Aviation Environment Federation says Airports Commission recommendations are beset with environmental hurdles

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), the national environmental campaigning organisation representing community groups around the UK’s airports, has urged the Government to reject the Airports Commission’s recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow, given its insurmountable environmental impacts and widespread opposition.  “Every government that has ever considered Heathrow expansion has ruled it out once the full scale of the environmental impacts has become clear.” On noise, AEF says people living around Heathrow are already exposed to more noise than at any other airport in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people around Heathrow would be overflown for the first time if a new runway is built.  On air pollution AEF says the UK has a legal obligation to meet EU air quality legal limits and the Airports Commission still cannot say confidently whether or not air quality reduction with a runway would be legal. On carbon emissions, AEF says that according to the Airports Commission’s own analysis, a Heathrow or a Gatwick runway would, on current technology trends, lead to breaches in UK aviation’s CO2 emissions cap, even if the sector was included in a global carbon trading scheme.  The only solution would be to limit growth at other airports  – or (unpopular) to substantially increase the cost of flying.
.

 

 

Davies Commission recommendations beset with environmental hurdles, says Aviation Environment Federation

1.7.2015  (AEF)

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), the national environmental campaigning organisation representing community groups around the UK’s airports, has urged the Government to reject the Airports Commission’s recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow, given its insurmountable environmental impacts and widespread opposition.

AEF is opposed to a new runway at any of the sites short-listed by the Airports Commission because all three options would breach CO2 limits and have unacceptable local environmental impacts.

Cait Hewitt, AEF’s Deputy Director said:

“The recommendation to expand Heathrow will be fiercely resisted by local authorities, MPs, communities and environmental organisations. Every government that has ever considered Heathrow expansion has ruled it out once the full scale of the environmental impacts has become clear.  People living around Heathrow are already exposed to more noise than at any other airport in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people around Heathrow would be overflown for the first time if a new runway is built. The Government should ensure that those people are fully consulted before deciding whether or not this is a price worth paying.”  See link

In relation to the air quality impact of expansion, Cait said:

“The UK has a legal obligation to meet EU air quality legal limits and despite its last minute consultation on the issue the Airports Commission still cannot say confidently whether or not expansion would be legal.”

AEF also challenged the Airports Commission’s assessment of whether expansion is compatible with climate change targets [3], highlighting that according to the Airports Commission’s analysis all three of the options would, on current technology trends, lead to breaches in aviation’s emissions cap even if the sector was included in a global carbon trading scheme.

 “Increased emissions from a second runway at Heathrow, like all the shortlisted expansion options, would breach the climate change target for aviation unless politically challenging measures are introduced to limit growth at other airports or to substantially increase the cost of flying.”


The Aviation Environment Federation is the leading UK organisation campaigning exclusively on the environmental impacts of aviation. We represent community groups and individuals around many of the UK’s airports and airfields. Further information can be found on our website.

A group of senior MPs around Heathrow airport recently launched a campaign to highlight the size of the population that could be overflown if a third runway is built

The Airports Commission has been unable to demonstrate convincingly how a new runway can be built without breaching the Climate Change Act and has made claims about the economic benefit of expansion that do not take into account the costs of keeping emissions from UK aviation to the UK’s Climate Change Act.   The AEF’s concerns about the Commission’s analysis on CO2 are detailed in our recent report.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2015/07/01/davies-commission-recommendations-beset-with-environmental-hurdles-says-aviation-environment-federation/

.


.

See also

The Heathrow noise sweeteners that act as a smokescreen for third runway pollution

The Airports Commission has finally published its report on UK airport capacity, emphatically supporting a third runway at Heathrow over its rivals – a Gatwick second runway or the Heathrow Hub option (a runway on the end of one of Heathrow’s existing runways). The Commission’s recommendation for a third runway did come with the conditions of ending night flights and £1 billion needed for compensation. Both of these sweeteners will more than turn a few heads in West London to the possibility of a third runway. However, they also serve to draw attention from the environmental impacts the Commission doesn’t have an answer for.

To start with the Airports Commission has not placated concerns about aircraft noise which is the source of the vocal political opposition to Heathrow expansion (Heathrow currently has the rather dubious award of “most people affected by aircraft noise in Europe“). Rather than accepting that more flights would mean more aircraft noise, the Airports Commission has opted to disproportionately shift the noise to communities that are currently not over flown. According to the Commission’s own assessment, some 320,700 would have planes over their heads for the first time with a new runway. What’s important is that many of these people are simply unaware of the storm heading their way. Fortunately, a group of London MPs are trying to highlightthis issue.

Secondly, there is the very relevant issue of air quality, which was one of the main reasons that the Blair/Brown Labour Government was unable to advance plans to build a third runway, despite being fully behind it. Yet, the Airports Commission is still unable to say with any conviction whether a new runway could be built without continued breaches in the legal limit of air quality.

The Commission describes the air quality impact of a third runway as “significantly adverse”. Considering the Government estimates that the area around a two runway Heathrow will have the second highest levels of air pollution in the country by 2030, a third runway would move it into first place (another award Heathrow could add to its collection).

The Airports Commission of course says that the air quality impact could be reduced through various measures. However, the Commission’s consultants concluded that it “isn’t clear” whether Heathrow’s promise to not increase the number of cars accessing the airport is deliverable. The Commission then puts a lot of faith in an ambitious new Government plan to tackle air quality. We should find out whether this is vindicated in early 2016.

Finally, there is the small concern about meeting our national climate targets. Sir Howard Davies evidently gristles every time that CO2 emissions are mentioned. This was perhaps no more evident than when he deflected a question on managing CO2 emissions at the final report launch to a colleague of his. Sir Howard’s lack of interest in all things climate related also appears to represent the Airports Commission’s approach to the issue.

There is a recommended limit to the level of CO2 emissions from aviation that can be allowed in 2050 so that the UK as a whole can stand a chance of meeting its national climate change commitments. Unfortunately, the emissions from an expanded Heathrow on top of those from other airports will far exceed that limit according to the Airports Commission.

The Government’s advisors on climate change say exceeding that limit isn’t an option and so aviation emissions will have to managed somehow. The good news is that according to the Airports Commission managing demand is possible with a new runway. The bad news is that the cost of emitting a tonne of carbon dioxide would have to rise from around £5 today up to somewhere in the region of £300 per tonne in 2050 (or even up to £1050 in some scenarios). That would mean increases in ticket prices of around £500 for a return flight to New York, or in other words an end to the “democratisation of air travel“.

Rather than comment on the feasibility of such a policy, the Airports Commission has left the challenge to the Government. Incidentally, Heathrow could also retain another award with a third runway. In 2012, it was the airport responsible for most CO2 emissions in the world. To have any chance of keeping hold of that award it will need to expand to keep up with the likes of Dubai and Istanbul.

So today’s announcement may change the views of some people on Heathrow expansion, but in no way have the environmental challenges been addressed. Now it is over to the Government.


