Federal Court gives clearance for Munich airport 3rd runway, and environmentalists fight on

Munich airport, Germany’s second largest by number of passengers, has now won approval for its plans to build a 3rd runway. A federal court rejected the remaining appeals against the plan. Munich airport currently serves around 40 million passengers a year and expects this to rise to about 58 million by 2025, so it is hard to see how it needs yet another runway.  The most recent attempt to block the plan, after a decision in favour of it by a Munich court in 2014, was brought by a Bavarian environmental group, Bund Naturschutz, and 5 individuals. The Leipzig-based federal court rejected a similar complaint brought by local municipalities in February – now the court says  the Munich court decision is fully binding and the runway can go ahead. In 2012 in a Munich referendum, a majority of residents opposed the plan.   Bund Naturschutz called on politicians to uphold the popular vote from 2012 and said it would file a complaint with the European Commission for disregard of European laws on nature conservation. They hope to fight on.  A Bund Naturschutz spokesperson said: “Neither Bavaria nor Munich needs the third runway. Lufthansa is the only one that will benefit.” The airport is owned by the state of Bavaria, the German government and the city of Munich.  Lufthansa uses Munich as its 2nd largest base after Frankfurt pushes for the expansion. 
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Munich airport gets clearance for third runway; environmentalists fight on

15.7.2015

Munich airport, Germany‘s second largest and a key base for Lufthansa, won approval on Wednesday for its plans to build a third runway when a federal court rejected the remaining appeals against it.

Airport expansion is a hot topic in Europe, pitting local residents and environmentalists against carriers and airports facing increased global competition. Protesters this week disrupted flights at London’s Heathrow after a commission recommended the government to build a third runway there to end decades of wrangling and indecision.

Munich airport currently serves around 40 million passengers a year and expects this to rise to about 58 million by 2025.

The complaint against a prior decision from a Munich court in 2014 was brought by a Bavarian environmental group, Bund Naturschutz, and five individuals.

The Leipzig-based federal court had already rejected a similar complaint brought by local municipalities in February. It said on Wednesday the Munich court decision was now fully binding and the airport had the right to build the runway.

Obstacles remain, however. Munich residents voted against the runway in 2012, and the airport’s owners – the state of Bavaria, the German government and the city of Munich – are in disagreement over the expansion.

German airline and tourism associations praised Wednesday’s ruling and urged politicians to move ahead with expansion. Lufthansa, which uses Munich as its second largest hub after Frankfurt, welcomed the decision, saying it offered long-term growth.

Bund Naturschutz called on politicians to uphold the popular vote from 2012 and said it would file a complaint with the European Commission for disregard of European laws on nature conservation.

“Neither Bavaria nor Munich needs the third runway. Lufthansa is the only one that will benefit,” Christine Margraf of Bund Naturschutz said in a statement.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/07/15/uk-germany-airport-munich-idUKKCN0PP17820150715

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Munich Airport wins clearance for third runway

16.7.2015 (Air Transport World, ATW)

Germany’s Munich Airport has won approval to build a third runway after a federal court rejected the remaining appeals against it.

In 2014, a Bavarian environmental group and five individuals filed a complaint against a prior decision from a Munich court. The Leipzig-based federal court had already rejected a similar complaint brought by local municipalities in February. It said the Munich court decision is now fully binding and the airport has the right to build the runway.

“Ten years after we started this project, the highest German federal court ultimately decided that all our planning had been professional and included legal requirements,” airport operator FMG CEO Michael Kerkloh said in a statement.

However, Munich residents voted against the runway in 2012, and the airport owners—the state of Bavaria, the German government and the city of Munich—are in disagreement over the expansion.

Lufthansa said in a statement that it welcomed the decision to build a third runway, which also affirms the carrier’s long-term growth strategy. Munich is Lufthansa’s second hub in Germany after Frankfurt.

Munich Airport will open a new satellite facility in April 2016, the first midfield terminal at a German airport. Like Terminal 2, the satellite facility will be operated jointly by FMG and Star Alliance member Lufthansa, which hold 60% and 40% ownership, respectively.

Lufthansa will also base its first Airbus A350-900 in Munich from 2016.

Munich Airport serves 40 million passengers a year, which is expected to increase to 58 million by 2025.

Kerkloh said the final decision to add urgently needed capacity by building a third runway is based on its three shareholders—the state of Bavaria, the German government and the city of Munich.

http://atwonline.com/airports-routes/munich-airport-wins-clearance-third-runway

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Freising against the decision

Freising FreisingMembers of the BI Attaching met to demonstrate that they are not giving up.                            (Photo: Marco Einfeldt )

The village of Attaching would suffer most from a third runway. For those affected, the judgment awakens their fighting spirit

By Birgit Goormann-Prugger, Freising

[ Freising is the town and district to the north west of Munich airport. See map

and details at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freising ]

Bad translation into English below:

As Florian Sperk of “Plane Stupid” said only scarcely a week ago when ZAMMA Festival, in Freising people have spent ten years resisting the third runway celebrated with the youth of the federal nature conservation – and now this ruling from Leipzig.

Nevertheless: “For us, this means:. Now more than ever, we will continue to push ahead with political opposition, because the judgment is indeed quite short of reality,” Florian Sperk said on Wednesday.

Also in the village of Attaching itself [which would be destroyed for the runway] the village community came together on that day.  In front of the local shop, members of the BI Attaching group met up, and spread out the village map on the table – being available all day to answer questions from residents . In the evening the BI Attaching group organized a church service in the St. Francis Chapel.

To stand up for the preservation of creation, in the last few years the Attachinger citizens have built the chapel right in the village. It is a monument of resistance. “Attaching to be shared,” it says in a statement of the Aufgemuckt group to Leipzig judgment. “With the rejection of the revision to the third runway at Munich Airport, the Bavarian village of Attaching and the homes of 1,000 Bavarian citizens will be destroyed, “it said. It is not clear how such an inhuman plan could get approval by the federal administrative court. No other infrastructure project would create such burdens for the affected population as creating a third runway. Now the Attachinger residents want the Munich referendum from summer 2012 (that rejected the runway, but was only valid for one year) to be upheld.

Should the runway be built,  the Aufgemuckt group urges that a three-point plan for the village is needed. 1. Attaching must not be divided into two noise zones.  2.Resettlement options in Freising need to be created for Attachinger in case of resettlement, to preserve the village community. 3. Moreover the Aufgemuckt group calls for a new social and cultural center to produce equivalent quality of life – a meeting place as the Kramer (local shop?) will probably no longer be the same.

Original German at
http://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/freising/freising-gegen-die-teilung-1.2567064

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See some earlier news about Munich Airport and its third runway: 

Runway-trick: State Government hopes to privatise Munich airport in order to build the runway

(Apologies for bad translation into English. German original here )

21.3.2015

Munich – The State Government is already planning behind the scenes a reconstruction of the Munich airport company into a corporation. That is the currently most realistic scenario, our newspaper exclusively reported, citing high government circles.

Several participating ministries have already checked that it was legally clearly feasible. Then a third runway could be built, against the wishes of the city of Munich. So far Munich airport has three shareholders: Free State (51%), Federal Government (26%) and Munich (23%). Federal and state governments want to expand the airport, but the city feels politically bound through the referendum of 2012 that said “No”. In the structure of society as a GmbH Munich can block the third runway.
A transformation into a corporation (AG), would be decided in the majority, is possible even against the will of the city within a maximum of three years due to clauses in the partnership agreement, according to sources in the CSU. (CSU is the Christian Social Union).

An IPO plan – known as rumor for months – had consistently been denied the State Government. In fact, the current plan does not contain that airport-AG is a publicly listed company on the stock exchange. However, the city is to be offered to deliver the shares over the counter. Only when the last outstanding court judgment has been delivered, the government will want to express it openly. Finance Minister Markus Söder (CSU) therefore calls on colleagues not to speculate and discuss this now. “The road map is available. Until the procedures are completed. All should abide by this clear line,” he told the newspaper. Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) has already announced resistance to the case of a conversion. He is thinking about a lawsuit. “You can not just out box us.”

http://www.merkur-online.de/politik/dritte-startbahn-flughafen-muenchen-ag-4838955.html


 

Opponents of 3rd Munich runway say the airport’s number of flights is still falling

Munich airport has been planning a third runway for some time, but opponents have succeeded in holding it back. The runway was considered necessary in 2007 and 2008, when the number of air passengers and the number of flights was growing. However, with the recession and with the use of larger planes by airlines like Lufthansa, which use Munich airport, there are now far fewer flights than there were at their peak. Runway opponents say that, in contrast to over-optimistic forecasts of future numbers of passengers and flights, the reality is that the airport now does not need another runway. In 2007 there were around 432,000 flights. In 2012 there were around 398,000. In 2013 there were around 382,000. The number has been declining steadily, even if the number of passengers and the amount of air freight is more constant. The airport management admit the forecasts were too high, but say the trend to ever larger planes will soon end, and the numbers of flights will rise. Opponents are using the falling numbers to fight the runway. The runway has permission but the decision is currently being reviewed by the Court., and the airport cannot yet start work on it.

