Tania Mathias MP calls for Grayling to step in over proposed £3 billion cuts to Heathrow plan – re-consultation necessary?

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been asked by Dr Tania Mathias MP to intervene on Heathrow’s £3 billion cost-cutting proposals it announced last week.  In order to cut costs, and perhaps get a runway built faster, Heathrow’s Chairman Lord Deighton suggested that changes to plans would be made – though nothing has been put forward yet, but they might be in the next weeks.  The cuts would mean scrapping plans to (expensively) tunnel the 14 lane M25 under the runway, and a transit rail system around the airport.  Conservative  MP Tania Mathias, whose Twickenham constituency is under Heathrow flight paths, said the new plan had caused local people “considerable anxiety.” She has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to demand the plan goes back out to public consultation and scrutiny by the Airports Commission (though that has been disbanded). Dr Mathias also wants Chris Grayling to make public any official talks on the late changes, between the airport and government departments.  Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith also wrote to Lord Deighton that the revised plan would cause Londoners “more environmental misery”. The changes to the roads are not clear, and cutting cost could lead to gridlock on the busiest stretch of the M25.  The DfT just said the Government “will continue to consider the commission’s evidence.”
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Call for Grayling to step in over proposed £3 billion cuts to Heathrow plan

15.9.2016 (Evening Standard)

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is being asked to intervene in Heathrow’s £3 billion cost-cutting proposals announced ahead of the long-awaited decision on airport expansion.

Environmentally friendly plans to re-route the M25 through a tunnel and create a transit system around the site have been axed, airport chairman Lord Deighton has revealed in a bid to show the Government that a 3rd runway could be built quickly.

Tory MP Tania Mathias, whose Twickenham constituency is on the flight paths, said the new plan had caused local people “considerable anxiety.”

She has written to Mr Grayling today, asking him to demand the plan goes back out to public consultation and scrutiny by the Airports Commission.

She also wants him to make public any official talks on the late changes.

Richmond Park Tory MP Zac Goldsmith wrote in a letter to Lord Deighton that the revised plan would cause Londoners “more environmental misery”.

He claims the changes are not transparent and could cause gridlock on the busiest stretch of the M25.

and then a bit on the Cabinet …

The DfT said the Government will continue to consider the commission’s evidence.

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Evening Standard (paper version)


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See earlier

Times reports that Heathrow plans to offer to cut costs and build runway scheme faster

The Times reports that it has learned how Heathrow is planning to cut up to £3 billion (out of about £17.6 billion) from its plans for a 3rd runway, in order to persuade Theresa May and the Cabinet that the runway could be delivered – and delivered a year earlier. Revised plans include potentially scrapping plans to tunnel the M25 under the 3rd runway, not building a transit system to carry passengers around the airport (using buses instead) and smaller terminal buildings. The aim is not only to get the runway working by 2024 but also -with reduced costs – keeping charges for passengers a bit lower. The Airports Commission estimated the cost per passenger would need to rise from £20 now to £29. Airlines like British Airways are not prepared to pay such high costs, and especially not before the runway opens. BA’s Willie Walsh has described Heathrow’s runway plans as “gold-plated”. The Times expects that Heathrow will announce its new “cheaper, faster” plans by the end of September. There is no mention of the “Heathrow Hub” option of extending the northern runway – a slightly cheaper scheme than the airport’s preferred new north west runway. There is no clarity on quite what Heathrow plans for the M25, if they cannot afford to tunnel all 14 lanes (at least £ 5 billion). Lord Deighton said it might be “diverted” or have “some form of bridge.”

Click here to view full story…

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Times reveals, from leaked document, members of Cabinet sub-committee on runway issue

The Times says it has seen a leaked document showing the membership of the Cabinet sub-committee, the “Economy and Industrial Strategy (Airports)” sub-committee, that would make a decision on a runway. The list omits Ministers most critical of Heathrow’s expansion, Boris Johnson, (Foreign Secretary, and Justine Greening, Education Secretary). But Sajid Javid (Communities Secretary), who is a Heathrow supporter, keeps his place on the sub-committee, as does Patrick McLoughlin, (Conservative Party Chairman) – who as Transport Secretary was a strong supporter of Heathrow. Theresa May herself will chair the sub-committee, (David Cameron chaired it previously). Other Ministers on the sub-committee are Philip Hammond, (Chancellor), Greg Clark, (Business and Energy Secretary), Andrea Leadsom, (Environment Secretary), David Mundell, (Scottish Secretary), and the chief whip Gavin Williamson. [The previous members were: David Cameron, George Osborne, Sajid Javid, Patrick McLoughlin, Liz Truss, David Mundell, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd, Oliver Letwin and Mark Harper.] It is not known if there will be a free vote on the issue, suspending the normal Cabinet “collective responsibility” as was suggested last week, to overcome the problem of so much opposition to Heathrow. The Times believes that the announcement might be on Tuesday18th October.

Click here to view full story…

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Gatwick area MPs warn Rail Minister of rail chaos if Gatwick gets expansion go-ahead

Gatwick Coordination Group (GCG) MPs have written to the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard, to warn him that rail services along the Brighton Main Line would go into “complete meltdown” if Gatwick Airport were to be allowed to build a second runway. The GCG includes the 8 MPs from constituencies nearest to, and affected by, Gatwick.  They have highlighted the inability of the railway to cope with the increased demand that Gatwick expansion would entail, and they say: “Gatwick expansion would result in over 140,000 public transport trips to the airport each day. Given the limited public transport options to Gatwick, the vast majority of these will be via rail. To meet this added demand, TfL estimate that the cost of required upgrades is £10bn. There is, however, no plan to deliver this”… “Gatwick have not committed to contribute a single penny towards any cost, leaving commuters and taxpayers to foot any bill for work that would address the chronic lack of capacity that would result from Gatwick expansion” … a 2nd Gatwick runway would “pile impossible pressure on Southern Rail…” The Brighton Main Line is already operating over capacity and is one of the busiest and worst performing rail lines in the country, and already needs new capacity to cope with rising commuter demand. Gatwick has just a single rail connection to London, and a single motorway – both already under strain.
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MPs warn Rail Minister of rail chaos if Gatwick gets expansion go-ahead

Crispin Blunt MP’s website

Gatwick Coordination Group (GCG) MPs have written to the Rail Minister to warn him that rail services along the Brighton Main Line would go into “complete meltdown” if Gatwick Airport were to be allowed to build a second runway.

As the Government nears a decision on airport expansion following the Airports Commission’s unequivocal recommendation for a new runway at Heathrow Airport last July, MPs have highlighted the inability of the railway to cope with the increased demand that Gatwick expansion would entail.

In their letter to the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, the MPs highlight:

  • “the devastating impact Gatwick expansion would have on the already beleaguered Southern rail service…
  • “Gatwick expansion would result in over 140,000 public transport trips to the airport each day. Given the limited public transport options to Gatwick, the vast majority of these will be via rail. To meet this added demand, TfL estimate that the cost of required upgrades is £10bn. There is, however, no plan to deliver this…
  • “Gatwick have not committed to contribute a single penny towards any cost, leaving commuters and taxpayers to foot any bill for work that would address the chronic lack of capacity that would result from Gatwick expansion…
  • “This summer has exposed once again the poor resilience of the Brighton Main Line and the impact on daily commuters and airport passengers. For many of our constituents, this summer of disruption is only a small sign of things to come should Gatwick be allowed to expand…
  • “An announcement of a second runway at Gatwick would be received with ridicule by the long-suffering Southern Rail commuters. It would pile impossible pressure on Southern Rail…”

Chairman of the GCG, Crispin Blunt commented:

“The Brighton Main Line is already operating over capacity and is one of the busiest and worst performing rail lines in the country. This summer’s misery on the railways highlights the vulnerability of the rail network to severe disruption and the need for new capacity to cope with rising commuter demand.

“The independent Airports Commission recognised the weakness of Gatwick’s surface transport links, in particular the single rail connection. Noticeably, Gatwick Airport has not committed a penny to any rail infrastructure upgrade costs.

“The last thing the Brighton Main Line and its users need is extra burden of an ill-conceived Gatwick expansion. Rail services would go into complete meltdown.”

