Willie Walsh and aviation insiders think Heathrow hopes of getting planning consent by 2020 are unrealistic

The Times reports that Willie Walsh, head of British Airways’ parent company IAG, (Heathrow’s biggest customer), said that Heathrow’s target for its runway plans were over optimistic.  He did not think the timetable of getting the support of MPs in the Commons within 12 months and then getting the planning process completed – through all the legal and planning hurdles  – in a further 2 years was realistic. Those timings are highly optimistic, but Heathrow is preparing to start work on a 3rd runway in three years from now – in 2020.  An airline insider told The Times that DfT officials had privately told industry bosses that planning permission would not be won until 2021. There will be legal challenges, and those could mean the timetable could slip even further. Heathrow wants to get its runway built by 2025, so it could increase the number of flights by 50% by 2030, compared to the number now.  Heathrow has said it wants to apply to raise the number of flights from its legal cap now, of 480,000 per year, to 505,000 from 2021 – if it has been granted planning approval for the runway. That might involve one or two fewer flights in the night period, but a loss of some runway alternation during the day – perhaps softening people up for the worse noise, and shorter respite periods, there would be with a 3rd runway.
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Heathrow runway timetable ‘pie in the sky’

By Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent (The Times)
February 25th  2017

Heathrow is preparing to start work on a third runway in three years’ time, despite claims from senior airline bosses that the timetable is unachievable.

 

….

However, Willie Walsh, head of British Airways’ parent company IAG, Heathrow’s biggest customer, said that the target was unlikely to be reached, branding it as an “optimistic outlook”.

An airline insider told The Times that Department for Transport officials had privately told industry bosses that planning permission would not be won until 2021.

See full Times article at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heathrow-runway-timetable-pie-in-sky-v5vr5wdw0

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Era of falling air fares may be over, BA’s owner warns

By Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent (The Times)
February 25th  2017,

The owner of British Airways warned yesterday that the era of declining air fares may be over amid a sharp rise in the cost of oil and a slump in the value of the pound.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), said that fares were set to be flat this year after two years of falling prices. His comments were made as the group, which owns BA, Iberia and Aer Lingus, reported a rise in profits, despite taking a post-Brexit hit. IAG reported that pre-tax profits were up by a third to €2.4 billion in 2016.

A slump in the value of the pound since Britain’s vote to leave the EU cost the company €460 million while passenger and cargo revenues slid by 1.3 per cent to almost €22.6 billion.

IAG said that it would increase cash returns to shareholders through a stock buyback worth €500 million.

…….

See full Times article at
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/era-of-falling-air-fares-may-be-over-bas-owner-warns-cvl60p3gv

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Environmental Audit Cttee says government should take account of aviation non-CO2 impacts on climate

The Environmental Audit Committee report is highly critical of the government’s handling of the issue of carbon emissions created by a 3rd Heathrow runway. The EAC raises the issue of non-CO2 impacts, which is something this government (and the Airports Commission) tries to totally ignore. Atmospheric science is complicated, and the exact extent that non-CO2 impacts from emissions by aircraft high in the atmosphere contribute to warming effects is uncertain. It is estimated to be up to twice the impact of the CO2 alone. The government used to use a multiplier of x1.9, but this was quietly dropped after 2011.The EAC have asked the Secretary of State whether “the DfT’s upcoming aviation strategy would examine greenhouse gas emissions other than CO2. He said that non-CO2 emissions would be reduced alongside CO2, but “there is no clear scientific basis to look at other emissions and put those at the heart of our strategy”. The Appraisal of Sustainability says that non-CO2 emissions “are likely to be up to two times the magnitude of the CO2 emissions themselves, but […] cannot be readily quantified due to the level of scientific uncertainty and therefore have not been assessed”. The EAC says the government should take account of the likely additional climate change impact of some non-CO2.  Read the briefing on non-CO2 impacts.
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An AirportWatch member has written to the Environmental Audit Committee, on the subject of non-CO2 impacts of aviation.

These impacts arise from atmospheric effects, largely from water vapour – that causes contrails and the formation of cirrus cloud – and effects from NOx.

The letter to the EAC states:

Thank you for your excellent (and well-publicised) report ‘The Airports Commission Report Follow-up: Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise’.

I was particularly interested in the following (para 58): “We asked the Secretary of State whether its upcoming aviation strategy would examine greenhouse gas emissions other than CO2. He said that non-CO2 emissions would be reduced alongside CO2, but “there is no clear scientific basis to look at other emissions and put those at the heart of our strategy”. The Assessment of Sustainability says that non-CO2 emissions “are likely to be up to two times the magnitude of the CO2 emissions themselves, but […] cannot be readily quantified due to the level of scientific uncertainty and therefore have not been assessed”.

Although the science for non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions is less certain than for CO2, work on the subject has been done by climate scientists.  However, none of scientists seem to be prepared to put their ‘head above the parapet’ insofar as trying to inform public policy.

You may therefore like to see a report which shows how, as a result, the government has systematically downplayed non-CO2 emissions.  [This is copied below].

While the estimates are acknowledged to be provisional and very approximate, we conclude that an addition of 60% should be made (factor of 1.6 applied) to the CO2 emissions to allow for the effect of non-CO2 emissions.  This is a very conservative figure because, in particular, the effects of cirrus cloud are not included.

Given the scale of the impacts, I think it unacceptable to simply ignore non-CO2 emissions on the grounds of scientific uncertainty.  I hope you agree.

I wonder, therefore, if you might be able to promote or encourage some research that would inform public policy on this important matter.

 

Name and address supplied.

 


Non-CO2 impacts Briefing in June 2015

“Government airbrushes aviation’s non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions”

is at

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/AirportWatch_Briefing_on_RF__19.6.2015.pdf

1. Introduction

While it been recognised for many years that the climate change impacts of aviation extend well beyond those of carbon dioxide (CO2), this fact is largely ignored by the government and its agencies. Our report examines the reasons for this and proposes an ‘index’ which will help to ensure that the issue of non-CO2 gases is properly accounted for.

