulted on further in the autumn, with the final strategy due for publication in early 2019.
The aviation strategy is designed to achieve a safe, secure and sustainable aviation sector that meets the needs of consumers and of a global, outward-looking Britain. It will look to:
- help the aviation industry work for its customers
- ensure a safe and secure way to travel
- build a global and connected Britain
- encourage competitive markets
- support growth while tackling environmental impacts
- develop innovation, technology and skill
Beyond the horizon
The future of UK aviation
Next steps towards an Aviation Strategy
The section on carbon is on Pages 60 – 63.
The section on noise is on Pages 63 – 67
On biofuels, it says Page 63:
“6.22 Sustainable alternative aviation fuels are widely seen as essential to the long term sustainability of the aviation sector. The government has legislated to extend eligibility of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation to aviation fuels and through the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition government has made £22 million of matched capital funding available to support the production of low carbon fuels for aviation and Heavy Goods Vehicles. Through the Aviation Strategy the government will consider policies it can put in place to further assist the long term uptake of sustainable alternative fuels in this sector which is particularly difficult to decarbonise.”
A part of its section on carbon states:
“6.14 In Europe, aviation has been included in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) since 2012. As set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, the government is considering the UK’s future participation in the EU ETS after our exit from the EU. Whatever our future relationship with the EU, the government will seek to ensure that our approach is at least as ambitious as the existing scheme and provides a smooth transition for the relevant sectors.
“6.15 It has long been the government’s position that international aviation emissions are best tackled at the international level. This reflects the inherently global nature of both the aviation industry and the challenge of climate change. Airline schedules are designed so that an aircraft may fly between any number of states in any given day and be registered to an operator in a different state altogether. Assigning portions of the aircraft’s emissions to different states is problematic, particularly in the absence of an agreed international methodology.
“6.16 Stronger action at the UK level without an equivalent level of action internationally is likely to impose greater costs on airlines flying to and from the UK, thereby putting UK airlines at a greater competitive disadvantage compared to foreign airlines and potentially increasing fares. Passengers may, as a result, choose to travel through other airport hubs which would simply move the emissions elsewhere rather than reducing them (known as carbon ‘leakage’).
“6.17 In addition to the government’s emphasis on international action, it has always been willing to consider all cost effective measures to ensure that the sector continues to contribute to the UK’s emissions reduction obligations, including under the Climate Change Act and Paris Agreement.”
DfT’s webpage on its Aviation Strategy
Beyond the horizon: the future of aviation in the UK
The next steps towards a new aviation strategy
The aviation industry is a British success story; rooted in a deep heritage of being at the forefront of global aviation.
To build on this success we are developing a new strategy to support industry in delivering even greater improvements for passengers, the environment and our country.
Between July and October 2017 we asked for views on how we should consult to develop this new strategy as well as what issues we should cover.
We have now published a ‘next steps’ document, which identifies the challenges for aviation in the years to come and discusses how we can respond to them.
It also sets out how we will engage with industry throughout 2018. This will result in a final aviation strategy by early 2019.
Read the ‘aviation strategy next steps’
Our 6 objectives for a new aviation strategy
Aviation matters – it drives economic growth across the whole United Kingdom, connects us with the world, removes barriers to trade and supports jobs and skills. We have an aviation history to be proud of and we’re building on a track record of success.
But we also recognise the challenges that our aviation sector faces in maintaining this leading position. So the time is now right to develop a new aviation strategy that will set out the long-term vision for aviation taking us to 2050 and beyond.
These are our 6 objectives for a new aviation strategy.
Help the aviation industry work for its customers
Enhancing the consumer experience through improved accessibility, better information and support when things go wrong.
Ensure a safe and secure way to travel
Championing the UK’s aviation security and safety record and ensuring our approaches remain cutting edge and responsive to new challenges.
Build a global and connected Britain
The importance of aviation to building a global Britain that is outward looking, with a strong economy that benefits the whole of the UK.
