Council leaders, representing the 2M group, say Airports Commission air quality consultation is “not credible or realistic”

The Airports Commission has published a highly technical consultation on air quality, with only 14 working days for responses (3 weeks). It is presented in a way to make it very hard indeed for non-experts to understand. Now speaking on behalf of the cross-party 2M Group, which represents 20 Councils, the leader of Hillingdon Council (Ray Puddifoot), the leader of Richmond Council (Lord True) and cabinet member for environmental services at Windsor & Maidenhead (Carwyn Cox) have complained to the Commission about their consultation. They say it is “not credible or realistic”. Ray Puddifoot said it is not credible or realistic to imagine Heathrow could vastly increase flights, passenger numbers and its freight operation, but with no extra traffic on local roads, or more pollution. He said a 3rd runway would increase pollution levels for roughly 47,000 homes and break EU NO2 limits. Lord True asked why the Commission is estimating pollution levels in 2030, long before the expanded airport is at full capacity, and road traffic is at its peak. Carwyn Cox said the Commission is “gambling” on road vehicles producing fewer emissions in future, and on a congestion charge zone which “are not going to happen”. Many of the same arguments apply to Gatwick too.
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Heathrow pollution report ‘not credible’

22.5.2015 (Evening Standard)
By Nicholas Cecil

Tory town hall chiefs today launched a scathing attack on the Airports Commission, accusing it of underplaying the impact of a third runway at Heathrow.

They claimed an air quality study published by the commission, headed by former LSE boss Sir Howard Davies, was “not credible or realistic”.

Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon council, said: “Davies is telling us that Heathrow can vastly increase flights, passenger numbers and its freight operation, but that there will be no extra traffic on local roads. This is not credible or realistic.”

He said a third runway would increase pollution levels for roughly 47,000 homes and break EU nitrogen dioxide limits. Lord True, leader of Richmond council, added: “Why is Davies estimating pollution levels in 2030, long before the expanded airport is at full capacity? People want to know the full and true impacts on their health once the runways are fully utilised and road traffic is at its peak.”

Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environmental services at Windsor and Maidenhead council, said the commission was “gambling” on cleaner vehicles and a Heathrow congestion charge zone which “are not going to happen”.

The council leaders were speaking on behalf of the cross-party 2M Group, which represents 20 town halls.

Campaigners against a bigger Heathrow believe the report suggests the commission is on the brink of concluding Heathrow could expand within pollution rules. It reports this summer on whether a runway should be built at Gatwick or Heathrow and Boris Johnson has vowed to lie “in front of bulldozers” if Heathrow gets the go-ahead.

The airport said the commission’s report “does not yet fully account for all of Heathrow’s air quality mitigation proposals” but “confirms that Heathrow expansion can be delivered without exceeding air quality levels”.

“Heathrow has already reduced its emissions by 16 per cent over five years, and we recently announced plans to lower them further,” it added.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/heathrow-pollution-report-not-credible-10269647.html

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Even just considering air pollution in 2030, when the runway would not be used intensively, the Airports Commission expects the Heathrow North West runway Scheme “would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties.”

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Airports Commission rushes out new technical consultation (for just 3 weeks) on air quality

The Airports Commission has, at the last minute, produced a very short (only 3 weeks) consultation on air quality. It says this was not done earlier due to the pre-election “purdah” period when there are restrictions on activities such as consultations by government. The timing, shortly after the ruling by the Supreme Court, that more has to be done by the UK on air quality may, or may not, be coincidental. The consultation ends on 29th May. The Commission aims to make its runway recommendation in June, before Sir Howard starts work at RBS (joining its board at the end of June). The consultation outline is given in a cover note, with one main document, an appendix document, 10 pages of maps, and databases of backing data – over 280 pages. All to be checked through in 21 days, including a Bank Holiday. The November 2014 consultation stated that dispersion modelling still needed to be done. That was not included in time for the main consultation. The Commission has now found some differences between the two Heathrow options. It has looked at a range of “mitigation measures” to reduce the level of NO2, and considers whether these would be enough to keep within legal limits. It is a technical consultation, very difficult for lay people – who are not expert in the area of air quality – to understand.

Click here to view full story…

Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes

The Airports Commission has opened a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

Click here to view full story…

West Kent parish councils complain that the Airports Commission air quality consultation period is too short

The Airports Commission was aware, when it put out its main consultation in November 2014, that it had still to produce work on air quality. They finally publicised their consultation the day after the election – 8th May – saying they could not put it out during the pre-election “purdah” period. That left just 14 working days for respondents to reply. The consultation is highly technical, and not something it is easy for a non-expert to read. Another document was added on Monday 18th, leaving only 8 working days till the consultation ends. Now four West Kent parishes have called for more time to put together a “correct and democratic answer”. Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst authorities, said they would be asking Sir Howard to extend the consultation by nine weeks. A number of new High Weald councillors had just been elected, and they need more time to get understand the issues and gather a lot of information before they can agree on it. The Commission is in a rush, as Sir Howard joins the board of RBS at the end of June, and becomes its chairman on 1st September. The Commission therefore wants to make its announcement in June, but the undesirable rush for this consultation means the democratic process is being subverted.

Click here to view full story…

 

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West Sussex council considering congestion charge idea for people travelling to Gatwick

The idea of introducing a congestion charge, if a 2nd runway is built at Gatwick, has been mooted by West Sussex County Council. It is one of several possible mitigation measures mentioned in a draft report produced by the WSCC in response to the Airports Commission’s recent consultation on air quality. If a Gatwick 2nd runway is recommended, West Sussex County Council has called for action to achieve high public transport access and congestion-free road access. Gatwick only has one major road link, and one rail link. If more passengers arrive by rail, there will be serious congestion on the trains. If the passengers arrive by car, there will be road congestion, as well as more air pollution – including more NO2. Gatwick airport has made the rather daft statement that “Gatwick has never breached legal air quality limits and its location means it can guarantee that it never will.”  Gatwick, predictably, hopes air quality would stay within legal limits without the introduction of a deeply unpopular congestion charge. WSCC says though the effectiveness of a congestion charge at Gatwick has not been assessed, it might have an impact on car mode share and overall traffic demand. The matter will be discussed by full council on 23rd May.
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Congestion charge idea mooted for people travelling to Gatwick Airport

Could a Congestion Charge by introduced for people travelling to Gatwick Airport?

20.5.2015 (West Sussex County Times)

By Joshua Powling
The idea of introducing a congestion charge if a second runway is built at Gatwick has been mooted by the county council.

It is one of several possible mitigation measures mentioned in a draft report produced by the authority in response to the Airports Commission’s consultation on air quality.

In the event that a second runway at Gatwick is picked ahead of expansion at Heathrow, West Sussex County Council has called for action to achieve high public transport access and congestion-free road access.

However a spokesperson for Gatwick said that should a second runway be given the go-ahead it has guaranteed that air quality levels will remain within the legal limits in the area close to the airport, something that could be achieved without the introduction of a congestion charge.

But a congestion charge for motorists travelling to the airport is mentioned by the county council as one of the additional mitigation measures that ‘could be implemented’ but have not been specifically highlighted by Gatwick Airport Limited.

The report reads: “It is not clear how effective a congestion charge could be. An assessment on demand management measures in reducing car use at Heathrow Airport was carried out for another module of the Airports Commission’s assessment.

“Whilst the outcome of that assessment cannot be directly transferred to a different airport, the overall conclusions that the imposition of additional charges on car users could have a significant impact on car mode share and overall traffic demand, remain valid.

“Depending on the scale of charge imposed, and the extent of the scheme (that is whether it targets passengers, employees and/or taxis), it is possible that traffic generation with the expanded Gatwick Airport could be reduced to 2013 levels.”

Councillors are due to discuss the proposed response to the Airports Commission on air quality issues at a Full Council meeting on Friday.

Back in January county councillors voted to oppose a second runway at Gatwick, as well as agreeing a response to the Airports Commission’s main consultation.

This reversed the county council’s previous position from 2013, where the majority of members voted to support expansion at Gatwick ‘in principle’.

http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/local/congestion-charge-idea-mooted-for-people-travelling-to-gatwick-airport-1-6752818

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One person comments below the article:

“So to make a second runway at Gatwick “affordable” we are to have little or no additional transport infrastructure, but rely upon reducing travel by local residents and business users by the imposition of a congestion charge (or travel tax).
For many residents of West Sussex travel north always involves travel via Gatwick (M23 or A23), so a trip from Horsham to the “local” hospital at East Surrey will require payment of a travel tax.
If the airport are not prepared to pay for ALL of the necessary infrastructure upgrades the a second runway must be out of the question.”

