A retired GP, who worked in Langley Green for nearly 40 years, believes a 2nd Gatwick runway would lead to a ‘disastrous’ increase in Crawley’s air pollution. He feels that increased pollution from planes and vehicle traffic would worsen high levels of respiratory illnesses in neighbourhoods near the airport. He says this would lead to ‘considerable’ increases in air pollution and noise in Crawley, a decrease in the standard of living and a fall in townspeople’s health within 15 years of the runway and associated infrastructure being built. People living in Langley Green, Ifield and Crawley’s new neighbourhood, Forge Wood, would be worst affected. Over this time as a GP he had seen quite a substantial rise in the number of respiratory illnesses, particularly asthma, particularly in children. He said “the last thing you would want to do is make that worse” and that the airport’s effect on the increasing rate of lung-related conditions across the area played on his mind during his medical career. He said in Crawley almost 10% of his patients were from South Asian origin, a group that is known to have a higher than average incidence of asthma and greater than average need for emergency admission to hospital for asthma. But little thought seems to have been given to their welfare. He also questions the provision of extra medical facilities that would be needed if there was a new runway. Facilities are already stretched – and Gatwick will not pay for more.
A retired GP believes a second runway at Gatwick Airport would lead to a ‘disastrous’ increase in Crawley’s air pollution.
Dr Paul Stillman, a former senior partner at Leacroft Medical Practice claimed increased pollution from planes and vehicle traffic would worsen high levels of respiratory illnesses in neighbourhoods near the airport.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said studies on the effect the second runway would have on roads showed the GP’s fears about increased road traffic were inaccurate.
The spokesman added it had not breached EU and UK annual air quality limits. The airport would maintain its ‘100 per cent’ record should the runway be built.
Dr Stillman, 68, of Pound Hill, who worked in Langley Green for nearly 40 years, believed Gatwick expansion would lead to ‘considerable’ increases in air pollution and noise in Crawley, a similar decrease in the standard of living and a fall in townspeople’s health within 15 years of the runway and associated infrastructure being built.
He said: “I think that’s disastrous because living in an area is not simply about the prosperity, it’s about the quality of life that you have.
“I cannot really see this is going to benefit the community and it certainly would have a poor effect on the people who live in that part of the world.”
He said people living in Langley Green, Ifield and Crawley’s new neighbourhood, Forge Wood, would be worst affected.
Dr Stillman said: “Throughout my professional time in general practice in that part of the town [Langley Green] certainly we saw a quite substantial rise in the number of respiratory illnesses – we saw particularly asthma, particularly in children.
“You’ve got a lot of people for whatever reason are suffering of something, of which some of it certainly is reversible – the last thing you want to do is make that worse.”
Dr Stillman said pollution was triggering asthma and other lung-related attacks across the neighbourhood.
He said the airport’s effect on the increasing rate of lung-related conditions across the area played on his mind during his medical career.
A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: “Neither our modelling or that of the Airports Commission, or comments by West Sussex County Council suggest that this is an accurate picture of the impact of a second runway on local roads.
“Gatwick Airport has never breached EU and UK annual air quality limits and would maintain this 100 per cent air quality record with a second runway.
“We have also committed to a range of measures that would improve journey times for local road users and manage all traffic better if the airport expands.
“In addition, Gatwick would create a £10 million Local Highway Development Fund to meet any additional work required to improve local roads.”
The Airports Commission has not specifically looked at health, other than some mentions under other sections. It has not been required to carry out a full health impact assessment of the runway proposals (and has been criticised by Hillingdon Borough Council for not doing so). It has therefore not looked at the impact of a runway on respiratory disease like asthma, and has not looked at different impacts on different sections of the population.
The two letters are below:
Letter sent to local GPs.
The proposed expansion of Gatwick Airport
The decision whether to build a second runway and its associated additional passenger terminal at Gatwick Airport presents the most important decision affecting anybody living in or near Crawley in living memory. It is vital that any of us involved in their welfare make an informed choice and share this in any way we can, through local patient groups, public pressure groups and parliamentary representatives.
Recent surveys by the regional media suggest most residents are in favour of this expansion, although only a small proportion have followed the discussion or read the arguments for and against. And this is easy to understand. The huge publicity machine for Gatwick Airport promises more jobs and new businesses bringing wealth to the area and to those who live in it. The integrity of a company already under scrutiny for the UK taxes they pay may raise doubts, and in reality of course we enjoy one of the lowest rates of unemployment anywhere at just 1.2%. It has been estimated a second runway would create at least 22,000 new jobs by 2050 so these posts would have to be filled largely by commuters from south London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent, and by massive new building programmes around Crawley. This in turn will compound our current rail and road problems and the 95 million people travelling through the extended airport each year must result in a profound impact on noise, air quality and consequent stress levels of all the residents, new and old.
In Langley Green, where I practiced, houses will be compulsorily demolished and many of the remainder left adjacent to perimeter fencing and a very large earth mound. This population already suffers from an unusually high incidence of respiratory conditions. In Crawley we have almost 10% of our patients from Asian origin, 50% higher than the national average. The incidence of asthma amongst them is well known, although little thought seems to have been given to their welfare. The need for emergency admission is three times greater for Asian asthmatics than for the white population. There has been much talk of the 7-8 billion pounds needed to improve the infrastructure in travel, housing, schools and even the old chestnut, a new hospital. Almost all of this – if it actually happens – will come from the private sector and taxation. On a more immediate level we have already seen the loss of a GP practice in West Green with no plans to replace it.
Promise of a new practice to support the housing development off Haslett Avenue never materialised, and a new surgery at Forge Wood has been described as ‘financially difficult’. I understand the Clinical Commissioning Group believe it is unlikely they will be able to support any new practice buildings, despite the current proposals for at least 4000 new houses east and west of the town, including Kilnwood Vale, Forgewood and Copthorne. What chance for a new hospital?
The loss of part of the Manor Royal estate will forcibly remove some of the businesses our current prosperity depends on. How many new ones will be attracted remains to be seen, although our current businesses are spread across a diverse range of companies, surely more healthy than having all our eggs in one basket when approaching an uncertain long term future for the air travel industry.
Crawley Borough Council, West Sussex and Kent County Councils have all withdrawn their support for this development and voted against it. The final decision rests now with central government, guided by a report from the independent Airports Commission. If they decide to enlarge Heathrow anybody who has the ear of their community needs to be able to reassure them this is in their best interests. If they agree with Gatwick Airport Ltd we must be prepared to express our concerns and objections in any way we can.
Thank you for reading this letter. More information can be found at the One’s Enough Crawley Facebook page www.facebook.com/onesenoughgatwick or the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign,www.gacc.org.uk. If you have any comments please email them to me via email@example.com and they will be forwarded.
Dr Paul Stillman
Letter to MP (and parliamentary candidate at the election)
Dear Henry Smith and Chris Oxlade
I am writing to express my opposition to the expansion of Gatwick Airport. I have worked as a general practitioner in Langley Green, adjacent to the existing airport, for over 30 years. A major clinical problem throughout that time has been the high levels of respiratory disorders, including asthma in children and young adults. Stress related illnesses, including high blood pressure with all its consequences, have also been apparent in this community more than elsewhere. I do not believe this is related to social deprivation or employment issues, simply because we don’t have them. It is however certainly in part the result of poor air quality from both aero fuels and road vehicles, and traffic congestion with the loss of open spaces for us to enjoy. Perhaps saddest of all is that Asians of all ages have an incidence of asthma 50% above the white population, in Langley Green and Ifield represent 10% of the resident population. They already live near the boundary of the airfield but will be much closer to these hazards should this proposed expansion take place. The recent Crawley Borough Council consultation on air quality highlights the existing high levels of pollution on Crawley Avenue, which will be disastrously increased and spread to all arterial roads across and around the town, should a second runway be approved.
The benefits of expansion appear minimal, but the losses frightening. Recreational spaces such as that at Cherry Lane, and north of Stafford Road, will be lost or at best rendered unusable. Cars and delivery vehicles already use roads through this area to attempt to bypass queues on major arteries. The most polluting vehicles are those going slowly, or at a standstill. It is unfortunate although common that schools have been sited on these main roads, often near junctions.
Elsewhere in the town many people, who perhaps see themselves as geographically separated from the worst of the development, are largely in favour of the scheme, although they also admit to little knowledge of the magnitude of the proposals and implications. Yet the size of the potential expansion, together with increased urbanisation, road congestion and pollution will affect those living in Broadfield, Bewbush, and Gossops Green and other neighbourhoods across the town in a similar way. The first residents of Forge Wood which was not included in Gatwick’s consultation plans may be surprised to find themselves perilously close to the new airport.
Crawley was built on a network of communities, each small enough to have its own identity, large enough to boast shops, schools, churches, doctors’ surgeries. I fought and failed to maintain the latter in West Green. At the same time it emerged the housing development at Haslett Avenue on the old sports centre site had been promised a practice but that this never happened. I now learn that Forge Wood may suffer the same fate.
