A long list of MPs, Council leaders and senior political figures have an open letter, published in the Guardian, on how taxpayers right across the UK, including those living hundreds of miles away from the south-east, would pay for the expansion of Heathrow. They say lots of promises have been made to lots of people in different parts of the country about the extra domestic routes they can expect if a third Heathrow runway is built. It’s all part of a divide-and-rule strategy which glosses over the health impacts of worsening noise and air pollution in south and west London while cheerily talking up the prospects of improved internal connections from an expanded hub airport. They say the Transport Secretary has a duty to spell out the true costs for taxpayers – and to be realistic about the benefits. On more regional flights, the letter points out that it is airlines, not airports, which decide which routes to fly, and no minister can guarantee in perpetuity the taxpayer subsidies that would be needed to keep “unprofitable” routes open. If the airport is “full” within a few years, it is likely the unprofitable domestic routes would be the first to be cut, so airlines can focus on more profitable point-to-point operations. None of today’s “promises” or assurances can be relied on.
Taxpayers everywhere – including those living hundreds of miles away from the south-east – will all pay for the expansion, write local MPs, lords and council leaders
We are writing to you regarding Heathrow and the hidden costs that we believe need to be explored.
Lots of promises have been made to lots of people in different parts of the country about the extra domestic routes they can expect if a third Heathrow runway is built. It’s all part of a divide-and-rule strategy which glosses over the health impacts of worsening noise and air pollution in south and west London while cheerily talking up the prospects of improved internal connections from an expanded hub airport.
Wherever we live in the UK, we all have a stake in ensuring parliament makes the right decision on Heathrow expansion. We know from the government’s own forecasts that an additional runway can be delivered more quickly and at less cost at Gatwick. There will be a price to pay for Heathrow expansion – and not just in south-east England. The transport secretary has a duty to spell out the true costs for taxpayers – and to be realistic about the benefits.
But it’s the airlines that decide where aircraft fly – not the airport and not the government. You only have to look at BA’s recent decision to halve the number of flights between Heathrow and Leeds Bradford to see how fragile domestic services are. Which minister can guarantee in perpetuity the taxpayer subsidies that would be needed to keep “unprofitable” routes open?
It is far more likely that the eight domestic routes we have today will shrink. The Airports Commission saw these dropping to four by 2030. The only way existing routes can survive – and new routes can be made viable – is if they are subsidised by the government. They cannot be guaranteed.
Of course Heathrow will tell you that a hub airport is the key to better connections. But the official forecasts now say that Heathrow will be full within two years of a third runway opening. At this point the airlines can be expected to switch to more profitable point-to-point operations – squeezing out the remaining domestic routes.
None of today’s “promises” or assurances can be relied on. What is certain is that taxpayers everywhere – including those living hundreds of miles away from the south-east – will all be paying for the expansion.
Cllr Paul Hodgins Leader of Richmond council
Cllr Ravi Govindia Leader of Wandsworth council
Cllr Ray Puddifoot Leader of Hillingdon council
Cllr Simon Dudley Leader of Windsor and Maidenhead council
Zac Goldsmith MP Richmond Park and Kingston
Dr Vince Cable MP Twickenham
Andy Slaughter MP Hammersmith
Ruth Cadbury MP Brentford
Marsha de Cordova MP Battersea
Justine Greening MP Putney
True cost of Heathrow 3rd runway to the public purse must be revealed, say MPs
The true cost to the taxpayer of building a 3rd Heathrow runway at Heathrow has not been spelled out to the public, according to a cross-party group of MPs, who warn that domestic flight connections and other transport spending will be jeopardised. Justine Greening and Vince Cable among those saying plan would jeopardise spending elsewhere, who are calling on the government to clarify the costs to the public purse. They also want clarity on what benefits the runway would actually bring. In a letter to the Guardian, MPs and councils around Heathrow warn that promised unprofitable domestic flight connections to an expanded Heathrow would only work with state subsidies, that could not be guaranteed in perpetuity. Additionally, more than £10 billion in additional rail and road spending to support a bigger airport would have to be funded by taxpayers, not Heathrow. Having muted her opposition to Heathrow while in the cabinet, Greening, the MP for Putney and a former transport secretary, told the Guardian that Scottish support for the third runway was misplaced. “The SNP need to wake up to the threat that an expanded Heathrow poses to Scotland … A more expensive Heathrow means fewer connections. People in Scotland won’t understand why the Scottish government think that’s a good idea to support.”
Click here to view full story…
Read more »
Subjecting domestic, intra and extra-EU aviation tickets to even a low rate of VAT would generate huge revenues for governments. Bill Hemmings, from European transport NGO T&E, estimates that taxing aviation fuel for domestic and intra-EU flights at the EU minimum rate of 33 cents/litre set by the Energy Tax Directive could generate about €9.5 billion in additional revenues each year. Abolishing the exemptions and applying a 15% VAT to all passenger transport could generate a further €17 billion. Even the European Commission calls these exemptions subsidies. A common ticket tax on EU departures could generate around €11 billion – or more. The Commission has now proposed reforms to VAT rates across Europe which, if agreed, will become the basis for the long-awaited definitive VAT regime in 2022. But instead of abolishing VAT breaks for airline tickets, the EU plan will treat even frivolous trips like a flight for a weekend break the same, in terms of VAT, as “necessities” such as foodstuffs, or pharmaceutical products. Transport is Europe’s biggest CO2 emitter and journeys by plane form a significant part. One reason in the past why there was no VAT on international air trips was the difficulty in collecting it. However, it is now clear VAT could be charged at the rate of the country the plane departed from, for the whole cost of the ticket.
To help fix EU budget, end aviation’s tax break
DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.com PLC.
By Bill Hemmings (Aviation director at sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E).)
Feb 26, 2018
Subjecting domestic, intra and extra-EU aviation tickets to VAT at, say, a rate of 15% would generate revenues of some €17 billion per year, writes Bill Hemmings.
The European Commission’s move to make it administratively easier to calculate and charge VAT on passenger transport is welcome and long overdue, writes Bill Hemmings. But instead of abolishing VAT breaks for airline tickets, the EU plan will make a weekend trip treated the same as “necessities” such as foodstuffs, or pharmaceutical products, he warns.
Transport is Europe’s biggest CO2 emitter and journeys by plane form a significant part. Many member states exempt tickets for domestic trips from value added tax (VAT) and all states exempt intra-EU airline tickets. The exemption for aviation costs governments some €17 billion annually. Even the European Commission calls these exemptions subsidies.
The Commission has now proposed reforms to VAT rates across Europe which, if agreed, will become the basis for the long-awaited definitive VAT regime in 2022.
One of the reasons most international trips are VAT-exempt is that the current rules make it very complex and difficult to raise VAT on trips that cross borders.
Under the proposal that was issued in January, rules for calculating and collecting VAT on passenger transport will be simplified. The Commission proposes to change the way of calculating passenger transport VAT from 2022 – so that those tickets subject to VAT will be charged the VAT rate of the country of departure and for the entire cost of the ticket. This move to make it administratively easier to calculate and charge VAT on passenger transport is welcome and long overdue.
But instead of abolishing the long standing VAT exemptions for airline tickets – which were supposed to be “temporary” – passenger transport services will be eligible for reduced or zero VAT rates. That means the weekend flying break to Berlin will be treated the same as “necessities” such as foodstuffs, pharmaceutical products, medical equipment, children’s books, water supplies and undertakers.
While the administrative simplification may incentivise some member states to start charging aviation VAT, the Commission already recognises the clear danger that its proposal could lead to two unwelcome outcomes: member states are now potentially free to extend aviation tax subsidies by reducing existing VAT rates on domestic flights to zero (Germany currently taxes these flights at 19%); and pressure is likely to grow to zero-rate intra-EU bus and rail VAT which currently brings in half a billion euro in tax revenues. While the proposal contains safeguards on overall VAT revenue erosion, the danger of these downward moves is clearly acknowledged.
The Commission proposal is a missed opportunity. Both to make passenger transport VAT mandatory under much simplified rules and to boost tax revenues just when the EU is struggling to make its next seven-year budget add up.