 

Members of the GCG

The Members of Parliament on the group are now as follows:

•           Crispin Blunt MP – Member of Parliament for Reigate (Chairman)

•           Sir Paul Beresford MP – Member of Parliament for Mole Valley

•           Nusrat Ghani MP – Member of Parliament for Wealden

•           Rt Hon Nick Herbert CBE MP – Member of Parliament for Arundel & South Downs

•           Jeremy Quin MP – Member of Parliament for Horsham

•           Tom Tugendhat MBE MP – Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling

•           Henry Smith MP – Member of Parliament for Crawley

•           Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP – Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex

Full text of the letter at the link below

Paul Maynard Impact of proposed second runway at Gatwick Airport on already deficient rail services 150916.pdf 3.98 MB
https://www.blunt4reigate.com/news/mps-warn-rail-minister-rail-chaos-if-gatwick-gets-expansion-go-ahead
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See earlier:

Gatwick groups and MPs hand in new report to Downing Street: “What about our air quality?”

Community groups and MPs have delivered a copy of a new report, “What about our air quality?” to 10 Downing Street. The report raises the fact that an expanded Gatwick could present worst air quality for a much wider area than Heathrow currently – due to the lack of sufficient transport infrastructure. Air quality targets close to Gatwick Airport have been broken despite the airport’s public denial. Data from Jacobs, for the Airports Commission, show breaches of NO2 levels already. It is inevitable they will be broken again, especially with a 2nd runway, because the rail infrastructure is already inadequate, and more passengers (and possibly freight in future) will mean additional road vehicles. The report contains a letter from 10 MPs who wrote to the Secretary for State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin on 18th March, demanding that Gatwick’s misleading advertising over air quality be stopped. Gatwick has often said words to the effect that  “Gatwick Airport has never and will never breach air quality limits” and instead its expansion campaign has been focused on the air pollution problems at Heathrow, ignoring their own. Gatwick is served by a rail line that is already near capacity, and it cannot be much improved due to physical restrictions. It could not handle not only more passengers, but also extra staff and traffic from more businesses.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/05/gatwick-groups-and-mps-hand-in-new-report-to-downing-street-what-about-our-air-quality/

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See also

Road and rail chaos, with congestion and over-crowding, predicted if new Gatwick runway built

A new research paper prepared by author and environmental expert Jeremy Early, on Surface access to Gatwick Airport predicts that a new runway at Gatwick would bring road and rail chaos. He points out that the existing road structure is nearly full, with serious delays occurring on many routes, especially on the M23 and A23 into London. Planned improvements will only be sufficient to deal with the forecast growth in traffic  – without a new runway. A new runway, operating at full capacity of 95 million passengers a year, would mean an a massive increase in road traffic movements each day.  It would probably reduce the M25 and M23 to a standstill – all day not just occasionally. On rail,  the report shows that  already between 2010 and 2014 rail journeys in the South-East increased more than 20%. The extra trains that Gatwick airport boasts of are in reality already just to cope with the expected increase in demand – with no new runway. With a new runway Gatwick predict a three-fold increase in the number of air passengers using Gatwick station. It could be standing room only, with no spare capacity on parts of the network.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/10/road-and-rail-chaos-with-congestion-and-over-crowding-predicted-if-new-gatwick-runway-built/

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Gatwick claims that with better public transport it will be “road & rail ready” for 2nd runway by 2021

Gatwick has produced a glossy document setting out how it will have fantastic road and rail links in place by 2021, that there will be no road or rail congestion, and everyone will have smoother and easier journeys. And at no cost to anyone. There are some stunning omissions.  Most things that are inconvenient are just left out. They say “Gatwick will increase the cost efficiency in the rail industry by filling off-peak trains as well as providing passengers for trains operating in the opposite direction to peak commuter services. While it is estimated that, on the busiest trains, only 5% of travellers will be air passengers, the overall benefit they will bring will be around £3 billion in additional fare income.”  Gatwick says: “Junction 9 of the M23 … will need to be upgraded to cater for expansion. Gatwick has committed to funding a doubling of this motorway junction capacity.” The only thing Gatwick has said it will pay for.  Also: “we have re-designed the local road network to be no busier than it is today, even after a general increase in demand, which will lessen local noise and air quality effects of background traffic, benefit economic activity and the quality of life of those using and living along the affected roads.”  Really?  Who writes this stuff?

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/06/gatwick-claims-that-with-better-public-transport-it-will-be-road-rail-ready-for-2nd-runway-by-2021/

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Times reveals, from leaked document, members of Cabinet sub-committee on runway issue

The Times says it has seen a leaked document showing the membership of the Cabinet sub-committee, the “Economy and Industrial Strategy (Airports)” sub-committee, that would make a decision on a runway.  The list omits Ministers most critical of Heathrow’s expansion, Boris Johnson, (Foreign Secretary, and Justine Greening, Education Secretary). But Sajid Javid (Communities Secretary), who is a Heathrow supporter, keeps his place on the sub-committee, as does Patrick McLoughlin, (Conservative Party Chairman) – who as Transport Secretary was a strong supporter of Heathrow. Theresa May herself will chair the sub-committee, (David Cameron chaired it previously). Other Ministers on the sub-committee are Philip Hammond, (Chancellor),  Greg Clark, (Business and Energy Secretary), Andrea Leadsom, (Environment Secretary), David Mundell, (Scottish Secretary), and the chief whip Gavin Williamson. [The previous members were: David Cameron, George Osborne, Sajid Javid, Patrick McLoughlin, Liz Truss, David Mundell, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd, Oliver Letwin and Mark Harper.]  It is not known if there will be a free vote on the issue, suspending the normal Cabinet “collective responsibility” as was suggested last week, to overcome the problem of so much opposition to Heathrow. The Times believes that the announcement might be on Tuesday18th October. 
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Johnson frozen out of decision on Heathrow runway

15.9.2016 (The Times)

Boris Johnson has been kept off the cabinet committee that will decide the future of London’s airports in the latest sign that Theresa May is preparing to give the green light to a third runway at Heathrow.

Downing Street is refusing to confirm which senior ministers have been chosen for the body that will take the decision — expected next month.

………

Full Times article at

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/johnson-frozen-out-of-decision-on-heathrow-runway-lskv8qtnc

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Comment from an AirportWatch member:  

Headline of the story is rubbish. Cabinet subcommittees are always only composed of Ministers with a Departmental interest.  So it was inevitable that the Foreign Office would not be on it.  There is usually one ‘neutral’ – last time Oliver Letwin, this time Patrick McLoughlin.  He is a sensible choice, having been dealing with the issue for the past two years.


See earlier:

 

Theresa May to personally chair Cabinet sub-committee on possible new runway

The decision by the Cabinet on what to do about a new runway is to be taken by a sub-committee, named the Economic Affairs (Airports) sub-Committee.  This was set up in July 2015.  Its members then were David Cameron, George Osborne, Sajid Javid, Patrick McLoughlin, Liz Truss, David Mundell, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd, Oliver Letwin and Mark Harper.  At that time, MPs with possibly compromised positions, or those against a Heathrow runway, were left off it – explained by their departments not being the relevant ones for inclusion. These were Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Justine Greening.  Since the arrival of Theresa May, everything has changed. It has been announced that she will personally chair the committee (Cameron chaired it before) and that its new membership will be announced shortly. The constituencies of Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson (PM, Chancellor and Foreign Secretary) are all intensely affected by Heathrow.  Theresa May has been very guarded in her comments over the past 6 years. However in May 2010 she welcomed the cancellation of the Heathrow runway and added:  “Like many local residents, I strongly welcome the cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow. Expanding Heathrow in this way would have had a detrimental effect on the Maidenhead and Twyford areas by increasing levels of noise and pollution, and today’s announcement is a victory for all those who have campaigned against it.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/08/theresa-may-to-personally-chair-cabinet-committee-on-possible-new-runway/

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See earlier

Cabinet ‘stitch-up’ on Heathrow: Cameron chairing runway sub-Committee, locking out ministers who oppose 3rd runway

On the day MPs left for their summer break on 21st July, the Cabinet Office slipped out the names of 10 senior Tories on the Economic Affairs (Airports) sub-Committee. This committee will consider what to do about a new runway. Chaired by David Cameron it includes vocal supporters of a 3rd Heathrow runway including Chancellor George Osborne and Business Secretary Sajid Javid. There are concerns that the committee’s membership deliberately excludes the Cabinet members (Justine Greening, Philip Hammond, Theresa May, Theresa Villiers, Greg Hands   – and even Boris).  Also on the Committee are:  Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Environment Secretary Liz Truss, Scotland Secretary David Mundell, Communities Secretary Greg Clark, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin and Chief Whip Mark Harper.  The make up of the Committee is seen as indicating that David Cameron is ready to over-rule concerns from ministers who oppose the runway, and suggests the final decision will not be made by the Cabinet as a whole.  John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, said:  ‘It certainly looks like a stitch-up. It could be Cameron is going for a solution he believes will work in the short-term but could backfire in the medium term because some of the Cabinet ministers who are against a third runway feel so strongly that it could be a resigning issue.’

