Residents invite Transport Select Cttee Chair – Louise Ellman – to Heathrow Villages that she wants destroyed for runway

Local resident-led group Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) has issued an open invitation to Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee, to visit Harmondsworth, Sipson, Longford and Harlington – the villages around Heathrow that would be destroyed or largely uninhabitable if a third runway were to be built. The invitation comes as the Committee published a report which repeats previous calls to the Government for a rapid decision on Heathrow expansion, which the committee strongly supports.  The DfT agreed to respond to the report by the end of May. It said: “We are undertaking more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon so we can develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people.””  But the Transport Committee, gung-ho for a runway regardless of the problems (and entirely omitting mention of the vast cost to the taxpayer for surface transport) said “we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access and devising suitable schemes for compensation for residents in affected communities.”
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Residents invite Transport Select Committee Chair – Louise Ellman – to Heathrow Villages

4.5.2016 (SHE – Stop Heathrow Expansion)

Local resident-led group Stop Heathrow Expansion issues an open invitation to Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, to visit Harmondsworth, Sipson, Longford and Harlington – the villages around Heathrow that would be destroyed or largely uninhabitable if a third runway were to be built.

The invitation comes as the Transport Select Committee published a report on Wednesday which repeats previous calls to the Government for a decision on Heathrow expansion, which the committee supports. (1)

Jackie Clark-Basten, Chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion, said: “This report offers nothing new to the debate and seeks to infuriate the process further, when the Government is engaged in carrying out vital work on environmental issues. We would welcome Ms Ellman to our area and would happily show her around the villages that she is so keen to destroy. It’s about time she paid a visit after all these years.”

The Department for Transport have agreed to respond to the report by the end of this month.  The Guardian  reported that:

“The Department for Transport will make a formal response to the committee’s demands later this month, and a spokesman said it anticipated that additional work on environmental impacts would be concluded by the summer. He said: “The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come.

“As well as progressing the package of further work announced in December, the government will continue to consider the commission’s evidence before reaching a view on its preferred scheme.

“We are undertaking more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon so we can develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people.” “
http://www.stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/
For more information:
Robert Barnstone 07806 947050‎; robert.barnstone@outlook.com

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See also

 

Transport Select Committee wants rapid decision on runway location – then sort out the problems later …..

The Commons Transport Select Committee, chaired by Louise Ellman (for years a strong advocate of a larger Heathrow) has published a report that wants the government to make a rapid decision on the location of a new south east runway. Ms Ellman says Patrick Mcloughlin should set out a clear timetable of the decision making process. He should also set out what research the government has already done and what remains to be done. The Committee wants a decision in order to, in its view, remove uncertainty for business so companies can be planning and investing. The report is entirely of the view that a runway is needed for links to emerging markets. It ignores the reality that most journeys are for leisure, and it ignores the huge costs to the taxpayer, of either scheme. The Committee wants a location decision, and somehow believes that all other environmental and infrastructure problems will then (magically?) be sorted out. They say: “… we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access.” So decide first – with what is likely to be a bad decision – and work out how to deal with the intractable, and inevitable, problems later. Is that a sensible course of action for a responsible government?

Click here to view full story…

The Committee’s conclusions and recommendations include this:  

“2. We have reviewed the findings of our predecessors in light of the Government postponing its decision on airport expansion; we have seen no new compelling evidence that would change the balance of the arguments and we endorse their conclusions and recommendations. Expansion at Heathrow offers the greatest economic benefit and would do more to improve connectivity internationally and within the UK. We recognise that local residents and environmental campaigners have raised legitimate concerns; these deserve serious consideration. We do not under-estimate the scale of the challenge but we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access and devising suitable schemes for compensation for residents in affected communities. It is vital that a decision is taken. “http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmtrans/784/784.pdf

Read more »

Transport Select Committee wants rapid decision on runway location – then sort out the problems later …..

The Commons Transport Select Committee, chaired by Louise Ellman (for years a strong advocate of a larger Heathrow) has published a report that wants the government to make a rapid decision on the location of a new south east runway. Ms Ellman says Patrick Mcloughlin should set out a clear timetable of the decision making process. He should also set out what research the government has already done and what remains to be done. The Committee wants a decision in order to, in its view, remove uncertainty for business so companies can be planning and investing. The report is entirely of the view that a runway is needed for links to emerging markets.  It ignores the reality that most journeys are for leisure, and it ignores the huge costs to the taxpayer, of either scheme. The Committee wants a location decision, and somehow believes that all other environmental and infrastructure problems will then (magically?) be sorted out. They say: “… we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access.” So decide first – with what is likely to be a bad decision – and work out how to deal with the intractable, and inevitable, problems later.  Is that a sensible course of action for a responsible government?  

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Government urged to set clear timetable for airport expansion

4 May 2016
Transport Select Committee website

The opportunity to end decades of political dithering on airport expansion has been squandered, says the Transport Committee in its report on airport expansion in the South East.

In the report, the Transport Committee urges the Secretary of Stateto set out a clear timetable for expansion, making clear the measures which have been accepted or rejected and the work which needs to be completed.

The report concludes that arguments for and against expansion have changed little in a quarter of a century. The Committee continues to back Heathrow, with the package of accompanying measures recommended by the Airports Commission.

Chair’s comments

Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman MP, [who has been in favour of Heathrow for many years] said:

“The Government must make up its mind. The decision on location is not the end of the process, it is the start of one. Real progress cannot begin until the location is declared. Work on environmental issues can run in parallel with other pre-construction work.Across the world, cities are collectively planning to build more than 50 new runways with capacity to serve one billion additional passenger journeys by 2036. The growth of large hubs in the Middle and Far East and North America threatens our position as a hub of international aviation. The UK’s connectivity with the world’s emerging markets is a major concern.The months ticking by constitute time wasted for the UK’s economic prosperity. UK PLC needs to know that a decision will be taken. Doing nothing means the UK continues to lose out.”

Background

The report documents the progress of the debate on airport expansion from the 1990s to the December 2015 statement in the House. The Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin MP, said the case for expansion was ‘clear’ but further work was needed before a decision could be taken on location. The Government indicated that the work should ‘conclude over the summer’ so that the timetable for delivering additional capacity by 2030 could be met.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2015/airport-expansion-report-published-15-16/

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Government must resolve air quality before going ahead with airport expansion

4 May 2016 (ClientEarth)

The Transport Select Committee have issued a report on airport expansion calling on the government to set out a clear timetable for expansion, making clear the measures which have been accepted or rejected and the work which needs to be completed. In December the Department for Transport confirmed that new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick, or extension of an existing runway at Heathrow – were “viable”.

More work required before Heathrow expansion

It also announced further work on noise, pollution and compensation would be carried out before it made a decision on which project to support. It expects this will be completed by the summer.

The select committee report states that work on environmental issues can run in parallel with other pre-construction work.

ClientEarth Chief Executive James Thornton said:

“Air pollution is a major and unresolved concern for Heathrow and must be dealt with before any decision is made to go ahead. It would be economic madness to begin any construction before resolving the crucial issue of air quality which is damaging the health of people living and working around Heathrow and further afield.”

“Greater London already has illegal levels of air pollution, which the Supreme Court has ordered the Government to bring within legal limits as soon as possible.”

“For once, we are in agreement with the Department for Transport – that more work on the environmental impacts, including air quality, is required before any work on any new runways can begin.”

http://www.dev.clientearth.org/government-must-resolve-air-quality-going-ahead-airport-expansion/


Guardian article:

Heathrow expansion opportunity squandered, MPs say

Transport secretary urged to commit to timetable in light of Airports Commission report backing third runway

By Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

Wednesday 4 May 2016 

Delaying a decision on a third runway has “squandered the opportunity” to act on evidence and expand Heathrow, a cross-party committee of MPs said as it called on the government to commit to a clear timetable.

The Commons transport select committee described ministerial claims of progress in the decision-making process as “illusory” and demanded that the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, make clear what the outstanding areas of contention were.

The Airports Commission, established in 2012 by the coalition to recommend if and where a new runway for London should be built, delivered its final report in July last year backing Heathrow expansion. The government did not respond until December, when it announced it would be conducting more work on air quality, and left open the possibility of a second runway at Gatwick instead.

In the transport committee’s report on airport expansion, published on Wednesday, MPs said: “The arguments for and against expansion have changed little in a quarter of a century … The creation of the Airports Commission briefly held out the hope that an evidence-based decision would end years of political dithering, but the government has largely squandered this opportunity by delaying its decision and calling for further work.”

They added: “The secretary of state needs now to have the courage to take a difficult, and for some people unpopular, decision.”

The committee has already established that it backs a third runway at Heathrow, although the government has continued to maintain the candidacy of Gatwick, which was shortlisted by the commission.

MPs demanded that McLoughlin make clear which parts of the commission’s findings he had accepted or rejected, and what further work was being carried out. The committee said: “The government needs to be more open and transparent or the perception that this is yet another attempt to ‘kick 

The Department for Transport will make a formal response to the committee’s demands later this month, and a spokesman said it anticipated that additional work on environmental impacts would be concluded by the summer. He said: “The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come.

“As well as progressing the package of further work announced in December, the government will continue to consider the commission’s evidence before reaching a view on its preferred scheme.

“We are undertaking more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon so we can develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people.”

Louise Ellman MP, chair of the transport committee, said: “The government must make up its mind. The decision on location is not the end of the process, it is the start of one. Real progress cannot begin until the location is declared. Work on environmental issues can run in parallel with other pre-construction work.”

She said the continued growth of large hubs in the Middle East, east Asia and North America threatened Britain’s position in international aviation, while the number of flights to the world’s emerging markets was also a major concern. “The months ticking by constitute time wasted for the UK’s economic prosperity. Doing nothing means the UK continues to lose out,” Ellman said.

