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

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

The Airports Commission’s interim report:

IN: Gatwick and Heathrow

OUT: Stansted;

Estuary neither in or out until the Summer


DROPPED:  Runway to the South West of Heathrow Airport

DROPPED:  Heathrow North Option (demolishing Sipson)

IN:  Heathrow North West Option

IN:  Heathrow Hub Northern Runway


 See Gatwick press release from GACC below.


 

17.12.2013 (HACAN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are shown in the illustrations below.

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

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

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

He wants to see:

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

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

 www.hacan.org.uk 


 

THE PROPOSALS IN DETAIL

Demand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 – Surface access would be problematic and costly

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

ENDS

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Documents from the Airports Commission

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

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

PDF, 157KB, 33 pages

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

PDF, 145KB, 38 pages

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Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 3 technical appendix

PDF, 1.36MB, 116 pages

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

Heathrow map north west

 


 

Illustrations of the two runways on the short list:

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

Heathrow north west runway option 31.7.2013

Heathrow northwest runway option


 

The northern runway option of the Heathrow hub plan:

Heathrow hub runways

Heathrow hub north runway

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

 

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

Heathrow expansion options

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

 


 

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Gatwick wide spaced runway

 

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

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Gatwick included in short-list

17.12.2013  (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 www.gacc.org.uk 



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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

16 DECEMBER 2013 (Evening Standard)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Its press release is at

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

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

16.12.2013

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


 

The report says:

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

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

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

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and

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

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

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

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Some comments by AirportWatch members:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Heathrow flights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here we go again.

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

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Heathrow protesters on alert for new runway battle

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

Heathrow protesters on alert for new runway battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By  (Telegraph)

15 Dec 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 of the comments:

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

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

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

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No ifs No buts

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


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

17.12.2013

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

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

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Philip Pank article in The Times  21.12.2013

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

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

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

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

11.9.2013

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

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

11.9.2013

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

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

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

 

No ifs No buts

 

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


DfT 2013 passenger number forecast. Below.

Heathrow runway decision cannot wait until after election, warns Adonis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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DfT air passenger forecasts, January 2013

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

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

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

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

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DfT 2013 runway capacity forecasts

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

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

DfT 2013 terminal pax

 


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Airport capacity crisis? What crisis?

Briefing by the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF)

October 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Do we need to cater for more business travellers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Can Government forecasts be trusted?

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

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

 

For more information, please contact:

info@aef.org.uk    0207 248 2223

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

Airport capacity crisis? What crisis?” 

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

 

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Adonis:

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

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Earlier:

Ed Miliband launches Adonis Growth Review

11 July 2013 (Labour Party website)

Ed_LOUEd Miliband launches Adonis Growth Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord Adonis said: 

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

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

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

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Stansted airport owners would question the integrity of Airports Commission if Stansted not on the shortlist

The Sunday Times says that the owners of Stansted airport, the Manchester Airports Group, are concerned by the leaks that have circulated in the past week, that a runway at Stansted is not on the short list. The Sunday Times says MAG will demand a full analysis of how the Airports Commission came to their decision, how independent the process has been, and they will want to see all the methodology of how the decision was reached. They would question the integrity of the process, if only Heathrow is selected as the runway location.  MAG claim a new Stansted runway could be built for £4 billion, while a new  Heathrow runway would cost £14 – 18 billion. Meanwhile, Stansted’s owners are just working to build its passenger numbers back to where they were 7 years ago. With the airport currently operating at only half its permitted capacity a 2nd runway is not commercially viable, and it would be completely unacceptable to local communities on environmental grounds. This challenge by MAG is strangely ironic considering the legal challenge by Stop Stansted Expansion, against the Commission, due to potential bias because of the involvement of MAG’s Geoff Muirhead in the process.
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Stansted threatens runway planners

Airport owner warns Davies commission expansion plans must be ‘credible’

John Collingridge (Sunday Times)
15 December 2013
££

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/National/article1352736.ece

The Sunday Times says that the owners of Stansted airport, the Manchester Airports Group, are concerned by the leaks that have circulated in the past week, that a runway at Stansted is not on the short list. The Sunday Times says MAG will demand a full analysis of how the Airports Commission came to their decision, how independent the process has been, and they will want to see all the methodology of how the decision was reached. They would question the integrity of the process, if only Heathrow is selected as the runway location.  MAG claim a new Stansted runway could be built for £4 billion, while a new  Heathrow runway would cost £14 – 18 billion. Meanwhile, Stansted’s owners are just working to build its passenger numbers back to where they were 7 years ago. With the airport currently operating at only half its permitted capacity a 2nd runway is not commercially viable, and it would be completely unacceptable to local communities on environmental grounds. This challenge by MAG is strangely ironic considering the legal challenge by Stop Stansted Expansion, against the Commission, due to potential bias because of the involvement of MAG’s Geoff Muirhead in the process.

 

Earlier:

Stansted’s submission to Airports Commission  (pdf 72 pages)


 

Owners of Stansted, MAG, submit their plans for a 2nd runway – or to become a 4-runway hub

July 19, 2013    MAG, the owner of Stansted, are submitting their proposals for a 2nd runway to the Airports Commission. They also believe it has the potential to become a UK future 4 runway hub airport. MAG argues that the airport offers the cheapest and least environmentally damaging location (quite how it could do that, on a countryside location is unclear) for a 4-runway airport and estimate that it would cost £10 billion, although no detailed plans have been drawn up. Local campaign group, Stop Stansted Expansion, said that the MAG proposals were reheating plans put forward back in 2002 that were withdrawn by BAA, the former owners, in 2010. SSE’s chairman said: “We really shouldn’t have to go through this whole argument again just three years after the last threat was lifted. We are profoundly disappointed that MAG has behaved in this opportunistic and irresponsible way. With the airport currently operating at only half its permitted capacity a 2nd runway – never mind a 4-runway hub double the size of Heathrow today – is completely unnecessary on business grounds and it would be completely unacceptable on environmental grounds.” MAG has to admit that it could serve almost double the current number of passengers, without any more infrastructure for some years.

