Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has made a detailed submission to the DfT consultation on night flights, calling for Government action to end the scourge of these flights. The government consultation proposes that Stansted should continue to be allowed 12,000 flights a year between 11.30pm and 6.00am. This is more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow and far more than are needed. The 12,000 cap was set in 2006, when Stansted was still expanding rapidly, and a 2nd runway was planned. However, today Stansted is handling 30% less traffic than in 2006. Logically allowing Stansted 12,000 night flights a year can no longer be justified. SSE argues that those living under Stansted’s flight paths should have the right to an uninterrupted night’s sleep, ie. a full 8 hours and not just the 6½ hours covered by the current restrictions. Stansted handled just over 8,500 night flights last year – well below the Government limit of 12,000. SSE is pressing for the limit to be cut to 7,500 night flights from October 2014 and then further reduced by 500 flights each year until night flights are totally phased out. The recent announcement by British Airways that it pulling the plug on its cargo operations at Stansted means that reducing the number of permitted night flights at Stansted from 12,000 to 7,500 should now be easily achievable.
Government must act to end night flights
31 January 2014 (Stop Stansted Expansion)
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has made a detailed submission to the Department for Transport (DfT) calling for Government action to end the scourge of noisy night flights.
SSE’s submission is in response to a Government consultation which proposes that Stansted should continue to be allowed 12,000 flights a year between the hours of 11.30pm and 6.00am. This is more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow and far more than are needed.
The 12,000 cap was set in 2006 at a time when Stansted was still expanding rapidly. The Government anticipated that a second runway would soon be built and that more night flights would be needed. However, today Stansted is handling 30% less traffic than it was in 2006 and its plans for a second runway were cancelled in 2010. In all the circumstances, allowing Stansted 12,000 night flights a year can no longer be justified.
Stansted handled just over 8,500 night flights last year – well below the Government limit.
SSE is pressing for the limit to be reduced to 7,500 night flights from October 2014 and then further reduced by 500 flights each year until night flights are totally phased out. The recent announcement by British Airways that it pulling the plug on its cargo operations at Stansted means that reducing the number of permitted night flights at Stansted from 12,000 to 7,500 should now be easily achievable.
SSE’s submission also argues that those living in the vicinity of Stansted and under its flight paths should have the right to an uninterrupted night’s sleep, which should mean a full 8 hours and not just the 6½ hours covered by the current restrictions on night flights.
SSE has also highlighted the particular disturbance caused by night flights at Stansted because of its rural location where background noise levels are generally very low. The submission also calls for an immediate ban on aircraft using reverse thrust at night except in emergencies.
Martin Peachey, SSE’s noise adviser, commented: “For years the Government has been promising that it will bear down on aircraft noise at night. However, night flights at Stansted are still increasing, not decreasing. It’s time to reverse that trend and set a firm timetable for phasing out night flights altogether.”
This is the second part of a two-stage consultation process which began in January 2013. The new arrangements will come into force in October this year. www.stopstanstedexpansion.com
Stansted: Campaigners call for end to airport’s night flights
by Andrew Hirst (EADT)
Monday, February 3, 2014
Campaigners have called on the Government to bring an end to the “scourge” of noisy night flights at Stansted Airport.
The Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group believes the current cap of 12,000 night flights a year, which is twice the amount permitted at Heathrow, is “far more than needed”.
SSE’s noise advisor Martin Peachey said: “For years the Government has been promising that it will bear down on aircraft noise at night.
“However, night flights at Stansted are still increasing, not decreasing.
“It’s time to reverse that trend and set a firm timetable for phasing out night flights altogether.”
The group made its submissions in response to a Government consultation which proposes to maintain the 12,000 flight limit between the hours of 11.30pm and 6am.
SSE believes the limit is outdated, having been made at a time, in 2006, when the airport was still expanding rapidly.
With Stansted handling 30% less traffic than it was in 2006, and plans for a second runway cancelled in 2010, the group claims that allowing 12,000 night flights a year “can no longer be justified”.
The submission also argued that those living in region had the right to a full eight hours sleep, rather than the six and a half hours included in the definition of a “night flight”. It also highlighted the particular disturbance caused at Stansted because of its rural location and the very low levels of background noise.
A DFT spokesman said: “Aviation plays an important role in the UK economy, but the government recognises the impact night flights have on people and expects the industry to reduce noise and minimise demand for night flights where alternatives are available.
“We will consider carefully all responses to the current consultation on night noise, which ends on Monday 3 February, and will respond in due course.”
Stansted Airport’s Chris Wiggan has previously said: “As the UK economy improves and passenger and freight movements continue to grow at Stansted, it is vital that government recognises this potential and retains our full night flight quota limit.
“Whilst we understand that night noise is an impor-tant issue for airport commu-nities, a reduction in the limit would have a damaging effect on the UK economy and only serve to transfer movements to airports with greater environmental impacts.”
MEPs on the Environment Committee have stood up to political pressure from member states and industry by voting to endorse the European Commission’s proposal for an aviation ETS covering all of Europe’s airspace. Although the proposal regulates only 35% of airline emissions compared to the original EU ETS, it crucially captures a portion of long-haul flights – where most of aviation’s greenhouse gases originate. The proposal would see an end to a restricted ETS covering just intra-EU flights. Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at the European Federation for Transport & Environment, said: “By backing coverage of airspace, MEPs are ensuring the system captures emissions from all flights – both intra-Europe and long-haul over European territory. The decision also reinforces EU sovereignty, something a number of member states seem reluctant to uphold …Any EU measure to fight climate change needs to be enforced. It is untenable that France, Germany and the UK are failing to enforce the 2012 legislation. This should be a precondition before talks between Parliament and Council members on agreeing changes to the ETS.”
Member states should follow MEPs and back airspace emissions proposal
Vandaag – do 30 januari 2014 (Transport & Environment)
MEPs on the Environment Committee today stood up to political pressure from member states and industry by voting to endorse the European Commission’s proposal for an aviation emissions trading system covering all of Europe’s airspace. Although the proposal regulates only 35% of airline emissions compared to the original EU ETS, it crucially captures a portion of long-haul flights – where most of aviation’s greenhouse gases originate.
The proposal would see an end to a restricted ETS covering just intra-EU flights. The restriction, known as ‘stop the clock’, was enacted as a temporary measure in 2012 to give the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) time to act on aviation’s large climate impact. But last October ICAO voted against any regional measure by Europe and in favour of a potential global deal, which may only start in 2020.
Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at the European Federation for Transport and Environment, said: “By backing coverage of airspace, MEPs are ensuring the system captures emissions from all flights – both intra-Europe and long-haul over European territory. The decision also reinforces EU sovereignty, something a number of member states seem reluctant to uphold.
The governments of France, Germany, and the UK want to continue ‘stop the clock’ and restrict the ETS to intra-EU flights until 2016 or even 2020 in the mistaken belief that excluding long-haul carriers will lessen enforcement problems. But these same EU regulators have already failed to enforce breaches by the same Chinese, Indian and Saudi carriers operating intra-EU flights.
Bill Hemmings added: “Any EU measure to fight climate change needs to be enforced. It is untenable that France, Germany and the UK are failing to enforce the 2012 legislation. This should be a precondition before talks between Parliament and Council members on agreeing changes to the ETS.”
Aviation EU ETS up in the air as European politicians, member states and airlines differ on future direction
by Peter Liese, John Hanlon, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Martin Callanan, Jacqueline Foster
Mon 27 Jan 2014 (GreenAir online)
With a decision required by EU institutions before the end of April, there remains strong disagreement over the future direction of the Aviation EU ETS, not only within the European Parliament and EU member states but also between European airlines. MEPs in the Parliament’s transport and industry committees voted last week to water down the Commission’s proposal to regulate emissions from all flights within EU/EEA airspace. The environment committee, which leads on the issue, is due to vote on Thursday (Jan 30) and largely backs the proposal. Rapporteurs on the three committees are now attempting to seek a compromise. Meanwhile, the three trade associations representing European airlines differ too on the future EU ETS scope. A clash is also looming between Parliament and member states on the earmarking of EU ETS auction revenues.
Last Thursday, the environment committee (ENVI) held a debate on the issue and although there were disagreements between MEPs on the way forward, there appears a majority in favour of supporting the Commission’s airspace proposal. However, the Aviation EU ETS rapporteur in the Parliament, Peter Liese, accepted concessions would have to be made on all sides and a compromise reached between the committees before the beginning of the trilogue process with EU member states through the Council.
He said the transport committee (TRAN) wanted the ‘Stop the Clock’ intra-EU/EEA scope to be extended. “That is something we should at least consider but, on the other hand, we cannot accept this continuing until 2016.”
One area of consensus, said Liese, was over the issue of earmarking of EU ETS auction revenues for climate-related funding and clean R&D. Although Parliament’s position was clear on this, he said, member states had refused to hypothecate revenues and this was a justified criticism from third countries.
Liese told the ENVI meeting: “We have to be very careful what message we are sending out. We are meeting a lot of resistance. Airbus is fighting tooth and nail against this airspace proposal. If China threatens to cancel a contract, then we appear to do what the Chinese want us to do.”