Business groups backed the committee’s call for a clear timetable. David Leam, infrastructure director at lobby group London First, said the government needed “to show backbone”, adding: “We need a clear timetable for airport expansion as soon as possible, because the decision to greenlight a new runway won’t get any easier.”

However, Gatwick airport said the committee’s statement that the arguments over airport expansion had changed little in a quarter of a century was “astonishing”, saying that it ignored “significant change within the aviation industry following the breakup of the BAA monopoly in 2009, and the worsening of air quality in the UK which has repeatedly halted Heathrow’s plans in the past”.

Air quality, and the possibility of judicial review in the light of a 2015 supreme court ruling, were the primary ostensible reasons for the delay, with the government now having indicated that its verdict will not come until after the EU referendum on 23 June. 

The postponement has also averted a public clash between the Conservatives and their candidate for this Thursday’s London mayoral election, Zac Goldsmith, who has been a staunch opponent of Heathrow expansion.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/04/heathrow-expansion-third-runway-london

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The report’s Conclusions and recommendations

Conclusions and recommendations

The work already done
1. The arguments for and against expansion have changed little in a quarter of a century. Indecision by Government has remained constant over much of the same period. Few now disagree that additional airport capacity is needed in the South East if the UK is to remain economically competitive. The creation of the Airports Commission briefly held out the hope that an evidence-based decision would end years of political dithering, but the Government has largely squandered this opportunity by delaying its decision and calling for further work. (Paragraph 18)
2. We have reviewed the findings of our predecessors in light of the Government postponing its decision on airport expansion; we have seen no new compelling evidence that would change the balance of the arguments and we endorse their conclusions and recommendations. Expansion at Heathrow offers the greatest economic benefit and would do more to improve connectivity internationally and within the UK. We recognise that local residents and environmental campaigners have raised legitimate concerns; these deserve serious consideration. We do not under-estimate the scale of the challenge but we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access and devising suitable schemes for compensation for residents in affected communities. It is vital that a decision is taken. (Paragraph 19)
3. We recommend that the Government take a decision on location at the earliest possible opportunity. We would prefer that decision to be for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow, together with the package of accompanying measures recommended by the Airports Commission. (Paragraph 19)
Further delay
4. The crucial decision on location was widely expected. The other “decisions” amount to nothing more than an acceptance of the Airports Commission’s findings on the need for expansion and the viability of all three shortlisted options. These decisions serve only to confirm what was already known. The Government could have made clear its acceptance of the findings much earlier; it did not need six months to do so. (Paragraph 24)
5. The absence of a decision on location creates uncertainty. This is exacerbated by the lack of clarity the Government has created about exactly when a decision will be taken. A decision on location is not the end of a process; it is the start of one. We accept that the package of measures to mitigate environmental impacts needs careful consideration and further work. We do not accept that all of this needs to be done before a decision is taken on location. In fact a decision on location would give more focus and impetus to this work. In the absence of a decision on location any “progress” is illusory. Real progress cannot be made without a decision on location. The detailed and evidence-based work of the Airports Commission on environmental issues provides an ideal starting point for any further work on environmental issues to be undertaken in parallel with the other pre-construction work. (Paragraph 25)
6. The Secretary of State should make clear which parts of the Commission’s findings he has accepted, what he has rejected and on what findings further evidence is required before he can take a decision. The Secretary of State must set out a clear timetable for the decision, making clear what additional work has been commissioned, when it will be completed, when the Economic Affairs (Airports) Cabinet sub-committee will consider its recommendation to Cabinet, and when the Cabinet will take a decision on location. The Department should publish this information by the end of April 2016. (Paragraph 26)
7. By delaying this decision the Government has created uncertainty that could have an effect on business confidence and its willingness to make long-term investments in the UK. Not only will this have a cost to the UK economy in terms of missed opportunities, but it is a gift to Heathrow’s and the UK’s international competitors. The cost of this delay is measured ultimately in lost growth and jobs. It is not just businesses that are affected; residents near Heathrow and Gatwick expectantly awaiting a decision are held in limbo. And people up and down the UK who could benefit from improved international and domestic connectivity are forced to wait. (Paragraph 33)
Further work
8. The apparent need for further work has again delayed the crucial decision on location. On balance, we believe it likely, indeed probable, that the Secretary of State and the Department have thought through their approach and that it has a sound basis. We are not, however, persuaded that the Government has made a case publicly for delaying the decision. We are also not convinced that this work must be done before the Government can take a decision on location. (Paragraph 37)
9. As well as making clear the timetable for further work and taking a decision, the Department must also make much clearer than it has to date what work is being done and why. The Government needs to be more open and transparent or the perception that this is yet another attempt to “kick the can down the road” cannot be adequately challenged. (Paragraph 37)
Revised timeline for decision and construction
10. A decision by Government on location is the beginning, not the end, of a process. The Government is right to have chosen to proceed by a national policy statement on airports and a development consent order rather than a hybrid bill procedure. The certainty over the timetable for a decision that this process will give is welcome and it will afford those affected by the development a chance to make their case. It will be important for the Government to be clear about not only the consent needed to build a new runway and its associated infrastructure but also where separate transport and works orders might be needed for improvements to surface access. Certainty over the timetable for the process is useful but only becomes truly meaningful once a decision on location is taken. (Paragraph 40)
11. We urge the Government to take a decision on airport expansion without further delay. (Paragraph 40)
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Read more »

All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution set up, as greatly increased interest in air quality by MPs

A cross-party Parliamentary group of MPs, Peers, businesses and other stakeholders has been set up to specifically look at air pollution issues in the UK, with Labour MP Matthew Pennycook (MP for Greenwich) acting as its chair. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution held its inaugural meeting on 26th April, and 3 vice-chairs were also elected (Daniel Poulter; Helen Hayes;and Baroness Sheehan).  Trade organisation the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) will act as secretariat for the Group, through its chief executive, Matthew Farrow.  More interested MPs will be recruited. There has recently been a much increased level of interest in air pollution, especially in NO2 – brought into the spotlight by the VW “defeat” devices scandal.  The emergence of the group is timely, after the news that ClientEarth has permission to pursue its JR against the government, to get improvements in air quality more rapidly. A week or so earlier, a new joint body between Defra and the DfT was set up – JAQU, Joint Action on Air Quality – to deliver national plans on air quality.  Heathrow’s hopes of a 3rd runway are at risk, due to legal levels of NO2 already being breached. Gatwick also risks breaching legal limits, if it had a second runway.
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Parliament sets up cross-party air pollution group

28.4.2016

By MICHAEL HOLDER (Air Quality News)

A cross-party Parliamentary group of MPs, Peers, businesses and other stakeholders has been set up to specifically look at air pollution issues in the UK, with Labour MP Matthew Pennycook acting as its chair.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution held its inaugural meeting on Tuesday evening (April 26), at which MP for Greenwich Mr Pennycook, who was instrumental in setting up the group, was elected chair.

Three vice-chairs were also elected at the meeting: Conservative MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Daniel Poulter; Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, Helen Hayes; and Liberal Democrat Peer, Baroness Sheehan.

Perhaps tellingly, the chair and two of the vice chairs either represent, or have previously represented, London constituencies in the House of Commons, with only Mr Poulter being based outside UK’s capital – which has the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the UK.

Trade organisation the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) will act as secretariat for the Group, for which a “big programme of events” are not being planned alongside further recruitment of interested stakeholder businesses and organisations as members.

“We are conscious that it is a very complex issue – there are many different airborne pollutants and different technology options” – Matthew Farrow, EIC

Remit

Matthew Farrow, executive director of the EIC, said that while it was still “early days” the remit of the APPG would be “technology neutral” and focus on a range of airborne pollutants beyond just NO2 and particulate matter.

Speaking to AirQualityNews.com, Mr Farrow said: “Air quality has been a big, big issue for a long time but gradually there has been a lot more attention on it in the media. But, while that is all good, we are conscious that it is a very complex issue – there are many different airborne pollutants and different technology options.

“We also felt that there was much-increased interest among MPs and so there was a great deal of merit in setting up this group.”

He said the timing of the new Group was pertinent, as with Defra facing further court action from Client Earth, the EU referendum and the EFRA report on air pollution earlier this week “this is a big year for air quality”.

Mr Farrow added: “It is something we have been working on for a little while with Matthew Pennycook MP, who was elected the chair this week. He is a London MP for Greenwich and so has a lot of interest in this subject.”

http://www.airqualitynews.com/2016/04/28/parliament-sets-cross-party-air-pollution-group/

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See also:

 

Judge gives ClientEarth permission to pursue a JR against UK government over air quality

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth have been granted permission to take the UK government back to court, over its failure to tackle illegal levels of air pollution. A judge at the High Court has granted their request to pursue a Judicial Review against Defra. ClientEarth’s CEO James Thornton said the decision by the court to grant a hearing was a victory in itself. “The UK government has claimed that it has done everything required by last year’s Supreme Court ruling. By granting us permission to return to court the judge has decided that the government does indeed have a case to answer.” ClientEarth lodged papers at the High Court in London in March – naming the UK Environment Secretary Liz Truss as defendant. Papers were also served on Scottish and Welsh ministers, the Mayor of London and the DfT as interested parties in the case. ClientEarth said the government’s lastest plans are woefully inadequate and won’t achieve legal sir quality limits for years to come. ClientEarth believes the government is in breach of its legal duty to produce new air quality plans to bring air pollution down to legal levels in the “shortest possible time”, despite being ordered to do so by the UK Supreme Court. ClientEarth has asked judges to strike down the plans produced by the government in December, order new ones and intervene to make sure the government acts. #no2dirtyair

Click here to view full story…

Defra and DfT set up JAQU (Joint Air Quality Unit) to deliver national plans to cut NO2 levels

A new joint unit between Defra and the DfT has been established, to deliver national plans to improve air quality and meet EU limits. The new body, the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) has been set up to do this and will be hosted at Defra. It will be led by Defra’s deputy director of flood risk management, Susanna May. The JAQU will report to Defra air quality minister, Rory Stewart, and Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Andrew Jones. It will focus on delivering the UK’s national air quality plans to reduce levels of NO2. These plans were publicly consulted on by Defra last year and include proposals to establish Clean Air Zones in five UK cities by 2020. The Unit will develop more detailed proposals for the Clean Air Zone framework and legislation to mandate zones in certain cities, with a view to consulting on these later this year. A number of Defra and DfT staff who worked to develop these plans have transferred into the new Unit. Day-to-day responsibility for air quality matters will remain with Defra. Work on aviation matters will still be taken forward by the DfT. The new unit is timely, as ClientEarth have been given permission to take further legal action against the government on its slow progress to improve UK air pollution.

