Stansted campaigners heave a huge sigh of relief – but it’s not over yet ….

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has expressed huge relief that Stansted has not been short-listed by the Airports Commission as a potential location for an additional runway or runways to meet future aviation demand in the South East.  SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “This is exactly the outcome that the entire SSE team has been working so hard to achieve all year….  The environmental consequences of even one extra runway would have been catastrophic and there has never been a viable business case for any extra runways at Stansted.”  Stansted is currently operating at less than half of its potential capacity.  In addition, it has no long haul flights and it primarily caters for outbound leisure travel by UK residents rather than the business market, and low-cost carriers Ryanair and easyJet account for over 90% of its passengers.  Unfortunately, the Airports Commission has not completely ruled out an extra runway at Stansted.  They have said that its final report in 2015 it will consider whether a 2nd Stansted runway might be a plausible option in the 2040s.   “It will therefore be another 2 years before we can even think of letting our guard down.”
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A HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF BUT IT’S NOT OVER YET

17.12.2013 (Stop Stansted Expansion)

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has expressed huge relief that Stansted has not been short-listed by the Airports Commission as a potential location for an additional runway or runways to meet future aviation demand in the South East

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “This is exactly the outcome that the entire SSE team has been working so hard to achieve all year.  In truth however keeping Stansted off the shortlist was more than we dared hope for – but it is absolutely the right outcome.  The environmental consequences of even one extra runway would have been catastrophic and there has never been a viable business case for any extra runways at Stansted.”

Stansted is currently operating at less than half of its potential capacity.  In addition, it has no long haul flights and it primarily caters for outbound leisure travel by UK residents rather than the business market, and low-cost carriers Ryanair and easyJet account for over 90% of its passengers. These were all important considerations for the Airports Commission which is strongly focused on supporting UK economic growth and the UK’s global air connectivity.

Unfortunately, the Airports Commission has not completely ruled out an extra runway at Stansted.  The Commission has said that its final report, which will be published in mid-2015, after the next General Election, will consider whether a second Stansted runway might be a plausible option in the 2040s.

Peter Sanders continued: “We must continue to engage fully with the Commission over the next eighteen months because we don’t just want to win a reprieve for this generation but also for generations to follow.  In the meantime, Stansted Airport still owns some 270 homes in the vicinity of the airport which it bought with a second runway in mind.  We now expect to see a phased sale of these properties back onto the market.  That would bring some peace of mind and confidence to the local community, which has had to live with the threat of major expansion at Stansted for far too long.”

Ultimately, it is not the Airports Commission which will make the final decisions, but the next Government, during the latter half of 2015.  “It will therefore be another two years before we can even think of letting our guard down”, Peter Sanders concluded.

SSE also announced today that it has notified the Commission that it is ending its Judicial Review challenge and will not now be seeking leave to take the case to the Court of Appeal.

 

ENDS

  1. The Airport Commission’s interim report (228 pages + 187 pages in appendices) can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/airports-commission-interim-report.

 

SSE has engaged fully with the Commission throughout the year responding to all of the Commission’s discussion documents and requests for evidence, in total making eight separate submissions – see http://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/airports_commission.html. SSE was also invited to give oral evidence to the Commission at a public evidence session, the only local community group to have been invited to do so.

Today’s decision by Sir Howard Davies not to shortlist Stansted as an option for an extra  runway or runways is consistent with the conclusion reached on each of the three previous occasions when Government has allowed an independent body to consider airports policy for the South East.  Each time – Blake in 1966, Roskill in 1971, Eyre in 1984 – the recommendation has always been that Stansted should not be developed beyond the capacity of its existing single runway.  Sir Howard Davies’s decision today makes it four in a row.

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www.stopstanstedexpansion.com

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Environmental groups question feasibility of new runway, in the face of climate, noise and air quality constraints

In response to the Airports Commission’s interim report, announcing that a new runway at either Heathrow, or Gatwick (distant possibility of estuary – but unlikely), some of the main environmental NGOs have commented. The AEF says “The Commission’s report reaches a conclusion on the need for a new runway before it has undertaken a comprehensive environmental and social analysis that could still rule out all the options on the table. Building a new runway will not be possible within our national climate targets unless the Government is willing to limit growth at all the other airports in the UK”. “The report gives no reassurance on how huge local constraints on air quality and noise will be met.”  Friends of the Earth commented: “If our airports are allowed to expand, other sectors of the economy will have to make even bigger carbon cuts to enable the UK to play its part in tackling climate change. The south east doesn’t need aviation expansion – London has more flights to the world’s business centres than its European competitors.”  The RSPB says further airport expansion will undermine efforts to reduce our climate impact in the UK, “Emissions from aircraft are one of the fastest increasing sources of greenhouse gases. The impacts of climate change on wildlife in the UK and abroad are already being felt with seabirds struggling to find food as sea temperatures increase.”  And there are more comments.

 

AEF response to the Airports Commission Interim Report

17.12.2013  (AEF – Aviation Environment Federation) The Airports Commission Interim Report was launched today (Tuesday 17th December). In it, the Commission concludes that runway capacity will be under “very substantial” pressure in the South East by 2030 requiring additional runway capacity, even in a carbon constrained world when aviation emissions are constrained to 2005 levels.

In response, Tim Johnson, Director of Aviation Environment Federationi  said this “Sir Howard Davies has spoken of decisions on airport capacity needing to balance the national interest with local considerations. Yet the Commission’s report reaches a conclusion on the need for a new runway before it has undertaken a comprehensive environmental and social analysis that could still rule out all the options on the table.

“Building a new runway will not be possible within our national climate targets unless the Government is willing to limit growth at all the other airports in the UK – something the Government will not be willing to do. In his report, Sir Howard Davies estimates the costs to the UK economy of not building a new runway. The costs of blowing our enshrined climate targets will be much higher. “Similarly, previous proposals for airport expansion have not been given the political green light because of insurmountable local constraints relating to air quality and noise. There is no explanation on how these local obstacles can be overcome. ”

AEF will outline how the Interim Report compared to our three tests ii in a briefing to follow shortly,when it has had time to assess it in full.  

Notes:

i    The Aviation Environment Federation is the main UK NGO working exclusively on the environmental impacts of aviation and we play a leading role in the Airport Watch coalition. We represent people affected by airports of all sizes across the UK and those concerned with the growing climate impact of aviation. We want to ensure the debate on airport capacity takes social and environmental concerns into account as well as those that are economical ii Our three tests for the Airports Commission on climate, noise and economic justification are available at http://www.aef.org.uk/?p=1669


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News from Darren Johnson AM: “Environmental catastrophe” Davies Commission shortlisting of Heathrow and Gatwick

17 December 2013 (London AM Press Release)

Sir Howard Davies’s Aviation Commission’s interim report has selected Gatwick and Heathrow airport as their potential options for aviation expansion.

Specifically at Heathrow it proposes a new runway or the extension of the existing northern runway to enable it to operate as two separate runways; a new runway at Gatwick.

Earlier, Darren Johnson, the Chair of the London Assembly in a joint with Boris Johnson wrote to London MPs stating that they are “unanimously opposed to Heathrow expansion in any form. The environmental catastrophe that the airport represents cannot be allowed to worsen”(1) Darren Johnson said: “This decision completely disregards public opinion and spells even more noise misery for residents living under flight paths. Londoners must be given their say on the future of Heathrow and the Davies Commission should not be used as a way of by-passing that.”

“The aviation’s contribution to the economy is massively overstated, it is only the 26th biggest industry in Britain (2) . The ‘capacity crisis’ has been largely manufactured by narrow commercial interest”

“If we are to stand any chance of avoiding the immense risks involved with runaway climate change, we urgently need to substantially reduce carbon emissions. This includes cutting the number of both short and long haul flights in London and the South East and also raising the price of flights to reflect the environment damage they cause”

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(1) Joint letter from Boris Johnson, Mayor of London & Darren Johnson, Chair of London Assembly, 13th September 2013,

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Sent to Members of Parliament

.’The future of airport capacity in London and the South East is now a subject of intense national debate. Over the course of the last year there have been inquiries held into the topic by a number of bodies, including the House of Commons Transport Select Committee and the London Assembly Transport Committee, and now the Airports Commission under Sir Howard Davies is working through the same issues under its remit from Government. At the heart of the debate lies the future of the UK’s largest airport, Heathrow. The airport operators themselves have submitted proposals to the Airports Commission laying out how Heathrow could double in size to become a four-runway airport. We are writing to express jointly our deep concern over these proposals. Heathrow is already the most noise-polluting airport in Europe by quite some margin. Its noise seriously degrades the lives of over 766,000 people, a figure which makes up 28 per cent of all those similarly affected by airport noise throughout Europe. It also contributes significantly to the very serious air pollution problems which London faces in terms of both CO2 and NOx emissions. It is primarily because of these significant impacts that the Mayor of London and the London Assembly continue to be unanimously opposed to Heathrow expansion in any form.

The environmental catastrophe that the airport represents cannot be allowed to worsen. We hope that you, as a London MP, share that view, and we would greatly value your support in making this clear to both the Airports Commission and the Government. In particular, it would be helpful if you were to write to Sir Howard Davies to make him aware of the damaging effects Heathrow has on your constituents and the practical and political impossibility of expansion there.”

Sir Howard can be reached at: Sir Howard Davies, Airports Commission, Sanctuary Buildings, 20, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT

If you would like any further information then please do not hesitate to get in touch. Yours sincerely Boris Johnson , Mayor of London Darren Johnson, Chair of the London Assembly’ 2) HACAN – http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/fact_file.php

London AM Press Release
http://www.london.gov.uk/media/assembly-member-press-releases/green-party/2013/12/news-from-darren-johnson-am-environmental-catastrophe-davies

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Friends of the Earth – South east doesn’t need more runways, says Friends of the Earth

17 December 2013

Reacting to the Airports Commission Interim Report published today (Tuesday 17 December 2013), Friends of the Earth Senior Campaigner Jane Thomas said: “Building new airports and runways will have a huge impact on local communities and their environment, and pump more climate-changing pollution into our atmosphere. “If our airports are allowed to expand, other sectors of the economy will have to make even bigger carbon cuts to enable the UK to play its part in tackling climate change. “The south east doesn’t need aviation expansion – London has more flights to the world’s business centres than its European competitors.” ENDS 1.    The Airports Commission agreed with Friends of the Earth that a carbon cap should now be ‘the limiting factor for aviation demand growth overall’. But airport expansion will require other sectors to make even bigger cuts – and there is no guarantee that this will happen. 2.   For more than 40 years we’ve seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for our campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. Be a Friend of the Earth – see things differently. For further information visit www.foe.co.uk Friends of the Earth – South east doesn’t need more runways, says friends of the earth .