Click here to view full story…

 

Below are the three images of possible runway locations from the Stansted airport submission

Stansted’s submission to Airports Commission  (pdf 72 pages)

Stansted one north west runway

Stansted one east runway

Stansted hub airport with 4 runways

 

 

CAA aviation statistics

Terminal Passengers

Number of passengers (thousands)
UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 10.3)  Terminal Passengers  2002 – 2012
2012    17,464,792  (down – 3.2% on 2011)
2011    18,042,400  (down – 2.8 % on 2010))
2010    18,562  (down – 7% on 2009)     
2009   19,951.7  (down -10.7% on 2008)
2008    22,340   (down -6% on 2007)
2007    23,759  (no increase)
2006    23,680
2005    21,992
2000    11,858
1996     4,808
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“Here we go again” – SSE slams opportunistic, irresponsible and pointless expansion proposals for Stansted

July 19, 2013    Proposals from the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) to develop Stansted into a 2-runway, or even a 4-runway, airport have been described by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) as “opportunistic, irresponsible and pointless”. SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “It is of little consolation that MAG has framed its proposals in an unenthusiastic, half-hearted way which grudgingly admits that it would be ‘willing’ to add an extra runway or runways at Stansted, about 15 years from now, if that’s what the Airports Commission and the Government decide is best. This will be seen by many as an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for any decision to expand the airport.” The MAG proposals resurrect the expansion options for Stansted put forward by the Government in July 2002. These all came to nothing but it took an 8-year battle before BAA conceded defeat and withdrew its plans for a 2nd runway. Between 2002 to 2010 needless stress and anxiety was caused to those whose homes were threatened by the bulldozer and over a £1billion was wiped off local house prices – all for nothing. Now, just 3 years later, there is the prospect of another prolonged battle over the same issue.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Zac Goldsmith warns Cameron that going back on his promise on Heathrow would never be forgiven in west London

Zac Goldsmith. the Conservative MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, has said the main party leaders should “come clean” about the expansion of Heathrow. He also questioned the independence of the Airports Commission’s interim report, to be published on 17th. The Conservative Party insisted the Commission’s report was independent – but Zac said: “It looks very much like George Osborne in particular has been knocking it about in the last few days so that what finally emerges on Tuesday will not just be about Heathrow expansion. We will have a few other synthetic options thrown in as well just to enable the government to maintain that ambiguity, cynically I believe, until after the next election.”  Zac also said that David Cameron himself has to think very carefully about what he says on Heathrow. “Politically a U-turn on this issue would be catastrophic for him. You have to remember it wasn’t just a few party speeches, David Cameron went to every single constituency affected and stood up and said ‘no ifs, no buts, there will be no Heathrow expansion’.” If Cameron went back on this promise it “would be an off-the-scale betrayal and he will never be forgiven in west London”.
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Zac Goldsmith challenges leaders over Heathrow expansion

14.12.2013 (BBC)

The main party leaders should “come clean” about the expansion of Heathrow Airport, a Conservative MP has said.

Zac Goldsmith said it would be “catastrophic” for Prime Minister David Cameron if he reversed his earlier position and supported a third runway.

Mr Goldsmith also questioned the independence of an interim report by the Airports Commission on airport expansion to be published next week.

The Conservative Party insisted the report was independent.

Its final report is due to be published after the next general election in 2015.

Mr Goldsmith, whose Richmond Park and North Kingston constituency in south-west London would be affected by Heathrow expansion, told BBC Newsnight: “This review was always supposed to be an independent, arm’s-length review. It seems very clear now that it’s nothing of the sort.

“It looks very much like [Chancellor] George Osborne in particular has been knocking it about in the last few days so that what finally emerges on Tuesday will not just be about Heathrow expansion.

“We will have a few other synthetic options thrown in as well just to enable the government to maintain that ambiguity, cynically I believe, until after the next election.”

‘Accepting expansion’

The head of the Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies, has said the “provisional conclusion” is that extra runway capacity would be needed in the South East in the coming decades.

Includes a good 7  minute film clip, including comments from Zac  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25375563

Zac Goldsmith: “Politically, a U-turn on this issue would be catastrophic for David Cameron”

The expansion of Heathrow has been a divisive issue, with Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson proposing a new airport hub to the east of the capital and others backing an expansion of either Stansted in Essex or Gatwick in West Sussex.

Labour had approved an extra, third runway at Heathrow, but the plan was abandoned by the coalition government when it took power in May 2010.

Mr Goldsmith, who has been a leading opponent of the expansion, has promised to trigger a by-election if his party’s position changed and would stand down as a Conservative if the 2015 manifesto supported Heathrow expansion.

“I think, because of what we know was in the original first draft of this report, irrespective of what is produced on Tuesday, we know that if the parties accept this report in general they are accepting Heathrow expansion,” he said.

“I think they need to come clean about that.”

‘Never forgiven’

He continued: “David Cameron himself has to really think very carefully about this.

“Politically a U-turn on this issue would be catastrophic for him. You have to remember it wasn’t just a few party speeches, David Cameron went to every single constituency affected and stood up and said ‘no ifs, no buts, there will be no Heathrow expansion’.

Mr Goldsmith said a reversal of positions by the prime minister on the issue “would be an off-the-scale betrayal and he will never be forgiven in west London”.

The Conservative Party made no comment on Mr Goldsmith’s remarks.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has accused David Cameron of setting up the commission “to provide cover for a U-turn on Heathrow”.

Expansion of Heathrow “would be wrong for London and wrong for the country”, the London mayor told the Daily Telegraph.

Earlier this week, Slough, Ealing and Hounslow councils said the closing of Heathrow to open a new hub airport in the capital would be “devastating”, with up to 70,000 local jobs put at risk.

Map showing three possible locations for a third runway
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25375563
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Heathrow airport plans in relation to the reservoirs that supply part of London’s water

Plans drawn up by Heathrow airport, or others, to show indicative locations for new runways to the south and west show them in the areas where reservoirs are now. There are the Queen Mother reservoir; the Wraysbury; the King George VI; and the Staines reservoirs. Together they are an important water resource for London, for which water requirements grow each year as the city’s population increases. There are huge technical problems in building a runway across part of an important reservoir, the ground levels being one. With climate change likely to make future water supplies less predictable, Thames Water anticipates that there will be a slight drop, of perhaps 5%, in its water availability in 2040 compared to 2012. Meanwhile it forecast “a total increase in population in our area of between 2.0 million and 2.9 million people by 2040 – three quarters of which is forecast in London.  Overall, we forecast household water demand to increase by approximately 250 Ml/d” (mega litres per day). Household water is only one sector using water. Creating a huge new reservoir to replace one removed by a Heathrow runway would be an immense undertaking. One was proposed, and rejected, near Abingdon, in 2011. Even transporting water into the Thames from the Severn would have huge costs and environmental implications.
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Below is a range of articles and bits of information on the water / reservoir / Heathrow issue.

 

HEATHROW AIRPORT EXPANSION

THE RESERVOIR AND NATURE CONSERVATION  ISSUES  – by Wraysbury Parish  Council

THE RESERVOIR ISSUE

The South Western Option, as published by Heathrow Airport, will destroy King George V1
Reservoir, and will impinge considerably on Wraysbury Reservoir. The document published by Heathrow Airport, entitled ‘A New Approach’, on page 26 states: ‘This option presents a more complex construction challenge due to the runway being constructed over a reservoir’.