Click here to view full story…

 

5% fewer flights used Munich airport in 2013 than 2012 – but airport planning 3rd runway

March 3, 2014

In Munich, campaigners against the building of a 3rd runway remain defiant in spite of a court ruling that the building of a 3rd runway would be legal. There were extraordinary scenes in the court room when the judge gave his ruling. Campaigners, who had packed the building, all stood up and sang the Bavarian national anthem. The judge had to clear the court. The campaigners are confident that the 3rd runway may never be built because the number of aircraft using the existing runways at Munich is falling. The figures for 2013 show that though there were 0.8% more passengers using Munich airport in 2013 than in 2012, but that the number of air transport movements (flights) fell by 5%. That is a substantial reduction. The campaign against the new runway has repeatedly questioned the economic case for building a runway for which there is not sufficient demand. For all 3 airports in Bavaria (Munich, Nuremburg and Memmingen) the number of air passengers did not grow in 2013, and the number of flights fell by 5.2%. The volume of air freight and mail using Munich airport fell by 1% in 2013. So no growing demand there.

Click here to view full story…

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Bavarian Administrative Court rules that building a 3rd runway at Munich airport is lawful

February 19, 2014

The Bavarian government in southern Germany have been trying for some time to get consent for a 3rd runway at Munich airport, to the north of the existing airport. The 300 or so runway opponents in the court greeted the news with boos and by singing the Bavaria national anthem. On 19th February the Bavarian Administrative Court (VGH) ruled that the runway can go ahead, when they rejected the 17 lawsuits against the project. The project was halted by a referendum in June 2012, when by a majority vote the people of Munich expressed their opposition to the runway, which would demolish the village of Attaching. However the legal judgement is not the end to the story, and the fight is expected to continue. Those opposed to the runway point out that a runway is not needed as the number of flights has fallen over recent years and the current runways have plenty of spare capacity, with the advent of larger aircraft. Though the result of the 2012 referendum was only valid for one year, the political parties in Munich are very aware if local opposition to the runway, and they need their votes. It is the state government and economic lobbies that want the runway. Opponents.will fight on.

Click here to view full story…

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Munich campaign hands in 80,000 signature petition against 3rd runway to state parliament

July 24, 2013

On 17th July, the BUND Naturschutz (the largest environmental organisation in Germany) and the “AufgeMUCkt” Action Alliance handed in a petition to the state parliament against the construction of a third runway at Munich Airport. Nearly 80,000 people have signed the petition from all over Bavaria. The petition was handed to the Chairman of the Economic Committee (CSU) and someone from the Environment Committee at the parliament. The campaigners asked the politicians to please take note of the will of the people and decide against allowing a new runway. One campaign leader, Helga Stiegl Meier explained that, among other things, the number of aircraft movements at Munich Airport has been stagnate for years, which she said proves that there is no need for a 3rd runway. Another spokesman said the region has no need of furher aviation expansion, and sustainable transport in Bavaria is facing very different challenges, such as future supplies of cheap oil. The new parliament will have to decide after the state elections in the autumn on a third runway.

Click here to view full story…

 

Munich residents vote against new 3rd runway at Munich airport – 54% said NO

June 17, 2012

Munich residents voted against development of a 3rd runway, in a poll by the City of Munich, which owns 23% of the runway (state and federal government own the rest). Just over 54% of polled voters were against the new runway and 45.7% in favour, according to preliminary results of the vote on Sunday.  Though the city only owns part of the airport, this is thought to be a veto. Munich Mayor Christian Ude said he would accept the result “without ifs or buts.” Bavaria’s state government, however, said it still hopes the runway could eventually be built. Munich is Germany’s second-biggest airport. The vote has dealt another blow to airlines clamouring for growth in Germany. A German district government ruled in favour of the €1.2 billion euro Munich runway project almost a year ago. This vote shows, quote: “how difficult it has become to make clear the significance of important infrastructure projects in our country,’ according to the Munich airport chief.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Read more »

In initial response to Airports Commission, Gatwick says report wasn’t sufficiently balanced, fair or well evidenced

Gatwick Airport has produced a short (14 page) initial response to the Airports Commission recommendation of a Heathrow runway. The Commission rejected the Gatwick scheme as falling far behind Heathrow, with much lower economic benefits or benefits to the UK as a whole.  Now Gatwick say: “We believe that the Commission’s report falls short of [being thorough, balanced, fair and well evidenced] in a number of very important respects. As a result, the many strengths of Gatwick and the many challenges of Heathrow are both underplayed, leading to a conclusion which we believe is wrong.” Responding to this, the local community group GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) said the flaws in Gatwick’s case include the fact it caters largely for low-cost leisure flights, and will continue to do so; Gatwick likes to give the impression that the extra noise from a 2nd runway would not be a serious problem, but the anger of those on whom changed flight paths have been inflicted in the past 2 years shows that is not the case; and Gatwick ignore the huge social and infrastructure problems that would be caused by inwards migration, housing and urbanisation.  GACC said: “It is time for Gatwick to give up flogging their dead runway horse and concentrate instead on being a better neighbour.”
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Gatwick Airport has produced a response to the Airports Commission report.  It is at 

A Second Runway for Gatwick 

Initial response to the Airports Commission’s recommendation report

Gatwick says, in their summary:

….”Our view has always been that the assessments on which the Commission’s conclusions are based must be thorough, balanced, fair and well evidenced. We believe that the Commission’s report falls short of this standard in a number of very important respects. As a result, the many strengths of Gatwick and the many challenges of Heathrow are both underplayed, leading to a conclusion which we believe is wrong.”

This is the airport’s initial response, and they say they will “complete a more in-depth analysis after a thorough review of the extensive documentation published by the Commission.”


 

Gatwick’s red card –  “Gatwick was given a red card and they should stop arguing with the referee”

14.7.2015 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Commenting on Gatwick Airport’s response to the Airports Commission, GACC chairman, Brendon Sewill, said:  ‘Gatwick was given a red card and they should stop arguing with the referee.’

GACC will be studying the response carefully but some flaws in Gatwick’s case are immediately apparent.

  • They cannot deny that a new runway at Gatwick would provide less economic benefit for the nation than one at Heathrow.
  • They draw attention to the growth in short haul flights to Europe. Many of these are bucket-and-spade holidays which have always been Gatwick’s main forte but which these days many people find more convenient from other airports closer to their homes.
  • It is rubbish for Gatwick to talk about a ‘monopoly’ at Heathrow when Heathrow will always face tough competition from Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and many European airports.
  • On noise, Gatwick imply that the noise problem at Gatwick would not be serious. That will infuriate the thousands of people who are at present suffering from new flight paths introduced by Gatwick in the past two years.  The Commission showed that, even with a third runway, noise levels at Heathrow would fall below present levels whereas at Gatwick the number of people affected would treble.
  • Gatwick suggest that passenger numbers on a new runway would grow more rapidly than the Commission forecast. Yet the cost of the runway would mean airport charges rising from £9 to £16-18, which would mean passengers and airlines would switch to Stansted instead.
  • Gatwick ignore the problems of inwards migration, housing and urbanisation.

Gatwick seems to be counting on political opposition to the Heathrow runway but according to Sewill: ‘They are underestimating the pressure from the majority of MPs in all Parties to get on with implementing the recommendation of the Airports Commission without delay.  They are also underestimating the opposition to their plans from all ten MPs in the Gatwick area. No major airline supports a Gatwick runway, and nor does a single county, borough, district or parish council within 20 miles of Gatwick.’

‘It is time for Gatwick to give up flogging their dead runway horse and concentrate instead on being a better neighbour.’

www.gacc.org.uk

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The Gatwick airport report summary states:

Summary

Traffic

The Commission bases its analysis on future air traffic projections. Gatwick is disadvantaged by their methodology which is flawed. For example, the Commission forecasts that Gatwick will reach passenger volumes of 40m in 2024. The airport will actually reach that number in 2015.

