MP wants to meet with airport over flood of runway noise complaints (Not UK – but Calgary, Canada)

In late June this year a new runway at Calgary Airport, in Ontario Canada, opened. It had been in the planning for years. Calgary airport is not far from the city. Now people are finding themselves seriously overflown, and are very upset by the extent of the noise and disruption -which is greater than they had anticipated. The noise is always worst in summer, when people want to be outside, or have windows open. A Calgary MP  has now met airport officials after receiving over 100 complaints from his constituents about noise, due to planes using the new runway. The MP wants there to be “dialogue” between the airport authority and nearby residents, in the hope that some solution can be found for their problems. The MP, and the affected residents, say they recognize the airport is an important economic driver for the city, but said that long-time residents deserve to be part of the conversation. The airport has to act as a “responsible corporate citizen”. There are long established communities, in existence for decades, under the new flight paths, which have never had any aircraft noise problems before. People are stunned by what started over their heads – from 6am onwards.  This is exactly the same as is happening around airports in so many countries. Truly a globalised issue.



MP wants to meet with airport over flood of runway noise complaints

MP wants to meet with airport over flood of runway noise complaints

Gavin Young, Calgary Herald CALGARY, AB: JUNE 28, 2014

Air Canada flight AC9, a Boeing 767 to Tokyo, Japan, was the first scheduled flight to take-off from the Calgary International Airport’s new $600 million runway on Saturday afternoon June 28, 2014.

A local member of Parliament is calling on the Calgary Airport Authority to find a solution for the noise coming from the city’s new runway, following a flood of complaints.


Deepak Obhrai, MP for Calgary East, said his office has received 100 complaints from residents in Marlborough Park, Southview and Forest Lawn since the runway opened at the end of June.

“Most of them are actually stunned because these are old established communities … and of course they’ve never had any issues at all,” said Obhrai. “All of a sudden they started having these aircraft coming in and a lot of residents said it wakes them up at 6 a.m.”

The noise is particularly problematic because people spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, added Obhrai. He said he’s planning to meet with the Calgary Airport Authority soon.

Last week, Terry Thompson, director of environmental services for the Airport Authority, said the group was following up on residents’ concerns and looking at ways to mitigate the noise. Obhrai suggested looking at how other jurisdictions have dealt with the problem.

“We do understand the need for the (runway), it’s a benefit to Calgary, but at the same time you cannot have angry citizens,” he said.




MP urges airport to address noise complaints from new runway

 JULY 16, 2014
MP urges airport to address noise complaints from new runway

The Calgary airport has received numerous noise complaints from northeast residents since its new runway opened June 28.

Photograph by: Gavin Young Gavin Young , Calgary Herald

A Calgary MP met with airport officials Wednesday after receiving numerous complaints from his constituents about noise from the city’s new runway.

Calgary East MP Deepak Obhrai said he’s gotten more than 100 complaints since the runway opened in late June. He spoke to members of the Calgary Airport Authority to pass on his constituents’ concerns and encourage “dialogue” between the airport authority and nearby residents.

He said he recognizes the airport is an important economic driver for the city, but said that longtime residents deserve to be part of the conversation.

“I pointed out to them that while we support the airport expansion, it is important that they act as responsible corporate citizens,” Obhrai said in a news release.

Ward 3 Councillor Jim Stevenson said he’s also received complaints from residents of Skyview Ranch about the runway traffic.

“We’ve heard from a number of people who feel the planes are turning too quickly to the east and therefore going over their homes,” Stevenson said.

Obhrai said the airport authority pledged to “expedite” dialogue with affected communities to find a solution to the complaints.





Drowned out  (letter)

Re: “Noise levels soar,” Letter, July 7.

Like Peter and Justina Penner, we also are happy for YYC’s advancement with a new runway and appreciate the tunnel use to the airport. We never expected that planes would take offfrom the new runway veering left flying directly over our house in the Rundle/Sunridge area. We cannot carry on conversations while enjoying our yard in this lovely summer weather we’re finally experiencing. Planes seem to fly every minute. We were on the phone outside and had to stop talking (long distance) every minute so we could hear each other.

We have been in the same house since 1977, which is now losing value. The airplanes are getting larger, and noise is unbearable. We acknowledge the airport was here when we built in this area, but never expected this runway putting us in conflict. Why can’t planes fly south over Deerfoot Trail and industrial areas? A north/south runway route should not come over residential Rundle. Never mind the noise levels being monitored on vehicles, etc., but this is ridiculous!

Help! Something definitely must be done to remedy this situation, and soon.

Garry and Annette Padley




Wikipedia says of Calgary airport:

Calgary International Airport, originally named McCall Field (IATAYYCICAOCYYC), is the international airport that serves Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the surrounding region; it is situated approximately 17 km (11 mi) northeast ofdowntown Calgary. The airport offers scheduled non-stop flights to major cities in Canada, the United States, Mexico, theCaribbean, Europe and East Asia.

Calgary International Airport serves as headquarters for WestJet and as a hub airport for Air Canada and Air Canada Express. The airport is one of eight Canadian airports with US Border Preclearance facilities. The airport is operated by The Calgary Airport Authority as part of Transport Canada‘s National Airports System. It is Canada’s third busiest airport by passenger traffic and by aircraft movements, handling 14,316,074 passengers[5] in 2013 and 240,709 movements in 2012.[4] In October 2008, The Calgary Airport Authority was named one of Alberta’s Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc.[6][7] YYC has both the longest runway and the tallest control tower in Canada.

Number of Passengers (2013) 14,316,074
Aircraft movements (2012) 240,709
Sources: Canada Flight Supplement
Environment Canada

A new runway numbered 17L/35R became operational in 2014. It is 14,000 ft × 200 ft (4,267 m × 61 m), which according to the airport’s website is the longest runway in Canada.  A tunnel running underneath the new runway will connect Airport Trail with Métis Trail NE. Barlow Trail closed on 3 April 2011.

The long runway length can be attributed to the relatively high elevation, previously 3,557 ft (1,084 m) and now 3,606 ft (1,099 m), of the airport and the need to support the largest passenger aircraft types. Aircraft require more distance to take off at higher elevations, because of the reduced air density associated with altitude.

In addition to the current runways in operation the airport has had two runways decommissioned over the years. Runway 02/20 was closed and part of it is still open as taxiway V. Runway 11/29 was decommissioned and ran where Palmer Road is now situated. The remnants of the runways and associated taxi ways are in various states of decay but can still be seen at the airport. 07/25 (now 08/26) served as the main east west runway until 10/28 (now 11/29) was built. The taxiway to 25 was closed when 02/20 was decommissioned meaning aircraft had to backtrack the length of the runway.

Three runways were upgraded: Runway 16/34 (now 17R/35L) was extended from its original length of 6,410 to 12,675 ft (1,954 to 3,863 m) and both 07/25 (now 08/26) and 16/34 (now 17R/35L) were widened from 150 to 200 feet (46 to 61 m) to accommodate wider aircraft.


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Norwegian suffers £9m loss from strike threats over its labour practices

The low cost airline, Norwegian Air Shuttle, has now started operating low-cost long-haul flights from Gatwick to the US, said the cost of strikes earlier in the year has been around £9 million. The threat of strike action, from one of Europe’s largest labour unions Parat, came after Norwegian announced it wanted to split the Danish and Norwegian cabin staff into 2 separate companies – Cabin Services Norway and Cabin Services Denmark. Unions feared the new agreement would weaken its members’ negotiating power and threaten accrued wages and benefits. Norwegian’s second quarter financial results for 2014 showed a pre-tax loss of £12.9 million, with revenues rising to around £472 million from around £377 million a year earlier. It claims an 80% load factor on its flights. There have been complaints about Norwegian trying to bypass Norway’s strict labour laws, avoiding high labour costs and enabling it to employ cheaper Thai workers. There had been uncertainty about whether the US would grant the airline a permanent licence to operate there, for fears it would “dodge international labour rules”.



Norwegian suffers £9m loss from strike threats

By Tom Newcombe (Buying Business Travel)
17 Jul 2014

Strike threats from labour union Parat earlier this yearcost Norwegian Air Shuttle more than £9 million, the airline has announced.

The carrier, which this month started operating low-cost long-haul flights from Gatwick to the US, said the results were influenced by “significant” one-off costs, a weak Norwegian currency, high oil prices and the Parat strike.

The threat of strike action, from one of Europe’s largest labour unions, came after Norwegian announced it wanted to split the Danish and Norwegian cabin staff into two separate companies – Cabin Services Norway and Cabin Services Denmark.

Unions feared the new agreement would weaken its members’ negotiating power and threaten accrued wages and benefits.

Norwegian’s second quarter financial results for 2014 showed a pre-tax loss of £12.9 million, with revenues rising to around £472 million from around £377 million a year earlier.

The airline said despite its strong capacity growth, the company “was still filling seats”. The load factor was 80 per cent, up three percentage points from the same quarter last year, which is a record high for a second quarter.