Under the definitive VAT regime in 2022, a negative list will be drawn up of goods and services which must be subject to standard VAT rates. This is to prevent revenue erosion under the new flexible rates regime. Passenger transport and aviation in particular should be added to that list.
‘Better regulation’ should be about more than equating aviation with baby clothes, children’s books and other necessities, especially since aviation emissions are out of control – growing 8% in Europe alone in 2016.
The ETS aims to tackle aviation climate change and costs about €150 million per annum yet the Commission’s proposal potentially gives the sector a VAT subsidy of well over a hundred times this figure.
Subjecting domestic, intra and extra-EU aviation tickets to VAT at, say, a rate of 15% would generate revenues of some €17 billion per year which would make a major contribution to solving the EU’s budget problem as well as addressing aviation’s enormous unpaid external costs.
The discussion about reforming VAT comes at a time when several EU governments are discussing or introducing ticket taxes for aviation. For example, the new Dutch government has announced it wants to tax aviation, but preferably at EU level. There is, of course, no reason for them to wait for the EU VAT reform. The UK has levied a passenger charge since the early 1990s, Germany since 2011 and, more recently, Sweden and Norway have introduced theirs.
But if EU governments such as the Netherlands want to address the issue of tax-free plane tickets at European level, the EU’s VAT rules are the right place to start, and with the discussion about the next EU budget in full swing, the time for action is now.
EU-wide taxes on jet fuel and plane tickets could help plug budget gap and address transport climate impact, says T&E
7.3.2018 (GreenAir online)
Fri 2 Mar 2018 – Taxing jet kerosene and applying a value added tax to plane tickets within Europe could raise €26.5 billion ($32bn) a year that could be used to plug an EU budget gap, reduce labour taxes and help meet climate targets, says a position paper by campaign group Transport & Environment.
With the EU currently drafting its post-2020 budget and looking for alternative sources of revenue to make up for the UK’s Brexit departure, this is an opportunity to raise revenue from transport for both EU and national budgets while helping to tackle rising emissions from the sector, argues T&E. It calls for reforms of the 2003 Energy Taxation Directive (ETD) and rescinding of the exemption for the taxation of aviation and marine fuels, and require jet fuels on domestic and intra-EU routes to be subject at least to the EU minimum rate of fuel tax, which is currently 33 euro cents per litre. Value added tax (VAT) should also be levied on airline tickets for domestic, intra-EU and even extra-EU flights, says the Brussels-based NGO.
The ETD sets the minimum level of taxation legally permissible across Europe for certain fuels, a key reason being to reduce the ability of member states to lower fuel taxes to encourage ‘fuel tourism’. However, it also includes provisions for states to continue historical exemptions on aviation fuel taxation. The exemption is not mandatory and member states are free to tax aviation fuel for domestic aviation or on a bilateral basis with other member states for aviation fuel uplifted for flights between them. To date, says the paper, few member states have availed themselves of this provision except the Netherlands for the period when there were domestic flights operating.
Potential annual revenues in the largest five EU states are €6.5 billion ($8bn) alone at the minimum ETD rate for their combined domestic and intra-EU flights, while the total across the EU is estimated by T&E at €9.5 billion ($11.7bn). If the cost was to be passed on to the consumer, it calculates this would add €14 ($17) to the average ticket price of an average intra-EU flight. If VAT at 15% was applied to domestic, intra and extra EU air tickets and the cost fully passed through, this would raise revenues of €17 billion ($21bn) per year, with the average one-way intra-EU ticket price of €80 increasing by €12.
“Considering that average ticket prices have fallen dramatically from hundreds of euros over the past decade or so, and by 16% in the past five years alone, these measures are manageable and politically defensible as a means to fund budgets and cover aviation’s unmet external costs, such as climate change and noise and air pollution,” says the paper.
“The VAT and fuel exemptions cause distortions with rail, artificially stimulate demand, drive uncontrolled growth in aviation emissions and constitute unjustifiable subsidies.”
The €150 million ($185m) annual cost of complying with the EU Emissions Trading System does little to address this imbalance, it argues, and points out the ETS directive does not say the scheme can be the only charge on carbon emissions of covered entities. A kerosene tax would also send a price signal to airlines and aircraft manufacturers to increase efficiency, something it says is not being sent by the ETS. “Taxes also can encourage companies to utilise cleaner technologies, promote smarter transport behaviour amongst users and help bridge the price gap with cleaner future fuels,” it adds.
The paper acknowledges tax is a sensitive subject within the EU context and defining tax rates is considered a pillar of sovereignty for many member states. However, the perspective changes when it relates to a European-wide area of interest. “Climate change is a clear example of an issue that requires international action in order to be meaningfully addressed,” it says.
T&E says its position is aligned with 17 eminent European economists – including former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta, ex-WTO head Pascal Lamy and former German finance minister Hans Eichel – who signed an open letter to EU leaders and finance ministers calling for a carbon tax on fossil fuels as well as a kerosene tax and an application of a minimum level of VAT on all airline tickets to help with the post-Brexit EU budget.
T&E’s Freight Policy Officer, Samuel Kenny, commented: “Taxing airline fuel and flight tickets makes sense. Aviation is the quickest and cheapest way to heat the planet while at the same time the transport mode most heavily subsidised by governments. Plugging these tax gaps can both accelerate the fight against climate change and solve the EU’s budget problems in one fell swoop.”
T&E believes the current VAT exemptions could become entrenched as the European Commission wants to give member states greater flexibility on VAT rates. It fears this would effectively mean that for tax purposes, “weekend flying breaks in Europe be treated the same as necessities such as foodstuffs, baby items or pharmaceutical products.”
Said T&E Aviation Director Bill Hemmings: “The Commission proposal is a missed opportunity. Under the definitive VAT regime in 2022, a negative list will be drawn up of goods and services which must be subject to standard VAT rates. Passenger transport and aviation in particular should be added to that list.”
Meanwhile, US airlines are fighting a Senate subcommittee proposal to double the $4.50 Passenger Facility Charge cap, an airport tax paid by passengers through their airline ticket.
“Contrary to the Administration’s historic tax reform package that provided tax relief to all Americans, the average traveller still pays 21% of the total cost of a roundtrip airline ticket to the federal government – the same tax bracket designed to discourage use of so-called ‘sin products’,” wrote six airline CEOs in a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
Response by T&E to EU consultation on VAT – there is no logical reason why air travel is exempt
The EU held a consultation recently, about VAT and changes to the European Directive on it. The consultation closed on 20th March 2017. Some of objectives of the consultation were to ask if there should be greater freedom for Member States to fix VAT rates; the proper balance between harmonisation and Member States autonomy in setting VAT rates; problems of differentiation of VAT rates within the Single Market etc. Air travel is zero rated for VAT across the EU. The group “Transport & Environment” responded to the consultation, and a couple of their points were that: having no VAT on air travel means the most carbon intensive transport mode, aviation, has ticket prices which are artificially lowered, creating distortions between rail/bus and aviation/ferry. … all Member States must impose VAT on all passenger transport, especially aviation … where this cannot be agreed, it should be easy for some Member States to impose VAT on passenger transport … for things that benefit society such as medicines there is a very strong argument to allow for super-reduced rates, however, climate intensive travel by air or cruise vacations are not among them. There is currently also no VAT on cruises – which are most definitely not essential items.
German air passenger tax (now €7 – 40) under threat as negotiations continue to form new German government
Negotiators for a new grand coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and Social Democrats may drop a proposal to progressively abolish Germany’s air transport tax (the Luftverkehrssteuer). The tax is levied on air ticket prices and costs between €7 and 40 euros depending on the distance flown, and generates about €1 billion per year. The airlines, of course, want the tax abolished, and claim it harms “competitiveness.” Aviation in Germany already pays no VAT (except on domestic flights) and no fuel duty. The CDU (Merkel) and SPD negotiating teams were discussing abolishing the ticket tax, but so far the tax seems to have survived the talks. It would be crazy to allow aviation to pay even tax than it does now, bearing in mind its massive CO2 emissions. Aviation is on its way to eating up all of what remains of our chances to limit global warming to below 2°C as agreed in Paris. Aviation emissions are growing fast (up 8% in the EU in 2016), billions of people are waiting to catch their first flight (just 3% of India’s population have ever boarded a plane). Efficiency improvements in the sector are slow and shrinking. What’s more, by ignoring non-CO2 effects we’re underestimating aviation’s contribution to global warming by a factor of at least two.