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The Consultation:

Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes

It is reported that the Airports Commission is now intending to carry out a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

Click here to view full story…

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Brendon Sewill letter in the Times, correcting some claims by “Let Britain Fly”

In a letter to the Times, responding to lobbying by “Let Britain Fly,” Brendon Sewill (Chairman of GACC) corrects some of their inaccuracies. Let Britain Fly put out an open letter, signed by some 100 business people, wanting the government to decide rapidly on building a new runway. They claim that the UK “have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945”. In fact the Gatwick runway was built in 1956-58, and the runway at Stansted was revamped in the late 1980s. They claim that most of London’s airports will be full by 2030, but in fact, if the growth of air travel is constrained within climate change limits, Stansted (now under half full) is not forecast to be full until 2040. The letter also claims that we trade up to 20 times more with countries that we have a direct link to, but this obscures the fact that we develop air links to the countries with which we trade, not the other way round. The claim that Paris has 50% more flights to China than Heathrow is only correct if Hong Kong is excluded. “The truth is that there has been massive resistance from those who value the English countryside, and each time the problem has evaporated because airlines have used larger aircraft, meaning that existing runways have been able to handle more passengers.”
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Airport forecasts

May 19 2015  (letter in the Times)

Sir, The 100-odd signatories of the letter calling for airport expanson (May 15) say that we “have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945”. In fact the Gatwick runway was built in 1956-58, and the old US Air Force runway at Stansted was revamped and given a brand new terminal in the late 1980s.

The claim that most of London’s airports will be full by 2030 is also not accurate. If the growth of air travel is constrained within climate change limits, Stansted (at present less than half full) is not forecast to be full until 2040. The letter also claims that we trade up to 20 times more with countries that we have a direct link to — but no one has yet been able to establish whether the causation is that we have the links to the countries with which we trade. Further, the claim that Paris has 50 per cent more flights to China is only correct if Hong Kong is excluded.

There have been various previous reports proposing new runways: in 1968 a four-runway airport near Aylesbury; in 1970 a government decision to build a four-runway airport at Maplin in the Thames estuary; and in 2003 a white paper announcing that the government had decided to build a new runway at Stansted, to open before 2012.

The signatories describe the non-implementation of these proposals as “political procrastination”. The truth is that there has been massive resistance from those who value the English countryside, and each time the problem has evaporated because airlines have used larger aircraft, meaning that existing runways have been able to handle more passengers.

Brendon Sewill

Chairman, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC)

www.gacc.org.uk

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This letter is in response to the article below [with AirportWatch comments] :

Decide on new Heathrow or Gatwick runway soon, 100 business leaders urge Government

15.5.2015

(By Let Britain Fly – pro aviation lobby group, consisting of the aviation industry, chambers of commerce and businesses)

One hundred business leaders have urged the Government to press ahead with a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick as early as possible.Failure to do so could jeopardise the UK’s growth and competitive within the world economy, the executives add.  [Probably not, as 70% of UK flights are only for leisure purposes. AW comment].
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The Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission is due to make a final recommendation to the Government in the next few weeks on whether Heathrow or Gatwick should get a new runway.One hundred top executives have backed a call by campaign group Let Britain Fly urging ministers to make “a bold and early decision” on the new runway.
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Let Britain Fly director Gavin Hayes said: “With all of London’s airports forecast to be full by 2030, kicking the can down the road is no longer an option. [Air travel demand is only as high as it is because aviation is artificially subsidised; as well as fossil fuels not paying their environmental costs and being unduly cheap, there is no VAT on the cost of air travel, and there is no fuel duty on jet fuel. Even taking account of Air Passenger Duty, the cost of flying is far lower than it should be – if taxation was comparable with, say, car travel.  This causes a high level of demand.  AW comment].
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“This will be one of the first big issues that will test whether the Government is capable of making strategic decisions in the national interest. [Or making inappropriate decisions which bind the  UK into very high carbon infrastructure, and cause serious environmental and other harm to huge areas for miles around any new runway, ignoring the democratic process. Also committing the government and the taxpayer to billions of  ££s in additional costs for extra transport and social infrastructure.  AW comment]. 
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“The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto they would ‘respond to the Airports Commission’s final report’. To maintain the trust and confidence of the business community, it’s essential that response is both positive and timely. [And it should also be democratic, and not be subject to legal challenge on grounds of excessive deterioration to the environment (noise, air pollution, carbon emissions). AW comment].
“After almost three years of debating the issue, a commission decision-day is fast approaching.”
.The business chiefs have put their names to a statement which reads: “Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country.“By value, 40% of our exports go by air. We trade up to 20 times more with countries we have a direct air link to. [Heathrow were pulled up by the Advertising Standards Authority for making a very similar claim, which could not be justified or supported with facts.  Link.  AW comment]. With Heathrow already full, Gatwick full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports full by 2030, the demand for expansion is self-evident.”  [No, see Brendon Sewill comment above]. 

Let Britain Fly said it was concerned that other countries plan on building more than 50 new runways between now and 2036.  [The reason for that is that the UK developed its airports and extensive air travel decades ago. Developing countries are now starting to catch up, so it is axiomatic that they will be building runways – as they did not start as early as the UK. Some of these countries are not required to take the views of local populations, to be negatively impacted by a runway, as seriously as in the UK.  AW comment]. 

It went on: “Decades of inaction mean we are falling behind our competitors.”

If one of two Heathrow runway options on the commission’s shortlist is recommended, the Government would face opposition by some Tory MPs, including London mayor Boris Johnson, who has just been elected for nearby Uxbridge and South Ruislip. [And many others. See Link.  AW comment]. 

Richmond Park Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith is another who is opposed to Heathrow expansion, as is former transport secretary and now International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

http://letbritainfly.com/news/decide-on-new-heathrow-or-gatwick-runway-soon-100-business-leaders-urge-government/

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This is the Let Britain Fly letter: 

Times Letter: Airport Expansion

15.5.2015  (Let Britain Fly)

The new government must make an early decision on airport expansion and end more than half a century of political procrastinationSir, Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring that Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country. By value 40 per cent of our exports go by air; we trade up to 20 times more with countries we have a direct air link to.With Heathrow already full, Gatwick full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports full by 2030, the need for expansion is self-evident.As people who run some of Britain’s leading businesses, it concerns us that other countries plan on building more than 50 new runways between now and 2036. China alone will build 17 in that time, but in this country we have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945.Decades of inaction mean we are falling behind our competitors. Paris has 50 per cent more flights to China, and Dubai International recently overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport.This is why, when the Airports Commission publishes its final report, the new government must make an early decision on airport expansion and end more than half a century of political procrastination.Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management
Dr Eamonn Butler, Director, Adam Smith Institute
Richard Robinson, Chief Executive, Civil Infrastructure EMEA &India, AECOM
David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent LLP
Surinder Arora, Founder/CEO, Arora Holdings
George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods
Heather Lishman, Association Manager, Association of British Professional Conference Organisers
Nick Roberts, Chief Executive Officer UK and Europe, Atkins
Bill Munro, Chairman, Barrhead Travel
Harold Paisner, Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Bob Rothenberg MBE, Senior Partner, Blick Rothenberg LLP
Dale Keller, Chief Executive, Board of Airline Representatives in the UK
Jim McAuslan, General Secretary, British Airline Pilots’ Association
John Longworth, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land
Jeffries Briginshaw, CEO, BritishAmerican Business & British American Business Council
Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, BT Group
Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership
Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan
John Syvret, Chief Executive Officer, Cammell Laird Group
Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group
Richard Howson, Chief Executive, Carillion
Stephen Hubbard, Chairman – UK & EMEA, CBRE
Tim Knox, Director, Centre for Policy Studies
James Rowntree, Managing Director, Transportation, CH2M HILL
Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive, China-Britain Business Council
Iain Anderson, Co-Founder and Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero Group
Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation
Professor Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London
Des Gunewardena, Chairman & CEO, D & D London
Angus Knowles-Cutler, London Senior Partner, Deloitte
John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London
Rick Butterworth, Managing Director, Diamond Recruitment Group
Mathew Riley, Managing Director, Infrastructure & Environment, EC Harris
Chris Rumfitt, Chief Executive, Corporate Reputation Consulting
Inderneel Singh, Group Corporate Development Manager, Edwardian Group London
Olaf Swantee, Managing Director, EE
Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF
Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London
David Wells, Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association
Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, Gatwick Diamond Business
David Cliff, Managing Director, Gedanken
Hugh Bullock, Senior Partner, Gerald Eve LLP
Mike Turner CBE, Chairman, GKN PLC & Babcock International Group
Gordon Clark, Country Manager, Global Blue
Andrew Cunningham, Chief Executive, Grainger
Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, Great Portland Estates
Mark Preston, Chairman and Non-Executive Director, Grosvenor
Paul Wait, Chairman, Guild of Travel Management Companies
Rob Bould, Chief Executive, GVA
Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods
Brian L Dunsby, Chief Executive, Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce
Mr Andrew Formica, Chief Executive, Henderson Group
Nicholas Cheffings, Chair, Hogan Lovells
Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1 Limited
Michael Spencer, CEO, ICAP
John Lehal, Managing Director, Insight Public Affairs
Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors
Richard Solomans, Chief Executive, InterContinental Hotels Group
Andrew Murphy, Retail Director, John Lewis Partnership
George Kessler CBE, Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International
Simon Collins, UK Chairman & Senior Partner, KPMG
Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities Group
John Stewart, Chairman, Legal & General Group
Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly
Jenny Stewart, Chief Executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce
Robert Hough, Chair, Liverpool City Region LEP
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce
Jo Valentine, CEO, London First
John Allan CBE, Chairman, London First
Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace Group
Yoshiki Yamada, Director, CHRO & CCO, Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc
Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company
James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok
James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East Chamber of Commerce
Ann McGregor MBE, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Adrian Shooter CBE, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
Jonathan Fletcher, Director, PG Legal
Richard Foley, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons
Mark Bensted OBE, Managing Director, Powerday
John Rhodes, Director, Quod
Mr Mark Lancaster, Chairman, SDL
David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO
Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges Group
Juergen Maier, Chief Executive, Siemens
David McAlpine, Partner, Sir Robert McAlpine
Sue Rimmer OBE, Principal and Chief Executive, South Thames College
Willie Stewart, Director, Stewart Travel
John Sutcliffe, Managing Director, Sutcliffe
Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O’Rourke
Victor Chavez, Chief Executive Officer, Thales UK
Rebecca Kane, General Manager, The O2
Bill Moore, Chief Executive, The Portman Estate
Ric Lewis, Chief Executive, Tristan Capital Partners
Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner & Townsend
Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, UCL
Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer, UK Power Networks
Frank Wingate, Chief Executive, West London Business
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP