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/cabinet-stitch-up-on-heathrow-cameron-chairing-runway-sub-committee-locking-out-ministers-who-oppose-3rd-runway/

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Possible resignation of Zac Goldsmith as Richmond MP over Heathrow threatens May’s slender majority

Theresa May’s slender Commons majority risks being cut even further if she backs a third runway at Heathrow, because Zac Goldsmith may resign the Tory whip and fight a by-election as an independent in his Richmond Park seat.  Zac has said in the past that he might resign if the government favoured a Heathrow runway, as the airport has highly negative noise impacts on his constituency. Zac has a majority of more than 23,000, but he voted for Leave in the EU Referendum. His popularity could be reduced by a Brexit backlash or if the Tory vote splits. While Zac’s views on Heathrow expansion are in tune with many voters in his seat, almost 70% of people who voted in Richmond upon Thames on June 23 backed Remain. The Lib-Dems  – who held the seat before Zac – said they would put Brexit at the centre of any by-election contest in the constituency. Brexit and Heathrow are two of the most important issues in Richmond.  Mr Goldsmith is understood not to have made up his mind yet whether to stand as the Tory contender, an independent or quit Parliament. Mrs May has a Commons majority of twelve.
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Zac Goldsmith’s vow over Heathrow threatens May’s slender majority

By NICHOLAS CECIL AND JOE MURPHY  (Evening Standard)

12.9.2016

Theresa May’s slender Commons majority risks being cut even further if she backs a third runway at Heathrow, it emerged today.

Allies of Zac Goldsmith believe he may resign the Tory whip and fight a by-election as an independent in his Richmond Park seat.

Today, the Lib-Dems said they would put Brexit at the centre of any by-election contest in the constituency, which overwhelmingly backed Remain.

Mr Goldsmith, 41, will quit if the Government, as expected, gives the green light to a bigger Heathrow within weeks.

His majority of more than 23,000 could be put in peril by a Brexit backlash or if the Tory vote splits. While the Eurosceptic is in tune with many voters in his seat in his opposition to a third runway, almost 70 per cent of people who voted in Richmond upon Thames on June 23 backed Remain.

A senior Lib-Dem source said: “Two of the biggest issues in Richmond are Brexit and Heathrow. On both issues this Brexit Conservative government is on the wrong side of local opinion.”

Mr Goldsmith is understood not to have made up his mind yet whether to stand as the Tory contender, an independent or quit Parliament. Mrs May has a Commons majority of 12.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/zac-goldsmith-s-vow-over-heathrow-threatens-may-s-slender-majority-a3342681.html

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See earlier:

Tory candidate for London Mayor Zac Goldsmith will vote to leave EU

21 February 2016
BBC

Zac Goldsmith is standing as Tory candidate for London mayor after Boris Johnson steps down.  The Conservative candidate for London Mayor, Zac Goldsmith, will vote to leave the European Union, his team has confirmed.

Mr Goldsmith’s opposition candidates, Labour’s Sadiq Khan and the Lib Dems’ Caroline Pidgeon, have both said they will campaign to stay in the EU.

Current London Mayor Boris Johnson has also said he will campaign to leave.

London Labour has responded to Zac Goldsmith by tweeting: “No serious candidate for Mayor of London would put the prosperity of our city at risk by voting to leave the EU”.
Mr Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond Park and north Kingston, has yet to release a statement as to why he has taken this decision.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-35625097

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Zac Goldsmith says Heathrow expansion would split the Cabinet with opposition from the very top

Zac Goldsmith was re-elected to his Richmond Park seat with a majority of about 23,000 – up from a 4,000 majority in 2010. He has always been very firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway. Zac believes that if Heathrow is “chosen” for approval by the Airports Commission, it would cause a split at the very top of government, and a real problem for David Cameron: “If you look at the cabinet today, there are at least 3 heavyweight people there, Philip Hammond, Justine Greening and Boris Johnson and others, in fact, who are implacably opposed to Heathrow expansion … He’d face a split at the highest level and I don’t think a fragile government with a small majority wants to do that.”  Zac also says giving the go-ahead to Heathrow would be “an off-the-scale betrayal” from David Cameron, who came to west London before the 2010 election and promised locals, “No ifs, no buts, no 3rd runway” – and that there wouldn’t be a new runway under the Conservatives. Zac has repeated his threat of resigning if the government backs a Heathrow runway. His resignation would trigger a by-election in which he could stand as an independent on that one issue. It would offer him the opportunity to get a lot of publicity for the anti- runway case.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/05/zac-goldsmith-says-heathrow-expansion-would-split-the-cabinet-with-opposition-from-the-very-top/

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and

Zac Goldsmith: Heathrow as a hub is not the answer – better competition between London airports is

Zac Goldsmith is unarguably an important part of whatever decision the government makes on whether to build a runway. Writing in the Standard on 14th December, Zac said “London’s prosperity depends on it being connected to the world — particularly those emerging markets where new business and jobs will come from. That is not best achieved by creating a monopoly on one edge of our city. We need competition and choice….The irony is that even if Heathrow is expanded, it will not provide the additional capacity we need. Figures produced by the Airports Commission itself show that new activity at an expanded Heathrow would be at the expense of competing airports .. [it] would suck in flights from across the South-East and undermine competition not only at Gatwick and Stansted but as far afield as Manchester and Birmingham too.” And ” hubs will likely soon cease to exist. The new generation of aircraft can travel point to point for longer, and at a fraction of the cost” so a massive airport like a 3 runway Heathrow will not be needed. “The priority is competition and, if and when there is need for additional capacity, for that reason it would need to be at either Stansted or Gatwick, whichever can offer the best value for money without compromising carbon, noise and air-quality limits.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/12/zac-goldsmith-heathrow-as-a-hub-is-not-the-answer-better-competition-between-london-airports-is/

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Steelworkers and their MPs press for Heathrow expansion, to save steel industry jobs

Heathrow has had a new report done by a consultancy called QUOD,  on the amount of steel that would be needed for its new runway and terminals – and the number of jobs this might create directly and indirectly, for the steel industry.  Heathrow says they would be using 370,000 tonnes of steel ( this would not be the smaller scheme now in prospect, to cut costs, but the original). There are hopes that this might generate around 400 direct steel jobs – if Heathrow used only UK steel – over 2 – 3 years. There might be another 300 indirect jobs – making a total of 700 jobs.  This would be some time around 2021 to 2026. The 370,000 tonnes of steel would be the equivalent of nearly 10% of UK steel produced for domestic use in 2015. Seven Labour MPs (Kevin Barron, Tom Blenkinsop, Sarah Champion, Kevan Jones, Jonathan Reynolds, Angela Smith and Anna Turley) representing steel communities (such as Scunthorpe, and Teesside) across the North and south Wales have called on Business Secretary Greg Clark to “get on with” Heathrow expansion.  Steel workers have for years lived with the threat of devastating job losses as firms threaten to close down unprofitable UK steel plants.  The UK steelworkers’ union Community backs the 3rd Heathrow runway, hoping it gives respite to their industry for many years. The MPs’ letter says: “By backing Heathrow you will be making a statement of intent, a decision in the national interest, and a first step in reviving a modern and sustainable British steel sector.”
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British steel workers plead with ministers to push for Heathrow expansion

The steel industry claim a third runway would keep thousands of jobs. 