Encourage competitive markets
Examining the sector to see whether market failures exist and how government can encourage more competition.
Support growth while tackling environmental impacts
Building capacity and promoting regional growth and connectivity whilst balancing this with the need to tackle environmental impacts.
Develop innovation, technology and skills
How we can make best use of new technology and build on the aviation sector’s track record of success in encouraging innovation.
Download the full outcome
The aim of the new aviation strategy is to achieve a safe, secure and sustainable aviation sector that meets the needs of consumers and of a global, outward-looking Britain.
We sought views on the aviation strategy from industry, business, consumers, environmental groups and anyone with an interest in aviation.
The next steps document outlines our 6 key objectives for the strategy, challenges ahead and actions the government is considering to address these.
We will hold a consultation on the policy detail for all 6 of the strategy objectives later this year, leading to the publication of a final aviation strategy in 2019.
This call for evidence is the first stage of developing a new aviation strategyfor the UK.
This document sets out our overall aims and approach and seeks views on:
- our proposed approach
- the issues that we would like to explore through the development of the strategy
We want to be guided by you. This is your opportunity to shape the future of aviation.
An updated version of this document was published on 9 August 2017 correcting a typographical error in figure 12 on page 43.
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The Heathrow Community Engagement Board (HCEB) has announced Rachel Cerfontyne as its new Chair. The HCEB, the successor body to the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee, initiated an open hiring process for a new Chair at the end of 2017. A selection panel made up of representatives from the new HCEB, Heathrow, the Department for Transport and a local residents group, the HASRA (Harmondsworth & Sipson Residents Assn), agreed that Rachel “would provide the necessary open and independent leadership to evolve the work of the new Board and represent the interests of all communities associated with Heathrow Airport.” She will focus on “building trust between Heathrow and its communities, holding the airport to account when it comes to delivering on its commitments today and into the future.” There is a history of serious distrust of the airport by many, after decades of broken promises, misleading statements, half truths etc. Rachel was Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, where she has spent 9 years trying to improve public confidence in the police complaints system.
HEATHROW COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT BOARD APPOINTS NEW CHAIR
4.4.2018 (a Heathrow airport press release, on behalf of its “Community Engagement Board (HCEB)
The Heathrow Community Engagement Board (HCEB) has, today, announced Rachel Cerfontyne as its new Chair. The HCEB, the successor body to the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee, initiated an open hiring process for a new Chair at the end of 2017.
A selection panel made up of representatives from the new HCEB, Heathrow, the Department for Transport and a local resident group unanimously agreed that Rachel Cerfontyne would provide the necessary open and independent leadership to evolve the work of the new Board and represent the interests of all communities associated with Heathrow Airport.
Rachel’s work will focus on building trust between Heathrow and its communities, holding the airport to account when it comes to delivering on its commitments today and into the future. With over twenty years’ experience in leading public sector and charitable organisations Rachel has consistently shown independence and inclusivity in her work. Her most recent role was as Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, where she has spent 9 years improving public confidence in the police complaints system and overseen their two largest investigations including the Hillsborough Disaster and the Rotherham Child Sexual Abuse scandal.
Having spent her early years in Feltham, a community close to the airport, Rachel has first-hand knowledge of the impacts and importance Heathrow can have on local residents.
Commenting on her appointment, Rachel Cerfontyne said:
“My highest priority is getting out and about, meeting people in the local communities and hearing their views. I am keen to listen and learn and to ensure that the membership and activities of the HCEB are shaped by the key stakeholders, especially Heathrow’s closest neighbours. I’ve already started meeting with local community representatives and over the coming weeks and months look forward to engaging formally and informally from all who have a view on and a relationship with the airport.”
Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said:
“Rachel’s track record of independence and strong community engagement is a clear indication that the new Community Engagement Board will be an excellent advocate for those who live, work and travel through Heathrow. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with Rachel and the new Board which will play a key role in influencing how Heathrow operates and grows.”