http://letbritainfly.com/news/times-letter-airport-expansion/

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Richard Deakin, CEO of NATS resigns after many criticisms of NATS’ work

Richard Deakin, the CEO of NATS (National Air Traffic Services) has resigned after 5 years in the job.  He is standing down with immediate effect.  The managing director of operations, Martin Rolfe, has taken over instead but the board is looking for a successor among internal and external (possibly overseas) candidates. NATS said Richard Deaking was leaving by mutual consent as the company was embarking on a new regulatory period and was preparing to implement the single European sky programme, SESAR, which will see much closer integration of air traffic control services across borders. NATS has received fierce criticism recently due to changes it has made to UK airspace, its failure to consult properly, and its inability to deal with upset and angry residents. The fiasco at Heathrow, when NATS apparently did not tell the airport it had made changes to flight paths, got it some very bad publicity.  Last year, after a computer failure at Swanwick, Vince Cable accused NATS of “skimping on investment.” But Richard Deakin did help block plans for a Thames estuary airport, saying it was in the “very worst spot” for air traffic. The situation of inadequate airspace consultation creating deep anger in over flown communities has also caused stresses within the CAA.
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Nats chief quits as air traffic control firm pursues fresh approach

Richard Deakin, who faced calls for his resignation amid UK flight chaos in December, steps down as Nats embarks on new regulatory period

By Gwyn Topham (Guardian)

18.5.2015

The boss of Nats, the air traffic control service, has quit after five years in charge. Richard Deakin, who earned more than £1m in 2014, has stood down as chief executive with immediate effect.

The managing director of operations, Martin Rolfe, has taken the helm, although the board said it was looking for a successor among internal and external candidates.

Nats said Deakin was leaving by mutual consent as the company was embarking on a new regulatory period and was preparing to implement the single European sky programme, which will see much closer integration of air traffic control services across borders.

Chairman Paul Golby said it was “an appropriate time to make a change to the leadership of the company, and to bring a new perspective and approach”.

Deakin faced calls from MPs for either his resignation or the forfeiture of his bonus after a computer failure at the Swanwick control centre in Hampshire last December grounded flights for several hours across the UK. It followed a similar failure the previous year when the then business secretary, Vince Cable, accused Nats of “skimping on investment” and being “penny wise and pound foolish”.

Nats would not reveal whether Deakin was likely to get a bonus for 2015 until it publishes its annual report in June.

Deakin, however, may have contributed to sparing the country the cost of a new Thames Estuary airport after intervening to point out that London mayor Boris Johnson’s proposed hub was in the “very worst spot” for air traffic.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/18/nats-chief-quits-air-traffic-control-richard-deakin

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Also:  (Times)

The £1 million-a-year head of air traffic control has been stood down as chief executive with immediate effect.

The unheralded announcement of the departure of Richard Deakin emerged only days before he wasscheduled to present the annual results of National Air Traffic Services. His exit comes months after heoversaw chaos in the skies when the air traffic control command centre at Swanwick, Hampshire, was felled by a “computer glitch” that led to hundreds of flights being cancelled, delayed or di­verted during the run-up to Christmas.

Mr Deakin’s departure also follows the arrival of a new chairman, Paul Golby, the former chief executive ofE.ON, the energy company. Nats, which is co-owned by the tax­payer and the aviation industry, said that it did not have a replacement chief executive in hand for Mr Deakin, but that Martin Rolfe, the operations di­rector, would be stepping into the job in the meantime and that it would be Mr Rolfe who would be presenting the annual results.


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Earlier the NATS apology about Heathrow:

NATS takes steps to improve information to airports on changes in air traffic control

17.03.2015

NATS has apologised to Heathrow Airport Ltd for not highlighting an operational change to air traffic control which has affected some of the same communities that were affected by the airport’s airspace trials which ended last November.

Following further complaints from residents, Heathrow asked NATS if there had been any other airspace changes and we confirmed there had been none, as a result of which Heathrow made public assurances to residents. Following further investigations, the earlier procedural change was then identified which has led to a change in flight patterns over some communities to the south and southwest of Heathrow.

In June 2014, NATS changed the way air traffic controllers direct aircraft within an area of existing airspace. This change only applies when the airport is on easterly operations, and affects only the Compton route which accounts for around 16% of departures, or 6% of total departures. It involves directing aircraft through a ‘gate’ approximately seven miles wide in the Compton area at approximately 8000ft; this ‘gate’, previously 13 miles wide, allows NATS to improve air traffic management in the area, enhancing safety and efficiency.

This new procedure involves NATS (NERL) in terminal control in Swanwick climbing aircraft more quickly out of Heathrow on the Compton route and more clearly separating them from Heathrow inbound streams that in the past they would have had to transit underneath at low level. There is a net safety benefit of doing this through greater systemisation of the airspace and a clearer separation of inbound and outbound flows of traffic. There is also a net benefit to the public as a whole, as these departures now climb more efficiently, reducing overall ground noise.

The area involved is designated as a Radar Manoeuvring Area. NATS is therefore authorised to “vector” (direct) aircraft tactically in line with our obligations under our CAA licence to achieve safe, efficient and expeditious air traffic control. NATS is not required to consult on operational changes of this type as we are not moving, creating or changing routes or redesigning airways.

Our first priority is safety, and we also seek to use existing controlled airspace in the most efficient way to provide expeditious service to users. The change is in line with the Government’s Aviation Policy Framework, which states ‘limit and, where possible, reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise’. We have therefore explained to Heathrow that we are not intending to revert to previous procedures.

There is no suggestion that NATS did not follow the current agreed process. However, we have already taken steps to ensure more robust processes are in place to share relevant information with Heathrow so that they are aware of any changes that may be noticed by local residents.

……… and it continues ….. here

http://www.nats.aero/news/statement-nats-takes-steps-improve-information-airports-changes-air-traffic-control/

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Campaigners gear up for legal challenge against decision for runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick

CPRE (the Campaign to Protect Rural England), which was one of the charities, which successfully took the last Heathrow expansion scheme to court, says it could do the same again if ministers press ahead with a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick. CPRE said it has always had “serious concerns” about the Airports Commission’s work, and believed their final runway recommendation was “bound to be tainted”. CPRE’s transport campaigner said: “If the government decides to proceed we are bound to take legal advice as the first step to a challenge in the courts.” Legal challenges have become inevitable with any big project, as opponents probe how effectively the decision process has been. HS2 has faced a number of judicial reviews. Back in 2010 CPRE was part of a coalition that took a court action against plans by the then Labour government, for a Heathrow runway. The judge found that the consultation process was flawed because it used old figures. Though it did not prevent the runway plan, it caused a delay – during which time the new coalition government decided not to go ahead with it. There remains a broad alliance of local authorities and charities that would go for legal challenge again, against either runway.

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Campaigners gear up for legal challenge over UK runways

The 2010 court case

Five years ago the CPRE joined ranks with a number of councils and the main anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan in a court action against Labour’s plan for a third runway in west London.

Back then, the judge found that the consultation process was flawed because it used old figures for the economy and the environment.

It didn’t stop the scheme, but it did send ministers away with a lot of homework to do. Not long after that, the coalition came to power and binned the project altogether.

But Hacan’s chair, John Stewart, has told the BBC he’s not certain that the group will go back to the courts this time, if Heathrow comes out on top. [The costs of legal challenge are prohibitive, unless the action is a joint one, with funding raised collectively].

“It’s very expensive, we’d have to know there is a good chance of winning”, he said.

Despite admitting that some residents might be swayed by offers of more financial help and respite from noise, Hacan knows that without any doubt there would be “overwhelming local opposition”, if the government picks Heathrow.