Supporting Liese’s own amendments of the Commission proposal, MEP Chris Davies believed the EU should accept the political repercussions and said he was unconvinced by what was coming out of ICAO.
Satu Hassi, for the Greens in Parliament, said the willingness to compromise had gone too far. “We shouldn’t give a signal to the world that if companies and other countries disagree with our legislation then we change it,” she said, adding that the EU was in danger of being seen as “an economic giant but a political dwarf”.
Noted Dutch MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy: “This goes much further than climate change and aviation – this is about Europe’s credibility. We said we would give ICAO one year to come up with serious developments towards a global solution but ICAO failed. Where is your credibility if you threaten but don’t carry it through afterwards?
“With Airbus, this is economic blackmail and it won’t end with them. We should support the Commission, the Parliament should stand strong and we should never surrender to economic blackmail.”
Speaking against the Commission’s proposal were British Conservative MEPs Martin Callanan and Jacqueline Foster.
“Airbus employs thousands of people across Europe. Why create problems for them for a relatively small principle and the small amounts of money involved,” said Callanan. “We can stand on our principles but we do need to be aware of the practical implications.”
Foster criticised the Commission’s climate directorate (DG CLIMA) for its “dogma” over the Aviation EU ETS and was concerned over the consequences of moving in a unilateral direction without agreement from third countries. “We have had billions of dollars of Airbus orders held up over this issue – quite frankly, this is unacceptable,” she said. In view of the ICAO Assembly outcome, she called for the application of the directive “to be suspended indefinitely”. A restriction to intra-EEA flights should also be resisted, she said, as it led to a lack of a level playing field for European airlines, which she believed had originally been deemed illegal by the Commission.
In a statement to the ENVI committee on behalf of DG CLIMA, Elina Bardram said the Aviation EU ETS was a complicated and challenging dossier that involved politics and principles, which was highly unusual.
Referring to the ICAO Assembly resolution adopted last October, which she deemed a significant success, Bardram said: “Some countries read the paragraphs relating to states adopting interim measures before 2020 as implying mutual consent. The EU categorically disagreed with that interpretation and entered a reservation. We will, of course, continue our efforts to reach consensus but we will not decide our laws on the basis of what is desirable from the perspective of third countries.
“Our proposal is a genuine effort and best attempt to align with what was decided at the Assembly. We have made specific provisions to accommodate the least developed countries. We have also reflected the discussions prior to and during the Assembly when many of our partners, including the major aviation nations, actually proposed an airspace approach. In doing so, we have significantly contracted our ETS legislation in anticipation of a global [market-based measure] outcome. We felt the contraction of environmental ambition was acceptable because we do believe the measure will happen and we want to give it the best chance of success.”
Bardram said the extension of the intra-EU/EEA scope to 2014 under the Commission proposal would give enough time for technical adjustments to be made before implementing the airspace approach.
The number of different proposals that had been put forward boiled down to a political choice and negotiation, she said. “The key criteria in assessing the options are administrative simplicity, stability, permanence and whether they constituted good regulation. We feel the Commission proposal meets this. There is a question of political acceptance and that depends on how far we are willing to go to accommodate.
“It’s no secret that since the Commission airspace proposal was made there are some partners, particularly the industry, who have expressed concern but it is not currently clear what alternative they would fully be in accordance with. Our proposal is both legally and technically sound and it ensures a level playing field. All operators on the same route are treated equally.”
Whilst IATA, which represents international airlines on a global basis, would wish for a complete suspension of the EU ETS pending the introduction of a global scheme, European airline trade bodies have expressed differing views.
The Association of European Airlines (AEA), with a membership of 30 major airlines serving extra-EEA routes, welcomed last week’s vote by the TRAN committee to scale back the Commission’s proposal and urged MEPs on the industry committee (ITRE) – which has since voted in agreement with TRAN – and ENVI to follow suit.
The decision by TRAN, said the AEA, demonstrated understanding that European airlines could be exposed to retaliatory measures from third countries. “AEA welcomes that TRAN restricts the scope of the aviation ETS to flights within the European Economic Area,” it said in a statement. “This move reduces the risk of international controversy and confirms that global issues such as emissions from international aviation need a global solution.”
Added AEA CEO Athar Husain Khan: “The aviation ETS must not hamper progress at ICAO towards a global agreement on reducing emissions from international aviation.”
The AEA said there was uncertainty about the situation in the years 2017 to 2020 and as airlines needed long-term planning stability, it urged clarity.
On the other hand, Simon McNamara, Director General of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), which represents intra-European regional carriers, argues that trying to capture international flights, even in EU airspace, would re-ignite the former dispute with non-EU countries. “But, equally, an intra-EU only scheme would be bad news for Europe and intra-European airlines,” he said.
“The sensible option would be to suspend the EU ETS for all flights and focus on ICAO delivering a global scheme by 2016. However, European idealism about the environment has prevented that happening. It seems as if we will have to choose between one of the two options, and neither of them is ideal.”
Representing low-fare carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet, two of Europe’s largest in terms of passenger numbers, the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) has lobbied since the EU ‘Stop the Clock’ decision in late 2012 for restoration of the full scope of the Aviation EU ETS directive.
Failing reversion to full scope, the EU should implement the ETS to at least cover emissions in European airspace, demanded ELFAA Secretary General John Hanlon at a press conference held on Thursday with Peter Liese, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy and Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment.
“To prolong the one-year-only ‘Stop the Clock’ as the basis of the ETS is not only discriminatory but environmentally ineffective, capturing only 20% of EU aviation emissions of CO2, while letting long-haul flights off the hook,” he said.
In the event of an interim reduction of the full scope, Hanlon called for a reassessment of the environmental efficiency benchmark of the scheme which, he said, favoured long-haul operations. “Failure to review the original benchmark, which was designed for a radically different scope, compounds the discriminatory effect on intra-Europe operators.”
Hanlon said ELFAA had supported the EU ETS from the beginning and as its airline members wanted to continue growing but also demonstrate that the growth should be environmentally sustainable, a market-based mechanism was therefore needed until new technology could offset emissions growth.
“Our sector has grown enormously and we have the biggest shortfall in allowances but we’re up for that. However, the scheme must be environmentally effective to do the job, equitable and non-discriminatory. So we believe the EU should have stuck to its guns with its full scope. At least what the EU should do now is to stick to the Commission proposal.”
He urged Parliament to resist political pressure. “If you yield on EU airspace and fall back on intra-Europe, the next argument you will be facing is that the ICAO Assembly resolution requires mutual consent, so don’t assume that the states opposing the EU ETS will be happy to continue to be included in an intra-EU scope. You will be looking at an ever-shrinking scheme and facing a significant challenge for the right of the EU to legislate and to its integrity.”
Although she welcomed the willingness to compromise between the MEPs, DG CLIMA’s Bardram told the ENVI meeting there was a pressing timeline for an agreement in order to conclude the co-decision process with the Council (representing the member states) by the end of April.
However, Liese and Gerbrandy cautioned at the press conference that it may be difficult to reach an agreement with TRAN since the mandate of its rapporteur was to negotiate only on the basis of a ‘Stop the Clock’ extension until 2016, whereas ENVI was unlikely to vote for more than a one-year extension, based on the Commission proposal. A failure of the Parliament and Council to reach an agreement before the end of April, reminded Liese, would see an automatic return to the full scope of the EU ETS directive.
Trilogues between the EU institutions will take place during February, followed by meetings of the Environment and Transport Councils (member states) in March, with a vote by the Parliament during its April 14-17 plenary session.
Calls for a new airport for the Yorkshire region have emerged as a Wakefield council urged the scrapping of HS2 in favour of a wider package of transport improvements. Wakefield councillors voted to oppose HS2 scheme which would see high speed trains passing through the district to a new stop in the centre of Leeds. The council wants a broader debate on the future of transport in the North including alternative proposals for high speed rail, investment in the road network and a possible long term replacement for Leeds-Bradford Airport. This would be better connected to major roads and rail lines and with room to expand over the longer term. It is thought that the current location of the airport is poor, and does not encourage more to use it. Some consider it may make better economic sense to invest money in improved transport links to the existing airport. Those considering moving the airport say looking 20, 30, 40 years ahead there might be a better location so the airport is better linked to HS2, built on land around the M1, A1 and M62. However, a new airport could cost £5 billion. Who is going to pay for that?
Calls for new Leeds airport
by James Reed
29 January 2014 (Yorkshire Evening Post)
A NEW airport to serve Leeds could be needed to make sure the city thrives in the coming years, according to council leader Keith Wakefield.
Discussions are underway over whether a new airport should be built that connects with the proposed high speed rail line into the city and major roads.
Council leaders in West Yorkshire are concerned that Leeds-Bradford Airport’s location makes it hard to reach and could limit its growth.
Talks are at a very early stage but it is likely any new airport would be on land around the M1 and A1.
Coun Wakefield said: “We want Leeds and Yorkshire to be as ambitious as any other region.