Norwegian’s CEO Bjorn Kjos, said: “This quarter, we see clear results of the company’s strategy. Over the past year, we have established a long-haul operation and we have opened several new bases in Europe.

“More than half of our 417 routes are currently operated outside Norway, which illustrates a significant international expansion over the past year.”

 “Both wet lease of aircraft and the strike from labour union Parat has affected the result significantly. There is also a high competitive pressure, particularly in the Scandinavian market,” he said.



US moves to block Norwegian’s transatlantic plans

Tom Newcombe
12 Jun 2014

Washington has approved legislation that could prevent Norwegian Air from operating flights to the US because of concerns the airline will “dodge international labour rules”.

It still has to gain Senate approval before becoming law.

Norwegian is currently awaiting the US Department of Transportation’s decision for a foreign air carrier permit. However, if the legislation is approved Norwegian could be blocked from serving the US.

Strong opposition

Some of Europe’s largest workers’ unions have been strongly opposed to Norwegian Air gaining a licence that will enable the airline to operate from its Irish base in Dublin.

The unions have said if a licence is granted it will create “unfair competition with EU and US carriers” and “threaten to degrade labour standards” both in Europe and the US, by hiring cheap Asian workers.

The airline deny this claim and said the move is to gain access to future traffic rights to and from the EU.

“Congress has a responsibility to make sure that US airlines do business in a fair marketplace and that the US government’s transportation funds don’t hand an advantage to foreign airlines that try to cheat the system,” said Captain Lee Moak, president of the pilots union.

“We urge the US Senate to support the US House position and send a clear signal that Congress is committed to ensuring US airlines and their employees do business on a level playing field,” he added.

Superior wages

Norwegian Air spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen has called the criticism of low wages and a lack of safety “slanderous.”

“Norwegian has already employed more than 300 American cabin crew members in Fort Lauderdale and New York, and is currently recruiting New York-based pilots for its 787 Dreamliner operation.

“Norwegian received almost 6,000 applicants for its 300 cabin crew positions. The company’s American employees say that their wages and benefits are superior to those of their counterparts at US airlines.

“Pilots flying intercontinentally have a global pay scale, which means that a long-haul pilot based in Norway makes about the same as a long-haul pilot based in Asia or the US.”

The airline added: “It is important to stress that Ireland was not chosen because the country has specific rules and regulations that allow the use of American or Asian crew, like some politicians and unions have claimed.

“The fact is that Norwegian could have based its long-haul company in any other European country and still used American and Asian crew, the way several other European airlines have been operating for years.”

In March NAI CEO Bjoern Kjos said the delay in gaining the permanent licence has led to it suspending talks to purchase 20 Dreamliner planes from Boeing.




Norwegian Air revenues hit by strike threats

Tom Newcombe
5 Jun 2014

Norwegian Air’s CEO Bjorn Kjos has admitted strike threats from one of the country’s major unions damaged business for the month of May.

The airline carried 2.1 million passengers last month, an increase of 12 per cent compared to the same month last year, however strike threats from union Parat affected the company’s revenues and bookings.

Norwegian said many customers in Norway and Denmark “refrained from booking flights” due to fear of industrial action.

The load factor was 77 per cent, the same as May 2013.

“May was an atypical month where the strike threats from the labour union Parat affected our company considerably through fewer bookings and consequently lower revenues,” said Kjos.

“On the positive side, I’m pleased that we keep attracting new customers, particularly in new markets outside Scandinavia.”

The threat of strike action comes after Norwegian announced it wanted to split the Danish and Norwegian cabin staff into two separate companies – Cabin Services Norway and Cabin Services Denmark.

Unions fear the new agreement would weaken its members’ negotiating power and threaten accrued wages and benefits.

Irish base

Last month (May 27) Norwegian faced renewed calls from some of Europe’s largest unions to deny the airline’s application for a foreign air carrier permit.

Norwegian wants the licence so it can operate from its Irish base in Dublin and “gain access to future traffic rights to and from the EU”.

Unions refute this claim and believe Norwegian wants the foreign licence so it can “circumvent worker protections by evading international labour laws”.

The US Department of Transport is currently considering its decision. The airline has admitted the delay in gaining the permanent licence has led to itsuspending talks to purchase 20 Dreamliner planes from Boeing.



Norwegian’s EU plans under threat

Tom Newcombe
29 Apr 2014

Norwegian Air’s plans to build an international long-haul airline in Ireland may be scrapped if it fails to gain backing from the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT).

Norwegian launched flights to the US and Bangkok from its Nordic base last year, and in February gained an operating licence, enabling it to base the business in the EU, where it can operate under more favourable conditions and take advantage of the Open Skies trade agreement with the US.

The airline is currently operating under a temporary licence and is awaiting a decision from DOT for a permanent licence.

The application for a permanent licence has been fiercely contested by some parts of the industry. They claim the main reason for the move is to bypass Norway’s strict labour laws, avoiding high labour costs and enabling it to employ cheaper Thai workers.

Norwegian deny this claim and said the move is to gain access to future traffic rights to and from the EU.

“An additional delay – or in the worst case, a negative decision by the US DOT – may regrettably force us to reverse our commitment to build an international long-haul airline in Ireland,” Norwegian Air chief executive Bjoern Kjos said.

Kjos also confirmed the delay in gaining the permanent licence has led to it suspending talks to purchase 20 Dreamliner planes from Boeing.

“Unfortunately, the delay in the DOT process has given us no other choice than to put our ongoing negotiations with Boeing to purchase 20 new 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft – due to be registered in Ireland – on hold until Norwegian Air International’s future in the US has been decided.”





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8 sites shortlisted for UK’s first commercial spaceport – Newquay, Llanbedr + 6 in Scotland

At the Farnborough Air Show, plans to build a dedicated launch facility were unveiled. The UK government has expressed its enthusiasm for this unlikely project. Of the sites revealed by he CAA, one site is in England, at Newquay. One site is in Wales at Llanbedr airport in Snowdonia national park. The other six are in Scotland: Campbeltown airport; Prestwick airport; Kinloss barracks; RAF Lossiemouth; RAF Leuchars and Stornoway airport on the Isle of Lewis. Publication of the shortlist has led to a scramble among the sites to win government backing. The Scottish government in keen on the idea, for the kudos of being seen to be a space nation. Operators now enter three months of consultation before the decision is made.The airports considered have to have long runways and have airspace that can be easily segregated to allow spaceplane flights to operate alongside normal aviation. Sites have to be remote from population, on the coast to minimise the risks from “down-range abnormal occurrences” – meaning spaceplanes crashing or bits falling off. Space travel is the highest carbon activity known to man; worse even than  Formula One racing or using private jets.


Space race: eight sites shortlisted for UK’s first commercial spaceport

Bid to transform the UK into a leading space nation, with six of the proposed venues lying north of the Scottish border


The UK is yet to develop a spaceport for spaceplanes, such as Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, which could be used for tourism and scientific work. Photograph: Reed Saxon/AP

Never mind Cape Canaveral, we could soon be talking about Cape Campbeltown or Cape Cornwall. Britain’s own space race got under way on Tuesday with the announcement of eight sites that will now vie for the right to build the UK’s first commercial spaceport.

Plans to build a dedicated launch facility were unveiled at Farnborough airshow as an ambitious bid to transform Britain from a nation that has never seen a spacecraft launch from its own soil into a leading space nation.

Six of the venues under consideration lie north of the Scottish border, where the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) named Campbeltown airport, home of the Mull of Kintyre music festival, and Glasgow Prestwick airport, the only place where Elvis is proved to have set foot in the UK, as contenders.

The other Scottish sites are Kinloss barracks, a former Nimrod patrol base; RAF Lossiemouth, a home for fast jets; RAF Leuchars and Stornoway airport on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

Publication of the shortlist has led to a scramble among the sites to win government backing. Operators now enter three months of consultation before the decision is made.

The Scottish government said: “Scotland is clearly an ideal location for a spaceport. We have a dynamic and growing space sector, a strong pedigree in space science research, and as the UK government has highlighted, we have both the infrastructure and the geography.”

Newquay airport in Cornwall and Llanbedr airport in Snowdonia national park are the only sites in England and Wales to make the list after officials reviewed the suitability of all the military and civilian aerodromes in the country.

The sites under consideration have long runways and airspace that can be easily segregated to allow spaceplane flights to operate alongside normal aviation. Another attractive feature is distance from dense populations – with sites preferably on the coast – which officials say minimises the risks from “down-range abnormal occurrences” – meaning spaceplanes going awry.

The government asked the CAA in 2012 to review how Britain could capitalise on the surge of interest in spaceplanes to take tourists to the edge of space on sub-orbital flights, to deliver satellites into orbit, or to perform scientific experiments. In its report, the CAA states there is genuine appetite to begin spaceplane operations in the UK by 2018 or earlier.

Spaceplanes have wings and act like normal aircraft in the atmosphere, but have rockets to propel them into space. The technology is largely untested. According to the CAA report, they could be a thousand times more dangerous to fly in than commercial airliners.