Economic Case

Even with the flawed traffic forecasts, the Commission’s own analysis based on Treasury guidelines shows relatively modest differences in economic benefit between Heathrow and Gatwick (£33.6 – 54.8bn versus £27.2 – 47.1bn). These figures are not highlighted in the Commission’s conclusion which gives the impression of a big differential in favour of Heathrow.

Passenger Benefits

The Commission acknowledges that the vast majority of new traffic over the coming period will be to European markets but recommends a solution that is focused almost entirely on long haul. They also fail to consider sufficiently the part that Gatwick could play in the long haul market.

Competition

Expanding Gatwick would enhance competition and build on the success of airport liberalisation. The Commission recommends turning the clock back and effectively re-establishing a monopoly at Heathrow. This would inevitably mean passengers paying higher fares.

Noise

The huge differential in noise impact between the two airports is largely glossed over – for example, relatively little emphasis is given to the 320,000 people ‘newly affected’ by Heathrow expansion compared to 18,000 at Gatwick.

Air Quality

The Commission states that air quality is a problem but then largely ignores the fact that the levels at Heathrow today breach legal limits even without a third runway. Gatwick has never exceeded legal air quality limits and would not do so with a second runway.

Deliverability

The Commission downplays the very considerable delivery risks and financial challenges at Heathrow compared to the Gatwick scheme which is relatively straightforward. This means the Commission underplays the biggest risk of all – that after years of delay, once again nothing happens.

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Airports Commission ‘glossed over’ noise from Heathrow, claims Gatwick

14.7.2015  (Evening Standard)

By Nicholas Cecil

Gatwick today accused the Airports Commission of “largely glossing over” noise blight from a third runway at Heathrow after it backed the development at the west London airport.

Sir Roy McNulty, Gatwick’s chairman, is writing to David Cameron to voice his concerns about the Commission’s final report. “Our view has always been that the assessments on which the Commission’s conclusions are based must be thorough, balanced, fair and well-evidenced,” he said.

“We believe that the Commission’s report falls short of this standard in a number of very important respects.”

The Sussex airport alleges that:

The “huge differential” in noise impact between the two airports is largely glossed over, arguing that 320,000 people will be newly affected by Heathrow expansion compared with 18,000 at Gatwick.

The Commission largely ignored that Heathrow already breaches legal EU limits on air pollution even without a third runway.

It under-forecast future traffic at an expanded Gatwick.

It downplayed the “very considerable delivery risks and financial challenges” of Heathrow expansion.

It accepted most new traffic over coming decades will be to European markets but recommended a solution almost entirely focused on long-haul.

Gatwick also challenged the panel’s conclusion that the economic benefits of Heathrow expansion would be greater than a second runway at its rival, claiming that the latter option would have enhanced competition.

The Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, decided that another runway could be built at Heathrow even if it did not meet EU limits on air pollution, provided that it did not delay London complying with them.

The panel also believes that fewer people would be affected by noise from a three-runway Heathrow than currently, because of quieter planes.

Gatwick is seeking to persuade the Government to reject the panel’s recommendation and opt for expansion in Sussex. It has so far stopped short of challenging the findings in the courts. The Government has pledged to make a decision on airport expansion in the South-East this year.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/airports-commission-glossed-over-noise-from-heathrow-claims-gatwick-10387578.html

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Earlier:

Gatwick Airport mulls response to Airports Commission Heathrow runway recommendation

10.7.2015

Gatwick is considering its response to the Airports Commission’s recommendation of Heathrow for a runway, and questions some of the methodology used. Gatwick is on record as having “deep concerns” about some of the modelling used by the Commission, and twice wrote to the Commission late last year highlighting these concerns. In October, Gatwick told Commission Secretariat Head Philip Graham it did not receive “a clear explanation of the Commission’s approach” or “a reasoned response” to points raised “repeatedly” with the Commission. Gatwick took issue with the Commission on the DfT air traffic projections, which it believes are inaccurate and biased toward “allocating forecast traffic to Heathrow instead of Gatwick.” They complained that Gatwick is increasing its annual passenger number faster than the Commission predicted, and the traffic predictions feed into many of the Commission’s final conclusions, including the economic benefits generated by Gatwick.” Gatwick complains that the Commission presumes long haul routes will go to Heathrow, while it is possible more will go to Gatwick in future – changing the economics. Gatwick is expected to make a decision shortly over what action it may take. Legal action?

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/26948/

 

Read more »

FT says after government statement on runway in late autumn, there will be a public consultation

It seems likely that the government will indicate its preference for the location of a new runway before Christmas (could be in November).  A Whitehall source has indicated to the Financial Times that Patrick McLoughlin is then expected to set out a “clear direction” — rather than a hard and fast decision. That will then require a public consultation by the DfT. The DfT said:  “The government is now carefully considering the evidence before making a decision and the secretary of state for transport plans to make a statement in the autumn to provide clear direction on the government’s plans ….Further consultation will be required as part of any decision-making process and to secure planning consents.”   George Osborne indicated recently that there would be a consultation before the government made any final decision.  He said:   “Now we’ve got to consult people, let Londoners have their say as well and not prejudge that.”   Maybe that’s a way for the Cabinet to try to resolve their internal split on Heathrow.   A Treasury spokesperson later said consulting widely with residents would be expected:  “You would criticise us if we didn’t consult on a decision this big.”
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Heathrow wants talks over expansion conditions

13.7.2015 (Financial Times)
By Peggy Hollinger and Jim Pickard

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Heathrow is seeking discussions with government over the conditions laid down by the independent airports commission as a prerequisite to the controversial expansion of the UK’s biggest airport.

……..

“The government is now carefully considering the evidence before making a decision and the secretary of state for transport plans to make a statement in the autumn to provide clear direction on the government’s plans,” a transport ministry official said. “Further consultation will be required as part of any decision-making process and to secure planning consents.”

George Osborne raised the hopes of protesters last week when he promised that there would be a consultation before the government made any final decision.

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Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, will decide between Heathrow and Gatwick by the end of the year — widely expected to be around November.

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See full FT article at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/45489482-2978-11e5-8613-e7aedbb7bdb7.html#axzz3fokxrzQf

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DCLG and DfT face 40% spending cuts

22.7.2015 (The Planner)
[It is thought that the Aviation section of the DfT will not be cut, while they deal with the runway issue, and their budget may be doubled].

Chancellor George Osborne has launched his spending review, with Whitehall departments including the Department for Communities and Local Government having to bear spending cuts of up to 40 per cent.

Government departments that are not protected, including the Departments for Communities and Local Government, Transport, Energy and Climate Change, and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, are expected to find £3 billion in savings in the current financial year.

Set to be published on 25 November 2015, the review will set out, according to the government, how it will invest in “priority public services” and “deliver £20 billion further savings required to eliminate Britain’s deficit by 2019/2020”.

… and it continues

http://www.theplanner.co.uk/news/dclg-and-dft-face-40-spending-cuts

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DfT faces 40% cut – at same time as delivering infrastructure “vital to growth”

21.7.2015 (Transport Extra)

The DfT is in line for a 40% cut in its budget within four years – something the Treasury says can be achieved whilst prioritising transport investment that “drives growth”.

The demand came as the Treasury formally started its Spending Review 2015 process, in which the Conservatives will seek to deliver a budget surplus by 2019/20 by cutting annual departmental expenditure by £20bn within four years. The Chancellor acknowledges that these are “big savings” but points to how Whitehall costs were cut by 40% in the last Parliament whilst satisfaction with public services improved.