This post originally appeared on Huffington Post UK.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2015/07/03/the-heathrow-noise-sweeteners-that-act-as-a-smokescreen-for-third-runway-pollution/

Read more »

Protester whose Harmondsworth home would be destroyed by 3rd runway, blocks Heathrow tunnel for half an hour

A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for more than half an hour at 12.45pm today. The protest follows yesterday’s announcement that  the Airports Commission report recommends the building of 3rd runway at Heathrow.  This would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson with a further 3,000 homes made uninhabitable due to excessive noise and pollution. Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”.  The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election. His entirely peaceful protest was only ever intended to last 20 minutes, to avoid disruption to the airport. His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic.  Neil Keveren made it clear his action was a personal protest, and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group. However, his action were supported by many local residents and the local MP, John McDonnell.
.

 

Heathrow tunnel blocked 2.7.2015

2.7.2015

A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for more than half an hour at 12.45pm today.

The protest follows yesterday’s announcement that Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission report recommends the building of a third runway at Heathrow.  This would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson with a further 3,000 homes made uninhabitable due to excessive noise and pollution.

Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”.  The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election.

While stunned drivers looked on, Mr Keveren climbed onto the roof of the vehicle and shouted slogans including, “No Third Runway” until police arrived and negotiated with him to come down. The protestor made it clear that he was staging a peaceful protest, which he intended to end after 20 minutes.  His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic.

Neil Keveren wanted to reinforce the fact that this was a personal direct action protest and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group.

He said, “This was a personal decision but my actions were supported by local residents and our local MP, John McDonnell.

“We have been fighting this airport’s expansion for decades and enough is enough, the Davies recommendation was our red line.

We won’t let our communities be bullied any more or destroyed.”

Heathrow tunnel protest 2.7.2015

The road tunnels are the only route for cars, taxis and buses to travel from the M4 to Terminals Two and Three.

A local supporter who preferred not to be named said, “I feel let down by Davies.

“He has seen the evidence, the communities it will destroy, the air and noise pollution, the carbon emissions and yet he’s ignored it all.

“Air pollution around here already regularly breaches EU limits and the noise is so bad that our children can’t learn in school.  We already suffer with an airport of this size, let alone a bigger one.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “Police are aware of a protest at Heathrow Airport and have responded.”

.

From Get West London (though their article contained inaccuracies.

.


 

 

Heathrow third runway backing leaves village fearing for its future

Harmondsworth villagers say they will support direct action against any attempt to bulldoze 750 homes if government backs expansion

1.7.2015 (Guardian)

Community leaders in Harmondsworth, the village that would be largely flattened to make way for a third runway at Heathrow, have reacted with anger at Howard Davies’s recommendation that the plan should go ahead – and alleged they were “deceived” by the government.

Villagers pledged on Wednesday to fight on, including supporting “direct action” against attempts to bulldoze 750 homes, some dating to the 17th century, if the government backs the recommendation that the west London airport should be expanded rather than Gatwick.

Amatu Christian-Iwuagwu, vicar at the 950-year-old St Mary the Virgin church in Harmondsworth, said: “The government always knew this was going to happen and have deceived us. They have caused a lot of anxiety in this parish especially among older people. They should have told us so people could get on with their lives.”

Amatu Christian-Iwuagwu, vicar of St Mary the Virgin church in Harmondsworth, speaks out
He said he did not want to be the last of 50 vicars who have served the village for close to 1,000 years, and said he had even seen some in his congregation question their faith in God over the runway issue.

In the middle of the village residents have erected a mural showing where the new runway would be. They have also planted “a forest of defiance” on the recreational ground that would become the runway with oaks, hornbeams and field maples.

But the destruction of the village is moving closer. Within 90 minutes of Davies’s decision, letters were delivered from Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, reminding villagers their homes would be subject to compulsory purchase. He said: “I know this is a time of significant uncertainty and we will continue to keep you informed throughout the process.”

“This is not just a village issue,” said Neil Keveren, 53, a builder and chairman of the Stop Heathrow Expansion campaign. “It will affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, across London and there will be serious health issues. Boris Johnson, potentially our future prime minister, has promised to lie down in front of the bulldozers and we will be fighting with him.”

Keveren spent Wednesday morning trying to allay the fears of anxious villagers. He told Irene Nsona, 30, a nurse whose son attends the village school that will be demolished, that Heathrow will not win. She said she was very disappointed at the news, adding: “I hope we win this because this is a very, very good school.”

The village of Harmondsworth falls within the Heathrow expansion zone
Jackie Clark-Basten, the owner of a hairdresser in the nearby village of Sipson, which would be at the end of the third runway, said her business would collapse and her home above the shop would be uninhabitable.

“Jets’ landing gear will be clearing my roof every 30 to 40 seconds,” she said. “I will be about 200 yards from the end of the runway. It will be impossible to stay. I just think the process has been a farce. With all the information that was given to Howard Davies in the consultation period on health and the historical content of these villages he has still gone ahead and decided to go with Heathrow. This whole consultation has been a PR exercise and they were going to do this from the beginning.”

Bryan Tomlinson, a taxi driver who operates from Heathrow, vowed to defy Davies’s recommendations. “He will be gone to work at RBS, but we will still be living here,” he said. “He will never beat us. At the moment the people fighting are taxi drivers, hairdressers, mums, housewives, retired people. We are the frontline. But very shortly you will have Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace turning up and every person who believes the climate change act should be honoured by our government. There will be millions of angry people across the country who will make a fuss. They will be trying to glue themselves to David Cameron, they will be climbing Big Ben.”

It was a lot harder on Wednesday morning for Graham Wibrew to start work on the roof of his bedroom and kitchen extension. Davies’s announcement meant it was more likely than ever that his would be one of 750 homes in Harmondsworth to be flattened. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Wibrew, 47, a carpenter and father of two, who is halfway through spending £60,000 on improving his home.

“When the builders turned up this morning I said you might as well go home, it’s all going to be flattened,” he said. But they are carrying on with erecting the two-storey extension even though, Wibrew admits, he might lose everything.

“I have no idea what the compulsory purchase arrangement is,” he said. “I could lose this money and have wasted £60,000. We went though so much trouble to get planning permission yet they can come along and say we’re going to build another runway as if nothing else matters. I’m the little man and money speaks. We are just figures to them.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/01/heathrow-third-runway-harmondsworth-village-fearing-future

.

.


