Connie writes that one of the major dilemmas facing political leaders across the world today is how to combine economic prosperity with bold climate action. It is obvious that climate policy-makers must anticipate the economic impacts of climate policies. Anything else would be irresponsible. Everybody agrees to this elementary reasoning. But, she says, how come it is not equally elementary to all that economic policy-makers must anticipate the climate impacts of their proposed economic policies? Global economic leaders are finally beginning to understand that, beyond the global economic crisis, the world is experiencing a climate crisis. And none can be resolved without addressing the other. In January the European Commission will propose a new climate and energy framework for 2030. Europe’s ambition will be seen by many countries as a benchmark, both in terms of timing and ambition, and an important driver in securing ambition for the domestic preparations of other countries and, as a result, for the 2015 agreement in Paris. The summit of world leaders on climate change that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host in September 2014 will be a crucial milestone on the road to Paris.
Why bold climate action is in Europe’s economic interest
6.1.2014 (European Commission)
One of the major dilemmas facing political leaders across the world today is how to combine economic prosperity with bold climate action.
It is obvious that climate policy-makers must anticipate the economic impacts of climate policies. Anything else would be irresponsible. Everybody agrees to this elementary reasoning.
But how come it is not equally elementary to all that economic policy-makers must anticipate the climate impacts of their proposed economic policies?
However, when World Bank President Jim Yong Kim calls climate change a fundamental threat to economic development, IMF’s chief Christine Lagarde says it is by far the greatest economic challenge of this century, and OECD’s chief Angel Gurria says we face a choice “between stranded assets and a stranded planet”, you know that climate change is moving towards the centre of the debate on economic policy.
Global economic leaders are finally beginning to understand that, beyond the global economic crisis, the world is experiencing a climate crisis. And none can be resolved without addressing the other.
With Europe’s economy growing more slowly than those of its major competitors, its leaders must take a more far-sighted approach to restoring – and preserving – its growth potential. This is why in January the European Commission will propose a new climate and energy framework for 2030. Of course a framework that does not run counter to Europe’s economic interests.
Just take our energy bill as an example. For years, imports of fossil fuels have weighed in negatively on the European balance of trade. In 2012 alone, Europe’s imports of oil, coal, and gas, amounted to EUR 545.9 billion, a figure equivalent to the combined GDP of Finland, Hungary, Portugal and Slovakia, or more than five times the aggregate EU trade deficit the same year. Would it not be wise – also economically – to bring down those sorts of bills by saving and producing energy here in Europe?
Furthermore, with record-high unemployment rates, Europe needs jobs in dynamic, competitive industries that cannot easily be outsourced. Currently over 3.5 million people work in the green sector in Europe. Between 1999 and 2008, Europe’s green sector created 180,000 jobs per year. And most of these jobs were retained – and many more created – during the worst years of the economic crisis.
Europe’s competitive edge lies in innovation, technology and increased energy and resource efficiency. And taking climate action yield most of these important economic benefits. But still, some businesses and politicians fret over the risk of climate policies driving away energy intensive businesses.
Carbon leakage is an important risk but it shouldn’t be exaggerated. In designing climate policies, we have identified the key sectors that are genuinely at risk of carbon leakage and then developed targeted remedial policies. That is of course the sensible thing to do.
With the current safeguards in place, recent independent studies show that Europe is actually guarding well its industries against carbon leakage.
So maybe we should be a bit more concerned about the risk of low-carbon leakage. Without ambitions climate polices, Europe will fail to attract investments in rapidly innovating economic sectors and the high-quality jobs we so badly need. Europe is leading the low-carbon technology race, but other international players are catching up fast. Renewed climate ambition is required to maintain Europe’s advantage in rapidly growing low-carbon markets.
Europe is by far the largest importer of fossil fuel in the world. And as growth in oil production slows and global demand continues to rise, sustained high oil prices and price spikes will have a significant impact on the European economy.
But the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that Europe does have options: we can build an economy that is less dependent on imported energy through increased efficiency and greater reliance on domestically produced clean energy.
Of course, Europe cannot resolve the climate problem alone. We must continue to demand action from the other major economies. Last month, the UN climate conference in Warsaw agreed that all countries, developing and developed, must contribute to the new climate deal to be struck in Paris in 2015, and that all countries should now go home and do their homework, that is, preparing their emission reduction plans well in advance of Paris.
This is what Europe is now busy doing. Europe’s ambition will be seen by many countries as a benchmark, both in terms of timing and ambition, and an important driver in securing ambition for the domestic preparations of other countries and, as a result, for the 2015 agreement.
And with political progress edging forward, the summit of world leaders on climate change that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host in September 2014 will be a crucial milestone on the road to Paris.
Business as usual is not an option if the economic recovery is to be sustained. Many economic leaders get that already. They understand that there is not a choice to make between good economics and climate protection, but that climate action is indeed good economics. European leaders must take bold climate action for their own economy’s prospects for a sustainable economic recovery.
Connie Hedegaard: “Europe is taking responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until global action begins”
The European Commission today proposed amending the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) so that aviation emissions would be covered for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace.
The adjustment in the legislation would apply from 1 January 2014 and until a global market-based mechanism (MBM) becomes applicable to international aviation emissions by 2020, as planned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Connie Hedegaard said: “In the light of the recent progress made at ICAO, not least thanks to Europe’s hard work and determination, the European Commission today has proposed to adjust the EU ETS so that emissions from the aviation sector would be covered for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace. The European Union has reduced greenhouse gas emissions considerably, and all the economic sectors are contributing to these efforts. The aviation sector also has to contribute, as aviation emission are increasing fast – doubling since 1990.”
She added: “I am confident that the European Parliament and the Council will move swiftly and approve this proposal without delay. With this proposal, Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins.”
Support continues to grow for the Nantes campaigners There are now over 200 support groups backing the campaigners fighting the proposed new airport at Notre-Dames-des-Landes outside Nantes. The campaign suffered a setback when the EU refused to insist the French authorities should carry out a full environmental assessment of the impact of the new airport. On 21st December the local prefecture finally signed the papers, on the law relating to water and biodiversity. There is now a real threat that the Notre-Dame des Landes airport could be built. However, the battle is far from over as the opponents will take legal action to get the papers annulled, and suspend construction, through proving the state is infringing part of the Water Act. Elected environmentalists are willing to break their alliance with the Socialists in regional council over the issue. They will leave the alliance if the airport goes ahead, and form a blocking minority politically. There will also be a mass mobilization across France. The next big demonstration is on 22nd February. The Nantes campaign, ACIPA, say they will block the building work. ACIPA say: “We will not let them! Work will not start!” They are anticipating a new wave of expulsions on the land earmarked for the airport, where there are a dozen legal occupants and up to 200 illegally occupants.
The state re-starts the case of Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport
Le Monde 21.12.2013
By Yan Gauchard
Unquestionably, the airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes project near Nantes , has perked up. On paper at least. On Saturday, December 21 the regional prefect, Christian de Lavernée, published orders relating to the law on water and biodiversity, conditioning the start of this controversial project. The first actions of transfers of living species and clearing will be conducted “in the first half of 2014″ , according to the prefect. The Aeroport du Grand Ouest would come into service in 2019 at the latest.
The project, recognised as of public utility in 2007, has been stalled for a year under pressure from opponents, who still occupy the land and expose the futility of a project that will artificialize farmland and wetlands.
In October 2012, an attempt to drain the site, punctuated by violent clashes, was cut short. Two months later, the Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, former MP and Mayor of Nantes and strong supporter of the airport, opted for the establishment of a commission for dialogue.
Further studies were commissioned, in the hope – that remained unfulfilled – to overcome the differences between those pro and anti the airport. The new infrastructure meets “with compelling needs” , says Patrick Gandil, Director General of Civil Aviation.Maintenance of existing equipment – Nantes-Atlantique – would prove “very expensive” , amounted to €685 million. The current runway, “worn” , requires“heavy work, impossible to achieve without interrupting traffic “ . Noise curves show about them a “strong increase in noise and impacted populations” if redeployment of activity on the site operated.
The promoters of the project, whose cost is estimated at EUR 808 million, announced a target of 9 million passengers in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, against 3.9 million currently in Nantes-Atlantique airport. Anti-airport campaigners denounce their side a parody dialogue and reject studies conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation,“service of the State being both judge and jury.”
Phase respite also allowed to register legal developments. “Of the 52 disputes involved, 47 are judged. All earned by the state, “ says Mr. de Lavernée. In November, the European Commission approved the aid of the French government, a subsidy of € 150 million, the project proponent, a subsidiary of Vinci. Previously, Brussels ruled that the case did not contravene any European Environmental Directive.
However, the battle is far from being played out. Mr Etienne Boittin , a lawyer opponents will file against the orders of the prefect annulment proceedings on the merits and referred to obtain the suspension of the construction. “We will win the game by proving in court that the state is infringing on part of the Water Act, “asserts Françoise Verchère, General Counsel (Left Party) and Co-group of elected officials questioning the relevance of the airport.
Historical pillars of the struggle, as the 200 activists camped at the site, are determined to prevent any intervention on the ground. Elected environmentalists are willing to break their alliance with the Socialists in regional council. “This is political blackmail,” concedes one of them, “but our position is stopped. Our place in the majority is conditional upon the fulfilment of this project. If the State goes into force, the break will be inevitable. However, with a group of eighteen elected members, it holds the blocking minority.
A few months before local and European elections, Jean-Philippe Magnen, vice-president EELV of the region, bet on “a form of moratorium. “For me, the State seeks to save face. With these orders, it is send a signal to the business community before the elections and prove that the Government defends the project. But the beginning of the work is not for tomorrow. »
L’Etat relance le dossier de l’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes
Indiscutablement, le projet d’aéroport à Notre-Dame-des-Landes, près de Nantes, a repris des couleurs. Sur le papier du moins. Le préfet de région, Christian de Lavernée, a publié samedi 21 décembre les arrêtés relatifs à la loi sur l’eau et à la biodiversité, conditionnant le démarrage de ce chantier controversé. Les premières actions de transferts d’espèces vivantes et de défrichage seront menées « au cours du premier semestre 2014 », selon le préfet. L’aéroport du Grand Ouest entrerait en service en 2019 au plus tard.
Le projet, reconnu d’utilité publique en 2007, est bloqué depuis un an sous la pression des opposants, qui occupent toujours le terrain et dénoncent l’inutilité d’un projet qui va artificialiser des terres agricoles et des zones humides. En octobre 2012, une tentative d’évacuation du site, émaillée de violents affrontements, a tourné court. Deux mois plus tard, le premier ministre, Jean-Marc Ayrault, ancien député et maire de Nantes et fervent défenseur de l’aéroport, a opté pour la mise en place d’une commission de dialogue.
Des études complémentaires ont été diligentées, dans l’espoir – resté vain – degommer les divergences entre pro et anti-aéroport. La nouvelle infrastructure répond « à des besoins impérieux », soutient Patrick Gandil, directeur général de l’aviation civile. Le maintien de l’équipement existant – Nantes-Atlantique – s’avérerait « extrêmement onéreux », chiffré à 685 millions d’euros. La piste actuelle, « usée », nécessite « des travaux lourds, impossibles à réaliser sansinterrompre le trafic ». Les courbes de bruit montrent quant à elles une « forte augmentation des nuisances sonores et des populations impactées » en cas de redéploiement de l’activité sur le site exploité.
Les promoteurs du projet, dont le coût est estimé à 808 millions d’euros, annoncent un objectif de 9 millions de passagers à Notre-Dame-des-Landes, contre 3,9 millions actuellement à Nantes-Atlantique. Les anti-aéroport dénoncent de leur côté une parodie de concertation et rejettent les études menées par la Direction générale de l’aviation civile, « service de l’Etat à la fois juge et partie ».
La phase de répit a aussi permis d’enregistrer des avancées juridiques. « Sur les 52 contentieux engagés, 47 sont jugés. Tous gagnés par l’Etat », rappelle M. de Lavernée. En novembre, la Commission européenne a validé l’aide de l’Etat français, soit une subvention de 150 millions d’euros, au promoteur du projet, une filiale du groupe Vinci. Auparavant, Bruxelles avait jugé que le dossier ne contrevenait à aucune directive européenne environnementale.