Traditionally people vote on ‘gut’ reaction, without a deep understanding of the issues. That is I hope why they turn to their elected representatives to guide them. The right way forward is not always the most obvious and it is chilling to wonder how history will remember the choices of those of us who ought to have known better.
The Airports Commission is due to make its runway recommendation by the end of June, and since its recent consultation on air quality, speculation on the runway issue has become ever more feverish. The issue of air quality, in reality, prevents either runway being built – at Heathrow air quality is already too poor; at Gatwick, it would be illegal to worsen tolerable air quality for thousands of people. Speculation grows that perhaps, on some measures, the extent of the environmental damage at Gatwick might be lower than at Heathrow. It is still too high to enable a runway to be built. Now a large number of senior Tories and those in the Cabinet are personally opposed to a Heathrow runway, due to the location of their constituencies. Their constituents would not tolerate a new Heathrow runway, due to noise and pollution. So there are fears the Conservative government might try to go for Gatwick, in order to avoid internal splits within the Cabinet. Surely not a sufficient justification for devastating damage to a huge area of Sussex and Surrey, air pollution, intolerable pressure on surface transport, intolerable pressure on social infrastructure, intolerable noise burden over a wide area, huge cost to the taxpayer (not to mention raised CO2 emissions – from a government claiming to be “green”) – just to suit Cabinet members and avoid a party rift?
David Cameron ‘warming’ to Gatwick expansion plan
PM keen to boost green record as fears over Heathrow pollution grow, say sources
By Toby Helm (Observer)
David Cameron is warming to the idea of backing a second runway at Gatwick amid growing worries within government that expansion of Heathrow would cause excessive pollution and noise and would split the Tory party, according to informed sources.
A final report on how best to increase airport capacity in the south-east will be published by Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, next month or in July, and will contain a firm recommendation on which of the two airports should be developed to handle increasing demand.
The government will not be bound by the Davies recommendation, however, and with Cameron keen to re-emphasise his commitment to green issues in his second term as prime minister, there is pressure on ministers to find a solution that is both politically acceptable and which best meets legal air quality and other environmental requirements.
Davies has surprised Gatwick and Heathrow lobbyists by ordering a new consultation on implications for air quality, which will conclude this Friday and inform his final decision.
The appointment last week of green enthusiast Camilla Cavendish as head of the Downing Street policy unit has also raised the hopes of those opposing Heathrow, who argue that air quality around the airport already exceeds legal limits and would breach EU regulations if further expansion was allowed, while adding that air and noise pollution problems would be far less if Gatwick were chosen.
A source involved in the debate said Cameron was now more enthusiastic about the Gatwick option. Another key figure in the debate said he was aware that if ministers opted for Heathrow then at least two of his potential successors as Tory leader – Boris Johnson and Theresa May, who both have seats affected by the Heathrow flight path – would publicly oppose the move and could reverse the decision if they ever became PM.
Davies has already rejected Johnson’s idea of a new airport in the Thames estuary but the mayor of London, who is also now the Tory MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, has vowed to fight any expansion of Heathrow, which he says will blight the lives of millions of people in the west of the capital. While he believes a new second runway at Gatwick will not answer the capacity needs, he has focused his fire mainly on Heathrow.
May, the home secretary, Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, and Justine Greening, the international development secretary, are also on record as opposing Heathrow.
Both the Tories and Labour said before the election that they would “wait for Davies” before deciding where expansion should take place. Heathrow insists that it can add capacity while meeting air pollution limits.
In a policy paper it states: “New public transport options will provide an alternative to travelling to the airport by road. A congestion charge would provide a new mechanism for managing demand and ensuring there will be no more Heathrow-related vehicles on the roads than today. Those vehicles that are travelling to the airport will be cleaner. Combined with new aircraft technology, this means that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) would be within EU limits.”
Gatwick maintains, on the other hand, that while Heathrow expansion would mean 320,000 more households being affected by noise, a second runway at Gatwick would affect far fewer and could be delivered at lower cost. Ministers are refusing to comment publicly before Davies reports. But another source close to the argument said: “The judgment will be made on what is politically deliverable which is partly about what is acceptable environmentally. It was issues around air pollution that prevented Heathrow expansion in 2003 and the concerns have not been answered.”
It would appear that the country’s future infrastructure decisions are to be made almost entirely on what suits the Conservative Party’s various factions then. It’s the tory way.
That’s a bit rich coming from Mr “Cut the Green Crap”.
Party first people last
I can tell you three reasons why he doesn’t want LHR expansion. Gove, Hammond and May have constituencies all affected by its expansion. Gove has been given a pasting by his constituency over LHR flight trials for the last 12 months.
“…worries within government that expansion of Heathrow would cause excessive pollution and noise and would split the Tory party, according to informed sources.”
And which of these worries does David Cameron consider most important I wonder?
The Gatwick option is the most environmentally damaging.
All expansion options are highly environmentally damaging. The false choice between Heathrow and Gatwick is simply which locality to dump the additional pollution and which people to torment with the noise.
With both May and Johnson openly against Heathrow, Gatwick is more likely to get it. Boris island is patently unworkable and even more environmentally damaging.
The only sustainable option is to end expansion.
A whole five years to go. I bet he will be warming to lots
of London based projects. Boris will have lots of ideas on
how to spend the country’s revenue and David will always
think they are good ideas. Why waste it up north.
All the extra commerce revenue and jobs?
This will mean more transit business – which is what being a “hub” is all about – no reason it should boost “commerce”. Most of then extra jobs will be minimum wage – catering and cleaning. The extra revenue will go the 1% as it always does.
If don’t know if you are familiar with Hounslow, the London borough that it home to Heathrow, but it is not an attractive place. Dirty, noisy, and for the most part quite poor. It wouldn’t be improved by more planes and more minimum wage jobs. Crawley, home to Gatwick, is a dump for similar reasons.
Has anyone ever said I could not go on holiday this year because there is not enough airport capacity in the south east.
Surely a major contributor to the “Heathrow vs Gatwick” problem is the fragmentation caused by the cut-throat competition between the privately owned airports.
With each airport competing to take as much traffic as it can from the other, they work together like Tesco and Sainsbury on opposite sides of the street, each trying to put the other out of business. From economic, social and environmental viewpoints this is insane!
A collaborative, collective system would have less need for additional runway space. With decent rail connections between airports, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stanstead could collaborate and utilise the over-capacity in the midlands and north.
In common with the destructive nature of competitive ‘markets’ in rail transport, the NHS, education, local authority welfare and planning services, power generation, water, sewage and many other areas of ESSENTIAL national infrastructure, these vital components of our economy and society should be operated in the national interest rather than for private profit. They would be more efficient and less damaging to society and the environment.
Zac Goldsmith says Heathrow expansion would split the Cabinet with opposition from the very top
May 14, 2015
Zac Goldsmith was re-elected to his Richmond Park seat with a majority of about 23,000 – up from a 4,000 majority in 2010. He has always been very firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway. Zac believes that if Heathrow is “chosen” for approval by the Airports Commission, it would cause a split at the very top of government, and a real problem for David Cameron: “If you look at the cabinet today, there are at least 3 heavyweight people there, Philip Hammond, Justine Greening and Boris Johnson and others, in fact, who are implacably opposed to Heathrow expansion … He’d face a split at the highest level and I don’t think a fragile government with a small majority wants to do that.” Zac also says giving the go-ahead to Heathrow would be “an off-the-scale betrayal” from David Cameron, who came to west London before the 2010 election and promised locals, “No ifs, no buts, no 3rd runway” – and that there wouldn’t be a new runway under the Conservatives. Zac has repeated his threat of resigning if the government backs a Heathrow runway. His resignation would trigger a by-election in which he could stand as an independent on that one issue. It would offer him the opportunity to get a lot of publicity for the anti- runway case
David Cameron has issued his strongest declaration that climate change is man-made when he said it was one of the most serious threats facing Britain and the rest of the world.
The prime minister, who appeared to be wary in recent weeks of drawing a direct link between the effects of industrialisation and climate change, issued his unequivocal statement after Ed Miliband suggested he was unwilling to take tough action.
Cameron replied: “I believe man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that this country and this world faces.”
David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have signed a joint pledge to tackle climate change, which they say will protect the UK’s national security and economic prosperity.
The agreement of the three party leaders is highly unusual and comes amid a general election campaign that is becoming increasingly bitter.
…. the joint declaration states: “Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today. It is not just a threat to the environment, but also to our national and global security, to poverty eradication and economic prosperity.”
“Acting on climate change is also an opportunity for the UK to grow a stronger economy, which is more efficient and more resilient to the risks ahead ….It is in our national interest to act and ensure others act with us.”