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Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) – RSPB responds to future of aviation report

17 December 2013

The Davies Commission into the future of aviation has once again highlighted the environmental destruction an airport in the Thames Estuary would cause. In his report released this morning Sir Howard favours new runways at existing airports, with Heathrow ahead of Gatwick.

But he has included a second division level of a new airport on Kent’s Hoo Peninsula in the Thames Estuary, which he acknowledges would be both expensive (up to £112 billion) and environmentally damaging. The RSPB believes that further airport expansion will undermine efforts to reduce our climate impact in the UK, and that further scrutiny of an option in the Thames Estuary will lead to it being ruled out completely.

The tidal mudflats, saltmarsh and reed beds that line the estuary are one of the most import wildlife habitats in Europe, home to a rich ecosystem which includes hundreds of thousands of threatened wintering birds. It is designated with the highest environmental protection available.

Sue Armstrong-Brown, RSPB head of policy, said: “We have always said that the Thames Estuary is a disastrous place to put an airport. It supports many thousands of wintering birds and other wildlife. “Every time a spotlight is put on the Thames Estuary as a potential site for an airport it is revealed to be both an environmental disaster and economic lunacy.

The more scrutiny put on this proposal, the more clear it will be for all concerned that it is a non starter. “However climate change remains the greatest long term threat to wildlife. We believe there should be no further airports in this country until the Government can demonstrate how they can be built and operated without busting our legally binding climate targets.

“Emissions from aircraft are one of the fastest increasing sources of greenhouse gases. The impacts of climate change on wildlife in the UK and abroad are already being felt with seabirds struggling to find food as sea temperatures increase. Evidence shows that climate change could lead to up to a third of land-based species committed to extinction by 2050.”

1. The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) – RSPB responds to future of aviation report .
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and see Andre Farrar’s blog below.

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There is no business case for airport expansion

16 December 2013  (WWF-UK)  WWF’s new infographic, published in advance of the Airports Commission interim report on the future of UK airport capacity, shows that business flying, far from taking off and needing airport expansion, has actually been on a steep descent for many years.

Preview of the one in five infographic

What is more, our evidence shows that business flying is permanently grounded with little FTSE 500 interest in returning to pre-recession flying levels as business meeting and travel practices have shifted in favour of lower carbon alternatives. When you also look at the evidence from WWF’s One in Five Challenge, which has helped some of the UK’s leading companies to cut 38% of their flights in three years, saving £ millions in the process, it makes good business sense to reduce flying now and in the future.

As the Airports Commission is expected to say that business needs airport expansion in order to grow and that alternatives such as rail and videoconferencing won’t replace flying, WWF thought it was important to tell our side of the story, showing the evidence that the Airports Commission appear to have ignored. Let’s come clean on who airport expansion is really for.

If business doesn’t need it, who does? Or is airport expansion simply a vanity project leading to more holidays? Whatever the Airport Commission says, WWF believes that airport expansion is completely incompatible with the UK Climate Change Act and is not needed as we have sufficient available capacity for aviation to grow within the limits recommended by the Committee on Climate Change.

Business are profiting from #FlyingLess. We don’t need new runways. Visit the No business case for airport expansion infographic

Read David Nussbaum’s blog on airport expansion

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CPRE tweeted

CPRE ‏@CPRE Airport Commission: Expansion of Gatwick or Heathrow would be triple blow to the countryside. Not only will building new runways have a terrible landscape impact, extra planes could destroy tranquility of swathes of countryside, more flights will jeopardise government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions. We should make better use of existing capacity and revitalised rail. And stop flying short haul.

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Irresistible force immovable object

17 Dec 2013

I’ve just come for the launch of the Airports Commission Interim Report. Sir Howard Davies, the commission’s chair eloquently, patiently and with a little humour took us through the reports findings.

Logic, graphs, bar charts, clarity of thought, and a clearly extensive fulsome consultation process build a sense of confidence. But this report is about airports and the proven (in the eyes of the commission) need for long term expansion of airport capacity in the South East of England – and that means the political wind will blow hot and strong as the report’s findings are picked over.

Indeed the political wind may have already blown; Sir Howard would not be drawn on the degree to which his recommendations reflect a certain realpolitik.

I have a copy of the Interim Report by my elbow – my skim read has been superficial at this stage – thankfully while I was listening to Sir Howard colleagues were giving the report the attention it deserves.

The options that will proceed for further consultation and consideration will be Gatwick and two runway options at Heathrow. Most of the Thames Estuary options have been ruled out as has expansion at Stansted – but one option on Kent’s Isle of Grain struggles on despite the report setting out a number of good reasons why it looks like a non-runner.

This second division status damns the proposal with feint praise and doesn’t follow, to a logical conclusion, the report’s own arguments to reject this option on cost, environmental impact and connectivity grounds. Sir Howard admitted it was a close call, but wanted to take a little longer (until the middle of 2014) to finish scrutiny of this proposal – disappointing as we’ve been watching estuary options be rejected regularly for over 60 years – it would be good (not least for the people of North Kent) not have to wait another 6 months to see this dangerous option rejected.

A telling inconsistency in the report is that one reason Stansted was rejected (along with all the other new airports) was because of the economic disruption of having to close Heathrow … yet this same consideration seems to play less strongly around the Isle of Grain proposal.

So – on we go more time to make the case for #noestuaryairport (the twitter tag that has seen more than its fair share of use over the last few years.

One silver lining is that we will continue to highlight the fabulous work that is happening in and around the Thames to give nature a home – both our own work and that of our many partners.

The Estuary is an iconic landscape in the South East and its coastline is dotted with important projects both to enhance the value of the Thames for nature and making it better and more accessible for local people and visitors to the area. And it attracts investment – from the coalition Government’s own Nature Improvement Area initiative to our partnership with Crossrail and the Environment Agency to restore the coast at Wallasea Island.

A short blog can’t do this topic justice so me colleagues and I will return to the Aviation Commission’s Interim Report over the coming days. We’ll look at the implications for the fight against damaging climate change amongst other issues.

Sir Howard was asked at the end of the launch if he saw the political will necessary to deliver airport expansion given the difficulties. He acknowledged that this was a classic case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object – and he always backs irresistible forces.

Meanwhile, while we’re on the subject of twitter tags #JeThames

http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/getinvolved/b/specialplaces/archive/2013/12/17/irresistible-force-immovable-object.aspx#.UrBWDBepGWw.twitter

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Robert Peston asks, of the airports ‘crisis': “What’s the big fuss?”

Robert Peston  has written about the economics of building a  new runway, on his blog. He says a striking conclusion of the Airports Commission is that the economic cost of the capacity constraints at UK airports, and at Heathrow in particular, will be between 0.03% and 0.05% of GDP by 2030 and up to 0.09% of national income by 2050. “This is not huge. A loss of income of this size looks like a rounding error in comparison with the peak-to-trough fall in national income of more than 7% caused by the 2008 banking crisis or the 20% gap between today’s GDP and where it would have been if the pre-Crash growth trends had been sustained.” Peston says it is also interesting that the Commission’s report “pours cold water on the notion that top rank economies must have a so-called hub – an airport flying almost everywhere and servicing gazillions of transit passengers – of unlimited capacity, which is what both Heathrow and Boris Johnson rather imply.”  Peston says the report paints a picture of a constrained Heathrow still performing extremely well. And it believes existing capacity can be used more efficiently through improved transport links between airports and better sharing of information by them.
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Airports: What’s the big fuss?

17 Dec 2013  (Robert Peston’s blog on the BBC)

Perhaps the most striking conclusion of the Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies is that the economic cost of the capacity constraints at UK airports, and at Heathrow in particular, will be between 0.03% and 0.05% of GDP by 2030 and up to 0.09% of national income by 2050.

This is not huge.

A loss of income of this size looks like a rounding error in comparison with the peak-to-trough fall in national income of more than 7% caused by the 2008 banking crisis or the 20% gap between today’s GDP and where it would have been if the pre-Crash growth trends had been sustained.

Or to put it another way, keeping the banking system solid and sound looks a rather more important priority than whether or not Heathrow gets a new runway or the London Mayor builds his vast new flying city on the Isle of Grain.

And yet airports and runways seem to get people’s hackles and passions up in a way that risk weightings for bank lending and leverage ratios never do.

Which is not to say that the decision about where or whether to build new runways is trivial, but that it’s not make or break for the British economy.

What is also very interesting in the report is the way it pours cold water on the notion that top rank economies must have a so-called hub – an airport flying almost everywhere and servicing gazillions of transit passengers – of unlimited capacity, which is what both Heathrow and Boris Johnson rather imply.

It paints a picture of a constrained Heathrow still performing extremely well. And it believes existing capacity can be used more efficiently through improved transport links between airports and better sharing of information by them.

So what will the Commission’s final recommendation end up being?

Even though it is continuing to evaluate Johnson’s grand design in the Thames Estuary, the £112bn expense looks so large compared with the putative costs of doing nothing at all – up to £20bn to airport users and providers over 60 years, and a maximum of £45bn to the wider economy over the same period – that lift-off seems almost inconceivable.

What of the choice between the two Heathrow options and a new runway at Gatwick?

Well if it became clear that low cost airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet – which have been responsible for all the growth in flying over recent years – were to offer long-haul and transit services to popular destinations from Gatwick, that would allow considerable capacity to be liberated at Heathrow.

Or to put it another way, an expanded Gatwick might allow Heathrow to be a less constrained hub.

Whether the low-cost carriers rise to that challenge is uncertain – although whoever wins the election would be thrilled not to be given the verdict that only Heathrow has the X-factor (and, by the by, the Commission reminds us that its predecessor inquiries have a 100% record of being ignored by their sponsoring governments).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25415771.

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GACC says they have fought off runway plans in 1970, 1993 and 2003 – and they’ll fight this one too

Responding to the news that a second, southern, runway is on the Airports Commission shortlist for further detailed consideration next year, the local community group GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) said the news was no surprise.  For the past year GACC has assumed that Gatwick would be included. Now it is clear the so-called ‘wide-spaced’ runway option will be examined – the one that would cause most environmental damage. Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said:  ‘Now the battle is for real.  The battle lines are drawn.   Now the spotlight is on Gatwick the next step will be to examine the runway plans in detail, and it will be found that Gatwick is an unsuitable site. GACC agrees with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, RSPB, WWF and other national environmental organisations that any new runway cannot be reconciled with the UK’s obligations under the Climate Change Act.   A new runway used to full capacity would cause substantial environmental damage to all the towns and villages for many miles around Gatwick.  In addition to the usual issues of noise, pollution and climate change, one of the emerging concerns is that making Gatwick larger than Heathrow would lead to the urbanisation of much of Surrey and Sussex.  That will be fiercely opposed. GACC  has fought off plans for new runways about every 10 years, in 1970, 1993, and 2003.  And GACC say they will do it again this time.
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Gatwick wide spaced runway

Gatwick included in short-list

17.12.2013  (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

This is no surprise.  For the past year GACC has assumed that Gatwick would be included in the short-list of potential sites for a new runway.  Now we know that only the so-called ‘wide-spaced’ runway option will be examined – the one that would cause most environmental damage.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said:  ‘Now the battle is for real.  The battle lines are drawn.   Now the spotlight is on Gatwick the next step will be to examine the runway plans in detail, and it will be found that Gatwick is an unsuitable site.  It is too small, it can never be a four-runway hub, and the ‘constellation’ concept (London with three airports each with two runways) is coming unstuck.   Research shows that no other city in the world has two competing hubs.[1]

GACC agrees with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, RSPB, WWF and other national environmental organisations that any new runway cannot be reconciled with the UK’s obligations under the Climate Change Act.[2]

We are delighted that our friends at Stansted have had the threat to their homes and environment lifted.  Over the past 10 years they have fought a good fight and won a worthy victory.  Now  we at Gatwick must do the same.  We have done it before in 1970, 1993, and 2003 and we will do it again.