La bataille est toutefois loin d’être jouée. Me Etienne Boittin, un avocat des opposants, va déposer contre les arrêtés du préfet un recours en annulation sur le fond et un référé pour obtenir la suspension du chantier. « On va gagner la partie au tribunal en prouvant que l’État est en infraction sur le volet de la loi sur l’eau »,assène Françoise Verchère, conseillère générale (Parti de gauche) et coprésidente du collectif d’élus doutant de la pertinence de l’aéroport.
Les piliers historiques de la lutte, comme les 200 militants qui campent sur le site, sont résolus à empêcher toute intervention sur le terrain. Des élus écologistes se disent prêts à casser leur alliance avec les socialistes au conseil régional. « Cela relève du chantage politique, concède l’un d’eux, mais notre position est arrêtée. Notre place dans la majorité est conditionnée à la non-réalisation de ce projet. Si l’État passe en force, la rupture sera inéluctable. Or, avec un groupe de dix-huit élus, on détient la minorité de blocage. »
A quelques mois des élections municipales et européennes, Jean-Philippe Magnen, vice-président EELV de la région, parie sur « une forme de moratoire ». « Pour moi, l’État cherche à sauver la face. Avec ces arrêtés, il s’agit d’envoyer un signal au monde économique avant les élections et de prouver que le gouvernement défend le projet. Mais le début des travaux n’est pas pour demain. »
After a year of work, the commission, set up by the Prime Minister in November 2012 to end clashes between opponents and supporters of the airport transfer dialogue, ended on Friday, December 13 by a final meeting at the Nantes prefecture.
This year long delay has already cost $ 50 million in penalties. For Auxiette Jacques , President PS Region Pays de la Loire and airport Joint Union, a staunch defender of the new development, this year was not “lost, but useful to strengthen the back and exemplary in terms of consultation and dialogue and improvement of the project, “he argues.
Opponents, speaking via two main associations, the ACIPA, bringing together citizens, CEDPA, elected officials, however, do not see it in the same way… The first denounced a “sham” and the second requires again ” independent expertise. ” “We have been preparing a second wave of resistance for a long time,” warns ACIPA.
Furthermore the Committee on dialogue, two other instances, agricultural college mission and scientists have yet worked throughout 2013 in hopes to provide answers to various bottlenecks.
Judge and jury
Studies DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) have shown that maintaining the current airport, located south of the city of Nantes and close to various wetlands – including the Natura 2000 site of Grand Lake -Location – proved impossible. DGAC estimated at 80,000 the number of people potentially affected by noise due to the expected increase in passenger traffic and sales to € 825 million cost of the redevelopment of the existing airport, while the construction of a new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes was estimated at €450 million at the end of 2010, at the signing of the concession with Vinci.
But opponents of the bill believe that the DGAC, as a service of the State, is judge and jury in this matter and regret that these studies do not take into account the performance of the newer aircraft. These will be quieter, their greater size capacity will enable them to absorb the increased air passenger traffic without increasing the number of aircraft movements on the runway.
Following reservations and recommendations of the college of scientific experts on compliance with the Water Act, “the State and provided answers Vinci approved by the county council and environmental health and technological risks ” argues Jacques Auxiette. That challenge both the two associations of opponents that the associations for the defence of the environment, arguing that the planned measures are not at “the height of the stakes.”
On site, if 95% of the land area is already acquired, there is still a dozen legal occupants being expropriated and hundreds of illegal occupants.
The last legal recourse purged should however give free rein to the prefect to release the area to leave Vinci start the work, whatever the dispute …
Notre-Dame-des-Landes : les travaux démarrent malgré la contestation du projet porté par Ayrault
près un an de travail, la commission du dialogue mise en place par le premier ministre en novembre 2012 pour mettre un terme aux affrontements entre opposants et partisans du transfert de l’aéroport s’est achevée vendredi 13 décembre par une ultime réunion à la préfecture de Nantes.
Cette année de retard aurait déjà coûté 50 millions d’euros de pénalités. Pour Jacques Auxiette, président PS de la région de Pays de la Loire et du Syndicat mixte aéroportuaire, fervent défenseur du nouvel équipement, cette année n’a pas été «perdue, mais utile pour conforter le dossier et exemplaire en termes de concertation et de dialogue et d’amélioration du projet», avance-t-il. Les opposants, s’exprimant via deux associations principales, l’Acipa, réunissant des citoyens, et le Cedpa, des élus, n’ont toutefois pas vraiment la même lecture… La première dénonce un «simulacre» et le second exige à nouveau «une expertise indépendante». «Nous préparons une deuxième vague de résistance depuis longtemps», prévient l’Acipa
Outre la commission du dialogue, deux autres instances, la mission agricole et le collège d’experts scientifiques, ont pourtant travaillé durant toute l’année 2013 dans l’espoir d’apporter des réponses aux divers points de blocage.
Juge et partie
Les études de la DGAC (Direction générale de l’aviation civile) ont démontré que le maintien de la plate-forme actuelle, située au sud de l’agglomération nantaise et proche de diverses zones humides – dont le site Natura 2000 du lac de Grand-Lieu -, s’avérait impossible. La DGAC estime à 80.000 le nombre de personnes possiblement impactées par le bruit en raison de l’augmentation prévisible du trafic voyageurs et chiffre à 825 millions d’euros le coût du réaménagement de l’aéroport actuel, alors que la construction d’un nouvel équipement à Notre-Dame-des-Landes avait été estimée à 450 millions à la fin de 2010, lors de la signature de la concession avec Vinci.
Mais les opposants au projet considèrent que la DGAC, en tant que service de l’État, est juge et partie dans cette affaire et déplorent que ces études ne tiennent pas compte des performances des nouveaux avions. Moins bruyants, leur plus grande capacité permet de plus d’absorber l’évolution du trafic voyageurs sans augmenter le nombre de mouvements d’avion sur les pistes.
À la suite des réserves et des recommandations du collège d’experts scientifiques sur le respect de la loi sur l’eau, «l’État et Vinci ont apporté des réponses approuvées par le conseil départemental de l’environnement et des risques sanitaires et technologiques», fait valoir Jacques Auxiette. Ce que contestent tant les deux associations d’opposants que les associations de défense de l’environnement, arguant que les mesures prévues ne sont pas à «la hauteur des enjeux».
Sur place, si 95 % du foncier de la zone sont d’ores et déjà acquis, il reste toujours une dizaine d’occupants légaux en cours d’expropriation et une centaine d’occupants illégaux.
Les derniers recours juridiques purgés devraient toutefois donner les coudées franches au préfet pour libérer la zone afin de laisser Vinci démarrer les travaux, quelle que soit la contestation…
Ils prétendent débuter, dans les mois qui viennent, la destruction des espèces protégées et les chantiers de l’aéroport. Une nouvelle vague d’expulsion pourrait survenir. Nous ne les laisserons pas faire !
On site, the movement is more alive than the, denser links, the most cultivated fields and habitats more autumn 2012. In addition, more than 200 local committees were created in solidarity with the struggle and to make swarm by home. We call on all anti-airport forces to join the demonstration on 22 February 2014 in Nantes to show that it does not matter they touch the grove. Appeal by coordinating opponents (50 associations, unions, political movements and collective) – CHUM 44 – The Naturalists wrestling – The inhabitants of the ZAD-es https :/ / zad.nadir.org /
Au delà, plus de 200 comités locaux se sont créés, en solidarité avec la lutte et pour la faire essaimer par chez eux. Nous appelons toutes les forces anti-aéroport à se joindre à la manifestation du 22 février 2014 à Nantes pour leur montrer qu’il n’est pas question qu’ils touchent au bocage. Appel lancé par la coordination des opposants (50 associations, syndicats, mouvements politiques et collectifs) – le COPAIN 44 – Les Naturalistes en lutte – Des habitant-es de la ZAD https://zad.nadir.org/
Notre-Dame-des-Landes: “The disagreement was officially recorded between socialists and environmentalists,” says Cécile Duflot
GUEST RTL – The Ecologist Minister Cécile Duflot took this morning’s “constant opposition” to the airport project Notre-Dame-des-Landes, while the government decided to move to the implementation phase.
Cécile Duflot: “I hope that the environmental tax is applied in 2014″
Cécile Duflot: “The main thing is the efficiency of public spending”
(There is an 8 minute video clip, in French)
The Minister of Housing, Cécile Duflot, said Friday morning her “constant opposition” to the airport project at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Invited to RTL , she said that the environmentalists disagreement with the government on this had been “officially recorded.”
“We have the means to improve the existing infrastructure and not create new”. Cécile Duflot (EELV)
“My opposition to this project is not new, it is constant for philosophical reasons,” said the minister from the Green party. “For the most efficient use of public money we have to find ways to improve existing infrastructure and not create new, “she said. She also cited “a fight (in which she took part) with Stéphane Le Foll to preserve farmland.”
While the government, of which she is a member, decided to move up a gear to high speed for this project near t Nantes airport, she confirmed her rejection of it, and also by her party. “This is a subject on which the disagreement has been officially recorded between socialists and environmentalists . And it is constant and remains,” she insisted.
Notre-Dame-des-Landes: opponents ready to file appeal
In a statement on Friday, opponents of the construction of the airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes announced the filing of appeal once they have read the prefectural decrees published onSaturday, which affect the start of the work.
The prefecture of Loire-Atlantique confirmed Friday that stopped on the law on water and biodiversity are to be published on Saturday. The prefect of Loire-Atlantique announced Monday that the decrees concerning the law on water and biodiversity without which work can not begin would be signed “very soon.” He said that the remedy “referred suspension”, several associations of opponents at the airport have repeatedly stated must be deposited upon publication orders, “suspend the authorization” of the work.
It is for opponents of the airport project. In a statement released Friday, they have already called to oppose environmental compensation measures which constitute the preliminary work which must begin by airport, calling it a “charade.” Must “prevent these measures: ponds, trees and transfers of species as well as the widening of roads and construction of the road bar,” added the press “zad-nadir”, the website of the anti-capitalist opponents Airport. They also called for demonstrations in Nantes on Feb. 22 against the project. Around 200 anti-capitalist opponents still camped on the site planned for the airport.
Previous work at the airport scheduled to begin in fall 2012 for opening originally planned for 2017, took at least a year late.
Notre-Dame-des-Landes: les opposants prêts à déposer des recours
Dans un communiqué vendredi, les opposants à la construction de l’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes ont annoncé le dépôt de recours dès qu’ils auront pris connaissance des arrêtés préfectoraux publiés ce samedi, qui conditionnent le début des travaux.
La préfecture de Loire-Atlantique a confirmé vendredi que les arrêtés sur la loi sur l’eau et la biodiversité doivent être publiés ce samedi. Le préfet de Loire-Atlantique avait annoncé lundi que les arrêtés concernant la loi sur l’eau et la biodiversité sans lesquels les travaux ne peuvent débuter seraient signés “très prochainement”. Il a précisé que les recours en “référé suspension”, que plusieurs associations d’opposants à l’aéroport ont indiqué à plusieurs reprises vouloir déposer dès la publication des arrêtés, “suspendront l’autorisation” des travaux.
C’est bien l’intention des opposants au projet d’aéroport. Dans un communiqué publié vendredi, ils ont d’ores et déjà appelé à s’opposer aux mesures de compensation environnementale qui constituent les travaux préalables par lesquels doit débuter l’aéroport, les qualifiant de “mascarade”. Il faut “empêcher ces mesures : mares, transferts d’arbres et d’espèces ainsi que l’élargissement des routes et la construction du barreau routier”, ajoute ce communiqué de “zad-nadir”, le site internet des opposants anti-capitalistes à l’aéroport. Ils ont aussi lancé un appel à manifester à Nantes le 22 février contre le projet. Environ 200 opposants anti-capitalistes campent toujours sur le site prévu pour l’aéroport.
Les travaux préalables à l’aéroport qui devaient débuter à l’automne 2012 pour une inauguration initialement prévue en 2017, ont pris au moins une année de retard.