2. Executive summary

In recent years there has been systematic downplaying of the issue of non-CO2 gases by the UK government and its associates. This report provides the evidence for that claim.

While ‘scientific uncertainty’ is claimed as the reason to ignore non-CO2, the real reason is that aviation emissions are an embarrassment to government and others who want to expand airports and air travel.

In earlier governmental and academic studies a ‘Radiative Forcing Index’ (RFI) has been used in order to capture non-CO2 impacts. However, RFI is a ‘backward looking metric’ and is therefore considered unsuitable for informing aviation policy.

This report argues that instead of just dropping the previously used RFI, it should be replaced by a ‘Global Warming Potential’ (GWP) index for estimating impacts and developing policy responses.

A rough value for the index of 1.6 is estimated. CO2 emissions should be multiplied by 1.6 in order to allow for the impact on non-CO2 GHGs. This is a very conservative figure – the true figure could be much higher, due mainly to cirrus.

The estimate and calculations around it are very approximate. The factor of 1.6 should therefore be regarded very much as an interim, pending a thorough and independent review of the issue of aviation’s non-CO2 emissions.

Although the proposed index is approximate and interim, it should be used forthwith in order to demonstrate impacts and inform policy. Citing scientific uncertainly as a justification for ignoring an issue would not be acceptable in other fields of public policy and should not be accepted when it comes to aviation emissions.

The full report with much more detail is at 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/AirportWatch_Briefing_on_RF__19.6.2015.pdf


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See the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) report 

The EAC report states:

Non-CO2 Emissions

58.

We asked the Secretary of State whether its upcoming aviation strategy would examine greenhouse gas emissions other than CO2. He said that non-CO2 emissions would be reduced alongside CO2,* but “there is no clear scientific basis to look at other emissions and put those at the heart of our strategy”.103 [ Link is from Oral Evidence, 30 November, 2016  Q74 ]  The Assessment* of Sustainability says that non-CO2 emissions “are likely to be up to two times the magnitude of the CO2 emissions themselves, but […] cannot be readily quantified due to the level of scientific uncertainty and therefore have not been assessed”.104  [ Link is to DfT, Draft Airports National Policy Statement Assessment of Sustainability, para. 6.11.10 ]

    [ * This is an nonsense statement, if the CO2 reductions the aviation sector hopes to make are only from offsetting, rather than actually emitting less from planes into the atmosphere. AW comment] 

    [ **misprint. Should say Appraisal of Sustainability ]

17. The Government’s aviation strategy should be integrated with the cross-Government emissions reduction plan. It should set out costed policies to either meet the Committee on Climate Change’s planning assumption or to make up the shortfall from other sectors. This decision will have to take account of the limited progress towards decarbonisation outside the energy sector and the likely additional climate change impact of some non-CO2 emissions. Where the Government makes assumptions that are more optimistic than the Committee on Climate Change’s advice it should subject those assumptions to independent scrutiny from industry and the CCC and, if necessary, revise its plans accordingly. This strategy should be available well before the end of the scrutiny period for the draft National Policy Statement and consultation on it should be completed before the National Policy Statement is finalised. (Paragraph 63)

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See also

 

New EAC report says government must provide clarity about its intentions on Heathrow CO2 emissions

The EAC has now published a follow up report to its November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances that the runway will meet carbon limits. The EAC says: “The Government claims that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within “the UK’s climate change obligations”. The Government has not set out what it means by “obligations”, let alone how it will meet them. It has not decided whether to accept the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation on limiting emissions from international aviation. It has not decided on whether to follow the CCC’s advice on offsetting. The Airports Commission told us the appropriate body to make recommendations on managing aviation emissions is the CCC. It would not be a credible position for the Government to claim that it can deliver Heathrow expansion within emissions limits whilst rejecting independent advice as to what those limits should be and how they should be met.” … The EAC says though Chris Grayling said told them the Government had not decided whether it intended to work towards the planning assumption [of limiting UK aviation to 37.5MtCO2 by 2050], when asked if he “had consulted other Ministers or sectors over the higher emissions reductions that they might be required to make if the planning assumption was not met. He said he had not yet done so.” And much more ….

Click here to view full story…

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Brussels to start fining planes overflying city at night, but conflict of interest with Flemish areas

Brussels Zaventem airport has started fining planes that overfly the Brussels region if they exceed certain noise limits.  The fines will be over the period of 11pm to 7am. The crucial period is 6 to 7am.  It is thought that the fines could be around €5,000 – €10,000 per plan for an average plane, but with a range of fines from €1,300 – 62,000. The higher level fines are unlikely.  Ryanair calculated its fines might be €6,000. Thomas Cook estimated they would be in the €1,200-2,000 range. If a flight is scheduled to arrive at 06:50 but does not reach the Brussels runway before 07:00 it would avoid the fine, unless it exceeds the daytime noise limits. However, there is – and has been for decades – a conflict of interest between the Flemish (northern) and French speaking parts of the city. The fines are for the French speaking areas, meaning planes will preferentially fly over the Flemish areas, to avoid the charges. Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts filed an initial conflict complaint at the end of last year, which froze the introduction of the new limits for 60 days. As that term has now expired with no agreement reached, the Flemish Community filed a new complaint.  Brussels said it was not ready to observe another 60-day delay and that it would administer fines, though it would not, for the time being, make the airlines pay.
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Brussels starts handing out fines for aircraft noise

Despite another conflict of interest complaint filed by the Flemish Community, the Brussels government says it will begin fining airlines from breaching its new aircraft noise regulations

Fly-by-night

The debate on aircraft noise over the Brussels-Capital Region continued this week, as Brussels went ahead to impose fines on airlines exceeding the strict, new limits in defiance of a conflict of interest claim filed by the Flemish Community.
A conflict of interest may be filed by one government when the actions of another have an effect on its region’s interests. In this case, because aircraft taking off from and landing at Brussels Airport in Zaventem have to change their routes to avoid passing over Brussels, the burden of noise nuisance falls on the municipalities in the Flemish periphery of the capital.

Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts filed an initial conflict complaint at the end of last year, which froze the introduction of the new limits for 60 days. As that term has now expired with no agreement reached, the Flemish Community filed a new complaint.

Brussels said it was not ready to observe another 60-day delay and that it would administer fines, though it would not, for the time being, make the airlines pay. The fines are likely to apply to about 8% of the flights taking off from runway 25R, the busiest at the airport (pictured). That would affect about 7,200 of the runway’s 90,000 flights a year.

But that figure is an average for the whole day. The crucial hour is between 6.00 and 7.00; noise limits on night flights used to end at 6.00 but, under the new noise limit rules, last until 7.00. During that hour, according to Weyts, 39% of flights taking off from the runway could be liable for fines.

The next step is not clear, according to constitutional experts. For Brussels to ignore a conflict of interest complaint does not change the fact that the new limits are legally suspended, but it will be up to the airlines to fight against any attempt to make them pay fines.

http://www.flanderstoday.eu/politics/brussels-starts-handing-out-fines-aircraft-noise

 


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BRUSSELS REGION NOISE REGULATION: AIRLINES MAY FACE FINES OF UP TO €682,000 ON DAY ONE

by Bart Noëth

21 February, 2017  (www.luchtzak.be)
Tonight from 00:00 till 7:00 (and from 23:00 till 7:00 on the following days), the Brussels region will fine overflying aircraft exceeding the nighttime noise limits2.

Based on projections by newspaper De Tijd1,  airlines might face likely fines comprised between €5,000 and 10,000 (€1,300-62,000 are the minimum/maximum). However it is unlikely that the fines will reach the maximum limit: Ryanair calculated its fines might be €6,000. Thomas Cook estimated they would be in the €1,200-2,000 range. And a flight scheduled at 06:50 will not reach Brussels before 07:00 and will thus avoid being fined, unless it exceeds the daytime limits.

Looking at tomorrow’s 11 flights before 07:00, following airlines will face a fine (x times a fine between brackets):

TUI fly (3) – Lufthansa (1) – Brussels Airlines (4) – KLM (1) – SWISS (1) – HOP! (1)

Fines might thus be between €55,000 and 110,000 in total (minimum €14,300- maximum €682,000)

Flight for: 22/02/2017 based on Brusselsairport.com
06:00 TB3051 Boa Vista
Scheduled
06:00 …
06:05 TB3261 Malaga
Scheduled
06:05 …
06:15 SK2594 Copenhagen Kastrup
Scheduled
06:15 …
06:15 TP611/SN6401 Lisbon
Scheduled
06:15 …
06:15 TB3113 Tenerife Sur Reina Sofia
Scheduled
06:15 …
06:20 LH2295/SN7065/A31423 Munich
Scheduled
06:20 …
06:25 SN2711/LX4551 Geneva
Scheduled
06:25 …
06:25 SN3153/SQ2803 Milan Malpensa
Scheduled
06:25 …
06:30 SN2701/LX4531 Basel Mulhouse EuroAirport Swiss
Scheduled
06:30 …
06:30 TB3181 Gran Canaria/Las Palmas
Scheduled
06:30 …
06:35 KL1720 Amsterdam Schiphol
Estimated
06:35 …
06:35 A54311/AF5354 Lyon St Exupery
Scheduled
06:35 …
06:50 SN3631/UA9943 Paris Charles De Gaulle
Scheduled
06:50 …
06:50 LX771/SQ2971/SN5101 Zurich
Scheduled
06:50 …
(1) De Tijd uitgelegd: hoe hoog zijn de boetes

(2) – In zone 0 : day Lsp (7-23h) = 55 dB(A) / night Lsp (23-7h) = 45 dB(A)
– In zone 1 : day Lsp (7-23h) = 60 dB(A) / night Lsp (23-7h) = 50 dB(A)
– In zone 2 : day Lsp (7-23h) = 65 dB(A) / night Lsp (23-7h) = 55 dB(A)

Zone 2 is the extreme East of the Brussels Region, Zone 1 is a small area next to it, and Zone 0 covers the majority of the Region.

http://www.luchtzak.be/airports/brussels-airport-bru-ebbr/brussels-region-noise-regulation/airlines-may-face-fines-up-to-682-000e-on-day-1/

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Brussels Airport plans massive extension

by Alan Hope,

17.11..2016 (Flanders Today)

The construction of the longest runway in Europe at Brussels Airport is a cause for concern among local residents, according to information leaked to the press

Bad news for de rand?

Plans by Brussels Airport to extend one of its runways to become the longest in Europe are causing rumblings of protest in the municipalities of de rand, or the Flemish periphery around Brussels. The plans were leaked to Het Nieuwsblad.

The main element of the plan is the extension of runway 25L to a length of four kilometres, an addition of 800 metres, in the direction of Erps-Kwerps. That would allow the runway to be used for take-offs as well as landings.

But local residents fear an increase in aircraft noise, not only because of growth in the number of flights, but also because more people would be affected. According to Eric Van Rompuy, councillor in charge of town planning for Zaventem, where the airport is located, planes would be able to take off directly over the centre of the town, then turn left to fly over Sterrebeek and Tervuren.

“Flights over Brussels could be limited, with the nuisance being passed on to the eastern periphery,” he told Belga newswire. “That is unacceptable.”

For Frederic Petit, mayor of Wezembeek-Oppem, the extended runway is a means of relieving airlines of the burden of paying fines for noise nuisance. At present, airlines are faced with fines if they do not respect the strict noise limits in force over the capital.

“Brussels Airport Company will avoid that by reducing the number of flights over Brussels and send more planes out over Flanders,” said Petit. “In practice, planes taking off from runway 25L will fly at very low altitude over Sterrebeek, Tervuren, Wezembeek and so on.”