“The existing operators of Leeds-Bradford have been very good and increased passenger numbers but if we are to make sure aviation is a key part of our transport strategy we have to recognise there are limitations on the existing location.
“If we are looking 20, 30, 40 years ahead there might be a better location so it can link with HS2 and create a transport hub.”
Wakefield Council leader Peter Box has also called for a new airport to be considered as part of wider improvements to transport in the region.
Tony Hallwood, aviation development and marketing director at Leeds-Bradford Airport, said: “Leeds-Bradford can meet the long term need for air travel in Yorkshire and we can continue to grow at a fast pace.
“That would be assisted through road and rail links from across the region. We could invest in those now and we could be ready to deliver over the next four or five years. A new airport could be decades away.”
Scrap HS2 and move Leeds Airport next to M1 says council
by James Reed Political Correspondent (Yorkshire Post)
30 January 2014
CALLS for a new airport for the region have emerged as a Yorkshire council urged the scrapping of HS2 in favour of a wider package of transport improvements.
Wakefield councillors yesterday voted to oppose the HS2 scheme which would see high speed trains passing through the district to a new stop in the centre of Leeds.
Council leader Peter Box called for a broader debate on the future of transport in the North including alternative proposals for high speed rail, investment in the road network and a possible long term replacement for Leeds-Bradford Airport.
The Yorkshire Post understands early stage discussions have been held over whether Leeds-Bradford, which has long been criticised over its location, can ever match the area’s long term economic ambitions.
Questions are being asked about whether it makes better economic sense to invest money in improved transport links to the existing airport which may have limited scope for growth or consider the more radical option of a new airport on a site better connected to major roads and rail lines and with room to expand over the longer term.
Coun Box said: “What Wakefield wants to do is to campaign for what we need and not what we have been given.
“What we need is greater connectivity. We need investment in our highways network to go alongside improving rail, including east-west links, and we need investment in a new airport.”
He pointed to an alternative plan, known as High Speed UK, as an example of how high speed rail could be built in a different way and improve connections between more towns and cities.
High Speed UK, devised by rail engineers and backed by the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, would follow the M1 corridor with a spur heading west from Leeds and Sheffield across the Pennines to Manchester and a further heading north to Scotland.
Leeds City Council remains supportive of HS2 but is also among those suggesting that there could be a case for a new airport.
Coun Wakefield said: “We want Leeds and Yorkshire to be as ambitious as any other region.
“The existing operators of Leeds-Bradford have been very good and increased passenger numbers but if we are to make sure aviation is a key part of our transport strategy we have to recognise there are limitations on the existing location.
“If we are looking 20, 30, 40 years ahead there might be a better location so it can link with HS2 and create a transport hub.”
Talks are at a very early stage but it is likely any new airport would be on land around the M1, A1 and M62 and connected to a new high speed rail line.
Tony Hallwood, aviation development and marketing director at Leeds-Bradford Airport, said it was the fastest growing UK airport last year and would continue to grow this year by offering eight new destinations.
“Leeds-Bradford can meet the long term need for air travel in Yorkshire and we can continue to grow at a fast pace.
“That would be assisted through road and rail links from across the region. We could invest in those now and we could be ready to deliver over the next four or five years. A new airport could be decades away.
“A new airport could cost £5 billion. Who is going to pay for that?”
The Government is pressing ahead with HS2 with work due to start on the first phase between London and Birmingham in 2017. Services on the second phase of the project stopping at stations at Meadowhall and New Lane, in Leeds, are due to start in 2032.
Mark Goldstone, head of policy at the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “HS2 must be viewed as part of a wider integrated transport network for the Leeds City Region and we need to be thinking now about how each part of the region benefits from the increased capacity it will provide.
“There is little point being able to get into and out of Leeds city centre more efficiently by HS2 if there is poor connectivity onwards to Bradford, Wakefield or Huddersfield for example.
“We are hopeful that the proposed Combined Authority with access to significant funding for regional transport schemes should address some of these connectivity issues.”
HS2 Ltd, the Government company developing the project, is currently consulting on the route it will take through Yorkshire and the North West.
In its current form it will split north of Birmingham into a Y with one section taking trains to Manchester and another going through the East Midlands before arriving in Yorkshire.
It is proposed that trains will stop at a new station at Meadowhall before heading north to a point east of Leeds where one spur will head into the city centre and another will continue to a point eight miles short of York where it will connect with the existing network.
North Yorkshire County Council has expressed its support for HS2 but questioned the decision to have a second station in Leeds and the difficulties that could cause passengers connecting using existing services.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “HS2 is set to boost the economy in West Yorkshire by around £1bn a year.
“Wakefield could also benefit from released capacity as result of journeys moving on to the high speed line and we are eager to hear from the council about how this could be used.
“But HS2 is just one part of the plan. Westgate Station has recently had a £8.6m upgrade to improve facilities and access, while plans for Kirkgate are set to completely renovate the station.”
Cranfield Airport is a small airport, close to Cranfield university in Bedfordshire, which used to be a RAF aerodrome. It is operated by Cranfield University. It deals with helicopters, training flights, and business and private jets. Not commercial airlines. It has a concrete runway of 1799 metres. Now after a crash between a light aircraft and a muntjac deer on December 16 2013, the airport has decided to cull wildlife. This cull threatens the hares that use the surrounding area – hares are a nationally protected species, of which Defra is working to increase the population in its biodiversity action plan. The local paper reports that “On Wednesday bosses at Cranfield University plan to undertake a cull of hares at the Airport in which four qualified personnel carrying firearms will seek out the animals.” Wildlife groups say the proposed cull could seriously damage the numbers of hares in Bedfordshire, with the species already having become under threat nationally since the Ground Game Act 1880 gave landowners the right to kill rabbits and hares on their land. The airport is clearing the area of scrub vegetation to the south of the site, including a ‘controlled cull of the excessive hare and rabbit population’ within that area. So much for universities setting an intellectual example of good practice on biodiversity.
Cranfield Airport is a small airport, close to Cranfield university in Bedfordshire, which used to be a RAF aerodrome. It is operated by Cranfield University. It deals with helicopters, training flights, and business and private jets. Not commercial airlines. It has a concrete runway of 1799 metres.
Cranfield Airport to ‘cull’ hares following crash between a plane and a deer
27.1.2014 (Bedfordshire on Sunday)
A PROTECTED species of animal could be under threat in Bedfordshire if a planned culling takes place at an airport later this week, say wildlife campaigners.
On Wednesday bosses at Cranfield University plan to undertake a cull of hares at the Airport in which four qualified personnel carrying firearms will seek out the animals.
The cull is being undertaken following a crash between a light aircraft and a muntjac deer as the plane was coming in to land on the runway on December 16 last year.
Wildlife groups claim that the proposed cull could seriously damage the numbers of hares in Bedfordshire, with the species already having become under threat nationally since the Ground Game Act 1880 gave landowners the right to kill rabbits and hares on their land.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are also working to increase the population in Britain as part of its biodiversity action plan.
Staff at the University raised concerns about the planned killing after receiving notice from bosses telling them from Wednesday there will be machinery operating on the south side of the airport clearing the overgrown scrub area, which is anticipated to last up to three days including a ‘controlled cull of the excessive hare and rabbit population’ within that area.
One member of staff told Bedfordshire on Sunday: “It’s a kneejerk reaction. They are acting in a completely cavalier fashion and helping in the decline of the population.”
John Rimington, from the Hare Preservation Trust in Bedfordshire, said: “Many airfields have hares, Luton, Cardiff, Bristol, you name it. Many airports within the UK and Ireland have resident hares and there is absolutely no policy of culling them elsewhere. Indeed airports (and nature reserves) are the only places where hares can be free of human predators which makes your culling plan even more appalling.
“They have to stop this and consult with the Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust and we need clarification on what the situation is with the muntjac deer and chinese water deer. There aren’t that many hares in Bedfordshire to start with, the majority of them are in East Anglia.
“Hares are intelligent, very fast and highly mobile animals who will naturally avoid danger such as moving vehicles or aeroplanes and have never caused any incidents elsewhere by interfering with air traffic.
Responding to campaigners’ concerns, a spokeswoman for the University said: “Cranfield Airport is required by law to ensure that the airport is run safely in line with all airports in the UK.
“The airport has some areas of overgrown scrubland which reduces visibility of airport safety areas and also harbours various wildlife that are a potential hazard to aircraft. The airport has planned maintenance to clear areas of scrubland over the coming week.
“The University, as owner of the airport, recognises the threatened status of the brown hare and requested that the airport authorities avoid shooting any brown hares during this operation.
“The University has also requested the airport to carry out a further study of the safety risks and population dynamics of brown hare at Cranfield Airport.”