 

 

Read more »

Heathrow third runway unanimously recommended by Airports Commission, but with conditions

The Airports Commission has recommended that a 3rd runway should be built at Heathrow, but only if it can meet stringent conditions on noise and air pollution. Those conditions should include a ban on night flights, legally binding caps on noise and air quality – and legislation to rule out ever building a 4th runway [unlikely to be effective?] .The Commission has said their view was  “clear and unanimous” that Heathrow’s plan was the strongest case for a runway, delivering the greatest strategic and economic benefits, and they hoped the conditions would make the airport a “better neighbour” than today. The conditions are: – A ban on all scheduled night flights from 11.30pm to 6am….- No fourth runway – the government should make a firm commitment in parliament not to expand further. Davies states: “There is no sound operational or environmental case for a fourth runway.”….- A legally binding “noise envelope”…..- A noise levy on airport users to compensate local communities…. – A legal commitment on air quality (details to be announced, compliant with EU limits)…. – A community engagement board to let local people have a say…. – An independent aviation noise authority to be consulted on flightpaths and operating procedures at airports….- Training and apprenticeships for local people. The government must now decide whether to act on the recommendation – by autumn, or before Christmas.
.


The Airports Commission website

  1. Airports Commission releases final report

    • published Press release
  2. Airports Commission: final report

    • published Independent report
  3. Airports Commission final report and supporting documents

    • published Collection

A list of documents produced with the final report on 1st July 2015.


 

Heathrow third runway recommended in report on airport capacity

Airports Commission says £17bn expansion is ‘clear and unanimous’ choice but should include night flight ban and laws against ever building a fourth runway

1.7.2015

Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent (Guardian)

Sir Howard Davies says a third runway at Heathrow offers better value

A third runway should be built at Heathrow, the Airports Commission has recommended, but only if it can meet stringent conditions on noise and air pollution.

Those conditions should include a ban on night flights, legally binding caps on noise and air quality – and legislation to rule out ever building a fourth runway.

There had been speculation that the commission would hold the door open for Gatwick. But the commission said on Wednesday morning it was “clear and unanimous” Heathrow’s plan was the strongest case for future airport capacity, delivering the greatest strategic and economic benefits, and the conditions would make the airport a “better neighbour” than today.

The £17bn expansion plan would mean 250,000 more flights a year, providing a £150bn boost to GDP over 60 years and 70,000 new jobs – but would mean demolishing 783 homes, including most of the neighbouring village of Harmondsworth.

The long-awaited verdict comes five years after the government cancelled plans for a new runway at Britain’s biggest airport and is expected to spark a renewed political battle.

Sir Howard Davies, the commission chair, said the government would need to review the analysis carefully before making a decision. But he warned it to “move as quickly as it can” or be seen as unwilling to “take the steps needed to maintain [Britain’s] position as a well-connected open trading economy”.

Heathrow’s third runway: the conditions in full

The 12 conditions are (Page 10 of the report):

Report at  http://tinyurl.com/AC-Final-Report

– A ban on all scheduled night flights from 11.30pm to 6am.

– Predictable respite from noise to be more reliably maintained

– A legally binding “noise envelope”

– Compensation for those who would lose their homes at full market value plus an additional 25% and reasonable costs

– Heathrow should be held to its commitment to spend more than £1 billion on community compensation

– No 4th runway – the government should make a firm commitment in Parliament not to expand further

– A noise levy on airport users to compensate local communities

– A legal commitment on air quality (so air quality at sites around the airport will not delay compliance with EU limits.)

– A Community Engagement Board to let local people have a say, with influence on compensation

– An independent aviation noise authority to be consulted on flight paths and airport operating procedures

– Training and apprenticeships for local people.

– A major shift in mode-share for those working at and arriving at the airport should be incentivised

.


The government must now decide whether to act on the recommendation of the commission, which the prime minister established in 2012 to examine the need for more airport capacity, having shortlisted Heathrow or Gatwick for a required new runway.

The report said Heathrow’s benefits were “significantly greater” than Gatwick’s. Davies said Gatwick presented a “plausible case for expansion” but was “unlikely to provide much of the type of capacity which is most urgently required: long-haul destinations in new markets”.

Despite the exhaustive report, trying to expand Heathrow would run into intense opposition.

While most airlines in the UK and abroad back the commission’s recommended option, a central plank in Gatwick’s campaign was the claim that a third runway for Heathrow would prove “politically undeliverable” due to pollution and noise issues.

That claim may yet prove correct. Prominent members of the government – including cabinet members Justine Greening and Philip Hammond, as well as the London mayor, Boris Johnson – are all vehemently anti-expansion, while MPs of all parties from constituencies around Heathrow, as well the remaining Liberal Democrats and Greens, are opposed.

For Cameron himself, who unequivocally ruled out a third runway in 2010 – saying “no ifs, no buts” – it will be a political embarrassment.

The report stressed that the plan was “a fundamentally different proposition” from previous proposals to expand Heathrow, with the runway located further to the west and expected to have much less impact on local communities through noise. The commission said the airport should be held to account to spend more than £1bn on community compensation, including £700m insulating homes under the flight paths.

Business groups and most airlines will welcome the commission’s verdict. A majority had accepted Heathrow’s argument that only a hub airport could deliver the long-haul connections to emerging growth markets that would underpin high-value exports and inward investment.

John Stewart of the anti-expansion group Hacan, who chaired the last campaign against a third runway, said: “This is far from the end of the story. It will be the government that makes the final decision and given the strong opposition in the cabinet to Heathrow, the final chapter may come out in favour of Gatwick.”

The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said his department would consider the commission’s advice in detail.

He said: “As a nation we must be ambitious and forward-looking. This is a once-in a-generation opportunity to answer a vital question. I will make a statement to parliament later today in which I will set out the process for that decision to be made.”

Heathrow said it would “work for all Britain” in trying to deliver the runway. The airport’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “This debate has never been about a runway, it’s been about the future we want for Britain. Expanding Heathrow will keep Britain as one of the world’s great trading nations, right at the heart of the global economy.

“Our new plans have been designed around the needs of local communities and will meet carbon, air quality and noise targets, and provides the greatest benefit to the UK’s connectivity and its long-term economic growth.

He promised to “create the world’s best connected, most efficient and most environmentally responsible hub airport”.

Gatwick Airport’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “It is for the commission to make a recommendation but it is of course for the government to decide. So we now enter the most important stage of the process.” He claimed the commission had “left the door open to us”.

But speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Davies said that while Gatwick had been “not inconceivable” when it was placed on the shortlist 18 months ago, he reiterated the commission’s “clear and unanimous” view that Heathrow offered significantly more benefits.

He said Heathrow was “by a long, long way” the better choice for air freight and exports, and said 60% of the benefit would go to the regions of the UK who could now connect at the hub. He said: “There are only seven airports connected to Heathrow and the reduction in numbers has been relentless. People in the regions have been denied access to Heathrow’s network.”

Asked if politicians would follow his advice, Davies said: “It has become a symbolic point around the world – is the UK and London prepared to make the decisions that are needed.”

Environmental campaigners warned that building a new runway would put climate targets at risk, despite the commission’s insistence that it was compatible with the targets.

Cait Hewitt of the Aviation Environment Federation said: “Increased emissions from a third runway at Heathrow, like all the shortlisted expansion options, would breach the climate change target for aviation unless politically challenging measures are introduced to limit growth at other airports or to substantially increase the cost of flying.”