The higher risk means spaceplanes would have to be designated “experimental aircraft” to fly in Britain, but because these are not usually allowed to carry paying passengers, space tourists would need to have the risks explained to them and give written consent before flying. “In doing so, these paying participants will also acknowledge and accept that they will not benefit from the normal safeguards expected of public transport,” the report says.

Wherever the spaceport is based, the operator must draw up what the CAA calls “full contingency plans” with the health and emergency services to deal with “major incidents”.

There are other challenges too. More than 2m flights passed through UK airspace last year. To avoid interference, spaceplanes would at first have to fly in segregated airspace, and none exists around any of the shortlisted aerodromes. The CAA says that protected airspace will have to be carved out, perhaps by designating a Temporary Danger Area around the spaceport, again favouring sites near the coast.

Andrew Nelson, president of the California-based company, XCOR, said that 300 people had already booked for a spaceflight experience aboard its Lynx spaceplane. The two-seater plane takes-off under rocket power and has room for a pilot and a paying passenger. The company is offering half hour sub-orbital flights to 100km and plans to begin commercial flights in the US in 2016.

“I understand the desire to have a Scotland site, but we also like Newquay,” Nelson told the Guardian. “Lynx has a pretty good business case with 100 to 150 days of sunshine, but it can do science and research missions too. They don’t care if they can see the ground or not.”

The CAA admits that a Scottish spaceport is likely to be affected by more rain, stronger winds and greater cloud cover than sites further south, meaning fewer flying hours for passengers hoping to see the ground from space. “The more challenging meteorological environment in these locations is, therefore, very likely to impact on the economic potential and viability of operations in these locations,” the report says.

Chris Pomfret, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said that Newquay airport, with the nearby Goonhilly satellite communications facility on the Lizard peninsula, was perfectly situated for Britain’s spaceport, and would bring much-needed jobs to the poorest county in England. “We’ve had a runway for all sorts of vehicles, from nimrods to tanker aircraft and we don’t see this as any more disruptive. It’s a natural progression.”



Prestwick among six Scottish sites for a spaceport

IT was once Scotland’s only departure point for transatlantic flights, but within four years Prestwick airport could become Europe’s space tourism hub after it was named among six possible sites in Scotland for a new spaceport.

The Department for Transport has published its shortlist of eight locations across the UK as potential launchpads for commercial spaceflight, satellite bases and scientific research.

The Scottish locations are Prestwick airport in Ayrshire, Stornoway airport in Lewis, Campbeltown airport at Machrihanish in Argyll and Bute, RAF Leuchars in Fife, and Kinloss Barracks or RAF Lossiemouth, both in Moray.

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Government progress update on the Airports Commission’s interim report – key decisions delayed till after summer 2015

The long awaited response from the government, from Patrick McLoughlin, to the Airports Commission’s “Interim Statement” in December 2013, had finally been made. It contains no surprises, with all the major decisions postponed: early morning smoothing of arrivals and the issue of an independent noise authority will be considered next year alongside the report from the Airports Commission in summer 2015. The night-time regime at London airports is extended without change for a further 3 years. The response says that as recommended by the Commission, a Senior Delivery Group (SDG) has already been set up, chaired by the Chief Executive of the CAA, Andrew Haines, “to develop and where appropriate lead delivery of the Airports Commission’s Optimisation strategy” (how to get as much aviation expansion as possible without excessive noise burden on those overflown). McLouglin’s statement says: “Some of the measures considered by the SDG form part of the national future airspace strategy (FAS) which is expected to deliver annual benefits of over £150 million to the aviation industry and environment [quite how the environment benefits is not specified] by 2020 and more than £2 billion worth of cumulative benefits by 2030.”


Government progress update on the Airports Commission’s interim report

Written statement to Parliament

The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP


Updates on progress being made to address Airports Commission recommendations around making the most of existing airport capacity.

The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP
The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP

[High-lighting by AirportWatch, not DfT]
The government established the Airports Commission in September 2012 to advise on the need for and location of future runway capacity. In December 2013, the Commission produced a comprehensive interim report  that sets out the challenges we face in order to maintain the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation. The Commission’s report sets out a clear argument that continuing to rely solely on our existing airport infrastructure will have an increasingly detrimental effect on the national economy and our prospects for growth.

The commission’s report sets out the work it plans to undertake before the publication of its final report in 2015, but also identifies a range of measures which can be taken now in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our aviation industry in the short to medium term. Today (15 July 2014), I am providing an update on the progress we have made in addressing these more immediate recommendations. However, let me first address the commission’s approach and our position on its long term recommendations.

The government welcomes the open and inclusive approach that Sir Howard Davies and his fellow commissioners have taken on the first phase of their work. We also recognise the scale and depth of the commission’s analytical programme, which has significantly improved our understanding of the aviation landscape and the UK’s capacity needs. The commission’s strong analytical approach has taken account of the extent of aviation demand and the UK’s future requirements for international and domestic connectivity.

The commission’s report offers a high level assessment of the long term options for providing further runway capacity in the south east of England. It shortlists 3 options: 2 at Heathrow, 1 at Gatwick and identifies 1 option for further consideration in the inner Thames Estuary.

Promoters of shortlisted options have now provided more detailed proposals to the commission. This autumn, the commission expects to decide whether or not to shortlist an estuary option, and will then undertake formal consultation on the shortlisted options. As we have said before, it will be for the government of the day to respond to the Airports Commission’s recommendations once it publishes its final report in summer 2015.

In the meantime, the government, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the aviation industry are already making progress in responding to the Commission’s short and medium-term recommendations for making better use of our existing airport capacity. Sir Howard Davies wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 26 November 2013 setting out the commission’s recommendations for improving airport surface access and the government has set out its initial response to these recommendations in the National infrastructure plan, published in December 2013. Since then, good progress has been made in moving work forward on these surface access recommendations, which is important in helping to secure vital connections to emerging markets.

For example, the government has committed £50 million towards a full redevelopment of the railway station at Gatwick Airport. This is intended to deliver a significantly enhanced experience to both airport and regional transport users and we are working with stakeholders to deliver this as soon as possible. The government expects Gatwick Airport to make a significant contribution to this project. Since December 2013, work has been underway with Gatwick Airport and Network Rail on outline plans for the new station. Over the course of 2014, the government will work with both parties to deliver these plans and reach a commercial agreement on funding.

The commission’s report recommended development of a broad ‘Optimisation strategy’ to improve the efficiency of UK airports and airspace at congested airports, balanced against the needs of local communities. As recommended by the commission, I have asked the Chief Executive of the CAA to establish an industry focused Senior Delivery Group (SDG) to develop and where appropriate lead delivery of this strategy. The new group has now been established and is contributing to a range of different measures that aim to balance operational benefits, the timelines for delivery, community impacts and environmental improvements. Where changes are wholly within the responsibility of industry, we expect them to deliver. Where government has regulatory responsibility or oversight, it will continue to discharge this, for example by undertaking further consideration and consultation in the light of views and priorities expressed in the SDG. Some of the measures considered by the SDG form part of the national future airspace strategy (FAS) which is expected to deliver annual benefits of over £150 million to the aviation industry and environment by 2020 and more than £2 billion worth of cumulative benefits by 2030.

Progress is being made on delivering the benefits of FAS. Earlier this year a new arrival system was introduced allowing aircraft to absorb arrival delays more efficiently and reduce airborne holding by approximately 20%. Preparations are also well advanced to implement time based separations from next year to increase resilience by allowing aircraft to fly closer in strong wind conditions. In addition, funding from the government’s transport systems catapult has enabled the implementation of real time departure information sharing at airports like Stansted and London City, and over 20 UK airports are expected to adopt the solution by the end of next year. More information on progress can be found in the  first report of the SDG’s work which is being published today.

In relation to the commission’s recommendation for an Independent Aviation Noise Authority, the government believes that it would be more appropriate to consider the role for such a body alongside the commission’s final recommendations on long term capacity.

Similarly, we believe that any further government decisions on using the runway designated for departures (e.g. enhanced TEAM) and for a trial of early morning schedule smoothing at Heathrow should also be considered at that point and in the context of the commission’s recommendations on long term capacity.

The government is committed to ensuring regulatory stability at the southeast airports while the commission pursues its important work. With this in mind, having also taken account of other relevant factors, the government is confirming today that we will be maintaining the existing restrictions on night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports for a further three years until October 2017, as well as extending the ban on rare movements made by older noisier types of aircraft. This decision, which is published in a separate document, will help give certainty around the night noise environment for those living near the airports, as well as ensuring operational capacity at these airports is not affected pending decisions on any new airport capacity in light of the commission’s final report.

The government is conscious of the potential concerns of those living near the sites that have been shortlisted for future runway development. However, the government is also mindful that introducing inappropriate measures too early has the potential to increase uncertainty and create other negative outcomes. The Airports Commission recommended against a discretionary generalised blight scheme at this stage for similar reasons.

The government has been working with the promoters of the shortlisted schemes to determine when measures might be put in place to address concerns and what these measures could consist of.  I have written to the scheme promoters outlining the government’s expectations and asking them to ensure they actively involve and inform local communities. The government will continue to work closely with scheme promoters on this issue and the Airports Commission has committed to a process that is transparent, fair and independent.