Clean Air in London (CAL) – which has huge expertise on all issues relating to air quality – has made its response to the Airports Commission’s air pollution consultation (ends 29th May). They make 2 key points – that either runway at Heathrow would cause aggravated breaches of the NO2 annual limit value, in 2030 (and perhaps other timescales) and therefore be unlawful; and that a runway at Gatwick would not be consistent with sustainable development, as it would worsen air quality. The Airports Commission expects the Heathrow north west runway scheme would mean worse air quality, (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties, and 39,000 for the Hub ENR runway scheme; and at about 21,000 properties for the Gatwick runway. For Gatwick to do this would not be consistent with the duty on Member States under Directive 2008/50/EC to maintain the levels below the limit values. Under Directive 2008/50/EC NO2 limit values must not be exceeded once attained; and where air quality is ‘good’, Article 12 of the directive applies i.e. Member States shall not only maintain the levels below the limit values but also “endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality compatible with sustainable development”.
Airport expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick would breach air pollution laws
Clean Air in London has made its submission to the Airports Commission’s consultation on air quality.
Airports Commission: Consultation on Air Quality Assessment
The two main points they make are:
– Airport expansion at Heathrow would cause aggravated breaches of nitrogen dioxide limit values and be unlawful
– Airport expansion at Gatwick would not be consistent with sustainable development
Dear Sir Howard
Clean Air in London (CAL) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Airports Commission’s new evidence relating to air quality assessment of the three short-listed options for additional airport capacity.
CAL is a voluntary organisation which campaigns to achieve urgently and sustainably full compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for air quality throughout London and elsewhere. Further information about CAL can be found at http://cleanair.london/.
CAL is independent of any government funding, has cross party support and a large number of supporters, both individuals in London and organisations. CAL provides a channel for both public concern and expert opinion on air pollution in London. This document provides both general and expert comments in response to the Consultation.
Airport related traffic is a major cause of air pollution in London, which in turn causes thousands of premature deaths per year, and many thousands more illnesses, chronic illness and disability. For this reason, airport expansion impacts on air pollution.
We refer to the recent judgments of the Supreme Court in ClientEarth versus Defra and the Court of Justice of the European Union:
Separately, it is open to the European Commission to pursue infraction proceedings against the UK for exceedances of NO2 limit values since 2010, including in the Greater London zone, and it commenced this process in February 2014. You will understand that this is wholly separate to the Government’s responsibilities to the Supreme Court. For details:
You may be aware of guidance published by Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) in 2010. That guidance has been updated by EPUK and the Institute of Air Quality Management. However, neither EPUK’s 2010 guidance nor the updated guidance takes account of or correctly states the significance of the very recent legal developments which have clarified to the law. For that reason inter alia it is our view that the guidance is flawed in important respects.
The legal judgments, letter of clarification previously from the European Commission to CAL (attached), Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe and prospect of escalating infraction action make clear inter alia that: NO2 limit values must be achieved urgently and ‘as soon as possible’ to protect public health; limit values are absolute obligations that must be attained irrespective of cost; limit values apply everywhere with three exceptions; limit values must not be exceeded once attained; and where air quality is ‘good’, Article 12 of the directive applies i.e. Member States shall not only maintain the levels below the limit values but also “endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality compatible with sustainable development”.
You will be aware that Defra identified the roads around Heathrow airport as having among the highest illegal levels of NO2 in the UK still by 2030 even without airport expansion:
This report states that: “The assessment has considered changes within a “Principal AIRPORTS COMMISSION AIR QUALITY: Executive Summary ASSESSMENT ii Study Area”, which encompasses a 2km radius around each Scheme boundary, and a “Wider Study Area”, which includes all roads for which a significant change in traffic has been forecast” (Executive summary pages i and ii).
In CAL’s view, this is not sufficient to assess impacts of air pollution since even very slight worsening of air pollution may be unlawful where limit values are exceeded.
[The response quotes the sections from the Commission’s consultation, on each of the runway schemes – see end of the letter] .
It is apparent from the documents published by the Airports Commission that:
both Schemes for airport expansion at Heathrow would cause aggravated breaches of the NO2 annual mean limit value in 2030 and perhaps other timescales i.e. the worsening of NO2 levels where limit values will already be exceeded; and
the Gatwick scheme is predicted to worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 21,000 properties. This would not be consistent with the duty on Member States under Directive 2008/50/ECto maintain the levels below the limit values and also “endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality compatible with sustainable development”.
The report for the Airports Commission also misunderstands important obligations under Directive 2008/50/EC. In particular, it wrongly assumes that the worsening of air pollution above limit values (i.e. aggravated breaches) has less significance where an air quality zone or agglomeration has worse air pollution elsewhere e.g. in Marylebone Road. This is not correct. Limit values apply everywhere with three exceptions (see Annex III of Directive 2008/50/EC and the letter of clarification referred to earlier).
In CAL’s opinion development proposals that worsen air pollution, where limit values are exceeded or likely to be exceeded, must ensure that their genuine net impact would be to improve air quality during demolition, construction and operation and not worsen it. Mitigation measures cannot be relied upon to reduce their impact. Limit values must be attained quickly and cannot thereafter be exceeded.
It is apparent from the documents that the two Schemes for Heathrow, if approved, would worsen already illegal concentrations of NO2 in 2030 (and perhaps also in other time frames). The Scheme for Gatwick would not be consistent with sustainable development. To worsen air quality contradicts the duty under Directive 2008/50/EC and would be unlawful. None of the exceptions to attaining limit values applies. Please therefore reject all three Schemes.
CAL is concerned about aviation emissions as well as ground traffic movements. Please see recent research:
“The principal conclusions of this assessment with respect to the Gatwick 2R Scheme are:
The Scheme would not affect compliance with the current NECD and Gothenburg Protocol obligations. If the NECD obligation is tightened in line with current proposals, the UK would exceed the obligation with or without Gatwick 2R. The incremental emissions associated with Gatwick 2R represent a very small fraction of the proposed obligations;
The Scheme would not cause any exceedences of the Limit Value or air quality objective for NO2, and would not delay Defra achieving compliance with the Limit Value in the relevant zone. The proposals for the Gatwick 2R Scheme include realignment of the A23 to the east, but it is not possible to replicate Defra’s PCM predictions at this realigned link, nor is it possible to confirm whether this new link would be included in the PCM model (due to lack of public exposure) and no further assessment can be provided;
The Scheme would not cause any new exceedences of the Critical Level (for NOx) or the lower band of the Critical Load (for nitrogen deposition), at any designated habitat. The Scheme would increase NOx concentrations in locations where the Critical Level is already exceeded (but as noted in Chapter 2, Defra’s interpretation of the Directive is that the Critical Level does not strictly apply at these sites;
The Scheme would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 21,000 properties; and
The total costs of the increases in NOx and PM10 emissions over the 60 year appraisal period, based on the unmitigated change in mass emissions with the Gatwick 2R Scheme in place, are £73.6m and £246.9m respectively.”CAL emphasis
“The principal conclusions of this assessment with respect to the NWR Scheme are:
The Scheme would not affect compliance with the current NECD and Gothenburg Protocol obligations. If the NECD obligation is tightened in line with current proposals, the UK would exceed the obligation with or without Heathrow NWR. The incremental emissions associated with Heathrow NWR represent a very small fraction of the proposed obligations;
The Scheme would not cause any new exceedences of the Limit Value or air quality objective for NO2. However, the incremental change associated with Heathrow NWR would cause the Bath Road (A4) sector PCM road links to have a marginally higher concentration in 2030 (48.7 µg/m3) than the Maximum PCM Predicted Concentration in the Greater London Agglomeration (which is 48.6 µg/m3 and occurs at Marylebone Road). The unmitigated Heathrow NWR Scheme would thus delay Defra’s predicted date for achieving compliance with the Limit Value. The proposals for the A4 Bath Road in the Heathrow NWR scenario are to realign the road northwards and then to the east around the boundary of the airport, but it is not possible to replicate Defra’s PCM predictions at these realigned links, nor is it possible to confirm whether these new links would be included in the PCM model (due to lack of public exposure) and no further assessment can be provided.