She added: “The UK has a legal obligation to meet EU air quality legal limits and the Airports Commission still cannot say confidently whether or not expansion would be legal.”

Friends of the Earth said: “Building a new runway at Gatwick or Heathrow would have a hugely damaging impact on local people and their environment and would be a step backwards in UK efforts to tackle climate change.”

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/01/heathrow-third-runway-recommended-in-davies-report-on-airport-capacity

.

 



A third runway at London Heathrow airport will never fly


Philip Stephens (Financial Times Columnist)

1.7.2015

You need not be a cynic to suspect policy-based evidence-making

Britain’s Airports Commission has done what was expected of it. It has called for a third runway at Heathrow. You do not have to be a cynic to suspect policy-based evidence-making. Unkind souls might call the report an establishment stitch-up. Never mind. Its conclusions are destined for the long grass. The pity is that money, time and energy will be wasted on a debate that can have only one outcome. Forget the commission’s expensively deceptive cost-benefit analyses. The runway will never be built.

Heathrow is in the wrong place — on the wrong side of the capital, more precisely. Its flight paths run directly above some of the city’s most densely populated neighbourhoods. Some 750,000 people — a full 28 per cent of those across the entire EU whose lives are blighted by aircraft noise — are unlucky enough to live near London’s largest airport.

Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled that air pollution levels around Heathrow — most dangerously, nitrogen dioxide — already breach the legal limits. To add another 250,000 flights a year to the present 470,000, with the concomitant increase in road traffic, is simply unimaginable.

For all the £20m spent on the report, it is still not certain that London actually needs a new runway. The city already has seven spread over six sites, as good as any serious competitor in Europe, and much of the capacity remains unused. Air traffic projections are notoriously unreliable. Only a fool would gamble tens of billions of pounds on a flimsy prediction that London may be short of capacity by 2030.

The case made by Heathrow management that London’s reputation as a centre for global business depends on the airport upgrading its “hub” status by handling more transit passengers is flimsy at best. The proportion of business passengers has been falling — from 38 per cent at the turn of the century to 30 per cent last year. More than two-thirds of those who pass through the airport are tourists. To slot in more flights for business leaders to the booming cities of China, Heathrow has merely to cede to Gatwick or Stansted a few bucket-and-spade routes to Mediterranean resorts.

The importance of transit customers is overstated. The growth in air travel has been in point-to-point flights by smaller, fuel-efficient aircraft. And, unlike Frankfurt or Amsterdam, London is the final destination for the vast majority of air travellers. Heathrow counts 36 per cent of its passengers as in transit but across the capital’s airports the figure falls to below 15 per cent.

As it happens, Heathrow is a terrible advertisement for Britain. Beyond the superficial glitter of Terminal 5, much of the site comprises a series of down-at-heel sheds bursting at the seams with lucrative (for the airport operator) shopping concessions. Those unfortunate enough to arrive at, say, Terminal 3 can only shake their head in wonderment that one of the world’s pre-eminent cities can be content with such squalor. Delays and disruption are endemic. Of the dozen flights I took in and out of Heathrow in the past two months, I counted only two that left or arrived in time.

The cost to the public purse is prohibitive. The commission guesses at a price tag of £18bn or so for the runway, with another £5bn-£6bn for the necessary improvements to surface transport to cope with the extra passengers. Transport for London has suggested the latter figure could end up as high as £20bn. That may be an overestimate. But, whichever way you look at it, British taxpayers would have to pay a massive subsidy to the shareholders of Heathrow.

So why has Heathrow fought so hard for a new runway? Easy. It wants to stifle competition. The airport is a cash cow, but slightly less so since the Competition Commission forced it to divest ownership of Gatwick. London’s second airport has been transformed by the break-up, but a third runway, the Airports Commission acknowledges, would divert back to Heathrow traffic from London’s other airports. The owners would regain a near monopoly.

What London needs are better surface connections between the other airports and faster rail and road routes into the capital. Heathrow will soon benefit from Crossrail. Rather than spend billions diverting the M4 and M25 motorways around Heathrow the government should be investing in surface connections to Gatwick and Stansted. If, as is possible, capacity does come under strain, it would be much cheaper and faster to add a second runway at Gatwick.

Politics will combine with logic to doom a third runway. David Cameron, the prime minister, does not have the majority to take the legislation through parliament. The heavyweights in the Conservative party opposed to expansion are led by Boris Johnson, the London mayor, and his would-be successor, Zac Goldsmith. They are backed by several members of the cabinet and by many local Tory MPs.

So this is one of those moments in politics when a prime minister can marry principle with pragmatism. “No ifs, no buts, no third runway”, the prime minister promised a few years back. He was right.

philip.stephens@ft.com

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3fae602e-1fd7-11e5-ab0f-6bb9974f25d0.html#axzz3eewEGxO

.


Blame the Liberal Democrats. The Tories never expected to win a majority and be in government alone.

Meanwhile the prospect of a third runway at Heathrow was unconscionable for Liberal Democrats. While most Lib Dems were opposed to Gatwick expansion too, Nick Clegg was more open. Positions had been readied for a coalition agreement compromise and Heathrow could well have been sacrificed at the birth of a new government in favour of Gatwick, and both sides would have been happy to let the Lib Dems take both the credit and the blame.

When the election delivered a majority Tory government, there was nowhere to hide and the Tory factions and divisions come to the fore. On one level the divisions are well known: Boris Johnson and his possible successor Zac Goldsmith, plus Greg Hands and Justine Greening would all be lying in front of the bulldozers in Hounslow.

MPs in the southeast more affected by Gatwick expansion such as John Whittingdale, Dominic Raab and the like never ran the same sort of high-profile campaign to protect their own back yards, and now could well be the losers. (Somewhere in the city the firm lobbying for Heathrow should be shot by the airport operator for failing to do so).

Even this explanation masks more interesting divisions at the top. David Cameron made a clear public promise shortly after becoming leader that there would be no third runway at Heathrow. It was George Osborne who became increasingly sympathetic through the last parliament to this option. Now the chancellor is likely to be the one with the more difficult choice of conscience: what does abandoning Heathrow mean for his northern powerhouse for instance?

Have no pity for Sir Howard Davies, this is an entirely appropriate fate for his review. The Airports Commission was always just a magician’s prestige, a delaying device designed to extricate the government from a tricky political decision it would rather not take.

And while Sir Howard is trying to insist he is delivering a more clear-cut recommendation than some senior Tories had hoped and expected, he still says Gatwick is “conceivable” – allowing ministers to portray building here as a quick win while delaying decisions on Heathrow yet further.

Perhaps the real lesson is how easily David Cameron will waste £20 million for nothing when it suits him.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article4484821.ece

.


.