Mark Izatt, Chair of the HCEB Appointments Panel who oversaw Rachel’s appointment process, said:
“A reinvigorated community and oversight group had a need for a committed and independent chair who would be equally at home in a community hall as a ministerial office. In Rachel we have found the perfect mix of skills and experience to ensure the HCEB grows in stature with local communities, users and stakeholders. Her energy and passion for the role have already been on display even before today’s official appointment.”
020 8745 7224
Notes to editors:
(1) The Heathrow Community Engagement Board (HCEB) is an independently chaired body constituted to provide the functions of an airport consultative committee for Heathrow Airport (in accordance with Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982) and the functions of the Heathrow Airport community engagement board (as set out in the draft Airports National Policy Statement). The Community Engagement Board was established following a recommendation by the Airports Commission to ensure airport stakeholders, local authorities, communities, passengers and interest groups can contribute effectively to the planning process for the proposed expansion of the airport.
(2) The original Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC) was established in 1956 and is constituted to meet the requirements of Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 (as amended by the Airports Act 1986) for an airport to provide adequate facilities for consultation with respect to any matter concerning the management or administration of the airport which affects the interests of users of the airport, local authorities and any other organisation representing the interests of persons concerned with the locality in which the airport is situated.
(3) Until now, the HCEB has been chaired by interim Chair Professor Roderick Smith ScD, FREng and is made up of 27 appointed representatives brought together from local authorities, airports users and local interest groups. A Government representative is also present at the main Committee meetings, together with Heathrow Airport Limited’s Chief Executive, John Holland-Kaye and his senior management team. The first meeting of the HCEB, which is open to the public and media will be at 2pm on Wednesday 18th April 2018 at the Heathrow Academy.
(4) Ms. Cerfontyne was appointed by a panel involving representatives from Heathrow, DfT, local authorities, airports users, local interest groups and the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents association. The open hiring process was run by the executive research firm Gatenby Sanderson.
(5) The HCEB has asked Heathrow Airport Limited to issue this media release on their behalf.
8 December, 2017
Heathrow seeks Chair for new independent Community Engagement Board
Heathrow Airport, alongside the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC), have launched a campaign to recruit a high-profile Chair to head up the new independent Community Engagement Board (CEB).
The CEB will take on the role of the current consultative committee and was a recommendation by the Airports Commission, drawing on best practice from European hub airports.
The influential Chair will lead the CEB which will play an important role in building trust between the airport and its communities making sure that Heathrow delivers its commitments today and in the future. It will also play a crucial role during the planning process for the proposed expansion of Heathrow to check that communities are meaningfully engaged in Heathrow’s public consultations over the coming months and years.
The CEB will be established in the New Year and will act as the focal point for engagement between the airport, local authorities, community groups and passengers. The Chair will be appointed by a panel representative of the existing HACC, government, Heathrow and a nominated community representative through an open process run by established executive search firm, Gatenby Sanderson. Closing date for applications is 14 January 2018.
Deputy Chair of the HACC Steering Group Brian Yates, said:
“The appointment of a Chair will be a major early milestone in the establishment of this newly created Board which aims to build on the strength of the existing consultative committee. We are looking for a seasoned leader who will have the gravitas and experience to represent the diverse airport communities – residents, local authorities, passengers and pressure groups – at the highest levels of government and, of course, to the airport too.”
Heathrow’s Chief Executive Officer John Holland-Kaye, said:
“The arrival of the Community Engagement Board is a demonstration of Heathrow’s commitment to deliver and contribute to world-class local engagement, both as part of today’s airport operations and future expansion plans. We look forward to working with the successful candidate who will help us make sure Heathrow delivers expansion fairly and responsibly so that we maximise the benefits for our local communities.”
Notes to editors:
About the Community Engagement Board
The Community Engagement Board (CEB) will play a key role in making sure airport stakeholders, local authorities, communities, passengers and interest groups can influence the airport’s expansion proposals over the planning phase, as set out in the government’s draft Airports National Policy Statement.