Notre-Dame-des-Landes. The prefect signed the orders
Orders on water and destruction of protected relating to airport project in Notre-Dame-des-Landes species have just been signed.
The prefecture of Loire-Atlantique has issued four decrees signed by the prefect of the region Lavernée Christian, regarding the transfer from the airport of Nantes Atlantique in Notre-Dame-des-Landes.
Two arrested relate to the transfer of protected species, one on the airport platform itself, the other its bus service.
Preamble at the beginning of the work
These are “exceptions to the prohibitions capture, removal, transportation, deliberate disturbance, destruction of specimens of protected species and habitat destruction of protected species.”
Two others allow the development of the airport platform itself and its bus service. The four documents were signed, dated Friday, Dec. 20. They are a necessary addition to any yard in Notre-Dame-des-Landes preamble.
Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Le préfet a signé les arrêtés
Les arrêtés sur l’eau et destruction des espèces protégées relatifs au projet d’aéroport à Notre-Dame-des-Landes viennent d’ être signés.
La préfecture de Loire-Atlantique vient de publier quatre arrêtés, signés par le préfet de région Christian de Lavernée, au sujet du transfert de l’aéroport de Nantes Atlantique à Notre-Dame-des-Landes.
Deux arrêtés portent sur le transfert des espèces protégées, l’un concernant la plateforme aéroportuaire proprement dite, l’autre sa desserte routière.
Préambule au début des travaux
Ce sont des « dérogations aux interdictions de capture, d’enlèvement, de transport, de perturbation intentionnelle, de destruction de spécimens d’espèces protégées et de destruction d’habitats d’espèces protégées ».
Deux autres autorisent l’aménagement de la plate-forme aéroportuaire proprement dite et de sa desserte routière. Les quatre documents ont été signés en date du vendredi 20 décembre. Ils constituent un préambule nécessaire à tout chantier à Notre-Dame-des-Landes.
A key report by KPMG used by the Government to make the economic case for the HS2 high-speed rail line has been critically undermined by the DfT’s own research, which suggests the study’s methods exaggerated the benefits of the project. The report has been repeatedly quoted by ministers — including George Osborne — to defend their £43 billion scheme. It said there would be a “£15 billion annual boost to the economy, with the North and Midlands gaining at least double the benefit of the South”.The figure was said to be the value of higher employment, better productivity and “gross value added” (GVA), increased production of goods and services, caused by the new line. But the DfT was sitting on another study, by transport experts, showing the KPMG reportproduced “implausibly high” estimates of the effect of high-speed rail projects on the economy. The second report said:“There is no evidence that the direction of causation claimed in the model —between an increase in rail connectivity and an increase in productivity, employment density and GVA — has been established.” (We have had that direction-of-causation problem with reports for the aviation industry).“Over the construction and the first 60 years of operation of HS2, it is likely that carbon savings … will be less than the carbon emissions, resulting largely from the construction phase,” the report says. Similar problems are likely with the economics of new runways.
A key report used by the Government to make the economic case for the HS2 high-speed rail line has been critically undermined by the Department for Transport’s own research, which suggests the study’s methods exaggerated the benefits of the project.
The report, by the accountants KPMG, has been repeatedly quoted by ministers — including the Chancellor, George Osborne — to defend their £43 billion scheme.
Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, said he was “pleased to publish” the study, commissioned by HS2, saying it showed the new line would deliver a “£15 billion annual boost to the economy, with the North and Midlands gaining at least double the benefit of the South”.
Mr Osborne said the KPMG report “showed that HS2 will provide a boost to the economy of £15 billion a year”. The figure was said to be the value of higher employment, better productivity and “gross value added” (GVA), increased production of goods and services, caused by the new line.
However, even as the Department for Transport promoted these supposed benefits, it was sitting on a second study which showed them to be grossly exaggerated, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. This report, by experts including Tom Worsley, the man who developed the DfT’s own transport modelling, criticised KPMG and its method directly and by name, saying it produced “implausibly high” estimates of the effect of high-speed rail projects on the economy.
“There is no evidence that the direction of causation claimed in the model —between an increase in rail connectivity and an increase in productivity, employment density and GVA — has been established,” the second report said. This had a “crucial” impact on the “robustness” of the figures, it added.
The experts said: “There is no explanation provided for the impact of the transport proposal on other geographical areas, i.e. winners and losers … no explanation is given of the original locations of those jobs that shift [as a result of high-speed rail].”
Their report, entitled Assessment of Methods for Modelling and Appraisal of the Sub-National, Regional and Local Economy Impacts of Transport, is dated September 2013 but was published on the DfT website at the end of October, seven weeks after the KPMG research. Unlike the KPMG report, it had no publicity.
The KPMG research has already been substantially discredited, with one former member of the Government’s HS2 advisory panel, Prof Henry Overman, saying it was “technically wrong” and “essentially made up”.
Another statistician, Prof Dan Graham, of Imperial College London, said the KPMG methodology was “not reliable”, while freedom of information requests by the BBC revealed that KPMG had found many parts of the UK stood to lose, not gain, from HS2, but this was never spelt out in its published research.
The disclosure that the Government was warned by its own experts even before publication will bolster concern that the benefits of the costly high-speed scheme have been significantly oversold.
Mr McLoughlin has also claimed that HS2 will be “one of the most potentially beneficial infrastructure projects on the planet” and that it will be “fully integrated into the existing rail network”.
In fact, according to Prof Overman, the economic benefits may be as little as an eighth of those claimed by KPMG, and HS2 will not even run to the main rail station in five of the seven major provincial cities it serves.
Mr McLoughlin claimed in October that HS2 could “reduce carbon emissions” by diverting passenger and freight traffic from road and air to rail. This is also untrue.
The same month, a previously unpublicised 63-page “assessment of carbon emissions” by the consultants Temple-ERM was slipped out on the HS2 website. The report makes clear that the massive CO2 emissions created by building the new line will outweigh any carbon savings from modal shifts in transport for at least six decades.
“Over the construction and the first 60 years of operation of HS2, it is likely that carbon savings … will be less than the carbon emissions, resulting largely from the construction phase,” the report says.
Even after the 60 years, significant CO2 savings depend on the UK closing almost all its coal and gas power stations, which appears increasingly unlikely. High-speed trains consume vast amounts of electricity, which is currently generated largely by burning CO2-producing fossil fuels.
There are around 1.5 million long-distance car journeys in Britain each day. The HS2 environmental statement says just 2,500 of them, less than 0.2 per cent, will transfer to HS2, bringing infinitesimal reductions in traffic congestion, pollution and CO2 emissions. A “small” CO2 saving “may” be delivered after 120 years, it says.
HS2 claims almost 700 air trips a day, four planeloads of people, will transfer to HS2, even though there are no flights between London and Birmingham and few between London and Leeds or Manchester.
It can also be revealed HS2’s former legal advisers have attacked the project, accusing it of using “scare tactics” to win public support.
In a blog post on the Bircham Dyson Bell website, one of the firm’s public affairs staff, Stuart Thomson, said there was a “real problem” with “failings in the statistics” used by HS2 to make its case, including a “fairly transparent scare tactic” of claiming that upgrading existing lines instead would cause 14 years of weekend closures.
Bircham Dyson Bell was legal adviser to HS2 until March 2013. Mr Thomson said: “Opponents have been allowed the space to make the running because of the perceived faults in the justifications and the way that the public consultation was undertaken.”
He said the problems with HS2 “go deeper” than the communications, and the Bill to build the line would have a “difficult journey” through Parliament as a result.
The DfT stood by the KPMG research on Saturday night, saying that its criticism related only to a previous study the firm had done on high-speed rail. However, the method used in both studies was substantially the same and economic benefit produced was similar.
A DfT spokesman said: “The 2013 KPMG study was peer-reviewed and highlights the real economic benefits regions across the country could see thanks to the creation of a new North-South rail line.
“HS2 has drawn support from employers, unions and the construction industry and will deliver essential new capacity to the national rail network freeing up space on the East, West and Midland mainlines, benefiting the thousands of commuters who currently stand travelling into London and Birmingham.”
Cheryl Gillan, Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham, said the case for HS2 was “smoke and mirrors”.
“This is an example of how the project is being bulldozed through as opposed to being discussed in the open on the basis of its merits. But you cannot take the general public for being fools. Particularly given the difficulties of the rail network in the last few days, people do not understand why the money is being spent on a shiny new toy and not on the services they actually use.”
A suppressed Cabinet Office report into the HS2 rail scheme raised “major concerns” about its “risky” construction timetable, poor management, insufficient work on costs and the capability of the people involved, The Telegraph can disclose.
Ministers are fighting to stop full publication of the report, seeking a rare emergency prime ministerial veto to prevent its disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
As of earlier this year, the veto — described as a “constitutional aberration” by the Lord Chief Justice — had only been used six times, including to block the release of the Attorney General’s legal advice on the Iraq war and to halt publication of the Prince of Wales’s private letters to ministers.
The disclosure of the report comes as new evidence about rail use further undermines the case for HS2. Ministers insist the high-speed line between London and the North is needed because the existing “classic” route, the West Coast Main Line, is “filling up”. But the new data show that, despite the economic recovery, peak-time use of the line is actually collapsing, with long-distance peak arrivals at Euston falling by nearly 10 per cent last year.
The suppressed November 2011 report, by the Cabinet Office’s Major Projects Authority, was one in a series of six-monthly “project assessment reviews” conducted into HS2 and 190 other major government spending projects.
In the previous report, in June 2011, HS2 was graded as “amber”. The November report raised the project’s alert status to “amber-red”, meaning that its success was assessed as “in doubt”. The assessors said they had low “delivery confidence” in HS2, according to sources familiar with the report, and identified four core weaknesses in it.
One of their concerns was the “risky” timetable, with shorter periods for planning, construction and passing the necessary legislation through Parliament than was given to much smaller rail projects.
HS1, the existing high-speed line from London to the Channel Tunnel, had 25 months to pass its necessary hybrid parliamentary Bill.
Crossrail, the new full-sized underground line beneath central London, was given 41 months for its parliamentary passage.
However, HS2’s phase 1, from London to Birmingham, only has 17 months for the same hybrid Bill process — even though the line would be twice as long as High Speed 1, 10 times longer than Crossrail and have more tunnelling than either.
HS2 is also far more controversial than HS1 and Crossrail and is likely to attract significant opposition in the parliamentary process.
The passage of a hybrid Bill is much more arduous than normal legislation, involving extensive oral cross-examination and allowing anyone affected to testify personally to Parliament. If parliamentary approval is secured, HS2 is also supposed to be built in the same time as Crossrail and HS1 — around eight to nine years — even though it is a substantially bigger and more complicated project.
Management and governance at both HS2 Limited, the state-owned company delivering the new line, and the Department for Transport, the project sponsor, were strongly criticised in the report. There was a lack of co-ordination between the two bodies, the assessment found, and confused responsibilities delayed the timetable for several key contracts.
The management tools for delivery were undeveloped and unsophisticated, without the use of even a “critical path” method — a standard technique for delivering projects that has been used since the Sixties to determine the order in which tasks should be completed.
There were “concerns over skills, capability and resources”, with not enough people working on the project and many of those that were not deemed capable or skilled enough. HS2 Limited’s own most recent annual report admitted: “It has been a challenge for the company to develop and enhance its governance, risk management and internal controls process to ensure that their maturity matches the underlying requirements of the organisation.”
HS2 also admitted that “one area where controls need strengthening and clarifying is the governance arrangements between the HS2 Limited board and the wider high-speed rail programme”.
The report also foreshadowed the project’s major difficulties in keeping control over its budget, saying not enough work had been done to bottom out the project’s true costs and affordability. Since the report was written, HS2’s overall budget has risen by about a third, from £32 billion to £43 billion at 2011 prices.
The document was cleared for release by the Information Commissioner in June, but the Government was due to lodge an appeal to the Information Tribunal last Thursday. That hearing was adjourned at the last minute after Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, and Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, wrote to Mr Cameron warning that the Government was “very likely to lose” and it would be “better to veto now than after an adverse tribunal decision”.