Some of the other press coverage:

Read more »

Grouping of councils opposed to Heathrow runway call on Government to dismiss Airports Commission report

Councils around Heathrow and across West London have called on the Government to rule out a 3rd Heathrow runway – and to dismiss the Airports Commission’s final report. The local authorities say the legal, political and environmental barriers to expansion are insurmountable and that communities around the airport should be spared the anxiety of a long drawn out process.  They also criticised the Commission for suggesting a ban on night flights should follow the delivery of a new runway, instead of being imposed straight away. They argue that the airport and airlines have to prove they can actually deliver a night flying curfew before it’s used as a bargaining chip. The councils (including Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Richmond, Windsor and Maidenhead, and Kingston – and others in the 2M grouping) say other key weaknesses in the Commission’s analysis include air pollution, with the ludicrous situation whereby could only be used if air quality targets are met – so the runway, at huge cost to the taxpayer, might not be used. And on flight paths, where there is still no indication where these would be, until a further review of airspace. The councils say it is unacceptable that after £20 million and 3 years of work the Commission cannot confirm which communities will be affected by noise.
.

 

Councils call for swift decision on airports report

1st July 2015 (Wandsworth Council)

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

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

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

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

Other key weaknesses highlighted by the councils include:

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

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said:

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

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

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

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

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

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

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

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leader of Kingston Council Cllr Kevin Davis said:

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

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

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

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

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

.

and

.

Airports Commission failed to understand barriers to Heathrow expansion

1st July 2015 (Wandsworth Council)

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

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

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

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

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

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

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

.

.


.

The 2M Group

The 2M group of local authorities (2M stands for 2 million, though the actual number of residents in the borough included is now much higher – perhaps 5 million?)

2M Group

Speaking up for the community

The 2M Group is an all-party alliance of local authorities concerned about the environmental impact of Heathrow operations on their communities.The group, which took its name from the 2 million residents of the original 12 authorities, now represents a combined population of 5 million people and was successful in 2010 in overturning plans for a third runway at the airport.Members are keen to reduce night flights, preserve the relief provided to residents by runway alternation and strengthen noise and air quality controls in the areas around the airport. The group is not anti-Heathrow but works together to improve the environment and protect the quality of life for local people.

Wandsworth Council is a founder member of the 2M group. This is an all-party alliance of local authorities concerned at the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion on their communities.

Leader of Wandsworth Council and spokesman for the 2M campaign group, Ravi Govindia, said:

“Almost every part of Wandsworth would be affected by aircraft noise if Heathrow expands to a four runway hub. Across London and the Home Counties a total of three million people would be living under its flightpaths. The price is far too high.

“Heathrow is in the worst position in the country for a major airport and the Government should focus the search for new runway sites on viable settings where the impacts are less severe.

“We continue to lobby for a complete ban on night flights and for better respite protection so our residents can have a regular break from the overhead noise.

..

Read more »

Stop Stansted Expansion response to the Airports Commission final report

The Commission’s main recommendation is that there should be a 3rd runway at Heathrow.  Further, the Commission believes that there may be sufficient demand to justify one other additional runway in the UK by 2050.  However, the Commission emphasises that this would also need to be justified on economic and environmental terms and that no decisions should be taken until the impacts of the 3rd Heathrow runway have been independently evaluated. In SSE’s view the need for additional runways in the UK has been greatly exaggerated by the aviation industry.  Business travel has been declining for 15 years and now accounts for less than a sixth of all international travel from UK airports.  The new runway would stifle the growth prospects for airports elsewhere in the UK, and make it virtually impossible for the UK to meet its climate change targets.  It therefore seems inevitable that there will be a series of legal challenges to the Commission’s recommendations. On Stansted the Commission just says: “…there may be a case for reviewing the [35 mppa] planning cap if and when the airport moves closer to full capacity.  Its forecasts indicate that this would not occur until at least the 2030s”.
.

 

 

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) response to the Airports Commission final report

1.7.2015 (SSE)

This morning the Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, published its Final Report after almost three years of independent analysis and investigation.

It is now for the Government to consider the Commission’s recommendations, and it could be as late as December before the Government announces its final decisions.

The Commission’s main recommendation is that there should be a third runway at Heathrow.  Further, the Commission believes that there may be sufficient demand to justify one other additional runway in the UK by 2050.  However, the Commission emphasises that this would also need to be justified on economic and environmental and that no decisions should be taken until the impacts of the new Heathrow runway have been independently evaluated.

Whilst Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is obviously relieved that the Commission has not recommended an extra runway at Stansted, it has never been part of SSE’s policy to seek to transfer the problems associated with major airport expansion onto the doorsteps of the communities living around other airports.

In SSE’s view the need for additional runways in the UK has been greatly exaggerated by the aviation industry.  Business travel has been declining for 15 years and now accounts for less than a sixth of all international travel from UK airports.  Moreover, the total number of flights (business and leisure) from UK airports has grown less than 1 per cent over the past 15 years.

If additional runway capacity is provided in the South East it will stifle the growth prospects for airports elsewhere in the UK.  In addition it will make it virtually impossible for the UK to meet its climate change targets.  It therefore seems inevitable that there will be a series of legal challenges to the Commission’s recommendations.

So far as Stansted is concerned, the Commission simply states that:

“…there may be a case for reviewing the [35 mppa] planning cap if and when the airport moves closer to full capacity.  Its forecasts indicate that this would not occur until at least the 2030s”.

This is in line with what the Commission said in its Interim Report and it will, of course, be dependent upon demand.  Stansted currently caters for 21.5 million passengers per annum (mppa) which is exactly the same throughput as 10 years ago and so it is clear that there is currently no case for raising the existing planning cap of 35 mppa.

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “Ten years ago Stansted was first in the queue for a new runway to serve London.  Today’s report marks a remarkable turnaround and that must come as a great relief to our local community.”

Peter Sanders continued: “There is no doubt that the Commission has examined the issues conscientiously and in painstaking detail but for the reasons given above we disagree with many aspects of the Report.”

Peter Sanders concluded:  “It looks as if it will be the end of this year before the Government makes its final decision(s) and having regard to the likelihood of legal challenges, there may well be a longer period of uncertainty.  Whatever the timescale, SSE will continue to play a full part in the debate for as long as it takes to ensure that no-one is allowed to ride roughshod over the interests of this local community.”