The CEB will also be responsible for delivering the functions of the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee under the Civil Aviation Act 1982, considering and influencing the airport’s current administration and operations.
For more information on the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee, please visit www.hacc.org.uk
The History of broken promises over Heathrow’s 3rd runway
In 1995 Heathrow denied it would want a 3rd runway. It persisted in denying this until 2003, when it came out as lobbying for one.
FoE says that in 2001 “BAA echoes BA’s denial and says it is not pushing for a third runway at Heathrow. “It is the company’s view that the local communities around Heathrow should be give (sic) assurances. BAA would urge the government to rule out any additional runway at Heathrow.”
In November 2001, having sat on the Terminal 5 Inquiry Inspector Vandermeer’s report for almost a year, the Government announces its decision on T5 and releases the inspector’s report. The inspector says that a 3rd runway could have “unacceptable environmental consequences”. He recommends a cap on the number of flights at 480,000 a year in order to prevent the need for a third runway.
Then FoE says: “On 13 May 2003, BAA plc admits publicly that it wants third runway at Heathrow. In its response to the Government’s airport consultation BAA short-lists a third runway at Heathrow and claims that this is part of the company’s approach of ‘responsible growth’. “
During the 2010 election, local election campaign material in west London said:
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The publication of the Transport Select Committee (TSC) report into the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) has been interpreted by the government and Heathrow as a green light for expansion to proceed. Whilst the TSC recognised the strategic case for a third runway, the real story is the significant shift in position from a select committee that has long been supportive of a expansion to one that is highly critical of the lack of detail in the plans. The robust list of recommendations in the TSC report highlights areas where significant work is still required before the government bring the final NPS to parliament for a vote. The TSC report also includes several additional conditions of approval to be included in the final version of the NPS on air quality, surface access, connectivity, costs and charges, noise, community impacts, resource and waste management. The NPS is the document against which the Heathrow planning application will be judged, and if it lacks sufficient detail on these key issues then it will not be strong enough to hold the airport to account. There is little evidence to suggest that parliament can have confidence in simply trusting Heathrow. I “urge my parliamentary colleagues to read the report. Those who do will understand why they should vote against the NPS when it is brought to parliament.”
By Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, in Labour List
The publication of the transport select committee report into the Airports National Policy Statement has been interpreted by the government and Heathrow as a green light for expansion to proceed. Whilst the TSC recognised the strategic case for a third runway, the real story is the significant shift in position from a select committee that has long been supportive of a expansion to one that is highly critical of the lack of detail in the plans.
The robust list of recommendations in the TSC report highlights areas where significant work is still required before the government bring the final NPS to parliament for a vote. The TSC report also includes several additional conditions of approval to be included in the final version of the NPS on air quality, surface access, connectivity, costs and charges, noise, community impacts, resource and waste management.
Government will state that the NPS is about establishing the principles of design and that much of the detail will come in Heathrow’s planning application during the DCO process. However, the NPS is the document against which the planning application will be judged, and if it lacks sufficient detail on these key issues then it will not be strong enough to hold the airport to account. There is little evidence to suggest that parliament can have confidence in simply trusting Heathrow to ensure the appropriate detail is included in the planning application.
Heathrow and the government have had years to develop the detail of these proposals – it has been three years alone since the Airports Commission concluded – yet there still remains no robust mechanisms for addressing the negative impacts of the proposed expansion. In particular, the costs of the proposal to passengers, airlines and the taxpayer remain unclear.
Consequently, the TSC report is clear that parliament should approve the final NPS only if the conditions it recommends are included. The volume of work required to provide these detail and evidence is substantial and it is difficult to see how the government can incorporate all the recommendations fully and keep to its self-imposed timetable of a vote by the summer recess.
The decision to support expansion at Heathrow was based on the reports produced by the Airports Commission. However, since their publication in 2015 further analysis (including work by the DfT) has significantly undermined the conclusions drawn, particularly in relation the purported economic benefits of the scheme.