Brussels Airport has so far declined to comment on the leaked plans.

http://www.flanderstoday.eu/business/brussels-airport-plans-massive-extension?utm_content=buffer81d1e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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Plans for third runway at Heathrow ‘will blight 47,000 additional homes with dangerous levels of air pollution’

The Daily Mail reports that a 3rd Heathrow runway would expose 47,000 additional homes to dangerous air pollution from NO2 because more vehicles will travel to the airport. The runway would cause a rise in the number of cars, coaches and lorries – raising levels of NO2, that come especially from diesel engines. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) says the runway would rise breaching air pollution limits, and that is a key barrier to it being built. The EAC has ‘no confidence’ the Government can meet its target to fix the problem, or that 60% of all new cars would be ultra-low emissions by 2030. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show 1.29 million new diesel cars were registered last year, which was 48% of all new car purchases.  EAC Chair, Mary Creagh, said there was no evidence of any “step change” in the Government’s approach that the Committee had called for in their previous report.  London Mayor Sadiq Khan has proposed a £3,500 diesel scrappage scheme to pay people to replace their old diesel cars, but this may not be popular. As well  as over 47,000 homes likely to be exposed to worse air pollution, due to Heathrow expansion, the air near Wraysbury Reservoir (a SSSI for birds) would also be have illegal air pollution.  The Supreme Court has ordered the Government to produce a new air pollution strategy by April, after ruling that its Air Quality Plan is based on ‘optimistic emissions data’.
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Plans for third runway at Heathrow ‘will blight 47,000 additional homes with dangerous levels of air pollution’

  • The increase in cars, coaches and lorries will add to toxic nitrogen oxide fumes 
  • A damning report says Heathrow’s expansion will risk the health of people 
  • The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee claims a third runway risks breaching air pollution limits – a key barrier to it being built 
  • Problem is not planes but fumes pumped out by cars and trains travelling to it 

A third runway at Heathrow will expose 47,000 additional homes to dangerous air pollution because more vehicles will travel to the airport, MPs have warned.

The increase in cars, coaches and lorries will add to toxic nitrogen oxide fumes, which come mainly from diesel engines and are linked to the deaths of 23,500 people in Britain every year, it is feared.

With doctors already calling for diesel vehicles to be taken off the road, a damning report says Heathrow’s expansion will risk the health of people living in an extra 47,063 homes.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee claims a third runway risks breaching air pollution limits – a key barrier to it being built.

The committee now reports it has ‘no confidence’ the Government can meet its target to fix the problem, of 60 per cent of all new cars being ultra-low emissions vehicles by 2030.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show 1.29 million new diesel cars were registered last year, 48 per cent of all car purchases.

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the environmental Audit Committee, said: ‘If the Government wants to get Heathrow expansion off the ground, it needs to show that a third runway can be built and run without exceeding legal limits on air pollution or breaching our carbon budgets.

‘We have seen little evidence of the “step change” in the Government’s approach we called for in our previous report.’

And London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s proposed £3,500 diesel scrappage scheme to pay people to replace their cars.

London breached its annual limit for nitrogen dioxide in just the first five days of this year, with diesel cars pumping out 10 times the tiny particles linked to asthma, heart and lung disease compared to petrol vehicles.

But Heathrow’s runway is feared to worsen the diesel crisis, with the Government admitting it may have a ‘moderate’ impact on health, increasing the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

The Government’s own appraisal estimates that an increased 47,063 properties could be exposed to air pollution, with dangerous levels also possible at Wraysbury Reservoir, a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its important breeding birds.

The Transport Secretary told the environmental audit committee the problem of air quality must be tackled before the runway, given the go-ahead last year, goes ahead. It is expected to be completed by 2025.

But the committee’s Airports Commission Report Follow-Up states: ‘The Government’s reliance on low emission technology as the solution is of concern because we have no confidence that the Government will meet its target for 60 per cent of all new cars to be Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles by 2030, as a result of our inquiry into sustainability in the Department for Transport.’

The Supreme Court has ordered the Government to produce a new air pollution strategy by April, after ruling that its Air Quality Plan is based on ‘optimistic emissions data’.

Medical leaders have called for a modern version of the Clean Air Act, which 60 years ago ended the ‘pea souper’ smog in Britain, as 37 major cities persistently record illegal pollution levels

The Department for Transport insists that the runway can be delivered within emissions limits and with no extra cars on the road.

However London Mayor Sadiq Khan told MPs: ‘It is yet to be demonstrated that an expanded Heathrow could operate without exceeding legal limits for NO2.’

The environment committee is also calling for the hours of a night-time flight ban to be set, as research suggests an extra 200,000 people could be affected by significant aircraft noise.

Professor Alastair Lewis, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of York, said: ‘Whether the areas around Heathrow will meet current air quality standards will be crucially dependent on how emissions from other sectors evolve over time, and whether predicted reductions from these can offset new pollution arising from expansion.’

He added: ‘Elevated air pollution even below limit values is now known to affect health and has a real cost.

‘The ambition should always be for development to aim for as low a concentration of pollution as is practical, not simply to do the minimum necessary to gain a pass-mark.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4251280/Third-runway-Heathrow-increase-health-risk.html

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See also

New EAC report says government has given no guarantees that air quality targets will be met with Heathrow 3rd runway

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances that the runway will increase air pollution. The EAC says the government’s air quality analysis is over-optimistic. “The effectiveness of the Government’s new air quality plan will be integral to determining whether Heathrow expansion can be delivered within legal limits. We are concerned that the timing of the draft National Policy Statement consultation means the Government will be unable to carry out a comprehensive re-analysis of the air quality impacts, using the new air quality plan, before the [NPS] consultation process is complete.” … “The Government must publish such an assessment alongside the final NPS, it must work towards a scenario in which all road likes affected by expansion have predicted concentrations below the limit value. Whilst the health impact assessment is a step in the right direction, the Government must carry out work to reduce the significant health impacts identified, before construction of the third runway begins.” ….”Since the Government intends to withdraw the UK from the EU before April 2019, there is no certainty about what our legally binding air quality limits will be after 2019. We are disappointed that these limits are not clearly laid out in the Draft NPS.” And there is much more ….