Gatwick expansion also evokes a lot of local opposition, although not on the same scale because fewer people live under the flightpath. [However, recent changes to flight paths have alerted people in the Gatwick area to the threat, and got thousands of people active in their opposition both to the changed flight paths, and the threat of a new runway, which could only make noise hugely worse. And the runway would have huge other implications for the surrounding area, in terms of transport, road and rail congestion, building and development, change of character, pressure on social infrastructure etc – in turning the area into something like the area around Heathrow].

The CPRE remains confident of support no matter which scheme is favoured,

“We were part of a broad alliance of local authorities and charities that in 2010 defeated the last attempt to build a new runway,” said Mr Smyth.

“We can be sure the alliance this time round will be even bigger”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32771390

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Back in February 2010:

 

Heathrow runway opponents launch legal challenge to stop expansion

Local councils, green groups and residents go to high court to argue that consultation for a third runway was flawed
Sipson third runway at Heathrow

The residents of Sipson have been protesting against a third runway at Heathrow for the last seven years. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire Steve Parsons/PA

A coalition of local councils, green groups and residents will today mount a legal challenge to government plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The coalition’s lawyers will argue at the high court in London that thegovernment’s consultation process for Heathrow expansion was fundamentally flawed.

The then transport secretary Geoff Hoon gave the go-ahead for the expansion in January last year, but the Conservatives are opposed to a third runway.

The coalition, which includes six local authorities, Greenpeace and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), will also say the expansion decision is at odds with the UK’s overall climate change targets.

The court will also be told that there is no evidence to support the government’s claim that there will be enough public transport to serve the new runway.

If the expansion goes ahead, the village of Sipson, close to the airport, will be destroyed to clear land for the runway.

Speaking on behalf of the local councils, Hillingdon council leader Ray Puddifoot said: “We’ve had no choice but to go to court to sort out the mess left behind by a decision that was little more than a quick fix. From the moment Geoff Hoon announced his decision to the House it has steadily unravelled.”

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: “It’s been clear from the start that there has been huge opposition to this runway. Nearly 90% of the people who responded to the consultation opposed the expansion of Heathrow. Yet mysteriously the government gave the go-ahead.

“This gives a clear demonstration of how little they value the views of the public. Now we’ve got the chance to submit this process to legal scrutiny. We don’t expect the courts to be any more impressed with it than we were.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Department stands fully behind the decisions on Heathrow announced last year and will be defending them robustly in court.”

Labour peer Lord Soley, the campaign director for the aviation coalition Future Heathrow, told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: “Frankly, people are not going to stop flying. We need to be realistic about that.”

He described today’s court challenge as “a waste of council tax payers’ money”.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/feb/23/heathrow-third-runway-high-court-challenge

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Heathrow third runway opponents win court challenge

26.3.2010 (BBC)
Hillingdon Council’s leader said it was ‘a crushing defeat for the government’

Campaigners have won a High Court battle over plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Councils, residents and green groups had said the government’s plan was at odds with climate change targets.

Lord Justice Carnwath said the public consultation process used was invalid as it was based on out-of-date figures.

The decision does not rule out a third runway but calls for government policy to be reviewed. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the runway was still needed.

The Department for Transport vowed to “robustly defend” the plan.

‘In tatters’

The judge, sitting in London, said the government’s public consultation did not take account of the latest information on economic benefits and climate change and was based on figures which were eight years old.

The coalition that sought the judicial review into the government’s decision, which was made in 2003 and confirmed in January 2009, includes six local authorities, Greenpeace and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Gordon Brown: New runway is “entirely compatible with our carbon reduction target”

The coalition said in a joint statement that the government’s Heathrow policy was “in tatters this morning” after the judge ruled the decision to give the third runway the go ahead was “untenable”.

The statement said: “If the government wants to pursue its plans for Heathrow expansion it must now go back to square one and reconsider the entire case for the runway.”

Hayes and Harlington Labour MP John McDonnell, who has led the campaign against the expansion of Heathrow for the past 30 years, said: “This judgment is a victory.

“It means that whichever party is in government they will not now be able to force through Heathrow expansion.”

In his ruling, Lord Justice Carnwath said: “Whether there should be a third runway at Heathrow Airport is a question of national importance and acute political controversy.

‘Full capacity’

“It is a matter on which the main parties are currently divided and which may well become a significant debating point at the forthcoming general election.”

He adjourned the hearing until after Easter to give both sides time to consider what formal orders the court should make.

ANALYSIS
By Richard Scott
Transport Correspondent
The decision was greeted with jubilation by campaigners.

Outside the High Court they waved their copies of the judgement and drank champagne.

The judge agreed with them that the consultation carried out by the government into a third runway did not take account of the latest evidence.

The decision means that Labour would have to re-evaluate the evidence if it wins the election and still wants to press ahead with a third runway.

Campaigners hope that will give Labour the perfect excuse to drop the policy.

But Labour says it is still in favour of a third runway adding it was always intending to re-examine the evidence as part of a national policy statement on airports next year.

And the judge accepted this argument, saying it did not much matter that the latest evidence had not been taken into account in the consultation, because that would happen in the policy review.

So he said he would not quash the government’s decision to support a third runway.

In the end, both sides are claiming victory.

Following the ruling, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis reaffirmed the government’s support for expansion, stating that Heathrow Airport was currently operating at “full capacity”.

He stressed the judgement did not rule out a new runway, but called for a review “of all the relevant policy issues, including the impact of climate change policy”.

Lord Adonis said: “A new runway at Heathrow will help secure jobs and underpin economic growth as we come out of recession.

“It is also entirely compatible with our carbon reduction target, as demonstrated in the recent report by the Committee on Climate Change.”

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, the prime minister said: “We are taking seriously both the concerns that people have and the need for public consultation.

“But we took a tough decision, the right decision necessary for the future of Britain and the economy, and a new runway will help secure Britain’s economic future.”

Conservative leader David Cameron said the ruling showed the government had made “the wrong judgement”.

“We said the third runway shouldn’t go ahead, we were absolutely clear about that.”

The coalition against the runway had argued that there was no evidence to support the government’s claim that there will be enough public transport to serve it.

‘Change of policy’

In approving the third runway, the government had said it could meet the environmental conditions for expansion at Heathrow set out in the 2003 Air Transport White Paper (ATWP), relating to noise, air quality and access.

Nigel Pleming QC, for the coalition, said the “economic and environmental” position had fundamentally changed since 2003, which raised the question of whether the government should continue to support the expansion.

Lord Justice Carnwath ruled the coalition’s submissions “add up, in my view, to a powerful demonstration of the potential significance of developments in climate change policy since the 2003 White Paper”.

He said they were “clearly matters which will need to be taken into account” under the new national policy statement dealing with airport expansion.

While ordering it be reconsidered, the judge refused to quash the government’s decision to “confirm policy support” for a third runway, stating that he doubted whether such an order would be appropriate.

map showing plans for expanded Heathrow Airport

 

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8588220.stm

and

Heathrow’s third runway ‘dead’ and runway decision ‘untenable’

26.3.2010   (Politics.co.uk)

A high court ruling has set back the third runway at Heathrow for years, with
campaigners calling the project “dead”.

Lord Justice Carnwath decided the public consultation based on a 2003 white paper
was invalid because it had been overtaken by events based on evidence about climate
change.

His ruling that the 2003 air transport white paper was incompatible with the
Climate Change Act 2008 means the government’s entire aviation policy must now
be reviewed, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Its alliance with local councils and environmental groups has resulted in a resounding
defeat for the government, according to commentators.

Labour backbencher John McDonnell, speaking outside the court, said: “This is
a dead project and the government needs to recognise it.”

Liberal Democrat MP Susan Kramer added: “We will always fight but effectively
there is now such a barrier that it cannot be surmounted by the government.”

Transport secretary Andrew Adonis quickly put out a statement saying he welcomed
the ruling, however.   (see below)

But Ray Puddifoot, speaking on behalf of local councils, said: “If after this
ministers are still intent on pressing ahead with expansion they will have to
go back to the beginning and justify the whole economic case in public.

“Knowing what we now know about rising carbon costs this is an argument they
cannot win.”

link to article

 

 

The full text of the Judge’s ruling is at

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2010/626.html

 

Read more »

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.

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Zac Goldsmith: Heathrow expansion would split cabinet

Expanding Heathrow airport would cause a split at the very top of government, says a newly re-elected Tory MP.

Zac Goldsmith, a long-time critic of the scheme, repeated his threat to resign if the government agrees to build a new runway in west London instead of further south at Gatwick.

Mr Goldsmith was re-elected as MP for Richmond Park in south-west London.

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 make a lot of noise. This is a man who has only just been voted back into his seat with a hugely swollen majority, adding nearly 20,000 votes.

“I made that promise in 2008 and it still stands,” Mr Goldsmith told the BBC. “It’s not something I want to do, but it’s something I’d have to do.”

The independent Airports Commission should hand over its final report next month, picking either Heathrow or Gatwick for expansion.

After that, it will be down to David Cameron’s fledgling government to decide whether to go along with that recommendation or pick their own.

But Mr Goldsmith thinks that selecting Heathrow could spell disaster for the prime minister,

“If you look at the cabinet today, there are at least three heavyweight people there, Philip Hammond [Foreign Secretary], Justine Greening [International Development Secretary] and Boris Johnson [Member of Political Cabinet] and others, in fact, who are implacably opposed to Heathrow expansion,” he said.