How will this be achieved?

The banks of Wraysbury Reservoir at the southern end rise to approximately 70 feet above the surrounding land. When the reservoir is full, water reaches to approximately 5 feet below the top of the banks. It has been suggested that a ‘platform’ will be constructed to carry the runway and the two parallel taxiways over the reservoir. Such a platform would need to be at least 75 feet above the surrounding land. A 75 foot high embankment would need to be constructed across Staines Moor and through the village of Wraysbury. Such a monstrosity, if constructed, would raise manoeuvring aircraft way into the air, spreading their noise over a wide area.

If the runways were to be raised up to a height of approximately 75 feet, how would heavy aircraft climb up onto it? Aircraft are very sensitive to gradient when taxying. A large increase in engine power is required to negotiate even a small slope. Increasing engine power
significantly above idle while taxying is very undesirable and dangerous, as it greatly increases the risk of blast damage to other aircraft and adjacent ground equipment.

The use of massive winches or large lifts belongs in the realms of fantasy. Building a platform over the reservoir is therefore completely impractical.

The removal of the King George VI Reservoir is relatively simple. It would need to be drained, and the concrete, ballast and clay banks would then be used to partially fill the huge hole which would then be left. (The reservoirs go down at least 25 feet below ground level, to the London Clay strata which underly the gravel). Extra material would need to be imported to complete this infilling.

Wraysbury Reservoir would present a much more complex challenge. To construct a runway
at ground level, the reservoir would need to be drained, and the banks at the southern end
would need to be demolished.

A new bank would then need to be constructed further north, clear of the proposed runway and parallel taxiways. It would have to be carefully keyed into the existing banks to make the reservoir waterproof.

The banks of Wraysbury Reservoir are constructed with three main components. A wide puddled clay core makes the bank waterproof. This needs to be constructed with great care. It is keyed well into the impervious London Clay strata which lie about 25 feet below the surface. It would be difficult to key a new clay core into the existing one, which is about 45 years old.

The remainder of the bank is constructed of ballast, which was excavated on site. This
provides the structural stability, and supports the inner clay core.

……

Full document including more on conservation is at  http://www.wraysburyparishcouncil.gov.uk/includes/SWOptionReservoirandEcological2.pdf

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From the Mayor of London’s Draft Water Strategy, August 2009

[a few excerpts....]

“The pressure on London’s water resources is increasing. During a dry year there is an
estimated shortfall of 200 million litres a day, which is expected to increase over the longer
term.

Climate change and an increasing population are expected to add to pressure on water supply and water resources. Although the biological and chemical quality of London’s water resources has improved, they were still (in 2004) the worst of any region in England.

The implementation of the European Union’s Water Framework Directive is likely to lead to
improvements in the water quality of London’s waterways.

A significant proportion of the capital’s water supply network dates from the Victorian era
and leakage results in a considerable amount of water being lost on a daily basis. Water
companies in London are working towards agreed leakage targets to reduce the amount
of leakage from the network, and have a duty to promote water efficiency. Thames Water
has plans to raise the level of metering in London to 77% within 15 years which could
potentially have an adverse economic effect on vulnerable groups if household water costs rise. An appropriate tariff structure could reduce these impacts.

.

and

.

The population of London is projected to increase by 6.6% to 2026, and to meet this growth the London Plan includes a target of 30,500 new homes per year. This population increase will also need the associated public and social infrastructure, transport, education, health-care, green spaces etc, and will place increasing demand on London’s resources, including water.

Climate change is another cross-cutting issue that will affect all aspects of life in London, and
may impact particularly on water related issues such as flooding and the reliability of supply.”

… from

http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/archives/water-strategy-nts-09.pdf

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Thames Water’s website says:

“We forecast a total increase in population in our area of between 2.0 million and 2.9 million people by 2040 – three quarters of which is forecast in London.  Overall, we forecast household water demand to increase by approximately 250 Ml/d.

Thames Water says:
“Every day we supply on average 2,600 million litres of drinking water to around 9 million people across London and the Thames Valley. In London most of the water we treat comes from rivers, while outside London water is mainly taken from underground aquifers via boreholes.”


Waterwise says:

“In the UK every person uses approximately 150 litres of water a day, a figure that has been growing every year by 1% since 1930. If you take into account the water that is needed to produce the food and products you consume in your day-to-day life (known as embedded water) you actually consume 3400 litres per day.

“This is quite alarming if you consider that the UK has less available water per person than most other European countries. If you live in the South east of England it is even more so, as this part of the country is the most water stressed.”

http://www.waterwise.org.uk/data/resources/25/Water_factsheet_2012.pdf

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From Thames Water’s Revised Draft Water Resources Management Plan 2015 – 2040

https://www.thameswater.co.uk/tw/common/downloads/wrmp/Section_0.pdf

with more detail at https://www.thameswater.co.uk/about-us/5392.htm

This shows they predict less water to be available over this period. The population will be larger, and the water companies depend on less water being used per person.

Thames Water forecasts to2040

https://www.thameswater.co.uk/tw/common/downloads/wrmp/Section_0.pdf

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This shows the runways near Heathrow, as they are at present:

Stanwell Moor sw of Heathrow

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The Wraysbury Reservoir is a water supply reservoir for London lying just west of the M25 near the village of Wraysbury and Heathrow airport. The reservoir was begun in 1967 and completed in 1970 with a capacity of 34,000 million litres.

The reservoir is owned and operated by Thames Water and 400 million litres of water are pumped daily from an inlet at Datchet on the River Thames. A neighbouring reservoir is the King George VI Reservoir, opened in 1947, which is supplied from Hythe End. To keep grass on the reservoir short and make inspections easier, Thames Water maintains a flock of sheep on the earthen banks.

Wraysbury Reservoir is within a Site of Special Scientific Interest which also includes gravel pits at Wraysbury.

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The King George VI Reservoir lies to the south of Stanwell Moor near Stanwell and Heathrow.  The reservoir was opened in November 1947 and named after the then reigning monarch King George VI. It is owned by Thames Water.

The reservoir occupies 350 acres (1.4 km2) and holds 3,493 million imperial gallons [15.8 million litres] (15,880,000 m³). Its maximum height above the original ground level is 56 ft (17 m). Like the other Lower Thames reservoirs, it is of traditional earthen dam construction, with a puddled clay core supported by ballast embankments built from materials excavated on site. It is entirely man-made, as the area had no natural topographical features that could be dammed off to create a reservoir. To make inspecting the integrity of the reservoir easier, Thames Water maintains a commercial flock of sheep on the reservoir banks to keep the grass on the reservoir banks close-cropped.