The small airports in the vicinity of Manchester fear they are losing out, as more passengers prefer to fly from Manchester. The local press in Yorkshire reports that Manchester continues to be the first choice airport for most travellers from South Yorkshire, followed by East Midlands airport. More than 66% of South Yorkshire flyers say they use Manchester “often” or “very often” while 25% said the same of East Midlands, while around 15% used Heathrow on a similar basis. Just one in 14 said they used Robin Hood often or very often – a similar proportion to those using Leeds Bradford and fewer than use Stansted or Liverpool John Lennon Airports. However, 90% said they would like to use Robin Hood if it had flights to a wider range of destinations.Little regional airports hope travellers would prefer them to larger airports, particularly to destinations in Europe – because that cuts the time they spend in the airport. Only 10% were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the range of destinations served by Robin Hood airport. Around 30% said the problem was lack of accessibility and connectivity with poor public transport and an inadequate bus service. Road access improvements from the M18 are planned.
CAA datashowing passengers at Doncaster Sheffield Airport
2006 – 947,000
2007 – 1,074,000
2008 – 968,000
2009 – 835,000
2010 – 876,000
2011 – 822,000
2012 – 693,000
2013 – 690,000 (ie. 35% lower than at its peak in 2007)
Smaller regional airports are desperate to grow. If another south-east runway is allowed, carbon targets mean their growth has to be limited.
90% would use Doncaster Robin Hood airport if more destinations were offered
29 January 2014 (The Star)
Manchester continues to be the first choice airport for most travellers from South Yorkshire, followed by East Midlands.
More than two thirds of South Yorkshire flyers say they use Manchester “often” or “very often” while one in four said the same of East Midlands, while one in seven used Heathrow on a similar basis.
Just one in 14 said they used Robin Hood often or very often – a similar proportion to those using Leeds Bradford and fewer than use Stansted or Liverpool John Lennon Airports.
However, nine out of 10 said they would like to use Robin Hood if it had flights to a wider range of destinations.
Dr Genovese says: “Manchester is the biggest international and continental airport in the region, but, surprisingly we were able to show that, if possible, people would prefer flying from smaller regional airports – particularly to destinations in Europe – because that cuts the time they spend in the airport.
Only one in 10 said they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the range of destinations served by Robin Hood and two thirds pronounced themselves ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’.
Nine out of 10 people cited the lack of destinations served as the biggest obstacle to using the airport, followed by around a third who cited lack of accessibility and connectivity.
“One of the big problems is accessibility,” says Dr Andrea Genovese.
“Of course there is the new road linking to the M18, but accessing the road by public transport has been quite difficult – and there is no direct connection from Sheffield, even though it is called Doncaster Sheffield Airport. There isn’t even a sign pointing to the airport from Sheffield.
“To get there by public transport, you have to take a train to Doncaster and then a bus or taxi – and there isn’t a direct bus service.
“There is a bus, but it makes many stops on the way to the airport.
“The parking is brilliant, but the problem is accessibility.”
While access is currently a problem, FARRRS – the Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme – will change all that.
FARRRS creates a link between the M18, Robin Hood Airport and the site of the multimillion pound Inland Port or iPort project which is set to give a further boost to Doncaster’s bid to become the UK’s premier logistics hub.
Airport chiefs believe FARRRS will be transformational, cutting up to 20 minutes off journey times to the airport, almost doubling the number of people within 30 minutes of the airport from 600,000 to 1.1 million and increasing the number within an hour to around six million.
The road alone will give the airport a similar catchment area to its two closest competitors – East Midlands and Leeds.
The belief is that the road will make Robin Hood the airport of choice for many more people, boosting passenger numbers well beyond the 720,000 that used the airport last year and increasing the number of destinations it serves and airlines.
If that happens it could be the catalyst for a railway station to be built to serve the airport.
Approval has already been given for a station on the line that runs near to the airport, but airport passenger numbers have to reach a preset level to trigger construction.
FARRRS isn’t due to be completed until early 2016, but airport chiefs are already approaching airlines, using the Sheffield University research and its own studies as evidence of the demand for new routes.
They have also been urging the business community and the general public to add their voices to its case.
Given that it takes airlines up to 24 months to make a decision and introduce a new service and that FARRRS will take 18 months to complete, the timing of the launch of the airport’s campaign to secure new routes could not be better.
JLA aiming to win over 1m people who prefer fly out of Manchester
Airport boss Matthew Thomas is “absolutely” certain the airport will secure new bank banking facilities by March 31
Liverpool John Lennon Airport (JLA) wants to win over the 1m Merseysiders who currently fly out of Manchester Airport each year.
JLA chief executive officer Matthew Thomas also said that he was “absolutely” certain that the airport will secure new bank banking facilities before a March 31 deadline.
Mr Thomas said the ambition to lure local passengers away from Manchester was part of an overall strategy aimed at restoring passenger growth at JLA, which lost 1m flyers in 2013.
Mr Thomas said: “About 1m people a year fly to charter destinations from Manchester that could fly from here. We would like those passengers to fly from Liverpool.”
The airport has conducted market research that shows Merseysiders would prefer to fly from Liverpool rather than Manchester.
Mr Thomas explained: “90% of people living in Liverpool would prefer fly from Liverpool than Manchester. There is a strong preference.
“People said they wanted to keep money in the Liverpool economy.”
In recent years, JLA has lost market share to Manchester as its rival began targeting no-frills airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair that have traditionally been Liverpool’s biggest customers.
Mr Thomas said: “Once Manchester introduced low-cost traffic, then of course people from the other side of Manchester would use the closer airport.
“We now need to get more destinations served from Liverpool.”
Earlier this month the ECHO revealed that JLA’s auditor had raised a question mark over the airport’s future because it had yet to clinch a deal to renew its banking facilities. The current facilities are due to expire at the end of March.
Mr Thomas said: “We started discussions in February last year. We envisaged that we would have concluded those discussions.
“Are we going to resolve and renew our banking facilities? Absolutely.
“We see an opportunity to grow. We need all aspects of our operation to support what we’re trying to do.”
Liverpool Airport’s latest accounts show that it incurred pre-tax losses of £7.1m in the 12 months to March 2013 and another £6.5m during the previous year.
Earlier this week, Norwegian Airlines said it was withdrawing its route to Copenhagen.
Wandsworth Council says it has vowed to fight plans by the Airports Commission to increase the number of night flights over London. The Government’s second stage consultation on a new night flight regime proposes no significant changes to the existing rules despite new evidence on the health and social impacts of sleep deprivation caused by aircraft noise. The consultation documents say the Airports Commission will make recommendations for night flights in its final report in 2015. Flightpath communities in Battersea and Putney already suffer an average 16 early morning arrivals before 6am. They complain bitterly about these pre 6am flights (classified as night flights) and suffer from sleep deprivation and fatigue which affects their work and undermines their quality of life. The DfT’s own impact assessments link prolonged exposure to night flights to serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, strokes and hypertension. The Commission’s first report uses the outdated ‘57 decibel’ Leq metric to define aircraft noise impacts. That has infuriated noise campaigners who claim it grossly underestimates a flightpath noise footprint, and does not properly represent the noise experienced. The Commission will now look at some more effective metrics.
Wandsworth Council vows to fight night flight threat
Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia believes there are already too many night flights
Wandsworth Council has vowed to fight plans by the Airports Commission to increase the number of night flights over London.
The Government’s second stage consultation on a new night flight regime proposes no significant changes to the existing rules despite new evidence on the health and social impacts of sleep deprivation caused by aircraft noise.
The consultation documents say the commission led by Sir Howard Davies, which is reviewing airport capacity, will make recommendations for night flights in its final report in 2015.
Flightpath communities in Battersea and Putney complain bitterly about pre 6am flights (classified as night flights) and suffer from sleep deprivation and fatigue which affects their work and undermines quality of life.
The Department for Transport’s own impact assessments link prolonged exposure to night flights to serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, strokes and hypertension.
Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “We already suffer an average 16 early morning arrivals before 6am.
“Davies has already recommended more night flights without basing this on any credible evidence of the noise impact on local communities.
“He is relying on a study of people’s attitudes to noise that was carried out more than 30 years ago.
Sir Howard’s first report uses the outdated ‘57 decibel’ marker to define aircraft noise impacts which has infuriated campaigners who claim it grossly underestimates a flightpath noise footprint.
Davies has also shortlisted Heathrow as a potential location for new runways despite its existing noise impacts being far more severe than any other airport in Europe.
Wandsworth Council warns that more runways will mean more flightpaths and greater demand for night flights.