This government has continued to demonstrate its support for airports outside the south east.  In Budget 2014, the Chancellor announced that our Regional Air Connectivity Fund will be doubled to £20 million per year and extended by a further 3 years up to March 2019.

The fund will continue to support public service obligations (PSOs) to maintain existing air links to London where there is a risk of regional connectivity being lost. In June, the government announced a PSO on the Dundee-Stansted route and the government will be providing £2.85 million over 2 years to support the route. Loganair has been operating 2 daily return flights under this PSO agreement since 1 July 2014. We are also in discussions with Cornwall Council on a PSO agreement for a Newquay-London air link from October 2014.

The Chancellor also announced in the Budget that the scope of the funding is extended to include Start-up aid for new routes from airports handling fewer than 5 million passengers per annum. Officials in my department are developing guidance to clarify how we expect to implement EU aviation state aid guidelines on start-up aid. I intend to publish this guidance in the autumn.

In the UK, we sometimes take for granted the benefits which come to us from having a well-connected nation and a strong aviation sector. The work of Sir Howard Davies and the Airports Commission is crucial if we are to retain these benefits. Publication of the commission’s final report in summer 2015 will be an important event not just for the aviation industry, but for the national economy more generally.




Senior Delivery Group – First report 

Delivery Report #1
July 2014
Published by the Civil Aviation Authority 

Group members

Senior Delivery Group members


The introduction states:

There is a strong consensus among SDG
members that a set of short and medium term
optimisation measures should be progressed
as a priority because of their potential to
improve the operational efficiency of the
airspace system, and at the same time offer
benefits to local communities. The
optimisation strategy will be shaped by
economic, political, environmental,
regulatory, and technical considerations. It’s
the SDG’s ambition to work within the bounds
of these considerations to maximise the
performance improvements that can be
delivered in the next 2 to 5 years, in advance
of any decision on a long term solution for
additional capacity, which is a matter still
being examined by the Airports Commission.
The SDG is overseeing the delivery of an
ambitious set of measures concentrating on
improvements to the airspace system. The
current system was developed over forty
years ago. Since then, the demand for aviation
has increased one hundred fold.

The technologies now common in modern
aircraft, airport operations and air traffic
management create the potential to optimise
the system. The measures overseen by the
SDG are the cornerstone of the UK’s Future
Airspace Strategy (FAS), which is about the
need to coordinate the implementation of
new technologies and operating procedures
across the UK. The SDG’s optimisation
strategy features three sets of measures:
1. Operating to schedule
2. Tactical responses to traffic overloads
3. Investments in the route infrastructure
The SDG will oversee the deployment of the
measures and initiate work to track the
benefits and community impacts in order to
strike the balance between operational and
environmental improvements.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my
fellow group members for their commitment
to this important initiative. As Chair of the
SDG, I’m encouraged by the start we have
made and the scope of the optimisation
strategy described in our first delivery report.
Successful deployment of the optimisation
strategy will require significant industry
collaboration and Government support to
tackle the challenges that have prevented
changes being made in the past.
I look forward to setting out the progress
made by the time our second report is
published at the end of 2014.


and it states

“the SDG will encourage the gathering of evidence to help strike the right balance between operational benefits and the impact on local communities affected by aircraft noise.”

[One could ask:  “Right for whom?”]





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While global industry grows more concerned about water availability, airports remain huge water users

Airports are large users of water, not only for the passengers in the terminals but also for aeronautical uses. Deicing planes in the winter uses an enormous volume of water, including the deicing fluid contamination. Airports have the problems of safely removing and disposing of contaminated water, without damage to local water courses – but of the sheer volume they use. This is particularly acute in areas of water shortage, and in  periods of drought. Articles in the Financial Times highlight the concerns of some large industries about the cost and availability of water, for their future profitability. They also make the point that water is not valued highly enough, and as it tends to be so cheap, it is wasted and over-used.  Airports know, for their sustainability strategies, that they have to cut water consumption. But the amounts they use are vast.  Heathrow used some 2,170 million litres of water in 2013. That is about the same as the usage of 31,000 families of four, with medium usage.  In 2009 Gatwick used some 1,059 million litres. In 2011 Stansted used some 410 million litres.



Stansted 615 million litres of water in 2010 and 410 million litres in 2011



Airports use significant volumes of water, and need to manage the release of waste water into sewage systems and local water courses to reduce the risk of environmental impact.
At Heathrow, we are committed to managing water sustainably by sourcing it responsibly, controlling use and efficiency, carefully managing the disposal of water, and monitoring our impacts on the surrounding environment.
Our Ambition: Manage our water sustainably by sourcing responsibly, controlling efficiency, managing disposal, and monitoring our impacts.

No airport water incidents affecting local rivers and lakes each year
Performance: Heathrow caused no water quality environmental incidents in 2012 or 2013


Reduce water consumption per passenger by 2020
Performance: Heathrow achieved a 3% reduction in water consumption per passenger from 0.032 M3 in 2012 to 0.031 M3 in 2013 (ie 31 litres per pax).”

[ 0.031 m3 per pax and 70 million pax.
ie. 2.17 million m3 of water.
ie (x 1000 conversion factor) 2170 million litres per year. ]


Water consumption

2008      1,058,000 m3
2009      1,059,000 m3

ie. 1,059 million litres

Manchester Airports Group

Mains Water Consumption by MAG (Manchester Airports Group)

2007/08 ……908,992
2008/09 ……875,223
2009/10 ……942,857



Average household use of water in the  UK

Average household use, for a household of 4 people
110 to 210 (low, medium and high) m3 per year. ie. 110,000 litres to 210,000 litres.
Medium is 165 m3 = 165,000 litres.

Data from

Comparing Heathrow’s water use with domestic water use

Dividing Heathrow’s water use by the average for a household of 4 people is 2,170,000,000 divided by 165,000 = 13,150 households.


July 14, 2014 

Nestlé warns water scarcity ‘more urgent’ than climate change

Some extracts: 


Nearly 20 years after the World Bank began warning of a looming water crisis, the combination of a surging population, a growing global middle class and a changing climate is straining water supplies. For companies – from multinational corporations to small businesses – this amounts to higher costs for a resource that has long been taken for granted.
“The marginal cost of water is rising around the world,” says Christopher Gasson, publisher of Global Water Intelligence. “Previously, water was treated as a free raw material. Now, companies are realising it can damage their brand, their credibility, their credit rating and their insurance costs. That applies to a computer chipmaker and a food company as much as a power generator or a petrochemicals company.”
The number of water-related conflicts reported worldwide has surged in the past 15 years, according to the Pacific Institute, a water research group. US intelligence officials have also raised concerns about the risk of conflict over water. “We assess that during the next 10 years, water problems will contribute to instability in states important to US national security interests,” said a 2012 intelligence report prepared for the US State Department.
That report highlighted the risk to global food markets from the rapid depletion of one crucial source: groundwater.

World leaders must make water scarcity a bigger priority than climate change because the problem is far more urgent than global warming, the chairman of one of the world’s biggest food companies has warned.

“Water scarcity is finally starting to bite financially,” said Andrew Metcalf, an investment analyst. In a report last year for Moody’s, the credit rating agency, Mr Metcalf said the problem already had “credit-negative implications” for the mining industry.

Mr Brabeck said it was wrong to blame global warming for water scarcity, however. “We have a water crisis because we make wrong water management decisions,” he said, explaining that water was so undervalued it was wasted and overused.

Full FT article at


and FT Series: A World Without Water at





Webpage on water use and water saving at San Francisco airport


Webpage on water use and water saving at Melbourne airport


Webpage on water use and water saving at Sydney airport







Read more »

Plans to fit a new south east runway within UK climate targets are based on a ‘wing and a prayer’ – rather than reality

Two new reports have been produced, which seriously challenge the Airports Commission’s claim that it is possible to build a new runway and still meet the UK Government’s climate change targets. The reports also argue that building a new runway in the south east would worsen the north/south divide, as growth at the regional airports would need to be constrained in order to ensure CO2 emissions from aviation fall to their 2005 levels by 2050. The RSPB report,  “Aviation, climate change and sharing the load” and the WWF report, by the AEF “The implications of a new South East runway on regional airport expansion” demonstrate that if a new runway is built, commitments under the Climate Change Act cannot be met unless significant constraints are imposed on the level of activity at regional airports. Both reports illustrate that if aviation emissions were allowed to soar, that would impose costs on the rest of the economy rising to perhaps between £1 billion and £8.4 billion per year by 2050 as non-aviation sectors would need to make even deeper emissions cuts.  The regulatory regime for aviation carbon emissions is still just aspirational. Contrary to the impression given by the government and the Airports Commission, the issue of climate in relation to airport expansion has not been resolved.


Two new reports

Parliamentary event – Tuesday 15th July 2014

“On a wing and a prayer: let’s get real about the consequences of airport expansion”

The event marks the launch of two reports, compiled by WWF, RSPB and AEF, which present new evidence outlining potential unintended consequences of aviation expansion in the South East on regional airports and on the rest of the economy.