“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.”

The MP also claims it would be “an off-the-scale betrayal” from Mr Cameron, who he says came to west London before the 2010 election and promised locals, “No ifs, no buts, the Conservatives won’t expand Heathrow.”

No ifs No buts

Conservative election leaflet from the 2010 election

On Tuesday, another high-profile critic of Heathrow expansion, Boris Johnson, said he would not resign if the government picked the scheme. Instead, he would fight it from within.

All sides of the airport debate are ramping up the rhetoric ahead of Howard Davies’ final report.

There is a growing feeling among people I speak to that he will plump for Heathrow, which is thought to be favoured by the Chancellor, George Osborne.

But having said that, both Gatwick and Heathrow seem to have their tails up, thinking they have successfully made their case for a new airport.

Another theory doing the rounds is that Howard Davies will pick Heathrow, but leave the door open for Gatwick to make life easier for the politicians.

Mr Goldsmith is not convinced: “I don’t think he’s in the market to produce a fudge… I think he wants an answer that’ll be relatively clear.”

“A year ago, I would have said Heathrow expansion’s in the bag, but I think that he seems to have heard the arguments… and if I had to put my house on it, I’d say he’s not going to recommend Heathrow expansion. But it’s at best 51-49, no-one knows.”

Two and a half years ago, the government set up the Airports Commission to offload an issue that was unsticking a nascent coalition. The Lib Dems, in particular, were struggling to get any expansion past their members.

They’ve gone now, and having sent the issue circling for years, it is coming in to land in the Conservatives’ lap.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32717245

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Senior members of the Conservative cabinet and their opposition to a Heathrow 3rd runway

Theresa Villiers was firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway in 2012   link

Justine Greening is firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway. link 

Philip Hammond is firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway   link

Theresa May has said she is opposed to a Heathrow runway  link 

Greg Hands has said he is strongly against 3rd Heathrow runway  link and link

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also

Adam Afriye is firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway  link 


 

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See earlier:

Divisions at top of Tory party over 3rd Heathrow runway as Hammond, Johnson and others won’t accept it

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (MP for Runnymede & Weybridge), and the London mayor, Boris Johnson, will refuse to support their own party’s policy on airport expansion at the next election, potentially opening a rift at the top of the Conservative party.  They are among a batch of Tories of cabinet or equivalent rank who are expected to rebel against the official party line, which is that no decision on a new runway would be taken before the Airports Commission gives its recommendation in summer 2015. Boris continues to push for an estuary airport. Other leading Tories with south-eastern constituencies who have spoken out against a 3rd Heathrow runway include the Home Secretary, Theresa May (MP for Maidenhead); the international development secretary, Justine Greening (MP for Putney); and the Northern Ireland secretary, Theresa Villiers (MP for Chipping Barnet). The pressure for a new south east runway has come from George Osborne. Gatwick becomes more vulnerable, the more senior Tories oppose a Heathrow runway, though a Gatwick runway makes little economic or aviation sense.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/23718/

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Zac Goldsmith: Victory is in the air for the anti-Heathrow expansion campaign

Zac Goldsmith believes Heathrow is not going to get a new runway. The arguments against Heathrow have been won – and Zac sets these out clearly. They include ….it is already Europe’s biggest noise polluter, with the largest number of people affected by noise of any airport. A 3rd runway would increase flights from 480,000 to 740,000 each year. No matter how Heathrow talks about “quieter” planes (ie. fractionally less noisy) or “respite”, slightly reducing night flights or paying for more noise insulation, an extra runway would massively increase noise. Heathrow admit a 3rd runway would lead to a 4th, as that’s what they want. Just a 3rd runway would lead to 25 million extra road-passenger journeys each year. Heathrow (and the Airports Commission) has barely begun to assess the costs involved in adapting the road and rail system to cope. Transport for London told Zac the cost has been underestimated by a staggering £15 billion, to be paid by the taxpayer.  London is already very well connected. We have 6 airports and 7 runways. — more than any of our European rivals. More passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world. A 3rd runway would only be at the expense of surrounding airports, just centralising existing activity and facilitating a monopoly. And more ….
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Zac Goldsmith: Victory is in the air for the anti-Heathrow expansion campaign

By ZAC GOLDSMITH

12 May 2015 (Evening Standard)

With the election over, Heathrow’s owners know they are reaching the end of the road in their campaign to expand. This is because, first and foremost, the argument against them has been won.

Heathrow is already Europe’s biggest noise polluter, and a third runway (its bosses admit a third would lead to a fourth) would increase flights from 480,000 to 740,000 a year. No matter how Heathrow cuts it, an extra runway would massively increase noise.

Just one extra runway would lead to 25 million extra road-passenger journeys each year, and Heathrow (and the Airports Commission) has barely begun to assess the costs involved in adapting the road and rail system to cope. Transport for London tells me the cost has been underestimated by a staggering £15 billion — which of course would be picked up by the public.

London will struggle to stay within its air quality targets even without Heathrow expansion. With air pollution costing 29,000 lives each year in the UK, the issue is moving fast up the political agenda.

Advocates of expansion might dismiss all these as NIMBY concerns, as if the millions affected simply do not count. But even if the only concern were the economy, the case is still wafer-thin.

We’re told we face an imminent capacity problem but London is already well connected. We have six airports and seven runways — more than any of our European rivals. More passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world.

However, even if we do need added capacity, Heathrow expansion would not provide it. Figures produced by the Airports Commission show that any additional activity at an expanded Heathrow would be at the expense of surrounding airports. In other words, a third runway would simply centralise existing activity and facilitate a monopoly, the only beneficiaries of which would be its owners.

Heathrow counters that we need to centralise activity and attract transfer passengers to maintain key routes. But nearly 30 per cent of passengers to New York, one of Heathrow’s most popular routes, are transfer passengers: no one pretends such routes would disappear without them.

The alternative is to invest in better surface links and facilitate a super-competitive network. Competition is a good thing. Who would pretend that Gatwick hasn’t significantly improved since the Competition Commission liberated it from the old monopoly?

As the deadline approaches, we can expect to see a flurry of activity. But Heathrow’s owners know, as the Airports Commission surely knows, that expanding it would be a step backwards. I suspect that is why — at the eleventh hour — the commission has launched a consultation on air quality, in the full knowledge that expansion cannot be reconciled with any prospect of clean air in London.

We have won the arguments but I’m not so naïve as to imagine rational arguments always hold sway. And so the second reason why Heathrow expansion will never happen is simply the politics. The Cabinet for this new and fragile Government includes heavyweights such as Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson and, we’re told, Justine Greening, all committed opponents of expansion.

Only days ago, Boris vowed to stand in front of the bulldozers if need be. He will not need to. We are on the cusp of winning this battle once and for all.

Zac Goldsmith is Conservative MP for Richmond Park

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/zac-goldsmith-victory-is-in-the-air-for-the-antiheathrow-expansion-campaign-10244413.html

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Heathrow expansion ‘not likely’

12.5.2015 (Press Association)

Boris Johnson said he believed the chances of the new Conservative government backing the expansion of Heathrow was “virtually nil” as he vowed to continue his fight against a new runway in Parliament.

The appointment of the newly-elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip – who also remains London mayor for the next year – to David Cameron’s political cabinet was seen by some campaigners as an indication the new administration was leaning towards rival Gatwick for much-needed expansion.

A recommendation as to whether a new runway is built at Gatwick or one of two short-listed runway-expansion plans at Heathrow should go ahead is due in a few weeks’ time in a report by the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies.

The Conservative manifesto committed only to “respond to” its recommendations and Mr Johnson said that if it came out in favour of Heathrow it should be “filed vertically” like others that came to similar conclusions over recent decades.

Asked what was the point of having the commission at all, Mr Johnson told LBC radio: “You may well ask.”

“The prospect of expanding Heathrow and putting in a third runway – and then a fourth runway because (they) are very clear that that’s what they want – are virtually nil,” he said.

“It’s not thought through, it’s not likely to happen.”

He said the capital would “almost certainly have to set up a congestion charge to cope with the extra cars coming in”.

Urging ministers to swing behind opposition to Heathrow expansion, he said: “It is for others to man up, to get some cojones and actually to say what they think should happen.

“The truth is that Heathrow is just undeliverable and the sooner we face that the sooner our salvation will come.”

Asked if, like fellow Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, he would quit the Commons if the party backed more runways at Heathrow, he said: “I think would be better off staying in Parliament to fight the case.

“I would certainly oppose the expansion of Heathrow, as would every other MP in West London.”