Georgia Wrighton, Director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (Sussex) said:  ‘A second runway at Gatwick, together with sprawling development and urbanisation anticipated on a massive scale, would concrete over cherished open countryside. A heady cocktail of increased flights, HGVs and cars would erode the tranquillity of rural communities, and the health and quality of life of people living under its shadow.   The national obsession with expansion will land a disaster on the countryside whilst making runaway climate change unstoppable. Instead of airport expansion we need genuine support for and promotion of alternatives.’

Andy Smith, Director of CPRE Surrey:   ‘Surrey is already struggling to cope with being squeezed between Heathrow and Gatwick airports, with serious environmental impacts in terms of noise and air pollution, both from flights and from road traffic. These problems would become significantly worse with a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick, which would undoubtedly make the quality of life worse for communities across Surrey, and would lead to new pressures on the beleaguered Green Belt.’

Sewill added:  ‘A new runway used to full capacity would cause substantial environmental damage to all the towns and villages for many miles around Gatwick.[3]   In addition to the usual issues of noise, pollution and climate change, one of the emerging concerns is that making Gatwick larger than Heathrow would lead to the urbanisation of much of Surrey and Sussex.   Doubling the number of airport jobs plus an influx of new firms (as envisaged by the Gatwick Diamond business association) would mean that a large number of workers would be attracted into the area from the rest of the UK or from the EU, with a need for extra housing equivalent to a new town the size of Crawley.[4]   The resulting pressure on schools, hospitals, roads and railways, and on the countryside is beginning to worry many councils.  Once people recognise that the threat is real, and that a new runway is not just a strip of concrete, there will be tidal wave of opposition.

The Airports Commission will now require all the short-listed airports to produce an environmental impact assessment.   GACC will be watching like a hawk to ensure that Gatwick does not try to use its expensive PR consultants to gloss over the impact.[5]

 www.gacc.org.uk 


[1]   Analysis of Global Hub Airports.  JLS Consulting October 2013.

https://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/imagelibrary/downloadmedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=1879&SizeId=-1

[2]   Aviation Environment Federation.  http://www.aef.org.uk/?p=1651

[3]   www.gacc.org.uk/the-runway-issue

[4]  According to research commissioned by West Sussex County Council and the Gatwick Diamond business association.  Implications of changes to airport capacity – slides 2013(page 17)

[5]  http://www.prweek.com/article/1169601/gatwick-brings-fishburn-hedges-lca-support-second-runway-bid#disqus_thread#disqus_thread

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Gatwick runway options Gatwick identified three options for a second runway, but the Davies Commission shortlisted Option 3, which would allow fully independent operation.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19570653

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gatwick arty image of 2 runway airport

Gatwick’s proposed 2 runway airport

 


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CPRE Kent also voiced their extreme disappointment at the news:

17.12.2013

CPRE Protect Kent is disappointed with the announcement given by the Chairman of the Airports Commission today. The initial recommendation to focus the options for additional runway capacity at Heathrow or Gatwick is extremely disappointing, since we believe that there is sufficient capacity in the system.

During the consultation CPRE Protect Kent examined aviation trends throughout the UK. We found that the upward trend is diminishing, meaning that there will be fewer aircraft flying in the future. With the rise of technological innovations such as online video conferencing and increased fuel prices, we believe that passenger numbers will slowly begin to level off. This fact, combined with statistics for the current spare runway capacity of a number of airports in the south east, showed that we are unlikely to realistically need any more runway space. Stansted is only operating at around 50% capacity, whilst Gatwick also has significant runway space available. With declining aviation runway use, we believe that there is simply no requirement to build more runway space and that the countryside can be protected through more efficient use of existing capacity and the use of fewer, quieter planes.

CPRE Protect Kent welcomes the fact that the Thames Estuary airports have been dismissed from the shortlisted options. We are also pleased that the creation of an Independent Noise Authority has recommended. We hope that this authority will reduce noise, rather than simply enabling more planes to fly.

CPRE Protect Kent Director, Hilary Newport, had the following to say on the announcement:

“We are glad that Sir Howard Davies has listened to the objections to a Thames Estuary airport and not shortlisted that option. However, we are extremely disappointed that the possibility of a new hub airport at Cliffe has not been dismissed altogether and we hope that the further investigation of environmental impacts will do just that. We are also disappointed that he has failed to acknowledge the large amount of spare runway capacity currently available for use in the south east. Surely we should be making better use of existing south east airports before building any new runway capacity.”

She continued:

“Technological innovations are making frequent flying for business less necessary. The forecast of fewer aircraft flying in the future should show the Airports Commission that there simply is no need to build new aviation capacity in the south east of England.”

http://protectkent.org.uk/

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Reigate MP Crispin Blunt slammed the decision to include Gatwick on the shortlist, raising fears about the associated development devastating the surrounding environment.

“As far as the national and local interests of my constituents are concerned this report is nothing short of calamitous. The second runway at Gatwick airport would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment. My overwhelming objection remains that the level of development, associated with an airport serving three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place. The rail line is already at capacity as are the roads that serve Gatwick. This airport is simply not in the right place to serve as the UK’s hub or as a key part of it. Plans for new housing are already controversial given the existing constraints; quite where the 40,000 new houses are to go to house the new workers at an expanded Gatwick is beyond me. I suspect it has been beyond proper consideration in this disappointing report.”

http://www.blunt4reigate.com/news/crispin-blunt-responds-to-davies8217-interim/953

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Documents from the Airports Commission

Airports Commission: interim report
PDF, 4.34MB, 228 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 1 assessment of short- and medium-term options

PDF, 157KB, 33 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 2 assessment of long-term options

PDF, 145KB, 38 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 3 technical appendix

PDF, 1.36MB, 116 pages

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Below are a few of the mentions of Gatwick in the Commission’s Interim Report:

A package of surface transport improvements to make airports with spare
capacity more attractive to airlines and passengers, including:
– the enhancement of Gatwick Airport Station;
– further work to develop a strategy for enhancing Gatwick’s road and rail
access;

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Gatwick Airport: At this site the Commission’s analysis will be based on a new
runway over 3,000m in length spaced sufficiently south of existing runway to
permit fully independent operation.

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In the process, the divide between ‘low-cost’ and ‘full-service’ carriers is being
eroded. In 2012, around one fifth of passengers flying low-cost from big UK airports
like Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham were business travellers.13 Low-cost
carriers also no longer operate only to secondary airports; they account for a
substantial proportion of traffic at both Schiphol and Charles de Gaulle, and even
at Heathrow and Frankfurt some low-cost services operate

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But problems are starting to emerge and are likely to get worse. Heathrow is
effectively full. Gatwick is operating at more than 85% of its maximum capacity, and
is completely full at peak times. Capacity constraints are making it more and more
difficult for airports and airlines to operate efficiently, lay on new routes, and deal with
resilience issues.

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This rapid growth has seen easyJet and Ryanair grow into two of the world’s ten
largest airlines by international passenger numbers, with major bases at Gatwick
and Stansted respectively, and routes established at a large number of airports
across the UK.

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The impact of the Gulf carriers on the UK market has also been substantial. Not
only have they established high frequency routes into Heathrow, which have seen
Dubai grow into the airport’s second largest passenger market after New York JFK,
but they have also opened new services from a number of UK regional airports.
Emirates now serves Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as
Heathrow and Gatwick. Both Etihad and Qatar offer services from Manchester and
Heathrow. The substantial onward route networks available from these airlines’
hubs, particularly to South Asian and Far Eastern destinations, have opened up
many new opportunities for long-haul travel from Manchester and other regional
airports

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Since its sale to Global Infrastructure Partners, Gatwick Airport has sought to
enhance its competitive position:
●● in 2011, the airport began a £1.2 billion pound investment programme to
improve its terminals and other facilities;
●● new long-haul routes have been introduced to emerging market destinations
including China, Vietnam and, from spring 2014, Indonesia;
●● in spring 2013, a second low-cost carrier, Norwegian Air Shuttle, made the
airport into its base; and,
●● the Gatwick Connect service has been implemented to facilitate transfers for
self-connecting passengers.

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: Heathrow and Gatwick have the highest runway utilisation in the world(Gatwick the highest utilisation of a single runway airport).

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Nonetheless, the UK does not face an immediate capacity crisis. The London
aviation market continues to be amongst the most attractive and best connected in
the world. Gatwick is responding to the continuing capacity constraints at Heathrow
by opening new long-haul routes to emerging markets and to the United States.

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Gatwick
●● The Government should work with Network Rail and Gatwick Airport to
implement a significant enhancement of the airport station, with an emphasis on
making the station more accessible to users with luggage (which should also
enhance access for users with disabilities). The Government should pursue an
ambitious (circa £180 million) option for enhancing the station through the
construction of a new concourse and ticket hall with enhanced access to
platforms, subject to the airport providing an appropriate contribution to the
costs of the scheme.
●● There is a need to improve the suitability of the Gatwick Express rolling stock to
make it more suitable for airport users, for example by the provision of additional
luggage space. The Government should take opportunities to enhance it through
the franchising system.
●● The Government should work with train operators to promote the introduction of
paperless ticketing facilities for journeys to and from Gatwick Airport station.
●● The Government and Network Rail should accelerate work to produce a detailed
plan for the enhancement of the Brighton Main Line, with a particular emphasis
upon enhancing capacity and reliability, so as to accommodate growth in both
airport and commuter traffic. This could focus on the alleviation of particular
pinch points (such as East Croydon).

●● The Government should work with the Highways Agency to develop a forward
route strategy for the sections of the motorway network connecting to Gatwick
Airport, with a particular emphasis on the connections between the M25, M23
and the airport itself. That strategy should consider options for expanding the
slip-roads between the roads in question, which could become substantial
congestion pinch points.