The Scheme would cause a new exceedence of the Critical Level at the South West London Waterbodies RAMSAR/SPA and Wraysbury Reservoir SSSI. However, the UK Government’s interpretation is that the Critical Level does not strictly apply at this location. The Scheme would not cause any exceedences of the lower band of the Critical Load (for nitrogen deposition) at any designated habitat;
The Scheme would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties; and
The total costs of NOx and PM10 over the 60 year appraisal period, based on the unmitigated change in mass emissions with the Heathrow NWR Scheme in place, are £94.2m and £863.5m respectively.” CAL emphasis
“The principal conclusions of this assessment with respect to the ENR Scheme are:
The Scheme would not affect compliance with the current NECD and Gothenburg Protocol obligations. If the NECD obligation is tightened in line with current proposals, the UK would exceed the obligation with or without Heathrow ENR. The incremental emissions associated with Heathrow ENR represent a very small fraction of the proposed obligations;
The Scheme would not cause any new exceedences of the concentration at which the Limit Value is set, or any exceedences of the air quality objective for NO2. However, the incremental change associated with the unmitigated Heathrow ENR would cause the Bath Road (A4) sector PCM road links to have a higher concentration in 2030 (55.8 µg/m3) than the Maximum PCM Predicted Concentration in the Greater London Agglomeration (which is 48.6 µg/m3). The unmitigated Heathrow ENR Scheme would thus delay Defra in achieving compliance with the Limit Value;
The Scheme would cause a new exceedence of the Critical Level at the South West London Waterbodies RAMSAR/SPA and Wraysbury Reservoir SSSI. However, the UK Government’s interpretation is that the Critical Level does not strictly apply at this location. The Scheme would not cause any exceedences of the lower band of the Critical Load (for nitrogen deposition) at any designated habitat;
The Scheme would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 39,000 properties, but would improve air quality at about 6,600 properties; and
The total costs of NOx and PM10 over the 60 year appraisal period, based on the unmitigated change in mass emissions with the Heathrow ENR Scheme in place, are £69.6m and £618.7m respectively.” CAL emphasis
DIRECTIVE 2008/50/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe
Requirements where levels are lower than the limit values
In zones and agglomerations where the levels of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, PM10, PM2,5, lead, benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air are below the respective limit values specified in Annexes XI and XIV, Member States shall maintain the levels of those pollutants below the limit values and shall endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality, compatible with sustainable development.
The Airports Commission has published a highly technical consultation on air quality, with only 14 working days for responses (3 weeks). It is presented in a way to make it very hard indeed for non-experts to understand. Now speaking on behalf of the cross-party 2M Group, which represents 20 Councils, the leader of Hillingdon Council (Ray Puddifoot), the leader of Richmond Council (Lord True) and cabinet member for environmental services at Windsor & Maidenhead (Carwyn Cox) have complained to the Commission about their consultation. They say it is “not credible or realistic”. Ray Puddifoot said it is not credible or realistic to imagine Heathrow could vastly increase flights, passenger numbers and its freight operation, but with no extra traffic on local roads, or more pollution. He said a 3rd runway would increase pollution levels for roughly 47,000 homes and break EU NO2 limits. Lord True asked why the Commission is estimating pollution levels in 2030, long before the expanded airport is at full capacity, and road traffic is at its peak. Carwyn Cox said the Commission is “gambling” on road vehicles producing fewer emissions in future, and on a congestion charge zone which “are not going to happen”. Many of the same arguments apply to Gatwick too.
Heathrow pollution report ‘not credible’
22.5.2015 (Evening Standard)
By Nicholas Cecil
Tory town hall chiefs today launched a scathing attack on the Airports Commission, accusing it of underplaying the impact of a third runway at Heathrow.
They claimed an air quality study published by the commission, headed by former LSE boss Sir Howard Davies, was “not credible or realistic”.
Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon council, said: “Davies is telling us that Heathrow can vastly increase flights, passenger numbers and its freight operation, but that there will be no extra traffic on local roads. This is not credible or realistic.”
He said a third runway would increase pollution levels for roughly 47,000 homes and break EU nitrogen dioxide limits. Lord True, leader of Richmond council, added: “Why is Davies estimating pollution levels in 2030, long before the expanded airport is at full capacity? People want to know the full and true impacts on their health once the runways are fully utilised and road traffic is at its peak.”
Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environmental services at Windsor and Maidenhead council, said the commission was “gambling” on cleaner vehicles and a Heathrow congestion charge zone which “are not going to happen”.
The council leaders were speaking on behalf of the cross-party 2M Group, which represents 20 town halls.
Campaigners against a bigger Heathrow believe the report suggests the commission is on the brink of concluding Heathrow could expand within pollution rules. It reports this summer on whether a runway should be built at Gatwick or Heathrow and Boris Johnson has vowed to lie “in front of bulldozers” if Heathrow gets the go-ahead.
The airport said the commission’s report “does not yet fully account for all of Heathrow’s air quality mitigation proposals” but “confirms that Heathrow expansion can be delivered without exceeding air quality levels”.
“Heathrow has already reduced its emissions by 16 per cent over five years, and we recently announced plans to lower them further,” it added.
Even just considering air pollution in 2030, when the runway would not be used intensively, the Airports Commission expects the Heathrow North West runway Scheme “would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties.”
Airports Commission rushes out new technical consultation (for just 3 weeks) on air quality
May 9, 2015
The Airports Commission has, at the last minute, produced a very short (only 3 weeks) consultation on air quality. It says this was not done earlier due to the pre-election “purdah” period when there are restrictions on activities such as consultations by government. The timing, shortly after the ruling by the Supreme Court, that more has to be done by the UK on air quality may, or may not, be coincidental. The consultation ends on 29th May. The Commission aims to make its runway recommendation in June, before Sir Howard starts work at RBS (joining its board at the end of June). The consultation outline is given in a cover note, with one main document, an appendix document, 10 pages of maps, and databases of backing data – over 280 pages. All to be checked through in 21 days, including a Bank Holiday. The November 2014 consultation stated that dispersion modelling still needed to be done. That was not included in time for the main consultation. The Commission has now found some differences between the two Heathrow options. It has looked at a range of “mitigation measures” to reduce the level of NO2, and considers whether these would be enough to keep within legal limits. It is a technical consultation, very difficult for lay people – who are not expert in the area of air quality – to understand.
Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes
May 8, 2015
The Airports Commission has opened a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.
West Kent parish councils complain that the Airports Commission air quality consultation period is too short
May 21, 2015
The Airports Commission was aware, when it put out its main consultation in November 2014, that it had still to produce work on air quality. They finally publicised their consultation the day after the election – 8th May – saying they could not put it out during the pre-election “purdah” period. That left just 14 working days for respondents to reply. The consultation is highly technical, and not something it is easy for a non-expert to read. Another document was added on Monday 18th, leaving only 8 working days till the consultation ends. Now four West Kent parishes have called for more time to put together a “correct and democratic answer”. Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst authorities, said they would be asking Sir Howard to extend the consultation by nine weeks. A number of new High Weald councillors had just been elected, and they need more time to get understand the issues and gather a lot of information before they can agree on it. The Commission is in a rush, as Sir Howard joins the board of RBS at the end of June, and becomes its chairman on 1st September. The Commission therefore wants to make its announcement in June, but the undesirable rush for this consultation means the democratic process is being subverted.
The idea of introducing a congestion charge, if a 2nd runway is built at Gatwick, has been mooted by West Sussex County Council. It is one of several possible mitigation measures mentioned in a draft report produced by the WSCC in response to the Airports Commission’s recent consultation on air quality. If a Gatwick 2nd runway is recommended, West Sussex County Council has called for action to achieve high public transport access and congestion-free road access. Gatwick only has one major road link, and one rail link. If more passengers arrive by rail, there will be serious congestion on the trains. If the passengers arrive by car, there will be road congestion, as well as more air pollution – including more NO2. Gatwick airport has made the rather daft statement that “Gatwick has never breached legal air quality limits and its location means it can guarantee that it never will.” Gatwick, predictably, hopes air quality would stay within legal limits without the introduction of a deeply unpopular congestion charge. WSCC says though the effectiveness of a congestion charge at Gatwick has not been assessed, it might have an impact on car mode share and overall traffic demand. The matter will be discussed by full council on 23rd May.
Congestion charge idea mooted for people travelling to Gatwick Airport
Could a Congestion Charge by introduced for people travelling to Gatwick Airport?
20.5.2015 (West Sussex County Times)
By Joshua Powling
The idea of introducing a congestion charge if a second runway is built at Gatwick has been mooted by the county council.
It is one of several possible mitigation measures mentioned in a draft report produced by the authority in response to the Airports Commission’s consultation on air quality.
In the event that a second runway at Gatwick is picked ahead of expansion at Heathrow, West Sussex County Council has called for action to achieve high public transport access and congestion-free road access.
However a spokesperson for Gatwick said that should a second runway be given the go-ahead it has guaranteed that air quality levels will remain within the legal limits in the area close to the airport, something that could be achieved without the introduction of a congestion charge.
But a congestion charge for motorists travelling to the airport is mentioned by the county council as one of the additional mitigation measures that ‘could be implemented’ but have not been specifically highlighted by Gatwick Airport Limited.
The report reads: “It is not clear how effective a congestion charge could be. An assessment on demand management measures in reducing car use at Heathrow Airport was carried out for another module of the Airports Commission’s assessment.
“Whilst the outcome of that assessment cannot be directly transferred to a different airport, the overall conclusions that the imposition of additional charges on car users could have a significant impact on car mode share and overall traffic demand, remain valid.
“Depending on the scale of charge imposed, and the extent of the scheme (that is whether it targets passengers, employees and/or taxis), it is possible that traffic generation with the expanded Gatwick Airport could be reduced to 2013 levels.”
Councillors are due to discuss the proposed response to the Airports Commission on air quality issues at a Full Council meeting on Friday.
Back in January county councillors voted to oppose a second runway at Gatwick, as well as agreeing a response to the Airports Commission’s main consultation.