Click here to view full story…

 

Read more »

Judge gives ClientEarth permission to pursue a JR against UK government over air quality

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth have been granted permission to take the UK government back to court, over its failure to tackle illegal levels of air pollution. A judge at the High Court has granted their request to pursue a Judicial Review against Defra. ClientEarth’s CEO James Thornton said the decision by the court to grant a hearing was a victory in itself. “The UK government has claimed that it has done everything required by last year’s Supreme Court ruling. By granting us permission to return to court the judge has decided that the government does indeed have a case to answer.”  ClientEarth lodged papers at the High Court in London in March – naming the UK Environment Secretary Liz Truss as defendant.  Papers were also served on Scottish and Welsh ministers, the Mayor of London and the DfT as interested parties in the case. ClientEarth said the government’s latest plans are woefully inadequate and won’t achieve legal air quality limits for years to come. ClientEarth believes the government is in breach of its legal duty to produce new air quality plans to bring air pollution down to legal levels in the “shortest possible time”, despite being ordered to do so by the UK Supreme Court. ClientEarth has asked judges to strike down the plans produced by the government in December, order new ones and intervene to make sure the government acts. #no2dirtyair
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Judge decides UK government will face renewed legal action over air quality

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth have been granted permission to take the UK government back to court over its failure to tackle illegal levels of air pollution.

A judge at the High Court has granted our request to pursue a Judicial Review against Defra. It comes on the eve of the anniversary of ClientEarth’s victory at the Supreme Court last year.

ClientEarth’s CEO James Thornton said the decision by the court to grant a hearing was a victory in itself.

He said: “The UK government has claimed that it has done everything required by last year’s Supreme Court ruling.  By granting us permission to return to court the judge has decided that the government does indeed have a case to answer.”

ClientEarth lodged papers at the High Court in London in March – naming the UK Environment Secretary Liz Truss as defendant.

Papers were also served on Scottish and Welsh ministers, the Mayor of London and the Department for Transport as interested parties in the case.

ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said: “The government’s new plans to tackle air pollution are woefully inadequate and won’t achieve legal limits for years to come. The longer they are allowed to dither and delay, the more people will suffer from serious illness or an early death.”

“Today’s decision means we will be returning to court to demand that ministers respect our right to breathe clean air. The health evidence is mounting – and as we saw yesterday,  MPs from across the political spectrum agree with us that  the government is not doing enough.”

The UK sees an estimated 40,000 early deaths from air pollution every year. ClientEarth believes the government is in breach of its legal duty  to produce new air quality plans to bring air pollution down to legal levels in the “shortest possible time”, despite being ordered to do so by the UK Supreme Court.

The plans, released on 17 December last year, wouldn’t bring the UK within legal air pollution limits until 2025. The original, legally binding deadline passed in 2010.

ClientEarth has asked judges to strike down those plans, order new ones and intervene to make sure the government acts. The first hearing will take place on a date yet to be set by the court – but most likely during the summer.

#no2dirtyair

ClientEarth press release


Letter from High Court granting permission for ClientEarth (No 2) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant and the
Acknowledgements of service filed by the Defendant and 3rd and 4th Interested
Party:Order by the Honourable Mr Justice Irwin
1. Permission is hereby granted on Grounds 1 and 2.
2. The action is to be known henceforth as ClientEarth (No 2) v Secretary of
State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

28.4.2016


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See also

All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution set up, as greatly increased interest in air quality by MPs

A cross-party Parliamentary group of MPs, Peers, businesses and other stakeholders has been set up to specifically look at air pollution issues in the UK, with Labour MP Matthew Pennycook (MP for Greenwich) acting as its chair. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution held its inaugural meeting on 26th April, and 3 vice-chairs were also elected (Daniel Poulter; Helen Hayes;and Baroness Sheehan). Trade organisation the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) will act as secretariat for the Group, through its chief executive, Matthew Farrow. More interested MPs will be recruited. There has recently been a much increased level of interest in air pollution, especially in NO2 – brought into the spotlight by the VW “defeat” devices scandal. The emergence of the group is timely, after the news that ClientEarth has permission to pursue its JR against the government, to get improvements in air quality more rapidly. A week or so earlier, a new joint body between Defra and the DfT was set up – JAQU, Joint Action on Air Quality – to deliver national plans on air quality. Heathrow’s hopes of a 3rd runway are at risk, due to legal levels of NO2 already being breached. Gatwick also risks breaching legal limits, if it had a second runway.

Click here to view full story…

and

All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution set up, as greatly increased interest in air quality by MPs

A cross-party Parliamentary group of MPs, Peers, businesses and other stakeholders has been set up to specifically look at air pollution issues in the UK, with Labour MP Matthew Pennycook (MP for Greenwich) acting as its chair. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution held its inaugural meeting on 26th April, and 3 vice-chairs were also elected (Daniel Poulter; Helen Hayes;and Baroness Sheehan). Trade organisation the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) will act as secretariat for the Group, through its chief executive, Matthew Farrow. More interested MPs will be recruited. There has recently been a much increased level of interest in air pollution, especially in NO2 – brought into the spotlight by the VW “defeat” devices scandal. The emergence of the group is timely, after the news that ClientEarth has permission to pursue its JR against the government, to get improvements in air quality more rapidly. A week or so earlier, a new joint body between Defra and the DfT was set up – JAQU, Joint Action on Air Quality – to deliver national plans on air quality. Heathrow’s hopes of a 3rd runway are at risk, due to legal levels of NO2 already being breached. Gatwick also risks breaching legal limits, if it had a second runway.

Click here to view full story…

Earlier: 

ClientEarth takes government back to court over the inadequate plan it produced in December

Environmental lawyers, ClientEarth, have launched a new legal challenge against the UK government due to its repeated failure to tackle illegal air pollution. In this latest round of legal action, ClientEarth has lodged papers at the High Court in London seeking judicial review and will serve papers on government lawyers shortly.  As well as the UK Environment Secretary who is named as the defendant, Scottish and Welsh ministers, the Mayor of London and the DfT will also be served with papers as interested parties in the case. ClientEarth believes the government is in breach of a Supreme Court order to clean up air quality.  The Supreme Court ordered DEFRA to produce new air quality plans to bring air pollution down to legal levels in the “shortest possible time”. But the plans the government came up with, released on 17 December 2015, wouldn’t bring the UK within legal air pollution limits until 2025. The original, legally binding deadline passed in 2010. The papers lodged with the High Court ask judges to strike down those plans, order new ones and intervene to make sure the government acts. ClientEarth said: “As the government can’t be trusted to deal with toxic air pollution, we are asking the court to supervise it and make sure it is taking action.”  ClientEarth are launching a fundraising campaign to help fund this work. #NO2DIRTYAIR

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/03/clientearth-takes-government-back-to-court-over-the-inadequate-plan-it-produced-in-december/

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Earlier:

DEFRA produces plan to improve air quality – ClientEarth regards it as inadequate

A ruling by the Supreme Court in April 2015 required the government to produce a comprehensive plan to meet air pollution limits by December. The government has now produced this. The intention is that it has to include low emission zones, congestion charging and other economic incentives. It is thought that due to the failure to meet European limits of harmful NOx gases, which are mostly caused by diesel traffic, there are up to 9,500 premature deaths each year in London alone. Under the government’s plan, “Clean Air Zones” will be introduced – by 2020 – in areas of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton where pollution is most serious. However, though vehicles like old buses, taxis, coaches and lorries have to pay a charge to enter these zones – private passenger cars will not be charged. Also newer vehicles that meet the latest emission standards will not need to pay. Client Earth, the lawyers who brought the legal case against the UK government, for breaching the EU’s Air Quality Directive, said the plan falls far short of the action necessary to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, and they will make a legal challenge to force the government to take faster action to achieve legal pollution limits. “As soon as possible,” or by 2020, is not soon enough.

Click here to view full story…


 

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Speculation that Berlin Brandenburg might never open, as its problems are so expensive

The man in charge of planning Berlin’s Brandenburg airport, which has had a catalogue of major problems, says it now may never open. It might be pulled down.  It was meant to open in 2010, but had real problems with the fire extinguisher system, which did not work. Every year, the date of possible opening is pushed further back. Now it seems the myth of German national efficiency is under threat.  The airport is already £5 billion over budget and a national disgrace for a country that prides itself on technical excellence. The chief planner, until 1999, doubted if it would ever open. After the fire issue, which required the removal of hundreds of defective firewalls, there were also hundreds of miles of wiring that had to be ripped out of leaking underground conduits. The luggage relay systems did not work, and the computer system was so complex that for years nobody could work out how to turn off the lights. They blazed 24/7. Every month, the delay costs about £15 million, including cleaning costs and lighting to prevent vandalism. The Times says the airport’s PR chief “who, rather too truthfully, told journalists that claims of the project going well were “bullshit”.” If it does ever open (2018, 2019?) it will already be too small, and another runway may be added ….
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Berlin’s new airport ‘may never open’: planner

27.4.2016  (The Local. Germany)

Talking to the Berliner Morgenpost, Dieter Faulenbach da Costa, who was responsible for planning the project up until 1999, said he doubted whether the airport would ever be opened.

Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) was supposed to open to the public in 2011, providing the German capital with a modern transport hub to replace the smaller airports at Schönefeld and Tegel.

But a series of planning failures have delayed the opening by years, with city authorities now claiming it will open in 2017.

Da Costa believes though that modifications to the design of the fire safety systems, which are the main reason for the delay in the opening, will make the project unworkable.

“The restructuring of the fire safety systems which has been going on for the last four years at BER will prevent the opening of the new airport,” he told the Morgenpost.

Da Costa criticized the airport management for too hastily ditching the old fire safety system.

“Instead of completing the [fire] apparatus which complied with original construction permit and then testing it, they decided to take on restructuring projects,” he said.

Berlin authorities responded to the former planner’s comments by saying it was sticking to the scheduled opening at the end of 2017.

“We already commented fully on this problem and to our current plan for the opening on Friday. We have nothing more to add,” spokesperson for the airport Lars Wagner said.

Earlier in April the airport sacked its previous PR chief for being slightly too honest about failures in the project.

Daniel Abbou described previous management as a shit show and said “up until now official statements always said that the project was going well. That’s bullshit.”

Due to the chronic delays, the state governments of Berlin and Brandenburg are also likely to have to pay out millions in compensation to airlines which planned their businesses around a 2011 opening.

http://www.thelocal.de/20160427/berlins-new-airport-may-never-open

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The Times has the same story.  “Berlin’s delayed airport ‘will never open’ “


Wikipedia states:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Brandenburg_Airport

Berlin Brandenburg Airport is an international airport under construction, located adjacent to the current Berlin Schönefeld Airport in Schönefeld 18 kilometres (11 miles) south of the city centre of Berlin.

It was originally intended to replace both Schönefeld and Berlin Tegel Airport, and to become the single commercial airport serving Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg, an area with a combined 6 million inhabitants. However it is now known it will only replace Tegel, as the old Schönefeld airport is in current expansion because will still be required to cope with rising passenger numbers.

With a projected annual passenger number of around 34 million, Berlin Brandenburg Airport would become the third busiest airport in Germany, surpassing Düsseldorf Airport, and one of the fifteen busiest in Europe.

Air Berlin, Germanwings and easyJet are expected to become the leading carriers at the airport, having announced the intent to relocate and keep their hub / base operations there which they currently maintain at Tegel and Schönefeld airports today.

Originally planned to open in 2010, the airport has encountered a series of delays due to poor construction planning, management, execution and corruption.

Unfinished construction and corrective work means an opening prior to late 2017 is unlikely according to the WSP CBP time frame.

Current estimates suggest that the airport will open in 2018 or 2019, at the latest. Recent reports mentioned the 3rd quarter of 2019.

Current total costs amount to €5.4 billion. Additional plans suggest additional costs amounting to an extra €2.19 billion. As of 3 June 2015, Germany applied for an additional €2.5 billion spending approval at the EU, in addition to the previous total of €4.3 billion. Total costs thus mount to €6.8 billion.

The EU will only permit an additional €2.2 billion. Although the airport has yet to open, officials are planning a possible third runway for approximately €1 billion and other new projects such as an additional terminal, expanded baggage system and another freight facility.

The total additional spending would amount to €3.2 billion. The board warned of a further rise in costs because the airport will not open before 2017. The current time-cost frame is limited to 2016.

….. and there is a lot more …… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Brandenburg_Airport

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Some earlier news about Berlin Brandenburg airport: 

Berlin Brandenburg airport problem of terminal ceiling being too heavy ….. already years late, hugely over budget

Berlin’s long-delayed Brandenburg airport has suffered another setback after structural flaws were found in the terminal roof.  It appears that the ceiling in the terminal building is too heavy. The airport, which was originally due to open in 2010, is still under construction and has run billions of Euros over budget. It was expected to open in 2017 but that could be postponed even further. The local building authority said it had told the construction firm to “immediately stop building works for the area underneath the entire terminal roof of the BER airport” until security checks could be carried out by engineers. The airport’s CEO has left the company. Earlier this year Air Berlin, which is currently running at a loss, reached a settlement with the airport over the delays as it had planned on making BER its main hub airport. The first problems noted were to do with the smoke and fire detection problem. The proposed solution, (which was not surprisingly rejected) was (paraphrased) for 800 low-paid workers armed with cell phones, sitting on camping stools, armed with thermos flasks, who would take up positions throughout the terminal. If anyone smelled smoke or saw a fire, they would alert the airport fire station and direct passengers toward the exits” The airport’s cost, borne by taxpayers, has tripled to €5.4 billion.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/berlin-brandenburg-airport-problem-of-terminal-ceiling-being-too-heavy-already-years-late-hugely-over-budget/


 

Troubled Berlin Brandenburg airport, due to open in June 2012, could be shut down in late summer unless €1.1 billion is raised

Berlin Brandenburg (BER) airport was intended to be a huge new airport for Berlin, so Berlin-Schönefeld and Tegel airports could close. The BER was initially due to open in June 2012. It had a catalogue of problems with fire safety, smoke extraction system, and fresh air supply in the event of fire. The launch has been delayed and delayed …. last year it was hoped it might open this year. Now the airport’s CEO has announced that it is possible the construction of the airport may need to be shut down this summer, if a further €1.1 billion cannot be raised. Some €4.3 billion has already been spent, but that only lasts till this summer. Extra costs have been incurred due to the late opening, as well as the extra construction costs. A decision on how €1.1 billion can be raised is needed urgently, perhaps through bank loans, government grants or from an investor. The money has to not only be agreed by Berlin, Brandenburg and the federal government, but also needs approval from the EU Commission. Current total costs amount to €5.4 billion. Additional plans suggest additional costs amounting to an extra €2.19 billion. Although the airport has yet to open, officials are planning a possible third runway for approximately €1 billion and other new projects such as an additional terminal, expanded baggage system and another freight facility. The total additional spending would amount to €3.2 billion.

Click here to view full story…

Berlin’s Schönefeld airport ‘to stay open’ as Brandenburg airport (at huge expense) not ready till 2015 at the earliest

February 25, 2014

Berlin’s old Schönefeld airport is likely to remain open as a destination for budget airlines despite a multi-billion airport being built next to it, at Berlin Brandenburg (BER), as the new international hub is too small. It is the latest in a long line of setbacks to hit the BER, which is over budget and behind time. It will have two runways. It is expected to open in 2015 at the earliest. Officially the cost of the airport is €4.3 billion, though initial cost estimates were €1.2 and it could cost up to €6 billion. Despite the huge cost, the airport will only have a capacity of 27 million passengers a year, so its ageing neighbour, Schönefeld, will need to stay open. The original plan had been for Schönefeld, which caters for budget airlines, to merge with BER. Keeping Schönefeld in operation would increase capacity by 7.5 million passengers a year and avoid further costs of building a new terminal. Earlier it had been expected that BER could be partly in use in 2014, with 10 planes per day, but that will not happen. The airport was initially intended to open in 2010 but the multiple delays have been due to difficulties concerning fire safety, the smoke exhaust systems and construction errors. Air Berlin is suing BER for damages due to the much delayed opening.

Click here to view full story…

…… and there is more going back further at

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/european-airports/berlin-airports/

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Whitehall logjam of work due to EU vote could push runway decision back to September

The Standard reports that the Government may delay their decision on a runway until perhaps September, rather than July. Patrick McLoughlin had said earlier (8th Feb) that he hoped there would be a decision before the summer recess (mid-July). However the government has such a “log-jam” of work caused by the EU referendum that, frankly, the runway issue is not top of the agenda.  Insiders in government are said to believe the runway problem is only one of many major decisions competing for time in a one-month window between the referendum (23rd June) and the summer parliamentary recess (21st July). Many Whitehall departments are keen to get their decisions time-tabled to be taken in July. Parliament returns briefly between the 5th and the 15th, and it is considered possible that the government might make an announcement then. That way, there would be a runway decision (perhaps stating a location?) in time for the Party Conferences.  However, it is possible there could be a longer delay. It is thought that No.10 is somewhat “paralysed” by its battle to win the referendum on June 23.”  It is known that the DfT is having to carry out a considerable amount of further work on the runway options, to add to the work of the Airports Commission, and fill in gaps. 
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Whitehall logjam over EU vote ‘could push Heathrow ruling back to September’

By JOE MURPHY AND NICHOLAS CECIL

27.4.2016 (Evening Standard)

The Government decision on Heathrow’s third runway faces yet another delay because of a Whitehall “logjam” caused by the EU referendum. Insiders say it is among a raft of major decisions competing for time in a one-month window between the referendum and the summer parliamentary recess.

September is increasingly seen as the earliest date for a new South-East runway site to be chosen, but a longer wait is not being ruled out. The slippage is embarrassing for David Cameron, who pledged to settle it by the end of 2015.

No 10 officials strongly denied claims made by MPs and ministers that the Government is “paralysed” by its battle to win the referendum on June 23.

But one senior Tory said: “The Prime Minister is absolutely consumed by the referendum and a lot of decisions are piling up in the in-tray.” An industry figure who deals with government said: “We’re seeing every Whitehall department fighting to get its decisions timetabled to be taken in July.”

Ministers have to choose between three schemes: a third runway at Heathrow, a second at Gatwick or the independent Heathrow Hub plan. However, the boss of Gatwick says the Government must redraft its air quality plan in the wake of the emissions scandal.