Click here to view full story…
Time to upgrade Europe’s aviation pollution rules – it should not be allowed to risk the Paris agreement
The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has voted on how the aviation sector should be treated under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), in response to a decision by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to set up a global offsetting mechanism. The ongoing revision of Europe’s carbon market rules for aviation is a critical opportunity to ensure that one of the biggest global polluters starts to contribute its fair share to EU climate action. While the term ‘sustainable aviation’ seems to be spreading, the reality is that the sector’s emissions are growing unsustainably and will continue to do so. Even if the global aviation deal is fully implemented and enforced, it will not curb the industry’s rising emissions. Though just intra-EU flights are included in the EU ETS, unlike other sectors – aviation is not expected to annually reduce its emissions. Add the fact that the industry is exempt from fuel taxes, VAT or legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements, and it becomes clear aviation enjoys very special treatment. While greenhouse gas emissions from all other sectors in the EU carbon market fell in 2016, those from aviation grew by 8%. This risks putting the goals of the Paris climate agreement out of reach. With no quick solutions in sight, the sector needs to pay a real price for its pollution. A high enough carbon price would help.
Ending aviation’s tax holiday
February 7th, 2018 (T&E – Transport and Environment)
One billion. That’s how much in euro that Germany’s tax on airline tickets generates every year. A billion is about a quarter of what trucks pay in Maut every year, or about 35 times less than the motor fuel tax.
So it is not very high. Particularly when you remember that aviation benefits from a preferential tax regime. As the EU’s own environment agency recently highlighted, airlines pay no fuel taxes, and VAT is only charged on domestic flights.
The German ticket tax adds around €7 to a short-haul flight ticket. That’s the cost of a beer and a Bretzel in the Berlin airport. It is a cost that airlines’ customers can easily afford. And in light of aviation’s extremely negative climate and environmental impacts, the German ticket tax is a bargain.
Read more »
An engineering consultancy, called Expedition, has proposed a new high-speed railway passing both Gatwick and Heathrow, starting at the HS2 line near Denham north of Heathrow, and ending at Ashford in Kent. Expedition says it is called HS4Air and the plan has been developed to enhance other major infrastructure projects for the south east. It would cost £10 billion and would connect the existing HS1 rail line with the planned HS2 along a route that passes via London’s biggest airports. Alistair Lenczner, director at Expedition leading the development of the HS4Air proposal, said discussions are currently ongoing with a number of interested parties, spanning both national and regional bodies. The line would be 140km long, and about 20% of it would run in tunnels – to avoid too big an environmental impact. Around 40% of the route re-uses the existing Network Rail railway between Tonbridge and Ashford. Expedition hopes that HS4Air would allow rail and aviation infrastructure projects in south east England that are currently unconnected to become joined-up, and mean rail passengers would be able to travel to both airports on “fast regular services” from cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff without needing to switch trains.
This firm has come up with an ‘M25 for high-speed trains’ spanning both Heathrow and Gatwick
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
Tuesday 6 March 2018
Where the proposed route would run (Source: Expedition)
A new proposal for a new high-speed railway passing both Gatwick and Heathrow has been developed to enhance other major infrastructure projects for the south east.
Engineering consultancy Expedition today revealed its £10bn plan for HS4Air, which would connect the existing HS1 rail line with the planned HS2 along a route that passes via London’s biggest airports.
Read more: A Laing O’Rourke joint venture has just pulled out of a £1.7bn HS2 contract
Alistair Lenczner, director at Expedition leading the development of the HS4Air proposal, said discussions are currently ongoing with a number of interested parties, spanning both national and regional bodies.
How would the M25 for high-speed trains work?
140km long between its connections with HS1 at Ashford and HS2 near Denham
A fifth of the railway will run in tunnels to avoid too big an environmental impact
Around 40 per cent of the route re-uses the existing Network Rail railway between Tonbridge and Ashford
He said: “HS4Air has been developed to allow rail and aviation infrastructure projects in south east England that are currently unconnected to become joined-up. This will offer greatly enhanced benefits for users and provide better value for the investments currently being made in the UK’s strategic infrastructure.”
In a way HS4Air can be regarded as a high-speed railway version of the M25 around London, except that it allows much faster journey times with no congestion and with far less impact on the environment.
The planned railway would provide fast direct access to both Gatwick and Heathrow airports from major UK cities to the north and west of London. Rail passengers would be able to travel to both on “fast regular services” from cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff without needing to switch trains.
Expedition says it will also slash journey times for passengers travelling between places south of London and towns in the Midlands. It wants a 15-minute surface transfer shuttle between Gatwick and Heathrow using high-speed shuttles between airport stations on the HS4Air railway.
Lenczner said the proposal was an example of integrated strategic planning that spans across multiple infrastructure sectors that “are too often planned within their separate ‘silos'”.
Expedition envisages the proposal alleviating pressure on the M25 and the number of domestic flights involving Heathrow and Gatwick.
Firm pitches “an M25 for high-speed trains” to pass through Heathrow and Gatwick
By Ryan Tute (Infrastructure Intelligence)
A London-based engineering consultancy has proposed a transformative high-speed railway which would connect the major airports of the UK and enhance current transport infrastructure projects planned in the south-east.
Expedition has unveiled its plan for HS4Air, which connects the existing HS1 rail line to the planned HS2 rail line along a route that passes via both Gatwick and Heathrow airports. The project would also provide fast and direct rail access from major cities north and west of London including Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff, while “dramatically reducing journey times”.
Those behind the proposal estimate the cost to be approximately £10bn and would provide relief for London’s rail network, on the M25 and the number of domestic flights involving Heathrow and Gatwick.
Expedition director Alistair Lenczner, who has led the development of the HS4Air proposal, believes the proposed network would provide better value for investments currently being made in the UK. The director presented his vision for HS4Air this week at an event held at the Institution of Civil Engineers.
“HS4Air has been developed to allow rail and aviation infrastructure projects in south east England that are currently unconnected to become joined-up,” Lenczner said. “In a way HS4Air can be regarded as a high-speed railway version of the M25 around London, except that it allows much faster journey times with no congestion and with far less impact on the environment”. The proposed HS4Air project is an example of integrated strategic planning that spans across multiple infrastructure sectors that are too often planned within separate “silos”.
The 140km long proposed network would run between its connections with HS1 at Ashford and its proposed connection with HS2 near Denham. Approximately 20% of HS4Air would run in tunnels to avoid adversely impacting on environmentally sensitive areas such as the Surrey Hills.
A 15-minute surface transfer shuttle time between the airports using dedicated high-speed shuttles has also been identified as a benefit on the HS4Air railway. The fast and frequent shuttle services would make it possible for passengers to make convenient and reliable transfers between Gatwick and Heathrow and for airlines to share operations between the two airports.
Expedition has been responsible for major projects like the London Olympic Velodrome and the Infinity Bridge in Stockton-on-Tees. It now hopes to continue preliminary talks with interested parties both nationally and internationally.