By   (International Business Times – UK)

September 11, 2016

British steel workers will plead with ministers this week to push ahead with plans to expand Heathrow, claiming a new runway will keep steel jobs.

An estimated 370,000 tons of steel will be needed to complete the expansion which will include new terminals, securing at least 700 jobs for the next 10 years.

Union leaders, backed by MPs and business chiefs, will write to Business Secretary Greg Clarke calling on him to back plans for the third runway.

The project would require a 10th of Britain’s total steel output for 2015 making the contract highly sought-after.

Heathrow has announced it plans to give British steel companies a fair opportunity in vying for the lucrative contract, rallying plants in Scunthorpe, Port Talbot and Teesside.

Labour MP Anna Turley was in support of the push. Speaking to the Sun on Sunday she said: “It will kick-start communities under threat of job cuts.”

Fresh controversy emerged last week surrounding the third runway when a leaked document revealed Theresa May’s plans to give ministers a free vote on airport expansion.

Prime Minister Theresa May is allegedly considering waiving Cabinet “collective responsibility” allowing Boris Johnson and Justine Greening, who are both firmly against the expansion, to openly oppose the move.

Senior Tory MP Grant Shapps speaking to Theresa May said any free vote would be an “absolute dereliction of duty”.

He also condemned a free vote on a matter that involves such “an enormous decision for Britain’s future”.

The Cabinet is considering whether to proceed with a third runway at Heathrow or approve a rival development at Gatwick instead ahead of a vote in the autumn.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/british-steel-workers-plead-ministers-push-heathrow-expansion-1580751

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But is creating a relatively low number of jobs over a few years sufficient justification to ruin huge areas, and negatively impact hundreds of thousands of people through aircraft noise, for decades? Not to mention the increased CO2 emissions for decades? Does one right justify other enormous wrongs?


Heathrow’s press release:

Heathrow to save 700 jobs in embattled UK steel industry

T2 Construction
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The QUOD study that this is derived from is at QUOD_Heathrow-and-Steel
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  • Expanded Heathrow needs 370,000 tonnes of UK steel – equivalent to building 30 Shards or 16 Wembley stadia – securing 700 British steel jobs
  • Seven northern Labour MPs demand Heathrow expansion be included in Government’s upcoming industrial strategy
  • Influential steelworkers’ union Community declares support for expanded Heathrow, urges immediate approval of project to protect UK steelmaking

Seven Labour MPs representing steel communities across the North have called on Business Secretary Greg Clark to get on with Heathrow expansion after the airport revealed it expected to need 370,000 tonnes of steel to build its new terminals in the early 2020s – representing 10% of the UK’s 2015 steel output and the equivalent of building 30 new Shards or 16 Wembley stadia.

The airport has already pledged to follow the new public sector procurement rules regarding steel purchasing and new research released today by economic consultancy QUOD concluded that the tonnage required for an expanded Heathrow could sustain 700 jobs across the UK.

This is welcome news for communities such as Scunthorpe, Port Talbot and Teesside – all areas that have lived with the threat of devastating job losses as firms pledge to close down UK steel plants.

Responding to the research, the UK steelworkers’ union Community today backed Heathrow’s expansion plans as vital for the long-term future of the UK’s steel industry.

Roy Rickhuss of Community said: “Theresa May has a real opportunity to deliver on her promise to build a better, fairer Britain by backing Heathrow expansion and securing a long-term future for British steel. It’s absolutely critical that we don’t stonewall private infrastructure projects that are going to stimulate demand for our steel. 

“Heathrow expansion is a ready-to-go project that could secure 700 UK steel jobs. Our steel communities are looking to government to secure their future, Heathrow expansion can be the first step in that long term industrial strategy we desperately need.”
Community joins the GMB and top steel constituency MPs from across the country to call on Clark to include Heathrow expansion in his hotly anticipated industrial strategy for steel and to pressure Government colleagues to get on with approving a decision.

Gareth Stace, Director, UK Steel, said:“By committing to use UK steel Heathrow is not only supporting the industry at a critical time, it is also setting an important precedent for all major infrastructure and construction projects in Britain. UK produced steel is high quality and competitively priced, and it supports thousands of jobs and communities. A revitalised steel industry is one of the key foundations Britain will need if we are to secure our place as a global trading powerhouse in a post-Brexit world.”

Tim Roache GMB Union, General Secretary said: “The amount of steel that will be required to build this major project will be a much needed boost for the UK Steel Industry, steel workers and their communities. This is another good reason why the UK government needs to make a decision quickly in support of Heathrow expansion.”

Redcar MP Anna Turley, whose constituency has been a major force in the British steel industry, said: “Unions, MPs and manufacturers are clear that an expanded Heathrow will kick-start growth across the UK – particularly for steel communities currently under threat from mass job losses. In the wake of Brexit putting years of economic uncertainty on the horizon, we need to say yes to projects like Heathrow which will create thousands of jobs and show Britain is serious about its future.”

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “If the Prime Minister greenlights expansion of Heathrow, the biggest privately funded construction project in the UK, she will help create jobs up and down the country.  In the steel industry alone, we will support up to 700 skilled jobs by ordering up to 370,000 tonnes of high quality steel.  Heathrow expansion will be the cornerstone of the UK’s economy.” 

–Ends–

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Notes to editors:

The full research from independent economic consultancy QUOD is

at QUOD_Heathrow-and-Steel

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The full letter from MPs to the Business Secretary is copied below:
Dear Secretary of State,

We urge you to include Heathrow expansion as a cornerstone of your industrial strategy for steel.

You will be aware that earlier this year, Heathrow signed up to the Government’s public procurement rules for steel, pledging to advertise requirements for steel in the UK, and to take into account the socio-economic impact of the steel sourced across all major future projects.

In correspondence to us, Heathrow have confirmed that expansion would require an estimated 370,000 tonnes of steel to build its new runway and terminal buildings. Independent economic analysis suggests this could sustain an estimated 700 jobs in the steel industry over a five year period from 2021.

Infrastructure can save our steel industry in every corner of the UK. Welsh steel helped build The Shard and Crossrail, steel from Scunthorpe built the Olympic Stadium, and you won’t need to be told that steel from Teesside built the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Heathrow’s Terminal 5, as well as the iconic Transporter Bridge in your hometown.

As a Teesside man, you know how high quality jobs in steel can support an entire town. The Government has sat on its hands while Chinese ‘dumping’ has shattered the British steel industry. Backing big infrastructure that wants to buy UK steel can be the start of our fightback.Your colleagues have pledged to make a decision on Heathrow in October.

The UK steel sector is missing a known infrastructure pipeline. By backing Heathrow you will be making a statement of intent, a decision in the national interest, and a first step in reviving a modern and sustainable British steel sector.

Yours sincerely,

Sir Kevin Barron MP (Rother Valley); Tom Blenkinsop MP (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland); Sarah Champion MP (Rotherham) ; Kevan Jones MP (North Durham); Jonathan Reynolds MP (Stalybridge and Hyde); Angela Smith MP (Penistone and Stockbridge); Anna Turley MP (Redcar)

http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Expansion-News-23/7256

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Legal & General’s Nigel Wilson suggests government “should abandon all the big infrastructure projects beginning with the letter H”

Legal & General chief executive Nigel Wilson has suggested that the government “should abandon all the big infrastructure projects beginning with the letter H” – ie. Hinkley, HS2 and Heathrow.  He thinks that instead of these, the UK would get much better value spending its limited resources in areas such as social housing, renewables and more mundane but much-needed projects. Legal & General, an insurance company, is a large and important investor, and accustomed to assessing the prospects of long term projects. Anthony Hilton, writing in the Standard, says Theresa May’s head of policy at No.10 is John Godfrey, who was until July 2016, the head of policy at Legal & General, and thinks along the same lines as Nigel Wilson. He considers HS2 is probably the easiest to ditch, as there are better ways to increase rail capacity between London and Birmingham – and the saving of 25 minutes is not vital. “If, for prestige reasons, we need another high-speed train, then let’s put it where it is needed and link Liverpool toManchester, Leeds and Newcastle, with a southern spur through Sheffield and Nottingham to Birmingham.” There are numerous reasons not to to ahead with Hinkley. And Heathrow costs far too much, with the final sum being perhaps £36 billion, of which around £18 -20 billion to be paid by taxpayers. It is also fiercely opposed and “resisted to the bitter end by some very vociferous people.” There would be inevitable years of legal wrangling and planning to secure it.
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Anthony Hilton: Back to drawing board on infrastructure plans

by Anthony Hilton (Evening Standard)

13.9.2016

Legal & General chief executive Nigel Wilson delivered some timely advice to the Government last week when he said on Radio Four’s Today programme that it should abandon all the big infrastructure projects beginning with the letter H. 