Better noise metrics than the discredited Leq to be used by Airports Commission in appraising short-listed runway schemes
Date added: January 28, 2014
In a blog, John Stewart says that at long last – and not before time – the Airports Commission is now considering improving on the Leq system. In the past, aircraft noise has been measured and averaged out, to give an Leq figure. This has been convenient to the aviation industry, as it gives an unrepresentative reflection of the reality of the noise, as experienced by those living below flight paths and being disturbed. For example, by averaging noise events over a period it is possible to claim that one Concorde flying overhead is the same, in noise terms, as having a Boeing 757 flying overhead, every 2 minutes, for almost 4 hours. Clearly that is not a sensible noise metric to use, when deciding to inflict more aircraft noise on thousands of people. The 57Leq contours have always been used to produce contours, in theory indicating where the noise is “annoying”. Now the Commission will be also using other metrics – and require the promoters of the short-listed schemes to use them. One is Lden, where noise is measured over a 12 hour day; a 4 hour evening; and an 8 hour night; with 5 and 10 decibels being added to the evening and night levels respectively to reflect the lower background noise levels at these times. And a 54 db LAeq metric. And N70 – which measures the number of aircraft above 70 decibels passing overhead. Click here to view full story…
Heathrow to hold 6 week consultation (starting 3rd Feb) with households on their north-west runway plan
January 17, 2014
Heathrow will start a six week consultation with local households on 3rd February, lasting till 17th March. It will ask for their views on Heathrow’s own short-listed north-west third runway plan. The airport wants to get its application as acceptable as possible to locals, to give it more chance of being permitted. “The results will help Heathrow understand what is most important to local residents and will be used to refine the runway proposal before it is resubmitted to the Airports Commission in May.” The consultation will be by post, and will be sent to the 120,000 households and businesses likely to be most impacted by the proposed plans. Those outside this area will have the opportunity to share their views online. There will also be drop-in events in nine local areas, to give people the chance to ask questions and “influence the plans.” The results will be shared with the Airports Commission, as part of Heathrow’s evidence. Heathrow knows that the issue of noise is key, and they will fail in their runway plans if there is strong enough opposition by enough people, on noise. They are hoping “mitigation” measures will be enough to reduce opposition. In reality people from huge areas of London, currently hardly affected by Heathrow aircraft noise, would be affected by this runway. Click here to view full story…
Airports Commission interim report recommends setting up an Independent Aviation Noise Authority
January 3, 2014
The Airports Commission’s Interim Statement on 17th December, advocating runways at Heathrow and Gatwick, also said it also recommended: “The creation of an Independent Aviation Noise Authority to provide expert and impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation and facilitate the delivery of future improvements to airspace operations.” The Commission says that decisions made by the DfT or the CAA at present, and they are often seen not to be fair, and to be driven by political considerations and that the CAA is beholden to the industry that provides its funding. An independent body might over come this. The Commission says: “An independent, national authority with a credible and authoritative voice on noise issues could be of significant value. ….It could also act as a statutory consultee on other noise related issues, including involvement in planning inquiries which would have implications for populations affected by aircraft noise…..The authority could also play a role in the delivery of longer-term plans for additional airport capacity. ….should include responsibilities for advising the Secretary of State for Transport and the CAA in respect of appropriate noise compensation schemes.” The establishment of the Independent Aircraft Noise Authority would require primary legislation; setting it up will take time. Meanwhile there is work on noise to be done. Click here to view full story…
BA fears cuts to early morning Heathrow flights before 7am – says cuts would have “dramatic impact” on business travellers
November 16, 2013
British Airways wants to keep as many flights into Heathrow in the early morning as it can. It is saying it does not want restrictions on flights before 7am. BA’s head of sales and marketing Richard Tams said any further restrictions on landings at Heathrow between 04.30 and 07.00 each day could have a “dramatic impact on business travellers.” Currently only 16 flights are allowed to land at Heathrow between 04.30 and 06.00 with a total of 65 take-offs and landings allowed between 06.00 and 07.00 each day. The current night flights regime will remain in place till October 2017. BA says “These early morning flights are critical because a lot of flights from the US and the Far East land during this period – they are critical for people transiting through London.” Not letting BA have these flights – which are deeply unpopular with thousands of Londoners, who get woken up too early – would, says BA, “dramatically impact the schedule we could offer out of London.” Usual situation – it’s a question of the health and quality of life (and sleep) for thousands, up against t he ability of BA to make more money.
Government to make no significant change to night flights regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted until Airports Commission report
November 11, 2013
In January 2013 the DfT put out the first part of its consultation on the night flight regime at the UK’s 3 designated airports,Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The DfT said then that the 2nd consultation would be publishes later this year, to include specific proposals for the new regime, such as the number of permitted night flights – informed by the evidence from the first consultation. The DfT has now published this 2nd stage, but instead of any specific measures, it proposes no significant change to the night flight regime at Heathrow until 2017. It says it does not want to pre-empt the findings of the Airports Commission which is due to publish its final report in summer 2015. The current night flight regime for the 3 airports ends in October 2014. Normally a new regime is put in place to cover the next 5 – 6 years. This time the Government has decided in effect to roll-over the existing regime until 2017. The only change for Heathrow is a proposal “to extend the operational ban on the noisiest types of aircraft to include an extra half hour, the 23.00-23.30 period.
Evidence on how the 57 Leq noise contours for Heathrow fail to fully reflect aircraft noise impacts
November 11, 2013
In a blog on the anomalies of how aircraft noise is currently measured, John Stewart writes of the odd situation where roads in London are regarded as quiet, ignoring the obvious impact of Heathrow flightpaths overhead. This arises in areas such as Clapham, which are well outside the 57 Leq contour, which it is wrongly alleged, is the limit at which aircraft noise is a problem, or annoys/upsets people. The number of complaints about aircraft noise that come from areas well beyond the 57 Leq contour are evidence that it is not a measure that reflects reality. A better system for measuring aircraft noise experienced is Lden (day, evening, night) with noise in evening and night given a higher weighting, to reflect the greater impact, and greater annoyance, it has on those overflown. The European Commission requires member states to use 55Lden when drawing up their noise maps. That is more realistic than 57 Leq. It is understood that Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission, is looking seriously at a more realistic noise metric.
Heathrow has highest weekly number of (noisy) 747 flights of any world airport
November 10, 2013
Figures from Anna aero, which celebrates routes, flights, links etc and associated airports, show that Heathrow continues to have by far the highest number of Boeing 747s of any other global airport. 747s are noisy planes, as well as being huge. They are likely to be as noisy as – or even noisier than – the A380. Some studies show the A380 being up to 5 decibels quieter at some measurement stations, though it depends on which engines the planes are using; the noise is both from engines and airframe. The 747 – 400 is ranked as Quote count 4 on departure and 2 on arrival. By comparison the A320 series is ranked at about 2 and 1 respectively. Anna aero shows Heathrow has 298 weekly departures of Boeing 747s, with the next highest airport Taipei with 174. Then third is Frankfurt, with 150. Now the A380 has taken over for new orders, there have been fewer and fewer new 747s being delivered, with just 20 ordered in the past 5 years and zero ordered in 2013.
Gatwick airport is working hard on its PR to win support for its runway bid. It has recruited a number of agencies to help with this, and is reputed to be spending some £10 million on its public relations. It is lobbying London councils that oppose expansion at Heathrow, on the principle that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Now Stewart Wingate has told a meeting of business people in Scotland that expanding Gatwick could be better for the Scottish economy than expanding Heathrow. He is announcing a new study into airport expansion and Scottish connectivity, commissioned through Northpoint Aviation, that considers levels of access and demand today, and the impact of expanding Gatwick on Scotland. Gatwick plans to return to Scotland in due course, with more details and to lobby for support. Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are working hard to ensure that capacity constraints in the South-east don’t limit our future ability to access such vital national and international markets, and in the short-term this remains an issue.” Spending more on PR, Gatwick’s media relations manager, Heather Griffiths, said consumer perceptions were an “important strand” in the broader comms effort on their runway bid.
Gatwick boss flying the airport’s flag north of the border
27th January 2014 (This is Local London)
Gatwick Airport’s chief executive is north of the border this week promoting greater connectivity between London and Scotland against the backdrop of the hotly-anticipated Scottish Independence Referendum.
Stewart Wingate is visiting Glasgow and Edinburgh this week with a message explaining how expanding Gatwick could be better for the Scottish economy.
Mr Wingate is due to announce a new study into airport expansion and Scottish connectivity to an audience of business leaders assembled at the Glasgow Chambers of Commerce. The study, commissioned through Inverness-based Northpoint Aviation, will consider levels of access and demand today, best practice around other European countries, and will assess the impact of a second runway at Gatwick on Scotland’s connectivity to London and the world. Gatwick Airport will return to Scotland to present the study’s findings and seek more views in due course.
Mr Wingate said: “The debate over airport expansion in the South-east is not just about what is good for London – it is about delivering economic benefits, more affordable travel and greater connectivity for passengers throughout the UK.”
He continued: “Scotland is very important to Gatwick and our planned expansion will protect competition and deliver cheaper travel to more destinations for the people of Scotland.”
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted that the chief executive of London Gatwick has come to Glasgow to listen to the views of our members. “Access to London is vital for the businesses we represent and for the success of the local and national economies, and Stewart has recognised that today.”
He said: “We are working hard to ensure that capacity constraints in the South-east don’t limit our future ability to access such vital national and international markets, and in the short-term this remains an issue.”
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the busiest single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 200 destinations in 90 countries for around 35 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the South-east, generating around 23,000 on-airport jobs and a further 13,000 jobs through related activities. Gatwick is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.
SCOTS travellers would be able to access more low-cost international routes if Gatwick Airport was given the go-ahead to build a second runway, its chief executive has said.