Diesel cars being sold in the UK emit an average of six times more nitrogen oxide in real-world driving than the legal limit used in official tests, according to a government report last week.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate claimed the findings were a “hammer blow” for Heathrow expansion: “It also obviously means the Government will have to revisit its air quality plan.”

Heathrow rejected the claim about its plans for a third runway, which it says can operate within EU air quality rules. It said: “Heathrow’s forecasts are modelled on real-world emissions data.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We will consider any revisions and, if necessary, update our air quality plans.”

The Department for Transport said: “We have accepted the case for airport expansion in the South-East and we are further considering the environmental impacts. We will take account of any relevant evidence and expect to conclude this work by the summer.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/whitehall-logjam-over-eu-vote-could-push-heathrow-ruling-back-to-september-a3234846.html

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Earlier:

Patrick McLoughlin evidence to Transport Cttee – he “very much hoped” to give runway location decision by July

The Commons Transport Committee held an oral evidence session on 8th February, inviting Transport Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin, to comment on the decision by the government to delay a statement on the location of a possible new runway. The tone of the session was that the Committee was eager for a decision to be made rapidly, with concern that undue time was being taken. Mr McLoughlin explained that even an EU referendum in June would not rule out a decision before Parliament’s summer recess.  He said though there has been a delay, partly due to air pollution problems and the VW “defeat” scandal, he hoped the government was ensuring all necessary research had been done, to minimise the chance of legal challenges causing yet further delays. The timetable the government is working to is a runway by 2030, though Heathrow and Gatwick would prefer it to be by 2025. Mr McLoughlin said he “very much hoped” there would be a statement to Parliament at least several days before summer recess  (mid-July, date not yet published) to allow time for MPs to comment etc. He stressed how the 2008 Planning Act would make pushing a runway through fast, and gave the various timings, with only 6 months for a planning inquiry and examination in public.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/patrick-mcloughlin-evidence-to-transport-cttee-very-much-hoped-to-give-runway-location-decision-by-july/

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Patrick McLoughlin hints that EU referendum could delay runway decision, even beyond this summer

One of the many omissions by the Airports Commission, in its analysis of whether a runway should be built, and its recommendation, is the impact of the UK leaving the EU. It was not considered. Clearly, if the UK did leave Europe after a referendum, there would be complicated economic impacts – which would take years to work through. Now the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, speaking in an interview on LBC, has said there could indeed be a delay in the government making a decision due to the referendum and the uncertainty about that. Asked when there would be a decision, he replied: “I hope later this year. We have said we would hope to move some way by the summer of this year.” And he went on: “There’s lots of other things which are going on in the political spectrum – if there’s a referendum this summer, and the like. But I would hope by the summer of this year we will be able to make progress.” There is no mention at all of the issue in the Airports Commission’s final report in July 2015 nor in the many supporting documents, nor in its interim report, in December 2013. David Cameron has said the EU referendum will happen by the end of 2017. It may happen as early as June or July 2016.

Click here to view full story…

Long awaited Government statement on runways – decision will be delayed till summer 2016 – more work needed

After a meeting of the Cabinet Airports Sub-Committee, a statement was finally put out by Patrick Mcloughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, at 7pm. It said that the government confirms it supports the building of a new runway in the south east, to add capacity by 2030 (earlier airports claimed they could have a runway built by 2025). The decision on location is “subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures.” All three short listed schemes will continue to be considered – so Gatwick is still included. “The government will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.” On air pollution and carbon emissions “The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.” More work is needed on NO2. “The government expects the airports to put forward ambitious solutions. …The mechanism for delivering planning consents for airport expansion will be an ‘Airports national policy statement’ (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.”… “At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans.”

Click here to view full story…   and for some of the many comments on the statement

 

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New GACC research paper indicates higher Gatwick charges for runway could lead to airlines moving to other airports

There is a problem about how Gatwick would pay for a 2nd runway, bearing in mind the airlines that use it are not keen on extra charges. Local campaign GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has produced a short research paper looking into the issue.  “Paying for a new Gatwick runway.” They conclude that the steep rise in airport charges at Gatwick which would be needed to pay for a new runway could cause airlines to decamp to other airports such as Stansted or Luton.  The GACC study is based on the estimates made by the Airports Commission that the cost of a new Gatwick runway would mean a rise in airport charges from the current £9 per passenger to £15 to £18, rising to £23 at the peak. Chairman of GACC, Brendon Sewill pointed out: “That is a rise of over 100% and would be serious shock for airlines. easyJet and BA have already expressed anxiety about higher charges, and their unwillingness to pay them. Stansted is at present half full and would be overjoyed to attract business from Gatwick.”  Manchester airport is a salutary reminder of the risk; its new runway opened in 2000 but was followed by a fall in passenger numbers. Manchester airport is still only at about 60% of the capacity of a single runway. Competitive pressure from other airports could make the financing of a new Gatwick runway challenging. 
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Higher Gatwick airport charges could lead to airlines moving to other airports

24th April 2016

(GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign – press release)

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The steep rise in airport charges at Gatwick which would be needed to pay for a second runway could cause airlines to decamp to other airports such as Stansted or Luton: that is the conclusion of a new research study published today.

Written by economist and former Treasury adviser, Brendon Sewill, the study is based on the estimates made by the Airports Commission that the cost of a new Gatwick runway would mean a rise in airport charges from the current £9 per passenger to £15 to £18, rising to £23 at the peak.

Sewill points out: ‘That is a rise of over 100% and would be serious shock for airlines. easyJet and BA have already expressed anxiety. Stansted is at present half full and would be overjoyed to attract business from Gatwick.’

The study shows that the result could be the same as happened at Manchester: when a new runway was opened in 2000, it was followed by a fall in passenger numbers. Manchester airport is still only at about 60% of the capacity of a single runway. [Link CAA airport data 2015. 23 million passengers at Manchester]

Sewill was asked how his prediction that a new runway could be a white elephant could be reconciled with warnings by GACC that a new runway would mean worse noise, worse pollution, worse traffic congestion etc. His answer: ‘A new runway would not be opened until 2030, and it is difficult to predict the future that far ahead. There is a fair chance that the runway would prove an economic failure but equally a fair chance that Gatwick would grow to become as large as Heathrow today. Either would be a disaster.’

The research study is the second in a series published by GACC.  Paying for a new Gatwick runway – by GACC

The first study was on Ambient Noise, and is on the GACC website www.gacc.org.uk/research-studies

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The Conclusion of the report states:

Conclusions

What conclusions can be drawn? Or, as the Victorians might say, what morals can be drawn from this cautionary tale?

First, for the past four years there has been unending discussion of where a new runway should be built. Each airport has spent millions on lobbying, newspapers have carried innumerable articles, everyone in every pub has a view on where it should be. But it seems that no one has stopped to ask: “Who will pay?”

Second, the predicted 100% increase in airport charges at Gatwick could cause a substantial shift to Stansted and Luton. This could become a vicious spiral if higher chargers led to fewer passengers at Gatwick which meant fewer to share the cost. Economic analysis reinforces the common sense view that there is no point in building a new runway at Gatwick while Stansted remains only half full.

Third, competitive pressure from other airports could make the financing of a new Gatwick runway challenging.

 Paying for a new Gatwick runway – by GACC

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Necessary rise in price per flight at Gatwick with a 2nd runway:

“In order to pay the cost of a second runway, the Commission states that passenger charges would rise from £9 at present to ‘between £15 and £18, with peak charges up to £23.’ ”

This is from the Airports Commission consultation document, November 2014, para 3.41.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Gatwick-Unwrapped-Jan-2015.pdf


 

Stansted Airport’s charges can be seen here

Gatwick Airport’s charges can be seen here

 


Earlier:

EasyJet CEO, Carolyn McCall, again says there is no economic case for a Gatwick runway

Carolyn McCall, the CEO of EasyJet – the largest airline using Gatwick airport – has again said that there is no “economic reason” to build a 2nd runway at Gatwick. She believes it does not need to expand, because of a lack of demand from passengers. She would prefer a runway at Heathrow, as EasyJet and other airlines are “queuing up to get in”. They could make more profit there. Though the airlines want a new Heathrow runway, it is both physically, geographically, environmentally and politically very, very difficult indeed. Gatwick is also geographically and environmentally very, very difficult. For Gatwick to build a new runway, the cost would have to be paid by the airlines, which means flights costing more for passengers. As the budget airlines make thin profits (perhaps £7 per passenger after tax), adding on an extra £30 + to a return trip is utterly contrary to the low cost airline business plan. On dirt cheap flights, £30 extra is enough to matter.  Even though easyJet is currently Gatwick’s biggest customer, Ms McCall said it had “never proved it can really be the kind of airport that Heathrow is.”  Heathrow slot pairs can cost £25 million, but EasyJet got their Gatwick pairs for about £1 million.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/06/easyjet-ceo-carolyn-mccall-again-says-there-is-no-economic-case-for-a-gatwick-runway/

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Gatwick’s main airline, easyJet, questions Gatwick case for 2nd runway and does not want to pay higher landing charges

Carolyn McCall, CEO of  EasyJet, the largest airline at Gatwick, has said passengers want expansion at Heathrow, not at Gatwick.  Ms McCall said easyJet is “quite concerned” at the prospect that Gatwick’s  landing charges would rise to pay for a 2nd runway.  They are having confidential talks with the airports on future charges.  EasyJet makes on average £8 profit per seat.  If Gatwick’s charges doubled from the current £9  to an average of £15 to £18 (or even up to £23) as predicted by the Airports Commission, this would hit EasyJet’s economics.  Ms McCAll said: “This whole issue of capacity should be about where the demand is. Airlines have to want to go into that airport, and the congestion we have is predominantly around the Heathrow hub. Passengers need to really value what this infrastructure brings, and if they don’t see any benefit it’s going to struggle.” A new runway risked emulating unpopular toll roads. “It will be years and years before [passengers] see any positive effect.”  As one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing airlines, EasyJet’s opinion will need to be given careful consideration by the Commission.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/gatwicks-main-airline-easyjet-questions-gatwick-case-for-2nd-runway-and-do-not-want-to-pay-higher-landing-charges/