Specifically, he had in mind the termination of the HS2 high-speed rail link to Birmingham, the Hinkley Point nuclear plant and the third runway at Heathrow.

Instead, he believes the country would get much better value spending its limited resources in areas such as social housing, renewables and more mundane but much-needed projects.

Wilson’s comments carry a lot more weight than most because he practises what he preaches. In the few years since he took the helm, Legal & General has become easily the most ambitious of the insurance companies in seeking out the higher long-term returns to be got from infrastructure and similar illiquid investments.

So is he on to something? Is the Government poised to pull the plug on one, two or all three? And is it right to do so?

The Government may well pay close heed to what he says for reasons that may not be widely appreciated. The first is that Theresa May’s head of policy at No.10 is John Godfrey. Until July, when the Prime Minister came to power, he was head of policy at Legal & General — and very much at one with Wilson on infrastructure. Having spent the last 10 years with the insurer, he may not be widely known, but his early career was politically focused. This has given him a better knowledge than most about how the Government machine works and how to get things done.

A second factor — though it is slightly mischievous to point this out — is the influence of May’s chief of staff, Nick Timothy.

Clearly, he has the PM’s ear, which is significant because there is a widespread — though obviously unsubstantiated — view that he harbours a deep loathing for George Osborne, and by extension for the things Osborne promoted when in Government.

Prominent among these, of course, were HS2, Hinkley and Heathrow expansion. So for that reason alone, you might expect a shadow to fall across them.

Alternatively, you may like to believe that ministers would never allow their own or their advisers’ personal likes and dislikes to influence the decisions they have to take for the good of the country. That is probably not the way to bet though, particularly when the PM’s constituency of  Maidenhead is just sneezing distance from Heathrow.

HS2 is probably the easiest to can. It is the wrong railway, taking the wrong route to the wrong place — and it seems now to have lost its chief executive, who has decamped to Rolls-Royce. If we need more rail capacity toBirmingham, it can be delivered at a fraction of the cost by upgrading the line out of Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill. This would be a conventional train service — but who needs to save a few minutes on a journey in the age of Wi-fi?

If, for prestige reasons, we need another high-speed train, then let’s put it where it is needed and link Liverpool toManchester, Leeds and Newcastle, with a southern spur through Sheffield and Nottingham to Birmingham.

Next, in terms of cost, comes Hinkley. Last week, a clutch of senior business figures — Sir Richard Lambert, Sir Simon Robertson, Lord (Chris) Patten and others — wrote to the Financial Times in support of the project.

They are all members of an EDF advisory board — the French firm being the potential builder of the plant — but what was interesting was that, given they hold this position, how feeble and unfocused their arguments were, and how little they addressed specific concerns about Hinkley.

The letter’s most telling point was that we urgently need more nuclear capacity, but it failed to recognise that there are other cheaper designs for proven reactors we could have as an alternative. They also failed to mention that the two reactors being built to the Hinkley design in Finland and France, are massively late, over budget and still not working.

Finally to Heathrow. Most would probably agree with Sir Howard Davies and the Airport Commission that Heathrow makes the most logical case for expansion. The business community by and large agrees, as manufacturers’ organisation the EEF made clear last week.

But then we confront three problems. The first is that it will take longer to build another runway at Heathrow. Completion is possible by 2025 for Gatwick, against the earliest of 2029 for Heathrow. The second issue is cost. At £7.8 billion, Gatwick would be well under half the estimated £17.7 billion of Heathrow, and financed entirely by the private sector.

There are worries, too, that the Heathrow figure may be understated. It should be doubled to around £36 billion, according to Transport for London, to take account of roadworks and other costs of access.

The third issue is practicality. There is no doubt the Heathrow expansion will be resisted to the bitter end by some very vociferous people. Even if the project has the best case, is it so much better that it is worth spending years in legal wrangling and planning to secure it? Would it not me more pragmatic and sensible to take the second-best option that is deliverable — Gatwick — and get on with it?

Part of the deal might even be to build a high-speed train link to cover the 35 miles between Gatwick and Heathrow. If you cut the journey time to about 20 minutes, which such a train could do, the two airports would in effect be one for making connections.

And if Heathrow still needs more capacity, let it buy Northolt — only eight miles away, or four minutes by fast train.

http://www.standard.co.uk/business/anthony-hilton-back-to-drawing-board-on-infrastructure-plans-a3343901.html

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See earlier:

Time to pull plug on pricey projects, says City financier

Marcus Leroux (The Times)
September 6th 2016,
The boss of one of Britain’s biggest financial institutions has called for the government to abandon “the three Hs” of Hinkley Point, Heathrow expansion and HS2.

Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, one of Britain’s biggest insurance companies and among the country’s largest funders of infrastructure projects, said that the prime minister should pull the plug on three contentious projects in favour of what he calls the “three Gs”: investing in green energy, expanding Gatwick and building a great northern railway.

His forthright views come as the government weighs up decisions on all three, having pleaded for more time to decide whether to push ahead with the £18 billion nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point.

Meanwhile, Theresa May is chairing a committee that will make a final decision on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow in line with the Davies commission’s recommendation.

Mr Wilson insisted that the government should not shirk from bold undertakings. “You can have big projects but they have got to be the right big projects”, he told the BBC’s Today programme. “Part of the role of government is to choose the right things.” On airport expansion, he said that Gatwick was the more straightforward choice.

Mr Wilson said that L&G would happily play a part in funding the expansion of Gatwick.

However, many in the airline industry have questioned airlines’ willingness to use Gatwick, pointing out that it is only now approaching its capacity.

L&G plans to spend £15 billion on funding infrastructure over the next decade, but has previously said that it would eschew HS2 — the high speed railway between London and the north — because it was of “little economic benefit”.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/time-to-pull-plug-on-pricey-projects-says-city-financier-mzsfp6cgl

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and

 

Forget building extra runways

By Sathnam Sanghera (The Times)

8.9.2016

Let’s first fix the appalling transport links to London airports

I can’t help but feel that Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, and one of the country’s largest funders of infrastructure projects, rather missed the point when he called this week for the government to abandon “the three Hs” (Hinkley Point, Heathrow expansion and HS2), in favour of the “three Gs” (investing in green energy, expanding Gatwick and building a great northern railway). Which is that we have, as a nation, lost the ability to build anything at all.

The country that was once home to the industrial revolution and kitted out a large part of the world through empire, now cannot embark on any infrastructure project without years of procrastination, handwringing and delay. Let’s face it, we can’t even build enough houses, let alone modernise rail.

Frankly, any kind of decision on any one of the 3Hs or 3Gs within the next five years would count as incredible progress. Though, personally, I reckon we should aim lower: try to IOTLTOLA, if you like, instead of building the 3Gs or 3Hs. Namely, make a decision to improve our transport links to our London airports.

Theresa May this week echoed London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s claim that that Britain is now “open for business around the world” despite Brexit, but have you tried entering the country from Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick or Luton recently? It’s a national embarrassment, up there alongside Jeremy Corbyn.

Though if I had to be focused in my rage, I would rank Britain’s worst airport journeys as follows, in reverse order of awfulness.

The Heathrow Express

Not everything about this service, launched in 1998 and carrying an average of 16,000 passengers a day, is terrible: it is the fastest rail link from London to Heathrow with a journey time of just 15 minutes to Terminals 2 and 3; the carriages are pleasant; the service is reliable; the wifi works. However, it only gets you to Paddington, which is barely central London, and not useful for much beyond fried chicken outlets.