As highlighted in a letter signed by parliamentarians and local authority leaders, the fact that expansion at Heathrow will have a negative impact on the opportunity for growth at nearly all regional airports around the UK should be a significant cause for concern for MPs outside of London.
The TSC report also raises concerns that many regional routes into Heathrow will require government subsidy in order to be commercially viable, yet government has given no commitments as to the precise level of funds it is prepared to provide. The detail is again missing from the NPS.
Increasing the number of flights at Heathrow by around 50 per cent will inevitably increase traffic and worsen congestion on local transport networks, particularly as the Crossrail and the Piccadilly line upgrade were designed to support population growth in London, not a third runway at Heathrow. The TSC’s recommendation that the NPS include information about what surface access improvements are required to support a third runway is extremely welcome.
Government has now admitted that they would have to contribute an unspecified amount towards these schemes, yet as the TSC report makes clear the lack of detail about the size of this contribution is a significant cause for concern.
The report also recommends that significant work is undertaken to understand the impacts of construction on local transport networks. The fact that this has not already been undertaken is simply staggering – MPs need to know this information before they vote on the NPS.
Far from being a green light for expansion, the TSC report is damning in its critique of the NPS and highlights the strength of the case against expansion at Heathrow. Indeed, a number of recommendations in the TSC report are aimed at reducing the prospect of successful legal challenge against the government.
The TSC report demonstrates that a third runway at Heathrow is the most expensive and complex scheme, carries the highest financial and planning risks, has the most destructive environmental impact and delivers no economic benefit to the country. It seems counterproductive that government continues to support a scheme that simply will not be delivered.
I commend the work of the TSC for their scrutiny of this issue and urge my parliamentary colleagues to read the report. Those who do will understand why they should vote against the NPS when it is brought to parliament.
Andy Slaughter is MP for Hammersmith.
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The City Editor of the Financial Times, Jonathan Ford, has written about how the reasons for Heathrow’s anticipated costs for its possible 3rd runway. The cost of £17 billion, or now £15 billion are exceptional. But Jonathan explains how Heathrow’s investors seem happy to spend so much. It is because of the curious incentives that operate in the topsy-turvy world of utility financing. As with most ventures that have monopolistic aspects, Heathrow is not subject to ordinary restraints on capital expenditure. The principal check is the willingness of the airport’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, to sign off on the mechanism by which these costs can be recovered from captive airline customers through passenger charges. Heathrow often pays far above the going rate for building, new technology etc, because this adds to the airport’s regulated asset base (RAB) on which it gets an allowed return, and thus permits it predictably to expand its own revenues. Since taking over BAA in 2006, Ferrovial has been extremely active, tripling Heathrow’s RAB to £15bn. It is a system that has allowed the airport’s owners to finance these expansions with vanishingly little equity capital. Heathrow is encouraged to fund everything with debt by a regulatory system that allows it to keep the gains from financial engineering. Heathrow’s owners hope to shrug off the risks of completion, but transfer them on to customers.
The gold-plated reason for Heathrow’s bloated runway costs
System allows owners to finance expansions with little equity capital
By JONATHAN FORD (FT)
In the long and rancorous debate about expanding runway capacity in Britain’s crowded south-east, it often feels as if surprisingly little energy is devoted to containing the project’s extraordinary cost.
Not only is the front-running option by far the most expensive of the three: at £14bn the so-called third runway dwarfs the £9.7bn that might be devoured by the “Hub” extended runway alternative at Heathrow, as well as the £8bn-£9bn that expansion at Gatwick could absorb. It also takes the longest to bring into commission and thus entails financing that huge sum for longer than the other schemes until all the additional revenue-bearing traffic finally arrives.
Of course, the planners and politicians may have social or environmental reasons for pursuing the most gold-plated project. But it is also striking how relaxed Heathrow’s investors are about funding this extra expense, even over an alternative cheaper option at their own airport. They seem happy to spend billions more to achieve roughly the same outcome in terms of traffic growth.