Click here to view full story…

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Council leaders attack ‘dishonest’ Heathrow promotional leaflet, circulated widely by DfT

Conservative town hall leaders have accused the Government of “misleading” up to three million people over the impact of a 3rd Heathrow runway, and a “dishonest approach.”  The leaders of Wandsworth, Richmond, Hillingdon and Windsor and Maidenhead council tore into the DfT over the “shamelessly one-sided” consultation leaflet sent to around 1.5 million households and businesses (an estimated 3 million people). The leaders say the leaflets fail to include any details of proposed new flight paths, or the extra numbers of flights, or the reduction in “respite” periods that would happen, due to the 3rd runway. There is also no proper information on likely increases in traffic, and therefore in air pollution.The leaflet is instead ecstatic about alleged economic benefits it might bring, and unashamedly bigs up pledges of home price compensation for compulsory purchase, future insulation schemes (over up to 20 years?), and some apprenticeships. The leaders believe the leaflet is intended to mislead, and its dishonest approach is undermining the fragile trust residents have in politics. Areas that are already badly overflown by Heathrow planes, such as Clapham, Lambeth, Pimlico, Marylebone, Westminster, Streatham, Mayfair and Kennington were not included in the consultation exercise. Lord True commented: “The Government need to stop the spin.”
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Council leaders attack ‘dishonest’ Heathrow leaflet

By NICHOLAS CECIL Deputy Political Editor (Evening Standard)

24.2.2017

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The leaders of Wandsworth, Richmond, Hillingdon and even Theresa May’s Windsor and Maidenhead council tore into the Department for Transport over a consultation leaflet sent to around 1.5 million households and businesses, an estimated 3 million people.

The DfT was accused of a “dishonest approach” over expansion  with the “shamelessly one-sided” leaflet  which councils say failed to include:

  • Proposed new flight paths.
  • The fact that there could be up to 260,000 more flights a year.
  • That tens of thousands of people would get less respite from noise.
  • That a third runway is expected to increase air pollution.
  • An alleged increase in road traffic.

However, the leaflet highlighted that a third runway was expected to deliver economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61 billion, tens of thousands of additional local jobs, £2.6 billion in compensation for local communities, six new domestic flight routes, a Heathrow pledge to create 5,000 new apprenticeships and £700 million of noise insulation for homes.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth council, said: “This consultation is clearly designed to mislead millions of people. The Government’s publicity material is shamelessly one-sided.”

Attacking the lack of flight path details, he said: “The Government’s dishonest approach is undermining the fragile trust our residents have in politics.”

Accusations of dishonesty: the Heathrow leaflet

Wandsworth claimed that some areas which may be overflown from a bigger Heathrow were not included in the leaflet consultation exercise, including Clapham, Lambeth, Pimlico, Marylebone, Westminster, Streatham, Mayfair and Kennington.   

Richmond council leader Lord True claimed that communities around Heathrow already suffered more noise and air pollution than similar ones near any other European airport.

He said: “Incredibly, these proposals conveniently miss out the fact that with a third runway, noise respite will be halved. Many residents will be overflown for 75% of the time. The Government need to stop the spin.”

Hillingdon leader Ray Puddifoot said: “There is no mention of the increase in traffic and rail use…nor of the fact Heathrow already contributes to illegal levels of air pollution.”

Simon Dudley, leader of Windsor & Maidenhead, said the leaflet misses out information about flight paths and environmental impacts and “is hugely disappointing.”

A DfT spokeswoman said the consultation “clearly sets out the benefits and potential impacts of expansion” and showed “a world-class package of compensation and mitigation measures.”    [This is just an encapsulation of the attitude and approach of the DfT staff. There is no attempt to deal with environmental problems, and the leaflet and “information” events are intended to promote the runway. Plain and simple. AirportWatch comment].

Heathrow, which  denies vehicle traffic will increase,  today declared 2016 its “best year ever” with a record 75.7 million passengers and revenues up 1.5 per cent to £2.8 billion. Fliers spent more at airport shops and the cheap pound boosted cargo business.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/council-leaders-attack-dishonest-heathrow-leaflet-a3475066.html

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See also

Richmond criticises the 1.5 million DfT leaflets promoting 3rd runway as inadequate on noise problems

Lord True, the leader of Richmond Council, has complained (as have thousands of other people) that the information being put out in the DfT consultation on the Heathrow NPS is inadequate. He said: “The leaflet that was sent out last week it propaganda in its finest. And, the more we read into the full consultation material the more concerned we are at the Government’s selective presentation of the third runway’s impacts. They should be proactively informing flight path communities about major changes like the loss of daytime respite periods but that’s not been their approach. In the next few weeks there will be a number of resident consultation events, coordinated by the Department of Transport. I urge all concerned people to go and have their say and let the government know if they are not giving the information we need.” The DfT is not making it clear that areas like Richmond would be overflown for around 75% of the day, rather than around 50% of the time now. The leaflet makes no mention of noise, other than a carefully worded offer of 6.5 hours with no SCHEDULED flights at night. It is not made easy for members of the public to find data on noise changes, with a 3rd runway. There will be no details of flight paths for several years – so the whole NPS consultation is being done, deliberately by the DfT, in the absence of noise information needed by residents.

Click here to view full story…

Critique of 11 claims by DfT, in its 1.5 million pro-Heathrow runway leaflets, for NPS consultation

The DfT has sent out 1.5 million leaflets to households in areas not too far from Heathrow. The leaflets make no attempt whatsoever of balance, and are merely advertising the runway plans and promoting them. Many of the claims are misleading, or so abbreviated as to be unclear. Below there is a critique of the claims, point by point, and links to evidence backing up the criticisms. If anyone has received a leaflet, and wonders about the facts, this webpage may give some useful information. Just a few examples of the dubious statements in the leaflet: the figure of £61 billion economic benefit is given, leaving out the proviso that this is over 60 years. There is much made of the generosity of the compensation to be given for compulsory purchase, but in reality anything much below 125% would be derisory, and way below world standards. The claim about six and a half hours of no scheduled night flights omits to mention how many flights, scheduled before 11pm, often take off almost to midnight. And though there may be 6 more domestic links from Heathrow, these are likely to be unprofitable and may not last for long. The loss of long haul routes from other UK airports, due to a larger Heathrow, is conveniently ignored.