This reversed the county council’s previous position from 2013, where the majority of members voted to support expansion at Gatwick ‘in principle’.
“So to make a second runway at Gatwick “affordable” we are to have little or no additional transport infrastructure, but rely upon reducing travel by local residents and business users by the imposition of a congestion charge (or travel tax).
For many residents of West Sussex travel north always involves travel via Gatwick (M23 or A23), so a trip from Horsham to the “local” hospital at East Surrey will require payment of a travel tax.
If the airport are not prepared to pay for ALL of the necessary infrastructure upgrades the a second runway must be out of the question.”
Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes
May 8, 2015
It is reported that the Airports Commission is now intending to carry out a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.
In a letter to the Times, responding to lobbying by “Let Britain Fly,” Brendon Sewill (Chairman of GACC) corrects some of their inaccuracies. Let Britain Fly put out an open letter, signed by some 100 business people, wanting the government to decide rapidly on building a new runway. They claim that the UK “have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945”. In fact the Gatwick runway was built in 1956-58, and the runway at Stansted was revamped in the late 1980s. They claim that most of London’s airports will be full by 2030, but in fact, if the growth of air travel is constrained within climate change limits, Stansted (now under half full) is not forecast to be full until 2040. The letter also claims that we trade up to 20 times more with countries that we have a direct link to, but this obscures the fact that we develop air links to the countries with which we trade, not the other way round. The claim that Paris has 50% more flights to China than Heathrow is only correct if Hong Kong is excluded. “The truth is that there has been massive resistance from those who value the English countryside, and each time the problem has evaporated because airlines have used larger aircraft, meaning that existing runways have been able to handle more passengers.”
May 19 2015 (letter in the Times)
Sir, The 100-odd signatories of the letter calling for airport expanson (May 15) say that we “have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945”. In fact the Gatwick runway was built in 1956-58, and the old US Air Force runway at Stansted was revamped and given a brand new terminal in the late 1980s.
The claim that most of London’s airports will be full by 2030 is also not accurate. If the growth of air travel is constrained within climate change limits, Stansted (at present less than half full) is not forecast to be full until 2040. The letter also claims that we trade up to 20 times more with countries that we have a direct link to — but no one has yet been able to establish whether the causation is that we have the links to the countries with which we trade. Further, the claim that Paris has 50 per cent more flights to China is only correct if Hong Kong is excluded.
There have been various previous reports proposing new runways: in 1968 a four-runway airport near Aylesbury; in 1970 a government decision to build a four-runway airport at Maplin in the Thames estuary; and in 2003 a white paper announcing that the government had decided to build a new runway at Stansted, to open before 2012.
The signatories describe the non-implementation of these proposals as “political procrastination”. The truth is that there has been massive resistance from those who value the English countryside, and each time the problem has evaporated because airlines have used larger aircraft, meaning that existing runways have been able to handle more passengers.
Chairman, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC)
This letter is in response to the article below [with AirportWatch comments] :
Decide on new Heathrow or Gatwick runway soon, 100 business leaders urge Government
(By Let Britain Fly – pro aviation lobby group, consisting of the aviation industry, chambers of commerce and businesses)
One hundred business leaders have urged the Government to press ahead with a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick as early as possible.Failure to do so could jeopardise the UK’s growth and competitive within the world economy, the executives add. [Probably not, as 70% of UK flights are only for leisure purposes. AW comment]. .The Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission is due to make a final recommendation to the Government in the next few weeks on whether Heathrow or Gatwick should get a new runway.One hundred top executives have backed a call by campaign group Let Britain Fly urging ministers to make “a bold and early decision” on the new runway..Let Britain Fly director Gavin Hayes said: “With all of London’s airports forecast to be full by 2030, kicking the can down the road is no longer an option. [Air travel demand is only as high as it is because aviation is artificially subsidised; as well as fossil fuels not paying their environmental costs and being unduly cheap, there is no VAT on the cost of air travel, and there is no fuel duty on jet fuel. Even taking account of Air Passenger Duty, the cost of flying is far lower than it should be – if taxation was comparable with, say, car travel. This causes a high level of demand. AW comment]..“This will be one of the first big issues that will test whether the Government is capable of making strategic decisions in the national interest. [Or making inappropriate decisions which bind the UK into very high carbon infrastructure, and cause serious environmental and other harm to huge areas for miles around any new runway, ignoring the democratic process. Also committing the government and the taxpayer to billions of ££s in additional costs for extra transport and social infrastructure. AW comment]. .“The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto they would ‘respond to the Airports Commission’s final report’. To maintain the trust and confidence of the business community, it’s essential that response is both positive and timely. [And it should also be democratic, and not be subject to legal challenge on grounds of excessive deterioration to the environment (noise, air pollution, carbon emissions). AW comment].. “After almost three years of debating the issue, a commission decision-day is fast approaching.”.The business chiefs have put their names to a statement which reads: “Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country.“By value, 40% of our exports go by air. We trade up to 20 times more with countries we have a direct air link to. [Heathrow were pulled up by the Advertising Standards Authority for making a very similar claim, which could not be justified or supported with facts. Link. AW comment].With Heathrow already full, Gatwick full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports full by 2030, the demand for expansion is self-evident.” [No, see Brendon Sewill comment above].
Let Britain Fly said it was concerned that other countries plan on building more than 50 new runways between now and 2036. [The reason for that is that the UK developed its airports and extensive air travel decades ago. Developing countries are now starting to catch up, so it is axiomatic that they will be building runways – as they did not start as early as the UK. Some of these countries are not required to take the views of local populations, to be negatively impacted by a runway, as seriously as in the UK. AW comment].
It went on: “Decades of inaction mean we are falling behind our competitors.”
If one of two Heathrow runway options on the commission’s shortlist is recommended, the Government would face opposition by some Tory MPs, including London mayor Boris Johnson, who has just been elected for nearby Uxbridge and South Ruislip. [And many others. See Link. AW comment].
Richmond Park Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith is another who is opposed to Heathrow expansion, as is former transport secretary and now International Development Secretary Justine Greening.
The new government must make an early decision on airport expansion and end more than half a century of political procrastinationSir, Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring that Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country. By value 40 per cent of our exports go by air; we trade up to 20 times more with countries we have a direct air link to.With Heathrow already full, Gatwick full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports full by 2030, the need for expansion is self-evident.As people who run some of Britain’s leading businesses, it concerns us that other countries plan on building more than 50 new runways between now and 2036. China alone will build 17 in that time, but in this country we have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945.Decades of inaction mean we are falling behind our competitors. Paris has 50 per cent more flights to China, and Dubai International recently overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport.This is why, when the Airports Commission publishes its final report, the new government must make an early decision on airport expansion and end more than half a century of political procrastination.Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management
Dr Eamonn Butler, Director, Adam Smith Institute
Richard Robinson, Chief Executive, Civil Infrastructure EMEA &India, AECOM
David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent LLP
Surinder Arora, Founder/CEO, Arora Holdings
George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods
Heather Lishman, Association Manager, Association of British Professional Conference Organisers
Nick Roberts, Chief Executive Officer UK and Europe, Atkins
Bill Munro, Chairman, Barrhead Travel
Harold Paisner, Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Bob Rothenberg MBE, Senior Partner, Blick Rothenberg LLP
Dale Keller, Chief Executive, Board of Airline Representatives in the UK
Jim McAuslan, General Secretary, British Airline Pilots’ Association
John Longworth, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land
Jeffries Briginshaw, CEO, BritishAmerican Business & British American Business Council
Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, BT Group
Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership
Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan
John Syvret, Chief Executive Officer, Cammell Laird Group
Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group
Richard Howson, Chief Executive, Carillion
Stephen Hubbard, Chairman – UK & EMEA, CBRE
Tim Knox, Director, Centre for Policy Studies
James Rowntree, Managing Director, Transportation, CH2M HILL
Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive, China-Britain Business Council
Iain Anderson, Co-Founder and Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero Group
Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation
Professor Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London
Des Gunewardena, Chairman & CEO, D & D London
Angus Knowles-Cutler, London Senior Partner, Deloitte
John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London
Rick Butterworth, Managing Director, Diamond Recruitment Group
Mathew Riley, Managing Director, Infrastructure & Environment, EC Harris
Chris Rumfitt, Chief Executive, Corporate Reputation Consulting
Inderneel Singh, Group Corporate Development Manager, Edwardian Group London
Olaf Swantee, Managing Director, EE
Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF
Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London
David Wells, Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association
Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, Gatwick Diamond Business
David Cliff, Managing Director, Gedanken
Hugh Bullock, Senior Partner, Gerald Eve LLP
Mike Turner CBE, Chairman, GKN PLC & Babcock International Group
Gordon Clark, Country Manager, Global Blue
Andrew Cunningham, Chief Executive, Grainger
Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, Great Portland Estates