Justifying the “exceptional” use of the veto, the ministers said the publication of the report would create “political and presentational difficulties at a crucial point in the HS2 project’s development”.
In anticipation of the veto, the Government has now tried to withdraw its appeal, but the tribunal judge has said that there are outstanding legal issues and it needs his permission to do so, according to one source close to the case.
Subsequent reports by the Major Projects Authority (MPA), in 2012 and this year, kept HS2 in “amber-red” status, with little done to tackle the management problems identified previously. As late as last autumn, the Department for Transport’s internal auditors raised concerns about governance and resources on the project, and even this year the Government had “not fully implemented the recommendations they made,” according to the National Audit Office, which accused the department of being “slow” to respond to the issues raised by the reports. The latest MPA report is understood to have reduced the HS2 alert to “amber”, which means that its success is seen as “feasible” but not probable. Improvements have been made to staffing levels and capabilities, sources said, though “severe concern” remained about the project getting “bogged down” in Parliament.
In August, the head of the MPA, David Pitchford, said “a lot of things would need to be defined before, for [HS2] to come out of amber-red, or a rating similar to that.
“Before there will be a significant change in our assessment of it, there will need to be less uncertainty. HS2 is not just a single project.
“Some of the things they will need to build in terms of the stations and things are quite significant major projects in their own right.”
The new figures for 2012 passenger numbers at Euston, the West Coast Main Line’s southern terminus, disprove ministers’ claims of a “capacity crisis” and “time bomb” on the route.
They show that even in the busiest hour of the morning peak, long-distance trains arriving at Euston were only 64.2 per cent full — and suburban and regional trains 77.3 per cent full, making Euston the least crowded London terminus. Across the evening peak, long-distance trains were 56.8 per cent full.
Steep year-on-year declines in rush-hour passenger numbers were also recorded, with long-distance arrivals in the busiest morning peak hour falling by 9.7 per cent. Peak suburban and regional passengers also fell, by 1.2 per cent in the peak morning hour and by 4.2 per cent across the peak three hours.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “This report is around two years old — things have moved on and we have acted on all the issues raised. HS2 is in excellent shape — we have deposited the Bill for the first phase of the railway from London to Birmingham in Parliament, in Sir David Higgins we have a world-class new chairman and we have won nine out of 10 legal challenges.”
Writing in the Observer, Andrew Simms (fellow at the NEF and author of the book, “Cancel the Apocalypse”) says that the UK needs to learn to live within the biosphere’s thresholds, its ability to absorb our waste and replenish its productivity. We are not doing this at present, and act as if there were infinite resources available and the planet has infinite capacity to deal with our wastes. He says Britain’s economy is in the grip of an Icarus complex. ” It touches everything from, appropriately, the debate on aviation expansion, to our increasing dependence on fossil fuels and more.” By operating within the biosphere’s thresholds, “this introduces an urgent and immediate decision tree. If something like a new airport runway, or expansion of fossil fuel extraction, is going to take you closer to, or further beyond, one of the biosphere’s tolerance thresholds – such as potentially runaway climate change – you branch off and do something else …. that would mean no enlargement of Heathrow, or having to identify compensatory carbon savings elsewhere. The latter is not as easy as it sounds as some official projections for expansion lead to the aviation industry using up the UK’s entire fair global share of safe carbon emissions before too long.”
The only sober way to run Britain’s economy is to learn our limits
The UK’s economy has an Icarus complex: but with finite resources available, we must stop flying too close to the sun
Limits govern everything – from the speed of light to our ability to absorb oxygen or withstand heat. The art of operating within the tolerance thresholds of the material world is what keeps roofs above our heads and bridges standing.
Yet, we blithely disregard this at the level of the whole economy. When Daedalus, the Athenian master craftsman, flew, it was a triumph of intelligently crafted ambition. The fall of Icarus, his son, when he failed to respect the heat tolerances of the wax and feathers keeping him aloft, is a lasting monument to fatal disregard of material boundaries.
Britain’s economy is in the grip of an Icarus complex. It touches everything from, appropriately, the debate on aviation expansion, to our increasing dependence on fossil fuels and the historically unprecedented scale and speed of tropical deforestation driven by over-consumption.
At the micro level, engineers learn to work within the thresholds of the material world, but at the macro level economists do not. Their models allow them to externalise the cost of failure. However – as with pyramid-selling schemes – this only delays and makes larger a later, system-wide collapse. The macroeconomics practised by government remains clueless with regard to any theory of optimal scale. Yet, as finance and the sub-prime mortgage market discovered, bigger often doesn’t equal better.
A straightforward proposal logically follows: the economy should operate within the biosphere’s thresholds, its ability to absorb our waste and replenish its productivity. Good estimates are available for what this means in terms of most of our planetary boundaries, from the climate to forests, farming and fisheries.
Once this simple principle is adopted, it introduces an urgent and immediate decision tree. If something like a new airport runway, or expansion of fossil fuel extraction, is going to take you closer to, or further beyond, one of the biosphere’s tolerance thresholds – such as potentially runaway climate change – you branch off and do something else. In a world of rational policy debate that would mean no enlargement of Heathrow, or having to identify compensatory carbon savings elsewhere. The latter is not as easy as it sounds as some official projections for expansion lead to the aviation industry using up the UK’s entire fair global share of safe carbon emissions before too long.
All the tax breaks and subsidies given for gas fracking or offshore oil would be redirected to beneficial alternatives.
If you reject the notion of living within our environmental means and the immediate choices it implies, what is the logical counter-proposal: that we consume and produce waste beyond the biosphere’s ability to absorb and replenish? Such an approach relies upon magical thinking. Yet this is the proposition on which every major economy operates, because none seeks scientifically to identify and operate within the best estimate of its limits.
A peculiar self-absorption allows us to think we can exist separately to the laws that govern the physical world. In its survey of economists for 2014, the Financial Times asked a question about the likely “sustainability” of the UK economy in the year ahead. In it the meaning of sustainability was completely drained of any sense of the environment. It referred only to whether “recovery” – growth in consumption – would continue.
Strangely, the economics of austerity is held up with constant reference to more ideological, self-imposed limits: limits to what we can expect from health, education and other public services, of the pay we can expect or the age at which we can receive a pension. Expectations and ambitions for what the public sphere can achieve are constantly restrained. The only area which knows no bounds in policy terms is the assumption of unlimited consumption growth from finite ecosystems.
There’s an unspoken judgment that to acknowledge limits is defeatist, rather than a mature recognition of basic operating conditions. But, as any architect or civil engineer will tell you, the art, precisely, is in discovering what can be achieved creatively given the tolerance of your materials. Working with physical, material limits doesn’t block creativity, it sets it free – think of the sound unleashed from wood and gut crafted into a violin, the sight lines of a Frank Gehry building or a statue in stone by Michelangelo, Moore or Hepworth. Push, yes, but don’t break.
Concern for the environment doesn’t mean a hair-shirt rejection of the material world. On the contrary, it calls for a healthy relationship with it, based on more respect, knowledge, creativity and care. Yes, it rejects wasteful, debt-fuelled, passive consumerism and calls instead, for a more engaged, hands-on “new materialism”.
A green economy does this by insisting on quality over quantity, repairability over disposability and by treating people as intelligent agents, capable of learning about, using, maintaining and remaking material objects that endure. In an economy that recognises and revels in the real world, and more active, creative production, there is far more potential for novelty and pleasure.
The popular retelling of the Icarus myth tends to overlook the achievement of Daedalus, who not only flew but landed safely because he understood limits. Take flight, says the moral of the story – soar – but find a way to do so that doesn’t melt your wax.
nef is the UK’s leading think tank promoting social, economic and environmental justice. Our purpose is to bring about a Great Transition – to transform the economy so that it works for people and the planet.
The UK and most of the world’s economies are increasingly unsustainable, unfair and unstable. It is not even making us any happier – many of the richest countries in the world do not have the highest well-being.
Daedalus was shut up in a tower to prevent his knowledge of his Labyrinth from spreading to the public. He could not leave Crete by sea, as the king kept strict watch on all vessels, permitting none to sail without being carefully searched.
Since Minos controlled the land and sea routes, Daedalus set to work to fabricate wings for himself and his young son Icarus. He tied feathers together, from smallest to largest so as to form an increasing surface. He secured the feathers at their midpoints with string and at their bases with wax, and gave the whole a gentle curvature like the wings of a bird.
When the work was done, the artist, waving his wings, found himself buoyed upward and hung suspended, poising himself on the beaten air. He next equipped his son in the same manner, and taught him how to fly. When both were prepared for flight, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, nor too low, because the sea foam would soak the feathers.
They had passed Samos, Delos and Lebynthos by the time the boy, forgetting himself, began to soar upward toward the sun. The blazing sun softened the wax which held the feathers together and they came off. Icarus fell into the sea and drowned. His father cried, bitterly lamenting his own arts, and called the land near the place where Icarus fell into the ocean Icaria in memory of his child.
The Scottish Government has saved more than £500,000 and shrunk its carbon footprint through cutting back on business flights. Their figures show that in the past 5 years, the Scottish government has reeduced yearly flights from 11,169 to 8,036. That is reported to mean a cut of 650 tonnes of CO2. The cuts have means an annual saving of some 31%, from £1.85 million to £1.27m. The total distance flown dropped by 23%, from nearly 8 million kilometres to 6 million kilometres. The reductions are due to the government taking part in the WWF “One in Five Challenge” to cut one flight in every five, in 5 years. The Scotland government is the first administration in the UK to successfully fulfil the WWF’s challenge. WWF Scotland said: “By successfully completing WWF’s One in Five Challenge, the Scottish Government has clearly demonstrated that many business flights are unnecessary and can easily be replaced with lower-carbon alternatives such as rail travel or video conferencing.” Much time is saved by public servants if they can use video-conferencing instead of flying, and that saves money. Time spent travelling by train, not air, is generally useful time in which work can be done. Scotland is aiming to cut its CO2 emissions by 42% by 2020.
Scottish Government praised after slashing flights
by ILONA AMOS
2.1.2014 (Scotland on Sunday)
THE Scottish Government has saved more than half a million pounds and shrunk its carbon footprint through cutting back on business flights.
New figures released today show that in the past five years, the government has slashed its carbon dioxide emissions by reducing yearly flights from 11,169 to 8,036 and cutting the distances flown by nearly two million kilometres.
This resulted in a reduction in emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases of 650 tonnes.
Cutting back on flights also brought about a drop in the annual spend on airline tickets from £1.85 million to £1.27m, a saving of 31 per cent. The total distance flown dropped by 23 per cent, from nearly eight million kilometres to six million kilometres.
Climate campaigners praised the efforts made by Scottish ministers and their staff, who made the cuts as part of an awards scheme run by environmental group WWF.
Scotland’s government is the first administration in the UK to successfully fulfil the “One in Five Challenge”, which requires members to cut business flights by 20 per cent within five years.
“Scottish ministers and their staff are to be congratulated for cutting their flights and carbon emissions by over a fifth,” said Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland.
“By successfully completing WWF’s One in Five Challenge, the Scottish Government has clearly demonstrated that many business flights are unnecessary and can easily be replaced with lower-carbon alternatives such as rail travel or video conferencing.
“Flying is the most polluting form of transport, as well as being a costly waste of time for our public servants. Using video-conferencing or taking the train turns wasted time into useful time and could save millions of pounds in these times of tight public finances.”
Environment and climate change minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government has worked hard to reduce flights for business travel, achieving a 28 per cent cut since 2007. This is an important part of our overall environmental strategy to reduce our carbon footprint, and we have met the target by increasing the use of video and web-conferencing facilities for meetings and encouraging greater use of more sustainable travel options.”
A 2010 report for WWF estimated that the UK government and devolved administrations could save more than £100m and 59,000 tonnes of CO2 if they eliminated unnecessary journeys by air. Entitled Excess Baggage, the study showed 90 per cent of flights taken by government ministers and officials over the previous three years were within the UK.
The most common domestic routes were London to Edinburgh and London to Belfast, while the top short-haul overseas trips were to Brussels, Geneva, Luxembourg and Strasbourg.