Moreover, it is wildly expensive, with Transport Focus, the passenger watchdog, recently publishing figures showing it is the most costly route per mile in Britain. A standard walk-on single costs a staggering £22 and if you complain about the cost on Twitter, like I have done, the company will tweet to say that a £5.50 ticket is available, if you book three months in advance and travel at the weekend. How many business travellers can do that? Moreover, there is a cheaper option that Heathrow, which made £132 million from the express link last year, does everything in its power to avoid mentioning to travellers arriving at the airport: the Heathrow Connect train service, which costs £10.20 for an anytime single and typically takes only ten minutes longer. An institutionalised rip off.
Car hire from any airport

Travelling to Vancouver last month, I managed to get off a plane and into a borrowed car within 35 minutes. Picking up my own car in Gatwick recently, through a complex system of shuttles and car parks, took two hours. And that’s before the nightmare of tackling London’s traffic began.

The Gatwick/Stansted “Express”

Now airport names are, of course, the biggest trade description offences in the book: “London Stansted” and “London Luton” Airports both being located so far from the capital that it can take longer to get to them than to Paris. But the description of any of these train services as an “express” is even more ludicrous.

The last time I got the Stansted Express, the journey of about 38 miles took 47 minutes, which works out at an average of a pathetic 49 mph. My last Gatwick “Express”, meanwhile, was subject to heavy delays. But then, at least a train arrived after an hour or so: most regular travellers from these more provincial airports have probably had the experience of missing the last train as a result of managers who seem to be unaware that London is a 24-hour world city.

In arguing against the expansion of Heathrow, Simon Jenkins has claimed that London’s airports have “next to nothing to do with ‘business and industry’ and the much-vaunted UK plc” — “they are about leisure and tourism. Some 80 per cent of air travellers in and out of London are not classed as ‘businessmen’, and even those who claim this elevated title are probably on freebie jaunts.” But even if he is right, the fact that 20 per cent of business travellers risk being subjected to such an experience on arriving in Britain is an embarrassment.

Any black cab from a “London” airport

If you follow the official “taxi” signs in any of the aforementioned airports, you will be lead to a rank of official licensed Hackney cabs. Which must be nice if this is your first visit to Britain: you get to ride in an iconic vehicle; the drivers know where they are going, having done the knowledge. Except this is where the fun ends. The drivers work to a bunch of seemingly random official and unofficial rules (minimum fare of £2.60 at all times, refusal to go anywhere other than central London, reluctance to accept credit cards or Scottish pound notes, refusal to listen to anything other than talk radio, etc).

Then, when you arrive at your destination, it is quite possible you will be presented with a bill of up to £100, often more than the cost of your actual airline ticket. There are signs that one of two London airports are trying to accommodate Britain’s higher value minicab industry: a new minicab rank – with space for up to 800 vehicles – is reportedly being created at Heathrow. But at the moment, London airports make it as hard as possible to pick an alternative.

The message to overseas business travellers is clear: Britain is open to business, albeit subject to closed shops, at the mercy of vested interests, and very keen indeed to rip you off.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/sathnam-sanghera-n63wbbqrb

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One comment below the story:

For those who live north or west of the M25 Gatwick might as well be on Mars it’s so unreachable through the traffic . Heathrow is also pretty hopeless. As evidenced by even the Governor of the Bank of England bring late for the prime ministerial flight .

Birmingham makes far more sense.  To catch a plane that leaves before noon requires an overnight stay at Gatwick .(To check in at ten am or before. )

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Heathrow’s compensation pledges may be too low to match its claims

The difference between Heathrow Airport’s pledges to residents and its commitment to funding those pledges could be hundreds of millions of £s.  Campaign group Stop Heathrow Expansion has checked up on the figures and found a funding shortfall in the airport’s compensation proposals for local residents. With what little information Heathrow has provided, and using best estimates to fill in the blanks, it seems likely there would be a HUGE shortfall. Heathrow has said there would be “over 160,000” homes eligible.  But the Airports Commission found that over 220,000 households could be in the Lden 55 db zone.  Heathrow’s property compensation has already been criticised as inadequate, offering little potential for those displaced homeowners to find similar alternative accommodation further away from the airport where property prices have relentlessly increased.  Heathrow’s “Our Manifesto for Britain” dated 23.5.2016 has the figure of £1 billion, but that is – Heathrow has confirmed – to cover both property sales, as well as noise compensation.  The £1 billion consists of the £700 million Heathrow has often said it will spend on noise insulation – and just £300 million for home loss compensation. And if (Heathrow’s own figure) this was up to 3,750 homes, as well as the 780 being demolished, that does not work out as much for each. Heathrow presumes it will make a lot of money by re-selling the homes it buys up.
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Possible re-consideration of expanding Birmingham airport, to rebalance UK airport capacity

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Downing St eyes Birmingham airport expansion

Jim O’Neill, the Treasury minister, has urged Number 10 to look at the growth potential at Birmingham airport, which would be less than 40 minutes away from London after HS2 reaches the Midlands in 2026.

Lord O’Neill, whose brief covers infrastructure and regional development, argues that Birmingham would also offer exceptional links to the Northern Powerhouse cities of Leeds and Manchester once a northern extension is completed in 2033.
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…… full FT story at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4f8b962a-76a1-11e6-b60a-de4532d5ea35.html#axzz4K1iwKTXR

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Birmingham Airport profits soar after ‘busiest ever year’

27.8.2016 (Express & Star)

Soaraway profits have rocketed by 80 per cent at Birmingham Airport as it enjoyed its busiest-ever year, new figures reveal.

Pre-tax profit jumped to £25 million in the 12 months to the end of March, according to accounts newly filed at Companies House.

As passenger figures and air traffic soared to new highs, turnover at the airport grew by £9.5m to £130.5m.

In their strategic report, directors said: “During the year ended March 2016, Birmingham Airport reported its busiest ever year and for the first time in the airport’s history 10 million passengers passed through the terminals.

“It was also the fifth consecutive year of passenger growth, surpassing the previous record set during 2015/16 by 5.5 per cent.”

The airport earns its income from two key revenue streams. Aeronautical income is generated by charges levied on airlines, for aircraft and passengers using its facilities. Commercial income is from activities including duty free shopping, car parking, catering and property rental.

The report reveals that Birmingham’s aeronautical income grew by four per cent in the year but the commercial side enjoyed another strong year with income up 10.5 per cent, boosted by developments in the terminal with a new Giraffe restaurant and revamps to its Wetherspoon pub and Dixons and Next shops.

New duty free brands including Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay and a World of Whisky along with the new Joe and the Juice coffee shop are expected to help boost income this year.

It was a year that also saw 11 new airlines signing up to fly from Birmingham, including American Airlines, Wizz Air, Vueling, Iberia Express, Qatar, Icelandair, Czech Airlines, VLM and Blue Air.

But hopes 2015’s extended summer charter flights to China would turn into a permanent service crashed earlier this year when tour operator Caissa Touristic pulled out.

2015 saw a string of new flight destinations, however, as passenger numbers grew to 10.4 million. That growth has continued unabated this year, with figures earlier this week revealing 11 million people passed through the West Midlands gateway over the last 12 months.

The most popular destinations last year were Dublin, Dubai and Amsterdam.

The year saw employee costs rising almost 18 per cent as the airport took air traffic control services in-house, ending its contract with national service NATS. The airport now employs 619 people, 33 more than in the previous year.

Operating profit at the group, before exceptional items, increased 28.8 per cent to £39.3m with higher income partially offset by higher operating costs.

The airport is half owned by the eight West Midlands local councils, including Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell and Birmingham, and half by Canada’s Ontario Teachers Pension Fund. Employees also have a small stake.

The success of the business saw them benefitting from dividend payouts of £94.6 million, including a special dividend of £74.7m paid in April.

After more than £23 million spending on major projects the previous year, the airport’s capital project budget fell to just £9.7m last year to pay for an upgrade to its baggage system, a new airbridge for the Emirates A380 superjumbo, security search equipment and more energy efficient LED lighting in the car park.