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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

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The airport has attracted a number of new carriers, including airlines operating to
Far Eastern destinations (China, Vietnam and from next year Indonesia), which
might previously have been expected to operate only from a more established hub
airport. It has also introduced its Gatwick Connect service to support travellers
using the airport to self-connect between services, and from 2014 it will
accommodate the UK’s first low-cost long-haul services.

Expanding capacity at Gatwick Airport could support growth in the point-to-point
market by allowing established carriers at the airport to increase the scale of their
operations and attracting new ones. But it could also help to support and enhance
the UK’s hub status, perhaps by attracting one of the major alliances to move from
Heathrow, incentivised by greater scope for growth or the opportunity to build a
dominant position at the airport. It might equally be through the continuing growth

of self-connecting at the airport, through new partnerships between short- and
long-haul airlines operating there or through some combination of the two.
6.72 These are not mutually exclusive scenarios. Growth in point-to-point traffic, for
example, could over time provide an increasing feed market for any potential
network carrier at the airport, strengthening the incentives to move from Heathrow.
In addition, the enhanced competition for Heathrow which might be offered by an
expanded Gatwick Airport could potentially lead to further benefits for passengers
and freight users.
6.73 Gatwick’s single current runway is already operating at a high level of utilisation and
the Commission’s demand forecasts estimate that it will reach capacity within less
than ten years. This suggests that any new runway would likely be well-utilised, with
the Commission’s forecasts indicating an expanded Gatwick could operate at 70%
capacity in 2030 rising to over 95% by 2050.
6.74 Gatwick Airport Ltd has proposed that a new runway should be constructed south
of the existing one. It has identified three options: close-spaced, wide-spaced/
dependent operation and wide-spaced/independent operation. The Commission’s
assessment has focused on the last – a runway over 3,000m in length spaced
sufficiently south of the existing runway (at least 1,035m) to permit fully independent
operation. This offers the greatest increase in capacity while still having relatively low
environmental and noise impacts compared with some other potential sites. The
Commission will, however, keep this under review as it takes forward more detailed
development and appraisal. The proposal also includes related new terminal
facilities and taxiways between the new and existing runways.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/266446/airports-commission-interim-report.pdf

 


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 From GACC’s website: 

SMALL SITE

Gatwick is a small airport, and is confined by the towns of Horley and Crawley, and by the medieval village of Charlwood, and also by high ground to the west and the main London – Brighton railway line to the east. Charles de Gaulle Airport at Paris is five times as large.

Gatwick has one main runway, and one subsidiary runway which can be used when the main runway is not available. The two runways are too close together to be used simultaneously.

Gatwick Airport Ltd submitted  plans for a new runway to the Airports Commission on 19 July 2013 and published them on 23 July.  Three potential locations are identified, all the the south of the existing runway.

On 17 December 2013 the Airports Commission published their short-list of possible sites for a new runway.  See GACC press release.

The short-list includes the so-called ‘wide-spaced’ runway at Gatwick – very close to Crawley, and the Gatwick option with the worst environmental impact – see Gatwick Unzipped below.

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Gatwick Unzipped

GACC has submitted an important paper to the Airports Commission in response to their invitation to interested bodies to comment on the various runway plans.  The paper is a detailed analysis of the Gatwick runway proposals, showing the aeronautical problems and the environmental damage that they would cause. 

Read Gatwick Unzipped. 

 

 

 

Read more »

Airports Commission publishes interim report with 2 options for a runway at Heathrow and 1 at Gatwick. Estuary still being considered

The Airports Commission’s interim report has put forward 3 options for a new runway, and have kept their options open on an estuary airport.  There would only be one runway, not two and they consider this should be in operation before 2030.  At Heathrow the choices are a north west runway, 3,500 metres long, destroying Harmondsworth; and an extension westwards of at least 3,000 metres, of the existing northern runway.  They also consider a wide spaced Gatwick runway to the south.  The Commission also says “there is likely to be a demand case for a 2nd additional runway to be operational by 2050.” They claim this is “consistent with the Committee of Climate Change’s advice to government on meeting its legislated climate change targets.”  Stansted is ruled out, and on the Thames Estuary they say: “The Commission has not shortlisted any of the Thames Estuary options because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage. It will undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other short-listed options.”  The report also contains recommendations to the government for immediate action to improve the use of existing runway capacity. Among others, these include better airspace organisation and surface transport improvements such as enhancement of Gatwick station, a rail link from the south to Heathrow, and a rail link between Heathrow and Stansted. 
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Airports Commission publishes interim report

17 December 2013 (Airports Commission press release)

Airports Commission: interim repor (228 pages) 

Various associated papers are also at                        https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/airports-commission-interim-report

Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 3 technical appendix    PDF, 1.41MB, 116 pages  contains a section on carbon emissions from pages 64 to 72.


 

The independent review concludes that there is a need for one additional runway to be in operation in the south east of the UK by 2030.

Aircraft in flight
Aircraft in flight
The Airports Commission’s independent review into airport capacity and connectivity in the UK has concluded that there is a need for one net additional runway to be in operation in the south east by 2030. Its analysis also indicates that there is likely to be a demand case for a second additional runway to be operational by 2050.

These conclusions are valid across a range of assumptions about future demand growth, and are consistent with the Committee of Climate Change’s advice to government on meeting its legislated climate change targets.

The Airports Commission’s interim report published today (17 December 2013) has announced that it will be taking forward for further detailed study proposals for new runways at two locations:

Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport Ltd’s proposal for a new runway to the south of the existing runway

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Heathrow Airport (two options)
Heathrow Airport Ltd’s proposal for one new 3,500m runway to the northwest
Heathrow Hub’s proposal to extend the existing northern runway to at least 6,000m, enabling the extended runway to operate as two independent runways.

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The next phase of its work will see the Commission undertaking a detailed appraisal of the three options identified before a public consultation in autumn next year.

The Commission has not shortlisted any of the Thames Estuary options because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage. It will undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other short-listed options.

The Commission has not shortlisted proposals for expansion at Stansted or Birmingham, however, there is likely to be a case for considering them as potential options for any second new runway by 2050. In its final report the Commission will set out its recommendations on the process for decision making on additional capacity beyond 2030.

The report also contains recommendations to the government for immediate action to improve the use of existing runway capacity.

– an ‘optimisation strategy’ to improve the operational efficiency of UK airports and airspace, including
… airport collaborative decision making
… airspace changes supporting performance based navigation
… enhanced en-route traffic management to drive tighter adherence to schedules
… time based separation

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–  a package of surface transport improvements to make airports with spare capacity more attractive to airlines and passengers, including

… the enhancement of Gatwick Airport Station
… further work to develop a strategy for enhancing Gatwick’s road and rail access
… work on developing proposals to improve the rail link between London and Stansted
… work to provide rail access into Heathrow from the south
… the provision of smart ticketing facilities at airport stations

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– trials at Heathrow of measures to smooth the early morning arrival schedule to minimise stacking and delays and to provide more predictable respite for local people

– the establishment of an Independent Noise Authority to provide expert and impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation and to facilitate the delivery of future improvements to airspace operations.

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Launching the report Sir Howard Davies Chair of the Commission said:

“Decisions on airport capacity are important national strategic choices and must be based upon the best evidence available. The Commission has undertaken a fresh, comprehensive and transparent study of the issues. This report is the product of extensive consultation, independent analysis and careful consideration by the commissioners.

“The UK enjoys excellent connectivity today. The capacity challenge is not yet critical but it will become so if no action is taken soon and our analysis clearly supports the provision of one net additional runway by 2030. In the meantime we encourage the government to act on our recommendations to make the best of our existing capacity.

“The Commission will now focus on the challenge of appraising the three options, further assessing the case for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, and delivering a robust final recommendation to government in summer 2015.”

The report notes the historic failure to deliver new airport capacity in the UK and the Commission’s independent approach to the challenge. It confirms that a fresh look at the UK’s aviation needs was timely and necessary, setting out how much the global economy, the aviation industry and the domestic and international policy environment has evolved since the government last considered these issues in the 2003 ‘Air transport white paper’.

The report sets out how well connected the UK is currently; how effectively the UK aviation industry has innovated and adapted to change and emerging capacity constraints to remain a world leader; and how new aircraft, new markets and the need to address climate change will present new opportunities and challenges. The report identifies that negative impacts are likely to proliferate as capacity constraints intensify, including in the areas of resilience, connectivity, economic growth and passenger experience.

To inform its assessment of need the Commission has improved how future aviation demand is forecast. It has reviewed the assumptions in the existing model, considered the impact of a carbon constraint to take account of the UK’s current environmental commitments and employed scenario testing to evaluate its key conclusions. The Commission also considered whether the UK requires additional hub or non-hub capacity. It has concluded that the UK will need an airport system that can support both hub and non-hub capacity, and cater for a range of airline business models.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-publishes-interim-report

Report at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/271231/airports-commission-interim-report.pdf

 

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Documents from the Airports Commission

Airports Commission: interim report
PDF, 4.34MB, 228 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 1 assessment of short- and medium-term options

PDF, 157KB, 33 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 2 assessment of long-term options

PDF, 145KB, 38 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 3 technical appendix

PDF, 1.36MB, 116 pages

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Responding to the Airports Commission’s interim announcement, campaigners vow to fight any expansion at Heathrow

December 17, 2013

The long-awaited interim report from the Airports Commission has now been released. After leaks that Heathrow had been the main choice for another runway, this was confirmed. The shortlist sets out 3 main options: the north west runway at Heathrow, (not demolishing Sipson, but putting it right under the flight path); the northern runway option of the Heathrow Hub concept, which had suggested two runways, built west of the existing ones; and a second runway at Gatwick. Stansted is ruled out. Most Thames estuary options are ruled out, but the Isle of Grain proposal will be given further consideration and is not yet “ruled in or ruled out”. The Commission will be deciding over the next 18 months on whether the runway should be at Gatwick or at Heathrow. There is already fury over much of west London, that people face not only uncertainty for the next year and a half, till the Commission’s final report in summer 2015, but also the nightmare of a massive increase in the number of flights. The announcement will act as the trigger to 18 months of intense campaigning against Heathrow expansion, and against Gatwick expansion. John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said that at Heathrow “The scale of the opposition will be so great that we believe that they are politically undeliverable and should have been dropped at this stage.”  Click here to view full story…

North west runway – built over M25 and moves Heathrow closer to Windsor. Cost £17 bn and demolition of 950 homes  Heathrow northwest runway option 

The westerly extension of Heathrow’s northern runway (from the “Heathrow Hub” proposal)

Heathrow hub north runway

The southern Gatwick runway option

Gatwick wide spaced runway

 

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Read more »

Responding to the Airports Commission’s interim announcement, campaigners vow to fight any expansion at Heathrow and at Gatwick

The long-awaited interim report from the Airports Commission has now been released. After leaks that Heathrow had been the main choice for another runway, this was confirmed. The shortlist sets out 3 main options: the north west runway at Heathrow, (not demolishing Sipson, but putting it right under the flight path); the northern runway option of the Heathrow Hub concept, which had suggested two runways, built west of the existing ones; and a second runway at Gatwick. Stansted is ruled out. Most Thames estuary options are ruled out, but the Isle of Grain proposal will be given further consideration and is not yet “ruled in or ruled out”. The Commission will be deciding over the next 18 months on whether the runway should be at Gatwick or at Heathrow. There is already fury over much of west London, that people face not only uncertainty for the next year and a half, till the Commission’s final report in summer 2015, but also the nightmare of a massive increase in the number of flights. The announcement will act as the trigger to 18 months of intense campaigning against Heathrow expansion, and against Gatwick expansion.  John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said that at Heathrow “The scale of the opposition will be so great that we believe that they are politically undeliverable and should have been dropped at this stage.”
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Campaigners vow to fight any expansion at Heathrow.