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EasyJet’s Carolyn McCall says it is “unfair” for airlines to have to pre-fund airport expansion – wants someone else to pay

Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet, has claimed it is “very unfair” to expect airlines to fund runway building and airport expansion before the work takes place. She said “quite a big negotiation” will have to take place, whether (if) Heathrow or Gatwick is chosen. The cost of the expansion at Heathrow would be about £18.6 billion; Heathrow Hub at £13.5 billion, or Gatwick at £9.3 billion. Ms McCall has a main base at Gatwick, but backs a runway at Heathrow, expecting easyJet could make more money there.  Willie Walsh of IAG has often said that the cost of Heathrow expansion is “outrageous” and insisted “we wouldn’t be prepared to pay for or to support the development”. Carolyn McCall said the issue of pre-funding is a massive issue for airlines – and therefore for airline passengers – as it would mean more expensive air fares for perhaps up to 10 years before the runway was completed. She claimed it was “a very unfair way of funding infrastructure development which is to the benefit of the country.”… “There are lots of negotiations to be had between Heathrow and airlines, including us, as to how we would operate at Heathrow and at what cost and with what infrastructure.” She wants a runway.[But she wants someone else to pay for it, so flying for leisure can become even cheaper.]  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/easyjets-carolyn-mccall-says-it-is-unfair-for-airlines-to-have-to-pre-fund-airport-expansion-wants-someone-else-to-pay/


Gatwick “promises” to cap landing charges to £15 + inflation for 30 years (if it gets an unspecified non-existent 30 year “contract” from Government)

Gatwick airport, in frenetic publicity in the months before the Airports Commission runway recommendation has made various pledges – in the hope of currying favour. It says it will “bear all the main risks” of a new runway. Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of Gatwick, has written to Sir Howard Davies saying – among other things – that the landing charge will be kept at £15 (plus inflation) for 30 years. As long as there is no new Heathrow runway. (It is currently £9). Sir Roy said it is “in return for Government agreeing a 30 year contract” though exactly what that means is not explained.  Presumably a contract that there will be no other runway? [Government has not made any such deal with Gatwick, and would be unlikely to]. Gatwick also says it will “bear all the main risks of the expansion programme . . . including long-term risks related to traffic levels, market pricing, construction and operating costs”. How exactly?  Gatwick’s main airline, EasyJet, is not happy with charges rising to £15.  The Airports Commission consultation documents considered Gatwick’s estimate of £15 to be too low, and instead considered “average charges rising to between £15 and £18, with peak charges of up to £23.” These higher levels were due to lower estimated levels of air passenger demand than Gatwick’s optimistic figures, and higher infrastructure costs. [ Airports Commission’s consultation document Page 47].    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/03/gatwick-promises-to-cap-landing-charges-to-15-inflation-for-30-years-if-it-gets-an-unspecified-30-year-contract-from-government/

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While air traffic controllers in Europe strike, fearing job cuts, industry expects shortage of controllers worldwide in future

While air traffic controllers in Europe strike, due to concerns about pay and future job losses because of the introduction of the Single European Sky, there are predictions of a future lack of air traffic controllers elsewhere in the world.  While the world’s airlines plan to double the fleet of commercial jets during the next two decades as the number of air travellers approaches 7 billion, there is an expected shortage of air traffic controllers in Asia especially.  More and more airports are planned. There won’t be enough controllers to help those 44,000 planes take off and land safely.  There are plans for a cheaper system, for small and remote airports where proper air traffic control is too expensive – get it done by remote control.  A range of cameras and sensors at the airport would relay information to controllers at a man ATC centre, who would direct the planes. The system is, in theory, sensitive enough to penetrate fog and detect wild animals on runways. It is also cheaper than hiring people to fill vacancies at smaller or remote airports. The system is already being tried at a small airport in Sweden. All rather odd, when European air traffic controllers hundreds of job cuts in the next few years. Maybe the controllers are not keen to go to a small, remote Indian airport. 
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Robots May Solve the Global Air Traffic Controller Shortage

By Angus Whitley and Anurag Kotoky (Bloomberg)
April 23, 2016

The world’s airlines have ambitious plans to double the fleet of commercial jets during the next two decades as the number of air travelers approaches 7 billion. The trouble: There won’t be enough controllers to help those 44,000 planes take off and land safely.

A shortage of air traffic controllers may rein in expansion by the aviation industry and economic development by emerging nations such as India, which wants to activate hundreds of unused runways to spur growth.

There is a potential solution, and it resembles a video gamer’s dream — a wall of big-screen TVs and a few tablet computers controlled by a stylus.

Some airports are now testing “remote towers” from Saab AB and Thales SA that allow controllers sitting hundreds of miles away to monitor operations through high-definition cameras and sensors. The technology is sensitive enough to penetrate fog and detect wild animals on runways, and the companies say it’s also cheaper than hiring people to fill vacancies at smaller or remote airports.

Few Facilities

“It’s a potential game-changer,” said Neil Hansford, chairman of Strategic Aviation Solutions, a consultancy firm north of Sydney. “There’s a shortage. As you go to more and more airports, it’s going to exacerbate the problem.”

And plans are moving apace for more and more airports. Worldwide, projects to redevelop or build new airfields surpass $900 billion, according to the CAPA Centre for Aviation, a Sydney-based consultancy.

By 2030, the world will need another 40,000 air traffic controllers to handle those flights, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization. Yet, there are so few training facilities in Asia, the fastest-growing travel market, that the region will have a deficit of more than 1,000 controllers each year, the ICAO said.

Rating Downgraded

Partly because of that, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration downgraded India’s aviation safety rating in 2014 and Thailand’s in 2015. The agency said neither country’s civil aviation authority was up to scratch and barred their airlines from offering new services to the US.  After India addressed the FAA’s safety concerns, its rating was restored last year.

Global demand for flight-management equipment such as digital communications and surveillance systems is forecast to reach $5.5 billion in 2020, according to research by MarketsandMarkets. The growth in fleets and flights outpaces the abilities of airport authorities to keep up, said Brian Jackson, managing director at Ambidji Group, a Melbourne-based aviation consultancy firm.

“There’s a real mismatch between airlines’ forward planning and air traffic-control forward planning,” Jackson said. “Planning for infrastructure takes years.”

IMAX Theater

That’s what Stockholm-based Saab and Paris-based Thales are trying to capitalize on. The companies can install towers loaded with cameras and sensors covering 360 degrees overlooking runways to beam high-definition video and sound to a distant control center. One controller can manage several airports remotely.

“We can see a huge interest from all continents,” Dan-Aake Enstedt, Saab’s Asia-Pacific manager, said in an e-mail. “This lets you operate an airport that might otherwise be too expensive to keep open, or help to smooth the flow of traffic around major airports as they expand.”

Saab’s system resembles an immersive IMAX theater. A bank of screens on the wall gives the impression of looking out the window onto a remote airfield, with radar blips tracked on a desktop monitor and flights managed by oversized tablet computers that respond to a stylus. Graphics pop up on the screens, and the controller can manually maneuver a zoom camera to take a closer look at the runways or the planes if an anomaly warning sounds.
First System

The technology guides planes into central Sweden’s Ornskoldsvik Airport, with controllers monitoring from more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest at Sundsvall-Timra Airport. It was the first remote system installed in the world.

Australia tested Saab’s remote tower in Alice Springs, which is almost dead center of the continent. The airport, serving carriers including Qantas Airways Ltd. and Emirates Airline, was run from a control tower 1,500 kilometers to the south in Adelaide. Airservices Australia, the government entity that employs more than 1,000 controllers, said in an e-mail that it is considering “further evaluation and potential deployment of this type of technology.”

The executive airport in Leesburg, Virginia, which has installed 14 cameras, says the concept is supported by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, adding it cuts costs and improves staffing models.

Night Vision

Thales rolled out its competing version, including night-vision cameras, last month at the air-traffic industry’s annual congress in Madrid. The system also is appropriate for war zones and “previously ‘unjustifiable’ sites,” the company said.

Saab senses opportunity in India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to bolster the economy includes reviving remote airstrips to increase passenger and cargo traffic, said Varun Vijay Singh, marketing director for air traffic management at Saab’s Indian business.

Only 75 of India’s 476 airports — just 16 percent — attract scheduled flights, according to a draft civil aviation policy released in October.

“India is reaching airspace congestion, and ATC services are on edge at the moment,” said Mark Martin, founder of Dubai-based Martin Consulting LLC.

Boeing Co. predicts Indian carriers will need 1,740 new aircraft during the next 20 years. Someone has to help land them, Saab’s Singh said.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity,” he said. “We are talking to the airport authority. It will take maybe this year to get a pilot project running.”

https://skift.com/2016/04/23/robots-may-solve-the-global-air-traffic-controller-shortage/

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Also

Controller Shortage To Increase Airline Costs, Delays, Fares

28.1.2016 (Forbes)

It is ironic that at a time when commercial airlines are redoubling efforts to improve on-time and schedule performance that a new report from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded that Federal Aviation Administration-caused delays will likely increase. The report said FAA is woefully behind on controller staffing levels at the nation’s busiest and most critical air traffic control (ATC) facilities. Furthermore, the report concluded the FAA does not have a methodology to determine staffing or how many of the 14,000 controllers will retire. About a third are eligible to retire at any given time but this has been an issue for decades.