Stewart Wingate has made the case for expanding Gatwick over Heathrow to business leaders in Glasgow during a visit to the city.
Mr Wingate, previously customer services director for BAA at Glasgow Airport, said: “The debate over airport expansion in the South East is not just about what is good for London, it is about delivering economic benefits, more affordable travel and greater connectivity for passengers throughout the UK. Scotland is very important to Gatwick and our planned expansion will protect competition and deliver cheaper travel to more destinations for the people of Scotland.”
Gatwick Airport prepares to review consumer and digital PR
23 January 2014
by John Owens (Campaign Live)
Gatwick Airport is in the early stages of drawing up a brief for its consumer and digital PR accounts, which are handled by The Red Consultancy and Rabbit respectively.
The review comes as the airport seeks to move on from winter chaos and show off its global credentials to consumers while the Government considers how best to grow Britain’s transport capacity.Gatwick media relations manager Heather Griffiths said that both agencies had been invited to repitch for the work, with the formal procurement process likely to begin next month.
Referencing Gatwick’s sale by Heathrow owner BAA to Global Infrastructure Partners, she said: “Gatwick has come a long way in four-and-a-half years of new ownership and has really transformed not just in terms of its facilities but how it is perceived.
“Traditionally it has been a leisure airport but there is a growing business element to it, and it now serves a lot more long-haul routes. It’s about changing the perception of it from a ‘bucket and spade’ holiday [carrier] to a world class facility.”
Gatwick has pledged to spend a further £1bn in the airport between this year and 2019 as it makes the case to be allowed a new runway in the South East amid fraught political considerations.
In a report released earlier this month, and ahead of a final recommendation expected in 2015, the Airport Commission shortlisted a third runway at Heathrow and a second runway at Gatwick as likely final contenders for airport expansion.
However, Gatwick’s image will not have been helped by travel delays over Christmas, which prompted an apology from CEO Stewart Wingate.
Consumer perceptions were an “important strand” in the broader comms effort around the Airport Commission’s deliberations, Griffiths claimed, adding:
“Passengers are at the heart of the aviation debate, and any activities we do in digital and consumer will need to show an awareness of what’s happening more widely. It is about getting people involved in the debate and ensuring their views are heard, with social media a really important part of that.”
Gatwick Airport appoints MI6 HQ architect Sir Terry Farrell to promote its 2nd runway plans
July 9, 2013 Gatwick Airport has appointed a leading architect, Sir Terry Farrell, to help in its plans to build a 2nd runway. Sir Terry will help Gatwick in its proposals for a “constellation of 3 London airports” with 2 runways each – 2+2+2. Gatwick hopes competition between it, Heathrow and Stansted was “the best solution for London”. Sir Terry’s previous projects include the MI6 building and Home Office headquarters in London and Incheon Airport in South Korea. Sir Terry’s firm, Farrells, will look at the impact on London of having competing airports of equal size compared to a single “mega-hub” airport. He said: “The world city of London, with the largest aviation market in the world, is the hub and its airport infrastructure needs to evolve and grow around the city” and that “a single mega-hub airport is at significant odds with what London needs.” Click here to view full story…
Gatwick airport employs PR agencies to help sway opinion in favour of 2nd runway
Gatwick Airport has brought in Fishburn Hedges (a corporate PR agency) and the London Communications Agency on an integrated PR and public affairs brief, in order to try to drum up support for building a 2nd runway. Both agencies will work directly with the airport’s communications staff. They will be aiming to work at the local and regional level to “engage key stakeholders in London and West Sussex.” Gatwick is currently developing detailed expansion plans that could double the airport’s annual capacity to around 70 million passengers and will submit its case to the Airports Commission shortly. Local campaigners have fought the threat of a second runway for years, as it would have seriously negative environmental and quality of life impacts for the area. Gatwick is legally prevented from starting a 2nd runway before 2019. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=610
Heathrow’s investors are to be targeted as part of a campaign by residents, MPs and local authorities who argue a 3rd runway in west London will be “politically undeliverable”. Campaigners will highlight the potential risk to shareholders of spending millions of pounds developing detailed plans for a new runway, when they are likely to face the same level of fierce and determined opposition that led to a previous scheme being ditched in 2010. MPs, local authorities and anti-Heathrow campaigners have met to draw up a plan of attack. These include Zac Goldsmith MP, John McDonnell MP, representatives of Richmond, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Wandsworth councils and HACAN. The main shareholders at Heathrow now are Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial (25%), Qatar Holding LLC (20.00%), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (13.29%), the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (11.88%), Alinda Capital Partners (11.18%), China Investment Corporation (10%) and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) (8.65%). The 3rd runway is also strongly opposed by Boris Johnson. Daniel Moylan, the Mayor’s chief aviation adviser, said: “The Mayor shares HACAN’s view that the expansion of Heathrow is neither acceptable nor politically deliverable.” A report by KPMG for the Airports Commission indicated the funding problems for either a new Heathrow, or a Gatwick, runway.
Campaigners target airport investors over Heathrow site
Anti-Heathrow expansion campaigners have met MPs and local authorities to draw up a plan of attack to highlight the potential risk to shareholders of spending millions of pounds developing detailed plans
By Nathalie Thomas (Telegraph)
27 Jan 2014
Heathrow’s investors are to be targeted as part of a campaign by residents, MPs and local authorities who argue a third runway in west London will be “politically undeliverable”.
Campaigners will highlight the potential risk to shareholders of spending millions of pounds developing detailed plans, when they are likely to face the same level of opposition that led to a previous scheme being ditched in 2010.
Anti-Heathrow expansion campaigners have met MPs and local authorities to draw up a plan of attack, after the Airports Commission last month shortlisted two possible options for expansion.
The commission, set up by the Government to solve the thorny question of airport expansion in the South East, won’t deliver its final recommendation until 2015. However, airports are currently refining their proposals before a public consultation later this year.
Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN) has met MPs including Zac Goldsmith and John McDonnell, as well as representatives of Richmond, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Wandsworth councils.
They intend to stress to shareholders, who include Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial and one of the UK’s largest pension funds, that their investment plans will face strong protests.
Campaigners also plan to hammer home their belief that a third runway is “politically undeliverable” even if it is recommended by the Commission’s chairman, Sir Howard Davies.
Protesters believe the issue of noise will be insurmountable, despite arguments by third runway promoters that noise pollution will lessen due to developments in aircraft technology.
John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said: “The last Labour government failed to get through its plans for a third runway. The opposition from residents, environmentalists and politicians of all parties was just too great. Three years on, the prize which Heathrow Airport wants above all else remains politically undeliverable.”
Daniel Moylan, Boris Johnson’s chief aviation adviser, said: “The Mayor shares HACAN’s view that the expansion of
Heathrow is neither acceptable nor politically deliverable.”
But a spokesman for Heathrow pointed to a poll conducted by Populus which found that people in west London are more likely to vote for their MP if they support Heathrow expansion than if they oppose a third runway.
Heathrow’s chief executive, Colin Matthews, claimed the findings showed the political cost of supporting a third runway had been “vastly overstated”.
Sir Howard last week revealed that the Coalition told his commission to deliver its findings after the General Election in 2015, although he believed a report could have been published earlier.
The commission last month narrowed down the options for airport expansion to include a third runway to the north-west of Heathrow’s current site. A second proposal by Heathrow Hub, a company backed by City financier Ian Hannam, to extend the airport’s north runway and then effectively split it in two, also made the cut.
A second runway at Gatwick was the third option to make the shortlist.
January 2014 ”Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is in turn owned by FGP Topco Limited, a consortium owned and led by the infrastructure specialist Ferrovial S.A. (25.00%), Qatar Holding LLC (20.00%), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (13.29%), the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (11.88%), Alinda Capital Partners (11.18%), China Investment Corporation (10.00%) and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) (8.65%) “
The KPMG report
Scale of taxpayer contribution needed for Heathrow or Gatwick runways shown up in KPMG report for Airports Commission
A report dated December 2013 by accountants, KPMG, for the Airports Commission, says a 3rd runway at Heathrow could require £11.5bn of government support, (ie. money from the taxpayer) while a 2nd runway at Gatwick may need as much as £17.7bn of taxpayer contributions. An airport in the Thames Estuary would need even more from the taxpayer – maybe £64 billion. The report contradict claims by airport operators that an extra runway could be financed either exclusively or predominantly by the private sector. Gatwick has said it could build a 2nd runway for £5bn to £9bn with no government aid. Heathrow has raised the prospect of £4bn to £6bn of taxpayer support to improve rail and road links, but has argued that a 3rd runway, at a cost of £17bn, would be largely funded by the private sector. The KPMG analysis also highlights the potential burden of building a new runway on passengers, who would pay higher ticket prices. KPMG says these would have to rise by 136% at Gatwick to repay the money borrowed. That would mean charges at Gatwick rising by 2.5% above inflation every year from 2019 to 2050. At Heathrow charges would need to rise by 13% initially and then by 2.5% above inflation. Repaying the money takes till 2050. Unless charges for passengers rise enough, the public (many of whom do not fly) will have to stump up the funds.