The reservoir was completed in 1939 but was left empty due to the outbreak of the Second World War. It was reputed that a mock Clapham Junction railway station was built inside to confuse the Luftwaffe. The reservoir was used for fog dispersal experiments in the development of the FIDO landing system.

This reservoir and the adjacent Staines Reservoirs receive their input from the River Thames at Hythe End just above Bell Weir Lock. The Staines Aqueduct continues eastwards, passing the Water Treatment Works at Kempton Park, to supply the Water Treatment Works at Hampton. The other adjacent reservoir, Wraysbury Reservoir, is situated to the west on the other side of the M25.

The reservoir forms part of the Staines Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest. The reservoirs carry nationally important wintering populations of tufted ducks, pochard, goosander and goldeneye.

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.

The Staines Reservoirs lie to the east of the King George VI Reservoir near Heathrow airport in the county of Surrey within the Colne Valley regional park. The village of Stanwell is nearby as is the town of Staines. The two reservoirs are placed between the A3044 and the A30. They were built in 1901.

The area has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as it carries important wintering populations of tufted ducks, pochard, goosander and goldeneye.

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The Queen Mother Reservoir lies between the M4 and the M25 to the west of London. It is 475 acres (1.922 km2) in size or about 1 km in diameter – making it one of the largest inland areas of water in Southern England. It is managed by Thames Water.

This is one of a number of reservoirs to the west of London and was built in 1976. Its water is pumped from the River Thames nearby. The water improves in quality during its retention in the reservoir as solids settle and organic contaminants are adsorbed, absorbed and degraded through a combination of natural biological processes aided by sunlight and oxygenation. Water from the reservoir is treated (often using slow sand filters) before being put into supply as London tap water.

The reservoir lies within the Colne Valley regional park and like other local reservoirs is popular for sailing and bird-watching. Petrels have been spotted at this reservoir.

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Supplementary Written Evidence from Foster + Partners (AS 39A) on Aviation Strategy, to the Transport Select Committee

given to Parliament on 7.3.2013

(Foster supporting its plan for an airport in the Thames estuary, and opposing growth at Heathrow).

Comments on Policy Exchange four runway proposal for Heathrow

20.

The proposal would require the closure of the Wraysbury reservoir and we have assessed the main impacts on the water supply system, environment and the road network.

Water supply system

21.

The reservoir stores 34,000 million litres of water and 400 million litres of water are pumped daily into the reservoir from River Thames at an inlet at Datchet. The reservoir is part of the Thames Valley stored water system of a network of 12 reservoirs serving London.

The reservoirs are pumped storage schemes dependent on raw water from the River Thames.

22.

The closure of Wraysbury would have serious implications for household and businesses in London particularly in a dry year, such as the [early] 2012 drought where water restrictions were introduced. Without Wraysbury, more severe water use restrictions could have resulted from the drought with significant costs to businesses in addition to costs to households.

23.

Finding a replacement reservoir with a suitable source of water would take a minimum of 10 years from concept to completion under current planning regulations. Presumably the costs of this would also have to be covered by the airport.

Environmental impact

24.

Wraysbury Reservoir is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in its own right. It is also part of the South West London Waterbodies Special Protection Area and a Ramsar site. As such, the normal environmental regulations apply for a European site. These include the need to comply with the Habitats Regulations, the need for an assessment /Appropriate Assessment and the need to prove imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI) for closing the reservoir and to ensure provisions for compensation.

It is worth noting that an expanded Heathrow would significantly increase the numbers of flights over the centre of London, and the number of people in the Capital suffering unacceptable levels of noise.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmtran/writev/aviation/m39a.htm

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4 March 2011 (BBC)

Abingdon £1bn reservoir plan rejected by government

Artist's impression
Thames Water’s computer-generated image of how the reservoir would look

Plans for a £1bn reservoir in Oxfordshire to supply more than eight million people over the next 25 years have been rejected by the government.

Thames Water wants to build a site on four square miles of land near Abingdon to help ensure future demand is met.

The bid went to a public inquiry but the secretary of state said there was “no immediate need” for such a site.

Thames Water said it would look at developing plans for a smaller reservoir at Abingdon.

In a statement the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “The secretary of state [Caroline Spelman] has accepted all of the recommendations included in the planning inspector’s report.

‘Damage environment’

“The report included a number of complex recommendations that require a significant amount of further work on the part of Thames Water.”

Defra said Thames Water had been told to scrap the current plan and consider a proposal for a smaller reservoir.

The water company said the reservoir, which would have held 100 million tonnes of water, was necessary to meet future demand for water in the South East but that it was willing to alter its plans.

Martin Baggs, Thames Water’s chief executive, said: “The [planning] inspector has specifically asked us to develop a proposal for a smaller reservoir at Abingdon, which will be one of a number of options available to us.”

Campaigners had fought the plan, claiming there was no need for such a large reservoir and that it would damage the environment.

Leader of the Vale of White Horse Council Tony de Vere said: “We are delighted with this decision.

“Local residents were very worried about the impact of such a large reservoir and we share their relief that the plan has been axed.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-12651131

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Related BBC Stories


 

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17 August 2010 (BBC)

Abingdon reservoir inquiry draws to close

A public inquiry into plans for a massive reservoir in Oxfordshire is due to come to an end this week.

Thames Water is proposing the development, which would cover four square miles of land south west of Abingdon and cost £1bn.

The water company says the reservoir is necessary to meet future demand for water in the South East. It will finish making its case on Wednesday.

Campaigners say it is not needed and would damage the environment.

The Cotswold Canal Trust, the Group Against Reservoir Development (GARD) and the Environment Agency have all submitted their closing statements this week.

The inquiry began in June at the Oxford Conference Centre in Park End Street. The result is expected later this yea

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-10996972

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.

15 June 2010 (BBC)

Inquiry into £1bn Oxfordshire reservoir plan

Proposed site near Abingdon
The site was identified more than five years ago

A public inquiry has begun in Oxford into plans to build a £1bn reservoir.

Thames Water (TW) wants to build the facility, which would hold 100 million tonnes of water, on land near Abingdon.

A spokesman said water supplies in the area were already stretched and the reservoir would help ensure demand is met over the next 25 years.

Campaigners the Group Against Reservoir Development (GARD) claim the plan is not a “cost effective and environmentally sustainable” option.

In a statement, it said: “GARD’s objective is to persuade the Government inspector chairing the inquiry to conclude that TW’s Abingdon reservoir is not needed.”