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/heathrow-expansion-not-likely-093800032.html#IgsvzyM

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Boris to fight (“undeliverable”) 3rd Heathrow runway; he won’t resign over it – but would fight from within Parliament

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is now also MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip, has said he would not resign as an MP if the Conservative government approved a Heathrow 3rd runway. He believes he would be better able to fight it by remaining in Parliament. Boris will now be attending the Cabinet – but he does not have a ministerial role, so he can devote his attention to his final year as Mayor. Boris has, for many years, been an outspoken opponent of a new Heathrow runway because of the highly negative impacts of noise and air pollution on Londoners.  He has now said that if there was a Heathrow runway, with meeting air quality standards a very difficult challenge, there would have to be a new congestion charge zone around it. That would be the only way to tackle the traffic congestion and air pollution caused by so many extra road vehicles (as well as planes and airport vehicles). Boris said in his MP acceptance speech that he would join Zac Goldsmith and lie down “in front of those bulldozers and stop the building, stop the construction of that 3rd runway” at Heathrow. He said a 3rd Heathrow runway was “undeliverable” and that if the Airports Commission recommended it, he hoped their report would be “filed vertically [shelved]” as others had been. 
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Boris Johnson to fight bigger Heathrow but will not resign

12 May 2015 (BBC)

London Mayor Boris Johnson has said he would not quit as an MP if a Conservative government approved a third runway at Heathrow.

Mr Johnson, who returned to the Commons at the election, told LBC he would be best placed to continue to fight expansion by staying in Parliament.

The Conservative manifesto said the party would “take account” of the Davies Commission into runway options. The report, which has two Heathrow and one Gatwick options, is due next month.

Mr Johnson has been an outspoken opponent of further expansion at Heathrow. He told LBC that if it did go ahead there would have to be a new congestion charge zone around it to tackle the traffic and pollution caused.

Fellow Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has pledged to quit the party and force a by-election if the Conservatives – who scrapped Labour plans for a third runway in 2010 – complete a U-turn on the issue of Heathrow expansion.

‘Filed vertically’

In his acceptance speech on being elected MP for Uxbridge, Mr Johnson said he would lie down “in front of those bulldozers and stop the building, stop the construction of that third runway” at Heathrow.

Asked on his regular radio phone-in show if he would resign, Mr Johnson pointed out he did not have a government job to resign from – on Monday he was named as someone who would attend the Conservatives’ political cabinet in Downing Street while concentrating on his final year as London mayor and being an MP.
He was then asked by Nick Ferrari if he would force a by-election.

Mr Johnson said he thought he “would be best off staying in Parliament to fight the case”.

He added that he thought Heathrow was “undeliverable” and that if the Davies Commission did choose a new runway there as its preferred option, he hoped it would be “filed vertically [shelved]” as a series of other reviews in past decades had been.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32703425

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Heathrow expansion ‘not likely’

12.5.2015 (Press Association)

Boris Johnson said he believed the chances of the new Conservative government backing the expansion of Heathrow was “virtually nil” as he vowed to continue his fight against a new runway in Parliament.

The appointment of the newly-elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip – who also remains London mayor for the next year – to David Cameron’s political cabinet was seen by some campaigners as an indication the new administration was leaning towards rival Gatwick for much-needed expansion.

A recommendation as to whether a new runway is built at Gatwick or one of two short-listed runway-expansion plans at Heathrow should go ahead is due in a few weeks’ time in a report by the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies.

The Conservative manifesto committed only to “respond to” its recommendations and Mr Johnson said that if it came out in favour of Heathrow it should be “filed vertically” like others that came to similar conclusions over recent decades.

Asked what was the point of having the commission at all, Mr Johnson told LBC radio: “You may well ask.”

“The prospect of expanding Heathrow and putting in a third runway – and then a fourth runway because (they) are very clear that that’s what they want – are virtually nil,” he said.

“It’s not thought through, it’s not likely to happen.”

He said the capital would “almost certainly have to set up a congestion charge to cope with the extra cars coming in”.

Urging ministers to swing behind opposition to Heathrow expansion, he said: “It is for others to man up, to get some cojones and actually to say what they think should happen.

“The truth is that Heathrow is just undeliverable and the sooner we face that the sooner our salvation will come.”

Asked if, like fellow Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, he would quit the Commons if the party backed more runways at Heathrow, he said: “I think would be better off staying in Parliament to fight the case.

“I would certainly oppose the expansion of Heathrow, as would every other MP in West London.”

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/heathrow-expansion-not-likely-093800032.html#IgsvzyM

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Zac Goldsmith: Victory is in the air for the anti-Heathrow expansion campaign

By ZAC GOLDSMITH

12 May 2015

With the election over, Heathrow’s owners know they are reaching the end of the road in their campaign to expand. This is because, first and foremost, the argument against them has been won.

Heathrow is already Europe’s biggest noise polluter, and a third runway (its bosses admit a third would lead to a fourth) would increase flights from 480,000 to 740,000 a year. No matter how Heathrow cuts it, an extra runway would massively increase noise.

Just one extra runway would lead to 25 million extra road-passenger journeys each year, and Heathrow (and the Airports Commission) has barely begun to assess the costs involved in adapting the road and rail system to cope. Transport for London tells me the cost has been underestimated by a staggering £15 billion — which of course would be picked up by the public.

London will struggle to stay within its air quality targets even without Heathrow expansion. With air pollution costing 29,000 lives each year in the UK, the issue is moving fast up the political agenda.

Advocates of expansion might dismiss all these as NIMBY concerns, as if the millions affected simply do not count. But even if the only concern were the economy, the case is still wafer-thin.

We’re told we face an imminent capacity problem but London is already well connected. We have six airports and seven runways — more than any of our European rivals. More passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world.

However, even if we do need added capacity, Heathrow expansion would not provide it. Figures produced by the Airports Commission show that any additional activity at an expanded Heathrow would be at the expense of surrounding airports. In other words, a third runway would simply centralise existing activity and facilitate a monopoly, the only beneficiaries of which would be its owners.

Heathrow counters that we need to centralise activity and attract transfer passengers to maintain key routes. But nearly 30 per cent of passengers to New York, one of Heathrow’s most popular routes, are transfer passengers: no one pretends such routes would disappear without them.

The alternative is to invest in better surface links and facilitate a super-competitive network. Competition is a good thing. Who would pretend that Gatwick hasn’t significantly improved since the Competition Commission liberated it from the old monopoly?

As the deadline approaches, we can expect to see a flurry of activity. But Heathrow’s owners know, as the Airports Commission surely knows, that expanding it would be a step backwards. I suspect that is why — at the eleventh hour — the commission has launched a consultation on air quality, in the full knowledge that expansion cannot be reconciled with any prospect of clean air in London.

We have won the arguments but I’m not so naïve as to imagine rational arguments always hold sway. And so the second reason why Heathrow expansion will never happen is simply the politics. The Cabinet for this new and fragile Government includes heavyweights such as Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson and, we’re told, Justine Greening, all committed opponents of expansion.

Only days ago, Boris vowed to stand in front of the bulldozers if need be. He will not need to. We are on the cusp of winning this battle once and for all.

Zac Goldsmith is Conservative MP for Richmond Park

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/zac-goldsmith-victory-is-in-the-air-for-the-antiheathrow-expansion-campaign-10244413.html

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Research indicates further work needed on impact of air pollution on the brain

Research was carried out by researchers in the US, into the impact of higher levels of small particle air pollution on older adults and the chance of someone having signs of a “silent stroke” on a brain scan. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Stroke. The study had various limitations,and reports may have exaggerated its findings. While there was an association between particulate matter in the air and total brain volume, this was no longer statistically significant after taking into account whether people have conditions such as high blood pressure, which can also affect their risk of stroke. While the news extrapolated these findings to suggest a link between air pollution and people’s risk of dementia, this is not what the study assessed. The study found some evidence of a link between one measure of air pollution and “silent stroke”, but the limitations mean that this finding needs to be confirmed in other studies. Some have interpreted the study as indicating that air pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain ageing. The mechanism through which this might happen are unclear, but could involve inflammation. More research is needed. 
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Air pollution could increase risk of dementia

New research suggests that living in towns and cities can increase the risk of brain shrinkage and silent strokes, both of which are linked to dementia

Capital crime: there are as many as 4,300 deaths a year from air pollution in London alone

Middle-aged and older adults who live in towns and cities suffer ageing of the brain and increased risk of dementia and strokes because of air pollution, new research suggests.

A study of more than 900 adults found that those living near major roads suffered cerebral shrinkage, ageing their brains by the equivalent of one year, and increasing their dementia risk.

Those in the study were also almost 50% more likely to suffer a type of silent stroke which also increases the chance of the degenerative disease. [A “silent stroke” (technically known as a covert brain infarct) are small areas of damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain tissue, but are not severe enough to cause obvious symptoms. They may be a sign of blood vessel disease, which increases the risk of one type of dementia (vascular dementia).]

Normal pollution levels from traffic fumes, factory and power station emissions and wood fire smoke were sufficient to age the brain by about one year, the research on US adults found.

Previous studies have already linked air pollution and the noise from living near major roads to heart attacks and other types of strokes.

The new research suggests long term exposure to air-borne pollutants can cause damage to brain structures and impair thinking and memory in middle-aged and older adults.

Those living near main roads had smaller brains, and “covert brain infarcts”, a type of “silent” stroke, which results from a blockage in the blood vessels supplying the brain.