Plans for the £14.8 billion Crossrail line across London originally envisaged – in 2008 – a £230 million contribution from Heathrow, to reflect the benefit it is expected to gain from the link to central London, Maidenhead, and Brentwood. But now it emerges that the taxpayer must cover a £160 million shortfall, which Heathrow will now not pay. Now Heathrow will only pay £70 million. [Heathrow is pushing hard for a 2nd runway – surely if it got that, it would need all the rail passengers from Crossrail that it can get]. The CAA has said that with the airport already running at or near capacity, (it is not at capacity for terminal space, only runway space) Crossrail would deliver no net benefit in terms of additional passengers. After the CAA set aside a provisional pot of £100 million to pay towards Crossrail, the DfT lowered its proposal to £137 million, and now down to £70 million. The National Audit Office said the shortfall means that the DfT’s contribution to the project will rise from £4.8 billion to almost £5 billion; but this remains inside the £5.2 billion set aside in case it failed to secure sufficient funding from private sources. Crossrail is now half built and is due to open by December 2019. It will run from Maidenhead, via Heathrow, out to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.
Taxpayers to cover Heathrow’s £160 million Crossrail shortfall
The taxpayer must cover a £160 million shortfall in private-sector funding for the Crossrail project after the Department for Transport failed to secure the expected contribution from Heathrow, a report revealed today.
Plans for the £14.8 billion rail line envisaged a £230 million contribution from Heathrow, to reflect the benefit it is expected to gain from the link to central London, Maidenhead in Berkshire, and Brentwood in Essex.
But Heathrow’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, calculated that with the airport already running at or near capacity, Crossrail would deliver no net benefit in terms of additional passengers. After the CAA set aside a provisional pot of £100 million, the DfT lowered its proposal to £137 million, but this month the regulator decided that Heathrow’s contribution will be just £70 million.
The shortfall means that the DfT’s contribution to the project will rise from £4.8 billion to almost £5 billion, but this remains inside the £5.2 billion set aside in case it failed to secure sufficient funding from private sources, said spending watchdog the National Audit Office.
It found that taxpayers’ interests had been “well protected” in the project, which is “on course to achieve value for money” and to be fully open by its promised 2019 delivery date.
CROSSRAIL has been praised for sticking to its budget and overall schedule by the National Audit Office, despite a smaller-than-expected contribution from the private sector.
With the £14.8bn railway across London now half-built, the spending watchdog said Crossrail was set to provide good value for money.
“The sponsors and Crossrail Limited have so far done well to protect taxpayers’ interests, by taking early action to stop costs escalating and, during construction, tightly managing the programme,” said Amyas Morse, head of the NAO.
The route, co-sponsored by TfL and the Department for Transport, will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east when it is fully open by December 2019.
BAA, now known as Heathrow Limited, had originally pledged to chip in £230m towards construction in 2008, but this month pared back its contribution to £70m as part of negotiations with the Civil Aviation Authority on its five-year spending plan. Canary Wharf and Berkeley Homes are paying some of the construction costs for new stations.
Crossrail is expected to choose a train supplier in the first half of this year, in a contract set to be worth £1bn. The government had hoped to fund most of this deal using private cash, but axed the plan last May amid worries that the funding system could delay delivery of the trains.
“[T]he strategic need for Crossrail has become clearer over time as increased population and employment growth in London have been forecast,” the NAO said.
The funding framework for Crossrail was put in place in October 2007 when the Prime Minister announced that Crossrail’s cost will be met by Government, the Mayor of London and London businesses.
Following the Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010, a funding envelope of £14.8bn was agreed to deliver the Crossrail scheme in its entirety.
The key elements of the funding package are as follows:
The Mayor of London, through Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Authority (GLA), will contribute £7.1bn. This includes a direct contribution from Transport for London of £1.9bn and contributions raised through the Crossrail Business Rate Supplement (BRS), section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Crossrail farepayers will contribute towards the debt raised during construction by TfL.
Government will contribute by means of a grant from the Department for Transport of £4.7 billion during Crossrail’s construction.
London businesses will contribute £4.1bn through a variety of mechanisms, including the BRS.
Over 60% of Crossrail’s funding will come from Londoners and London businesses.
Network Rail will undertake works costing no more than £2.3bn to the existing national rail network raised through projected operating surpluses from the use of Crossrail services.
There are also considerable additional financial contributions from some key beneficiaries of Crossrail:
The construction of Crossrail is part funded by the City of London Corporation, which has agreed to make a direct contribution of £200m and in addition will seek contributions from businesses of £150m, and has guaranteed £50m of these contributions.
BAA has agreed to a £230 million funding package. (BAA now replaced with Heathrow Ltd).
Canary Wharf Group has agreed to contribute £150m towards the costs of the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station at Canary Wharf. Canary Wharf Group will also design and build the new station.
Berkeley Homes has agreed to construct a station box for a station at Woolwich.
The £14.8 billion funding envelope for the project is a fully inclusive cost, allowing for both contingency and expected inflation.
Taxpayers pay £1bn to fund Crossrail rolling stock
1 March 2013 (BBC)
New trains for London’s Crossrail scheme are to be fully funded by the taxpayer so that the £14.8bn project can start on time.
Initial plans for the £1bn Crossrail rolling stock procurement involved £350m public sector contribution.
But now the entire amount will be paid for by the public purse in a move the government said was “an appropriate course of action”.
Labour called the move “another humiliating transport shambles”.
Crossrail will connect 37 stations from Heathrow Airport and Maidenhead in the west, through central London and out to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.
It is due to be completed in 2018.
Transport for London said the arrangement will help to ensure a deal for the new trains will be in place in 2014, with delivery and testing starting in 2017 ready for the opening of the new tunnels to passengers in late 2018.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Nothing must get in the way of this fabulous new railway and it is fantastic news that we can now crack on with buying the wonderful fleet of brand spanking new trains.”
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said the Department for Transport remained committed to the use of private finance in transport projects “where it provides value for money and fits with our timetables for planned investment”.
But he added that government believed Crossrail funding decision was “an appropriate course of action to deliver a very complex and unique infrastructure project within the delivery timetable”.
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: “This is yet another humiliating transport shambles.
“Labour has spent two years urging ministers to learn the lessons from the botched Thameslink contract.”
TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: “Taxpayers will be astonished to find that their contribution to Crossrail is to increase by such a huge amount.”
The 100% taxpayer funding arrangement was welcomed by rail unions RMT and TSSA.
RMT leader Bob Crow said: “This is a hugely important development.”
TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said: “We welcome the fact that Tory ministers recognise that it is cheaper and quicker to have publicly-funded new trains.”
A paper has been prepared for GACC by the distinguished naturalist and author Jeremy Early. It shows why Gatwick – and towns downstream – are liable to flood. And that the situation would be made worse by the construction of a new runway and associated infrastructure. Jeremy points out that Gatwick has areas of higher land in its vicinity, which increase the amount of rainfall that has to be drained away. In addition the huge amount of development locally consisting of impermeable surfaces, makes the flooding in several parts of Crawley, other local villages, and at Gatwick Airport understandable. Jeremy points out that Crawley is built on a floodplain and the Environment Agency has said: ‘The decision to site Gatwick Airport across 3 watercourses means that it is vulnerable to flooding from all 3 watercourses as well as local drainage. Run-off from main airfield paving flows by gravity to a storage pond and is then discharged by pumps directly to the River Mole.” They consider the chance of the North Terminal flooding again to be high (about 8% chance). The report considers it misguided to plan to use 900 hectares of greenfield site to create a 2nd runway involving a vast quantity of impermeable surfaces, not to mention associated infrastructure, roads, homes etc.
A paper has been prepared for GACC by the distinguished naturalist and author Jeremy Early. It shows why Gatwick – and towns such as Dorking and Leatherhead which lie downstream – are liable to flood. And that the situation would be made worse by the construction of a new runway and associated infrastructure.
[As Crawley (100,000+ residents) and Horley (20,000+ residents) have developed, the watercourses have been diverted into a total of 75 culverts with an overall length of 5,430
metres.] ‘Once water enters a drainage network, it flows faster than either overland or subsurface flow. With less storage capacity for water in urban basins and more rapid run-off, urban streams rise more quickly during storms and have higher peak discharge rates than do rural streams. In addition, the total volume of water discharged during a flood tends to be larger for urban streams than for rural streams.’
In addition, the Mole has ridges and hills in close proximity and elevated ground always tends to increase the intensity of rainfall through what is known to meteorologists as the ‘seeder-feeder mechanism’. The December  rainfall totals for Dorking and Leatherhead were 210mm and 215mm respectively, whereas the figure for Heathrow Airport, which has little in the way of elevated ground close by, was less than 100mm. Varied elevation explains why, in 24 hours on 23-24 December 2013, Pease Pottage [village] and Reigate had 70mm of rain and Charlwood had a lower total, 58mm. The Pease Pottage figure, combined with the huge amount of development consisting of impermeable surfaces that has occurred locally, makes the flooding in several parts of Crawley (including Bewbush, Ifield, Langley Green, Maidenbower, Three Bridges and Tinsley Green) and at Gatwick Airport including the North Terminal understandable. (Flooding is either pluvial, from surface water, or fluvial, from watercourses; pluvial flooding usually disperses into watercourses, adding to their flows.) One unnamed resident of Tinsley Green, quoted in the local press, said that the flooding in Crawley was worse than in any other area she saw driving to Brighton and back on the morning of 24 December.