Scotland’s climate targets are some of the most ambitious in the world, aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent by the end of the decade.
In August 2010 a spokesman for the Scottish government said, when they joined the WWF 1 in 5 Challenge:
Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Transport and Climate Change with the Scottish Government said:
“The Scottish Government is proud to be the first Government organisation to sign up to WWF’s One in Five Challenge. Since setting our world-leading emissions reductions target of 42 per cent in our Act last year, Scotland has continued to set the pace on action on climate change.
“As an organisation, we are taking action to ensure that, where business journeys are necessary, we travel sustainably. We flew half a million miles less in 2008/09 and have delivered a considerable reduction in our air travel costs. This dropped by 24 per cent from July to December 2009, compared to the previous six months. And we already have a carbon emissions levy in place so that whenever a Minister or staff member travels by air, we pay a carbon levy per journey to offset the carbon emissions. We are also making increasing use of video conferencing facilities, when appropriate, instead of travelling to meetings in the UK.”
Scottish Government squanders £8 million on record number of luxury and short-haul flights
by Declan Pang (Burning Our Money)
Since May 2007, the Scottish Government has spent more than £8 million on a record numbers of flights – an average of 25 flights for every working day since taking office. Earlier this year, nearly £50,000 was spent on a 4-day trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco where Alex Salmond attended the US premiere of the animated fantasy film Brave, which is set in the Highlands of Scotland.
In the last five years, Ministers and officials have travelled on more than 32,000 flights, over 4,000 of them on business and first class journeys, to destinations all over the world.
One ticket to the US cost £7,000, while more than £20,000 was frittered away on five luxury business class tickets for staff to travel to locations like Doha and Abu Dhabi.
The figures, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, also reveal that several Scottish ministers have spent thousands of pounds on short flights between London and Edinburgh, despite pledging to cut costs and carbon emissions from flights.
Our previous research shows that it is not just Scottish politicians and bureaucrats who like the jet-set lifestyle. Just last week we revealed that nearly £500,000 was spent on flights by councils in the North East over the last three years. TPA activists in Hampshire also uncovered £135,000 worth of flights spending over two years. We also found thatcouncils in the Midlands (excluding Birmingham) spent £275,000 on flights over the same period.
All of those flights can be viewed on this interactive map.
With modern communications and technology, many long distance journeys are now increasingly unnecessary. Public sector bodies are having to make savings so they should be working a lot harder to cut their travel costs.
Alex Salmond’s entourage spends £48,000 to attend “Brave” premier in California
Scottish ministers and their cilvil servants have spent more than £8 million of taxpayers’ money on a record number of flights, new figures reveal.
By Simon Johnson, Scottish political editor (Telegraph)
20 Aug 2012
Scottish ministers and their civil servants have spent more than £8 million taking a record number of flights including nearly £50,000 so Alex Salmond could attend a US movie premiere.
New figures revealed £8.4 million of taxpayers’ money has been spent on 32,000 flights for officials since the SNP took power five years ago – an average of 25 per working day.
This includes more than 4,000 business-class and first-class journeys all over the world, with one luxury return ticket to the US costing more than £7,000.
Flights for civil servants accompanying the First Minister on a four-day trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco earlier this year cost £48,000.
His most high-profile engagement was attending the California premiere of the new Disney / Pixar movie Brave. Robbie Coltrane, one of the stars, has accused the Scottish Government of trying to “hijack” the film to promote independence.
In addition ministers, including Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, have spent up to £564 per return flight between Edinburgh and London.
The figures, released under freedom of information legislation, also revealed thousands of flights between the Scottish and English capitals. This is despite ministers urging people to reduce the number of short-haul trips.
Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Green Party co-leader, said: “SNP ministers like to lecture people about the need to be green but they fail to put their money where their mouth is.
“It’s time they were brought down to earth and had to make do like the rest of us. When parliament debates the Budget later this year, we should place a cap on their travel costs.”
Among the other flight costs listed are £5,500 for a civil servant to travel to Chicago and back and more than £20,000 on five business class tickets for officials to go to Doha and Abu Dhabi.
Miss Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister, charged the taxpayer £564.25 for a return flight from Edinburgh to London in February this year.
Alex Neil, the Scottish Infrastructure Minister, made the same trip for £534.93 in April and Mr Salmond charged taxpayers £462.25 when he flew to London the same month.
He even used a speech on his trip to boast about Scotland’s green energy potential. Return flights between Edinburgh and London can be bought for less than £100 on budget airlines.
A Scottish Government spokesman said they have cut the cost of air travel for official business by 44 per cent since 2006-7.
“Foreign travel is tightly controlled and business class only approved for long flights where it is necessary to deal with official business immediately upon landing,” he added.
Helping companies fly less – good for business, good for the planet
WWF’s One in Five Challenge helps companies and government cut their costs as well as their carbon emissions from business travel.
Participants commit to cut 20% of their business flights within five years.
The Challenge is a guided programme and award scheme which suggests practical ways to cut flying and use lower-carbon ways of staying connected.
The latest three-year results are impressive: members have, on average, cut their flights by 38%, saving £2 million and 3,000 tonnes of Co2.
The Third Annual Report for the ‘One in Five Challenge’ is being published online 23 January 2014. The Challenge Toolkit, showing how successful organisations have achieved the Challenge, will also be published on this date.
One in Five Challenge Members
The following companies & organisations have been members of WWF’s One in Five Challenge:
Balfour Beatty, BSkyB, BT, Capgemini, Lloyds TSB, Marks & Spencer, Microsoft UK, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Government, Skanska, Vodafone UK and WWF-UK.
The following members have achieved the One in Five Challenge Award:
Rewarding positive changes
Financial pressures and carbon reduction targets are already forcing many companies to cut their business travel. But to continue making these cost and carbon savings, companies will need to reduce their reliance on business flying.
They can do this by increasing the use of audio, web and videoconferencing. And rail travel offers a lower carbon alternative to flying. These lower-carbon ways of staying connected improve the productivity and well-being of staff.
Companies that successfully meet the Challenge receive a specially-designed Panda logo and WWF’s public recognition. There are also opportunities to share a public platform with WWF to demonstrate the benefits of flying less.
The business case for flying less:
Financial savings from avoided flights and accommodation
Lower emissions to meet carbon reduction targets
Increased productivity due to more time in the office
Better global collaboration and faster decision making
Better work–life balance for staff, which can boost staff retention
Improved ability to operate in a carbon-constrained future
Membership of the One in Five Challenge entitles you to:
A toolkit to help you develop and implement a greener travel policy
An online system to report and submit data for the Challenge
Consultancy support from travel planning experts to meet the Challenge
Annual reports to record progress
One in Five Challenge branding to communicate your participation and success
Ideas for improved engagement and buy-in from staff
An annual workshop and a quarterly e-newsletter
Audited data you can report to government and investors
Heathrow Airport has intimated to the FT that it plans to consult residents on which of the two options, chosen by the Airports Commission, they prefer for a 3rd runway. This has been condemned by campaign group HACAN as like being asked ‘whether you prefer being murdered by Jack the Ripper or the Boston Strangler.’ Heathrow was probably surprised to find one option proposed by the Commission was by Heathrow Hub. They are not keen on this option. The aim of a consultation will be to get backing for their own scheme, for a northern runway. It will hinge on the noise issue. The extent of respite from aircraft noise will be a critical aspect of any runway proposals.. If there is a 3rd, northern, runway it could mean those living under the existing two runway flight paths would only get a shorter respite period per day, and a whole linear expanse of London would then start to be affected by aircraft noise. For a 3rd northern runway to be profitable, it will have to be used intensively. The reduction in respite periods, perhaps of only one third of a day, rather than half the day (from 3pm as at present) will be deeply unpopular. Even less popular would be the lack of respite at all with the Heathrow Hub northern runway. See Hacan’s comment on the two options.
Heathrow Airport plans to get residents’ views on preferred option for a 3rd runway attacked by campaign group
Heathrow Airport’s plans to consult residents on which option they prefer for a third runway had been condemned by campaign group HACAN as like being asked ‘whether you prefer being murdered by Jack the Ripper or the Boston Strangler.’
Heathrow has announced [FT link ] that it will shortly ask people’s views on the Heathrow Hub proposal which has been put forward by an independent company fronted by the former Concorde pilot Jock Lowe. The plan, which is one of two being considered by the Airports Commission for future expansion of Heathrow, involves extending the existing northern runway to allow arrivals and departures to use it simultaneously. It would mean all-day flying for people under the flight path, many of whom currently get a half day’s break from the noise when aircraft landing at the airport switch runways at 3pm.
The other proposal being considered by the Commission is the one put forward by Heathrow Airport itself which is for a new runway to the north of the existing northern runway. It would enable respite periods for those living under the flight paths of the existing two runways to continue but would involve putting in place a new flight path which would bring noise to some communities, around a mile north of the existing northern flight path, for the first time.
Heathrow Airport will be asking people which option they prefer.
HACAN chair John Stewart said, “Heathrow Airport has never liked the Heathrow Hub option and I suspect this is a way of putting pressure on the Airports Commission for it to be ruled out. But for residents it is like being asked to choose whether you preferred being murdered by Jack the Ripper or the Boston Strangler.’
The Airports Commission, which is also looking at a second runway at Gatwick, is not due to publish its final report until summer 2015 but will consult further on the options this year.
Heathrow is to investigate whether its proposal for a third runway has stronger local community support than an alternative plan by a former Concorde pilot to increase the number of flights at the UK’s largest airport.
Heathrow Airport Holdings is expected to launch a public consultation with local communities soon that could play an important role in determining whether it sticks to its proposal or swings behind a plan by former pilot Jock Lowe to extend the airport’s northern runway.
…. Sir Howard Davies said …Heathrow Hub’s “imaginative” plan merited additional examination, and the commission wants more investigation of respite issues ahead of its final report.
Mr Lowe said Heathrow Hub’s proposal offered “quite a lot” of respite, adding it would also reduce the number of residents affected by night flights because aircraft could land on the western end of the extended northern runway.
He said at some point Heathrow Hub and Heathrow Airport Holdings had to “work together”, adding nothing could happen at the airport without the owner’s backing.
The Airports Commission’s Interim Statement on 17th December, advocating runways at Heathrow and Gatwick, also said it also recommended: “The creation of an Independent Aviation Noise Authority to provide expert and impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation and facilitate the delivery of future improvements to airspace operations.” The Commission says that decisions made by the DfT or the CAA at present, and they are often seen not to be fair, and to be driven by political considerations and that the CAA is beholden to the industry that provides its funding. An independent body might over come this. The Commission says: “An independent, national authority with a credible and authoritative voice on noise issues could be of significant value. ….It could also act as a statutory consultee on other noise related issues, including involvement in planning inquiries which would have implications for populations affected by aircraft noise…..The authority could also play a role in the delivery of longer-term plans for additional airport capacity. ….should include responsibilities for advising the Secretary of State for Transport and the CAA in respect of appropriate noise compensation schemes.” The establishment of the Independent Aircraft Noise Authority would require primary legislation; setting it up will take time. Meanwhile there is work on noise to be done.
The Commission recommends (among many other things):
“The creation of an Independent Aviation Noise Authority to provide expert and
impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation and facilitate the delivery of
future improvements to airspace operations.”
Page 155 Independent Aviation Noise Authority
The governance changes outlined above are necessary but not sufficient to deliver
the Optimisation Strategy. NPRs [Noise Preferential Routes – which were designed in the 1960s to avoid overflying built up areas where possible] have not changed for many decades, despite the significant population shifts that have taken place in the interim. Similarly, previous attempts to restructure London’s airspace have failed. This is not only a problem in terms of optimising the current system. It also suggests the scale of the challenge that exists in delivering the airspace change to support any longer-term options to provide new capacity.
A lack of trust between the aviation industry and local communities has played a
large role in creating this impasse. If this situation is to change, then it is vital that
any decisions made are recognised as impartial and evidence based, with the
needs of all parties appropriately balanced.
In many cases, where decisions are made in respect of aircraft noise, the ultimate
power rests either with the Secretary of State for Transport or the CAA. However
objective either party is in its behaviour, a perception will always persist that the
decisions of the former are driven by political considerations and that the latter is
beholden to the industry that provides its funding. These perceptions may be unfair,
but they persist.