Mark Preston, Chairman and Non-Executive Director, Grosvenor
Paul Wait, Chairman, Guild of Travel Management Companies
Rob Bould, Chief Executive, GVA
Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods
Brian L Dunsby, Chief Executive, Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce
Mr Andrew Formica, Chief Executive, Henderson Group
Nicholas Cheffings, Chair, Hogan Lovells
Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1 Limited
Michael Spencer, CEO, ICAP
John Lehal, Managing Director, Insight Public Affairs
Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors
Richard Solomans, Chief Executive, InterContinental Hotels Group
Andrew Murphy, Retail Director, John Lewis Partnership
George Kessler CBE, Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International
Simon Collins, UK Chairman & Senior Partner, KPMG
Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities Group
John Stewart, Chairman, Legal & General Group
Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly
Jenny Stewart, Chief Executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce
Robert Hough, Chair, Liverpool City Region LEP
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce
Jo Valentine, CEO, London First
John Allan CBE, Chairman, London First
Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace Group
Yoshiki Yamada, Director, CHRO & CCO, Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc
Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company
James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok
James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East Chamber of Commerce
Ann McGregor MBE, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Adrian Shooter CBE, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
Jonathan Fletcher, Director, PG Legal
Richard Foley, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons
Mark Bensted OBE, Managing Director, Powerday
John Rhodes, Director, Quod
Mr Mark Lancaster, Chairman, SDL
David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO
Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges Group
Juergen Maier, Chief Executive, Siemens
David McAlpine, Partner, Sir Robert McAlpine
Sue Rimmer OBE, Principal and Chief Executive, South Thames College
Willie Stewart, Director, Stewart Travel
John Sutcliffe, Managing Director, Sutcliffe
Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O’Rourke
Victor Chavez, Chief Executive Officer, Thales UK
Rebecca Kane, General Manager, The O2
Bill Moore, Chief Executive, The Portman Estate
Ric Lewis, Chief Executive, Tristan Capital Partners
Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner & Townsend
Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, UCL
Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer, UK Power Networks
Frank Wingate, Chief Executive, West London Business
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP
Richard Deakin, the CEO of NATS (National Air Traffic Services) has resigned after 5 years in the job. He is standing down with immediate effect. The managing director of operations, Martin Rolfe, has taken over instead but the board is looking for a successor among internal and external (possibly overseas) candidates. NATS said Richard Deaking was leaving by mutual consent as the company was embarking on a new regulatory period and was preparing to implement the single European sky programme, SESAR, which will see much closer integration of air traffic control services across borders. NATS has received fierce criticism recently due to changes it has made to UK airspace, its failure to consult properly, and its inability to deal with upset and angry residents. The fiasco at Heathrow, when NATS apparently did not tell the airport it had made changes to flight paths, got it some very bad publicity. Last year, after a computer failure at Swanwick, Vince Cable accused NATS of “skimping on investment.” But Richard Deakin did help block plans for a Thames estuary airport, saying it was in the “very worst spot” for air traffic. The situation of inadequate airspace consultation creating deep anger in over flown communities has also caused stresses within the CAA.
Nats chief quits as air traffic control firm pursues fresh approach
Richard Deakin, who faced calls for his resignation amid UK flight chaos in December, steps down as Nats embarks on new regulatory period
The boss of Nats, the air traffic control service, has quit after five years in charge. Richard Deakin, who earned more than £1m in 2014, has stood down as chief executive with immediate effect.
The managing director of operations, Martin Rolfe, has taken the helm, although the board said it was looking for a successor among internal and external candidates.
Nats said Deakin was leaving by mutual consent as the company was embarking on a new regulatory period and was preparing to implement the single European sky programme, which will see much closer integration of air traffic control services across borders.
Chairman Paul Golby said it was “an appropriate time to make a change to the leadership of the company, and to bring a new perspective and approach”.
Deakin faced calls from MPs for either his resignation or the forfeiture of his bonus after a computer failure at the Swanwick control centre in Hampshire last December grounded flights for several hours across the UK. It followed a similar failure the previous year when the then business secretary, Vince Cable, accused Nats of “skimping on investment” and being “penny wise and pound foolish”.
Nats would not reveal whether Deakin was likely to get a bonus for 2015 until it publishes its annual report in June.
Deakin, however, may have contributed to sparing the country the cost of a new Thames Estuary airport after intervening to point out that London mayor Boris Johnson’s proposed hub was in the “very worst spot” for air traffic.
The £1 million-a-year head of air traffic control has been stood down as chief executive with immediate effect.
The unheralded announcement of the departure of Richard Deakin emerged only days before he wasscheduled to present the annual results of National Air Traffic Services. His exit comes months after heoversaw chaos in the skies when the air traffic control command centre at Swanwick, Hampshire, was felled by a “computer glitch” that led to hundreds of flights being cancelled, delayed or diverted during the run-up to Christmas.
Mr Deakin’s departure also follows the arrival of a new chairman, Paul Golby, the former chief executive ofE.ON, the energy company. Nats, which is co-owned by the taxpayer and the aviation industry, said that it did not have a replacement chief executive in hand for Mr Deakin, but that Martin Rolfe, the operations director, would be stepping into the job in the meantime and that it would be Mr Rolfe who would be presenting the annual results.
Earlier the NATS apology about Heathrow:
NATS takes steps to improve information to airports on changes in air traffic control
NATS has apologised to Heathrow Airport Ltd for not highlighting an operational change to air traffic control which has affected some of the same communities that were affected by the airport’s airspace trials which ended last November.
Following further complaints from residents, Heathrow asked NATS if there had been any other airspace changes and we confirmed there had been none, as a result of which Heathrow made public assurances to residents. Following further investigations, the earlier procedural change was then identified which has led to a change in flight patterns over some communities to the south and southwest of Heathrow.
In June 2014, NATS changed the way air traffic controllers direct aircraft within an area of existing airspace. This change only applies when the airport is on easterly operations, and affects only the Compton route which accounts for around 16% of departures, or 6% of total departures. It involves directing aircraft through a ‘gate’ approximately seven miles wide in the Compton area at approximately 8000ft; this ‘gate’, previously 13 miles wide, allows NATS to improve air traffic management in the area, enhancing safety and efficiency.
This new procedure involves NATS (NERL) in terminal control in Swanwick climbing aircraft more quickly out of Heathrow on the Compton route and more clearly separating them from Heathrow inbound streams that in the past they would have had to transit underneath at low level. There is a net safety benefit of doing this through greater systemisation of the airspace and a clearer separation of inbound and outbound flows of traffic. There is also a net benefit to the public as a whole, as these departures now climb more efficiently, reducing overall ground noise.
The area involved is designated as a Radar Manoeuvring Area. NATS is therefore authorised to “vector” (direct) aircraft tactically in line with our obligations under our CAA licence to achieve safe, efficient and expeditious air traffic control. NATS is not required to consult on operational changes of this type as we are not moving, creating or changing routes or redesigning airways.
Our first priority is safety, and we also seek to use existing controlled airspace in the most efficient way to provide expeditious service to users. The change is in line with the Government’s Aviation Policy Framework, which states ‘limit and, where possible, reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise’. We have therefore explained to Heathrow that we are not intending to revert to previous procedures.
There is no suggestion that NATS did not follow the current agreed process. However, we have already taken steps to ensure more robust processes are in place to share relevant information with Heathrow so that they are aware of any changes that may be noticed by local residents.
CPRE (the Campaign to Protect Rural England), which was one of the charities, which successfully took the last Heathrow expansion scheme to court, says it could do the same again if ministers press ahead with a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick. CPRE said it has always had “serious concerns” about the Airports Commission’s work, and believed their final runway recommendation was “bound to be tainted”. CPRE’s transport campaigner said: “If the government decides to proceed we are bound to take legal advice as the first step to a challenge in the courts.” Legal challenges have become inevitable with any big project, as opponents probe how effectively the decision process has been. HS2 has faced a number of judicial reviews. Back in 2010 CPRE was part of a coalition that took a court action against plans by the then Labour government, for a Heathrow runway. The judge found that the consultation process was flawed because it used old figures. Though it did not prevent the runway plan, it caused a delay – during which time the new coalition government decided not to go ahead with it. There remains a broad alliance of local authorities and charities that would go for legal challenge again, against either runway.
Campaigners gear up for legal challenge over UK runways
By Richard Westcott (BBC Transport Correspondent)
Next month the independent Airports Commission will recommend growing one of the two to handle increased demand.
A charity, which successfully took the last Heathrow expansion scheme to court, says it could do the same again if ministers press ahead with a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says it’s always had “serious concerns” about the commission’s work. And it told the BBC the final runways report was “bound to be tainted”.
“Reasonable alternatives have been ignored from the start”, the charity’s Transport Campaign Manager (and barrister) Ralph Smyth said.
“If the government decides to proceed we are bound to take legal advice as the first step to a challenge in the courts.”
The commission was set up two and a half years ago after the airports issue threatened to untie the-then Coalition government.
Soon, the new government will have to decide whether to go along with its final recommendation or pick its own winner.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told the BBC that the commission had considered 52 proposals.