‘Viable alternatives’

The Wantage & Didcot MP Ed Vaizey has campaigned for a public inquiry, which he hopes will allow all the arguments to be heard.

He added: “I have always maintained that Thames Water must be held to account and its plans scrutinised.

“There are perfectly viable alternatives to a reservoir, as well as clear ways to reduce water consumption so that a reservoir is not necessary.”

TW identified the South Oxfordshire site more than five years ago and the inquiry follows a public consultation in 2007.

Martin Baggs, of TW, said the company supplies water to 8.5 million people.

“We take this responsibility extremely seriously. After consulting widely, our customers have told us they do not want us to take any risks with the security of their water supply,” he added.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10316430

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.

5.1.2007 (BBC)

Need for reservoir ‘not proven’

The Environment Agency has said it is not convinced there is a need to build a £1bn reservoir in Oxfordshire.The controversial development near Abingdon is designed to safeguard London, Oxfordshire and Swindon’s water supplies in case of a drought.But the plans would also mean that some residents could be forced to move.A series of public exhibitions showing detailed plans for the reservoir – the biggest to be built in the UK in 25 years – starts in Abingdon on Saturday.The exhibitions will focus on what the reservoir may look like, how it would work, the impact of construction on the local communities and local wildlife and recreation.A consultation began in September last year but the Environment Agency said Thames Water has failed to respond fully to some central issues and had not proved a need for the reservoir.Craig Woolhouse, area manager for the agency, said they agreed that Thames Water could not meet the forecast growth in water demand without finding a new water source.But he added: “We still believe the company can take its leakage reduction and demand management much further to reduce impacts on the environment from use of water.”

Water watchdog Ofwat has described Thames Water as the UK’s leakiest supplier.

Computer image of the reservoir beach

Some people could be forced to sell their homes

The company said it would continue its discussions with the Environment Agency and the county and district councils, to address issues raised.

The reservoir would be half the size of Windermere in Cumbria and hold 150 billion litres of water pumped from the River Thames.

If the plan is approved, the reservoir could be built within 15 years.

Richard Aylard, Thames Water’s environmental director, said they are inviting local people to have their say on the plans.

He said: “We are aiming to help people understand the scale and technical requirements of the reservoir, including what construction will be necessary and where pipelines and treatment works might be sited.

“We want this to be a real opportunity for local people to help shape their environment.”

PROPOSED RESERVOIR
map
1. Reservoir
2. Possible construction area
3. Existing East Hanney to Steventon road

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.

STATEMENT BY GARD

4th March 2011

RESERVOIR REJECTED – PLAN MUST BE RE-EVALUATED

The Secretary of State for DEFRA has now published the report by Inspector Wendy Burden on the Thames Water (TW) Water Resources Plan following the Public Inquiry last year.

She has accepted the Inspector’s conclusions which were that the plan did not meet the statutory requirements under the Water Industry Act, and that the measures Thames Water proposed should be adopted were not fully justified by the evidence.

The Inspector concluded that changes to the plan were needed including:

• Deletion of TW’s premise of ‘long term risk’ associated with future, unknown, sustainability reductions.

• Deletion of all programmes with the objective of meeting that long term risk.

• Inclusion of a wider range of feasible options.

• Changes to be made to the methodology for programme appraisal to bring it in line with good industry practice, with a clear description of the process set out in the plan.

• Use of a sensitivity analysis to cover the potential for future sustainability reductions and identifying a choice of options from the feasible options list to meet the different levels of sustainability reductions.

The Inspector also believed that the minimum necessary, should the Secretary of State take a pragmatic approach, would be for Thames Water to demonstrate a security of supply, and to revise its programme appraisal to identify a new preferred programme for the London and South west Oxfordshire water resource zones.

GARD concludes from this that the reservoir proposal is therefore ruled out for the immediate future.

GARD has played a major part in opposing Thames Water’s flawed plan to build a massive reservoir on 5,000 acres of productive farmland South West of Abingdon.

The proposal would cost £1billion, take about 10 years to construct and result in considerable additional charges to consumers.

At the Public Inquiry last summer GARD was represented by an outstanding QC, Nathalie Lieven, using the evidence of two nationally acknowledged expert water resources witnesses, Chris Binnie and John Lawson. Their evidence clearly demonstrated that the need for the reservoir had not been proved, and that if the need for a large additional water resource arose in future there were cheaper, quicker and less environmentally damaging alternatives to the reservoir which the company had not properly considered.

In addition to GARD’s evidence, the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England), Oxfordshire County Council, the Vale of the White Horse District Council, and significantly, the Environment Agency presented well prepared cases against the plan.

The Secretary of State’s ruling means that Thames Water must now investigate fully and objectively several alternative long term water resource proposals, including Severn-Thames transfer, which they failed to consider properly in the preparation of their 2,000 page plan, because, it must be assumed, Thames Water’s owners regarded their water customers’ interests were secondary to those of their shareholders.

GARD is most grateful for the support given by our local MPs, Ed Vaizey and Nicola Blackwood, other elected representatives including Iain Brown, and of course our members.

http://www.abingdonreservoir.org.uk/downloads/GARD_statement_04-03-11.pdf

 

 

 

 

 


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Information from GARD (Group Against Reservoir Development)

THAMES WATER’S DRAFT PLAN FOR 2015-2040 

BACKGROUND: Following the public inquiry held in 2010 into Thames Water’s 2009 Plan, the inspector found that the TW’s proposals were not fit for purpose, not compliant (over estimated demand) and that some important alternatives to the proposed Abingdon reservoir (Upper Thames Reservoir UTR) south west of Abingdon had not been properly investigated, particularly the options involving water transfers from R Severn to R Thames to supply London’s reservoirs. The inspector ruled out TW’s proposed 100 million cubic meter reservoir. Consequently, TW’s plan was subsequently amended as a result of these findings.

NEW PLAN: In March 2013 TW posted their next draft Water Resources Management Plan (dWRMP 14) covering the 25 year period to 2040, on their website. It called for public consultation by 23 July 2013. It is not for GARD to detail TW’s plan here but, in general terms, TW is forecasting an increasing deficit in the available water supply resulting from their forecast population growth and climate change trends over the 25 year period ahead.

TW plans to address this deficit by reducing per capita consumption through public education and compulsory metering to 142 litres per head per day (from the current level of about 160 litres per head per day). TW also intend to continue their leakage reduction programme, but on a very surprisingly unambitious scale and then only, until 2020. Thereafter, TW maintain leakage at a constant level rather than reducing it to the considerably lower UK water industry average which TW themselves said was achievable in their previous plan.