ENDS

 

NOTES TO EDITORS 

  • It was almost three years ago – 7 September 2012 – when the Government announced that it had appointed Sir Howard Davies to chair an independent Commission tasked with identifying and recommending options for maintaining the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation. The Commission’s terms of reference required it to report no later than summer 2015 on:
  • Its assessment of the options for meeting the UK’s international connectivity needs, including their economic, social and environmental impact;
  • Its recommendation(s) for the optimum approach to meeting any needs;  and
  • Its recommendation(s) for ensuring that the need is met as expeditiously as practicable within the required timescale.
  • SSE has engaged fully with the Commission from the outset and has made a total of ten separate evidence submissions as well as a presentation to the Commission at a public evidence session, the only local community group to have been invited to do so.
  • SSE warmly welcomes the Commission’s recommendations for an independent noise ombudsman and for a noise levy to be charged for each passenger using an airport with the proceeds used to support local environmental and community projects.
  • Today’s confirmation by Sir Howard Davies that there is no case for an extra runway at Stansted is the same conclusion as reached on each of the three previous occasions when Government allowed an independent body to consider airports policy for the South East.  Each time – Blake in 1966, Roskill in 1971, Eyre in 1984 – it was concluded that Stansted should not be developed beyond the capacity of its existing single runway.    

info@stopstanstedexpansion.com

www.stopstanstedexpansion.com

.

.

.



Essex County Council say second runway at Stansted Airport ‘inevitable’ in next 20 years

By Harlow Star 

1.7.2015

Stansted Airport

The leader of Essex County Council Cllr David Finch believes a second runway after 2030 at Stansted Airport may be an “inevitable” option.

“We support Stansted owner’s ambitions to introduce greater destinations and long-haul flights, and we believe Stansted should be an important airport of trade and commerce as well as for short breaks and holidays. Sensible growth at Stansted can benefit the UK and the Essex economy,” said Cllr Finch.

“Stansted Airport is one of the many factors that make Essex the place to be and one of the many factors why Essex Means Business.”

Cllr Finch’s Stansted second runway prediction related to long-term growth, post 2030, but in the short to medium term he called on the Government to act on the recommendations of today’s (Wednesday) Airport Commission report to build a third runway at Heathrow first.

Cllr Finch said: “We hope the Government doesn’t kick this report into the long grass. We have always said that UK plc cannot sit on this issue forever.

“We believe a third runway at Heathrow is the most viable option now. It’s affordable, practical and consolidates Heathrow’s position as the UK’s central airport.”

The county also supports “sensible growth” at Stansted in the short to medium term – but is calling for rail connections to the airport to be improved.

In the 12 months from May 2014, airport passenger numbers grew by 3.8m passengers per annum.

While Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) admitted it was relieved Sir Howard Davies’ recommendations did not include immediate building at Stansted, the campaign group questioned the need for any new runways at all.

It argued the aviation industry had exaggerated demand, claiming business travel has been declining for 15 years and now accounted for less than a sixth of all international travel from UK airports. Moreover, the total number of flights (business and leisure) from UK airports has grown less than one per cent over the past 15 years.

SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: “Ten years ago Stansted was first in the queue for a new runway to serve London. Today’s report marks a remarkable turnaround and that must come as a great relief to our local community.

“There is no doubt that the commission has examined the issues conscientiously and in painstaking detail but…we disagree with many aspects of the report.

“It looks as if it will be the end of this year before the Government makes its final decisions, and having regard to the likelihood of legal challenges, there may well be a longer period of uncertainty. Whatever the timescale, SSE will continue to play a full part in the debate for as long as it takes to ensure that no-one is allowed to ride roughshod over the interests of this local community.”

 

http://www.harlowstar.co.uk/Essex-County-Council-say-second-runway-Stansted/story-26812764-detail/story.html

 

 

.

.

.

 

 

Read more »

Caroline Lucas blog: “Heathrow might have been his answer, but Davies was asking the wrong question”

The Airports Commission (AC) has finally recommended that Heathrow, Europe’s biggest noise polluter, should expand. The decision has been framed simply: Gatwick or Heathrow? Either new runway would cost billions of pounds and cause thousands more people’s lives to be blighted by more aircraft flying low over homes, schools and neighbourhoods. Caroline Lucas considers the AC’s failure to properly consider the option of “no new runway” is indefensible. The proposed new runway isn’t just bad news for people living nearby – it’s extremely damaging to our efforts to meet our climate change targets. The AC knows the CO2 emission from UK aviation would breach the sector’s generous targets – even without a new runway.  There are other questions that should e asked, not just if a runway should be at Heathrow or Gatwick. Should frequent flyers pay more, the more they fly?  The runway is not “needed” for the average family taking one, or even two annual trips. Should public investment, which would be needed to assist a new Heathrow runway, be better spent elsewhere – on local transport? With different questions asked, there are different answers – not involving another runway.

.

 

Heathrow Might Have Been His Answer, but Davies Was Asking the Wrong Question

1.7.2015 (Blog by Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP)

After years of work, and under the pressure of intense lobbying by the aviation industry, Sir Howard Davies has finally published his report on airport expansion today. His proposal: Europe’s biggest noise polluter, Heathrow Airport, should expand.

The decision has been framed simply: Gatwick or Heathrow? More noise, more pollution, blowing the UK’s climate change commitments or, well, the same again.

Expansion at either airport would cost billions of pounds and cause thousands more people’s lives to be blighted by more aircraft flying low over homes, schools and neighbourhoods. Davies’ recommendations were always going to anger one community, and the failure to properly consider an option where neither residents near Heathrow or Gatwick face such colossal airport expansion near their homes is indefensible.

The proposed new runway isn’t just bad news for people living nearby – it’s extremely damaging to our efforts to meet our climate change targets. Aviation is estimated to have made up 7.5% of the UK’s Greenhouse Gas emissions last year and the Airport Commission’s forecasts show that aviation is set to breach its sector’s generous targets – even if a new runway wasn’t built. If Davies’ proposal was to come to fruition, this breach would, no doubt, be even greater.

Of course what Davies hasn’t set out in his 344 page report is that there are genuine alternatives to airport expansion. One such proposal, a frequent flyer levy, would reduce demand for airport expansion through a fairer tax on flights that increases depending on the number of flights you take. Most people don’t fly even once a year while just 15% of UK residents account for 7 out of 10 of all flights taken. It’s clear that this small minority of wealthy individuals are fuelling the demand for new runways – not families taking an annual holiday. The proposed frequent flyer levy would be a fair way to manage demand – the crucial missing part of any aviation policy serious about tackling climate change and protecting local communities.

Another alternative would be to redirect investment away from airport expansion and into improving railways and reducing fares – to end the ridiculous situation where flying is often cheaper than taking the train to near-by destinations.

If the Government is serious about tackling climate change then it only has one possible way to respond to this report: bin it. Ministers know very well that airport expansion, at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere else for that matter, will hugely damage this Government’s credibility on climate change.

If they’re serious about the UK’s leadership role at the crucial Paris climate summit later this year, we urgently need a more honest approach that recognises the incompatibility between endless growth in aviation capacity and efforts to secure a safe and habitable climate.

Residents of Heathrow will now redouble their efforts to stop this needless expansion. Their cause will be helped by the fact that a number of cabinet ministers are opposed to expansion, but hindered by a Chancellor who’s seemingly hellbent on laying more runway tarmac.

The politics make this decision difficult for the Government, but the climate science should make it easy. The question is whether politicians will listen to local communities and climate experts to find a real alternative to new runways, or if they’ll bow to the aviation industry lobby and plough ahead with expansion?