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/local-news/2016/08/27/birmingham-airport-profits-soar-after-busiest-ever-year/

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See earlier:

 

Birmingham airport getting some more long haul passengers, making use of its runway extension

Birmingham airport, in common with the majority of other UK airports, has been seeing high rates of growth over the past two years. The UK feels itself to be out of recession, flights are cheap and the price of oil (and jet fuel) is very low. With that combination of circumstances, airports are emerging from the fall in numbers of both passengers and ATMs that started in 2007 and continued till 2010, with a slow recovery. Birmingham opened its runway extension in May 2014, with hopes of many more long haul flights, as the runway was now long enough for heavy aircraft. Local campaigners say the growth in numbers reflects the aggressive marketing by Birmingham airport since then. The airport says it passed the 10 million passenger mark last year, and has now reached the 11 million mark. (If the airports cannot increase their passenger throughput now, after a deep dip, before we get into another recession and the price of jet fuel rises again, when can they?) Birmingham says over the past year their long-haul traffic increased by 26%, with particular growth to the Middle East (+34.1%), North America (+32.6%). That was, of course, what they paid all that money for the runway extension for. It can take flights that otherwise might have gone via Heathrow. Birmingham is keenly against a 3rd Heathrow runway, as it would be a bitter rival.

Click here to view full story…

and more news stories at  Birmingham Airport News 

 

 

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GACC denounces the “obscene” bonus of up to £5 million for Wingate if he gets the 2nd runway

GACC is appalled to read the Sunday Times report that Gatwick boss, Stewart Wingate, is in line to receive a bonus of up to £5 million. Brendon Sewill chairman of GACC commented: “If Gatwick gets a new runway, he walks off with an obscene bonus while hundreds of thousands of people will suffer more noise;  50,000 will suffer worse pollution;  thousands of motorists will be stuck in traffic jams; thousands of rail passengers will have to stand;  Sussex countryside will be diminished by a new town the size of Crawley; 17 historic buildings will be demolished; and worse climate change damage will cause misery across the world.”  All that misery and Wingate swans off with his bonus – but with the curses of thousands ringing in his ears. GACC is also fascinated to learn that Gatwick has spent almost £40 million on its runway publicity campaign,  on advertising, planning for the 2nd runway and undermining its rivals.  Brendon Sewill says:  “An American company has been using American style advertising and lobbying tactics  But all the evidence is that British Cabinet Ministers, British MPs and British civil servants are not easily bought.  We have a proud tradition that Government decisions need to be taken on a rational analysis of the evidence.  So all those expensive lunches may actually prove counterproductive.”
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Gatwick boss obscene bonus denounced

11.9..2016  (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign – press release

GACC is appalled to read that Gatwick boss, Stewart Wingate, is in line to receive a bonus of £5 million. [Sunday Times story today]

If Gatwick gets a new runway, he walks off with an obscene bonus while – according to Brendon Sewill chairman of GACC – hundreds of thousands of people will suffer more noise;   [According to the Airports Commission a new Gatwick runway would mean a threefold increase in the number of people affected by serious noise (compared to no increase if at Heathrow).  AC Consultation November 2014. P 44]

50,000 will suffer worse pollution;Airports Commission Air Quality consultation May 2015. P 44 ] thousands of motorists will be stuck in traffic jams;  [No improvements are planned for the M25 as part of the Gatwick runway plan.] thousands of rail passengers will have to stand;  [Research study: Rail Infrastructure.  http://www.gacc.org.uk/research-studies.php]  Sussex countryside will be diminished by a new town the size of Crawley;[West Sussex County Council]  17 historic buildings will be demolished; [GACC report 2016] and worse climate change damage will cause misery across the world.’All that misery and Wingate swans off with his bonus – but with the curses of thousands ringing in his ears.

GACC is also fascinated to learn that Gatwick Airport Ltd has spent £40 million on its runway publicity campaign. [Sunday Times story today] states: “Wingate has spent almost £40m on advertising, planning for the second runway and undermining its rivals.”

Brendon Sewill says:  ‘An American company has been using American style advertising and lobbying tactics. Spraying champagne round as from a fire engine!  But all the evidence is that British Cabinet Ministers, British MPs and British civil servants are not easily bought.  We have a proud tradition that Government decisions need to be taken on a rational analysis of the evidence.  So all those expensive lunches may actually prove counterproductive.’

www.gacc.org.uk 

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See also:

Wingate again “prepared to give assurances” (ie. but not yet) on GIP not selling Gatwick soon

The Times – which actively supports a Gatwick runway – has a feature on Stewart Wingate. This repeats (uncritically) Gatwick’s claim that it can build a 2nd runway without public subsidy. The reality is that at least £12 billion of public money would be needed to upgrade surface access, which struggles now, let along with 35 million more passengers. The Times repeats Wingate’s claims (very dubious) that the runway can be added while capping airport charges. He blames “Treasury orthodoxy” by the Airports Commission, stemming from George Osborne, which favoured Heathrow “from the very beginning” for not backing Gatwick. Wingate admits he has spent almost £40 million on advertising, planning for the 2nd runway and trying to undermine Heathrow. If Gatwick got a 2nd runway, he would personally get up to £5 million for a sale of the airport (there would be a total of £10million for senior managers, and he gets half of that). Mind you, he has a “£475,000 salary plus up to 100% bonus.” GIP only paid £1.5 million for Gatwick, but gave big dividends, of £48m in 2015 and £133m in 2014. Wingate says GIP is “prepared to give the government reassurances that it would not sell out immediately should it get the green light for a second runway.” ie. no assurances yet. And “The shareholders are very much open to having a discussion on structures that satisfy the government.”

Click here to view full story…


See earlier:

 

Top Gatwick bosses stand to make personal fortunes if airport price raised by 2nd runway

The Sunday Times has found that several of Gatwick’s senior bosses are signed up to a bonus scheme that should pay out handsomely if the airport is sold.  In small print in Gatwick’s 2011 accounts the bonuses of “certain members” of its board are directly linked to the amount GIP gets from sale of the airport.  It has long been suspected that Stewart Wingate, Nick Dunn (and others?) would stand to gain significantly, themselves, if they could raise the value of the airport by getting a 2nd runway.  Now the disclosure has proved it.  The cap on how much they could make is not revealed. Gatwick lent the executives £2.8m to buy into the share scheme, with the interest-free loans repayable once they sell their shares.  GIP owns 42% of the airport, with much of the rest held by investors from Abu Dhabi, California, Korea and Australia. Gatwick have been doing all they can to block a Heathrow runway, to get their own.  They are also doing all they can to increase the maximum number of flights per hour through flight path changes – again to raise the airport’s price. GIP bought Gatwick for £1.5 billion in 2009, and has just sold London City airport for almost x3 what they paid for it – and almost x32 its annual underlying profits.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/top-gatwick-bosses-stand-to-make-person-fortunes-if-airport-price-raised-by-2nd-runway/

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Anger at revelation that Gatwick bosses to personally profit (millions of £s) if 2nd runway allowed

The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) has expressed anger at the revelation in the Sunday Times that Gatwick bosses are set to benefit personally by several million pounds if permission is given for a 2nd runway. GACC says a 2nd runway would bring misery to tens of thousands of people. There would be three times as many people affected by serious amounts of aircraft noise, and new flight paths over peaceful areas. About 50,000 people would suffer from worse air quality. A new runway would mean traffic jams on motorways and local roads, overcrowding on the trains and an influx of new workers with a need to build 40,000 new houses on green fields. But with all these negative impacts on ordinary people, Gatwick bosses would walk away with huge bonuses. GACC chairman, Brendon Sewill, commented: “Until now Gatwick Airport Ltd have tried to persuade the public that a 2nd runway would be in the national interest. Now the cat is out of the bag! There is no real need for a new runway at Gatwick.” GACC will be investigating how far these new bonus payments will be subject to the normal full 45% rate of income tax. Despite making large profits, Gatwick Airport has paid no corporation tax since being bought by GIP due to tax fiddles similar to those operated by Starbucks or Google.