The OIG report is the latest in a long series of government and private reports suggesting the FAA is just not up to the task of managing the ATC system. It also confirms National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) contentions system shortages are now at crisis levels. FAA has missed hiring goals in each of the last five years including a 24% shortfall in 2015 when staffing dropped to its lowest level in 27 years, according to NATCA. The union said the issue contributes to fatigue because it forces controllers to work overtime although it is adamant that staffing not impact safety. In addition, NATCA said that FAA is forcing trainees to work the positions for which they are qualified and stunting their development to become fully certified in all positions. OIG confirmed this saying trainees can take anywhere from one to eight years to become fully qualified.

………… and it continues at length …….

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryncreedy/2016/01/28/controller-shortage-to-increase-airline-costs-delays-fares/#476201e910b1

 

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The controllers’ unions want to be exempted from proposed changes to how salaries are calculated. They also denounce the loss of some 1,000 jobs in less than 10 years. Link

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The controllers are unhappy about staffing and retirement arrangements, as well as the prospect of job losses with moves towards a “Single European Sky”.

According to the organisation representing Europe’s biggest airlines, A4E, [Airlines for Europe] the action will take the number of strike days by French air-traffic controllers to 44 in the past seven years. That works out at an average of one day’s strike every two months. Thomas Reynaert, A4E’s managing director, said: “Repeated and disproportionate industrial action by ATC unions just means victimising passengers and weakening European airlines.”  Link

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In many countries ATC is not allowed to strike or must give a notice period before it does. Ryanair are backing a petition called “Keep Europe’s Skies Open”, to garner 1,000,000 signatures to urge the European Parliament and European Commission to take action. The petition calls for the banning of strikes by ATC and the advancing of claims by mediation and binding arbitration.  Link

 

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Shock £17bn taxpayer’s bill for Heathrow expansion revealed through Freedom of Information request by Greenpeace

Environmental and transport groups have used FoI to obtain details from Transport for London (TfL), of their estimates of the amount of money the UK taxpayer would be expected to pay, for Heathrow’s 3rd runway. This comes to a staggering £17 billion, to cover the costs of transport links needed to deal with a massive traffic surge from a 3rd Heathrow runway.  TfL say the actual cost would be around £18.4 billion – which is 4 times as high as estimated by the Airports Commission.  Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye reiterated, to the Environmental Audit Committee (4.11.2015) that the airport would pay only about £1 billion. The government made it clear (Oct 2015) that it expects aviation expansion promoters to cover any surface access costs.The vast amount of money required throws into question both the financing and feasibility of a crucial part of the project. The documents, released to Greenpeace through FoI, contain the first detailed comparison of the contrasting estimates by the Airport Commission and TfL. They show the figures published in the Commission’s report failed to take into account the costs of key rail schemes, extra buses, additional operational spending and road traffic management. The Treasury needs to properly assess the real costs of expanding Heathrow and guarantee taxpayers won’t be left to pick up the bill.
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Shock £17bn taxpayer’s bill for Heathrow expansion revealed

25.4.2016 (HACAN press release)

UK taxpayers could be asked to fork out a staggering £17 billion to cover the costs of transport links needed to deal with a massive traffic surge from Heathrow expansion, according to confidential estimates disclosed today.

Transport for London (TfL) documents released following an investigation by transport and environmental campaigners have revealed a multi-billion-pound gap in the official figures for the costs of road and rail improvements required by a third runway at Heathrow.

According to the agency in charge of the London transport system, the real price tag for boosting surface access to an expanded airport is nearly four times the figure put forward by the government-appointed Airport Commission [1].

The revelation will reignite the longstanding controversy over who will pay for the road and rail works needed to deal with the extra traffic from a new runway. The government has made it clearthat it expects aviation expansion promoters to cover any surface access costs, but Heathrow bosses have said they are not willing to pay anything above £1.1 billion [2].

An analysis of the TfL figures released today shows this would leave a shortfall of at least £17 billion. The funding gap is large enough to throw into question both the financing and feasibility of a crucial part of the project [3].

The documents, released to Greenpeace following a Freedom of Information request, contain the first detailed comparison of the contrasting estimates by the Airport Commission and London’s transport agency. They show the figures published in the Commission’s report failed to take into account the costs of key rail schemes, extra buses, additional operational spending and road traffic management.

A third runway at Heathrow is expected to put an extra 30 million passengers on the Londontransport system every year by 2030, stretching the network’s capacity to breaking point.

In the documents TfL stresses that all transport upgrades included in its cost estimates will be essential to manage the increase in traffic. It also warns that, if surface access issues are not solved, there will be ‘serious implications’ for the government ability to meet its legal obligations on air pollution.

Environmental and transport campaigners from Greenpeace, Campaign for Better Transport and HACAN are calling on the Treasury to come clean over the real costs of expanding Heathrow and guarantee taxpayers won’t be left to pick up the bill.

Back in February, Andrew Tyrie, chair of the influential Commons Treasury select committee, wrote to George Osborne asking for more details about the calculations which led the Airport Commission to come down in favour of a third runway at Heathrow.

Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: “These figures reveal a gaping hole in the financing for Heathrow expansion. The UK public needs to be told the full truth. If the government picks up the tab for the extra costs, this would be a £17 billion taxpayer-funded subsidy in disguise. It makes no sense to waste billions on a project that jeopardises efforts to meet legally binding targets on air pollution and climate change. George Osborne should come clean with UK taxpayers on whether they’ll need to bail out this project before it has taken off.”

Campaign for Better Transport Chief Executive Stephen Joseph said: “Astonishingly, this cost is even greater than the Government’s hugely wasteful national road building programme. Spending this amount of money in London would worsen the North/South divide, whilst bringing little benefit to the capital. What London needs is investments in public transport to help people get around the city, ease congestion and tackle air pollution, rather than squandering limited funds on unnecessary airport expansion. While people elsewhere in England might well ask: What would the Northern Powerhouse be able to deliver with this level of investment?”

 HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “What makes these figures so compelling is that they have not been plucked out of the air. Transport for London has done its sums. All their figures are backed up by detailed, painstaking work. The Government ignores them at its peril when making up its mind about new runways.”

Both sets of estimates include the costs of major road schemes such as putting part of the M25 in a tunnel and widening sections of the M4. But, crucially, the Airport Commission’s estimates overlooked the cost of additional buses, road traffic management, and major rail improvements such as an upgraded Great Western Main Line, a new rail link through Staines, and an extension to Crossrail 2 running from Teddington to Heathrow.

The Government is expected to give the green light to a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick later this year after the EU referendum has taken place.

ENDS

 

All documents, including a summary table showing the contrasting estimates by TfL and the Airports Commission, can be found at energydesk.greenpeace.org

Notes for Editors:

  1. According to the TfL documents, the Airport Commission’s estimate for surface access costs adds up to £4.2 billion, but a figure of £5.7 billion has also been widely reported.
  2. Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye told the Environmental Audit Select Committee at its inquiry last year that Heathrow would only be prepared to pay £1.1 billion towards improved road and rail access.
  3. TfL estimates the overall bill for road and rail improvements to top £18.2bn. Taking out the £1.1 billion Heathrow bosses said they’re willing to pay, that would leave a funding gap of about £17 billion to be plugged.

 

Contacts:

Stefano Gelmini, Greenpeace UK press office, sgelmini@greenpeace.org, m 07506 512442, t 020 7865 8255

Alice Ridley, Campaign for Better Transport Press Officer, Alice.ridley@bettertransport.org.UK, t 020 7566 6483

John Stewart, HACAN, johnstewart2@btconnect.com, t 020 7737 6641, m 07957385650

http://hacan.org.uk/latest-news-2/

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See also:

 

While Heathrow try to claim cost of surface access needed for 3rd runway is just £2.2 billion, TfL estimates cost of £18.4 billion

Heathrow’s management have claimed that only £1.2bn of public funds would be needed to upgrade local road and rail links, for its 3rd runway, while Heathrow itself would spend a further £1bn, making £2.2bn. The Airports Commission estimated the cost to be around 5.7bn, to include widening the M4 and tunnelling the M25 under the runway. But now TfL has come up with figures showing the total cost would be about £18.4bn, which is hugely more. TfL believes Heathrow and the Commission have substantially underestimated the amount of increased congestion the runway would cause on the roads, and on trains due to 30 million more annual passengers. They also did not take freight into account. The government has said whichever airport might be allowed a runway would have to meet all the costs which arise due to a new runway, and from which the airport would directly benefit. TfL has added the cost of other vital transport infrastructure, such as improving bus services, traffic management measures and alterations to the South West and Great Western Main Lines. TfL says none of the schemes in its £18.4bn figure are already committed, funded or planned. The Campaign for Better Transport said the money would be better spent elsewhere eg. on the Northern Powerhouse.