The DfT and other non-protected departments have therefore been tasked with modelling savings of both 25% and 40% by September, in time for cabinet decisions on how the cuts will be shared out in time for the Chancellor unveiling the final Spending Review on the 25th November.

https://www.transportxtra.com/magazines/local_transport_today/news/?id=46042

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See also:

Heathrow wants “discussions with government” to negotiate runway conditions set by Airports Commission

The Airports Commission recommended a 3rd runway at Heathrow, subject to a number of conditions (noise, compensation, local consultation, air quality etc). But Heathrow is not keen on these conditions, and now says it is “seeking discussions with government ” on them. John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, said Heathrow “would have to consider” the demand from the Commission that there should not be night flights, and that there should be a legal prohibition on a 4th runway. The point of conditions is that they are, well as they say, conditions. But Heathrow says: “We will work with the government to make sure we have a solution that can be delivered. I am not saying today that we will accept all the conditions that have been put down.” Airlines would not like night flights, as they make long haul routes less profitable and problematic. Heathrow’s hope of getting conditions, all recommended for good reasons, removed or reduced will only increase the level of hostility towards the airport by its opponents. Whitehall sources say the government will state its preference for the location of a new runway before Christmas (could be November?) — but will then launch a fresh consultation.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Heathrow wants “discussions with government” to negotiate runway conditions set by Airports Commission

The Airports Commission recommended a 3rd runway at Heathrow, subject to a number of conditions (noise, compensation, local consultation, air quality etc). But Heathrow is not keen on these conditions, and now says it is “seeking discussions with government ” on them.  John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, said Heathrow “would have to consider” the demand from the Commission that there should not be night flights, and that there should be a legal  prohibition on a 4th runway. The point of conditions is that they are, well as they say, conditions. But Heathrow says: “We will work with the government to make sure we have a solution that can be delivered.  I am not saying today that we will accept all the conditions that have been put down.” Airlines would not like night flights, as they make long haul routes less profitable and problematic. Heathrow’s hope of getting conditions, all recommended for good reasons, removed or reduced will only increase the level of hostility towards the airport by its opponents.  Whitehall sources say the government  will state its preference for the location of a new runway before Christmas (could be November?) — but will then launch a fresh consultation.
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Heathrow wants talks over expansion conditions

13.7.2015 (Financial Times)
By Peggy Hollinger and Jim Pickard
Heathrow is seeking discussions with government over the conditions laid down by the independent airports commission as a prerequisite to the controversial expansion of the UK’s biggest airport.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, said the airport would have to consider the demand from the commission, led by economist Sir Howard Davies, for an end to night flights and for a law prohibiting any new runway in future.

“We will work with the government to make sure we have a solution that can be delivered,” he said, adding: “I am not saying today that we will accept all the conditions that have been put down. Night flights and the fourth runway — we will have to assess those a little more carefully.”

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See full FT article at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/45489482-2978-11e5-8613-e7aedbb7bdb7.html#axzz3fokxrzQf

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See also:

 

John Holland-Kaye reluctant to accept conditions on Heathrow runway set by Airports Commission

The Airports Commission, in recommending a 3rd runway at Heathrow, set out a short set of conditions Heathrow would have to meet, to be allowed to build the runway. These conditions are not very onerous. These included a ban on all flights between 11.30pm and 6.00am, better air quality, a legally-enforced “noise envelope”, and that Heathrow should be held to its pledge to spend over £1bn on community compensation. And no 4th runway ever. But now, just days after the Commission’s report, John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, says the airport is “still assessing” the conditions, and “We’ll have to see how it fits into all the other things we’re doing,” and “I’m sure there is a package in there that we can agree with our local communities, with the airlines and with Government.” Quite why conditions to be imposed on a runway to protect the public need to be agreed by the airport itself, not just imposed on it, is a mystery. Lord Adonis said the noise envelope, which the commission said might stipulate that there should be “no overall increase above current levels”, was one of the “weaknesses” of the Commission’s report. It is not even clear what it even means – “total incidence of noise, high levels of noise, noise in particular communities”. when manifestly adding another 50% more planes will increase the overall amount of noise.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Hounslow Council leader says 9,000-home “Garden City” could happen even without Heathrow runway

The Leader of Hounslow City Council says a 9,000-home garden city could happen even without another Heathrow runway.  He said a new Heathrow ‘Garden City’ in Hounslow is not dependant on a 3rd runway, and Hounslow Council remains opposed to the airport’s expansion, with its official line being that it wants “a better not bigger Heathrow.”  There are fears, however, in some quarters that if a runway was approved, Hounslow (Labour led – since May 2014 Labour 49 seats, Conservative 11 seats) would support it and aim to obtain the maximum possible benefits.  Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has implied that Heathrow would develop the “garden city” or at least be its cause – regenerating area of West London.  Hounslow Council has been working with Heathrow on proposals for the new development, though details of where it might be built have yet to be released and council leader Steve Curran said it was “very early days”. Hounslow Council has to build 3,000 new affordable homes in the borough by 2018. That’s before a new runway increases housing demand. Hounslow says the scheme is critically dependant on better public transport infrastructure.
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Heathrow garden city ‘could be built without third runway’

10.7.2015

By Robert Cumber (Get West London)

Hounslow Council leader says 9,000-home garden city could happen even without expansion at the airport

A new ‘Heathrow Garden City’ in Hounslow is not dependant on a third runway being built, the Hounslow Council leader has insisted.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye this week claimed expansion could pave the way for regeneration around the airport, including the creation of a garden city with 9,000 new homes in Hounslow.

Addressing the Runways UK conference on Monday (July 6), he said: “West London needs regeneration just as much as east London – our neighbours in Southall and Feltham are aspirational and want a better life for themselves and their children.

“Expansion will support the regeneration of west London, and tomorrow you will see an example, with the new Heathrow Garden City in Hounslow, including 9,000 new homes.”

Hounslow Council has been working with Heathrow on proposals for the new development, though details of where it might be built have yet to be released and council leader Steve Curran said it was “very early days”.

The Airports Commission last week recommended a third runway at Heathrow as the best option to increase the UK’s aviation capacity.

However, the Government, which must make the final decision, has yet to respond to the commission’s report, and several senior Conservative MPs are opposed to expansion of Heathrow.

Hounslow Council also remains opposed to the airport’s expansion, with its official line being that it wants “a better not bigger Heathrow”.

But the pair’s previously frosty relationship has thawed in recent years and the promise of 9,000 new homes would help the Labour administration fulfil its pledge to secure 3,000 new affordable homes in the borough by 2018.

Mr Curran said: “The [garden city] plan is extremely conceptual at this stage and includes ideas for better transport links to the airport, as well as significant new commercial and residential development that could be facilitated by this infrastructure. It would bring massive regeneration benefits to the west of the borough.

“It is not dependant on a third runway, and could work with the existing set up or with three runways. However, it is critically dependant on better public transport infrastructure.

“Heathrow and Hounslow Council are both supportive of the Southern Rail Access and this new infrastructure needs to be on an alignment that connects Heathrow with Feltham andBedfont Lakes with two new stations that allows increased development density.”

He added that the next step would be to work with residents, stakeholders, neighbours and the Greater London Authority on the ideas within its “masterplan”.

In his first speech since the publication of the Airports Commission’s final report, Mr Holland-Kaye also called for an early decision from the Government so it could get “shovels in the ground” by 2020 and have the third runway in operation in 2025.

He said Heathrow would start working to secure planning consent, “continue to engage” with local communities and take “practical steps” like starting traffic surveys over the summer.

He also unveiled the airport’s new blueprint to increase public transport by more than 10% over the next four years, which includes pushing for a western rail link to the airport and a 24-hour tube and bus service between Heathrow and central London.

He said when the third runway opens in 2025, Heathrow would be served by five railways and five motorways and would have the country’s biggest bus and coach station.

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/heathrow-garden-city-could-built-9606850

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Earlier:

Heathrow hopes to make a monster 3-runway airport acceptable by building a 9,000 home “garden city”

At the RunwaysUK conference, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye spoke of his plans to create a 3-runway “aerotropolis” around the airport, with a 9,000-home Heathrow Garden City.  He said: “When you are relocating hotels and offices, why not put them next to the rail interchange, so that we can have fewer cars on the road — an aerotropolis, if you like …. If you are re-landscaping the airport boundary, why not link up the open spaces to create a green ribbon round the airport, with better local amenities …. and …. improve local flood defences? Why not improve the local road network and cycle paths?”  He said west London needs regeneration just as much as east London, and the airport would do that. The development is understood to be planned for the Hounslow area. Heathrow hopes to get public transport up by over 10% in 4 years, to try and get the air pollution problem  down low enough to be allowed a runway. And then: “We should get shovels in the ground by 2020 and the benefits of an expanded Heathrow in 2025.” Work was starting on gaining the planning consents needed for the development.  Holland-Kaye said the airport may not agree to all the conditions for expansion proposed by the Airports Commission, but believes “an agreement could be struck on them.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/heathrow-hopes-to-make-a-monster-3-runway-airport-acceptable-by-building-a-9000-home-garden-city/

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Plane Stupid activists set up protest, locking themselves together, on Heathrow northern runway