See earlier, on the idea of “Heathwick” (which neither Heathrow nor Gatwick wanted at all):
News from Victoria Borwick: “We’ve missed the boat on an Estuary airport” says Victoria Borwick
18 JANUARY 2012
London Assembly member, Victoria Borwick, has said this morning that the time for building a new airport in the Thames estuary has passed and that the Government should look at quicker alternatives to boost aviation capacity in south east England. Instead she is suggesting that Heathrow and Gatwick are linked by an air-side 15minute high-speed rail line; that a second runway be built at Gatwick and that greater, more efficient use is made of the smaller airports that surround London. Speaking as the Government announced a formal consultation into the idea of building a new multi-runway airport in the Thames Estuary, Mrs Borwick said: “The idea of a Thames Estuary airport is a great one – that’s why they started building one in the early 1970s, but Harold Wilson’s government scrapped it. Decades have now passed with no real long-term thought given to how we accommodate growth in demand for aviation. We need to expand our routes to the emerging economies of the Far East and Latin America. “Plans for an estuary airport at last recognise the need to expand capacity, but it would take decades to build – and we need that capacity now. “That is why I am proposing that Heathrow and Gatwick are turned into a virtual hub airport, linked by high-speed rail, that a second runway is built at Gatwick and that more efficient use is made of London’s “second tier” airports such as Southend and Manston. “I believe that this solution will provide the capacity we need, at a much lower cost and much more quickly than the Estuary idea and that it should be seriously examined as a solution to London air capacity crunch.” ENDS
Read more »
Stansted Airport has applied to increase the current cap on annual passenger numbers from 35 million to 43 million passengers, in what campaigners say is a ‘sweetheart’ deal with local planning authorities to avoid government scrutiny. The application to Uttlesford District Council (UDC) seeks permission to increase the use of its single runway over the next 10 years. However, the Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group said the application was misleading in claiming that further expansion of the airport would have no significant environmental impacts. SSE said it was “profoundly concerned at the lengths Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is prepared to go to to avoid scrutiny by secretary of State by amending passenger numbers” as they are trying to keep the expansion to 8 million, rather than 10 million, passengers – avoiding the application being dealt with as a major infrastructure project. SSE said it understands that in return for local planning approval from the district council, MAG might make financial contributions to help fund local road schemes and other local projects in the delivery of the local plan. SSE said: “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that a 44% increase in the number of flights and a 66% increase in the number of passengers means a lot more noise, a lot more pollution and a lot more traffic on our already congested local roads.”
Stansted Airport campaigners hit out at passenger growth proposal
7 March 2018
By Imogen Braddick (Dunmow Broadcast)
Stansted Airport has applied to increase the current cap on annual passenger numbers from 35 million to 43 million passengers a year in what campaigners say is a ‘sweetheart’ deal with local planning authorities to avoid government scrutiny.
The application to Uttlesford District Council (UDC) seeks permission to increase the use of its single runway over the next 10 years, which could lead to 5,000 new on-site jobs and boost the offering of long haul destinations.
Ken O’Toole, chief executive of London Stansted Airport, said: “Over the past six months we have consulted widely on our future growth plans and based on the feedback from these discussions, we’ve made sure our growth can be achieved within current limits on flight numbers and with no increase in the size of the airport’s noise footprint. This is good news for local residents.”
However, the Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group said the application was misleading in claiming that further expansion of the airport would have no significant environmental impacts and said it was “profoundly concerned at the lengths Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is prepared to go to to avoid scrutiny by secretary of State by amending passenger numbers”.
Chairman of SSE, Peter Sanders, said: “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that a 44 percent increase in the number of flights and a 66 percent increase in the number of passengers means a lot more noise, a lot more pollution and a lot more traffic on our already congested local roads.”
SSE said that by increasing the number of passengers by eight million, and not 10, MAG could have the plan considered by the district council, and not by the secretary of state which, it argued, would be more rigorous.
SSE said it understands that in return for local planning approval from the district council, MAG would be prepared to make financial contributions to help fund local road schemes and other local projects in the delivery of the local plan.
Mr Sanders added: “We need to have confidence that this planning application will be considered purely on its own merits and subject to fair and thorough scrutiny. That is why it should be determined nationally by the secretary of state, not locally by UDC.”
The application will also seek permission for additional airfield infrastructure within the current airfield boundary, comprising two new links to the runway, six additional stands on the mid airfield and three additional stands at the north eastern end of the airport.
Stansted applies to UDC to raise the current passenger number cap from 35 mppa to 43 mppa
Stansted airport has submitted a planning application to Uttlesford District Council to raise the current cap on the number of passengers it is permitted to handle from 35 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 43mppa, while committing to remain within current approved limits on aircraft noise and flight numbers. This is to make best use of the airport’s existing single runway over the next decade (with the usual claims of economic benefits, jobs etc etc). Stansted say their expansion, from 35 mppa, would ease pressure on the London airport system when Heathrow and Gatwick are capacity constrained. However, local group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), says the airport handled about 25 mppa in 2017, and has permission to grow to 35 mppa, granted after a 5-month public inquiry in 2007. Despite this, in summer 2017 the airport’s owners, MAG, said they “urgently” needed permission to expand to a massive 44.5 million passenger airport over the next 12 years. They claim there will be no more noise, but in practice the gap between planes on average would reduce from about 135 seconds now, to about 85 seconds. SSE says the changes in the current application are “almost entirely presentational.”
Click here to view full story…
Stop Stansted Expansion say Government’s Aviation Forecast figures undermine Stansted’s claims on need for expansion
Claims by Stansted’s management that the airport’s growth potential over the next decade is being severely limited by the present cap on numbers at 35 mppa are being called into question by local campaign, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) following the publication of new Government figures. These numbers are in the DfT’s forecasts, published as part of the 2nd consultation on the Airports NPS (ie. Heathrow runway). Stansted’s owners, MAG, predict that it will be completely full by 2023 – and it therefore needs an increase in permitted numbers to be able to accommodate 43 million passengers in 2028. But SSE show that in the new DfT UK Aviation Forecasts, reveal this is wrong. The DfT central forecast for Stansted is that it should expect to handle just 31 million passengers annually by 2030, and 35 million by 2033. Not by 2023. Stansted airport has been talking up the need for further growth – in anticipation of its application for planning permission from Uttlesford District Council in early 2018. And if there was a 3rd Heathrow runway, the DfT projects a decline in the number of Stansted passengers – from 24mppa in 2016 to 22mppa in 2030, and just 32 mppa by 2040. SSE say: “MAG’s overstatement of potential demand to secure support for expansion is nothing more than an opportunistic ploy.”
Click here to view full story…
Read more »
British and American negotiators secretly met in January for the first formal talks on a new air services deal, for after Brexit. When the UK leaves the EU it will no longer be part of the EU-US open skies treaty. The FT reports that the talks were cut short after US negotiators offered a far worse “Open Skies” deal, which is only a standard bilateral agreement. These typically require airlines to be majority owned and controlled by parties from their country of origin, and would hit the transatlantic operating rights of BA and Virgin badly. The limits would be difficult for these airlines, as they have large foreign shareholdings – not merely British. The FT reports that a British official said it showed “the squeeze” London will face as it tries to reconstruct its international agreements after Brexit, even with close allies such as Washington. The busy UK-US routes are profitable, and numerous, and negotiators hope a solution will be found, but it could take time and may not be done fast enough for airlines planning flights a year ahead. The Americans are increasingly against trade liberalisation, so it is not a great time to be negotiating. The FT estimates the UK must renegotiate and replace about 65 international transport agreements after Brexit. Each taking time.
UK-US Open Skies talks hit Brexit turbulence
Negotiations cut short after Washington offers worse package than EU
There are legal and political obstacles that could impede the UK and US from reaching a deal in time to give legal certainty to airlines booking flights a year in advance
By Katrina Manson in Washington, Alex Barker in Brussels and Tanya Powley in London
The US is offering Britain a worse “Open Skies” deal after Brexit than it had as an EU member, in a negotiating stance that would badly hit the transatlantic operating rights of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
British and American negotiators secretly met in January for the first formal talks on a new air services deal, aiming to fill the gap created when Britain falls out of the EU-US open skies treaty after Brexit, according to people familiar with talks.