“This included examining whether additional capacity was required and how to make the most of our existing airports and runways,” he said.
He added: “The Commission’s final report this summer will mark the end of the most comprehensive and transparent process ever initiated by a British government on aviation.”
Legal challenges have become inevitable with any big project, as opponents probe how well the government has gone about its decision.
The controversial high speed train scheme, HS2, has faced a number of judicial reviews, although none has successfully stopped or even delayed the project.
The 2010 court case
Five years ago the CPRE joined ranks with a number of councils and the main anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan in a court action against Labour’s plan for a third runway in west London.
Back then, the judge found that the consultation process was flawed because it used old figures for the economy and the environment.
It didn’t stop the scheme, but it did send ministers away with a lot of homework to do. Not long after that, the coalition came to power and binned the project altogether.
But Hacan’s chair, John Stewart, has told the BBC he’s not certain that the group will go back to the courts this time, if Heathrow comes out on top. [The costs of legal challenge are prohibitive, unless the action is a joint one, with funding raised collectively].
“It’s very expensive, we’d have to know there is a good chance of winning”, he said.
Despite admitting that some residents might be swayed by offers of more financial help and respite from noise, Hacan knows that without any doubt there would be “overwhelming local opposition”, if the government picks Heathrow.
Gatwick expansion also evokes a lot of local opposition, although not on the same scale because fewer people live under the flightpath. [However, recent changes to flight paths have alerted people in the Gatwick area to the threat, and got thousands of people active in their opposition both to the changed flight paths, and the threat of a new runway, which could only make noise hugely worse. And the runway would have huge other implications for the surrounding area, in terms of transport, road and rail congestion, building and development, change of character, pressure on social infrastructure etc – in turning the area into something like the area around Heathrow].
The CPRE remains confident of support no matter which scheme is favoured,
“We were part of a broad alliance of local authorities and charities that in 2010 defeated the last attempt to build a new runway,” said Mr Smyth.
“We can be sure the alliance this time round will be even bigger”.
The court will also be told that there is no evidence to support the government’s claim that there will be enough public transport to serve the new runway.
If the expansion goes ahead, the village of Sipson, close to the airport, will be destroyed to clear land for the runway.
Speaking on behalf of the local councils, Hillingdon council leader Ray Puddifoot said: “We’ve had no choice but to go to court to sort out the mess left behind by a decision that was little more than a quick fix. From the moment Geoff Hoon announced his decision to the House it has steadily unravelled.”
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: “It’s been clear from the start that there has been huge opposition to this runway. Nearly 90% of the people who responded to the consultation opposed the expansion of Heathrow. Yet mysteriously the government gave the go-ahead.
“This gives a clear demonstration of how little they value the views of the public. Now we’ve got the chance to submit this process to legal scrutiny. We don’t expect the courts to be any more impressed with it than we were.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Department stands fully behind the decisions on Heathrow announced last year and will be defending them robustly in court.”
Labour peer Lord Soley, the campaign director for the aviation coalition Future Heathrow, told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: “Frankly, people are not going to stop flying. We need to be realistic about that.”
He described today’s court challenge as “a waste of council tax payers’ money”.
Heathrow third runway opponents win court challenge
Hillingdon Council’s leader said it was ‘a crushing defeat for the government’
Campaigners have won a High Court battle over plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
Councils, residents and green groups had said the government’s plan was at odds with climate change targets.
Lord Justice Carnwath said the public consultation process used was invalid as it was based on out-of-date figures.
The decision does not rule out a third runway but calls for government policy to be reviewed. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the runway was still needed.
The Department for Transport vowed to “robustly defend” the plan.
The judge, sitting in London, said the government’s public consultation did not take account of the latest information on economic benefits and climate change and was based on figures which were eight years old.
The coalition that sought the judicial review into the government’s decision, which was made in 2003 and confirmed in January 2009, includes six local authorities, Greenpeace and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
Gordon Brown: New runway is “entirely compatible with our carbon reduction target”
The coalition said in a joint statement that the government’s Heathrow policy was “in tatters this morning” after the judge ruled the decision to give the third runway the go ahead was “untenable”.
The statement said: “If the government wants to pursue its plans for Heathrow expansion it must now go back to square one and reconsider the entire case for the runway.”
Hayes and Harlington Labour MP John McDonnell, who has led the campaign against the expansion of Heathrow for the past 30 years, said: “This judgment is a victory.
“It means that whichever party is in government they will not now be able to force through Heathrow expansion.”
In his ruling, Lord Justice Carnwath said: “Whether there should be a third runway at Heathrow Airport is a question of national importance and acute political controversy.
“It is a matter on which the main parties are currently divided and which may well become a significant debating point at the forthcoming general election.”
He adjourned the hearing until after Easter to give both sides time to consider what formal orders the court should make.
By Richard Scott
The decision was greeted with jubilation by campaigners.
Outside the High Court they waved their copies of the judgement and drank champagne.
The judge agreed with them that the consultation carried out by the government into a third runway did not take account of the latest evidence.
The decision means that Labour would have to re-evaluate the evidence if it wins the election and still wants to press ahead with a third runway.
Campaigners hope that will give Labour the perfect excuse to drop the policy.
But Labour says it is still in favour of a third runway adding it was always intending to re-examine the evidence as part of a national policy statement on airports next year.
And the judge accepted this argument, saying it did not much matter that the latest evidence had not been taken into account in the consultation, because that would happen in the policy review.
So he said he would not quash the government’s decision to support a third runway.
In the end, both sides are claiming victory.
Following the ruling, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis reaffirmed the government’s support for expansion, stating that Heathrow Airport was currently operating at “full capacity”.
He stressed the judgement did not rule out a new runway, but called for a review “of all the relevant policy issues, including the impact of climate change policy”.
Lord Adonis said: “A new runway at Heathrow will help secure jobs and underpin economic growth as we come out of recession.
“It is also entirely compatible with our carbon reduction target, as demonstrated in the recent report by the Committee on Climate Change.”
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, the prime minister said: “We are taking seriously both the concerns that people have and the need for public consultation.
“But we took a tough decision, the right decision necessary for the future of Britain and the economy, and a new runway will help secure Britain’s economic future.”
Conservative leader David Cameron said the ruling showed the government had made “the wrong judgement”.
“We said the third runway shouldn’t go ahead, we were absolutely clear about that.”
The coalition against the runway had argued that there was no evidence to support the government’s claim that there will be enough public transport to serve it.
‘Change of policy’
In approving the third runway, the government had said it could meet the environmental conditions for expansion at Heathrow set out in the 2003 Air Transport White Paper (ATWP), relating to noise, air quality and access.
Nigel Pleming QC, for the coalition, said the “economic and environmental” position had fundamentally changed since 2003, which raised the question of whether the government should continue to support the expansion.
Lord Justice Carnwath ruled the coalition’s submissions “add up, in my view, to a powerful demonstration of the potential significance of developments in climate change policy since the 2003 White Paper”.
He said they were “clearly matters which will need to be taken into account” under the new national policy statement dealing with airport expansion.
While ordering it be reconsidered, the judge refused to quash the government’s decision to “confirm policy support” for a third runway, stating that he doubted whether such an order would be appropriate.
Heathrow’s third runway ‘dead’ and runway decision ‘untenable’
Date added: March 26, 2010
A high court ruling has set back the third runway at Heathrow for years, with
campaigners calling the project “dead”.
Lord Justice Carnwath decided the public consultation based on a 2003 white paper
was invalid because it had been overtaken by events based on evidence about climate
His ruling that the 2003 air transport white paper was incompatible with the
Climate Change Act 2008 means the government’s entire aviation policy must now
be reviewed, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Its alliance with local councils and environmental groups has resulted in a resounding
defeat for the government, according to commentators.
Labour backbencher John McDonnell, speaking outside the court, said: “This is
a dead project and the government needs to recognise it.”
Liberal Democrat MP Susan Kramer added: “We will always fight but effectively
there is now such a barrier that it cannot be surmounted by the government.”
Transport secretary Andrew Adonis quickly put out a statement saying he welcomed
the ruling, however. (see below)
But Ray Puddifoot, speaking on behalf of local councils, said: “If after this
ministers are still intent on pressing ahead with expansion they will have to
go back to the beginning and justify the whole economic case in public.
“Knowing what we now know about rising carbon costs this is an argument they
Zac Goldsmith: Heathrow expansion would split cabinet
By Richard Westcott (BBC Transport Correspondent)
Expanding Heathrow airport would cause a split at the very top of government, says a newly re-elected Tory MP.
Zac Goldsmith, a long-time critic of the scheme, repeated his threat to resign if the government agrees to build a new runway in west London instead of further south at Gatwick.
Mr Goldsmith was re-elected as MP for Richmond Park in south-west London.
His resignation would trigger a by-election in which he could stand as an independent on that one issue.
It would offer him the opportunity to make a lot of noise. This is a man who has only just been voted back into his seat with a hugely swollen majority, adding nearly 20,000 votes.