Click here to view full story…

 

Read more »

While Heathrow try to claim cost of surface access just £2.2 billion, TfL estimates cost of £18.4 billion

Heathrow’s management have claimed that only £1.2bn of public funds would be needed to upgrade local road and rail links, for its 3rd runway, while Heathrow itself would spend a further £1bn, making £2.2bn. The Airports Commission estimated the cost to be around 5.7bn, to include widening the M4 and tunnelling the M25 under the runway. But now TfL has come up with figures showing the total cost would be about £18.4bn, which is hugely more. TfL believes Heathrow and the Commission have substantially underestimated the amount of increased congestion the runway would cause on the roads, and on trains due to 30 million more annual passengers. They also did not take freight into account. The government has said whichever airport might be allowed a runway would have to meet all the costs which arise due to a new runway, and from which the airport would directly benefit. TfL has added the cost of other vital transport infrastructure, such as improving bus services, traffic management measures and alterations to the South West and Great Western Main Lines. TfL says none of the schemes in its £18.4bn figure are already committed, funded or planned. The Campaign for Better Transport said the money would be better spent elsewhere eg. on the Northern Powerhouse.
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Shock £17bn taxpayer’s bill for Heathrow expansion revealed through Freedom of Information request by Greenpeace

Environmental and transport groups have used FoI to obtain details from Transport for London (TfL), of their estimates of the amount of money the UK taxpayer would be expected to pay, for Heathrow’s 3rd runway. This comes to a staggering £17 billion, to cover the costs of transport links needed to deal with a massive traffic surge from a 3rd Heathrow runway. TfL say the actual cost would be around £18.4 billion – which is 4 times as high as estimated by the Airports Commission. Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye reiterated, to the Environmental Audit Committee (4.11.2015) that the airport would pay only about £1 billion. The government made it clear (Oct 2015) that it expects aviation expansion promoters to cover any surface access costs.The vast amount of money required throws into question both the financing and feasibility of a crucial part of the project. The documents, released to Greenpeace through FoI, contain the first detailed comparison of the contrasting estimates by the Airport Commission and TfL. They show the figures published in the Commission’s report failed to take into account the costs of key rail schemes, extra buses, additional operational spending and road traffic management. The Treasury needs to properly assess the real costs of expanding Heathrow and guarantee taxpayers won’t be left to pick up the bill.

Click here to view full story…

What TfL says is needed:

TfL says it has not included any transport schemes that were already “funded or planned”.

TfL forecasts that the projected growth in airport passenger numbers from about 200,000 to 430,000 per day, if the 3rd runway is fully used. That is a rise of 115%.

TfL expects about 60% of Heathrow passengers, with a 3rd runway, to use surface transport (the other 40% or so are transit passengers, not leaving the airport).

Without the upgrades in surface transport that TfL has costed, it expects delays on the surrounding road and motorway network and and the trains. It expects rail overcrowding, making if difficult for non-Heathrow passengers to get onto trains.

TfL has looked at transport needs up to 2040. The Airports Commission just looked as far ahead as 2030. The new runway would very possibly not be full then, and there might be smaller planes than in 2040. TfL believes the figures should include the full impact, not merely a part of it – to 2030.

The Airports Commission expected the cost of a tunnel for the M25 under the new runway to be £3.2 billion. This also includes re-routing the and tunneling the A4, widening the M4 between the relevant junctions and reconfiguring the M4/M25 junction.

TfL says even all that would not be enough to deal with the flood of extra passengers, generated by the 3rd runway.

TfL expects £1.1 billion more for further main road capacity enhancement.

TfL expects £800 million for area traffic management measures.

TfL expects £500 million for bus corridor enhancements.

TfL expects £0.9 million for maintenance of new roads until 2050.

TfL has used the Airport Commission’s assumption that car journeys will remain at their present level, in percentage terms. That means more using rail. That would necessitate improvements to a number of rail services and lines.

The TfL and the Commission both consider a new southern rail link to Windsor is needed at a cost of £800 million. TfL believes this would require a bypass tunnel near Egham, costing up to £1.8 billion — to protect the Runnymede riverside meadows.

TfL estimates that £3.6 billion would be needed to widen some of the tracks on the Great Western Main Line, from 4 to 6, for several miles.

TfL supports the building of a link from Heathrow and the South West Main Line through a tunnel that to be built under the airport, from Kingston-on-Thames. That could link into Crossrail 2, (from Broxbourne in the north, to Shepperton, Chessington South, Hampton Court and Epsom http://crossrail2.co.uk/the-route/ ) if that is built.


 

Heathrow runway ‘faces £16bn black hole’

By Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent (Financial Times)

24.4.2016

Heathrow faces a “black hole” of more than £16bn to fund the upgrade of road and railway links to the airport if the third runway gets the go-ahead, Transport for London has warned.

In the latest stumbling block to Heathrow’s airport expansion proposals, TfL said its estimates to upgrade the transport system were about eight times more than the airport’s £2.2bn calculation.

The City Hall department said there had been a “substantial underestimate” in the extent to which a third runway would increase heavy congestion on local buses, trains and roads.

…………..

A breakdown of TfL’s £18.4bn figure was obtained by Greenpeace through a freedom of information request. John Sauven, executive director of the environmental group, said the figures showed a “gaping hole” in financing for Heathrow expansion.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said that the money would be better spent on the Northern Powerhouse rather than on “worsening the north-south divide”.
Full FT article at
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9ba757ce-0a22-11e6-b0f1-61f222853ff3.html#axzz46moEYnrj

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See earlier:

 

Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill says Heathrow has to pay for surface access work resulting from a 3rd runway

Adam Afriyie has reported that, in response to a question he asked the government’s aviation minister, Robert Goodwill, the Government ruled out spending public money for the related surface access costs of a Heathrow 3rd runway. If correct, this is a huge blow to Heathrow, as their surface access costs could be £5 billion just to tunnel the M25 and perhaps up to £10 -15 billion more, for other road and rail improvements, according to Transport for London. In response to the parliamentary question Robert Goodwill said: “In terms of surface access proposals, the Government has been clear that it expects the scheme promoter to meet the costs of any surface access proposals that are required as a direct result of airport expansion and from which they will directly benefit.”  Adam Afriyie said:  “It is welcome news that the Government has ruled out paying the costs of upgrading the railways and local roads or moving or tunnelling the M25. If Heathrow won’t pay and the Government won’t pay, then the 3rd runway is already dead in the water …It is quite right that the public should not be made to fork out up to £20 billion of subsidies to a private company which refuses to pay its own costs of expansion.”  In July John Holland-Kaye said Heathrow would not pay.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/aviation-minister-robert-goodwill-says-heathrow-has-to-pay-for-surface-access-work-resulting-from-a-3rd-runway/

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Earlier:

Heathrow boss rules out footing the £5 billion bill for road and rail works – wants taxpayer to pay

The Airports Commission left the matter of who would pay for the approximately £5 billion needed to tunnel a section of the M25, and other surface access improvements, vague. The assumption has been made that the taxpayer would have to fund this, though the Airports Commission suggested that Heathrow would be able to find the funding from its investors for this. Now the CEO of Heathrow has dismissed the suggestion that the airport foots the £5 billion bill for road and rail work if a 3rd runway is built.  Huge motorway engineering would be needed, to have the runway going over the motorway.  John Holland-Kaye has ruled out paying for the surface access work. Though the government funds road and rail improvements under normal circumstances, tunnelling the M25 and dealing with hugely increased road traffic using an airport 50% larger than at present are not normal circumstances. Especially in times of huge economic savings being necessary in public finances. The Commission’s final report said it considered the runway was commercially viable “without a requirement for direct government support. This remains the case even in a situation where the airport is required to fund 100% of the surface access costs.” This would be by Heathrow “raising both debt and equity finance. This finance is then serviced through subsequent revenues and refinancing by the airport operator.”

Full story at 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/heathrow-boss-rules-out-footing-the-5-billion-bill-for-road-and-rail-works-wants-taxpayer-to-pay/

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Access to expanded Heathrow could cost £20 billion, TfL warns – maybe £15 billion more from the taxpayer than Commission estimate

Transport for London (TfL) has raised “serious concerns” about congestion and the costs of expansion at Heathrow just weeks before the Airports Commission’s final recommendation is due (end of June?). TFL Response to APPG on Surface Access Feb 2015  In response to questions by Zac Goldsmith, TfL said both Heathrow and Commission had “significantly underestimated” the challenge of improving transport access to the site, with the Airports Commission estimating £5 billion would be enough to make the improvements. TfL believes to provide an optimal level of service, the figure would be nearer to £20 billion, raising questions about who would pay the additional costs. TfL said population growth of 37% by 2050 has also not been taken into account, with regards to the increased pressure on London’s roads and public transport infrastructure, Zac said: “TfL is better placed than any other organisation to understand the effects Heathrow expansion will have on London’s transport network, and it is extraordinary therefore that the Commission never bothered to ask for its assessment. This raises serious questions about the thoroughness and reliability of the Commission’s work. If TfL is right, the taxpayer may end up having to cough up an additional £15 billion to help Heathrow secure its monopoly, in addition to all the associated problems of gridlock, noise and air pollution.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/access-to-new-heathrow-would-cost-20-billion-tfl-warns-maybe-15-billion-from-the-taxpayer/


GACC warns Patrick McLoughlin of the future costs to the Exchequer of infrastructure needed for Gatwick runway

GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has written to Patrick McLoughlin, to remind him about the comparative costs of infrastructure relating to a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick. Robert Goodwill recently indicated that whichever airport was selected would be expected to pay for the necessary infrastructure – a policy GACC fully supports. GACC point out that the calculation of the surface access costs, by the Airports Commission, is distorted. While it considers the requirements for both airports at 2030, it estimates that by then there would be 35 million extra passengers at Heathrow (due to pent up demand), but only 8 million more at Gatwick(struggling against Stansted and Luton). So the extra road and rail traffic generated at Heathrow by 2030 would be far greater than that at Gatwick, and (when adding tunnelling the M25 at Heathrow) accounts for the difference in infrastructure costs – £5.7 billion compared to under £1 billion. But with the runways working at full capacity by around 2040, the surface access infrastructure costs of a new Gatwick runway would fall on the Exchequer. These would include widening of the M23 or M25, and improvements to the Brighton main line. With Gatwick then bigger than Heathrow today, there might be a need of of a hugely expensive extension of the M23 into central London. And so on …

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/gacc-warns-patrick-mcloughlin-of-the-future-costs-to-the-exchequer-of-infrastructure-needed-for-gatwick-runway/

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