That, it should be said, is not because they are unusually generous or public-spirited people. Rather, it comes down to the curious incentives that operate in the topsy-turvy world of utility financing. These make the highly priced scheme extremely attractive for financiers. The snag is that these private gains come at the travelling public’s expense.
As with most ventures that have monopolistic aspects, Heathrow is not subject to ordinary restraints on capital expenditure. The principal check is the willingness of the airport’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, to sign off on the mechanism by which these costs can be recovered from captive airline customers through passenger charges.
The regulator’s own review of capital investment has uncovered evidence of bloated costs at the airport. A smoking shelter at Terminal 2 was priced at £1m — more than twice the “normal” price for such a structure. When Heathrow priced new automated bag drop machinery at £150,000 per unit, IAG, the owner of British Airways, market tested the proposal and came up with a price of £40,000. Sources close to Heathrow say it contends the latter comparison on the grounds that the IAG number ignores labour costs.
The key point though is that each dollop of capital spending adds to the airport’s regulated asset base (RAB) on which it gets an allowed return, and thus permits it predictably to expand its own revenues. Since taking over BAA in 2006, the investor group led by the Spanish construction company Ferrovial has been extremely active, tripling Heathrow’s RAB to £15bn.
It is a system that has allowed the airport’s owners to finance these expansions with vanishingly little equity capital. Debt providers are so sure that revenues will always be forthcoming that they have willingly stumped up for the capex. Meanwhile, Heathrow is encouraged to fund everything with debt by a regulatory system that allows it to keep the gains from financial engineering.
Since 2006, shareholders’ funds have declined from £6.3bn to £922m, partly through capital returns as the old BAA sold off six of its seven airports for almost £5bn. Over the same period, long-term debts have climbed from £6bn to £13.1bn. Heathrow’s gearing ratio presently stands at 87 per cent of RAB — higher than the most aggressive water companies, whose unsustainable leverage is now falling.
Obliging regulators have even helped the airport to finance giant investments such as the Terminal 2 rebuild by allowing it in effect to charge customers up front for these improvements. As the infrastructure expert Martin Blaiklock has pointed out, this approach goes against the fundamental principles of infrastructure provision. It allows owners not only to shrug off the risks of completion, but transfers them on to customers, who have little or no means of managing those risks.
Over the past decade, charges per passenger at Heathrow have doubled in real terms to £20 as travellers have been unwittingly bailed in to fund the expansion first of Terminal 5 and then Terminal 2. This bulge was supposed to subside as each investment project completed. It has not.
When Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport built its sixth runway at the turn of the millennium, the project cost in the hundreds of millions of euros. Building in the south east of England was always likely to be expensive, given the proximity to London. But the inflation is still extraordinary.
Before waving through yet more regulatory incentives to ensure the gold-plated expansion of London’s hub airport, politicians might ask whether these lures are contributing to unacceptable inflation in Britain’s already bloated infrastructure costs.
Sunday Times commentary on Heathrow: the cash machine with an airport attached
The Sunday Times reports that under a complex (perverse) incentive system, Heathrow is encouraged to spend as much as it can on developing the site. Heathrow’s investors earn returns based on the size of its “regulatory asset base” (RAB), under a formula set by the CAA. So the more the airport spends, the more its owners can earn. It gives an example of £74,000 to cut down 3 trees, which is at least 20 times the normal price. These costs of developing the airport are recouped through passenger charges, and also set off against UK tax. The Sunday Times questions the efficiency, governance and transparency of the management of Heathrow. It says the airport is demanding an insurance policy against the risk that the project goes wrong, and wants the CAA to ensure it will be compensated by airlines and passengers if there are unanticipated difficulties (eg. construction delays, or lower than anticipated passenger numbers or revenue). Scrutiny of Heathrow’s spending has been inadequate, there is no audit of the RAB, to show how the figure of £15.8bn for the expansion project is calculated, and Heathrow has not provided a detailed cost breakdown for the runway plans.
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