An independent body with a statutory duty to provide advice and make
recommendations on an impartial basis, drawing on the latest evidence, could play
an important role.
The Commission’s Aviation Noise Discussion Paper sought views on establishing an
Independent Aviation Noise Authority. Respondents argued both for and against
this idea. Those against noted that many of the powers and responsibilities that
might be associated with the role already reside with one or other regulatory body,
including the CAA and the Secretary of State for Transport.
Other respondents saw merit in establishing an independent authority. They cited
mistrust amongst local communities in relation to the fairness and transparency of
current arrangements for reporting aircraft noise, and for the recording and handling
of complaints from members of the public. Separately, bodies involved in delivering
the FAS and LAMP noted the difficulties arising from the political clearances
required for changes to NPRs and noted that an independent body with a role in
providing advice could provide a means of overcoming them.
Independent bodies of this kind have been established in a number of countries.
In Australia, complaints and enquiries about aircraft noise and operations from any
airport in the country are submitted to the national body ‘Airservices Australia’,
which processes this data through its Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS). NCIS reports are published quarterly, and the data is used to identify
systemic problems, and to provide guidance for government in developing
aviation policy. As a result of this interface, NCIS is well placed to:
●● explain aircraft movements and flight paths to the public (primarily through
WebTrak, an online system displaying information about where and how high
aircraft fly over metropolitan areas);
●● provide a one-stop shop for aviation noise information to the public, for example
airport curfew arrangements, air traffic control arrangements and information on
monitoring and noise abatement technologies;
●● work with other aviation industry stakeholders to resolve issues raised; and,
●● consider possible changes to air traffic management and advise if they are not
possible, or refer them for further investigation.
NCIS also undertakes systematic monitoring of aircraft noise, collecting data from
every aircraft travelling to or from the country’s eight largest airports. In the UK,
some of the larger airports have replicated some of these functions on a voluntary
The French Noise Regulator, ACNUSA, undertakes a similar noise monitoring
program. In addition, ACNUSA has the power to fine airlines which fail to comply
with noise regulations.
An independent, national authority with a credible and authoritative voice on noise
issues could be of significant value. It could provide comprehensive advice on
changes to NPRs, addressing some of the concerns described above in relation to
the political obstacles to the delivery of FAS and LAMP. It could also act as a
statutory consultee on other noise related issues, including involvement in planning
inquiries which would have implications for populations affected by aircraft noise.
Government and the regulator could be required to seek the authority’s views on
issues with implications for aircraft noise and, should either party decide not to act
upon its recommendations, they could be required to publish in full the reasons for
The authority could also play a role in the delivery of longer-term plans for additional
airport capacity. It could put a framework in place governing aircraft noise at sites
affected by expansion and monitor the delivery and operation of the infrastructure
and its associated airspace to ensure that it remained in compliance with this
In addition, an Independent Aviation Noise Authority could be well-placed to
undertake consistent and regular surveying of attitudes to aviation noise, including
its impacts on health and well-being. The response to the Commission’s discussion
paper, from all sides of the industry, showed that further research into these effects
is desirable and necessary. In particular, responses identified the need for regular
surveying of attitudes over time (annual or bi-annual data collection), rather than
sporadic and occasional surveying. The CAA noted that noise modelling has
improved to such an extent that noise and annoyance studies could now be plotted
with a greater degree of specificity than ever before.
The Authority could also have a broader role in leading research on aviation noise
issues, although the time taken to establish such a body should not be a reason for
Government or the industry to delay taking forward research more quickly where
that would be of value. The Commission notes that respondents to its noise paper
made some suggestions for further research priorities.
The Independent Aviation Noise Authority could also collect and publish information
on airports’ and airlines’ progress on noise issues, giving it the ability to ‘name and
shame’ the worst performers.
There is potential for airports to be subject to ‘double jeopardy’ should the Noise
Authority have direct licensing and enforcement powers. Accordingly, the primary
function of the Authority should be provision of accurate, impartial and published
advice to those with whom formal decision making and enforcement powers rest.
Where such parties departed from the advice provided, they could be required to
explain their reasons for doing so.
The Commission therefore recommends that an independent body be established
with a duty to provide statutory advice to the Government and CAA on issues
relating to aircraft noise. The Government and the CAA should be required to
publish their reasoning in any cases where their decisions diverge from the advice
provided by the body.
Specifically, the body could:
●● Provide statutory advice to the Secretary of State for Transport regarding
proposed changes to Noise Preferential Routes.
●● Provide statutory advice to the Secretary of State for Transport and the CAA in
respect of the proper structure for noise compensation schemes.
●● Provide statutory input to planning inquiries relating to airport infrastructure in
respect of the appropriate controls that should apply in respect of aircraft noise.
●● Work with the developers and operators of any new airport capacity, as well as
communities affected by the development to define a noise envelope to create a
balance between aviation growth and noise control.
●● Conduct research into the best means of monitoring and reporting aircraft noise,
as well as its association with annoyance and impacts upon human health and
their possible mitigation.
●● Publish comparative assessments of airlines’ performance in reducing their noise
●● Act as a statutory consultee in planning applications with respect to airport
infrastructure or housing developments which would have an effect upon the
population affected by airport noise.
●● Mediate by request between airports and their local communities in disputes
relating to noise monitoring, the functioning of airports’ advisory committees,
and airports’ compliance with their noise action plans and, where appropriate,
advising the CAA in respect of potential breaches of noise regulations.
The establishment of the Independent Aircraft Noise Authority would require primary
legislation. In the meantime, industry should not wait for the establishment of this
body before beginning the process of implementing the Optimisation Strategy or
progressing the delivery of the FAS. [The CAA led Future Airspace Strategy ].
In the second category of options, those relating to planning and compensation
against noise, the Commission received a range of proposals suggesting that noise
compensation arrangements should be reviewed alongside consideration of the
proposals for new runway capacity. Representations were also received indicating
that there were no effective land use policies applied to the areas around Heathrow,
Gatwick and Stansted, and that whilst the aviation industry was delivering quieter
aircraft and the size of the 57LAeq contour around airports affected by noise is
reducing, new domestic dwellings are continuing to be built therefore increasing the
size of the population within the noise affected area.
Both these issues are important. The role of the proposed Independent Aviation
Noise Authority should include responsibilities for advising the Secretary of State for
Transport and the CAA in respect of appropriate noise compensation schemes.
This body would also have a statutory role in providing input to planning inquiries
relating to new housing developments in the vicinity of existing airports. The
Commission expects to consider these issues further in the next phase of its work.
The US aviation regulator, the FAA, has announced 6 US states that will host sites for testing commercial use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles). The sites are part of a programme to develop safety and operational rules for drones by the end of 2015. While drones have till now largely been used by the military, their potential is now being explored by a range of users including estate agents, farmers, film makers and delivery services. They could be used for fugitive tracking, rail surveillance, traffic management, crop monitoring, land management, news reporting, conservation etc. There will be issue of airspace safety to be resolved. Drones will need to be able to sense and avoid each other and aircraft, and communicate with and respond to air traffic controllers. The FAA says safety is the priority, but there are also issues of privacy and security, before drones should be allowed in domestic skies. An act in 2012 requires the FAA to implement rules and procedures for licensing drone use by government agencies, commercial entities, hobbyists and others. There are fears that drones equipped with high-tech cameras and listening devices would be able to conduct unprecedented and persistent surveillance of civilians.
The agency said it had considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, aviation experience and risk.
The sites chosen are:
A set of locations proposed by the University of Alaska in seven zones with varying climates, from Hawaii to Oregon
Griffiss International Airport in central New York state will test how to integrate drones into the congested north-east airspace
North Dakota Department of Commerce will test the human impact of drones and also how the aircraft cope in temperate climates
The state of Nevada will concentrate on standards for air traffic and drone operators
Texas A&M University plans to develop safety requirements for drones and testing for airworthiness
Virginia Tech university will research operational and technical areas of risk for drones
The biggest chunk of the growth in the commercial drone industry is currently expected to be for agriculture and law enforcement.
Police and other emergency services could use them for crowd control, taking crime scene photos or for search and rescue missions.
It can cost a police department hundreds of dollars an hour to deploy a helicopter, while an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can be sent into the skies for as little as $25.
Farmers, meanwhile, might find it easier to spray crops or survey livestock with the pilotless aircraft.
The FAA estimates as many as 7,500 aircraft could be in the air five years after widespread airspace access is made legal.
However, the commercial use of drones has drawn criticism from both conservatives and liberals.
In a report last December, the American Civil Liberties Union said that giving drones access to US skies would only ensure “our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinised by the authorities”.
But lawmakers from winning states were delighted with the selections.
“This is wonderful news for Nevada that creates a huge opportunity for our economy,” said Senator Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada.
An industry-commissioned study predicted more than 70,000 jobs – including drone operators – would develop in the first three years after Congress loosens drone restrictions on US skies.
The same study, conducted by the Teal Group research firm, found that the worldwide commercial drone market could top $89bn in the next decade.
So far some creative folks have used drones for other delivery services. A place in Philadelphia is using adrone to deliver dry cleaning and the big chain of Domino’s Pizza is testingdrones to deliver pizza. The beer drop is bound to be one of the top favorite ways to use a drone. Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a cold beer!
Tara McKelvey, BBC News
For years, people thought drones would never be allowed to fly in the US. Then Jeff Bezos got involved. The Amazon chief executive said his company would start using drones to deliver packages – and even cynics began to think something might happen.
Matt Scassero, a retired US Navy captain who has worked on efforts to expand the use of drones, said he thinks Amazon moved things along. “It adds a lot of interest,” he said.
The FAA announcement are signs of progress for Scassero and other drone enthusiasts. It means officials are taking their requests seriously – and things are on track for the drones to fly.
Drones Delivering Pizza? Venture Capitalists Wager on It
Computerworld – Government and industry will need to overcome significant challenges, including those related to privacy and security, before commercial drone aircraft can be safely introduced in U.S. airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday as it released a road map for the integration of drones into domestic skies.
The road map (download PDF) addresses a list of policies, regulations, technologies and procedures that need to fall into place for the FAA to start issuing licenses to commercial drone operators in large numbers. It establishes requirements that drone operators and others in the industry have to meet in order to obtain a commercial operator’s license for drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx described the road map “as an important step forward that will help stakeholders understand the operational goals and safety issues we need to consider when planning for the future of our airspace.”
The Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, signed into law by President Barack Obama last year, requires the FAA to implement rules and procedures for licensing drone use by government agencies, commercial entities, hobbyists and others.
Over the next few years, thousands of unmanned aerial vehicles of varying sizes and capabilities are expected to be in use over the U.S., doing everything from fugitive tracking to rail surveillance, traffic management, crop monitoring, land management, news reporting and filmmaking.
Privacy and civil rights groups have expressed alarm over the privacy implications of widespread drone use — especially by government and law enforcement agencies. They argue that drones equipped with high-tech cameras and listening devices would be able to conduct unprecedented and persistent surveillance of civilians. Concerns have also been raised about air safety risks arising from the presence of thousands of drones in the skies.
Drone advocates have downplayed such concerns and maintain that the potential benefits of the technology far outweigh the risks.
Thursday’s road map highlights some of the challenges that need to be navigated before either side has a chance to find out the impact large-scale use of commercial drones will have in the U.S.
Among those issues are standards for ensuring that unmanned aircraft are capable of sensing and avoiding other aircraft near them and policies and procedures for operators of drone aircraft to communicate with and respond to air traffic controllers.
Integrating public and civilian drones into domestic airspace also carries security risks that need to be addressed through measures like vetting and training of drone operators and the adoption of controls for ensuring that drone aircraft cannot be hacked remotely.
The road map touches upon the need for strong privacy polices, controls and standards, but it offers few specifics on what controls are needed to address concerns raised by privacy advocates. The only area where the road map delves into privacy issues in some detail involves a UAV test site program being implemented by the FAA to better understand some of the issues that could crop up with widespread use of commercial drones.