See full FT article at https://www.ft.com/content/9461157c-1f97-11e8-9efc-0cd3483b8b80
Read more »
Two public meetings (one in Harmondsworth, the other in Yiewsley) held in the Heathrow villages raised concerns about the number and location of sites that could be destroyed for the 3rd runway development. Until now, many residents in surrounding areas have not realised just how damaging another runway would be to their lives. Despite awful weather, snow and intense cold, the meetings were packed and constituency MP, John McDonnell, and Hillingdon leader, Ray Puddifoot, managed to attend. Last month Ray announced that Hillingdon Council has budgeted £200,000 for the fund to launch a legal challenge against the runway. Justine Bayley of SHE (Stop Heathrow Expansion) gave a presentation with local maps from Heathrow’s consultation documents. These show the huge number of development sites that Heathrow have their eye on. She explained the individual parcels of land under threat, and their possible intended purpose. Many at the meetings had not know about these threats. There is real concern that most residents who will not be forced to leave their homes (as they are not due for demolition) have no idea that they will have to suffer severe negative impacts from a third runway, due to their proximity to it – and associated building. John McDonnell MP said it was vital to ensure that the information is spread as widely as possible.
Proposed sites for runway development shock residents
2.3.2018 (Stop Heathrow Expansion website)
See http://stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/news/2018/3/3/proposed-sites-for-runway-development-shock-residents for lots of great photos
Two public meetings held in the Heathrow villages this week raised concerns about the number and location of sites that, according to Heathrow, could be destroyed to create a third runway development. Until now, many residents in surrounding areas have not realised just how damaging another runway would be to their lives.
The brave souls who attended the meetings, despite heavy snow and bitter winds, had the opportunity to put questions to campaigners and politicians.
St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth was the venue for the first meeting, on Wednesday 28th February. With the snow swirling through the village, attendance could have been affected but, in fact, the hall was full and constituency MP, John McDonnell, also managed to attended.
Seriously determined to fight the 3rd runway proposals
The billed guest speaker was Hillingdon Council Leader Ray Puddifoot, who is a passionate opponent of Heathrow expansion. He has ensured that campaigners battling to protect the health and homes of people in the south of the borough have received the support to continue. Last month he announced that Hillingdon Council, which under Mr Puddifoot has already defeated the government in court over the issue, has budgeted £200,000 for the fund to launch a legal challenge against the runway.
The Council Leader started the meeting by listing all the things that were wrong with the current Heathrow consultation. Like most long-standing residents of the borough, Mr Puddifoot is well aware that the airport cannot be trusted to tell the truth so public meetings organised by anti-expansion campaigners are important.
At the second meeting in Yiewsley and West Drayton Community Centre, on an even colder night on Friday 2nd March, Justine Bayley of SHE gave a presentation showing local maps from the consultation documents. These showed the huge number of development sites that Heathrow have their eye on.
Justine Bayley (SHE) gives many West Drayton residents their first view of development sites
Ms Bayley, an expert on building conservation and heritage, shocked the audience with shots of the individual parcels of land and their possible intended purpose, as listed in the consultation material. Despite the horror of the revelations, there is no doubt that most residents who will NOT be forced to leave their homes have no idea that they will have to suffer SEVERE negative impacts from a third runway.
One audience member asked how anyone knowing the facts could support it. John McDonnell MP responded that it was all our jobs to ensure that the information is spread as widely as possible.
Rob Barnstone, from SHE and the NoR3 Coalition, told those in the hall that Justine Greening MP had held a meeting on 1st March in Putney, with fellow anti-runway campaigner Zac Goldsmith MP. Justine informed the meeting that she had written to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to demand that MPs have full flight path information BEFORE they vote on a third runway, not afterwards as is currently the way the planning timetable has been scheduled, so they know what communities will be affected.
Allowing MPs to vote on a massively destructive and costly project without essential information is just one of the ways that the new planning process, aimed at speeding things up after the lengthy T5 enquiry, is deeply flawed.
Some of the audience members decide to have a laugh by donning their winter woollies for a quick photo before the trek home through the snow. They’re a hardy bunch.
Some of the audience members decide to have a laugh by donning their winter woollies for a quick photo before the trek home through the snow. They’re a hardy bunch.
Topics raised at the meetings included:
Longford – Stan Wood, who is a leading member of the newly-reformed Longford Residents’ Association, wanted the village to have a higher profile as it is the village that would be totally wiped off the map by the runway proposals. Christine Taylor of SHE showed a Heathrow consultation leaflet showing local impacts – sadly this is one time when Longford takes top billing in the title. These are available from the consultation events, with the Harmondsworth event scheduled for 9th March.
Land grabbing by Heathrow – Various maps at the consultation events and in the documents show specific areas that the airport are likely to use for development. One such area, which is a tiny orange dot on a map in the leaflet showing the local impacts, is the location of The Lodge in Harmondsworth. This building, which local people were looking at as a possible venue to accommodate community services, has been bought by the government for a school even though it accepts that the site is unsuitable. It seems likely that this property and its land would be sold to Heathrow and this may have been the intention from the start.
Housing – Huge destruction, particularly of family homes. These usually include gardens, thus increasing the land take in the south of the borough where new properties have a much smaller footprint. West Drayton and Hayes now have numerous blocks of tiny residential units. Jane Taylor, the Chair of Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents’ Association (HASRA), pointed out that the compensation package is poor and will not provide residents like herself to buy a similar property within reach of family, friends and support networks. Workers could lose their jobs when forced to move away.
Sipson – This village is not in the area for compulsory purchase so there were questions about how it would be affected. Clearly the impact would be significant as some houses would be directly under the departing and landing aircraft. Changes to the roads would also have a severe impact and together these would make most homes unliveable should a third runway go ahead.
Heathrow has been buying homes in the village and is the dominant landlord in the villages. This has enabled it to set the rents for the area at the highest level possible – in the airport’s view this is the “market rent”. Jane has pointed out to the airport that they initially reassured residents that the family homes they purchased would have families occupying them as tenants, as a priority.
However, rents are now too high for families – with other landlords raising rents to Heathrow levels too. Heathrow is therefore changing the demographics of Sipson, with houses being occupied by groups of single men. Jane suggested that Heathrow lead the way in the way it deals with housing and set an example like large companies did in previous eras.
Heathrow funding third runway propaganda in schools – A parent raised concerns that her daughter received lessons funded by the airport. The child, who was at the meeting, briefly described what appeared to be a lesson on the importance of airport freight. Cllr Puddifoot commented that headteachers at schools now have more powers to set what happens in their schools. Christine Taylor from SHE, who has been a school governor, agreed that headteachers and governors would be the people to whom parents could address complaints.
Ms Taylor was particularly concerned that Back Heathrow, a lobby group with the sole function of promoting the expansion of a polluting industry that damages health, was being given the opportunity to address children in schools and colleges. She had wondered if a school would allow a tobacco industry lobby group to promote its product and as a result rang a school that had hosted a Back Heathrow lesson. On asking if there was any vetting of groups allowed to promote themselves in schools, she was advised that any group could make an application.
Kicking the runway decision into the long grass – John McDonnell MP said that it was possible the MPs’ vote could be delayed because a third runway is such a contentious issue. Harmondsworth resident Armelle Thomas spoke for many people when she said that people living under threat wanted the runway cancelled as soon as possible and not dragged on for more years.
Read more »
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell believes a 3rd runway at Heathrow will never get built because of the serious environmental issues the expansion would cause. McDonnell, MP for Hayes & Harlington, and a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been a longstanding campaigner against the runway, due to the devastating impact it would have on his constituency. He does not believe Heathrow can get round the problem of air pollution from the runway and associated road traffic. At a local meeting about Heathrow’s expansion plans, John said: “As soon as any decision is made, Hillingdon and the other boroughs will be straight back in court again”. …“I just don’t think Heathrow is the runner that it might have been with the governments in the past.” There is due to be a vote in Parliament in the summer on the runway; as things stand, the government would win backing for the runway. However, though many Labour MPs are keen supporters, there is a real possibility that Labour may be able to block it – especially if it won a general election. Labour set out 4 tests the runway would have to meet, and currently it cannot pass them. The tests require (1). noise issues to be addressed, (2). air quality to be protected, (3). the UK’s climate change obligations met and (4). growth across the country supported.
Heathrow expansion will never happen, says McDonnell
Shadow chancellor says third runway will not pass Labour’s tests on suitability
By Jim Pickard (Financial Times)
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has predicted that a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport will never get built because of the environmental issues around the contentious expansion scheme.