Click here to view full story…

 

Ministers accused of approving Heathrow third runway ‘on wing and a prayer’ over pollution pledge

By Nicholals Cecil (Deputy Political Editor, Evening Standard)

23.2.2017

Ministers were today accused of giving the green light to a third runway at Heathrow on a “wing and a prayer” that it will not breach EU toxic air rules.

The Commons environmental audit committee demanded that the Government set out how another runway could be built at the west London airport without increasing the number of serious breaches of air quality limits in the capital.

The committee’s Labour chairwoman Mary Creagh said: “At the moment we can’t see how the third runway can be built and run without exceeding the legal limits on air pollution and breaching the UK’s carbon budgets.

“It’s a huge infrastructure project. It can’t be built just on a wing and a prayer and hoping that something will turn up.”

Mrs Creagh also stressed that there were “no guarantees” that EU air pollution regulations will not be watered down in the longer term after Brexit.

A report commissioned by the Government suggested that a third runway may not be able to open before 2025 without risking breaching EU air pollution limits.

However, the Airports Commission has argued that Heathrow should be allowed to expand provided it did not delay London complying with EU regulations, meaning that it could go ahead as long as there was a worst air pollution hotspot in the capital.

Ministers have refused to clarify what test they will use to assess whether a bigger Heathrow is leading to breaches of toxic air rules.

But a Department for Transport spokesman said: “We take our air quality commitments extremely seriously and have been very clear that the new runway will not get the go-ahead unless air quality requirements can be met.

“Our draft airports national policy statement sets out a world-class package of compensation and mitigation measures to support local communities and limit the environmental impact of airport expansion.”  [This is nothing to do with air pollution. AirportWatch comment] 

A Heathrow spokesman said: “The Airports Commission was clear that Heathrow can be expanded while reducing noise for local communities, in accordance with air quality requirements and is compatible with the Government’s carbon goals for aviation.” [This is the ambiguous statement they keep putting out. It actually says nothing. What reduction in noise, what air quality requirements, and which carbon goals, as Grayling has said he will not abide by the CCC carbon advice? AW comment].

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/ministers-accused-of-approving-heathrow-third-runway-on-wing-and-a-prayer-over-pollution-pledge-a3474096.html

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UK Government announces £3.8 m funding for a Londonderry to Stansted (BMI Regional) air route

The UK government has announced £3.8 million (2 years) for a Londonderry to London air route, as the current operator Ryanair will stop operating the route at the end of March.  BMI Regional has been chosen as the preferred operator for the route between City of Derry Airport and Stansted, following a competitive tender process by Derry City & Strabane District Council. Flights begin on 2 May 2017, and the government will fund the route over the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years.  The new service will include two return flights each day, except for Saturdays which will have one flight each way.  Lord Admad believed that the 13 weekly flights will “allow business passengers to get to central London and complete a full day’s work before returning home.”  The UK government maintains regional airport links through the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, which “can be used to protect important regional air connections to London which may otherwise be lost.” [As they are unprofitable]. Derry already has a route through the Fund, to Dublin. In December 2015 the DfT announced that 11 successful bidders had been awarded support from the Fund, for routes. The intention is that airlines, with the subsidy, can build up the routes that are not viable so they become profitable in a few years. 
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UK Government announces £3.8 million for a Londonderry to Stansted (BMI Regional) air route for 2 years

The UK government has today announced £3.8 million for a Londonderry to London air route, following the decision by current operator Ryanair to stop serving the air link at the end of March.

BMI Regional has been chosen as the preferred operator for the route between City of Derry Airport and London Stansted, following a competitive tender process by Derry City & Strabane District Council.

Tickets will go on sale from 9 March 2017 with flights commencing on 2 May 2017, and the government will fund the route over the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years.

The new service will include two return flights each day, except for Saturdays which will have one flight each way.

Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

“The UK government has worked closely with Derry City and Strabane District Council to protect this important route to City of Derry Airport. £3.8 million UK Government funding will allow 13 return flights to connect Londonderry to London every week. The new service will allow business passengers to get to central London and complete a full day’s work before returning home.”

This is the first ever government backing for a public service obligation (PSO) in Northern Ireland. [That does not appear to be true. There is a link, in the article below, about a link from Derry to Dublin, unless that is paid for by Ireland? ]  The government maintains regional airport links through the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, which can be used to protect important regional air connections to London which may otherwise be lost. [As they are unprofitable].

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-funds-city-of-derry-air-link

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Earlier:

New regional air routes offer fast journeys across UK and Europe

From: Department for Transport and Robert Goodwill MP

2 December 2015

Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill backs routes to bring new business and visitors for whole country.

Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill has welcomed the new domestic and international routes that will start in 2016 from regional airports across the UK.

The Chancellor announced in last week’s Spending Review that 11 successful bidders had been awarded support from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund. These new flights will offer fast journey times within the UK and also introduce new routes to Europe for the first time.

Robert Goodwill said:

Our smaller airports are vital engines for local economies, connecting the UK and opening up opportunities. That is why the government is backing new regional air routes to drive investment and benefit hardworking people across the country.

The start-up aid bidding competition was open to airports with fewer than 5 million passengers per year and allows air routes that are not currently commercially viable today to be introduced early, giving time for airlines to build passenger numbers and deliver a more sustainable service.

It is anticipated that the flights will begin from Spring 2016.

Start-up aid of up to £7 million is being provided through the Regional Air Connectivity Fund. The fund already supports strategic routes to London from Newquay and Dundee.