At around 3.30am a group of 13 climate change activists from the group Plane Stupid cut a hole in the perimeter fence at Heathrow, and set up a protest  on the northern runway. They set up a tripod of metal poles, and metal fencing panels, and locked themselves onto these. Some were attached by D locks around their necks, onto the fence.  Others used arm locks (two people link arms, linked together with carabinas, inside a hard tube) to make it difficult for police to remove them. Police arrived on the scene shortly after the protest was set up. The first flights arrive at Heathrow from around 4.30am. Flights were delayed while the airport needed to shift runways.  Six protesters were removed quite quickly.  The protest was due to the recommendation of the Airports Commission that a 3rd runway should be built at Heathrow.  Besides the serious negative impacts of the runway on noise, air pollution, destruction of Harmondsworth, huge costs to the taxpayer and considerable social disruption for miles around, the issue which has been glossed over is the CO2 emissions that the runway would create from greatly increased flights, many long-haul. The Commission itself was aware that a new runway would mean the UK could not achieve its aviation carbon cap, and make it less likely the UK could meet its legally binding carbon target for 2050.
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BBC  for many more photos:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-33503167

Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/aviation/11735306/Heathrow-airport-protest-live.html

including a short video of the protesters arriving and setting up and many more photos.

Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/13/heathrow-disruption-climate-change-activists-claim-chained-runway  with other video clips

Direct action group Plane Stupid said 13 demonstrators opposed to the airport’s expansion plans got on to the northern runway at 03:30 BST.   The runway was closed for nearly three hours and 13 flights were cancelled. All the protesters were removed from the runway by 10:00 BST.


Armlocks

Two of the protesters arm-locked together on the northern runway


Protester: “We don’t have resources at our disposal other than our bodies”

13.7.2015

Protesters from the Plane Stupid group have been further explaining their action this morning – and have denied they are putting aircraft in danger.

Sarah Shoraka, a member of the group, told the Guardian: “We thought we’d won this fight, because David Cameron said ‘no ifs, no buts’ there would be no runway at Heathrow.

“We thought it was off the table and then the report came through and we thought ‘we’re going to have to fight this all over again’.

““We picked the spot so we wouldn’t endanger flights trying to land. But we are not big corporations, we are not Boris Johnson, we don’t have resources at our disposal other than our bodies.”

“We need to insert climate change into the narrative, it’s been absent from the whole debate ever since the report came out.”

Plane Stupid would stage more demonstrations on the issue, she added. “There is a huge coalition of groups against this and we have to stop this again.”  Link

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/heathrow-runway-protest-recap-passengers-6055538


And a delightful bit of unintended irony:

Retired couple Jean and Ray Leonard, who were travelling to Munich for a river cruise, said they had mixed feelings about the protest, though they had not been delayed. “We saw the police at the roundabout when we came in and wondered what was happening,” Mrs Leonard said. “It’s very difficult when you’re personally affected and losing your house [because of the new runway].”

“It seems to be young people, not the people affected. They’ve got nothing better to do,” her husband interjected.


Some extracts from early reports below:

• Climate change activists stage protest on Heathrow northern runway
• Dozen Plane Stupid demonstrators cut hole in fence at 3.30am
• Police arrest six after cutting locks from protesters chained to ‘tripod’
• But Heathrow warns passengers face delays and cancellations

 

Direct action group Plane Stupid said 12 demonstrators opposed to the airport’s expansion plans got on to the northern runway at 03:30 BST.

The runway was closed for nearly three hours. The airport said there would be some delays to flights.

Heathrow Airport said the protesters were still at one of the runways.

Passengers have been told to check with their airlines before they travel.

 

The airport said its southern runway had remained open throughout the protest.

“We are working closely with the police who are dealing with the incident.

“Both runways are open although there will still be delays – we are sorry for the disruption to passengers. Our priority remains to ensure the safe running of the airport,” said the airport in a statement.

 

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The airport said the first flight was meant to take off from the northern runway at about 06:00 BST.

A video posted online appeared to show several activists chained together and being spoken to by police officers.

In the footage, an officer told them: “As a consequence of you being here, you are causing severe disruption and it will be in the millions of pounds because it will take us a while to remove you.

“The cost will be in the couple of millions. The airport will attempt to make a civil recovery.”

The Met Police said the protesters had chained themselves together using a tripod which they had assembled themselves.

 

 

Ella Gilbert, one of the activists on the runway, said: “Building more runways goes against everything we’re being told by scientists and experts on climate change.

“This would massively increase carbon emissions exactly when we need to massively reduce them, that’s why we’re here.

“We want to say sorry to anyone whose day we’ve ruined, and we’re not saying that everybody who wants to fly is a bad person.

“It’s those who fly frequently and unnecessarily who are driving the need for expansion, and we cannot keep ignoring the terrifying consequences of flying like there’s no tomorrow.

“No ifs, no buts, no third runway. And we mean it.”

After three years of investigation, the Airports Commission said Heathrow was best placed to provide “urgently required” capacity, but environmentalists warned that building a new runway there will make it harder to reduce air pollution and climate change emissions.

On 1 July a report recommended a new runway should be built at Heathrow rather than Gatwick.

The Airports Commission said Heathrow was best placed to provide “urgently required” capacity, but environmentalists warned building a new runway there would make it harder to reduce air pollution and climate change emissions.

 

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The protest has raised questions about security at the airport’s perimeter fence.

Afzal Ashraf, a consultant fellow at defence and security think-tank the Royal United Services Institute, said the security breach is a “concern”.

“If they did manage to get to a runway before being apprehended then there is a bit of an issue,” he said. “If a terrorist group came up to the fence it would take a few minutes to cut through.

“It’s very easy to get to a fence before the police are able to react.”

“I think we need to look at the details, it’s worth asking questions. I don’t think there is a straightforward comparison between protesters and terrorists,” he added.

“It’s one thing to get in and chain yourself to a railing, it’s another to get near an aircraft. I’m sure there will be a security review.”

08.36

Scotland Yard has just confirmed that six of the protesters have been arrested on suspicion of Aviation Act offences.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “At approximately 3.45am on Monday, 13 July, officers were alerted to a number of protesters who had unlawfully made their way airside at Heathrow Airport.

“There were 13 protestors in total on the North runway. Six have so far been arrested on suspicion of Aviation Act offences and taken into custody.

“Officers remain at the scene and are continuing to work to remove the remaining protestors.”

 

 

08.20

Heathrow has just released an update explaining that both runways remain open despite the protest, but delays will continue. Passengers are advised to check flight times with their airline.

 

06.20

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that some of the demonstrators had chained themselves together using a so-called tripod.

A spokesman said: “At approximately 3.45am officers were alerted to a number of protesters who had made their way airside at Heathrow Airport.

“A small number of these protesters are believed to have chained themselves to a ‘tripod’.

“Officers are in attendance.”

06.10

A Heathrow Airport spokesman said: “A group of people have breached the airport perimeter fence and are currently staging a protest on the northern runway.

“We are working closely with the police who are dealing with the incident. The southern runway remains open. Our priority remains to ensure the safety of the airport community, including passengers, employees and protesters”

The spokesman was unable to yet confirm whether the protest has caused delays for travellers.

 

06.00

Climate change activists are staging a protest on the north runway at Heathrow Airport.

A supporter of direct action group Plane Stupid said a dozen demonstrators entered the runway at 3.30am after cutting a hole in a fence.

He said the protesters were campaigning against airport expansion and would stay there for as long as possible.



Heathrow protest: This is why I broke onto the runway yesterday morning at Heathrow Airport

Over the last few years, the aviation industry has managed to convince the general public that we have an airport capacity crisis. This is a myth

 

As you’re reading this I am sitting in a police cell. I was one of the 12 people from Plane Stupid who were responsible for breaking onto the runway yesterday morning at Heathrow Airport and holding up flights.

The reason we decided to take what might seem like such extreme action is quite simple: we cannot build anymore new airport runways if we are serious about averting climate catastrophe. This action was a message to the Government who now have to make a decision based on a public debate that until now has virtually ignored the climate change implications. Heathrow versus Gatwick? We can’t expand either if we still remain serious about stopping climate change.

We apologise to those passengers who have been inconvenienced today and we know the action we took this morning won’t be popular with everyone. However, the long-term climate change consequences of building another runway is surely of greater concern here. Aviation remains the fasting growing source of emissions, so at exactly the time when we need to be reducing our carbon emissions – building another runway is clearly the wrong way to go.