It is GARD’s view that the actual deficit will be considerably smaller than TW’s plan states, and that their leakage reduction proposals should not only be much more ambitious but should extend well beyond 2020.

On the water supply side, TW’s plan envisages a large increase in re-use of treated effluent as a sustainable method of increasing supply, but their method proposed is based on an energy intensive process known as reverse osmosis (RO). Although RO is 100% safe, TW believe there is a risk that public consultation will reveal aesthetic objections to recycled treated water usage, a concern that would also apply to more conventional, alternative treatment/purification processes.

To ensure adequate supply beyond 2030, TW’s dWRMP 14 plan intends to bring in a major new resource from one or more of the following three options, each of which requires considerable further research work:

  • A new UTR reservoir near Abingdon of, as yet, unspecified capacity.
  • Further development of water re-use based on improved treatment methods.
  • R Severn to R Thames bulk water transfers to top up TW’s London reservoirs, as required.

To achieve cost effective, long term and sustainable solutions, the challenge still faced by Thames Water is to carry out essential environmental, technical and economic research work on each of these three main options over the five years leading up to their next 5 year plan from 2019.

GARD is convinced that bulk transfers from River Severn into River Thames will prove to be the most appropriate, least costly and least environmentally damaging solution. In contrast to other alternatives, it offers very significant scope for future increases and development of water supplies for London, particularly when additional resources are offered from United Utilities’ Vyrnwy Reservoir are included. Crucially, this would eliminate any dependency on the R Thames flows or on ground water supply sources.

http://www.abingdonreservoir.org.uk/thameswater.html

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There are various publications from GARD at http://www.abingdonreservoir.org.uk/downloads.html

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Mr John Lawson MA, FREng, FICE, FCIWEM

Key technical advisor to GARD

John Lawson is a civil engineer specialising in water resources engineering with a degree in mechanical sciences from Cambridge University. Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) since 1985 and of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) since 1988, he was invited in 2002 to become a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers in recognition of his contribution to water resources engineering.

He served on the Water Resources Expert Panel of CIWEM from 1994 to 2002 and was its Chairman from 1997 to 2002. He served on the Water Board of the Institution of Civil Engineers from 2002 to 2007, and was its Chairman from 2003 to 2007.

He worked for Halcrow Group Ltd., Consulting Engineers, from 1968 to 2007. Throughout his career he was engaged on projects for water supplies, flood control, irrigation and hydropower, becoming a Director of Halcrow Group Ltd. from 1990, and Managing Director of its water business from 2003 to 2007. He has been responsible for numerous water resource planning studies in England and Wales, with a particular focus on minimising the impact of abstractions on the environment.

From 1991 to 1994 he was responsible for Halcrow’s work assisting the National Rivers Authority to develop its water resource strategy for England and Wales, which was published in 1994. This involved helping the NRA and water companies to examine a wide range of strategic options to meet future demands, including the Severn transfer and the Abingdon reservoir. His role in this was project manager, coordinating the work of the NRA and all the water companies concerned, including assisting the NRA in analysing the strategic options and developing their strategy.

Since his retirement from Halcrow he has worked as a voluntary water resources adviser to Action for the River Kennet, and the Wye & Usk Foundation. He is also a Trustee of the Thames Restoration Trust. In 2007 he prepared a report for Halcrow on transferring water to the Thames catchment from Wales, including the Severn transfer.

 

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Plans for new reservoirs

26.10.2003 (BBC)
The reservoir plan for Abingdon

New houses being built in the South East mean water demand is rising. Seven new reservoirs could be built across the South East to cope with the rise in demand for water.

A joint investigation by BBC’s Countryfile programme and the Independent on Sunday discovered that water companies are planning to flood thousands of acres of farmland.

Among the places earmarked for new reservoirs are Canterbury, in Kent, and Abingdon in Oxfordshire, where plans which had been discarded years ago have now been revived.

Thames Water first presented plans for a reservoir in Abingdon in 1990 but they were withdrawn after being told they had to deal with leakage from water mains first.

Possible water restriction

Now it has been revealed the water company has revived the scheme and has included the proposal in its business plan.

If built, the reservoir would cover half of farmer Neil Walker’s fields and buildings.

He said: “We could literally end up under 40 feet of water.”

But water companies say new reservoirs are needed because of all the new homes being built and the increased amount of water being used with dishwashers and power showers.

Dr Peter Spillet, from Thames Water, said: “When you look ahead 20 to 25 years we can see a big gap developing between supply and demand and we have used the more conventional more economical, least cost approaches we can think of.

The site of the planned reservoir in Kent
Mid Kent Water already owns some land earmarked for the reservoir
“A large, regulating reservoir up stream would be a good solution.”

The seven reservoirs would only be built if permission was granted from the government and the Environment Agency.

But Baroness Young, Environment Agency chief executive, said: “The point we are making in being pretty resistant to reservoirs is that most companies that put forward proposals for reservoirs are not thinking about how they can reduce customers’ demand and manage their leakage effectively as a first step.”

She also said if there was a dry winter there may be restrictions on water usage in the spring and summer next year.

In Kent, plans have been revived for a mile-and-a-half long reservoir in Broad Oak. The proposals were first drawn up in 1974.

Mid Kent Water has said it is needed because of the thousands of new homes planned for the county.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/3215537.stm

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Policy Exchange map of their plans for Heathrow …..

Compared to the existing situation (and proposed location of a 3rd runway). The existing runways are about a mile apart. The Policy Exchange seems to be putting the runways in each pair very close together.

 

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Heathrow south west runway proposal Stanwell Moor gone 17.7.2013

 

 Heathrow press release is at http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/Heathrow-unveils-a-new-approach-to-third-runway-5e2.aspx

Heathrow unveils a new approach to third runway

17 July, 2013 (Heathrow Airport  press release)

Illustrative map indicating location of south western runway, over current reservoirs.