Regional airports infographic.
The full list of successful routes are:
Carlisle Belfast City  –  Stobart Air
Carlisle Dublin   – Stobart Air
Carlisle Southend    – Stobart Air
Dundee Amsterdam    – Flybe
Derry Dublin   – Citywings
Newquay Leeds-Bradford   – Flybe
Norwich Exeter  – Flybe
Norwich Newcastle   – Linksair
Oxford Edinburgh   – Linksair
Southampton Lyon   – Flybe
Southampton Munich   – Flybe

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-regional-air-routes-offer-fast-journeys-across-uk-and-europe

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There is a lot about Public Service Obligations, and the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, from Parliament from March 2015.

Public Service Obligations

21. A Public Service Obligation (PSO) is an arrangement by which a governing body or other authority runs an auction for subsidies which allows the winning company a monopoly to operate an air service for a period of time for the given subsidy. PSOs are used in cases where there is insufficient revenue for routes to be profitable in a free market, but where it is socially, economically and/or politically desirable to maintain the transport link. In short, PSOs allow the state to subsidise air travel that is not commercially viable.

22. PSOs must be offered for tender in the Official Journal of the European Union and bidding is open to any transport operator registered in an EU member state. The winning tenderer usually receives a monopoly on the route, but they may have to conform to one or more conditions of service, such as the type and size of aircraft, the timing of services, maximum fares or service quality.

23. In 2014, the Government introduced a policy to promote the use of PSOs to maintain routes from smaller airports to London which might otherwise be lost. The funding stream for that policy is known as the Regional Air Connectivity Fund. In June 2014, the Government announced support from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund to maintain the air link between Dundee airport and London Stansted until 2016 through a PSO agreed with Dundee City Council.[27] In October 2014, the Government announced a second new PSO to maintain the Newquay to London Gatwick air link, which was agreed with Cornwall County Council.[28]

24. On 22 January 2015, the Government extended its PSO policy to include state support for new air routes rather than simply supporting existing routes at risk of closure. It made £56 million available over the next three years to fund PSOs that support new air routes. Airports and airlines were invited to bid for this funding, with the first round of applications closing on 25 February 2015.[29] The DfT should regularly report on the number of applicants and of successful applications to the Regional Air Connectivity Fund to support new air routes and publish this information on its website.

25. State support for air transport is governed by European Commission aviation state aid guidelines. PSOs can only be implemented with the agreement of the European Commission. The DfT has submitted a “Draft protocol for UK start-up aid for airports handling fewer than 3 million passengers per annum” for clearance by the European Commission.[30] If the European Commission agrees this protocol, the DfT will be able to award start-up aid for air transport to airports handling fewer than 3 million passengers per annum without further reference to the European Commission. The DfT should set out a timetable for negotiations with the European Commission on its “Draft Protocol for UK start-up aid for airports handling fewer than 3 million passengers per annum” to allow smaller airports and local authorities that are considering accessing the Regional Air Connectivity Fund to plan effectively.

….. and there is much more at

https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmtran/713/71305.htm

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Transport Committee announces start of its inquiry into (Heathrow) Airports NPS (24th March deadline for evidence)

When he was Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin told the Transport Select Committee that there would be a 3 month inquiry, by a select committee, into the draft National Policy Statement for a Heathrow runway. He said in February 2015 that the inquiry would take place after the end of the NPS consultation. Now the Transport Select Committee has announced, just 20 days after the publication by the DfT of the draft NPS consultation, the start of their own inquiry into the NPS. They are only taking written evidence until the deadline of 24th March. The committee’s website does not say what happens next, if or when witnesses would be called, etc.  The Committee says they are interested to hear more about a variety of issues including:  “How well the proposal reflects government policy on airports and aviation more generally” … “The suitability of the Government’s evidence and rationale in support of a north-west runway at Heathrow” … “How well the proposal takes account of other aspects of the Government’s transport strategy.” … “How comprehensive the proposal is in terms of the supporting measures for affected communities” … “How well the proposal takes account of sustainability and environmental considerations and the adequacy of relevant documentation and information published alongside the draft proposal.”  And so on.
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Airports National Policy Statement inquiry launched

Transport Select Committee website  

22.2.2017

The Transport Committee launches an inquiry on the Government’s draft Airports National Policy Statement.

Background

In its Final Report (PDF 6.08 MB) in July 2015, the Airports Commission concluded that the proposal for a north-west runway at Heathrow Airport, combined with a significant package of measures to address its environmental and community impacts, presented the strongest case and offered the greatest strategic and economic benefits.

On 25 October 2016, the Government announced that a north-west runway at Heathrow Airport was its preferred scheme to deliver additional airport capacity in the south-east of England. It also confirmed that this would be included in a draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) which provides the primary basis for decision making on development consent applications.

The draft Airports NPS is subject to consultation according to the procedures laid down in the Planning Act 2008, as amended by the Localism Act 2011.

Terms of reference

The draft Airports NPS has been published by the Department for Transport. It sets out:

  • The need for additional airport capacity in the south-east of England
  • Why government believes that need is best met by a north-west runway at Heathrow Airport
  • The specific requirements that the applicant for a new north-west runway will need to meet to gain development consent

The Committee conducts a brief inquiry into the draft Airports NPS. The Committee is particularly interested in receiving submissions on:

  • The clarity of the NPS in terms of scope and its applicability to other airport expansion applications in the South East
  • How well the proposal reflects government policy on airports and aviation more generally
  • The suitability of the Government’s evidence and rationale in support of a north-west runway at Heathrow
  • How well the proposal takes account of other aspects of the Government’s transport strategy
  • How comprehensive the proposal is in terms of the supporting measures for affected communities
  • How well the proposal takes account of sustainability and environmental considerations and the adequacy of relevant documentation and information published alongside the draft proposal
  • The extent to which the NPS provides the Secretary of State with the basis for judging applications for development
  • How well the proposal addresses changes to surface access
  • The effectiveness of the Government’s consultation on the proposal

The Committee has already announced an inquiry into airspace management and modernisation.