Researchers looked at how far patients aged over 60 who did not have a stroke or dementia lived from major roads. They then used satellite images to assess prolonged exposure to air pollution.

Dr Elissa Wilker, a researcher in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, said: Our findings suggest that air pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain ageing, even in dementia and stroke-free individuals.”

The evaluation included total cerebral brain volume, which is a marker of atrophy of the brain, hippocampal volume, which reflect changes in the area of the brain that controls memory; white matter hyperintensity volume, which can be used as a measure of pathology and ageing; and covert brain infarcts.

The study, published in the journal Stroke, found that small increases in air pollution – an increase of only two microgram per cubic meter of air, to levels commonly found in cities, was sufficient to increase the risks.

Dr Wilker said the mechanisms were unclear, but that it might be that the body suffered inflammation as a result of the deposit of fine particles in the lungs.

Professor of Neurology Dr Sudha Seshadri at Boston University School of Medicine said: “On average participants who lived in more polluted areas had the brain volume of someone a year older than participants who lived in less polluted areas.

“They also had a 46 per cent higher risk of silent strokes. This is concerning since we know that silent strokes increase the risk of overt strokes and of developing dementia, walking problems and depression.”

Last year researchers suggested that commuters could cut their air pollution intake in half simply by using the side streets in major cities rather than main roads.

Dr Rossa Brugha, a paediatrician and pollution researcher at Queen Mary, University of London, said walkers can make small adjustments to their route which could have major benefits on their health.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/laura-donnelly/11558912/Air-pollution-could-increase-risk-of-dementia.html

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Noise from road traffic ‘increases stroke risk’

Exposure to noise from road traffic can increase the risk of stroke in the over 65s, a study has found.

By , Medical Correspondent, (Telegraph)

For every 10 decibel increase in noise, the risk of stroke among that age group increased by more than a quarter (27 per cent).

Authors of the Danish study, published today (WED) in the European Heart Journal (EHJ), said that they had accounted for air pollution and other factors like differences in lifestyle, meaning they believed there was a genuine association between noise and stroke risk.

Dr Mette Sørensen, senior researcher at the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, Denmark, who led the research, said: “Our study shows that exposure to road traffic noise seems to increase the risk of stroke.

“Previous studies have linked traffic noise with raised blood pressure and heart attacks, and our study adds to the accumulating evidence that traffic noise may cause a range of cardiovascular diseases.”

About 150,000 people have a stroke in Britain every year. More than nine out of 10 are over the age of 65.

The study looked at 57,000 people in Copenhagen and Aarhus who were aged between 50 and 64 between 1993 and 1997, and followed them for an average of 10 years. A total of 1,881 suffered a stroke during the study period.

The participants lived in homes with estimated noise levels ranging from 40dB – the sound of a quiet conversation to 82dB – that of a busy street.

For older people, there appeared to be a step-change in their risk of stroke at about 60dB, the researchers found.

Dr Sørensen said about one in five strokes in urban areas could be due to living in noisy homes.

He said: “If we assume that our findings represent the true risk, and the association between traffic noise and stroke is causal, then an estimated eight percent of all stroke cases, and 19 per cent of cases in those aged over 65, could be attributed to road traffic noise.”

He emphasised that the study only looked at urban homes, which were likely to be noisier than rural ones, and that it could not prove that noise itself was a causal factor in stroke risk.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/8280923/Noise-from-road-traffic-increases-stroke-risk.html

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Air pollution linked to silent strokes

Behind the Headlines – NHGS Choices

Friday April 24 2015
The smaller a particle of pollution is, the more harmful it tends to be.
Air pollution could affect the flow of blood through the brain.
“Adults who live in towns and cities suffer ageing of the brain and increased risk of dementia and [silent] strokes because of air pollution,” The Daily Telegraph reports.

A “silent stroke” (technically known as a covert brain infarct) are small areas of damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain tissue, but are not severe enough to cause obvious symptoms. They may be a sign of blood vessel disease, which increases the risk of one type of dementia (vascular dementia).

This headline is based on a study which took brain scans of more than 900 older adults and assessed their exposure to air pollution. It found that higher levels of small particles in the air around where an individual lived were associated with a greater likelihood of them having signs of a “silent stroke” on a brain scan.

There was some evidence of association between the particles and slightly smaller brain volume, but this link did not remain once people’s health conditions were taken into account.
Limitations of the study include that the researchers could only estimate people’s air pollution exposure based on average air quality of where they lived in one year, rather than lifetime exposure. It should also be noted that the news has suggested a link to dementia, but the study did not actually assess this.

The findings need to be investigated in future studies before firm conclusions can be drawn.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and other centres in the US. It was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Stroke.

The Daily Telegraph headline suggests that air pollution could increase a person’s risk of dementia, but this is not what the study assessed, and none of the participants had dementia, a stroke or mini-stroke (also known as a transient ischaemic attack).

They also suggest that it is living in towns and cities that increases risk, but this was not what the study assessed. It compared people with different levels of particulate matter in the air where they lived, not whether they lived in towns and cities, and in their main analyses they did not include people living in rural areas far from major roads.

The Mail Online similarly overstates findings, by stating that “living near congested roads with high levels of air pollution can cause ‘silent strokes’”. While an association was found, a direct cause and effect relationship remains unproven.

What kind of research was this?

This was a cross-sectional analysis assessing whether there was a link between air pollutant exposure and changes in the brain linked to ageing.

The authors report that long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with, for example, increased risk of stroke and cognitive impairment. However, its effects on the structure of the brain are not known. If air pollution is linked to structural brain changes, these could, in turn, contribute to the risk of stroke and cognitive problems.

This type of study can show links between two factors, but cannot prove that one caused the other. As the study was cross-sectional, it cannot establish the sequence of events and whether exposure to air pollution came before any differences or changes in brain structure. As an observational study, there may also be factors other than air pollution exposure that could be causing the differences seen. The researchers did take steps to try to reduce the impact of other factors, but they may still be having an effect.

What did the research involve?

The researchers took brain scans of 943 adults aged 60 and over. They also estimated their exposure to air pollution, based on where they lived. They then analysed whether those with more exposure to air pollution were more likely to have smaller brain volume or signs of damage.

Participants in this study were taking part in an ongoing longitudinal study in the US state of New England. Only those who had not had a stroke or mini-stroke and did not have dementia were selected to take part.

The type of effects on the brain that the researchers were looking for were referred to as “subclinical”. This means that they did not cause the people to have symptoms and therefore would not normally be detected.

They looked at total volume of the brain and also the volume of the specific parts of the brain using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan. The brain shrinks gradually with age, so the researchers were interested in whether pollution might have a similar effect. The MRI also identified whether the brain showed signs of a “silent stroke” – that is, parts of the brain tissue that had been damaged by having the blood supply interrupted.

These “covert brain infarcts” were not severe enough to cause symptoms, in the form of a stroke or mini-stroke. However, this damage suggests that the person may have some degree of blood vessel (vascular) disease. They are often seen in the brain scans of people who have vascular dementia.

The researchers used satellite data measuring the level of small particles (PM2.5) on the air in New England to assess average daily air pollution exposure at each participant’s current home address in 2001. They also assessed how close each home was to roads of different sizes. The researchers only looked at those living in urban and suburban areas in their main analyses.

They then looked at whether there were any links between estimated particulate matter exposure and distance from roads and brain findings.

They first took into account confounding factors that could affect results, including:
age
gender
smoking
alcohol intake
education

They then carried out a second analysis, taking into account a number of additional factors, such as:
diabetes
obesity
high blood pressure

What were the basic results?

Average (median) daily exposure to small particles in the air was about 11 microgrammes per cubed metre of air, and participants lived an average of 173 metres from a major road. The participants were, on average, 68 years old when they had their brain scan, and 14% showed signs of a “silent stroke” on the scans.

The researchers found that greater estimated exposure to air pollution was associated with a slightly smaller total brain volume. Each two microgramme per cubed metre increase in particulate matter was associated with a 0.32% lower brain volume. However, once this analysis was adjusted for conditions such as diabetes, this difference was no longer statistically significant.

Greater estimated exposure to air pollution was also associated with a higher likelihood of having signs of “silent stroke” damage to the brain tissue. Each two microgramme per cubed metre increase in particulate matter was associated with a 37% higher odds of this silent damage (odds ratio (OR) 1.37, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02 to 1.85).

They did not find differences in association across areas with different average income brackets. Distance from a major road was not linked to total brain volume or a “silent stroke” after adjustment for confounders.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that their findings “suggest that air pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain aging, even in dementia and stroke-free persons”.

Conclusion

This cross-sectional study has suggested a link between exposure to small particles in the air (one form of pollution) and the presence of “silent stroke” in older adults – small areas of damage to the brain tissue that are not severe enough to cause obvious symptoms.

There are a number of limitations to be aware of when assessing the results of this study:
While there was an association between particulate matter in the air and total brain volume, this was no longer statistically significant after taking into account whether people have conditions such as high blood pressure, which can also affect their risk of stroke.