Third runway south west 
2 other runway plans from  Heathrow at http://news.sky.com/story/1116793/heathrow-options-for-third-runway-revealed

 

 

 

 

 

Read more »

Heathrow residents fears as 3rd runway threatens homes and their communities’ futures

Barely three years after plans for a third runway were scrapped by the incoming government and abandoned by Heathrow, the airport has restated its case and returned with even bolder expansion plans.  One local historian living in Stanwell remembered the Terminal 4 inquiry: “I sat in the room for the Terminal 4 inquiry – not even Terminal 5 – and the planning inspector said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I can promise you this is the very last one.’ You can’t believe them when they say this is the end.” According to a single well-placed source, the draft shortlist to be presented by the Airports Commission on 17th December contained three options, each including a Heathrow runway. People due to be badly affected if Heathrow is allowed a runway fear it will “swallow up the borough”. Although Stanwell Moor is threatened with total destruction, the people in its 850 homes will be compensated and can move away – regarded by some, at least, as better than being trapped in unsaleable houses. A local councillor said: “I liken it to a funeral – it’s not so much the people who die as the ones who are left behind.” Communities both to the north and the south fear the dreadful prospect of being left close to the end of a runway, but not near enough to be demolished.
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Heathrow residents gag as third runway threatens to swallow up borough

Barely three years after plans for a third runway were scrapped, Heathrow has returned to the front of the queue with bolder expansion plans

By Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent  (Guardian)

13.12.2013

Banner protesting against third runway

A banner protesting against a third runway is seen in the village of Sipson near Heathrow Airport in west London August 28, 2012. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

The people of Stanwell, bordering Heathrow to the south, have a proud record of rooting out the untrustworthy. Beryl Wilkins, a local historian, lives a stone’s throw from a former school built in 1624 as a bequest from the lord of the manor, Lord Knyvett – the man, she says, who felt the collar of one Guy Fawkes.

Some undistinguished moments in Heathrow’s own history she witnessed first hand: “I sat in the room for the Terminal 4 inquiry – not even Terminal 5 – and the planning inspector said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I can promise you this is the very last one.’ You can’t believe them when they say this is the end.”

Barely three years after plans for a third runway were scrapped by the incoming government and abandoned by Heathrow, the airport has restated its case and returned with even bolder expansion plans.

Locals fear that next week’s interim report from the Airports Commission will set the gears in motion towards the next runway. In his one major statement, commission chairman Sir Howard Davies said he believed additional airport capacity was needed in the south-east, and promised to narrow down the candidates for new runways to a workable shortlist, to avert blight and allow the ultimate political decision to be taken as soon as the timetable demanded.

According to a single well-placed source, the draft shortlist contained three options, with plans submitted by London mayor Boris Johnson for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary eliminated on cost grounds, leaving a choice of a three-runway Heathrow, a four-runway Heathrow, or expansion at both Heathrow and Gatwick. The source claimed the narrowing of focus had alarmed David Cameron and George Osborne, who set up the commission to delay engaging with a toxic political question until after the election.

Even should the estuary plan, or Johnson’s alternative of a vastly enlarged Stansted, remain as options after Davies publishes on Tuesday, many will now suspect the favoured option is an ever-expanding Heathrow.

Little wonder that neighbours such as Wilkins can claim Heathrow, unchecked, would “swallow up the borough”. She won’t reveal her age, but says: “We used to go to the farm there to get milk in the morning, in Heathrow village. It was lovely.” Stanwell, which claims a mention in the Domesday Book, sits on the southern perimeter. But when Heathrow published a new potential runway location in June, Stanwell was suddenly on the map as a small residential peninsula with airport on three sides, and directly under the flight path.

The runway obliterates a reservoir and the neighbouring village of Stanwell Moor and “points like a dagger” at the village’s historic heart, in the words of Robert Evans, the county councillor representing both communities. Although Stanwell Moor is threatened with total destruction, the people in its 850 homes will be compensated and can move away – regarded by some, at least, as better than being trapped in unsaleable houses. Evans says: “I liken it to a funeral – it’s not so much the people who die as the ones who are left behind.”

There are similar sentiments in Sipson, the focus of campaigners’ resistance last time round, and now menaced by two of the three potential Heathrow runways. A north-east option would, again, mean demolition – but the worst option, residents say, would be the third: to spare it, demolish neighbouring Harmondsworth and leave Sipson bang at the end of a runway.

Jackie Clark-Basten, proprietor of Hair by Jackie in the centre of Sipson, says the new proposal is “worse than last time”. She said: “They’ve decimated this village. Now they want to put it somewhere else and let us suffer the consequences.”

Hundreds of homeowners and long-term residents left as Heathrow bought up their houses. Jackie’s husband Danny also used to work in the business, until the exodus from Sipson saw trade plummet. “As a men’s barber, it’s worse,” he said.

The couple chose to diversify, with Danny seeking work elsewhere – inevitably, perhaps, finding a job at the airport, as a team leader in British Airways’ cargo division. He talks passionately about the benefits and opportunities of the expanding business, a staging post in flying pharmaceuticals between the US and India. So does he support a third runway, with all it has meant for Sipson? He hesitates, catches his wife’s eye. “I’m not from the village.”

In the hairdresser’s chair, customer Doris Booty, a lifelong resident says: “It’s terrible what they’ve done: when you walk through the village, the windows, the gardens …” She considered selling up but did not go through with it: neighbours left, and Sipson’s is in effect a transient population.

Some recent arrivals are doing their best to counter that. Ian West, a veteran of climate camps, has been living at Grow Heathrow since 2010, a sustainable living project set up on derelict land in the heart of Sipson following the last runway battle. “Although they had won, people here were feeling exhausted. Sipson was left in limbo,” he said.

The schemes – from bike workshops, re-use schemes, events – have demonstrated a long-term commitment, he says. When it comes to fighting new runway plans, he says: “The approach is that we are taking action – we are taking action all the time.” he said.

The options

Heathrow

Europe’s busiest airport aArgues that only a large hub – one with sufficient numbers of connecting flights and passengers – can sustain the international connections business needs. It operates at full capacity, making it susceptible to snow or other disruption. It has submitted plans for three possible new runways.

Gatwick

Wants a second runway, and argues thatit would create genuine competition to benefit passengers. Rejects the hub argument. A and affects far fewer people with noise and pollution – and might present an easier compromise solution politically.

A new Thames estuary airport

Boris Johnson’s vision is pPersuasive on noise abatement and in aviation terms but would require a massive redevelopment of transport links, housing and other infrastructure, that makesing it a rank outsider.

Stansted

Johnson’s second best hope for a four-runway hub. Room to expand but is only half full and there is little appetite from airlines even now.

And the rest…

Among the 50-plus submissions Davies has received, a four-runway Luton, a Severn Estuary hub, a drive-through airport and an orbital high-speed train linking all of London’s airports are expected to be ruled out.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/13/heathrow-residents-third-runway-swallows-borough?CMP=twt_gu

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

11.9.2013

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

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17357

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‘Quick death’ might be better for Stanwell Moor in Heathrow debate

July 12, 2013

A “quick death” for Stanwell Moor is the best-case result for residents – that was the feeling after a meeting on 1st July to discuss the blight of a potential third Heathrow runway through the village. The threat of long term blight and community death are some of the most serious concerns. Kathy Croft, chairman of Stanwell Moor Residents’ Association, said after the gathering: “I would rather a quick death for Stanwell Moor than endure the fate suffered by Sipson.” Heathrow has yet to confirm or deny the reports of plans for a third runway to be built over the Stanwell Moor area – it will publish its submission to the Airports Commission on 17th July. The Stanwell Moor Residents have another meeting with Heathrow scheduled for July 18. A spokesman for Heathrow said: “It is important that those who are most affected by the airport are given the opportunity to put their concerns to Heathrow first hand, and that we listen and respond to them. “We will continue to meet regularly with local communities, such as Stanwell Moor as we move forward through this process.” Mrs Croft said: “I would just like a decision, the last thing we want is to be like Sipson.”