Under the program, the FAA will establish six test sites in the U.S. that will be operated by state-level organizations. The operators of the test sites will be required to establish written privacy policies for data use and retention, with guidelines for what data can be collected and shared and what data must be destroyed.
Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) welcomed the FAA road map. “Expansion of [drone] technology will create more than 100,000 jobs and generate more than $82 billion in economic impact in the first decade following the integration” of drones into domestic airspace, he said in comments via email.
The FAA’s acknowledgment of the privacy concerns and its requirements for the test sites are important, Toscano said. “In requiring test sites to have a written plan for data use and retention, the FAA appropriately focuses on the real issue when it comes to privacy — the use, storage and sharing of data, or whether data collected must be deleted,” he said.
Toscano said he was encouraged by the agency’s focus on how data is collected and used, rather than on drone technology itself. “[Drones] are one of many platforms that could be used for collecting data,” he said. “Privacy policies should focus on how data is collected and used, as opposed to focusing on the specific platform that is doing the collecting.”
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld.
People around the world are building their own drones. They offer a glimpse of what life will be like when the skies are filled with small, flying robots – and drones become as common as smartphones.
Raphael Pirker was sitting on a bench at Washington Square Park on a blustery Friday in New York. A small drone called Discovery, a remotely controlled aircraft made by his company, TBS Avionics, was on the bench next to him.
Nearby another drone was flying near a fountain. Even before he saw the drone, he heard it. “It’s just like this, ‘bzz-bzz’,” he said.
An onlooker watched the aircraft – “a beginner drone”, Pirker said, crash into the pavement.
Down the block hundreds of people had gathered at New York University for a Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference. Like Pirker, many of them were carrying their own drones.
On a global scale the US and Israel are the world’s biggest manufacturers of drones. Yet some European officials want to change the dynamic.
Michel Barnier, a European Union commissioner, told a group of French journalists in July that Europeans should make their own drones, rather than rely exclusively on US- and Israeli-made ones.
Pirker is also planning for the future. In Europe drones are used to make movies (see Smurfs 2). In the UK officials have granted permission to more than 130 companies and government agencies to fly drones, according to an Aerospace America report.
In the US the Federal Aviation Administration has approved the use of drones for police and government agencies, issuing about 1,400 permits over the past several years.
The civilian air space will reportedly be open to all kinds of drones in Europe by 2016 – and in the US by 2015. Many of these machines will be small – like the ones Pirker makes.
And cheap. You can make a drone, explained South-African-born Mike Winn, of Drone Deploy, for $500 (£310).
Pirker, 29, is a Swiss-Austrian who lives in Hong Kong – “for business reasons”. He wears rimless glasses, the kind once worn by Apple guru Steve Jobs, and he has light blue eyes. Pirker and the others at the conference belong to a new breed of drone maker. Many are global travellers, and most grew up on drones.
At the conference 14-year-old Riley Morgan approached Pirker, carrying a drone he had made. Another enthusiast, Russell de la Torre, who is 31, made his first robot, “a remote-controlled truck with cardboard boxes”, at age 12.
Pirker started building model airplanes when he was six. “I got bored because they were just flying circles around,” he said, spinning his hand in the air in a lazy manner. As an adult he said: “I had this crazy idea of flying [a drone] over the Statue of Liberty.
“Everybody said, ‘Don’t do that – you’re doing to get shot.'”
“It was a strange feeling,” he said, describing the day three years ago when the drone flew, as shown in this head-spinning footage. “It felt a little bit eerie because you’re flying past so much history, you know, about America.”
Drones give one a different perspective. “It’s not the plane that turns in the air – it’s the world that turns,” he said.
Drones do more than provide material for trippy videos, though. They help farmers check on crops and allow journalists to report stories. But even small drones – like the kind Pirker makes – cause problems.
“Every country has different rules, but we follow our own,” Pirker said. “We’re not going to hurt anybody. We do it with a little bit of play.” Not everyone sees his drones as whimsical.
Federal Aviation Administration officials tried to fine Pirker $10,000 for operating a drone in Charlottesville, Virginia, in October 2011. His lawyer filed a motion three weeks ago, describing the aircraft, a “five-pound radio-controlled model airplane constructed of styrofoam”, as harmless.
Small drones are usually benign. Yet they can be lethal. Roman Pirozek, 19, died last month in Brooklyn, NY, when his remote-controlled helicopter spun out of control – and hit him in the head.
Small drones also provide new ways to spy. A Seattle woman felt uneasy about a drone outside her window, as she reported earlier this year on a blog.
Amie Stepanovich, director of a project on domestic surveillance at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, thinks drones are cool – and said Pirker’s video was “gorgeous”.
But drones also worry her. “They are helping to usher in a new age of physical surveillance,” she said. “They provide a platform for some of the most invasive surveillance technologies we’ve ever seen.”
Pirker has a different perspective. Rather than causing anxiety, drones have helped him get over his fear of heights – a handicap, since he lives in a high-rise in Tseung Kwan O, outside of Hong Kong, on the 40th floor.
As he sat on the park bench in New York, he stuck out his leg and jiggled it, showing what used to happen when he looked down from a window in a tall building.
Now, you might be thinking that this is a little bit sinister, potentially. That hexacopter could soon be flying over your head, spying.
I can put that worry to bed now – we are not allowed to use it like that. For starters, the BBC has established and strict filming rules, and secondly, the hexacopter is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority. That means we cannot:
fly within 50m of a road or building unless it’s under our control
fly over crowds
fly 500m horizontally or 120m vertically from the pilot
It also means we have to log a flight plan before every take-off. As an extra safety layer, there is a GPS-based system on board that ensures that if the radio link breaks down between the pilot and the machine it automatically flies back to where it took off from, and lands.
Operators of Small Unmanned Aircraft are required, under articles 166 and 167 of the Air Navigation Order 2009, to obtain permission from the CAA before commencing a flight in certain circumstances; these circumstances cover:
flights for aerial work purposes; and
flights within a congested area, or in proximity to people or property, by Small Unmanned Aircraft equipped for any form of surveillance or data acquisition.
Details of the permission and how to apply are explained in the links below.
As indicated above, it may be necessary to operate an unmanned aircraft within segregated airspace if the pilot wishes to fly it beyond unaided visual line of sight.
Unmanned aircraft with a mass of more than 7 kg (excluding fuel) must not be flown within controlled airspace, restricted airspace or an Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) unless permission has been obtained from the relevant ATCunit. More information about contacting ATC can be obtained from the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS).
Yet another new airport is to be built in southern India. At Kannur, on the west coast south of Manglaore, an airport is planned. The state of Kerala boasts this will be the 4th international airport, and it is expected to be operational in 2015. The airport needs some 800 hectares of land, much of which has already been bought. However, the Times of India reported in June that there were problems that land owners who agreed to sell and had signed the agreements had still not received their compensation….”even after nine months, nothing has moved and there is no idea when the property would be registered and the money would be given,” said V R Bhaskaran, the convenor of the action committee formed by the land owners, who would lose their land for the proposed airport. If the compensation was given in time, it would have benefitted the people but now many of them are in a quandary as they are unable to plan their future. “…the government has not announced any rebate on the stamp duty for the land registration or tax rebate on the compensation amount, which has further panicked the people.” “When the people sacrifice their properties for a common good, the authorities should have the sensibility to understand it and make sure that their future is not affected.”
Kannur airport deal: Land owners seek compensation
KANNUR: Though it was agreed in September 2012 that 783 acres would be acquired for the third phase of land acquisition for Kannur airport, the land owners who signed the agreement are yet to get their compensation.
“It was with great difficulty that we convinced the people to give their land, even though the money offered by the government was much less than what they demanded. But even after nine months, nothing has moved and there is no idea when the property would be registered and the money would be given,” said V R Bhaskaran, the convenor of the action committee formed by the land owners, who would lose their land for the proposed airport.
If the compensation was given in time, it would have benefitted the people but now many of them are in a quandary as they are unable to plan their future.
While Kinfra had signed purchase deal with most of the land owners, some land was acquired as there was no proper land deed.
Though they have given a bank guarantee in the court for the acquired land, which would be disbursed after the land owners produced their land deeds, those who agreed to sell their property for the airport development have no idea when they will get the payment. Moreover, the government has not announced any rebate on the stamp duty for the land registration or tax rebate on the compensation amount, which has further panicked the people.
In the second phase, the process was fast but this time the government is going slow, they complained. Since the land acquired in the third phase is for allied works, Kinfra seems to be going slow in payment because they have no idea about the allied projects and hence will not get any returns till the land is given to the parties concerned for the allied projects, said an action committee member whose land has been acquired.
“There are people who gave advance for land in other places and also fixed the weddings of their children in the hope that they would get the compensation in time but all their plans have gone for a toss because of this uncertainty about the compensation,” said another action committee member who did not want to be named as he is a government servant.
“It was because of the faith in us that they agreed for the deal without much opposition but now we feel bad that we could not do anything for them, and even our people’s representatives have failed to rise up to the occasion in realizing the compensation,” he said.
Similarly, the rehabilitation package for the people whose land has been taken for the project is also not ready. Though some plots are ready, people are unable to use it because there is no connectivity to the place, as the proposed road has to be developed in the land taken over in third phase.
“If the government continues to go slow in releasing the compensation, we will be compelled to launch an agitation, because this is the question of our survival,” said Bhaskaran.
“When the people sacrifice their properties for a common good, the authorities should have the sensibility to understand it and make sure that their future is not affected.”
A joint action committee was constituted today to oppose the construction of a greenfield road to the proposed Kannur airport.
Action committee patron M Muhammed Ali told newspersons here that they would not allow construction of greenfield road.
The action committee also demanded that government should constitute a parliamentary committee to study the necessity of Kannur Airport like the Aranmula Airport.
The parliamentary committee chaired by Seetharam Yechury noted that the proposed Aranmula airport was in violation of the principle of 150 kms distance rule and the saturation of the nearby existing air ports, so committee demanded to reconsideration by the government. Karipur airport in Malappuram and Bajpe airport in Mangalore are the nearest airports in Kannur.
Boiling ire:Police removing residents blocking the Chakkarakkal-Echur-Kannur road at Chakkarakkal in Kannur on Thursday in protest against the survey for a greenfield road. —PHOTO: S.K. MOHAN
The ongoing survey for the proposed Greenfield Kannur-Mattannur road, billed as a major infrastructure to the proposed Kannur airport site, has been suspended after local residents protested against it at Chakkarakkal here.
The agitation, launched by an action committee of the residents at Chakkarakkal against the survey, had resumed on June 9. On Thursday, the survey work was disrupted though large number of police personnel was deployed in the area.
The protestors fiercely opposed the survey team and resorted to road blockade. Nearly 700 protestors, including large number of women, participated in the agitation. Despite provocation, the police restrained themselves to ensure that the situation did not lead to any showdown.
Road traffic on the Chakkarakkal-Echur-Kannur road was disrupted for hours after the agitating residents blockaded the road by burning tyres on it. The protestors also resisted the police efforts to arrest and remove them. The road blockade continued till 3.30 p.m.
The Chakkarakkal police said 16 protestors, including women, were arrested by the police. Special Tahsildar P. Govindan, who headed the 12-member survey team, later confirmed that the survey was suspended because of the agitation. He said the survey work, which resumed on June 9, could cover only 1,800 metres. A total stretch of nine kms had earlier been surveyed, he added. He also said the survey work was temporarily suspended following the intervention of the Anjarakkandy panchayat president K. Chandran. As District Collector Rathan Kelkar was on an official tour, the work would resume only after his return in two days, Mr. Govindan said.
Action committee leader M. Muhammadali alleged that the survey was being conducted without informing members of the local bodies and the action committee representatives. The district administration urged the protestors that the survey work should be allowed to resume. The Collector had also appealed to the local residents to cooperate with the ongoing survey work, citing the decision at the meeting convened by Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph here on June 30 to discuss the issue with people’s representatives and leaders of the action committee.
That meeting had assured the action committee that the government would also consider the development of the existing road from Kannur to Mattannur.