.

Read more »

Campaigners against a Gatwick runway relieved by Airports Commission decision, but aware Gatwick may still ultimately be selected by government.

Thousands of people across Surrey, Sussex and Kent will be relieved that the threat of an environmental disaster has been lifted – though this reprieve may only be very temporary.  The Commission appears to leave the door open for a Gatwick runway, while hugely favouring Heathrow, considering the Gatwick option could be pushed through by the Government with less difficulty. There will, however, be no rejoicing from the Gatwick area: campaigners there are only too aware of the misery which will be created for those living near Heathrow.  GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) commented: “We do not want this for our area, and equally we do not wish it onto others, for whom it would be just as bad. We will continue to make the case that no new runway is needed, neither at Heathrow, nor at Gatwick, nor anywhere else.” GACC, and all the protest groups around Gatwick, will be studying the report carefully and will remain on guard in case there is pressure to reverse the recommendation. A Gatwick runway would be an environmental disaster for the south east.
.

 

 

Initial reaction:

Campaigners against a Gatwick runway relieved by Airports Commission decision, but aware Gatwick may still  ultimately be selected by government.

1.7.2015  (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Thousands of people across Surrey, Sussex and Kent will be relieved that the threat of an environmental disaster has been lifted – though this reprieve may only be very temporary.

The Commission appears to leave the door open for a Gatwick runway, while hugely favouring Heathrow, considering the Gatwick option could be pushed through by the Government with less difficulty

There will, however, be no rejoicing from the Gatwick area:  we are only too aware of the misery which will be created for those living near Heathrow.  We do not want this for our area, and equally we do not wish it onto others, for whom it would be just as bad.

We will continue to make the case that no new runway is needed, neither at Heathrow, nor at Gatwick, nor anywhere else.

GACC, and all the protest groups around Gatwick, will be studying the report carefully and will remain on guard in case there is pressure to reverse the recommendation.

We will continue to work with Heathrow groups concerning changes to flight paths that already impact communities surrounding Gatwick and Heathrow.  We will be working jointly with Heathrow groups to address this with the Government departments and the airports.

As the fear remains that Gatwick may, even now, still be the location the government ultimately chooses for a runway, the ring of protest groups surrounding Gatwick will continue to fight the runway proposal. The uncertainty is likely to continue for many months, until the Government makes a decision on the Airports Commission’s report.

While the uncertainty about a Gatwick runway continues, local protest and campaigning will carry on, together with the Parliamentary Group headed up by Crispin Blunt MP.

‘A second runway at Gatwick would be an environmental disaster for the South East – more noise, more pollution, more climate change damage, new flight paths, large scale inward migration, multiple traffic jams and a worsening of the north/south divide.’ said Brendon Sewill, Chairman of GACC.

‘It would be criminal to place so many new flight paths over areas that have never been affected before by aircraft noise, destroying residents’ home life, tranquillity, let alone what the additional traffic will do to our roads and railway of West Sussex,’ said Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE.

GACC and CAGNE are just two of the many groups represent tens of thousands of residents in Kent, Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex. All are adamantly opposed to a new Gatwick runway, and will work together to ensure it does not happen.

www.gacc.org.uk

.

.


Relieved but on guard

1.7.2015 (GACC)

Thousands of people across Surrey, Sussex and Kent will be relieved that the threat of a second runway has receded.

‘Gatwick Airport has failed to make a convincing case. Their brash advertising and lavish lobbying did not prevail against rational examination. They can now only look for a political fix,’ said Brendon Sewill, Chairman of GACC.

GACC will remain on guard, and will continue to oppose a new Gatwick runway alongside all the local MPs, and almost all the local councils. We are united in our concern for the local environment and the costs of providing the infrastructure (roads, rail, housing, schools etc.) that would be necessary.

‘If there were a political fix in favour of Gatwick the public would be incensed. It would be an environmental disaster for the South East – more noise, more pollution, more climate change damage, new flight paths, large scale inward migration, multiple traffic jams and a worsening of the north/south divide.’

Opposition at both airports is now so great, that the option of no new runway needs to be re-examined – it was rejected by the Commission without proper consideration. It would make more sense to make full use of the runways we’ve already got, which the Commission admit won’t be full until 2040 – and not then if airlines continue to use larger aircraft.

The argument that the final decision will depend on how many members of the Cabinet have constituencies near Heathrow is rejected as being pork barrel politics. ‘To take a long term decision on national airports policy on the basis of which constituencies happen to have their MP in the Cabinet would be nonsensical. In five or ten years’ time the situation may be reversed.’

The Cabinet Ministers concerned have a clear financial interest – whether they lose their seat and their Ministerial salary. Therefore they should declare a financial interest and take no part in the decision. If they don’t, that could create a legal challenge of constitutional significance.

www.gacc.org.uk

Read more »

HACAN comment on Commission choice of Heathrow: “The final chapter is yet to be written – it’s far from the end of the story”

In response to the Airports Commission, HACAN (the main community group opposing expansion of Heathrow) says even though Heathrow has been recommended for a runway, the Commission has left the door open for a 2nd runway at Gatwick. The Government will announce its decision towards the end of the year.  John Stewart, HACAN chair, said: “This is far from the end of the story. The final decision will be taken by the Government. Given the strength of opposition there is to Heathrow within the Cabinet, the final chapter could contain a sting in the tail. Gatwick could emerge as the final choice by Christmas.” There is significant opposition to Heathrow within the Cabinet, and from Boris and Zac. The  The obstacles to a 3rd runway remain enormous: – Noise disturbing more people than any other airport in Europe  – Air Pollution levels hovering above the EU legal limits  – Thousands of people facing eviction from their homes  – Millions of pounds of public money required to upgrade the roads network  – And the prospect of the biggest environmental battle in Europe
.

The final chapter is yet to be written – it’s far from the end of the story

1.7.2015  (Hacan press release)

The Airport Commission’s report today recommended a new runway is built at Heathrow but only if tough conditions are met.

However, it left open the door for a 2nd runway at Gatwick. The Government will announce its decision towards the end of the year.

John Stewart, HACAN chair, said:

“This is far from the end of the story. The final decision will be taken by the Government. Given the strength of opposition there is to Heathrow within the Cabinet, the final chapter could contain a sting in the tail.

“Gatwick could emerge as the final choice by Christmas.”

There is significant opposition to Heathrow within the Cabinet.

Ministers opposed to a 3rd runway include:

– Philip Hammond, foreign secretary

– Theresa May, home secretary

– Theresa Villiers, Northern Ireland secretary

– Justine Greening, international development secretary

– Greg Hands, financial secretary to the treasury

Boris Johnson is a fierce opponent as is Zac Goldsmith, probably next Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.