Mr McDonnell, a close ally of Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and longstanding campaigner against Heathrow’s third runway, said he could not see a way for the airport to get around the issue of air quality that concerns local councils.
“As soon as any decision is made, Hillingdon and the other boroughs will be straight back in court again,” said Mr McDonnell, whose Hayes & Harlington constituency is located close to Heathrow.
MPs are expected to vote this summer on whether Heathrow Airport Holdings’ third runway plans should go ahead.
Mr McDonnell is unlikely to be able to block the project at this stage, given that Theresa May’s government backed the third runway in 2016 and many Labour MPs are keen supporters. But there are fears in the aviation industry that Mr McDonnell is powerful enough within his party to be able to block the scheme in the circumstances of a snap general election resulting in a Labour victory.
Labour fought the 2017 election on a manifesto indicating that Heathrow’s third runway would have to satisfy four tests relating to noise, air quality, climate change and economic growth.
But Mr McDonnell has pre-empted that process by saying he cannot see any way that Heathrow would meet the tests.
He argued that proposals by London’s Gatwick airport for a second runway were now “coming through very strongly, quietly I think, as a viable alternative” if Labour got into power in the coming months.
“You’ve got a viable alternative which actually makes more business sense and is more cost-effective,” he said. “I just don’t think Heathrow is the runner that it might have been with the governments in the past.”
Labour manifesto – May 2017:
Labour recognises the need for additional airport capacity in the South East. We welcome the work done by the Airports Commission, and we will guarantee that any airport expansion adheres to our tests that require noise issues to be addressed, air quality to be protected, the UK’s climate change obligations met and growth across the country supported.
We will continue working with our neighbours through the European Union’s Highways of the Sea programme and by negotiating to retain membership of the Common Aviation Area and Open Skies arrangements.
On air pollution:
A Labour government will consult on establishing an environmental tribunal with simplified procedures to hear challenges to unlawful government decisions, like those made on the air quality strategy, without engaging in prohibitively expensive processes.
Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act to deal with the Conservative legacy of illegal air quality. We will safeguard habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding our island. We will set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.
We will protect our bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids as soon as our EU relationship allows us to do so. We will work with farmers and foresters to plant a million trees of native species to promote biodiversity and better flood management. Unlike the Conservatives who attempted to privatise our forests, Labour will keep them in public hands. Our stewardship of the environment needs to be founded on sound principles and based on scientific assessments. We will establish a science innovation fund, working with farmers and fisheries, that will include support for our small scale fishing fleet.
Building a clean economy of the future is the most important thing we must do for our children, our grandchildren and future generations.
The Conservatives’ threatened Ȇbonfire of red tape’ is a threat to our environmental protections and to the quality of our lives. Their record on combating climate change and environmental damage has been one of inaction and broken promises.
The balance needs resetting: our air is killing us, our farms face an uncertain future, our fish stocks are collapsing, our oceans are used as dumping grounds, and our forests, green belt, national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are all under threat.
We will reclaim Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change, working hard to preserve the Paris Agreement and deliver on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.
Back in December 2015 Labour then reiterated its “4 tests” [somewhat different] which were:
Their four tests for aviation expansion:
1.That robust and convincing evidence was produced that the Commission’s recommendations would provide sufficient capacity;
2. That the UK’s legal climate change obligations could still be met;
3. That local noise and environmental impacts can be managed and minimised;
4. That the benefits of any expansion were not confined to London and the South East.
Read more »
The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has said people in the UK are being exposed to a daily cocktail of pollution – from noise pollution, air pollution and light pollution) that may be having a significant impact on their health, and on the NHS. Dame Sally said major industries should take more responsibility for the pollution they cause, and that there was enough evidence to suggest action had to be taken. Her report “Health Impacts of All Pollution – what do we know?” says: “Major infrastructure projects are making construction noise a semi-permanent feature of the urban sound environment” … “Noise acts as a psychosocial stressor, and the psychological reaction to it is influenced strongly by a number of personal, situational and environmental factors.” The section by Professor Stephen Stansfield says: “In 2012, 83% of a survey sample in the UK reported they heard road traffic noise, 72% aircraft noise and 48% noise from building, construction and road works at home in the last 12 months. 48% reported that their home life was “spoiled to some extent” by environmental noise.” …”Short term effects of noise on sleep include impaired mood, increased daytime sleepiness, and impaired cognitive performance.”
The Chief Medical Officer’s reports are at
The report for 2017
“Health Impacts of All Pollution – what do we know?”
NHS must lead on tackling national pollution problem causing ‘chronic sickness’, chief medical officer says
‘Five percent of all road traffic at any one time is estimated to be on NHS business, be it patients going to and from care or the NHS’s fleet of vehicles.’
By Alex Matthews-King (Health Correspondent, Independent)
Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies has previously singled out antibiotic resistance and Alzheimer’s as major health priorities
The NHS must take a lead on tackling a ”cocktail of pollutants” which are contributing to chronic sickness across the country, the UK’s most senior doctor has said.
In her annual report, Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said major industries should take more responsibility for the pollution they cause.
As one of the world’s largest employers, with over one million staff, the CMO says the NHS has a significant pollution footprint with health service traffic – including patients – accounting for one in every 20 vehicles on UK roads.
“It is the case that the health service in this country is a significant polluter simply due to its size,” the report says.
But this also means its interventions, such as providing more care close to people’s homes, can have a big impact on waste, diesel fumes, noise and industrial chemicals, that have long-term health impacts.
Campaigners estimate that health impacts of air pollution alone cost around £20bn a year, almost one fifth of the NHS budget, so work to reduce it makes financial and ethical sense.
Air pollution is implicated in millions of deaths a year, and cities in Germany and Italy have recently announced bans of diesel vehicles to bring the crisis under control.
This is also important in addressing health inequalities, with people living in more deprived areas typically exposed to much higher levels of air and noise pollution.
Professor Davies praised forward thinking ambulance services, like South Central Ambulance Trust, which have begun to trial fully electric ambulances that can recharge while dropping off patients, and efforts to phase out diesel emergency vehicles.
The report recommends that local NHS clinical commissioning groups, which already publish data on health measures and hospital performance, should also publish breaches of safe air pollution limits in their region.
This should be presented alongside information on admissions to hospital admissions for heart and respiratory conditions, both of which are increased by long term and acute air pollution exposure.
“We all know the environmental impacts of pollution—but what is less recognised is the impact on health,” says Professor Davies.
“With factors like air, light and noise – the public is exposed to a daily cocktail of pollutants. Some of these can be linked to chronic conditions like heart disease and asthma. This increases the risk for some of the most vulnerable members of our society and places a huge burden on our health service.
“Everybody has a role to play in cutting pollution but the NHS has more than a million staff, accounts for one in 20 vehicles on the road and is a big user of single-use disposable plastics. Some trusts are already blazing a trail and I urge others to follow.
More research is needed to understand how less studied chemical pollutants interact and affect our health, the report says, as well as the long term risks of our increasingly noisy and light polluted environments.
The wide ranging review calls on other groups to follow the NHS example, warning the Government’s air pollution strategy is too reliant on stretched local authorities to implement and needs more central oversight.
It also says councils need comprehensive pollution plans covering noise and emissions, and says they should consider the full extent of long and short term pollution in future planning decisions.
Professor Davies also recommends that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs explore whether the public should be encouraged to have devices to measure indoor air pollution.
While a pollutant free nation is not “do-able”, she says, the efforts to understand and reduce the various health harms of pollution need to be stepped up by the Government.
Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK chief scientist, told The Independent: “Air pollution alone is costing the NHS an estimated £20bn a year – a big chunk of its overall budget.
“So it makes perfect financial as well as ethical sense for the NHS to play a leading role in tackling the many sources of pollution that are threatening our environment and can make us sick.
“But it’s vital that government and local authorities step up to the plate too.“
The report’s editor, Andrew Dalton, said: “Pollutants are a part of daily life but, as this report shows, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the threat they pose to health.