Some people flying out of Heathrow today will have been taking their only flight this year or their first flight in a long time. However, the statistics are clear –  15 per cent of the population take 70 per cent of all flights which means that it’s rich frequent flyers who are taking the majority of the flights and burning the planet. What this also does is push up the demand for expansion. To address this we must begin talking again about the need to fly less – in a country that already flies more than nearly any other country per head.

Over the last few years, the aviation industry has managed to convince the general public that we have an airport capacity crisis. This is a myth. Most airports are underused and business flights are declining. The only journeys on the increase are leisure flights which clearly need to be taxed properly so that the environmental cost of flying is factored into the price of the ticket. One way of doing this could be to introduce a ‘frequent flyer tax’.

Furthermore, nine of the ten most popular destinations out of Heathrow are short-haul flights, including to destinations such as Paris and Manchester. If these flights were moved over to existing rail alternatives then Heathrow’s capacity problems would disappear overnight.

I would prefer not to have been arrested today and I’m all too aware that I could end up being sent to prison for this action, but when the aviation industry can splash £3million on advertising to argue for unnecessary runways, sometimes we have to take bold actions to make our voices heard.

Building new runways isn’t for the masses and it will only benefit rich frequent flyers and the aviation industry who continue to enjoy huge tax exemptions and pay no VAT. This represents an  estimated an €27 billion shortfall to Europe each year. In times of austerity, we must ask ourselves – why are we propping up a highly polluting industry in a time of looming climate crisis?

The protest today isn’t about saying we can never go on holiday by plane – it’s about what’s necessary and unnecessary in a world threatened by climate change.

Lastly, a direct message to the Government and the aviation industry: we want to be clear that the anti-airport expansion movement is back and we’re here to stay. “No, ifs, no buts, no third runway”. We mean it.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/heathrow-protest-this-is-why-i-broke-onto-the-runway-yesterday-morning-at-heathrow-airport-10388631.html

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The 13 activists will appear at Uxbridge Magistrate’s Court on 19th August, charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome.

 

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Surrey County Council leader says Heathrow runway would require 70,800 new homes and 56 new schools

Surrey County Council leader, David Hodge, says Surrey will require investment in infrastructure if there is a 3rd Heathrow runway. Speaking at the RunwaysUK conference David Hodge said that before a new runway is built 70,800 new homes need to be built in the local area surrounding Heathrow over the next 15 years. This area includes 14 boroughs surrounding Heathrow, including Spelthorne and Runnymede. This would also mean an additional 50 new primary schools and 6 secondary schools would be essential. He said:  “We are not against expansion of either Gatwick or Heathrow… but we can only support expansion if the necessary investment in local infrastructure is put in place first.” There need to be significant transport improvements in the area for a Heathrow runway, including adding a 4th lane to the M25 between junctions 10 to 16. Also a new rail service to Waterloo from Heathrow, and more coach and bus links to Camberley, Woking and Guildford would be needed.  He added that is not the only priority if there is expansion:  “investment will need to go well beyond improving transport links.”  [All this comes at a cost to the taxpayer – and would not be paid for by Heathrow.]  TfL has said the cost could be as much as £20 billion. See below. 
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Seventy thousand new homes and fifty-six schools needed if Heathrow expands

11th July 2015 (Eagle Radio)

Surrey County Council leader, David Hodge, says Surrey will require investment in infrastructure.

This comes after the Airports Commission approved the plans for a new runway to be built at Heathrow Airport.

Hodge told a Runways UK conference (7th and 8th July)  that before a new runway is built at Heathrow 70,800 new homes need to be built in the local area surrounding Heathrow over the next fifteen years.

This would also mean an additional fifty new primary schools and six secondary schools would be essential.

Speaking in front of aviation experts, the Council leader said “We are not against expansion of either Gatwick or Heathrow… but we can only support expansion if the necessary investment in local infrastructure is put in place first.”

To support the expansion of the UK’s largest and busiest airport, there will also need to be significant transport improvements in the area.

This will include a fourth lane being added to the M25 between junctions 10 to 16. A new rail service to Waterloo from the airport and more coach and bus links to Camberley, Woking and Guildford will also be needed.

However Hodge says that is not the only priority if there is expansion adding “investment will need to go well beyond improving transport links.”

http://www.964eagle.co.uk/news/local-news/1667497/seventy-thousand-new-homes-and-fifty-six-schools-needed-if-heathrow-expands/

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Heathrow expansion means more than 70,000 new homes and 56 schools

More than 70,000 new homes and 56 new schools will be needed if Heathrow is expanded, aviation experts have heard.

Surrey County Council leader David Hodge told a Runways UK conference:

  • Expanding the airport could require up to 70,800 homes to be built in the local area* over the next 15 years
  • That would mean a need for 50 more primary schools and six new secondary schools.

He discussed the figures contained in last week’s Airports Commission report after giving a speech in which he stressed that before any new runway is built at Heathrow or Gatwick there needs to be investment in local infrastructure.

Mr Hodge said: “We are not against expansion of either Gatwick or Heathrow. There are national and local benefits – especially economic – from both but we can only support expansion if the necessary investment in local infrastructure is put in place first.

“As a starting point for Heathrow, we need a fourth lane on the M25 from junctions 10 to 16, widening work at junction 11, a new rail service to Waterloo from the airport via Staines and more coaches and buses to link it to places like Camberley, Woking and Guildford.

“And if we are to be certain that our residents will see the benefit of the extra schools, homes and environmental measures that expansion requires, investment will need to go well beyond improving transport links.”

* The 14 boroughs surrounding Heathrow, including Spelthorne and Runnymede.

http://news.surreycc.gov.uk/2015/07/07/heathrow-expansion-means-more-than-70000-new-homes-and-56-schools/

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See also

 

Access to expanded Heathrow could cost £20 billion, TfL warns – maybe £15 billion more from the taxpayer than Commission estimate

Transport for London (TfL) has raised “serious concerns” about congestion and the costs of expansion at Heathrow just weeks before the Airports Commission’s final recommendation is due (end of June?). TFL Response to APPG on Surface Access Feb 2015  In response to questions by Zac Goldsmith, TfL said both Heathrow and Commission had “significantly underestimated” the challenge of improving transport access to the site, with the Airports Commission estimating £5 billion would be enough to make the improvements. TfL believes to provide an optimal level of service, the figure would be nearer to £20 billion, raising questions about who would pay the additional costs. TfL said population growth of 37% by 2050 has also not been taken into account, with regards to the increased pressure on London’s roads and public transport infrastructure, Zac said: “TfL is better placed than any other organisation to understand the effects Heathrow expansion will have on London’s transport network, and it is extraordinary therefore that the Commission never bothered to ask for its assessment. This raises serious questions about the thoroughness and reliability of the Commission’s work. If TfL is right, the taxpayer may end up having to cough up an additional £15 billion to help Heathrow secure its monopoly, in addition to all the associated problems of gridlock, noise and air pollution.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/access-to-new-heathrow-would-cost-20-billion-tfl-warns-maybe-15-billion-from-the-taxpayer/

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Richmond parties unite to fight “deeply flawed” Heathrow expansion report

Conservative Council leader of Richmond, Lord True, launched a scathing attack on the “wretchedly predictable” Davies Commission recommendation for Heathrow expansion. He called for a cross-party campaign against a 3rd runway.  Lord True cited failures to address noise pollution, air quality, security issues and a “questionable loading of the economic dice in favour of big Heathrow” in the “deeply flawed” report and said Richmond Council would never accept expansion in any form.  Lord True lambasted the “contemptible” attitude of Davies committee members and quoted from a section of the report that claimed the negative effect of aircraft noise on people’s happiness was less than the negative effect associated with living in social housing. He said that was a shameful comparison. He called for a “fighting fund” to be set up to legally challenge expansion. Leader of Richmond’s Liberal Democrats, Gareth Roberts, was delighted to second a motion calling for a special standing committee to fight expansion. The LibDems want to work together on this, and Richmond will also work with other, similarly opposed local authorities.
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Parties unite to fight “deeply flawed” Heathrow expansion report

United: Lord True and Gareth Roberts

By George Odling, (Richmond and Twickenham Local Guardian)
9.7.2015

Council leader Lord True launched a scathing attack on the “wretchedly predictable” Davies Commission recommendation for Heathrow expansion at Tuesday’s council meeting, and called for a cross-party campaign against a third runway.