“I made that promise in 2008 and it still stands,” Mr Goldsmith told the BBC. “It’s not something I want to do, but it’s something I’d have to do.”
The independent Airports Commission should hand over its final report next month, picking either Heathrow or Gatwick for expansion.
After that, it will be down to David Cameron’s fledgling government to decide whether to go along with that recommendation or pick their own.
But Mr Goldsmith thinks that selecting Heathrow could spell disaster for the prime minister,
“If you look at the cabinet today, there are at least three heavyweight people there, Philip Hammond [Foreign Secretary], Justine Greening [International Development Secretary] and Boris Johnson [Member of Political Cabinet] and others, in fact, who are implacably opposed to Heathrow expansion,” he said.
“He’d face a split at the highest level and I don’t think a fragile government with a small majority wants to do that.”
The MP also claims it would be “an off-the-scale betrayal” from Mr Cameron, who he says came to west London before the 2010 election and promised locals, “No ifs, no buts, the Conservatives won’t expand Heathrow.”
Conservative election leaflet from the 2010 election
On Tuesday, another high-profile critic of Heathrow expansion, Boris Johnson, said he would not resign if the government picked the scheme. Instead, he would fight it from within.
All sides of the airport debate are ramping up the rhetoric ahead of Howard Davies’ final report.
There is a growing feeling among people I speak to that he will plump for Heathrow, which is thought to be favoured by the Chancellor, George Osborne.
But having said that, both Gatwick and Heathrow seem to have their tails up, thinking they have successfully made their case for a new airport.
Another theory doing the rounds is that Howard Davies will pick Heathrow, but leave the door open for Gatwick to make life easier for the politicians.
Mr Goldsmith is not convinced: “I don’t think he’s in the market to produce a fudge… I think he wants an answer that’ll be relatively clear.”
“A year ago, I would have said Heathrow expansion’s in the bag, but I think that he seems to have heard the arguments… and if I had to put my house on it, I’d say he’s not going to recommend Heathrow expansion. But it’s at best 51-49, no-one knows.”
Two and a half years ago, the government set up the Airports Commission to offload an issue that was unsticking a nascent coalition. The Lib Dems, in particular, were struggling to get any expansion past their members.
They’ve gone now, and having sent the issue circling for years, it is coming in to land in the Conservatives’ lap.
Senior members of the Conservative cabinet and their opposition to a Heathrow 3rd runway
Theresa Villiers was firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway in 2012 link
Justine Greening is firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway.link
Philip Hammond is firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway link
Theresa May has said she is opposed to a Heathrow runway link
Greg Hands has said he is strongly against 3rd Heathrow runway link and link
Adam Afriye is firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway link
Divisions at top of Tory party over 3rd Heathrow runway as Hammond, Johnson and others won’t accept it
November 2, 2014
The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (MP for Runnymede & Weybridge), and the London mayor, Boris Johnson, will refuse to support their own party’s policy on airport expansion at the next election, potentially opening a rift at the top of the Conservative party. They are among a batch of Tories of cabinet or equivalent rank who are expected to rebel against the official party line, which is that no decision on a new runway would be taken before the Airports Commission gives its recommendation in summer 2015. Boris continues to push for an estuary airport. Other leading Tories with south-eastern constituencies who have spoken out against a 3rd Heathrow runway include the Home Secretary, Theresa May (MP for Maidenhead); the international development secretary, Justine Greening (MP for Putney); and the Northern Ireland secretary, Theresa Villiers (MP for Chipping Barnet). The pressure for a new south east runway has come from George Osborne. Gatwick becomes more vulnerable, the more senior Tories oppose a Heathrow runway, though a Gatwick runway makes little economic or aviation sense.
Zac Goldsmith believes Heathrow is not going to get a new runway. The arguments against Heathrow have been won – and Zac sets these out clearly. They include ….it is already Europe’s biggest noise polluter, with the largest number of people affected by noise of any airport. A 3rd runway would increase flights from 480,000 to 740,000 each year. No matter how Heathrow talks about “quieter” planes (ie. fractionally less noisy) or “respite”, slightly reducing night flights or paying for more noise insulation, an extra runway would massively increase noise. Heathrow admit a 3rd runway would lead to a 4th, as that’s what they want. Just a 3rd runway would lead to 25 million extra road-passenger journeys each year. Heathrow (and the Airports Commission) has barely begun to assess the costs involved in adapting the road and rail system to cope. Transport for London told Zac the cost has been underestimated by a staggering £15 billion, to be paid by the taxpayer. London is already very well connected. We have 6 airports and 7 runways. — more than any of our European rivals. More passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world. A 3rd runway would only be at the expense of surrounding airports, just centralising existing activity and facilitating a monopoly. And more ….
Zac Goldsmith: Victory is in the air for the anti-Heathrow expansion campaign
By ZAC GOLDSMITH
12 May 2015 (Evening Standard)
With the election over, Heathrow’s owners know they are reaching the end of the road in their campaign to expand. This is because, first and foremost, the argument against them has been won.
Heathrow is already Europe’s biggest noise polluter, and a third runway (its bosses admit a third would lead to a fourth) would increase flights from 480,000 to 740,000 a year. No matter how Heathrow cuts it, an extra runway would massively increase noise.
Just one extra runway would lead to 25 million extra road-passenger journeys each year, and Heathrow (and the Airports Commission) has barely begun to assess the costs involved in adapting the road and rail system to cope. Transport for London tells me the cost has been underestimated by a staggering £15 billion — which of course would be picked up by the public.
London will struggle to stay within its air quality targets even without Heathrow expansion. With air pollution costing 29,000 lives each year in the UK, the issue is moving fast up the political agenda.
Advocates of expansion might dismiss all these as NIMBY concerns, as if the millions affected simply do not count. But even if the only concern were the economy, the case is still wafer-thin.
We’re told we face an imminent capacity problem but London is already well connected. We have six airports and seven runways — more than any of our European rivals. More passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world.
However, even if we do need added capacity, Heathrow expansion would not provide it. Figures produced by the Airports Commission show that any additional activity at an expanded Heathrow would be at the expense of surrounding airports. In other words, a third runway would simply centralise existing activity and facilitate a monopoly, the only beneficiaries of which would be its owners.
Heathrow counters that we need to centralise activity and attract transfer passengers to maintain key routes. But nearly 30 per cent of passengers to New York, one of Heathrow’s most popular routes, are transfer passengers: no one pretends such routes would disappear without them.
The alternative is to invest in better surface links and facilitate a super-competitive network. Competition is a good thing. Who would pretend that Gatwick hasn’t significantly improved since the Competition Commission liberated it from the old monopoly?
As the deadline approaches, we can expect to see a flurry of activity. But Heathrow’s owners know, as the Airports Commission surely knows, that expanding it would be a step backwards. I suspect that is why — at the eleventh hour — the commission has launched a consultation on air quality, in the full knowledge that expansion cannot be reconciled with any prospect of clean air in London.
We have won the arguments but I’m not so naïve as to imagine rational arguments always hold sway. And so the second reason why Heathrow expansion will never happen is simply the politics. The Cabinet for this new and fragile Government includes heavyweights such as Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson and, we’re told, Justine Greening, all committed opponents of expansion.
Only days ago, Boris vowed to stand in front of the bulldozers if need be. He will not need to. We are on the cusp of winning this battle once and for all.
Zac Goldsmith is Conservative MP for Richmond Park
Boris Johnson said he believed the chances of the new Conservative government backing the expansion of Heathrow was “virtually nil” as he vowed to continue his fight against a new runway in Parliament.
The appointment of the newly-elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip – who also remains London mayor for the next year – to David Cameron’s political cabinet was seen by some campaigners as an indication the new administration was leaning towards rival Gatwick for much-needed expansion.
A recommendation as to whether a new runway is built at Gatwick or one of two short-listed runway-expansion plans at Heathrow should go ahead is due in a few weeks’ time in a report by the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies.
The Conservative manifesto committed only to “respond to” its recommendations and Mr Johnson said that if it came out in favour of Heathrow it should be “filed vertically” like others that came to similar conclusions over recent decades.
Asked what was the point of having the commission at all, Mr Johnson told LBC radio: “You may well ask.”
“The prospect of expanding Heathrow and putting in a third runway – and then a fourth runway because (they) are very clear that that’s what they want – are virtually nil,” he said.
“It’s not thought through, it’s not likely to happen.”
He said the capital would “almost certainly have to set up a congestion charge to cope with the extra cars coming in”.
Urging ministers to swing behind opposition to Heathrow expansion, he said: “It is for others to man up, to get some cojones and actually to say what they think should happen.
“The truth is that Heathrow is just undeliverable and the sooner we face that the sooner our salvation will come.”
Asked if, like fellow Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, he would quit the Commons if the party backed more runways at Heathrow, he said: “I think would be better off staying in Parliament to fight the case.
“I would certainly oppose the expansion of Heathrow, as would every other MP in West London.”