The two new reports have already received widespread regional press coverage, reflecting the level of interest in the future development of regional airports. Examples include coverage in Wales, Scotland, and the midlands.

The RSPB report, entitled “Aviation, climate change and sharing the load”                 examines the economics of capacity expansion in the South East and the extent that other sectors of the economy will have to pull aviation’s weight.

The WWF report, by the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) entitled “The implications of a new South East runway on regional airport expansion                                          demonstrates that if a new runway is built, commitments under the Climate Change Act cannot be met unless significant constraints are imposed on the level of activity at regional airports, many of which have both capacity and permission to expand. The report estimates the CO2 that would be generated by a new runway in the South East and the extent to which other airports would need to cut back as a result. It highlights that a new runway in the South East would exacerbate the North-South divide in two ways: directly, by sucking business away from the regions, and indirectly by taking up a very large percentage of the allowable CO2 emissions from UK aviation.

Speakers at this event:

Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee
Jean Leston, Transport Policy Manager, WWF-UK
Adam Dutton, Senior Economist, RSPB, author of the report ‘Aviation, climate change and sharing the load’
Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director, Aviation Environment Federation, author of the report ‘The implications of a new South East runway on regional airport expansion’


Airport plans ‘on wing and prayer’


Plans to expand UK airport capacity are “based on a wing and a prayer” and “not rooted in the real world” according to two reports from environmental groups.

The organisations challenge the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission’s claim that it is possible to build a new runway and still meet the Government’s climate change targets.

They also argue that building a new runway in the south east would worsen the north/south divide, as growth at the regional airports would need to be constrained in order to ensure CO2 emissions from aviation fall to their 2005 levels by 2050.

The groups say that if aviation emissions were allowed to soar it would impose costs on the rest of the economy rising to between £1 billion and £8.4 billion per year or more by 2050 as non-aviation sectors would need to make even deeper emissions cuts.

The two reports have been released by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), nature charity the WWF and by Aviation Environment Federation (AEF).

The Airports Commission is considering just where airport expansion should go ahead and will publish its final report in summer 2015.

One of the reports out today, from the RSPB, said the commission had assumed that climate change targets could be met as aviation emissions will be constrained by regulatory measures.

But the report found that the regulatory regime is still aspirational – or is so weak as to be ineffective. It argues “We are therefore basing our decision to build a new runway on a world as we would like it to be – rather than as it currently exists.”

The report concludes that, in order to comply with the Climate Change Act, the only options are to manage future demand by increasing the cost of carbon which would see fares soar to unrealistically high levels or constrain capacity at airports by ruling out any new runways.

The groups said that the second report, from the Aviation Environment Federation and commissioned by WWF-UK, showed that it was impossible to build an additional runway in south east England and keep aviation emissions consistent with meeting UK climate targets, without cutting airport capacity elsewhere.

In practice, this could mean that many regional airports would need either to be closed or limited to operating fewer flights than today’s levels, the groups said.

They added that this would conflict with both Government and commercial forecasts, which anticipate at least 200% growth by 2050, and also exacerbate the north/south divide.

RSPB’s economist Adam Dutton, the author of his group’s report, said: “The rest of the economy will be heavily penalised if emissions from aviation are not constrained.”

AEF deputy director and report author Cait Hewitt said: “The commission and future governments have a choice to make: either allow aviation expansion in the south east and heavily constrain regional airports or let regional airports grow within the capacity they already have but don’t build any new runways. But climate change limits mean that you can’t do both.”

Jean Leston, head of transport at WWF-UK, said: “Thinking that you can build a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick while still keeping to UK climate targets is being over-optimistic and using assumptions that are based on a wing and a prayer, not on the real world.

“When it comes to airport expansion, climate change isn’t ‘dealt with’ as an issue.”



The two reports:

WWF regional airports report re climate – July 2014

Aviation Climate Change and Sharing the Load – RSPB July 2014

One page summary   –   Wing and a Prayer Event




See also:.

CCC confirm UK air passenger rise of 60% by 2050 only possible if carbon intensify of flying improves by one third

The Committee on Climate Change has reported to Parliament on progress on the UK’s carbon budgets. They say: “Under the current rate of progress future budgets will not all be met.” Carbon budgets do not currently include emissions from international aviation and shipping, but these are included in the 2050 carbon target. The government will review aviation’s inclusion in carbon budgets in 2016. In 2012 the UK’s international aviation emitted 32 MtCO2, and domestic aviation 1.6 MtCO2. The CCC and the Airports Commission say a new runway can fit within climate targets, but their own figures show aviation growth exceeding the target for decades. Growth in passengers of “around” 60% above 2005 levels could only fit within the carbon target if there is an improvement in the carbon intensity of aviation of around one-third by 2050. The Airports Commission’s own interim report says there can only be 36% growth in flights by 2050, to stay within targets. They say any more growth than that should not happen, “unless and until” there are the necessary technology improvements, cutting aviation emissions. But neither the government, nor the CCC, nor the Airports Commission can pin down what these will be, or when they will happen. UK aviation emissions remain the highest in Europe.

Click here to view full story…





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Reports on Thames Estuary airport plan show it is costly, risky for the taxpayer and a potential failure

Serious doubt has been cast on the prospect of a Thames estuary airport plan going ahead. Four reports have been produced for the Airports Commission, to aid their consideration of whether an estuary airport should be one of the short listed options to be taken forward, in September. One of three reports prepared for the commission published on Friday has said of the estuary plan: “Overall, the challenges to transition are considerable and amount to a significant cost and risk to the taxpayer in terms of commercial negotiations, infrastructure development and potential failure.” Another report says Heathrow would have to close if the estuary scheme went ahead and that Heathrow’s owners would have to be paid compensation of between £13.5 billion and £21.5 billion. The third report cited possible transport improvement costs associated with the new airport of between £10.1bn and £17.2bn for road, and up to £27 billion for rail. The report on environmental impacts which estimated that moving affected wildlife away from the new airport could cost as much as £2bn.



Airports Commission website

Inner Thames estuary airport studies


Boris Island Thames Estuary airport ‘dead in the water’ after cost estimates soar

By Joseph Watts, Political Correspondent (Evening Standard)


The Boris Island airport plan suffered a “potential death blow” today as three reports said costs may soar billions of pounds above the Mayor’s estimates.

The bill for new transport links to a Thames Estuary airport could be more than double predictions, said experts.

Researchers outlined huge further costs of compensating Heathrow’s owners and removing a sunken wreck full of explosives. They also questioned the plan’s commercial viability, suggesting it could lead to higher passenger costs and business lost to competitors.

Most people quizzed by researchers thought the estuary plan carried “significant risk, uncertainty and cost”.

The study comes after another found an estuary airport would have “large adverse impacts” on the environment.

London Assembly Lib-Dem leader Caroline Pidgeon said: “This is a potential death blow to the Mayor’s dream.

“It’s bad enough he has spent millions in taxpayers’ money on promoting his fantasy. Now his proposals have been exposed as based on wildly inaccurate estimates.” Labour group transport spokesperson Val Shawcross said the study confirmed that the Mayor’s plan was “pie in the sky”, while the Greens’ Darren Johnson said: “Boris Island must now be dead in the water.”

The Airports Commission ordered four feasibility studies of an estuary air hub. The first looked at environmental impacts and was published last week.

The other three look at the impacts of moving a hub from Heathrow, the economic effects and road and rail links. It was the final report on transport, by engineering firm Jacobs, that outlined spiralling transport costs.

The Mayor’s 2013 estimate suggested road links would cost up to £10.1 billion and rail £13.5 billion. The Jacobs report claimed they may rocket to £17 billion and £27 billion respectively.

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers said Heathrow owners may need compensation of £21.5 billion. Another by Leigh Fisher says the cost of tackling risks posed by the wreck of a Second World War munitions ship five miles from the airport site are unknown. But it concludes SS Richard Montgomery, still holding 1,500 tons of TNT, may have to be made safe or removed.

The Mayor’s chief aviation adviser Daniel Moylan said the reports would be analysed but he emphasised how they also highlighted economic benefits an estuary hub would provide.




Thames Estuary airport poses ‘considerable risk’ to taxpayer

11.7.2014 (BBC)

Artists impression of Foster and Partners' proposed Isle of Grain airport The proposed Thames Estuary airport would be built on the Isle of Grain

An airport in the Thames Estuary would present a “considerable cost and risk to the taxpayer”, according to reports published by the Airports Commission.

An estuary airport on the Isle of Grain has been proposed by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Four studies into the feasibility of the airport have been published.

They state airlines and passengers believe the scheme would carry “significantly more risk than opportunity”.

One of the reports also stated that explosives on a sunken World War Two munitions ship in the estuary, the SS Richard Montgomery, would need to be removed or treated before the airport could be constructed.

It added: “Full containment or removal are deemed high-risk and high-cost options, potentially requiring evacuation of the local area for a period of many weeks or months.”