Kannur International Airport is an upcoming international airport located at Mattanur in Kannur District, Kerala, India. The airport is the fourth international airport in Kerala.Kannur International Airport is expected to be operational by 2015.The department is hoping to conclude test flights by December 2015 and commercial flight operations commencing by April 2016.
Infrastructure and engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contract for Kannur airport, in November 2013.
In November “official sources” said Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony would formally launch the work by the end of the month. But, the ground-levelling and tree-cutting work would commence earlier.
The work on EPC II contract (engineering, procurement, construction) to ensure that the first flight takes off from the airport in December 2015 was said, in November 2013, to be “in full swing.” The request for qualification (RFQ) for the EPC II will be floated in January next and the aim was to award the work by April 2014, sources said.
The integrated terminal building, air traffic control tower, administrative and technical blocks, and facilities in the buildings such as aerobridges, escalators, elevators, and counters would be included in EPC II.
Environment clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for the project was received in July 2013 and the 800 hectares needed had been notified. The KIAL was in possession of 511.2 hectares of land and the remaining was to be handed over soon. [Another source earlier said: The airport is planned to cover an area of 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) acres about 25 km from Kannur. 1,600 acres (650 ha) has already been acquired.]
Official sources said all mandatory clearances including that from the local municipality and the panchayat had been received for the project.
The Cochin International Airport Limited submitted the detail project report in May 2012. The construction work commenced in November 2013. The Airport will have a runway length of 3,400 m (11,200 ft). The airport is expected to have an annual traffic of more than 1 million international passengers and above 0.3 million domestic passengers as per a 2009-2010 estimate.
The proposed equity structure of the company is as follows:
26% by the state government, in the form of land
23% for the state-owned public sector organisations
2% for government companies
49% by small investors and institutional investors
It Kannur airport opens by 2015, Kerala will be the only state in the country to have four international airports.
Southern states are likely to see enhanced airport infrastructure with Kannur, Sriperumbudur and Bellary set to get greenfield airports.
In a bid to boost the airport infrastructure in the country, the Airports Authority of India would set up 50 new low-cost small airports, two new international airports and eight greenfield airports in the country.The target was set during a meeting held by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday to finalise infrastructure objectives for the Financial Year 2013-14. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and other ministers attended the meeting.
The two new international airports are expected to come up at Bhubaneswar and Imphal, while the eight greenfield airports will be awarded in PPP mode to Navi Mumbai, Juhu, Goa, Kannur, Pune (Rajguru Nagar Chakan), Sriperumbudur, Bellary and Raigarh.
Despite protests, MoEF clears fifth airport in Kerala
Nov 20th 2013 (Indian Express)
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has given clearance for a greenfield airport at Aranmula in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district. This would be the state’s fifth airport.
Three international airports are already operational and another in Kannur is expected to begin operation in 2015. Several groups, led by the Hindu Co-ordination Committee, have been protesting against the Rs 2,000-crore airport project, promoted mainly by Chennai-based KGS Group. The new airport is coming up between the existing ones in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. The project has ran into several controversies over paddy field reclamation and encroachment of revenue land among other issues.
The BJP said the party would not allow the new airport, which would badly affect the heritage village of Aranmula. Senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran also regretted the Union Government decision.
Gatwick Airport is a member of the Surrey Chambers of Commerce. It is therefore no great surprise to find the Chamber has expressed its pleasure that the Airports Commission has short -listed Gatwick as one of two sites for a new runway. They say businesses in the south east would benefit. They also believe businesses (ignoring affected residents?) would benefit even more by having a new runway at Heathrow too. They have in the past backed Gatwick’s idea of a new runway at both Gatwick and Stansted – though that has been ruled out for the time being, by the Commission. In the view of the Chamber, a new runway would provide” significant economic benefit and sustainable employment in the South East.” And they want it as soon as possible. They want “access to excellent overseas connections, not only for our local businesses but also for the multi-nationals that locate here rather than in other parts of Europe.” The Chamber will hold a panel discussion at Epsom racecourse on 12th March on the Heathrow, Gatwick and Grain runway options. “Whilst there are still decisions to be made we are confident that investment in the South East will bring an excellent rate of return,” says the Chamber.
Surrey Chambers of Commerce backs Davies Review on Gatwick expansion
Surrey Chambers of Commerce backs Davies Review on Gatwick expansion
BUSINESSES in Surrey will benefit from the Airport expansion plans recommended in the Davies Review, according to Surrey Chambers of Commerce.The Airport Commission report, published last week,shortlisted plans for an additional runway at Gatwick along with expansion at Heathrow.
According to the report, whichever plan gets the green light will provide “significant” economic benefit and sustainable employment in the South East.
Ella Parkes, marketing executive at Surrey Chambers, says the group is very supportive of the recommendation for the government to implement a package of transport improvements, and argued a decision needed to be taken soon.
She added: “The most important aspect to all of this is that the Government needs to show leadership and make its decision before the 2015 election. The decision is long overdue and has created uncertainty over the future resulting in business looking at other global centres, whose long-term future is known. This interim report does give a little more stability but we want to see real steps toward increasing aviation capacity.”
[Gatwick Airport Ltd is a member of the Chamber of Commerce linkso the the support of the Chamber is not surprising ]
Surrey Businesses get the best outcome from the Davies Review
We have been waiting in anticipation for the announcements from Howard Davies and the Airports Commission. The interim report has shortlisted Heathrow’s full-length runway located to the north-west of the current airport and an additional runway at Gatwick. The Mayor of London’s Isle of Grain brand new airport has not been shortlisted but further investigation will be undertaken by the Commission so it has not been completely discarded.
Ideally our membership, stretching from Farnham to Caterham and Staines to Horley, would like to see both expansion plans implemented but the report clearly presents them as either/or solutions.
There is absolutely no appetite for the brand new hub airport and we hope that precious resources are not wasted on investigating an impossible solution.
Following on from a number of reports carried out before the interim report there is no doubt that significant economic benefit and sustainable employment in the South East will arise through extra runway capacity at both airports. It is crucial that we maintain the huge advantages enjoyed by businesses in Surrey having access to excellent overseas connections, not only for our local businesses but also for the multi-nationals that locate here rather than in other parts of Europe. The knock-on effect on supply chains of having them in the UK contributes significantly to the UK economy.
We are very supportive of the recommendation that the Government immediately implement a package of surface transport improvements, particularly the provision of rail access into Heathrow from the south, which will improve the use of existing runway capacity.
The most important aspect to all of this is that the Government needs to show leadership and make it’s decision before the 2015 election.
The decision is long over-due and has created uncertainty over the future of Heathrow resulting in business looking at other global centres, whose long-term future is known. This interim report does give a little more stability but we want to see real steps toward increasing aviation capacity and not just talking about it.
Surrey Chambers of Commerce, working with several partners, is hosting a panel discussion at Epsom racecourse on the 12th March where we will have Heathrow, Gatwick and the Mayors office presenting their cases for expansion. Whilst there are still decisions to be made we are confident that investment in the South East will bring an excellent rate of return.
Surrey is one of the most successful and productive areas for business in the UK. It’s a county that embraces innovation and is a fantastic location to run a business. Surrey Chambers of Commerce, with a membership representing every sector of the workforce, works hard to ensure that the continued growth of the area takes into account the needs of business, as well as providing a range of high quality services to help you grow your business and meet new potential customers.
Whether you are already in the area, or want to find out about how to access one of the UKs most successful markets, there is no better choice than your local Chamber of Commerce – bringing the power of a world-wide brand to support you locally. We hope you will find this website of use.
In May 2013 the Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum hosted a conference on Gatwick expansion:
The Key Topic – Aviation Capacity Growth
At the time of the Howard Davies Commission on UK aviation capacity growth, the key topic for the first event was the economic opportunity and threat which may be realised through aviation growth at Gatwick as well as the economic ‘up and downsides’ of potential airport expansion elsewhere in the South East.
Meshing with the Howard Davies Commission timetable, the event allowed discussion of the potential expansion of Gatwick Airport and its economic effect prior to Sir Howard Davies making recommendations for a short list of proposals to be carried forward to the final decision post election in 2015.
The event was at a crucial moment in the region’s economic future – a time of great opportunity and threat. The Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum allowed all to work together to build the best future for the region.
We heard from Stewart Wingate, the CEO of London Gatwick Airport since 2009 about his hopes for deregulation of the airport, his plans to increase capacity from 34 million passengers per annum to 38 million by 2020, and his long term proposals following the 2019 safeguarding agreement, a three-airport two-runway proposal (two runways at Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick)
Panel Discussion on Aviation Growth
A panel discussion with questions from the audience followed chaired by Greg Burgess, a Partner at sponsor ASB Law, the Gatwick Diamond solicitors specialising in legal services for aviation and travel as well as charities, education brain injury and vulnerable people.
Panellists included Daryl Gayler, Managing Director – South Region at RBS; Peter Martin, Deputy Leader at Surrey County Council and Jeremy Taylor, CEO of the Gatwick Diamond Business Association.
The Business Voice
Business leaders from the Gatwick Diamond from three of our most important sectors, the Professional and Business Services Sector, The Life sciences and Medical Devices Sector and the Advanced Manufacturing Sector, talked about why their significant foreign owned businesses choose to be here, why they want to stay, and what might make them move on.
The Public Sector Voice
We heard from political leaders about their approach to the planning, design and management of their areas.
Skills and Employability
A plenary session chaired by Paul Gresham, Senior Partner for sponsor, KPMG SE and featuring Chris Baker, Head of Economic and Social Engagement at the University of Brighton discussed whether we have the skills and labour force to fulfil employers needs now and in the future.
Surface Access Transport
What are the implications of airport expansion for surface transport? What needs to happen to our surface transport links to ensure business & quality of life are not constrained in the future? Rosemary French, Executive Director of sponsor, the Gatwick Diamond Initiative chaired a panel including Julia Gregory, Head of Surface Access at London Gatwick Airport.
The event provided fabulous networking opportunities, as well as crucial debate.
BUSINESS COMMUNITY URGED TO SUPPORT GATWICK AIRPORT EXPANSION FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH
3 June 2013 (Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership – press release)
29 May 2013: Business leaders from across the Gatwick Diamond have been urged to find their voice and speak out in support of capacity expansion at Gatwick Airport, as they will benefit from the resulting economic growth.
Almost 200 people from the public and private sectors gathered to listen and discuss issues around aviation growth at the Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum on 23 May at the Arora International Hotel, Crawley. The event was sponsored by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, ASBlaw, and supported by many business organisations including Gatwick Diamond Business, the Surrey and Sussex Chambers of Commerce, and the Coast to Capital LEP.
As well as the impact of aviation growth on the local economy, panel discussions were held recognising that investment in infrastructure, housing and transport will all be critical. Following the opening of the Forum by Henry Smith MP and Paul Gresham, the Chair of the Gatwick Diamond, Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport was interviewed by Greg Burgess of ASB Law about his short and long term plans for the airport. Then, local business leaders from Elekta, Canon UK, RBS, Nestle, ILG, and Metrobus voiced their views.
Henry Smith MP said: “The Gatwick Diamond is a region important for driving economic performance for the UK as well as the local economy.” He said “everyone has an important role to play to ensure its future success”.
Stewart Wingate summarised Gatwick Airport’s contribution to the local economy (including its employment of more than 25,000 people) and underlined the benefits of its billion pound investment plans. He also spoke of the airport’s commitment to doing business with local companies to support the area’s general economic vibrancy and his desire to deregulate the airport to enable better competition. He said that the Gatwick submission to the Airports Commission in July would include a second runway, although no decisions would be made by government until 2015.
All speakers agreed that an independent and impartial consideration of the economic benefits of aviation growth must be formalised in order to provide an informed and robust response to the Davies Commission. There were also calls for further investment into the area’s surface access transport connections – a key factor in companies relocating and remaining in the area.
Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative said: “The Gatwick Diamond is a £19 billion economy of national importance, and is widely recognised as a key area of future investment and growth. We are now at a crossroads which will determine the local economy of the future. On the question of aviation capacity, it is vital that the views of the business community are voiced loud and clear and taken into account. This Forum has helped focus minds on the issues, opportunities and threats to economic growth in our region.”