Click here to view full story…

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Wingate again “prepared to give assurances” (ie. but not yet) on GIP not selling Gatwick soon

The Times – which actively supports a Gatwick runway – has a feature on Stewart Wingate. This repeats (uncritically) Gatwick’s claim that it can build a 2nd runway without public subsidy. The reality is that at least £12 billion of public money would be needed to upgrade surface access, which struggles now, let along with 35 million more passengers. The Times repeats Wingate’s claims (very dubious) that the runway can be added while capping airport charges.  He blames “Treasury orthodoxy” by the Airports Commission, stemming from George Osborne, which favoured Heathrow “from the very beginning” for not backing Gatwick.  Wingate admits he has spent almost £40 million on advertising, planning for the 2nd runway and trying to undermine Heathrow. If Gatwick got a 2nd runway, he would personally get up to £5 million for a sale of the airport (there would be a total of £10m for senior managers, and he gets half of that). Mind you, he has a “£475,000 salary plus up to 100% bonus.”  GIP only paid £1.5 million for Gatwick, but gave big dividends, of £48m in 2015 and £133m in 2014.  Wingate says GIP is “prepared to give the government reassurances that it would not sell out immediately should it get the green light for a second runway.”  ie. no assurances yet. And  “The shareholders are very much open to having a discussion on structures that satisfy the government.”
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The cost to the taxpayer of the surface access improvements for Gatwick

TfL estimated that comparable “optimal” investment level of investment needed – the total package of transport schemes required to deliver an optimal level of surface transport access – for Heathrow was £17.6bn, Gatwick £12.4bn. 10.6.2014 http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/06/level-playing-field-on-transport-costs-vital-to-proper-assessment-of-runway-options-says-tfl/

and http://www.runwaysuk.com/content/surface/docs/micheledix-150.pdf


Times article

(Times is a very enthusiastic backer of Gatwick, advertising their runway every day for months on their Red Box daily emails, and using the word “Obviously” liberally, to help boost the Gatwick advert slogan)

We must have a second runway, says Gatwick’s chief — obviously

With a new cabinet sifting the evidence, Gatwick boss Stewart Wingate hopes former ‘foregone conclusions’ will be jettisoned

John Collingridge
September 11 2016, 12:01am,

Article at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/we-must-have-a-second-runway-says-gatwicks-chief-obviously-5qr0j990v

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Comment under the article, from GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) member Peter Jordan:

  • Wingate is not saying what really matters:  the number of flights using Gatwick has hardly changed in recent years.  That’s because more passengers are being fitted more efficiently into larger planes.
  • Confusing passenger numbers with flight numbers just adds to the list of misleading “facts” coming from the Gatwick press office.
  • We’ve had the idiotic statistic that Gatwick Airport connects to hundreds of rail stations, which doesn’t mention that all rail links use the overloaded London-Brighton line.
  • We’ve had the offers to pay for infrastructure that sound so impressive until you add up all the infrastucture that would be needed that he won’t pay for.
  • We’ve had the “Gatwick obviously” campaign which ignores the fact that airlines want a hub at Heathrow where they can pick up transfer passengers, not an airport south of London with poor transport connections.
  • He’s not mentioned that most passengers arriving at Gatwick by car have to drive past Heathrow to get there.
  • He’s not mentioning that Britain makes a net loss on leisure travel (because we spend more abroad than incoming tourists spend in Britain), and Gatwick has 70% leisure travellers.

See earlier:

 

 

New GACC research paper indicates higher Gatwick charges for runway could lead to airlines moving to other airports

There is a problem about how Gatwick would pay for a 2nd runway, bearing in mind the airlines that use it are not keen on extra charges. Local campaign GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has produced a short research paper looking into the issue.  “Paying for a new Gatwick runway.” They conclude that the steep rise in airport charges at Gatwick which would be needed to pay for a new runway could cause airlines to decamp to other airports such as Stansted or Luton.  The GACC study is based on the estimates made by the Airports Commission that the cost of a new Gatwick runway would mean a rise in airport charges from the current £9 per passenger to £15 to £18, rising to £23 at the peak. Chairman of GACC, Brendon Sewill pointed out: “That is a rise of over 100% and would be serious shock for airlines. easyJet and BA have already expressed anxiety about higher charges, and their unwillingness to pay them. Stansted is at present half full and would be overjoyed to attract business from Gatwick.”  Manchester airport is a salutary reminder of the risk; its new runway opened in 2000 but was followed by a fall in passenger numbers. Manchester airport is still only at about 60% of the capacity of a single runway. Competitive pressure from other airports could make the financing of a new Gatwick runway challenging.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/04/new-gacc-research-paper-indicates-higher-gatwick-airport-charges-could-lead-to-airlines-moving-to-other-airports/


Road and rail chaos, with congestion and over-crowding, predicted if new Gatwick runway built

A new research paper prepared by author and environmental expert Jeremy Early, on Surface access to Gatwick Airport predicts that a new runway at Gatwick would bring road and rail chaos. He points out that the existing road structure is nearly full, with serious delays occurring on many routes, especially on the M23 and A23 into London. Planned improvements will only be sufficient to deal with the forecast growth in traffic  – without a new runway. A new runway, operating at full capacity of 95 million passengers a year, would mean an a massive increase in road traffic movements each day.  It would probably reduce the M25 and M23 to a standstill – all day not just occasionally. On rail,  the report shows that  already between 2010 and 2014 rail journeys in the South-East increased more than 20%. The extra trains that Gatwick airport boasts of are in reality already just to cope with the expected increase in demand – with no new runway. With a new runway Gatwick predict a three-fold increase in the number of air passengers using Gatwick station. It could be standing room only, with no spare capacity on parts of the network.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/10/road-and-rail-chaos-with-congestion-and-over-crowding-predicted-if-new-gatwick-runway-built/


Gatwick “promises” to cap landing charges to £15 + inflation for 30 years (if it gets an unspecified non-existent 30 year “contract” from Government)

Gatwick airport, in frenetic publicity in the months before the Airports Commission runway recommendation has made various pledges – in the hope of currying favour. It says it will “bear all the main risks” of a new runway. Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of Gatwick, has written to Sir Howard Davies saying – among other things – that the landing charge will be kept at £15 (plus inflation) for 30 years. As long as there is no new Heathrow runway. (It is currently £9). Sir Roy said it is “in return for Government agreeing a 30 year contract” though exactly what that means is not explained.  Presumably a contract that there will be no other runway? [Government has not made any such deal with Gatwick, and would be unlikely to]. Gatwick also says it will “bear all the main risks of the expansion programme . . . including long-term risks related to traffic levels, market pricing, construction and operating costs”. How exactly?  Gatwick’s main airline, EasyJet, is not happy with charges rising to £15.  The Airports Commission consultation documents considered Gatwick’s estimate of £15 to be too low, and instead considered “average charges rising to between £15 and £18, with peak charges of up to £23.” These higher levels were due to lower estimated levels of air passenger demand than Gatwick’s optimistic figures, and higher infrastructure costs. [ Airports Commission’s consultation document Page 47].    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/03/gatwick-promises-to-cap-landing-charges-to-15-inflation-for-30-years-if-it-gets-an-unspecified-30-year-contract-from-government/

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EasyJet CEO, Carolyn McCall, again says there is no economic case for a Gatwick runway

Carolyn McCall, the CEO of EasyJet – the largest airline using Gatwick airport – has again said that there is no “economic reason” to build a 2nd runway at Gatwick. She believes it does not need to expand, because of a lack of demand from passengers. She would prefer a runway at Heathrow, as EasyJet and other airlines are “queuing up to get in”. They could make more profit there. Though the airlines want a new Heathrow runway, it is both physically, geographically, environmentally and politically very, very difficult indeed. Gatwick is also geographically and environmentally very, very difficult. For Gatwick to build a new runway, the cost would have to be paid by the airlines, which means flights costing more for passengers. As the budget airlines make thin profits (perhaps £7 per passenger after tax), adding on an extra £30 + to a return trip is utterly contrary to the low cost airline business plan. On dirt cheap flights, £30 extra is enough to matter.  Even though easyJet is currently Gatwick’s biggest customer, Ms McCall said it had “never proved it can really be the kind of airport that Heathrow is.”  Heathrow slot pairs can cost £25 million, but EasyJet got their Gatwick pairs for about £1 million.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/06/easyjet-ceo-carolyn-mccall-again-says-there-is-no-economic-case-for-a-gatwick-runway/ 


 

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