‘Significant risk’

The Airports Commission has been tasked with examining the need for additional UK airport capacity. It has shortlisted three options, which include adding a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway there, and a new runway at Gatwick.

However, the commission, led by businessman Sir Howard Davies, will also consider a new airport in the Isle of Grain.

The three latest reports looked at operational feasibility and attitudes towards the airport, socio-economic impacts and surface access.

The first report, which looked into the environmental impact of the airport, said it could cost up to £2bn to provide alternative habitats for wildlife if the airport was built.

Boris Johnson suggested the Isle of Grain in Kent as the site for a new, four-runway airport

One of the reports states that Heathrow would have to be closed for a new hub airport in the Thames to open.

It states: “Overall, the challenges to transition are considerable and amount to a significant cost and risk to the taxpayer in terms of commercial negotiations, infrastructure development and potential failure.”

Daniel Moylan, who is the mayor of London’s chief adviser on aviation, said: “Our team will now analyse these reports in detail but it appears they confirm the huge benefits to the country’s prosperity that would flow from moving Heathrow to a new location and prove that there are challenges, but no showstoppers, to achieving that.

“The case studies of how this has been successfully done in other countries are particularly valuable.

“Of course there are risks, but all the proposals being considered by the commission carry risk.

“The Airports Commission can have no alternative but to include the estuary option on its formal shortlist.”

Related BBC Stories


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Four Inner Thames estuary airport studies for Airports Commission finally kill off “Boris Island”

The Airports Commission has now published all four of the studies it has commissioned on an Inner Thames Estuary (ITE) airport. These reports are on environmental impacts, operational feasibility and attitudes to moving to an estuary airport, socio-economic impacts, and surface access. The first report, on environmental impacts was utterly damning, confirming the massive extent of the harm done to highly conserved habitats  and their wildlife, and the near impossibility of successfully moving the wildlife elsewhere. Now the report on the feasibility of moving the airport shows the problems of flood risk, fog, wind direction, bird strike, explosives on the SS Montgomery and the Isle of Grain gas terminal – with many practically insurmountable. The report on socio-economic impacts demonstrates that aeronautical charges would have to be very high to pay for the airport, and be too high to compete with Dubai etc. Heathrow would have to close, at immense cost.  The surface access report shows the cost of even minimal rail services to get most passengers to the airport would be £10 billion and more like £27 billion for a good service. The cost of road improvements would be £10 to £17 billion. The reports’ conclusions now make it nearly inconceivable that a Thames Estuary Airport will ever be constructed. 

Airports Commission reports final kill “Boris Island”

10.7.2014 (the “No Estuary Airport Campaign”
(South East Essex Friends of the Earth).

On 4 July the first of four reports prepared for the Airports Commission dealt a body blow to Boris Johnson’s plan to close Heathrow and create a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary.

On 10th July the three remaining reports were released, finally laying to rest any hope the Mayor of London had of destroying the Isle of Grain in Kent and parts of south Essex to fulfil his dream.

The sheer level of detailed analysis contained in the reports, and the conclusions reached, now make it inconceivable that a Thames Estuary Airport will ever be constructed.  Never before has so much effort gone into the analysis of the merits of the various estuary schemes and the conclusions are crystal clear.

Jon Fuller of the “No Estuary Airport Campaign” said: –  “the most detailed study into proposals to build a Thames Estuary Airport has categorically proven this to be the wrong location for a hub airport. It has always, and always will be unsuitable for an international airport. We appeal to the Mayor of London to stop wasting time, effort and huge sums of public money in promoting this scheme. It is time for him to accept that his proposal is dead and we appeal to him to now focus upon what he can do to reduce the noise and pollution misery inflicted upon the residents of west London. It is time to reduce night flights and ensure the cost of flying reflects the impact it imposes upon millions of people.”



Airports Commission website

Inner Thames estuary airport studies

1.  Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 1: environmental impacts

On 4 July the first report for the Airports Commission looked at the environmental impacts of the proposed estuary airport and concluded that the scale of environmental damage and the legal protection to wildlife habitat probably made the challenge of building the airport insurmountable.
A devastating analysis of the Mayor’s plan can be seen at

The 3 reports published on 10th July finally killed off any prospect of the scheme ever getting off the ground.

2.    Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 2: operational feasibility and attitudes to moving to an estuary airport

See 11-1 Summary and Conclusions   (PDF pages 92-94)
Flood risk, fog, wind direction, even bird strike may be surmountable, but the SS Richard Montgomery and the Isle of Grain gas terminal are not. And the killer business and political argument is that Southend Airport and London City Airports would have to close.
A Thames Estuary Airport reduces UK capacity.
The need for a phased transition from Heathrow to an estuary airport is also seen as exceptionally challenging.

3.    Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 3: socio-economic impacts

See Executive Summary: Pages 2 – 5 (PDF 4 – 7)
The PWC report identifies a large number of benefits and losses, weighing up the various costs. The report is not all one sided, but the cost of closing Heathrow is almost certainly ruled out with the conclusion that: –      “Our review has assessed the existing evidence in relation to the compensation that would be payable to the owners of Heathrow. The current estimate is in order of between £13.5 and £21.5 billion for Heathrow.”


4.  Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 4: surface access

See Conclusions. 8.2   (from page 136).

The Jacobs report states that (at 8.2.11) “By 2050, rail option 4 is the only credible option, due to the  predicted growth of London, and even then some capacity issue still remain.”  At table 30, page 139 option 4 is said to be:    £26.970,000 million !

At 8.2.16 the new road building costs are said to be between £10.1bn and £17.2bn. And the environmental impacts identified on page 140 are shown to be insurmountable.



Airports Commission

Open consultation

Inner Thames estuary airport studies

The Airports Commission is seeking views on a number of inner Thames estuary study reports. Specifically, we are inviting responses in relation to 2 questions:

– is there information in the reports which is factually inaccurate?
– is there any new information or evidence that you wish us to consider before making our decision?

Email to:   by 5pm on Friday 8th August 2014.



Looking at the conclusions of these reports:

1.  Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 1: environmental impacts

 Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 1: environmental impacts

Report for Airports Commission on environmental impact sinks Boris’s estuary airport plans

Boris Johnson’s dreams of a massive airport in the Thames Estuary have had a major setback, from the new report produced for the Airports Commission, looking at the environmental impacts. The study shows it would cause huge environmental, financial and safety risks and would cause “large scale direct habitat loss” to hundreds of thousands of migrating birds. The cost of creating replacement habitats could exceed £2 billion and may not even be possible. Even if replacement habitat could be found, planes using the airport would still be at a “high risk” of lethal bird strike. In order to counter this risk, even larger areas of habitat would need to be destroyed to secure the airport. The report also found huge regulatory hurdles to any potential estuary airport going ahead. Under environmental regulations,the airport’s backers would have to prove there were “imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI)” for placing the airport in such an environmentally sensitive area. Even if that could be proven, they would also need to demonstrate that all of the habitat displaced by the airport could be placed elsewhere. The report found that while this was “technically possible,” it was highly uncertain, as such a large scale displacement had never been attempted before.

Click here to view full story…



2.    Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 2: operational feasibility and attitudes to moving to an estuary airport

 Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 2: operational feasibility and attitudes to moving to an estuary airport

The report, by Leigh Fisher, looks at flood risk, fog, bird strikes, wind, explosives on the SS Richard Montgomery, airspace implications, energy facilities, transition and attitudes.

The concluding paragraphs of the section called
“Examined individually, the topics addressed by each chapter of this report have, in the main, highlighted significant but perhaps not insurmountable challenges and risks to the successful development of an airport in the inner Thames Estuary. Considered together, however, they appear to present a substantial risk that would incur large costs, in the order of billions of pounds, to appropriately manage. Part of that risk may not be mitigated or costed to a reasonable degree, including the risk to safety, the on time delivery of the airport, the consequential impacts on local and regional economies, the attractiveness of
the airport to airlines and their customers, and ultimately the success of a hub airport located in the inner Thames Estuary.
“There are many aspects to the Estuary airport scheme that have no useful precedent nationally or internationally. For example, there are no known examples of successful treatment of explosives such as are held within the SS Richard Montgomery. There are no examples of LNG Terminals located adjacent to large airports and no real world cases of an LNG facility suffering a major storage tank fire or explosion. Equally, there are no known examples of an airport of comparable scale relocating the distances involved, with the requirement to relocate and house (or make redundant, replace and house) a workforce of
considerable size. The complexity of the interdependencies between airlines, airports, businesses and passengers means that any delay to programme delivery could have far-reaching consequences. Yet there appear to be many issues that will involve complex commercial negotiations, planning policy and execution, stakeholder commitment, social change, and substantial amounts of construction, all of which carry great risk of compromise to delivery by 2030.”