“Improving data on this is the best first step we can take to protect the public’s health as it will help us to identify any currently unknown future threats.
“In the meantime, it is encouraging to see many local authorities, hospitals and other organisations finding innovative ways to reduce the health impacts of pollution.”
“Increasing urbanisation is bringing people’s dwellings closer together and closer to roads, railways, airports and industry. Major infrastructure projects are making construction noise a semi-permanent feature of the urban sound environment: the 24hr economy can be a barrier to people’s desire to “turn down the volume” at night to allow a good night’s sleep. But solving these problems is not just about reducing noise levels. Noise acts as a psychosocial stressor, and the psychological reaction to it is influenced strongly by a number of personal, situational and environmental factors. A holistic sustainable development approach featuring good acoustic design can protect against adverse health outcomes by minimising exposure …”
Also some other quotes from the section on Noise Pollution.
Authored by Stephen Stansfield, Professor of Psychiatry, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London.
Pp 109 – 112
“In 2012, 83% of a survey sample in the UK reported they heard road traffic noise, 72% aircraft noise and 48% noise from building, construction and road works at home in the last 12 months. 48% reported that their home life was “spoiled to some extent” by environmental noise.”
“The level of annoyance to noise is influenced by many other factors including sensitivity to noise, fear of the noise source, and feelings that the noise producers are taking insufficient care.”
“Noise exposure during sleep induces arousals, delays sleep onset, reduces slow-wave and REM sleep and increases the length of time spent awake. Short term effects of noise on sleep include impaired mood, increased daytime sleepiness, and impaired cognitive performance.”
“In ecological studies aircraft noise has been associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk and hospital admissions. Aircraft and road traffic noise exposure have also been associated with increased risk of stroke, diabetes mellitus and even mortality.”
“In children aircraft noise exposure has been linked to delays in children’s reading on standard scales in cross-national studies.”
Read more »
Heathrow has reported a retail revenue increase of 7.7% to £659 million in the year ended 31 November 2017 compared to a year earlier. (Aeronautical revenue rose by just 1%. Total revenue in the period rose 2.7% to £2.9 billion. Retail is almost 23% of that. It was 22% in 2016). Retail revenue per passenger grew 4.5% to £8.45 in 2017 compared to £8.09 in 2016. Heathrow says growth in retail income was due to increased passenger traffic in the period to 78 million (+3.1%) combined with more spending airside (up 2% compared to 2016.) Retail concessions grew 10.5%, with growth in business by duty and tax free and airside speciality shops. This reflects the depreciation of Sterling since June 2016, making products cheaper for foreigners. The redevelopment of Terminal Four’s luxury retail offering completed in late 2016, also contributed to this growth. There is also a new Gucci store.Retail concessions made up 46% of retail income, at £304 million in 2017. The amount of income from car parking, which is included in retail, was £120 million in 2017 (up 5.3% and making up 18% of total retail income), £114 million in 2016 and £107 million in 2015. Heathrow says: “Car parking rose 5.3% driven by increased passenger numbers and a more 12 dynamic pricing strategy. Higher car rental revenue from a change in arriving passenger mix and increased volumes in VIP services drove other services income up 9.4%.”
The details from Heathrow are at
Heathrow (SP) Limited Results for the year ended 31 December 2017
Below are two of the tables (Page 11)
Heathrow says: “Car parking rose 5.3% driven by increased passenger numbers and a more 12 dynamic pricing strategy. Higher car rental revenue from a change in arriving passenger mix and increased volumes in VIP services drove other services income up 9.4%.”
Retail revenue growth boosts Heathrow Airport last year
By ANDREW PENTOL (TR Business)
Thursday, 22 February 2018
London Heathrow easily eclipsed predicted year-on-year retail income growth in 2017.
London Heathrow Airport has reported a retail revenue increase of 7.7% to £659m ($915m) in the year ended 31 October 2017. Retail revenue per passenger grew 4.5% to £8.45 in 2017 compared to £8.09 in 2016. Total revenue in the period rose 2.7% to £2.9bn.
Speaking to TRBusiness last October, Heathrow Airport Retail & Service Proposition Director Chris Annetts correctly indicated the airport was on target to “deliver or exceed” predicted year-on-year retail income growth of 6.7% to £652m. The target was based on a revised investor forecast last June.
According to the airport, growth in retail income primarily reflected increased passenger traffic in the period to a record 78 million (+3.1%) combined with greater airside participation (up two percentage points versus 2016) and increased retail spend per participating passenger.
Retail concessions grew 10.5%, with particularly strong performance in duty and tax free and airside speciality shops. This reflects the depreciation of Sterling since June 2016. The redevelopment of Terminal Four’s luxury retail offering completed in late 2016, also contributed to this growth. Passengers have benefited from increased space in the immigration hall to ease congestion and the opening of a new Gucci store marking the completion of the luxury retail development.
Heathrow Chief Executive Officer John Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow had a fantastic 2017–welcoming a record 78 million passengers, giving our best service ever and offering better value for our passengers with lower airport charges.
“But while we are squeezing out small bits of growth, our rivals in France and Germany are overtaking us–for Britain to thrive post-Brexit, the government needs to crack on with Heathrow expansion as quickly as possible with a vote in Parliament before the summer.”
Investigation reveals Heathrow airport staff are set targets to get passengers to spend money in shops
The Sun has used an undercover reporter to work as one of Heathrow’s Passenger Ambassadors, whose job is to boost retail sales in the terminals. There is a Channel 4 Dispatches programme on this, also showing how airport passengers are getting a raw deal from changing money. In 2016 the airport made a record £612 million in retail income, which is rent from retailers and from car parking charges. This was up 7.7% compared to 2015, while aeronautical income remained unchanged at £1,699 million. Heathrow’s retail division now makes up 22% of its revenues – £612 million out of £2,807 million. The 150 Passenger Ambassadors help travellers once they are through security, and are set strict targets about persuading them to visit shops and spend money. These are between £2,500 to £4,000 per day, and the most successful senior ambassadors claim to hit £10,000 per day. They are told: “The majority of the role will involve interacting with passengers, persuading them to shop if they had not planned to, or encouraging them to spend more by talking to them about offers and promotions across the Terminal….The average spend per passenger must go up as a result of your presence on the terminal floor.” The job description says: “A minute should not pass without a conversation with one or more passengers.”
Heathrow retail revenue in 2015 around 20-21% of total, at £568 million (£7.58 per passenger)
Heathrow Airport reported a retail revenue increase for the year ending 31st December 2016 of +8.4% in 2015 to £568 million. The revenue per passenger rose by +6.2% above the level in 2014, to reach £7.58. (The Moodie report said the figure was about £7.14 in 2014, £6.21 in 2012, £5.95 in 2011, and £5.64 in 2010). Over the year, Heathrow had an overall growth in revenue of +2.7% to £2,765 million in 2015. EBITDA was £1,605 million, up +3.0%. Heathrow also announced a +2.2% increase in passenger traffic in 2015 to 75 million. For the figures for the first 6 months of 2016 Heathrow said its retail revenue had risen by 7.7% year-on-year, to £280 million – and retail revenue per passenger rose +7.1% to £7.84. Of this, duty and tax free shops contributed £62 million, a +3.3% increase. Heathrow said that for the first 6 months of 2016, it made £62 million from duty and tax-free; £51 million from airside specialist shops; £24 million from bureaux de change; £22 million from catering; £55 million from car parking – with total retail revenue at £280 million. i.e. of total retail revenue 19 – 20% was car parking. Income from parking was £99 million in 2014 and £107 million in 2015. For the first half of 2016 the retail (including car parking) income was about 21% of total revenue.
From a year ago:
Heathrow (SP) Limited Results for the year ended 31 December 2016
Some extracts from the results are copied below:
Passengers 75.7 million in 2016 compared to 75.0 million in 2015 (up 1.0%)
Retail revenue per passenger £ 8.09 in 2016 and £7.58 in 2015 (up 6.7%)
In the year ended 31 December 2016, revenue increased 1.5% to £2,807 million (2015: £2,765 million).