The £20m commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, recommended the west London airport for expansion last week after three years of debate and research.

Jul 1: Davies Commission report “beggars belief”, say anti-expansion campaigners

Lord True cited failures to address noise pollution, air quality, security issues and a “questionable loading of the economic dice in favour of big Heathrow” in the “deeply flawed” report and said Richmond Council would never accept expansion in any form.

He said: “They will have to abolish this council first.”

The leader lambasted the “contemptible” attitude of Davies committee members and quoted from a section of the report that claimed the negative effect of aircraft noise on people’s happiness was less than the negative effect associated with living in social housing.

He said: “I am not sure whether that shameful comparison actually says more about the commission’s disregard for the impact of noise or the snobbish people who must be in and around the commission.”

Lord True called for a “fighting fund” to be set up to legally challenge expansion and, referring to the incident in June that saw a stowaway fall from a plane on to a Richmond office block, he highlighted security issues that would be exacerbated should the number of flights over London be increased.

He said: “Let’s pray that person or successful trespasser on a far away airport is never a bomb-placer or suicide bomber.

“I am going to pick up on that case to try and highlight the security point to send a strong message to the airlines and aviation authorities we are exploring precisely how to take legal action against those who fail to protect the borough.”

Leader of Richmond’s Liberal Democrats, Gareth Roberts, said he was delighted to second a motion calling for a special standing committee to fight expansion.

He said: “On this issue which poses a genuine threat not only to the health of local residents but also to their quality of life it is only proper that the two parties on the council set aside their differences and unite in the face of a common threat.

“Furthermore the opportunity to work with other, similarly opposed local authorities will ensure that we are not a lone voice fighting against the power and influence of the money men lurking in the shadow of the pro-expansion camp.”

http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/13380134.Parties_unite_to_fight__deeply_flawed__Heathrow_expansion_report/?ref=twtrec

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See also:

Councils call for swift decision on airports report

1st July 2015 (Wandsworth Council)

Councils around Heathrow and across West London have called on the Government to rule out a third runway at the airport and dismiss the UK Airport Commission’s final report.

The local authorities say the legal, political and environmental barriers to expansion are insurmountable and that communities around the airport should be spared the anxiety of a long drawn out process.

The report was published today and ministers have promised to respond ‘by the end of the year’.

The councils have also criticised the commission for suggesting a ban on night flights should follow the delivery of a new runway, instead of being imposed straight away. They argue that the airport and airlines have to prove they can actually deliver a night flying curfew before it’s used as a bargaining chip.

Other key weaknesses highlighted by the councils include:

  • Air pollution – the report says new runway capacity would only be ‘released’ if air pollution targets are met. This means a runway could be built at a huge cost to taxpayers but with no guarantee it can be used. This is a ludicrous gamble.
  • New flight paths – the commission has ducked the politically toxic issue of new flight paths which it says will be decided after a further review of airspace. The councils say it is unacceptable that after £20million and three years of work the commission cannot confirm which communities will be affected by its preferred option.

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said:

“The Airports Commission has spent three years and £20million to come up with a list of “ifs and buts” required before a third runway at Heathrow could be considered.

“Whilst I appreciate that they have tried to make the best of a poor job, it is very disappointing that the pursuit of economic growth and profit for the foreign owners of Heathrow, whilst accepted as important, is given priority over the effects on the environment and the lives and health and wellbeing of residents of the West of London.

“It will take some time to read through the report in detail but from the headlines it is clear to me that expansion at Heathrow will never happen – no ifs or buts.”

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

“A third runway would inevitably push Heathrow’s world leading noise and pollution impacts to new highs and severely damage the quality of life across the UK’s most densely populated region. The environmental controls Davies suggests are inadequate would inevitably be watered down leaving millions of people unprotected. Already Heathrow’s leadership has refused to endorse them.

“Of course Londoners want to see night flights abolished but not in exchange for new flight paths across our city and thousands more planes flying over our homes every day. If the commission was serious about this it would have banned them now.  

“Expecting passengers to pay a new noise levy is another major disappointment which would push up ticket prices and penalise the travelling public. This cost should clearly be met by the airport and airlines but the commission is letting them off the hook.”

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“This report is bad news for West Londoners – disastrous news at every level, the result of a deeply cynical manoeuvre to delay a decision for five years to enable a promise everyone in West London believed to be dropped.

“This report is a cunning trade-off, which is aimed to appease local residents, as it is well known that we are bitterly opposed to night flights. We have long maintained that there should be a night ban, yet we also realise that there is a catch. The easy bit is for the commission to say “there should be a ban” – yet it is not in the gift of the  government to stop them; at least not without a severe penalty.  If it tries to stop them it may well have to pay the airlines many millions in compensation for their ‘grandfather rights’ – which has not been priced in the financial calculations. 

“If the government accept this recommendation there would be a major issue of personal credibility. I believe the Prime Minister will stand by his word. Together with our partner local authorities, we will fight this recommendation with every means at our disposal.”

Cllr Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environmental services at Windsor and Maidenhead Council, said:

“I’m extremely disappointed that the Airports Commission has backed proposals to expand Heathrow despite all the evidence that this is not the best option.  

“A final decision has not yet been made and we will continue to make the strongest case possible against the Heathrow expansion plans.”

Leader of Kingston Council Cllr Kevin Davis said:

“We are obviously disappointed with the recommendation of the Davies commission to expand Heathrow – we think that is the wrong option.

“However we also believe that there are so many caveats tied to this recommendation, especially around the stopping of night flights, the noise levy and particularly my grave concerns on air quality, that it effectively renders a Heathrow option as unworkable.

“Davies talks about ‘Heathrow being a good neighbour’.  But we believe that the cost of doing that, even if it could be done, would saddle Heathrow with a massive competitive disadvantage and would be a step backwards for UK aviation – not a step forward.

“I will now redouble our efforts to convince the government of that case.”

http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/article/12909/councils_call_for_swift_decision_on_airports_report

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Airports Commission failed to understand barriers to Heathrow expansion

1st July 2015 (Wandsworth Council)

Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia has expressed his disappointment at the Airport Commission’s final report.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

“This commission has cost taxpayers more than £20 million but has failed to understand the legal, political and environmental barriers that ensure Heathrow expansion will never happen.

“A third runway would inevitably push Heathrow’s world leading noise and pollution impacts to new highs and severely damage the quality of life across the UK’s most densely populated region. The environmental controls Davies suggests are inadequate, untested and in some cases undeliverable. They would inevitably be watered down and fail to protect millions of people from severe blight. Already Heathrow’s leadership has  refused to endorse them.

“Of course Londoners want to see night flights abolished but not in exchange for new flight paths across our city and thousands more planes flying over our homes every day. If the Commission really thinks this is an acceptable solution it shows how wilfully blind it is to the true impacts of this airport.

“Expecting passengers to pay a new noise levy is another major disappointment which would push up ticket prices and penalise the travelling public. This cost should clearly be met by the industry.”

http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/article/12905/airports_commission_failed_to_understand_barriers_to_heathrow_expansion

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Elderly couple in Harmondsworth vow to fight Heathrow 3rd runway, which would see their home bulldozed

Armelle Thomas, wife of a 93-year-old WW2 veteran and Harmondsworth resident, is “incensed” after a Heathrow letter was delivered to her door 90 minutes after the Airport Commission’s recommendation. The letter was a reminder about the compulsory purchase order on her home – just 90 minutes after the Davies recommendation for a 3rd Heathrow (destroying most of Harmondsworth) was announced. The couple face their home being bulldozed if the north-west runway goes ahead. Arnelle says there is “no way” they’d consider leaving the village her husband “fell in love with” when he first moved there in 1964.  She was shocked that Heathrow had those letters out within just 90 minutes of the announcement.  Armelle said: “If they actually try to bulldoze, my husband – who by then will be 97 – will be standing outside and we’ll see what happens. We have no intention of moving. My husband has the right to die in this house and I promised him as much.” A promise made is a promise kept.” Tommy fought in World War 2 with distinction, and now in his twilight years, he is going to be turned out of his home. This plays on his mind all the time, and the stress is not helping his health. All Heathrow is offering is 125% of the price of the homes to be demolished. Their house prices have been blighted for years by Heathrow.
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Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell says the Davies Commission has “absolutely failed” to take account of the “heartbreak” caused by its recommendations.

He said: “So many local families are now in the appalling situation of facing the loss of their homes and community.