3.  Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 3: socio-economic impacts

 Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 3: socio-economic impacts

The report, by PWC, looks at  the rationale for airport closure, commercial considerations, national and local socio-economic impacts and local catalytic impacts and spatial implications.
It comes to no specific conclusions, though a few paragraphs are copied below here:
Our review suggests that the commercial assumptions required to make an inner Thames Estuary airport commercially viable would require aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues per passenger to be significantly higher in real terms than at Heathrow and competing European hubs
High capacity utilisation would also be required from the outset. Failure to capture sufficient
passengers from Heathrow airport could push charges higher in order to remain viable, but this is likely to offer a greater competitive advantage to competing hubs in Europe and the Middle East.   Available evidence suggests that these hubs will have the capacity to handle additional traffic when the Estuary airport opens. All of this means that Heathrow will need to close in order to make an inner Thames Estuary airport commercially viable.
The resources invested in building a new airport in the inner Thames Estuary will have substantial economic impacts. However, these impacts are another way of measuring the cost of a scheme and under government appraisal guidelines (as set out in the Green Book) should be treated as a cost, not a benefit. It is also important to highlight that the activity created in the construction phase will largely be temporary because once construction is finished, they will no longer be needed.
Operating an airport in the Thames Estuary will also have large-scale employment and GVA effects, as can be seen from around Heathrow at the moment. TfL have estimated the direct, indirect and induced effects of the operational phase of an inner Estuary hub airport to be in the region of 280,000 jobs and £20.9 billion in GVA per annum in 2030, rising to 388,000 jobs and £42.3 billion in GVA by 2050.  These estimates are critically dependent on the airport being a commercial success and achieving passenger traffic of 90 million per annum on opening in 2030, rising to 170 million passengers per annum in 2050. These forecasts are significantly higher than the Airports Commission forecasts in
2050…..A more fundamental economic impact from aviation is the catalytic or supply side impacts from improving the UK’s connectivity with the rest of the world. There is extensive academic literature capturing catalytic effects via the association between aviation connectivity and GDP, although the direction of causality in this relationship is unproven.
The review of local economic impacts shows that an inner Thames Estuary proposal has the potential to generate approximately 98,000 additional jobs in 2030 across the six local authorities closest to the proposed airport, a 23.5% increase in the current baseline forecast. However, the deliverability of this employment uplift and its potential benefit to local people may be constrained by local housing availability, labour supply, availability of land and surface access. These constraints are likely to be experienced differently by individual authorities depending on their opportunities and barriers to growth.



4.  Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 4: surface access

Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 4: surface access

This report by Jacobs looks at the 4 proposals for an estuary airport and the road and rail surface transport issues.They say:
The assumptions and surface access options proposed in each of these four submissions were reviewed by Jacobs early in the study programme. A key assumption made in three of the proposals was a high public transport mode share of 60-65% for air passengers making surface access trips to the airport. Foster + Partners and MTTRA stated explicitly in their 2013 submissions that the rail mode share for air passengers would be 60% while the Mayor of London indicated that for testing purposes it was assumed all public transport trips would use rail. These submissions also indicated that a high proportion of airport employees would commute using public transport, ranging from 60% using rail (identified in both the MTTRA and Foster + Partners proposals) to an overall 75% public transport mode share (identified by the Mayor of London) – as with passengers, the Mayor assumed for testing purposes that all employee commuting trips by public transport would be made by rail.

While the submissions differed markedly in terms of surface transport proposals they put forward, there were a number of common elements across many, as follows:
 The provision of an express service via High Speed 1 (HS1) from St. Pancras connecting to the airport via a spur to the south east of Gravesend – included in all submissions with minor variations and assumed by Jacobs to take approximately 26 minutes between St. Pancras and the airport;

 The extension of both branches of Crossrail from Abbey Wood in the south via Dartford,
Gravesend and Hoo Junction and from Shenfield in the north via Billericay – the southern branch extension was included in all three submissions, while both MTTRA and Foster + Partners included a northern branch extension – the southern branch service was assumed to take approximately 51 minutes between Tottenham Court Road and the airport;

 The provision of a semi-fast service from Waterloo to the airport via Bromley South and Swanley – included in the Foster + Partners and MTTRA submissions, and IAAG highlighted the potential for a similar service to Waterloo via Ebbsfleet/Gravesend – this was assumed to take 42 minutes between Waterloo and the airport;

 Regional services linking to North Kent and South Essex (via a river crossing to the Fenchurch Street line) – included in the Mayor of London, IAAG and Foster + Partners submissions.

In addition, the Mayor of London proposed a new express service from Waterloo via London Bridge, Canary Wharf and Barking Riverside that was assumed to take 28 minutes to travel between Waterloo and the airport. This and the schemes summarised above were assembled into four rail packages for assessment.


They looked at 4 options, for rail services, from just covering the minimum requirements, to more extensive services with more lines.
They conclude, on page 138 that:

Thus in summary, while rail Option 1 would accommodate predicted demand in 2030, it is dependent on 4 rail paths per hour being available on HS1 and a significant proportion of ITE passengers (around 45%) would experience crush capacity loadings of above 90% on the central sections of Crossrail.  The rail elements of this option would cost around £5bn, rising to around £10bn with rail and optimism bias included.
In comparison, rail Option 4 would provide an additional express rail service to London (the AEX), which would both improve the resilience on relying on available HS1 train paths, and provide faster connections to south and west central London. The predicted Crossrail sub mode share of this option reduces to 27%, so fewer ITE airport users would have to experience Crossrail crush capacities in the core sections. However, the rail elements of this option would cost around £13bn, rising to around £27bn with rail and optimism bias included. By 2050, rail option 4 is the only credible option, due to the predicted growth of London, and even then some capacity issue still remain.
On roads they say:
Roads assessment
8.2.12 The roads assessment involved using a route assignment model to forecast the impact of road trips to the ITE accounting for the impacts on capacity related purely to expected growth in background traffic. The costs of mitigating for these background traffic-related impacts have not been assigned to the airport.
8.2.13 The analysis detailed the following road widening requirements due to the ITE airport, covering works required in both 2030 and 2050 – our model indicated that these links exceed 100% of capacity as a result of airport-related traffic:
 88km widening of the M25 (73km single lane widening and 15 km double lane widening);
 17km single lane widening of the M2;
 17km widening of the A2 (2km single lane widening and 15km double lane widening);
 Around 30km single lane widening of the A12/A127/A13 roads on their approach to the M25 from outside London.
8.2.14 Additionally, the construction of the ITE airport brings the predicted Volume/Capacity Ratios (VCRs) above the critical 85% threshold on the following links, and additional road widening may be required as follows:
 20km single lane widening of the M25;
 3km single lane widening of the M2;
 Around 55km single lane widening of the A12/A127/A13 in various locations.

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Airports Commission publishes new discussion document – a call for evidence on “Delivering new runway capacity”

The Airports Commission has published its 7th Discussion Paper,  “Delivering new runway capacity: call for evidence.” The deadline for comment is 15th August.  The paper explores: – legal and planning issues surrounding runway capacity;  engagement with local communities including compensation and mitigation; and the role of the state. The Commission welcomes feedback on these issues, to help in its deliberations.  The paper sets out the two main routes through planning that a runway proposal could take, either through the NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) route, or through a Hybrid Bill in Parliament. The paper also raises issues such as how decisions on associated housing should be dealt with; it considers how consultation can best be carried out to be effective; it asks to what extent – if at all – the State should subsidise an airport, without falling foul of European regulations on state aid; and likewise on spending tax payers’ money on surface transport, that mainly benefits an airport and its users. The Commission recognises the importance of noise, and will use multiple contours for LAeq and Lden as well as N70 daytime and N60 night ‘number above’ contours.


Airports Commission opens a consultation,

 “Delivering new runway capacity: call for evidence”

This discussion paper calls for evidence on issues which the Airports Commission has identified as being of interest to the delivery of new runway capacity.
The paper explores:

- legal and planning issues surrounding runway capacity
- engagement with local communities including compensation and mitigation
- the role of the state

How to respond: Email to:

Consultation closes 5pm on 15th August 2014

Discussion paper 07: delivery of new runway capacity

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Airports Commission publishes “Environmental Impacts” report on Thames Estuary airport, for comment

The Airports Commission has undertaken to commission studies to assess whether a Thames Estuary airport should be short-listed, with the 3 schemes (Heathrow airport, Heathrow Hub, and Gatwick airport) to Phase 2 – for detailed consideration. These studies would be published in July, and accordingly, now the first study has been produced. It is on Environmental Impacts, and it was carried out by Jacobs Consultancy.  The report is and is over 200 pages long, and appears to be thorough. It is clear that the extent of the environmental damage done by an airport would be huge, and the mitigation measures needed would be on a scale not seen before in Europe, if such mitigation was possible. It also stresses that, to allow this degree of environmental harm, “the Secretary of State for Transport would need to be certain that no alternative solutions existed, had considered the best scientific knowledge and taken into account the representations of Natural England and Environment Agency. If this test is passed it would need to be demonstrated that the proposals were needed for Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public interest (IROPI).” The Commission invites comment on whether the report contains errors, or if anything has been omitted, by 8th August.