The Airports Commission’s interim report:

IN: Gatwick and Heathrow

OUT: Stansted;

Estuary neither in or out until the Summer


DROPPED:  Runway to the South West of Heathrow Airport

DROPPED:  Heathrow North Option (demolishing Sipson)

IN:  Heathrow North West Option

IN:  Heathrow Hub Northern Runway


 See Gatwick press release from GACC below.


 

17.12.2013 (HACAN)

Heathrow campaigners branded the Airport Commission’s Interim Report, issued today, as ‘the trigger to 18 months of intense campaigning against Heathrow expansion’. 

The Commission argues that there will be the need for one new runway in London and the South East by 2030.  Over the next 18 months the Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, will assess whether that runway should be at Gatwick or Heathrow.

The report has rejected plans to expand Stansted.  Sir Howard Davies has real doubts about the viability of an Estuary Airport.  The only Estuary option he will assess is the Isle of Grain, and he proposes to rule it in – or out – in 6 months time, when there is better information on transport links. 

Davies has said that he does not believe two new runways will be required for the foreseeable future.

At Heathrow, the Commission has dropped the option of a new runway to the south west of the airport, largely because of the difficulties posed by the reservoirs.  It has also dropped plans for a new runway to the north, demolishing Sipson.

The Commission is to look at two Heathrow options in more detail:

  • a runway to be built to the North West of the existing airport, as proposed by Heathrow Airport.  This would require significant demolition in Longford and Harmondsworth.
  • The new northern runway proposed by the promoters of the ‘Heathrow Hub’.  Their proposal is move the existing northern runway two miles further west and extend it so that a new runway is created.  One of the two runways would be used for landings; the other for take-offs.

These are shown in the illustrations below.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flights paths, said, “Although Davies’s proposals focus less on Heathrow than had been rumoured, there is little doubt they will act as the trigger to 18 months of intense campaigning against Heathrow expansion”.

He added, “The scale of the opposition will be so great that we believe that they are politically undeliverable and should have been dropped at this stage.”

Sir Howard Davies will also be recommending short-term measures which could be implemented within the next five years.

He wants to see:

  • Better use of airspace
  • Improved surface access to existing airports
  • Some experiments which allow more night flights before 6am in exchange for longer respite periods

The final report of the Airports Commission is due to be published in summer 2015, two months after the next General Election.

 www.hacan.org.uk 


 

THE PROPOSALS IN DETAIL

Demand

Davies believes that there is only demand for 1 new runway in London and the South East for the foreseeable future.  Therefore a 4 runway Heathrow has been ruled out.

Gatwick in – Davies will assess the merits of a second runway at Gatwick.

Heathrow in – Davies will assess the merits of a 3rd runway at Heathrow

-  he has ruled out the southern option and the ‘Sipson’ option

-  he will look at a new runway to the North West of the Airport, as proposed by Heathrow Airport

-  he will look at the northern runway proposed by the promoters of the Heathrow Hub: http://heathrowhub.com The existing northern runway would be extended at one or both ends.  The result is that it becomes two separate, in-line runways – one for aircraft landing and one for taking off.  The promoters argue that, because the runway is further west, it will reduce noise over West London but Heathrow Airport have rejected it because it would mean all-day flying on the northern runway, i.e. residents would get no respite.

Stansted out  – rejected.  Davies has ruled out any more runways at Stansted.  He has cited three reasons:

– New runways would create significant problems with the crowded airspace in the region (it is one of the busiest pieces of airspace in Europe)

–  Expansion of Stansted might impact adversely on Luton and London City Airports

– The regeneration benefits would be minimal in an area with one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the country

Estuary Airport – neither in nor out.   Davies recognizes it has benefits in terms of noise but has major concerns about it:

 – It may well infringe the EU Habitats Directive, particularly the clause which requires all other options for airports to be seen to fail before it can be proceeded with.

 – Surface access would be problematic and costly

 – The airlines are not at all keen on it and may be reluctant to use it. 

ENDS

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Documents from the Airports Commission

Airports Commission: interim report
PDF, 4.34MB, 228 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 1 assessment of short- and medium-term options

PDF, 157KB, 33 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 2 assessment of long-term options

PDF, 145KB, 38 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 3 technical appendix

PDF, 1.36MB, 116 pages

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This is how the north west of Heathrow looks at present:

Heathrow map north west

 


 

Illustrations of the two runways on the short list:

The Heathrow north west option, from http://www.heathrowairport.com/static/Heathrow/Downloads/PDF/a-new-approach_LHR.pdf

Heathrow north west runway option 31.7.2013

Heathrow northwest runway option


 

The northern runway option of the Heathrow hub plan:

Heathrow hub runways

Heathrow hub north runway

Illustrations taken from  http://heathrowhub.com/overview/

 

By contrast, in the submission to the Airports Commission from Heathrow airport, they proposed runways as shown below:

Heathrow expansion options

from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23337754

 


 

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Gatwick wide spaced runway

 

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Heathrow will be hoping that runways 1 – 3 miles further west will make a reduction to the noise suffered by those under flight paths. In reality, the reduction in noise per plane will be absolutely minimal, and the increase in their number will be huge.

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Gatwick included in short-list

17.12.2013  (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

This is no surprise.  For the past year GACC has assumed that Gatwick would be included in the short-list of potential sites for a new runway.  Now we know that only the so-called ‘wide-spaced’ runway option will be examined – the one that would cause most environmental damage.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said:  ‘Now the battle is for real.  The battle lines are drawn.   Now the spotlight is on Gatwick the next step will be to examine the runway plans in detail, and it will be found that Gatwick is an unsuitable site.  It is too small, it can never be a four-runway hub, and the ‘constellation’ concept (London with three airports each with two runways) is coming unstuck.   Research shows that no other city in the world has two competing hubs.[1]

GACC agrees with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, RSPB, WWF and other national environmental organisations that any new runway cannot be reconciled with the UK’s obligations under the Climate Change Act.[2]

We are delighted that our friends at Stansted have had the threat to their homes and environment lifted.  Over the past 10 years they have fought a good fight and won a worthy victory.  Now  we at Gatwick must do the same.  We have done it before in 1970, 1993, and 2003 and we will do it again.

Georgia Wrighton, Director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (Sussex) said:  ‘A second runway at Gatwick, together with sprawling development and urbanisation anticipated on a massive scale, would concrete over cherished open countryside. A heady cocktail of increased flights, HGVs and cars would erode the tranquillity of rural communities, and the health and quality of life of people living under its shadow.   The national obsession with expansion will land a disaster on the countryside whilst making runaway climate change unstoppable. Instead of airport expansion we need genuine support for and promotion of alternatives.’

Andy Smith, Director of CPRE Surrey:   ‘Surrey is already struggling to cope with being squeezed between Heathrow and Gatwick airports, with serious environmental impacts in terms of noise and air pollution, both from flights and from road traffic. These problems would become significantly worse with a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick, which would undoubtedly make the quality of life worse for communities across Surrey, and would lead to new pressures on the beleaguered Green Belt.’

Sewill added:  ‘A new runway used to full capacity would cause substantial environmental damage to all the towns and villages for many miles around Gatwick.[3]   In addition to the usual issues of noise, pollution and climate change, one of the emerging concerns is that making Gatwick larger than Heathrow would lead to the urbanisation of much of Surrey and Sussex.   Doubling the number of airport jobs plus an influx of new firms (as envisaged by the Gatwick Diamond business association) would mean that a large number of workers would be attracted into the area from the rest of the UK or from the EU, with a need for extra housing equivalent to a new town the size of Crawley.[4]   The resulting pressure on schools, hospitals, roads and railways, and on the countryside is beginning to worry many councils.  Once people recognise that the threat is real, and that a new runway is not just a strip of concrete, there will be tidal wave of opposition.

The Airports Commission will now require all the short-listed airports to produce an environmental impact assessment.   GACC will be watching like a hawk to ensure that Gatwick does not try to use its expensive PR consultants to gloss over the impact.[5]

 www.gacc.org.uk 



[1]   Analysis of Global Hub Airports.  JLS Consulting October 2013.

https://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/imagelibrary/downloadmedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=1879&SizeId=-1

[2]   Aviation Environment Federation.  http://www.aef.org.uk/?p=1651

[3]   www.gacc.org.uk/the-runway-issue

[4]  According to research commissioned by West Sussex County Council and the Gatwick Diamond business association.  Implications of changes to airport capacity – slides 2013 (page 17)

[5]  http://www.prweek.com/article/1169601/gatwick-brings-fishburn-hedges-lca-support-second-runway-bid#disqus_thread#disqus_thread

 

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Free-market think-tank suggests airports should buy the right to expand and emit more noise by paying local residents

A far right, free-market think-tank called the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA)  has produced a report, which they call a discussion paper “DEPOLITICISING AIRPORT EXPANSION: Market-Oriented Responses to the Global and Local Externalities of Aviation”. It puts forward some predictably climate sceptic ideas, and the suggestion that airports should be able to expand as much as they want to, and they should be able to buy the right to expand and emit more noise by paying compensation to local residents. They suggest that rather than getting involved in decisions about where to expand capacity, politicians should give airports a means to reach agreements with residents affected by their decisions. The IEA promotes the “case for a free economy, low taxes, freedom in education, health and welfare and lower levels of regulation.”  Their view is that we should not stigmatise “pleasure as ‘excess’, enjoyment as ‘hedonism’, progress as ‘hubris’, voluntary adopted consumption habits as ‘addictions’, and discerning consumers as ‘brainwashed’.”  We should “welcome mass air travel not despite, but precisely because of the fact that it is not, strictly speaking, ‘necessary’ – for what is the point of economic progress, if not the ability to consume things for the sake of enjoyment rather than necessity?” “Supporters of airport expansion should stop hiding behind an instrumental defence of aviation, and openly make the case for air travel as a leisure industry.”
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Airports ‘could buy noise rights’

 

16 DECEMBER 2013 (Evening Standard)

Airports should be able to buy the right to expand and emit more noise by paying compensation to local residents, a think-tank has proposed.