Click here to view full story…

 

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11 years ago

Friday, 2 August, 2002,

Heathrow plan ‘threatens homes’

 Heathrow airport

Heathrow could get a third runway

More than 10,000 homes may have to be demolished around Heathrow because of a massive increase in air pollution if a proposed new runway is built, it is reported.

This far exceeds original estimates outlined by the government last week during its announcement of possible expansion plans at Heathrow and other UK airports.

It said then that only 260 homes would have to be demolished to make way for a new 2,000-metre runway in west London.

However, notes on air quality, which form part of the consultation documents issued at the time of the announcement, say people exposed to pollution above EU limits may also have their homes pulled down.

 Plane approaching Heathrow Airport

Locals in west London oppose any expansion

The Times reports that the document for the south-east states: “By 2015 some 35,000 people could be exposed to an exceedence of the annual average EU limit for nitrogen dioxide if a third runway was built.”

This could be reduced to 5,000 people, but only if the aviation industry makes much faster improvements in engine technology.

Oxides of nitrogen cause lung diseases and breathing problems.

The areas near Heathrow facing the greatest threat from pollution are Sipson, Harlington, Hayes and West Drayton.

The airlines would have to provide reassurances they were dealing with the pollution issue if they are to make the case for the new runway.

This could include responsibility for the cost of funding the purchase and demolition – where necessary – of properties, although they are likely to argue that compensation should come from the government.

‘Minimising the impact’

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: “In answer to the question whether the government would be prepared to see the purchase and demolition of the houses of 35,000 people, or how many houses we would accept being demolished, we have made clear that we want to minimise the adverse impacts of growth in aviation.

“Minimising the impact on people’s homes is an important part of this objective.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2167331.stm

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Extra runways at both Gatwick and Heathrow not viable without ‘illegal’ state aid

Gatwick has complained that “massive” and potentially illegal public subsidies would be needed to support the construction of additional runways at more than one airport in the South East. They say there will be insufficient demand from passengers to support building a second runway at Gatwick and a third at Heathrow at the same time. An injection of taxpayer funds would, therefore, be required to justify the costs, the airport said, although that could potentially breach state aid rules. Gatwick has published a report listing 10 reasons why Heathrow expansion would be bad for Britain in a last ditch attempt to persuade the Airports Commission that its own proposals should be included on a short-list to be published on Tuesday 17th. Rival airports have been growing increasingly concerned after leaks that Sir Howard is likely to short-list only 3 potential options for new runways, all including at least one at Heathrow. Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, said: “We firmly believe all credible options should be considered and taken forward for more detailed assessment during the next phase of the process. This is not, and should not be a two horse race.”
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Extra runways at both Gatwick and Heathrow ‘unviable’ without state aid

Gatwick says it will not be possible to build extra runways at more than one airport in the South East at the same time without public subsidies

A British Airways plane lands above the railway station at Gatwick Airport as a train arrives below it

Gatwick says it would not build a second runway if Heathrow was also given clearance for expansion by the government-backed Airports Commission. Photo: Alamy
By , Leisure and Transport Correspondent

12 Dec 2013

“Massive” and potentially illegal public subsidies would be needed to support the construction of additional runways at more than one airport in the South East of England, Gatwick has claimed.
The West Sussex airport says there will be insufficient demand from passengers to support building a second runway at Gatwick and a third at Heathrow at the same time.

An injection of taxpayer funds would, therefore, be required to justify the costs, the airport said, although that could potentially breach state aid rules.

Gatwick has published a report listing 10 reasons why Heathrow expansion would be bad for Britain in a last ditch attempt to persuade the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, that its own proposals should be included on a short-list to be published on Tuesday.

Sir Howard will slim down 58 recommendations for increasing runway capacity in the South East to just a handful of options to be taken forward for further investigation.

“There are some who call for the Commission to recommend more than one new runway, perhaps at both Heathrow and Gatwick,” Gatwick says in the report.

“We do not believe that this would be viable in the light of forecast traffic growth, and would therefore not be possible without massive (and potentially illegal) public subsidies.

“The commission must make a clear recommendation on where the next runway should be located.”

Rival airports have been growing increasingly concerned amid speculation this week that Sir Howard could short-list three potential options for runway expansion in the South East – all including at least one extra air strip at Heathrow.

Unsubstantiated rumours have been circulating that the short-list will involve a third runway at Heathrow, a four-runway hub at Heathrow and an extra runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick, while proposals for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary or at Stansted could be ditched.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Stansted’s owner, Manchester Airports Group, said: “We firmly believe all credible options should be considered and taken forward for more detailed assessment during the next phase of the process.

“This is not, and should not be a two horse race.”

A Heathrow spokesman said: “There is a clear business case for a third runway at Heathrow regardless of whether Gatwick is also permitted to expand. We do not agree with Gatwick’s stance that there can only be one new runway in the South East and we would welcome a solution in which both airports were allowed to grow to deliver choice for passengers and airlines.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10514124/Extra-runways-at-both-Gatwick-and-Heathrow-unviable-without-state-aid.html

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Earlier

Gatwick chairman says Gatwick could not get their money back on a 2nd runway if Heathrow builds a 3rd

Date added: December 12, 2013

Gatwick’s Chairman says it will not build a second runway if the British government allows a simultaneous expansion at Heathrow. Roy McNulty said building a Gatwick 2nd runway was a “bet the company type of investment” and the timescale of getting returns on the project would double if Heathrow was allowed to expand at the same time. He said Gatwick would also be wary if it was only allowed to expand sometime after Heathrow constructed a 3rd runway. Heathrow would remove the traffic Gatwick would need to run a new runway profitably. His comments were prompted by the leak, a week early, of the Airports Commission’s interim report and its shortlist of schemes for new runways – all of which appear to involve another runway at Heathrow. Gatwick, owned by GIP (who are likely to want to sell it before 2020) suggested in July that they could build a new runway for around £9 billion, rather than over £14 billion for one at Heathrow. lt could take a decade to build either – if they could indeed ever get planning permission and meet all social and environmental constraints.

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