While the researchers did try to take into account factors such as smoking, alcohol intake and diabetes, which could be having an effect on risk, this may not remove their effect totally. There may also be various other unmeasured factors that could account for the association seen. This makes it difficult to be sure whether any link seen is directly due to the pollution itself.

The researchers could only estimate people’s air pollution exposure based on average air quality of where they lived in one year. This may not provide a good estimate of a person’s lifetime exposure.

While the news extrapolated these findings to suggest a link between air pollution and people’s risk of dementia, this is not what the study assessed. While areas of “silent stroke” can often be seen in people who have vascular dementia, none of the study participants had dementia, or a stroke or mini-stroke.

Overall, this study finds some evidence of a link between one measure of air pollution and “silent stroke”, but the limitations mean that this finding needs to be confirmed in other studies.

It is also not possible to say whether the link exists because air pollution is directly affecting the brain.

Analysis by Bazian.

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/04April/Pages/Air-pollution-linked-to-shrunken-brains-and-silent-strokes.aspx

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Environmental NGOs in the UK have called for the government to protect public health by upholding and toughening air pollution laws around airports

They asked the government to:

Ensure full parliamentary scrutiny and debate and adhere to principles of the EU Directive that air quality

(i) can not be allowed to breach legal limits

(ii) must not be worsened if there is a breach and

(iii) should not be allowed to deteriorate in areas that are within legal thresholds

Government should revise the air quality legal limits in the longer term to reflect WHO guideline levels and reduce air pollution around airports to these levels

Government must:

(a) Uphold and strengthen air pollution laws Air pollution is, according to Defra, responsible for 29,000 premature deaths per year in the UK (even if only considering fine particles), and airports can impact air quality both as a result of emissions from aircraft and from associated road traffic accessing the airport, whether freight or passengers. The UK is subject to EU-wide legal limits on pollutants. All principles of the EU Air Quality Directive should be upheld in the context of airport development:

– No breaches of the limits can be permitted

– In areas where legal limits are exceeded, air pollution must not be worsened, but be brought below these limits in the shortest time possible.

– Finally, where pollution levels are below the legal threshold, in line with the non-deterioration principle they should not be allowed to worsen.

To inform air quality assessments and decisions, regular, rigorous independent monitoring is required, with the results reported publicly.

(b) Work to WHO recommendations The UK government should, in the longer term, revise legal limits to reflect levels recommended by WHO for the protection of human health , allowing for any updates to these guidelines.

Air quality around airports should be improved where necessary to ensure compliance with these limits.

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Comments by planning experts on the key planning decisions for the new government, including runway

Planning magazine asked various planning experts what they thought would be key issues for the new government. As well as several raising the problem of needing action to improve air quality by the end of 2015, one commented on the runway problem: “The Conservative party is not committed to implementing the Davies Commission recommendations, yet it seems to me that they are in a difficult position if they don’t: the Conservatives were the main architects of the Davies Commission – can they afford to be seen to waste five years of expenditure and delay? I fear the easiest solution will be for the next Government to say that they will use Davies’ work to inform the Airports National Policy Statement without giving a clear commitment either way and that we embark on another lengthy process before the NPS is adopted. interesting to see how interventionist the new Government is willing to be.” Another said: “I am assuming that the decision will be implemented via the NSIP regime, but will this also include any associated terminal, car parking and warehousing development and major public transport improvement that will be associated with implementing the decision?”  The need for the UK to produce a national spatial plan, which other EU countries have, was also mentioned.
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Greg Clark has been appointed local government secretary by Prime Minister David Cameron in his post-election reshuffle, replacing Eric Pickles at the Department for Communities and Local Government.


 

The key planning decisions in the new government’s in-tray

Last week, Planning asked a variety of experts to name the key planning-related decisions that awaited the new government. Below we present their answers.

Below are some extracts from the article, relating mainly to airports and to air quality.

Full article can be seen at 

http://www.planningresource.co.uk/article/1346574/key-planning-decisions-new-governments-in-tray

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…..DUNCAN FIELD, PARTNER AND HEAD OF PLANNING, NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT1) The decision on the next South East runway is the hottest political potato in the planning world.  The Conservative party is not committed to implementing the Davies Commission recommendations, yet it seems to me that they are in a difficult position if they don’t: the Conservatives were the main architects of the Davies Commission – can they afford to be seen to waste five years of expenditure and delay? I fear the easiest solution will be for the next Government to say that they will use Davies’ work to inform the Airports National Policy Statement without giving a clear commitment either way and that we embark on another lengthy process before the NPS is adopted. interesting to see how interventionist the new Government is willing to be……

JANICE MORPHET, VISITING PROFESSOR, BARTLETT SCHOOL OF PLANNING, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

1) Respond to the recent court judgement on lack of UK air quality plan to conform with EU standards. Under this judgement the UK has to come up with an effective plan before the end of 2015 to be in conformity with EU agreed air quality levels. An effective plan will require action on the part of several government departments, including that responsible for planning. This will probably include denser transport-oriented development and less greenfield development, use of CIL and conditions for retrofitting existing properties including housing; more local energy plants and more passive houses.

2) London airport runway decision and its consequences for development. I am assuming that the decision will be implemented via the NSIP regime, but will this also include any associated terminal, car parking and warehousing development and major public transport improvement that will be associated with implementing the decision?

3) Reform of strategic planning as a consequence of creation of combined authorities across England. This could be very quick off the blocks, like the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships in 2010. It is also needed I think to meet EU objections to LEP strategic economic plans that were not made within a democratic context and do not mesh with existing spatial plans. I expect this approach to be based on a business plan model that includes a much greater attention to investment and delivery as well as vision, strategy and policy.

4) Reform of strategic planning system in London prior to election of mayor of London 2016.
The reform of the London plan system to bring it in line with the rest of the country is long overdue and if there are strategic planning reforms these should include London. The London Plan is not spatial in its conceptual structure and needs a far greater emphasis on its role of delivering the mayor of London’s own budgets as well as other public investment.

5) Waste planning. As waste planning is very slow, this needs some urgent national action to be successful in 10 years time. See what delaying action on air quality has led to…

6) A spatial plan for the UK. As the EU is about to embark on an EU spatial investment plan running to 2050 and the the UK is the only member state without a national spatial plan, we will be very disadvantaged without one and this should be an urgent priority to enable the UK to participate fully in the formulation of the 2050 plan.

 

SIMON RICKETTS, JOINT UK HEAD OF REAL ESTATE, KING & WOOD MALLESONS

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3) Resolving the increasingly difficult controversy over use of viability appraisals and the question as to the extent to which they should be made public.

4) The need to have air quality plans (to secure compliance with limits for nitrogen dioxide levels) in place by December 2015 in the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on 29 April.

5) Urgent need to sort out resource problems at the Planning Inspectorate, given the delays of up to ten weeks to validate appeals!

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Full article can be seen at 

http://www.planningresource.co.uk/article/1346574/key-planning-decisions-new-governments-in-tray

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Greg Clark (has replaced Eric Pickles as secretary of state for Communities and Local Government in the Conservative cabinet reshuffle, and will be joined at the department by new minister of state Mark Francois who is expected to take the housing portfolio.

Clark has been promoted from a ministerial role at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to head the department responsible for creating “great places to live and work”. The DCLG has also recently assumed responsbility for architecture policy.

Previously, Clark has held the posts of minister for decentralisation at DCLG, and minister for cities at the Cabinet Office, and his appointment is being seen as a strengthening the regional and cities devolution agenda.

Industry bodies reacted positively, with Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, saying: “Greg Clark played a crucial role in putting in place the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we welcome his appointment as state for communities and local government.

“The NPPF has been a real step forward in terms of rationalising our planning system and enshrining the responsibility of local decision-makers to deliver sufficient new housing. It’s pleasing to see someone with Mr Clark’s understanding and commitment at the helm of the DCLG,” he added.

Bristol’s mayor George Ferguson who said on twitter: “Greg Clarke [sic] has been brilliant as minister for cities and will be a shoe-in at DCLG. [It is a] most appropriate appointment.”

………….. and it continues

http://www.construction-manager.co.uk/news/greg-clark-appo2inted-local-govern4ment-secr7etary/

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See also:

 

New UK runway consent unlikely before March 2020 at the earliest, due to necessary National Policy Statement etc

Speaking at the RunwaysUK Surface Access debate on 2nd June, Oliver Mulvey of the Airports Commission Secretariat confirmed that final go-ahead by the government for any new runway would take at least a year following publication of the Commission’s final report after the General Election in 2015. Planning consent for a new runway is unlikely to come before March 2020 (with an election in May 2020) despite government efforts to streamline the controversial planning process using the Airports Commission. It would take the new government at least a year to produce the necessary National Policy Statement on runways. It might take 2 years to agree the NPS. After that, Mr Mulvey confirmed there are 2 possible routes: “The first is a planning application under the 2008 Planning Act. The other is the Hybrid Bill route, as for HS2. Both have their own risk and costs associated with them. ….All our dates show the middle of the next decade [2025] as the earliest a new runway could open.” The planning process for a NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) – which a runway would be – is itself a long process.

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