The free market Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said government involvement in the debate over aviation capacity is both unnecessary and undesirable and so airports need to be given the ability to cut deals with local residents independently.

Rather than getting involved in decisions about where to expand capacity, politicians should give airports a means to reach agreements with residents affected by their decisions.

A compensation mechanism would allow agreements that benefit both airports and those who live in their surrounds, the think-tank said.

In a more radical proposal, the IEA said ” tax havens” could be created around airports which pay a large proportion of local levies, allowing residents to pay lower taxes.

The IEA’s De-politicising Airport Expansion report comes on the eve of the publication of an interim report from the Government-appointed Airports Commission which will set out a short-list of options for extra runways at UK airports.

There has been speculation that the commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, will back a controversial expansion of Heathrow airport in westLondon.

Mark Littlewood, the IEA’s director general, said: “With the private sector raring to invest in airport expansion, it is patently clear that the Government is creating a logjam at the expense of wider economic growth. A market mechanism is urgently needed to create a compensation mechanism for those that would lose out.

“Unless the Government steps back from the capacity debate, the findings of the Davies Commission will be completely futile. We need a radical shift away from politics to ensure that the interests of passengers and the wider UK economy prevail.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/panewsfeeds/airports-could-buy-noise-rights-9006505.html

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The IEA (Institute for Economic Affairs) says of itself:

The IEA is the UK’s original free-market think-tank, founded in 1955. Our mission is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

Given the current economic challenges facing Britain and the wider global environment, it is more vital than ever that we promote the intellectual case for a free economy, low taxes, freedom in education, health and welfare and lower levels of regulation. The IEA also challenges people to think about the correct role of institutions, property rights and the rule of law in creating a society that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship and the efficient use of environmental resources.

http://www.iea.org.uk/about


 

Its press release is at

http://www.iea.org.uk/in-the-media/press-release/airport-expansion-must-be-wrestled-from-government%E2%80%99s-hands-argues-new-rep

Airport expansion must be wrestled from government’s hands, argues new report

16.12.2013

Their report is at
http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/in-the-media/files/DPaper_Airports.pdf


 

The report says:

•”To get the national politics out of airport investment decisions, airports have to be given a means to find an agreement with those affected by their decisions, that is, the residents exposed to aircraft noise. The aim should be to create a framework for something approaching a ‘Coasean’ solution, in which residents could ‘sell’ the right to emit noise in exchange for a fee that they are free to set. That fee would be compensation for having to put up with noise, and its level would reflect the strength of residents’ aversion to noise. Airport activity would be redirected to the areas where people are least noise-averse, because these areas would charge the lowest compensation fees.”

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You can get the flavour of the report from this paragraph:

“Supporters of airport expansion should stop hiding behind an instrumental defence of aviation, and openly make the case for air travel as a leisure industry. They should confront the mindset of ‘Malthusian miserabilism’ which characterises modern environmentalism. Environmentalists have become the latter-day heirs of the Duke of Wellington, who opposed railway travel on the grounds that it would ‘only encourage the lower classes to move about needlessly’”

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“Supporters of airport expansion should therefore, all the more, drive home the point that market outcomes in aviation are still to a very large extent shaped by politics. In making the case for airport expansion, they should stop hiding behind ‘global race’ phrases, they should stop limiting their defence to an instrumental one. They should not evade, but actively confront the mindset of Malthusian miserabilism that stands behind the environmentalist opposition to
air travel.

“They should explicitly challenge a mindset which stigmatises pleasure as ‘excess’, enjoyment as ‘hedonism’, progress as ‘hubris’, voluntary adopted consumption habits as ‘addictions’, and discerning consumers as ‘brainwashed’. In doing so, they will also need to go beyond the economic arguments presented in this paper, and coin a counter-narrative. This narrative should celebrate the plurality of motives for travelling, rather than bemoaning the fact that some people travel for the ‘wrong’ reason. It should welcome mass air travel not despite, but precisely because of the fact that it is not, strictly speaking, ‘necessary’ – for what is the point of economic progress, if not the ability to consume things for the sake of enjoyment rather than necessity?

“Supporters of air travel should not downplay the risks of climate change, they should not fall into the trap of trying to find faults with scientific papers just because they find their implications uncomfortable. Instead, they should simply introduce some sense of proportion.
Climate change is one challenge among many; it should be addressed through measures
that are cost-effective, targeted, and above all, proportionate. But climate change is not a reason to clamp down on leisure habits that millions of people enjoy; it does not offer a justification for a state-imposed, neo-puritanical asceticism.”

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Some comments by AirportWatch members:

It advocates the government moving away from making aviation decisions and letting the market work by paying local residents to suffer the environmental externalities.

Apparently – they say –  APD already over compensates for the carbon costs of flying  (though the data supporting this seems very old, certainly before the tripling of costs that damaged the Heathrow economic case in the Judicial Review). And they mistakenly believe ETS is also working well ………….

Suppose my parish council proposed lowering the community tax in order that people with dogs could get away with an increased level of pavement fouling…

I can’t see definitions of who is in affected areas being easily solved – nor indeed any likelihood of the industry wanting to pay meaningful compensation. Trying to arrange the landing flight paths at Heathrow so that planes land over the houses of the willing in Spelthorne and avoid all the Malthusian miserabilists in Richmond, Chiswick and Putney could be interesting !

They say: “As long as emissions from aviation are part of an economy-wide (and Europe-wide) emissions cap, no reasonable case for a ban on airport expansion can be made.”

And as ETS is retreating and becomes more limited and further postponed, can be therefore gain support for a case for a ban ?

The report says: “All airports should be given the green light for any expansion they see fit, subject to approval from the local residents who are directly affected by noise. Wider environmental problems are already ‘overtackled’, and should play no further role in aviation policy.”

I contend that we are nowhere near overtackling the externalities…….

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The report says: “The current system, which effectively turns the election of MPs in the affected constituencies into a (non-binding) ersatz-referendum on airport expansion.

“The introduction of a compensation option should therefore be accompanied by an abolition of price controls. [deregulation from CAA control]”

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The way in which “more noise” is monetised is at best sketchy and inadequate – and also fails altogether to handle issues such as “how is it that 70% of noise complaints arise from way outside the DfT-inspired contour areas”.

 

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“Back to the Heathrow barricades as government gets ready for an airport U-turn”

Those who fought the plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway only 3 – 4 years ago have not gone away. The young environmental campaigners, who care passionately about the world’s future climate and their future, are deeply concerned about the climate implications of another runway. They know that ensuring the UK meets its target of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 will be virtually impossible if any of the new runway options proposed by Sir Howard Davies are taken up. There really is no airport capacity crisis. An activist summed it up as: “The truth is that Heathrow has long been Europe’s biggest hub airport. Already more passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world, and the airport has more flights to the top business destinations than any other in Europe. A [recent] study ….showed that 9 of the 10 top destinations served by the airport are short-haul. Plenty of capacity could become available if we moved most of these journeys to alternative and less polluting methods of travel, such as rail on routes from London to Paris and Edinburgh, which are the fifth and sixth most popular Heathrow destinations.” No new runway is needed – certainly not in the short term. He adds that they are “wiping the dust off our d-Locks. Thousands of climate change protesters are on alert. Here we go again.”
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Back to the Heathrow barricades as government gets ready for an airport U-turn

Corporate lobbying has hijacked the debate, convincing the public that we are facing an aviation capacity crisis

Heathrow flights

A report tomorrow will recommend new runways at Heathrow, reigniting campaigns over noise pollution and climate change. Photograph: Susannah Ireland/Rex

Deja vu or political incompetence? The Independent on Sunday has revealed that Tuesday’s interim report on the future of the UK’s airport expansion policy, chaired by Howard Davies, will set out three options for extra capacity in the south-east, and they all involve the expansion of Heathrow. Like it or not, we’re back where we were in 2009 when the Labour government supported Heathrow expansion. But we didn’t need it then and we don’t need it now.

How have we got here? Over the last few years, since the decision of government to rule out expansion at Heathrow and at the other major airports in the south-east, we have seen a massive corporate lobbying campaign. Heathrow has spent millions of pounds on lobbying for expansion, some of which you may have seen in advertised in newspapers and on the London tube.

All this corporate lobbying has resulted in a hijacking of the debate, convincing the public that we are facing an aviation capacity crisis. This has never been true and is something that Davies is said to be pointing out in his report.

The truth is that Heathrow has long been Europe’s biggest hub airport. Already more passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world, and the airport has more flights to the top business destinations than any other in Europe. A study published in April this year by Hacan, which campaigns against noise at Heathrow, showed that nine of the 10 top destinations served by the airport are shorthaul. Plenty of capacity could become available if we moved most of these journeys to alternative and less polluting methods of travel, such as rail on routes from London to Paris and Edinburgh, which are the fifth and sixth most popular destinations.

Additionally, we cannot afford to forget that a third and/or fourth runway at Heathrow would have devastating implications for climate change. There was a warning in 2009 that a third runway would result in 220,000 extra flights a year; in emission terms, this is equivalent to the entire country of Kenya’s annual output.

Ensuring that the UK meets its target of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 will be impossible if any of the options proposed by Davies are taken up. The transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said on Sunday that the government “haven’t ruled anything out yet” but he must take into consideration that any U-turn will create a policy that is mutually incompatible with the Climate Change Act 2008.

There is so much at stake. Anyone living in west London can tell you about the noise pollution. There is also the issue of local communities that have been blighted by this political football for so long now. Zac Goldsmith MP still threatens to resign if there is a U-turn; Boris Johnson is going berserk. The locally embedded protest camp Grow Heathrow, in the village of Sipson in Middlesex which faces full demolition, now finds itself right at the heart of the resistance.

At Plane Stupid HQ, we have been spending the week reminiscing about occupying runways and the houses of parliament, while wiping the dust off our d-Locks. Thousands of climate change protesters are on alert.

Here we go again.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/16/heathrow-airport-runways-u-turn?CMP=twt_gu

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Heathrow protesters on alert for new runway battle

The Airports Commission is due to issue its interim report and there are claims it will recommend additional runways

Heathrow protesters on alert for new runway battle

Claims that a draft shortlist pointed to Heathrow as the most likely candidate for expansion have infuriated some Tory MPs. Photograph: David Rose/REX

Veterans of the last Heathrow protests are drawing up plans for imminent action after claims that the Airports Commission will recommend additional runways at Britain’s biggest airport.

The commission is due to issue its interim report on Tuesday with a shortlist of options for runways in the south-east, in advance of its final recommendations after the general election.