Open consultation – Inner Thames estuary airport studies

The Airports Commission seeks comment on the Airports Commission’s inner Thames estuary study outputs. The consultation closes at  5.00pm on 8 August 2014

Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 1: environmental impacts

232 pages

The Airports Commission is seeking views on the first of a number of inner Thames estuary study reports. Specifically, we are inviting responses in relation to 2 questions:

is there information in the reports which is factually inaccurate?
is there any new information or evidence that you wish us to consider before making our decision?
The remaining final study reports will be available on 10 July 2014.


Publishing the inner Thames Estuary feasibility studies

1. The Airports Commission set out in its ‘Introductory Note’ on the inner Thames Estuary feasibility studies that it would publish the study outputs in early July 2014.

2.  Following consultation on the draft terms of reference, the final terms of
reference for each of the studies were published in March 2014.

3.  Consultees were also invited to submit comments and evidence against the terms of reference by 23rd May 2014. A total of just over 170 responses were received, of which around 44 were ‘technical’ [technical responses are those responses which are considered to include substantive policy content  rather than solely setting out an opinion towards the proposal] and 127 ‘non-technical.’ All of the technical responses are available on the Commission’s website.

4.  Both the Commission and its consultants have reviewed comments and evidence submitted as part of the consultation on the draft terms of reference and the call for evidence, and either incorporated or referenced such evidence in the studies where relevant and appropriate.

5.  Today the Commission publishes one of its studies in line with its
transparency agenda and to enable interested parties to submit views on the outcomes of the studies before a decision is made on whether to short-list the inner Thames Estuary for phase 2. The remaining three studies are expected to be published next Thursday 10th July.

6.  While general comments on the studies are welcome, the Commission is
particularly inviting views in relation to two specific questions:

a.  Is there information in the studies which is factually inaccurate? If so,
please let us know.

b.  Is there any new information or evidence that you wish the
Commission to consider before it makes its decision?

7.  Please send comments and evidence responding to the specific questions set
out above to                                                                                  by 5pm on Friday 8th August 2014.




The Summary, of the Executive Summary states:

(iv) Summary

This study confirms that an airport development on the Hoo peninsula is likely to result
in large scale adverse effects on international nature conservation designations,
principally the Thames Estuary Marshes SPA and Ramsar sites and Medway Estuary
Marshes SPA and Ramsar sites. There could also be potential impacts on other
designated sites in the Inner Thames Estuary area. It is expected that an airport would
need to demonstrate that there are no feasible alternative solutions for meeting
development objectives in accordance with the HRA process required under the
Habitat Regulations.

If an airport development was to pass the alternative solutions test and meet IROPI
requirements, a large area of compensation habitat creation would be required and this
would be on a scale unprecedented for any single development in Europe. There are a
number of potential sites associated with proposed managed realignment along the
east coast in Essex and Suffolk that could form at least part of the compensatory
measures required and technically it may be possible to look beyond this area also.

While it is technically possible to create large scale habitats, there is, however, a high
level of uncertainty in achieving this. The full requirements for functional quality of
habitat to meet the needs of all species affected needs to be understood. The
compensation habitat also needs to be provided in a geographic region which would
support the species affected. In order to demonstrate deliverability, further extensive
studies would be needed over a large area and over many years, including the affected
area and the possible compensation sites.

Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 1: environmental impacts

232 pages



The report’s conclusions state:  (pages 136 – 138)


This study sets out to consider the scale and significance of the potential impacts of
a new airport development on the Hoo Peninsula, Inner Thames Estuary location,
focusing particularly on the implications for internationally designated sites and the
relevant legal process. The study scope responds to the recognition that the impacts
and risks associated with a completely new airport location on the Inner Thames
Estuary need to be better understood. In addition, the study has taken account of
stakeholder comments to consider the wider environmental effects on the estuary
processes and morphology, as well as on flood risk, landscape and cultural

The Hoo peninsula supports a complex mosaic of intertidal, wetland and terrestrial
habitats that interact with each other. This complex of a wide range of habitat types
within the ecosystem results in high biodiversity. The Thames estuary has relatively
high productivity that supports internationally important habitat areas and species;
and this in turn supports internationally important bird assemblages and numbers.
This is recognised by the designation of large parts of the estuary as Ramsar, SPA
and/or SAC sites.

The study was based on a review of desk based information, available data on the
designated sites and species and referred to some of the information submitted as
part of the call for evidence. The key findings are listed below:

 All the airport options proposed on the Hoo Peninsula would result in large scale
direct habitat loss to Thames Estuary and Marshes SPA and Ramsar sites.
Some locations would also involve direct loss to the Medway Marshes SPA and
Ramsar sites.

 The minimum permanent loss of habitat on the Thames Estuary and Marshes
SPA/Ramsar sites alone is estimated to amount to 24%/27 of their total area
and it would not be possible to mitigate these losses in close proximity to the
airport due to bird strike risk and geomorphology and flood risk management

 In terms of the Habitats Regulations Assessment process, it is expected that any
future appropriate assessment would conclude that there are likely significant
effects on the Natura 2000 network.

 Under the steps of the HRA process, the proposals would, therefore, be required
to progress to the Alternatives Solutions test. The Competent Authority
(Secretary of State for Transport) would need to be certain that no alternative
solutions existed, had considered the best scientific knowledge and taken into
account the representations of Natural England and Environment Agency. If
this test is passed it would need to be demonstrated that the proposals were
needed for Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public interest (IROPI).

 In the event that the proposals were to be taken through HRA alternative
solution and IROPI steps, an acceptable package of compensatory measures
would need to be developed. The compensatory measures would need to be
created in advance and would need to demonstrate that they would be adequate
before losses occur.

 A minimum of around 2130ha is likely to be needed for habitat compensation for
the airport proposals and displacement of other compensatory habitat. An upper
estimate of 6800ha attempts to capture some of the potential indirect losses.
The road and rail transport infrastructure schemes required for airport access
are also likely to result in additional direct losses to Natura 2000 sites and are
therefore likely to add to the total area required for compensation.

 Compensatory habitat the purpose of attracting birds would need to be provided
at least outside the 13km birdstrike safeguarding zone and it is recommended
that habitat for birds is created beyond 20km from the airport

 Given the uncertainty with providing compensation habitat further afield it is
likely that a ration of gain for loss of greater than 1:1 would be required. Gain for
loss ratios from other studies indicate that 2:1 and 3:1 ratios might be applied. It
is possible that higher ratios might be considered appropriate to reflect higher
uncertainty over the success of proposed compensation measures is considered

 There is good experience on provision of compensatory habitat from the
Environment Agency’s Regional Habitat Creation Programmes. There are also a
number of potential intertidal habitat creation sites associated with managed
realignment policies along the Essex and Suffolk coast. Potential compensation
areas would need to be investigated in detail to identify potential constraints in
terms of availability, suitability and additional impacts and these would require
significant study to determine realistic deliverability.

 Although it may be technically possible to create large scale intertidal and
freshwater habitats for compensation, there is considerable uncertainty over the
ability to deliver the functional quality of habitat to meet the requirements of all
the species that might be affected. There is an added complexity in the potential
ability to adequately provide the like for like combination of habitats –not just the
habitat types in isolation but a mosaic of habitats for the requirements of some
species. Estuaries and coastal areas along the Essex and Suffolk coast should
be the first area to consider for compensation areas, locations further afield
might be possible but are likely to increase the uncertainty that all different
species needs could be met.

 In terms of the wider environment, there are additional areas of impact or risk
particularly associated with the construction of an airport into the estuary
channel, seaward of the existing defences, including:

– Construction impacts and the release of sediment which could potentially
result in long term effects on the estuary;
– Change to estuary geomorphology and hydrodynamics through changes to
tidal prism, wave reflection, sediment deposition, sediment entrainment and
bank or habitat erosion.
– Changes to current speeds and directions will change erosion and accretion
patterns and could lead to significant changes to intertidal habitats (affecting
up to 2500ha of estuarine intertidal and subtidal habitat).
– Changes to water levels, although these are expected to be minor
– Potential for impacts on the ecological status of Water Framework Directive
(WFD) water bodies through combination of impacts on a number of water
courses on the Hoo peninsula. These are likely to result in addition
ecological effects on aquatic species and may need to be subject to WFD
article 4.7 tests to determine if exemptions from normal WFD requirements
would apply;
– Uncertainty in relation to flood risk and the extent of impacts from airport
construction beyond existing defences, including reduced conveyance and
storage capacity in the Thames Estuary and possibly the Medway Estuary
and potential for increased flood risk in extreme event especially given the
high design standard for flood protection likely to be required for a new hub
airport; also high level of uncertainty over climate change and particularly
sea level rise, storm surges and extreme events;

 Extensive detailed studies including hydrodynamic modelling would be required,
along the lines undertaken for TE2100, in order to understand the
geomorphological and flood risk changes and requirements for mitigation and
related additional impacts on designated sites.

 Impacts on landscape and cultural heritage include large scale changes altering
the tranquil and remote character of the area, and resulting in direct loss of a
number of statutory designated or potential designated heritage features as well
as resulting in changes to the settings of remaining heritage interest.

Inner Thames estuary feasibility study 1: environmental impacts

232 pages






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

December 17, 2013

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

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