Aeronautical £1,699 million in 2016 and the same £1,699 in 2015
Retail £612 million in 2016 and £ 568 million in 2015 (up 7.7%)
Other £496 million in 2016 and £ 498 million in 2015 (up 0.4%)
Total revenue £2,807 million in 2016 and £ 2,765 million in 2015 (up 1.5%)
In the year ended 31 December 2016, retail revenue increased 7.7% to £612 million (2015: £568 million).
Retail revenue per passenger rose 6.7% to £8.09 (2015: £7.58).
Duty and tax-free £138 million in 2016, and £128 million in 2015 (up 7.8%)
Airside specialist shops £115 million, and £100 million in 2015 (up 15.0%)
Bureaux de change £50 in 2016, and £53 million in 2015 (up 5.7%)
Catering £49 million in 2016 and £ 45 million (up 8.9%)
Other retail income £86 million in 2016, and £75 million in 2015 (up 14.7%)
Car parking £114 million in 2016 and £107 million in 2015 (up 6.5%)
Other services £60 million in both 2016 and 2015
Total retail revenue £612 million in 2016 and £568 million in 2015 (up 7.7%)
“Retail performed strongly in 2016 following the major redevelopment of luxury stores in Terminal 5 including new brands which have strengthened Heathrow’s unrivalled airport shopping experience.
Performance in duty and tax-free stores has continued to improve following extensive store refurbishment in Terminals 4 and 5. Catering has grown in the year as a result of new and refurbished outlets and increases in passenger participation.
Car parking also performed well, with continued take-up of Heathrow’s expanded car parking product range and successful yield management. Growth in retail income accelerated in the second half of the year, particularly in areas such as duty and tax-free and airside specialist shops, driven by the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum in late June
2016. Redevelopment of luxury stores in Terminal 4 was largely completed in late 2016 and started contributing to overall retail performance.”
“The benefits of investment in Terminal 5 retail outlets and new car parking capacity continue to flow through strongly with over £200 million secured out of the £300 million incremental commercial revenue target set for the regulatory period.”
Read more »
Ryanair is to close its base at Glasgow Airport, warning that 300 jobs could go as a result. The airline, which also operates out of Prestwick, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, will cut the number of routes out of Glasgow from 23 to 3. Ryanair’s Chief commercial officer David O’Brien tried to blamed the change on the cost of APD and said Glasgow “simply could not bear the burden”. APD is very unlikely to actually be the reason for the move; it is actually just £13 for any adult (kids go free) on any return European flight, and most of Glasgow flights are European, or domestic (domestic return flights pay £13 APD for each half). Glasgow Airport said it was “bitterly disappointed” by Ryanair’s decision. Ryanair made the announcement as it unveiled its schedule for winter 2018, confirming that only its services to Dublin, Wroclaw and Krakow would continue from Glasgow. Instead 11 new routes would be added to its Edinburgh schedule. Ryanair is ruthless in its treatment of airports, cutting them if they are not sufficiently profitable. For many – Prestwick included – it’s the only passenger airline, and it’s not afraid to use that leverage. Glasgow airport routes had lower prices and tighter margins – just not profitable enough – easier to make money at Edinburgh.
Ryanair to axe Glasgow Airport base
Ryanair will add 11 new routes to its Edinburgh schedule
Ryanair is to close its base at Glasgow Airport, warning that 300 jobs could go as a result.
The airline, which also operates out of Prestwick, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, will cut the number of routes out of Glasgow from 23 to just three.
Chief commercial officer David O’Brien blamed the change on the cost of air passenger duty and said Glasgow “simply could not bear the burden”.
Glasgow Airport said it was “bitterly disappointed” by Ryanair’s decision.
A spokesman for the airport said there was “no doubt” that the failure to replace air passenger duty (APD) with a cheaper air departure tax (ADT) in Scotland was behind the move.
The Scottish government said it remained committed to reducing APD by 50%, but that there were still issues to be resolved before this could be introduced.
Ryanair made the announcement as it unveiled its schedule for winter 2018, confirming that only its services to Dublin, Wroclaw and Krakow would continue from Glasgow.
The company said 11 new routes would be added to its Edinburgh schedule.
Ryanair has had to be nicer about its passengers of late. Addressing them as suckers for low fares could only get the airline so far.
But it remains ruthless in its treatment of airports. For many – Prestwick included – it’s the only passenger airline, and it’s not afraid to use that leverage.
So why abandon Glasgow as a base? Chief commercial officer David O’Brien talked a lot about Air Departure Tax (the Holyrood-controlled rebrand of Air Passenger Duty). He also said it had to do with Brexit.
It’s not immediately obvious why either should be the reason, when Edinburgh and Glasgow are equally affected.
Ryanair’s view is that Glasgow’s market sustains lower prices and delivers tighter margins, so the impact of flat-rate ADT is proportionately larger than in Edinburgh.
But the removal of Glasgow as a base for one aircraft is more of a signal of what could follow if there’s no movement on air tax, and if there’s no deal on “open skies”‘ across Europe post-Brexit. It’s a message to governments in Holyrood, Westminster and (if it reconvenes) in Stormont.
There’s no pledge to boost flights if the tax is cut or removed, but Ryanair is experienced across Europe at using carrot and stick to get its way.
There are other factors, which have come to the fore since Edinburgh and Glasgow were forced apart by the competition regulator and under different ownership from 2012 they began to compete.
The capital’s airport has better ground transport, having quick links not only to the city, but to the M8 and M9. Edinburgh travel time for Lanarkshire and east Glasgow can rival Glasgow Airport, to the west, particularly around traffic peaks.
And as Ryanair has pivoted from offering cheap flights to the sun to become a major inbound carrier of tourism and business flyers, it has found that the Edinburgh brand is significantly stronger with foreign visitors.
Mr O’Brien said: “Sadly the weaker Scottish market is even weaker still in Glasgow, which simply can’t bear the burden of APD at £13.
“This should not come as a surprise to the government, we did say that our growth in Glasgow was based on their promise to abolish APD, which morphed into a promise to half APD, which suddenly has disappeared into the ether and quite frankly we don’t have any more patience.
“There are other markets in the UK and Europe which offer a more compelling proposition.”
Mr O’Brien added: “Passengers mean jobs and around 500,000 passengers will be lost at Glasgow, pressurising around 300 jobs which will probably be lost.
“The flipside is that you’re looking at around 700 jobs being introduced to Edinburgh.”
Mr O’Brien also said that Brexit was a threat to Scottish tourism and the airline industry in general.
The Scottish government unveiled plans to replace air passenger duty with a cheaper air departure tax in 2017.
However, the plans have yet to be implemented and require EU approval under state aid rules.
A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: “We are bitterly disappointed at this decision by Ryanair which is not only damaging for Glasgow and wider Scottish connectivity, it will impact approximately 100 jobs locally.
“This is a result of the airline’s review of its single aircraft bases. However, we have been left in no doubt it is also a consequence of the Scottish government’s inability to introduce its proposed 50% cut in air departure tax.
“Despite clear and repeated warnings from both airports and airlines about the potential impact of this policy not being implemented, we are now faced with a stark scenario that includes the loss of 20 services and a significant number of jobs.”
Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay described the news as “very disappointing” and said uncertainly around Brexit was having a “negative impact” on route development in Scotland.
“We will continue to work to work in partnership with Ryanair and other airlines, and to support all Scottish airports, to do everything possible to grow the number of international routes to and from Scotland,” he said.
“The Scottish government continues to be committed to reducing ADT by 50% by the end of this parliament and we want to get on and deliver this.
“But this has been deferred until the issues raised in relation to the Highlands and Islands exemption have been resolved to ensure that the devolved powers are not compromised.”
In future Ryanair will host 45 routes from Edinburgh, including the 11 new routes.
The airline’s summer schedule will operate as planned out of Glasgow.
Ryanair opened its base at Glasgow Airport in autumn 2014, one of several new bases opened across Europe that year.
At the time it said it remained committed to Prestwick Airport and would continue to offer flights from there.
Read more »