But claims that a draft shortlist pointed to Heathrow as the most likely candidate for expansion have infuriated some Tory MPs and put campaigners on high alert for a new battle, even if other options should remain on the final shortlist. Campaigners warn that Sir Howard Davies , the commission’s chair, may become a protest target.

John Stewart, who chaired the coalition of opponents that succeeded in overturning Heathrow expansion at the end of the last decade, and works closely with the airport on community measures, said: “Davies has lost credibility – possibily through no fault of his own. I think Davies and the commission will now be targeted.

“He won’t be able to hide away any longer. He will be seen by many campaigners as promoting expansion at Heathrow, and as being in the pro-Heathrow camp.”

While the timetable for the commission was widely seen as kicking the question of airport expansion into the long grass, the impending publication of the interim report has unexpectedly thrust Heathrow back into the spotlight for the reluctant Conservative hierarchy and activists.

Leo Murray of Plane Stupid said: “The campaign was mothballed when the government came in, and the commission meant it wasn’t on the agenda. Now we’re dusting off the D-locks” – a reference to the bicycle locks used by protesters to stop police moving them.

Other environmental campaigners warned that the case for building new airport capacity to meet business travel demand did not stack up. WWF said that despite an improvement in the economy, business flights have not picked up from a decline lasting more than a decade.

The green group said Civil Aviation Authority figures show business air travel down 13% since 2000, and as much as 23% down at Heathrow, despite a modest recovery since the financial crisis of 2008-09.

Jean Leston, transport policy manager of WWF-UK, said: “We’re being sold airport expansion under false pretences. Heathrow’s growth projections simply don’t match the reality.”

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the Conservatives would not be betraying voters if a third runway were built. Tory MP Zac Goldsmith said on Friday that any decision from the prime minister to back Heathrow expansion would represent an “off-the-scale betrayal”.

But McLoughlin said people were obsessing over Heathrow and should “wait and see what the commission say in the longer term”, adding that David Cameron’s pledge was not to build a third runway “in this parliament” and any decision would come after 2015.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/16/heathrow-protesters-alert-runway-battle-airports

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Heathrow residents to demand financial compensation for impact of Airports Commission report on their house prices

People with homes near Heathrow will press for financial compensation if the Airports Commission announces on 17th that they are backing a new Heathrow runway. As the Commission is not due to report till summer 2015, at the least they face blight and an impact on their house prices over the next  18 months, while they are held in limbo. Anti-Heathrow campaigners will appeal to Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, to ensure homeowners receive financial support for the uncertainty and potential damage that the 17th December announcement may cause. The leak of the report suggests the Commission favours first one runway, and also a second runway at Heathrow. That would mean a large number of people across west London affected by one or other proposal. The issue of blight and house prices is key for thousands, let alone the threat of compulsory purchase and demolition.  Boris Johnson has accused the Prime Minister of using the Commission just “to provide cover for a U-turn on Heathrow” and he continues to fiercely oppose Heathrow expanding.
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Heathrow residents to demand compensation

People with homes near to Heathrow will press for financial compensation amid fears over how a major report from the Government’s Airports Commissioner this week will impact their house prices over the next two years.

John Stewart of the anti-Heathrow expansion campaign, HACAN, said he will demand answers from Sir Howard on how to address the issue of blight, as homeowners will be stuck in an 18-month limbo before the commission’s final recommendations are delivered after the General Election in 2015.

By  (Telegraph)

15 Dec 2013

Homeowners near Heathrow will demand compensation for two years of “blight”, as the UK’s airports commissioner prepares to short-list at least one option for expansion at the West London hub.

Anti-Heathrow campaigners will appeal to Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, to ensure homeowners receive financial support for the uncertainty and potential damage to their house prices caused by a report to be published on Tuesday.

Sir Howard has been asked by the Government to short-list bids for new runways in the South East of England.

But the report risks sparking a fierce political row as at least one, potentially two, options for expanding Heathrow are expected to be named, along with a second runway at Gatwick Airport and increased capacity at Stansted.

John Stewart of the anti-Heathrow expansion campaign, HACAN, said he will demand answers from Sir Howard on how to address the issue of blight, as homeowners will be stuck in an 18-month limbo before the commission’s final recommendations are delivered after the General Election in 2015.

“Speaking to local people, especially those whose homes are under threat of demolition, blight as well as noise is the issue that comes up time and time again,” said Mr Stewart.

Anti-Heathrow campaigners are already galvanising support for a “high profile” campaign to launch next year, which will likely receive a boost from London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, who has accused the Prime Minister of using the commission “to provide cover for a u-turn on Heathrow”.

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats opposed a third runway at Heathrow before the last General Election. However, Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, on Sunday refused to rule out expansion at Heathrow on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.

2 of the comments:

If you buy property near one of the worlds busiest airports surely you have to expect the inconvenience of noise and possible expansion.

Even after the government clear ruled out expanding it? ‘No ifs, no buts, there will be no Heathrow expansion’- David Cameron (2010). A bit harsh if you thought that meant it was safe to buy a property under one of the proposed new flightpaths.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10519174/Heathrow-residents-to-demand-compensation.html

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No ifs No buts

Text of a Conservative election flyer for the May 2010 elections in west London.


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It’s ‘Like being on death row’: residents facing devastating impact of Heathrow runway plans

17.12.2013

Residents of a historic village that could be obliterated under today’s proposals to expand Heathrow said the plans would have a “devastating” impact on their lives.  Some 1,500 buildings would be lost in Harmondsworth and neighbouring Longworth by a north west Heathrow runway – one of the options short-listed by the Airports Commission.  People fear the prospect of being as little compensation as the airport can get away with.  Residents and business owners in Harmondsworth urged the Government to speed up their decision-making – comparing the impact to “being on death row”.  Parts of Harmondsworth are over 1,000 years old and the village contains the Tithe Barn and St Mary’s Church, both places of heritage value.   The vicar of St Mary’s Church said: “We lost one-third of our congregation due to the uncertainty over the runway. We used to have 45 on a regular Sunday; it’s come down to 25 or 30, half of whom come from outside the village.” Geraldine Nicholson, who lives in West Drayton just 100m away from one of the proposed runways, said it is not just the villages that would be affected, and 10,000 homes north of the M4 would suffer too – there would be very negative social, as well as environmental, impacts.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18982

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Philip Pank article in The Times  21.12.2013

Tories betrayed us, say locals living in Heathrow’s shadow

They may seem unlikely supporters of direct action, but the people of Harmondsworth are planning flashmob protests and demonstrations. They could scarcely be pitted against more powerful opponents than the Whitehall machine and the international investors who own Heathrow.

Full article in the Times http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article3955566.ece
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Earlier:

AirportWatch calls on Airports Commission to safeguard communities under threat of blight from airport proposals

11.9.2013

AirportWatch – which includes campaign groups at a number of airports facing the threat of expansion – have joined forces in writing to Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission, calling upon him to safeguard all the threatened communities against blight. The Commission is due to produce an interim report at the end of this year and, if it concludes that the UK needs more airport capacity, it will publish a shortlist of options. The Commission’s final report and recommendations won’t be published until mid-2015, after the next general election, and it will then be for the Government of the day to take any final decisions. As soon as such a list is published, every single one of the areas under threat will be hit by generalised blight and people will immediately experience not only stress and uncertainty, but difficulties in selling their homes. The campaigners’ letter asks Sir Howard “to make it a pre-condition for being shortlisted for the promoter of an airport development proposal to undertake to introduce fair and reasonable arrangements to address the problem of generalised blight arising from their proposal within three months of being shortlisted and to operate such arrangements for a minimum period of two years.”http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17320

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Packed public meeting in Stanwell Moor hears of threat of 850 house demolitions, noise and blight from Heathrow runway plans

11.9.2013

Over 200 people attended a meeting in Stanwell Moor Village Hall, organised through the residents’ association, on 3rd September, with standing room only. The people of Stanwell Moor face eviction and the demolition of their houses, and those in Stanwell face blight and an uncertain future – the possibility of intense aircraft noise and air pollution if another runway is allowed. There were people queuing outside trying to get in, such was the demand to hear what the Heathrow airport operators had in mind for their area. Nigel Milton, Heathrow’s director of policy, said 850 homes in Stamwell Moor village would be demolished to make way for a 3,500 metre runway – if it was ever allowed.  Kathy Croft, chairman of the Stanwell Moor Residents’ Association, said:  “It will then be for the next government to act. Kwasi Kwarteng was invited but he gave his apologies … “. The problem of large areas of blight that will inevitably be caused if the Airports Commission put Heathrow on their short list in December is a very real one.  There will be another meeting on 18th September, organised by Spelthorne Borough Council.

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Speculation that Airports Commission interim report may say need for new runway not urgent – not before 2030

There are now suggestions that the Commission’s interim report, to be announced by Sir Howard Davies on 17th, will downplay the urgency of the alleged airport capacity problems, and may look instead at the possibility of a new runway being in place as late as 2030. The Observer reports that Government sources said that they expected Davies to say that, while extra capacity will be needed in time, there is no “crisis” yet. The Tories would be relieved if Davies were to downplay the urgency of the problem, as they are worried about their electoral chances in west London, having clearly said at the 2010 election: “No ifs, no buts, no 3rd runway”. Heathrow is not losing out on flights to key destinations, despite the propaganda that it is. Even the 2013 DfT forecasts of passenger demand show there is no shortage in capacity for years ahead, and no need for a runway before 2030. Lord Adonis, who is heading Labour’s economic growth review, has said the final report by the Airports Commission should be published earlier than 2015. – as people affected by its proposals  have a right to know. The Adonis Growth Review is meant to be setting out an agenda for change to revitalise the UK economy by innovation and growth. 

 

No ifs No buts

 

Actual text from Conservative election leaflet for the May 2010 election.                                   Full leaflet at  http://www.electionleaflets.org/leaflets/full/b58fa8c95aec5d810bfe2ebb16bcbf91/


DfT 2013 passenger number forecast. Below.

Heathrow runway decision cannot wait until after election, warns Adonis

Labour strategy chief calls for final report on airport plans before 2015 as people who live nearby have right to know

Contentious decisions on expanding airport capacity in the south-east of England cannot wait until after the 2015 general election, the man charged with devising Labour‘s strategy on economic growth has declared.

The intervention by former transport secretary Lord Adonis, who is heading Labour’s economic growth review, comes amid suggestions that Tuesday’s interim report by the airports commission chairman, Sir Howard Davies, will downplay the urgency of capacity problems and may look instead to a solution being in place as late as 2030.

Government sources said last night that they expected Davies to say that, while extra capacity will be needed in time, there is no “crisis” yet. Ministers expect Davies to list four or five options for expansion, including new capacity at both Heathrow and Gatwick, but to stress that whatever plan is adopted can wait until “the end of the next decade”.

The Conservatives would be relieved if Davies were to downplay the urgency of the problem, as they are worried about the effect that plans to expand the number of flights into Heathrow would have on key seats in west London that lie underneath the flightpaths. Under current plans Davies is not due to deliver his final report until after the 2015 election.