Crawley is built on a floodplain and as the Environment Agency points out: “The decision to site Gatwick Airport across three watercourses means that it is vulnerable to flooding from all three watercourses as well as local drainage. Run-off from main airfield paving flows by gravity to a storage pond and is then discharged by pumps directly to the River Mole. As the 1 in 100 chance flood level in the Mole is at the same level as the ground level at the North Terminal, the system is totally dependent on the pumps and on-site storage, with the latter likely to be inadequate at times of prolonged high rainfall due to its modest volume.
“It is estimated that there is currently a 1 in 20 (5%) chance of Main River flooding closing Gatwick Airport, and with 10% increase in flows due to climate change, this increases to a 1 in 12 (8%) chance. The probability of flooding of the North Terminal area due to backing up from local drainage depends on the storm duration and intensity and it is understood that the on-site drainage capacity was designed for a 1 in 5 (20%) probability event.’ The map below (Environment Agency) shows the Flood Zones around Gatwick Airport and Horley. Flood Zone 2 (pale blue) comprises land having between a 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 annual probability of flooding. Flood Zone 3 (mid-blue) comprises land having a 1 in 100 or greater annual probability of flooding. The Flood Zones ‘show the extent of the natural floodplain if there were no flood defences or certain other manmade structures and channel improvements.”
On the admission of a spokeswoman for Gatwick Airport quoted in thisislocallondon.co.uk [see below] on 8 January 2014, an unspecified quantity of water was pumped into the River Mole from at least one flood storage reservoir/ balancing pond at the airport on 24 December 2013. She said: ‘The reservoir will have been opened. The river flooded in a way which was unexpected in terms of the modelling we have conducted with the Environment Agency. The problems we had were because it was unexpected.’ This action – effected under the terms of an Environment Agency permit – did not cause the damaging flooding at Leatherhead and other areas, but it can hardly have helped. Perhaps the permit and its validity require reassessment, since to some observers there may be a suspicion that the rule ‘I’m all right, Jack’ applies with Gatwick Airport. The Environment Agency’s Upper Mole Flood Alleviation Scheme (UMFAS) was estimated to cost £15 million, of which the British taxpayer would contribute £11 million, GAL £4 million and Crawley Borough Council £100,000. The fairness of this division could make for an intriguing discussion. Be that as it may, the Scheme involved raising Tilgate Dam and river restoration and environmental mitigation works in Grattons Park (both already effected); creating a flood detention reservoir at Worth Farm (expected to be operational early in 2014); replacing the existing dam at Clay’s Lake with a new and higher dam (scheduled for summer 2014); and installing a flood detention reservoir at Ifield. The last-named has been put on hold, seemingly because of major cutbacks in funding for the Environment Agency by the Department for Environment.
Gatwick Airport has spent £20 million on a flood resilience scheme for the South Terminal and is spending £8 million on an additional on-site flood resilience scheme. Despite the substantial expenditure, on 16 October 2013 the South Terminal experienced flooding in an electrical substation, forcing a switch of passengers to the North Terminal. Even assuming that these works and those included in UMFAS are all completed within two or three years, can either the Environment Agency or GAL guarantee that, given an extreme weather event, there will be no flooding in Crawley, Horley or at Gatwick Airport? That alleviation in the upper reaches of the Mole will automatically be beneficial for all those who live close to the river downstream? This is to be doubted if, say, 50mm or more of precipitation were to fall rapidly on saturated ground, as it may well in the short-term let alone the long-term given the local topography and recent rainfall records. On 17 January 2014, after 36.8mm of rain fell in 24 hours at Charlwood, six flood warnings were issued for the River Mole and its tributaries, including at Gatwick Airport.
Given that it was constructed on a floodplain with a number of watercourses running through the site, the fact that Gatwick Airport is located where it is must be seen as somewhat eccentric. So how eccentric, not to say misguided, would it to be to use 900 hectares of greenfield site to create a second runway involving a vast quantity of impermeable surfaces? To build the associated infrastructure, led by tens of thousands of new homes and numerous roads, in an area vulnerable to flooding? Even with the consistent use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which in the most effective examples can involve significant land take, making them unpopular with developers, could there ever be certainty that the local watercourses would not sometimes behave ‘in a way which was unexpected in terms of the modelling’? Could there ever be certainty that there would not be a significant cost on occasions to homeowners living close to the Mole and its tributaries, to the environment and to wildlife? No guarantees made on this particular subject would be likely to convince an observer possessing the capacity to make reasoned judgements based on evidence.
Mole Valley District Council is offering to help some residents affected by the recent floods
Mole Valley District Council is offering council tax support to certain residents who have had to vacate their homes due to the recent floods.
The authority has announced it will provide financial support through a discretionary hardship provision fund for some residents whose household insurance does not cover flooding.
The council will consider granting a discount equivalent to its element of the council tax bill, approximately 10 per cent, for the period the property is empty.
The deal is subject to remedial works taking place to make it habitable again up to a maximum of twelve months.
Council leader Chris Townsend said: “Mole Valley District Council is sympathetic to the circumstances that those residents affected by the floods are experiencing.
“We are committed to doing as much as we can to support our communities through what has been a challenging period for the district.”
Flooded properties in Mole Valley that are substantially emptied of furniture are usually given a council tax holiday of 28 days.
If the property remains furnished but the resident moves to alternative accommodation, they are still liable to pay council tax at the full amount – and could potentially be liable for council tax at both addresses.
Coun Townsend said: “This is where insurance companies should step in, but if not, MVDC can help.”
Each case will be considered on its own merits.
For more information, call Mole Valley District Council’s revenue section on 01306 879293.
ie. taxpayer subsidy if it turns out that Gatwick airport releasing water did not help the flooding situation for people downstream. The details of what actually happened are still being ascertained.
Local Surrey Guardian newspaper asks: “Was Leatherhead sacrificed in the floods to save Gatwick?”
January 17, 2014
After exceptionally heavy rain and wind on 23rd December, Gatwick airport had serious problems with unexpected flooding, with many flights cancelled or delayed. It is still unclear to what extent actions taken at the airport to divert water from its holding ponds and prevent the airport from flooding meant more water surged down the River Mole, making flooding worse downstream in areas such as Dorking, Leatherhead and Cobham. It is understood that investigations are under way, and councillors for Leatherhead are seeking clarifications from the airport. The local press reported that an Environment Agency spokesman had said that Gatwick airport are constructing a further water storage reservoir directly on the Gatwick stream. The Gatwick Stream, where river levels rose rapidly, meets the River Mole south of Horley. Flooded residents feared that the contents of Gatwick airport’s balancing ponds may have been dumped into the River Mole and sluice gates further down were not opened in time. Click here to view full story…
Passengers stranded at Gatwick Airport as flooding causes power outages
by SIMON CALDER (Independent)
Tuesday 24 December 2013
Thousands of people remain stranded at Gatwick airport after a power outage caused by flooding has closed the airport’s north terminal.
A statement from Gatwick airport read: “Gatwick has 250 departing flights in total today. Out of 133 departing flights from North Terminal, 15 have been cancelled while 58 have departed. South Terminal is operating as normal.
“The cause of the power outages – flooding from the River Mole into airfield substations and North Terminal – is related to the heavy rain overnight and fixes for the issues are being progressed as quickly as possible.
“Gatwick would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to some passengers today and we are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum.”
The main airline at Gatwick, easyJet, had cancelled a total of 54 flights by 2pm. It was offering any passengers due to depart from Gatwick the chance to re-book to another date free of charge.
The airline has reserved 450 rooms in hotels around the airport, and will secure more if needed. Six flights will now depart tomorrow.
British Airways has cancelled 22 flights in and out of Gatwick, to destinations including Rome, Venice and Naples. Three round-trips to Edinburgh have also been cancelled.
From 1pm today, all the airport’s departing flights will now be leaving from the south terminal.
A BA spokesman said: “We are experiencing long flight delays at Gatwick. Gatwick Airport is investigating the fault and trying to restore power as soon as possible. We are sorry for the delays and our customer service teams are doing all they can to help customers. We strongly urge customers to check their flight details on ba.com before leaving for the airport.”
Ryanair uses the South Terminal, but decided to delay its services by an hour to Cork, Shannon and Dublin by an hour “To ensure all those affected by rail delays at Gatwick get home”.
The airport’s IT systems were also affected. One passenger, “Nievey C”, tweeted: “Jesus Christ @Gatwick_Airport if your computers aren’t working & there’s no source of visible info, at least make your announcements audible.”