The obstacles to a 3rd runway remain enormous:

– Noise disturbing more people than any other airport in Europe

– Air Pollution levels hovering above the EU legal limits

– Thousands of people facing eviction from their homes

– Millions of pounds of public money required to upgrade the roads network

– And the prospect of the biggest environmental battle in Europe

Residents will not be quiet

As Hacan’s new YouTube series proves, residents across London and beyond are affected by Heathrow noise and the threat of expansion.

View the new video series in the player below, or click ‘Playlist‘ to browse the collection

 

http://hacan.org.uk/

Read more »

Richmond Heathrow Campaign response to the Airports Commission choice of Heathrow

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign is wholly against a new third runway at Heathrow. There is unlikely to be any net benefit to the UK aviation market or to the UK economy. Why? According to the Airports Commission’s own figures, a new Heathrow runway results in no overall increase in the number of UK passengers, business passengers, flights or connectivity because it would be fed by re-distributing growth from other UK airports – in particular from airports outside the southeast. Heathrow expansion would result in cuts to flights at airports outside the southeast: as much as 45% at Birmingham, 30% at Bristol, 15% at Manchester and 10% at Edinburgh.  It would stifle growth around the UK and concentrate it at a single airport in the economically overheated southeast. This would be contrary to the government’s aim of re-balancing the UK economy. And the RHC makes also sets out its other key reasons for opposing a new Heathrow runway.
.

 

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign responds to the Davies Commission

1.7.2015 (Richmond Heathrow Campaign)

The Davies Commission ……has now issued its final report, which recommends a third runway at Heathrow. The Commission’s final report marks the end of technical analysis but only the start of the political process.

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign is wholly against a new third runway at Heathrow. There is unlikely to be any net benefit to the UK aviation market or to the UK economy. Why? According to the Airports Commission’s own figures, a new Heathrow runway results in no overall increase in the number of UK passengers, business passengers, flights or connectivity because it would be fed by re-distributing growth from other UK airports – in particular from airports outside the southeast.

Heathrow expansion would result in cuts to flights at airports outside the southeast: as much as 45% at Birmingham, 30% at Bristol, 15% at Manchester and 10% at Edinburgh.  It would stifle growth around the UK and concentrate it at a single airport in the economically overheated southeast. This would be contrary to the government’s aim of re-balancing the UK economy.

There is already spare capacity at these other airports, which could be taken up at relatively small cost compared to the £18.6 billion cost for Heathrow expansion plus the £20 billion estimated by TfL for improved surface access to avoid poor service, road congestion and pollution.

Together with existing commitments, Heathrow could need to fund £54 billion of investment. Much of this may have to be funded by taxpayers. Surely this cannot be justified if all it does is to duplicate existing capacity without any overall benefit to the UK economy?

Heathrow expansion also has a substantial environmental cost. With another runway, UK aviation would produce more than 25% of total UK carbon emissions by 2050 challenging legal climate change targets. Moreover, breaches of nitrogen dioxide statutory limits are likely to remain unresolved, making a 3rd runway unlawful.

World Health Organisation noise targets are not applied to Heathrow. If they were there could be 1 million people exposed to noise without expansion and 1.5 million with expansion. The number of people currently exposed is three times that of any other European airport. Uncertainty of where flight paths will be positioned creates a large blight over London for many years to come and several hundred thousand people would be exposed to aircraft noise for the first time.

The case against Heathrow expansion is overwhelming – more noise, more pollution, unjustifiable expense with no clear benefit to the UK or local economy. Instead, the Richmond Heathrow Campaign favours no new runways in the southeast but better use of existing UK capacity and improved access to London’s five airports, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, City and Luton, which together are an unbeatable match for any city.

Whatever the outcome of the runway debate, the Richmond Heathrow Campaign also seeks a ban on all Heathrow night flights and the enforcement of World Health Organisation targets for noise control and management.

http://www.richmondheathrowcampaign.org/

 

 

 

Read more »

Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airport community groups stand united against new runway decision

In response to the threat of a new runway at Heathrow (or very possibly at Gatwick, when the government decides on the Airports Commission announcement), the community groups opposed to increased aircraft noise have issued a joint statement. They say: “The announcement is bad news for all those who will inevitably be affected by increased aircraft activity, noise and air pollution and the associated effects on people’s lives and health as a result of a new runway. As groups representing hundreds of thousands of people already suffering the impact of changes in airspace use, or new flight paths we are very aware of the negative impacts of living under, or close to, a flight path. There has been insufficient and inadequate consultation of affected communities on the introduction of airspace changes in the past. There is little reason to believe this will improve when large numbers of new flight paths are to be created in the wake of this recommendation. The campaign to prevent further runways being built and to return the flight paths to their previously regionally acceptable routes will go on. The noise and pollution groups at City, Gatwick and Heathrow airports remain united in this cause.”
.

City, Gatwick & Heathrow Community Groups Stand United Against The New Runway Decision

1.7.2015

From a large number of groups representing areas at all 3 airports

The announcement today is bad news for all those who will inevitably be affected by increased aircraft activity, noise and air pollution and the associated effects on people’s lives and health as a result of a new runway.

As groups representing hundreds of thousands of people already suffering the impact of changes in airspace use, or new flight paths we are very aware of the negative impacts of living under, or close to, a flight path.

There has been insufficient and inadequate consultation of affected communities on the introduction of airspace changes in the past.

There is little reason to believe this will improve when large numbers of new flight paths are to be created in the wake of this recommendation.

The campaign to prevent further runways being built and to return the flight paths to their previously regionally acceptable routes will go on.

The noise and pollution groups at City, Gatwick and Heathrow airports remain united in this cause.

END

——–

Signed by (in no particular order):
Sally Pavey, CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)

Martin Baraud, GON (Gatwick Obviously NOT)

Brendon Sewill, GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Natasha Fletcher, TAG (Teddington Action Group)

John Holdstock, WWRA (West Windsor Residents Assn)

Simon Byerley, CAGNE East

Malcolm Beer, OWRA (Old Windsor Residents Assn)

Rosalie James, Aircraft Noise Lightwater, Bagshot, Windlesham

Dominic Nevill, ESCCAN (East Sussex Communities For the Control of Air Noise)

Ian Hare, PAGNE (Pulborough Against Gatwick Noise & Emissions)

Jeremy Stirling, Langton Green Village Society

Murray Barter, Ascot

Jacquie Lovell, Chavey Down

Helen Hansen-Hjul, Windlesham

Peter Willan, RHC (Richmond Heathrow Campaign)

Speldhurst Action Group

Alan Haughton, SCAM (Stop City Airport Masterplan)

Mike Ward, Plane Wrong

Roddy Hall, OGFRA (Oakley Green & Fifield Residents)

Kate Mann, PlaneDAFT (Defending Ascot’s Future Today)

Richard Streatfeild MBE, HWCAAG (The High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group)

Ray Rampton, RAAN (Residents Against Aircraft Noise)

.

.

.

 

Read more »