But in a new Fabian Society booklet on the future of London, Adonis says decisions cannot wait until 2015 and calls on Davies to deliver his final report this summer. He also calls on his own party leader, Ed Miliband, to get together with David Cameron, Nick Clegg and London mayor Boris Johnson to agree a joint approach well before the next election.

Adonis writes: “Whether they succeed or fail, they will then have to tell the voters in 2015 what they intend to do. It will be hard for them to reconcile inaction on airport capacity with any claim to be pro-growth. Equally people who live around airports have a right to know what is being proposed before, not after, the general election.”

The stance adopted by Adonis, who earlier this year appeared to favour Heathrow expansion, shows that Labour as well as the Tories are divided over the issue. Before the last election Ed Miliband, when energy and climate change secretary, made clear he was completely opposed to Heathrow expansion.

Now, however, and since the Tories have abandoned their total opposition to a third Heathrow runway, Labour has shifted too, saying it will wait for the final Davies report. While Adonis seems to favour Heathrow expansion, Jon Cruddas, who is in charge of Labour’s overall policy review, has voted against a third runway at Heathrow.

Government insiders say they still expect Boris Johnson’s plans for a new airport to the east of London to be kept in play by Davies, despite reports saying he had rejected the idea on cost grounds.

Opponents of Heathrow expansion argue that the case put forward by its supporters is based on a PR myth. AirportWatch, an umbrella movement that includes Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Campaign for Better Transport, points out that, contrary to the line pushed by pro-expansion politicians and business leaders, Heathrow is not losing out to other European airports. The airport has 990 weekly departures to the world’s key business centres, more than its two closest rivals, Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt, combined.

And London’s status is not diminished by the state of the UK’s airports. London is still the top European city in which to do business, according to surveys.

“Any suggestion that there is no need to rush into this would be welcome,” said Nic Ferriday, spokesman for AirportWatch. “We’ve been saying for years that there is no shortage of capacity in this country or in the south-east of England in particular. The only airport where there are capacity issues is Heathrow, but the idea there is a crisis is manufactured. Using the Department for Transport’s own forecasts, we can see that, even if no new runway is built up to 2030, no traffic would be lost.”

Ferriday pointed out that Luton and Stansted were operating at only half capacity, [Stansted had only 17.5 million passengers in 2012 compared to its maximum permitted of 35 million link . Luton had around 9.6 million passengers in 2012 but has a planning application now being determined to take it to 18 million per year. link   The application may not succeed though ] leaving scope for these to be used as alternatives to Heathrow and Gatwick.

[Nic Ferriday said ]“If people have to use these airports, it might be bad news for Heathrow but it is not going to damage the economy as a whole. We believe the Davies report will recommend the need to use airport capacity across the south east more fully.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/14/heathrow-runway-decision-airports-lord-adonis

 


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DfT air passenger forecasts, January 2013

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/223839/aviation-forecasts.pdf

Their forecast for air passenger numbers by 2030 are 7% lower than the DfT forecast in August 2011.

The DfT says, of constrained demand: …”passenger numbers are forecast to rise from 219 million passengers in 2011, reaching 315 million passengers by 2030 and 445 million by 2050 in the central case.”

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“In the central forecasts, airport capacity constrains national throughput by 5mppa in 2030 (of a total of 315 m) rising to 35mppa by 2050 (of a total of 445 m) ”

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DfT 2013 runway capacity forecasts

“As airports fill up and become constrained passengers either re-allocate to a less preferred airport or are deterred by the increased prices at the constrained airports from travelling altogether.”

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“The central forecasts suggest that all the South East airports would be at capacity at around 2030 and the larger airports outside the South East from about 2040. At the low end of the forecast range, the South East airports in total are at capacity by 2040. The high range forecast is that the South East airports are full by 2025.”

DfT 2013 terminal pax

 


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Airport capacity crisis? What crisis?

Briefing by the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF)

October 2012

http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/Airport_capacity_crisis__what_crisis.doc 

Since the Government announced its policy of opposition to new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, the aviation industry has been working hard to put out the message that there is a crisis in airport capacity in the South East.

Perhaps as a result, much of the recent reporting and political discussion about airports has started from the assumption that we need new runways, asking “if not at Heathrow, then where?”

In fact, there is no evidence of a crisis in capacity and no urgent need for new runways. 

New forecasts of passenger demand were published by the Government in August 2011.  These forecasts show a massive reduction in expected future levels of demand compared with the heady forecasts produced in 2003.  Those forecasts led to the Government’s ‘white paper’ which supported new runways at Heathrow and Stansted as well as a new runway in the Midlands and one in Scotland.   Even in 2007 demand was predicted to be 495 million passengers per year (mppa) at 2030, but by 2011 the forecast had fallen to 343 mppa.

Even the latest forecasts are probably still too high because they assume:

  • A resumption in economic growth at around 2% pa or above and continuing indefinitely, which is very uncertain
  • No increase in oil prices (despite evidence of increasing demand and increasingly difficult and expensive approaches to extraction), and
  • A continuation of aviation’s tax exemptions (including no fuel tax and no VAT)

More detail on the forecasts is given on our website (http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/AEF_Passenger_Forecasts_analysis_1.pdf  , where there is a link to a detailed report by AEF of 24pp).

The only airport in the entire country where there is a gap between demand and supply in terms of runway capacity, either now or any time soon, is Heathrow.   And despite the recent hysteria about constraints at Heathrow, there is sufficient runway capacity serving London and SE England to continue to meet demand.

The Government forecasts show that passenger demand could be almost entirely met with existing infrastructure until 2030.  Even if no new runways were built anywhere in the UK, less than 3% of potential air traffic would be squeezed out.  (‘Constrained demand at 2030 is 335mppa, compared with unconstrained demand of 345mppa.)

 

Do we need to cater for more business travellers?

A key question is whether business travel would be squeezed out.   The answer is almost certainly no.

CAA statistics indicate that only about 23% of air travel is for business.  The great majority of the growth in demand is for leisure.

Business travel is very ‘inelastic’.  This is entirely explicable – a highly paid business person wanting to travel to China to negotiate a multi-million pound deal is not going to be put off because he or she has to take a flight from one airport rather than another or because it is slightly more expensive.

Leisure travel is, by contrast, widely accepted as discretionary and highly ‘elastic’.  If a particular trip is not convenient or becomes more expensive, people may chose to spend their money on something else.

For these reasons, the 3% of traffic that would be squeezed out by 2030 if no runways were built would be almost entirely leisure.  There would be virtually no loss of business travel and therefore no loss of trade or loss to the UK economy.

There may well be benefit to certain airlines or airport operators if certain airports were expanded (eg Heathrow) or a new airport was built (eg Thames estuary).  However, this is a completely different matter to benefits for UK passengers or economic benefits arising from business travel.

 

Can Government forecasts be trusted?

Government forecasts have recently come in for something of a battering.  The aviation forecasts are certainly fallible and have been revised 4 times since 2003 – each time downwards. But they are rigorously produced and improvements to the assumptions have been made over time so the official figures can serve as a useful check against the often wildly exaggerated forecasts by airports, produced to support business plans and please shareholders.

AEF considers that ultimately airports policy should not be determined solely by individuals’ demand for travel but also by society’s demands both for protection from unacceptable noise and air pollution, and for political action to tackle climate change.  But even if the Government imposed no new constraints on aviation for environmental reasons, there would be sufficient airport capacity to cater for all aviation demand until nearly 2030.

 

For more information, please contact:

info@aef.org.uk    0207 248 2223

Aviation Environment Federation, Broken Wharf House, 2 Broken Wharf, London EC4V 3DT

Airport capacity crisis? What crisis?” 

http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/Airport_capacity_crisis__what_crisis.doc

 

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Adonis:

Adonis was a key figure in the aftermath of the 2010 general election, which produced a hung parliament with the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition.  Adonis then stepped down from front line politics.  He later returned to active politics in 2012 as part of Ed Miliband’s Shadow Cabinet reshuffle. He is currently working with Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna on crafting Labour’s industrial strategy, and has also taken up roles as Shadow Minister for Infrastructure in the House of Lords, and overseeing the Armitt Review, which is looking at future infrastructure plans for the Labour Party.

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Earlier:

Ed Miliband launches Adonis Growth Review

11 July 2013 (Labour Party website)

Ed_LOUEd Miliband launches Adonis Growth Review

“There will be less money around so we need new ideas to reform our economy and rebuild Britain.”

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, and Lord Adonis, Labour’s Shadow Infrastructure Minister, will today launch an independent growth review which is due to be published in spring 2014.

The Adonis Growth Review, which is jointly supported by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) and Policy Network, will set out a radical agenda for change to revitalise the British economy by supporting business innovation and growth across the country. Raising the quality and rate of job creation is crucial to enabling Britain to compete more effectively in the 21st century.

Over the next few months, Lord Adonis will be touring the country to hear the views of local businesses, colleges and communities taking into account the diverse challenges to innovation and growth faced by the different regions.

Speaking at a visit to Crossrail in London, Mr Miliband said: 

“The last Labour government rebuilt our schools and rescued our NHS so that these key services worked better for the people of Britain.

“The next Labour government will need the same level of ambition in rebuilding our economy to secure a recovery made by many which is built to last.

“That is why I am delighted that Andrew Adonis has agreed to lead this independent review on growth.

“Having played such a key role reforming our public services before, he will now be applying similar radical thinking to industrial policy so that we can rebuild our economy, equip Britain with the skills and better jobs we need to pay our way in the world.

“There will be less money around so we need new ideas. And that is where the hard work comes in to make the economic reforms needed to create a more responsible capitalism. This is one of the key ways we can make a huge difference to people’s lives while also demonstrating the discipline required to get the deficit down.

“A One Nation Labour government will work with business to deliver more youth apprenticeships and promote long term growth, work with entrepreneurs to encourage innovation, and work with local government to build the infrastructure Britain needs in the future, like Crossrail.

“But none of this will happen without new ideas, careful planning and consistency. This is an important review and I will be looking forward to reading its conclusions as part of the preparations we undertake for the next Labour government.”

Lord Adonis said: 

“We need to promote more and better jobs by radically improving skills, the national infrastructure, levels of business innovation, and the strength of key industrial sectors. Government needs to be far more engaged and hands-on to make this happen.

“The status quo is dire: youth unemployment of a million, Britain with one of the worst infrastructures in the developed world, including a massive housing shortage, pitiful levels of investment and R & D across much of the economy, and lacklustre export performance. Britain is stagnant, with 2.5 million unemployed and a squeeze on real living standards, and all this needs to change. I hope to chart a credible strategy for change in all these key areas.”

http://www.labour.org.uk/ed-miliband-launches-adonis-growth-review

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