“Teachers and children at our village primary schools are at risk of losing their jobs and their school places. The threat of this upheaval is devastating.”

Mr McDonnell has convened a public meeting for residents at 7.30pm on Thursday (July 9) at Heathrow Primary School, Sipson.

 

 

Elderly couple vow to fight Heathrow third runway which would see their home bulldozed

9.7.2015  (Get West London)

By KATHERINE CLEMENTINE

Armelle Thomas, wife of a 93-year-old WW2 veteran, is “incensed” after a Heathrow letter was delivered to her door 90 minutes after the Airport Commission’s recommendation

Mrs Thomas with the letter delivered 90 minutes after the Davies recommendation, and her husband’s war medals

A Harmondsworth resident was “incensed” after receiving a letter reminding her of a compulsory purchase order on her home – just 90 minutes after the Davies recommendation was announced.

Armelle Thomas, of Cambridge Close, is in a “fighting mood” after the news that the Airport Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, has recommended a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Mrs Thomas and her husband Tommy, a 93-year old WW2 veteran, face their homes being bulldozed if the north-west runway goes ahead.

She says there is “no way” they’d consider leaving the village her husband “fell in love with” when he first moved there in 1964.

Speaking to getwestlondon, Mrs Thomas said: “It’s not so much the letter which I found shocking, it’s that they delivered it in 90 minutes to our door. The letter has probably gone worldwide now because I was so incensed it was all over the media.

“If they actually try to bulldoze, my husband – who by then will be 97 – will be standing outside and we’ll see what happens. We have no intention of moving.

“My husband has the right to die in this house and I promised him as much as I can he will die in this house. A promise made is a promise kept.”

French-born Mr Thomas volunteered at RAF Uxbridge aged 17 and renounced his dual nationality to fight for Great Britain during WWII in the 161 Special Duties Squadron based at Tempsford.

He was awarded the Légion D’honneur for courage by the French government in 1991.

Armelle with her husband Tommy, pictured in 2012
Mrs Thomas said: “It’s very easy to remember the dead but not the living. My husband is a veteran who fought for this country and now he’s going to lose his home.

“It’s on his mind all the time. He’s already had a heart attack and two strokes due to pollution, noise and stress and it’s destroying the quality of life that he deserves – there isn’t one day when we don’t mention it.”

A spokesman for Heathrow said they were pleased following the announcement by the commission, and said it was a “significant milestone” for the airport.

He added that the report recognises the benefits such as 80,000 new jobs as well as the downsides.

Matt Gorman, sustainability and environment director, said: “The point of writing [the letter] was to acknowledge the uncertainty around the announcement and reassure residents potentially directly impacted that we will stay in touch – as we have done throughout this process.

“For those living close to the area who face losing their homes, we take this very seriously and have offered a very generous compensation package.

“We have offered to buy properties at 25% above market value and many local people have welcomed this.”

But Mrs Thomas says Heathrow’s claim is “rubbish” with each house being independently assessed and feels the people of Harmondsworth have been blighted by noise and pollution.

She said: “We’ve never gained from the market because we’ve always been blighted and that’s never been recognised by Heathrow Airport. So when they say that they’ve been very generous it is a lie.”

‘Insensitive’

In the letter to residents losing their home, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye, said: “The Government must now decide whether to act on this recommendation, and give policy support for a new runway to the north-west of Heathrow.

“Heathrow would then have to apply for and obtain planning consent before any new runway could be built.”

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said: “It was very insensitive to send letters to residents within hours of the recommendation. Particularly when the Government has still to make a final decision.”

Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell says the Davies Commission has “absolutely failed” to take account of the “heartbreak” caused by its recommendations.

He said: “So many local families are now in the appalling situation of facing the loss of their homes and community.

“Teachers and children at our village primary schools are at risk of losing their jobs and their school places. The threat of this upheaval is devastating.”

Mr McDonnell has convened a public meeting for residents at 7.30pm on Thursday (July 9) at Heathrow Primary School, Sipson.

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/elderly-couple-vow-fight-heathrow-9604234

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MEPs demand end to aviation tax breaks, but fudge investor protection in trade deal

MEPs have called for EU-US cooperation to end commercial aviation fuel tax exemptions,  in line with the G-20 commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.  MEPs want clear guarantees that TTIP won’t undermine EU environmental standards and climate goals.  The clear statement by the MEPS was in sharp contrast to the European Parliament’s ambiguity on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), where it called for an ‘alternative system’ but with the same purpose as ISDS – leaving EU negotiators none the wiser on a final agreement that would be acceptable to MEPs.  While in the EU consumers, small businesses and hauliers pay an average of €0.48  in tax per litre for fuel, commercial airlines in the EU don’t pay any tax on jet fuel. This subsidy is fuelling air traffic growth, with aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions expected to increase 300% by 2050. The continuation of the  €20 billion outdated fuel tax exemptions for aviation is an anachronism. The annual fossil fuel subsidy is being given for the most carbon-intensive form of transport. “With air passenger numbers set to grow 4% a year for the next 20 years, the aviation sector can well afford to pay its way.” The 10th negotiation round of TTIP negotiations will take place next week. 

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MEPs demand end to aviation tax breaks, but fudge investor protection in trade deal

8.7.2015 (T&E – Transport and Environment)

MEPs today called for EU-US cooperation to end aviation fuel tax exemptions as part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The clear statement was in sharp contrast to the Parliament’s ambiguity on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), where it called for an ‘alternative system’ but with the same purpose as ISDS – leaving EU negotiators none the wiser on a final agreement that would be acceptable to MEPs.
Transport & Environment, which is a member of the European Commission’s TTIP advisory group, welcomed MEPs’ call for clear guarantees that TTIP won’t undermine EU environmental standards and climate goals and, crucially, for cooperation to end fuel tax exemptions for commercial aviation in line with the G-20 commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
Consumers, small businesses and hauliers pay an average of 48 cent in tax per litre [1] while commercial airlines in the EU don’t pay a cent in tax to fuel their planes. This subsidising is fuelling air traffic growth, with aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions expected to increase 300% by 2050. [2]
Cécile Toubeau, senior policy officer at T&E, said: “It is great that Parliament wants TTIP to end the outdated fuel tax exemptions for aviation – a €20 billion fossil fuel subsidy for the most carbon-intensive form of transport. With air passenger numbers set to grow 4% a year for the next 20 years, the aviation sector can well afford to pay its way.”
But MEPs from the European People’s Party and Socialist groups also voted through a compromise to replace ISDS with a ‘new system for resolving disputes between investors and states’, which is itself the purpose of ISDS. Critics said the ambiguity would keep both groups happy while offering the European Commission zero guidance on what form of investor protection could be passed by Parliament in a final deal.
ISDS clauses allow businesses to bypass national court systems and sue governments directly, in special private arbitration panels, over measures that can jeopardise future profits – typically laws designed to protect the public. ISDS cases have trebled in the last decade.
Cécile Toubeau concluded: “Centre-left MEPs claim this is a No to the inclusion of investor protection in TTIP, yet the centre-right insists this vote supports the Commission’s reformed investor-protection proposal. That ambiguity means the European Commission can feel in no way certain its version of investor protection will be acceptable to the Parliament.”
The 10th negotiation round of TTIP negotiations will take place next week. The Commission intends to publish its new text on investor protection after the summer, but before publication it will consult with EU governments, the Parliament, and the members of its advisory group.
ENDS
Notes to editor:
[2]   ICAO, Global Aviation CO2 Emissions Projections to 2050 (2012), slide 8. Based on ICAO’s most optimistic projection. http://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/GIACC/Giacc-4/CENV_GIACC4_IP1_IP2%20IP3.pdf
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Also from T&E:  (23..6.2015)
“International aviation emissions have grown 90 per cent since 1990, and are expected to grow by up to 270 per cent by 2050. CO2 and greenhouse gases (GHGs) from aviation account for some five per cent of the overall climate problem – its CO2 emissions alone are on a par with Germany’s.
“These figures are hardly surprising; international aviation fuel is tax exempt, air tickets are hardly taxed, there are no emission reduction targets for the sector under current international climate agreements, and no fuel efficiency standards for aircraft. Also unsurprising is the fact that developed countries are the main source of emissions. US domestic and international emissions make up 29 per cent of all aviation emissions. Together, the EU and North American markets account for half of total global aviation emissions. Action from these two markets to lead in reducing emissions is essential.”
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and it continues …………

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