Written submissions

The Committee would be grateful to receive written submissions by 24 March 2017.

Further information

22 February 2017

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2015/airports-national-policy-statement-inquiry-launch-16-17/

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The DfT website at  https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/airport-capacity-and-airspace-policy  has the statement by Chris Grayling to Parliament on 2nd February which says:
“Consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny

These 2 consultations will last for 16 weeks and close on 25 May 2017. At the same time, and as required by the Planning Act 2008, a period of Parliamentary scrutiny (the ‘relevant period’) now begins for the Airports National Policy Statement, ending by summer recess 2017.”

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Note from the Transport Committee secretariat: 

On 20 February the Liaison Committee designated the Transport Committee to consider the proposal for a national policy statement on airports. The Transport Committee agreed terms of reference that same day and these were published on Wednesday.

Under section 9 of the Planning Act 2008 the Committee needs to complete its work within the relevant period (which was specified by the Secretary of State when he laid the proposal for an NPS).

The Committee’s deadline for written evidence, like all such deadlines in its inquiries, is indicative. It is necessary to have some kind of deadline so that a plan for oral evidence sessions can be agreed and the arrangements made. The Committee will not refuse to accept submissions made after the deadline. But submissions made after the deadline and certainly those made shortly before an oral evidence session are much harder to take into account when compiling briefing for committee members.

There is no limit on the number of submission that an organisation can make. An initial submission can be followed up by a further submission providing new information or adding to existing evidence (perhaps responding to questions raised in oral evidence or by other submissions).

At this stage no date has been set for oral evidence sessions but the Committee will need to agree how many sessions to have and how to fit them in with the other inquiries that the Committee is currently working on.

As things stand it is expected that the oral evidence sessions on the proposal for an NPS will take place in April or May and that a report will be agreed in late June or early July so that there is time for a debate within the relevant period.

(personal communication)


From CPRE planning help 

Guidance on how NPSs are dealt with in Parliament states: 

“Parliamentary scrutiny of the draft NPSs, which takes from 4-8 weeks, overlaps with the final weeks of the public consultation so that any comments received are allowed to inform a parliamentary resolution or the recommendations of any Select Committee.”

This also says:

“Parliamentary approval of NPSs

The Localism Act 2011 changed the process for preparing NPSs, in that Parliament will now have a chance to resolve that a draft NPS should not proceed if there are serious concerns about its contents. When a draft NPS has been presented to Parliament, it will have 21 days in which to pass a resolution stating that the NPS should not proceed.”

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The Timescale of the Heathrow NPS – according to the previous Transport Secretary, in February 2015

This is what Patrick McLoughlin, then Transport Secretary, said to the Transport Select Committee on 8.2.2015 on the timescale of getting a runway built:

Question 62   

Mr McLoughlin: I went through it a few moments ago. Earlier this morning, I had a very good aide-mémoire which went right the way through it, but I can’t put my hand on it at the moment. The timeline at the moment is for a decision by the Government on the preferred location. Then there will be

– a draft national policy statement published for consultation and laid in Parliament.

 – This is published a minimum of four weeks after the announcement on the runway location to avoid the legal risk of pre-determination.

 – There is no decision yet on the length of the public consultation, but it could be 16 weeks.

A Commons Select Committee will examine the draft NPS and hold a full-blown inquiry for 12 weeks immediately following the public consultation. 

The Commons Select Committee will submit a report to [the Secretary of State for Transport] by the end of the 12-week period. 

– Once a final NPS is laid, debates and votes must happen within 21 sitting days of the House.

– At any time after the vote, or it could be the same day, if there is a negative vote, the Secretary of State will change and lay a new NPS, again for 21 voting days. 

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Another timescale was given by the DfT in October 2016

Early 2017

Draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) published
The NPS will set out the Government’s position for developing a new runway by 2030.

Early 2017

Start of national and local consultation on contents of draft NPS
This will include a series of local and regional events around the country and in the vicinity
of the selected airport. Expected to last for 16 weeks until Spring 2017.

Spring – Summer 2017  (Spring is considered to be March, April, May)

Select Committee Scrutiny of Draft NPS
The opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny of the draft NPS by the appointed Select
Committee.

Summer – Autumn 2017 (ie.  June to November)

Analysis and review of responses & revision of NPS
Full analysis of all responses received during the public consultation and associated
events. Government reviews responses to the consultation and final report from the Select
Committee and the NPS is revised to take these into account.

Late 2017/early 2018

Publication of final Airports National Policy Statement
Government publishes final NPS in Parliament, with a subsequent debate followed by a vote.

Late 2017/early 2018

Designation of National Policy Statement
Assuming the final NPS passes the parliamentary vote, it can be designated by
the Transport Secretary.

2018 – 2021/22

Promoter [Heathrow airport presumably] takes forward scheme
Once the National Policy Statement has been designated, Heathrow is able to begin the
formal process of seeking planning permission, which includes further consultation with local communities.

[ May 2020 or before – General Election ]

2025 – late 2020’s

New runway operational
Assuming the planning and construction process runs in line with the timetable set out by Heathrow, the new runway is expected to be operational between 2025 and late 2020’s.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562915/heathrow-airport-expansion-summary-document.pdf

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EAC: “Government must mitigate environmental impact of new Heathrow runway” – current plans do not

The Environmental Audit Committee report on plans for a Heathrow runway show huge failings by the government, on noise, CO2 and air pollution, even after several years of trying to gloss over them.  The EAC report warns that proposed safeguards surrounding noise and pollution are inadequate, and just how inadequate the current NPS consultation on the 3rd runway is.  The report warns that the proposed ban on night flights between 11pm and 5.30am would, in reality, result in only 4 arrivals being rescheduled each day. At present the airport is limited to about 16 night flights in a 24-hour period, with most scheduled just before 6am, which would not be affected by the new ban. The report criticises ministers for effectively giving Heathrow the green light without “concrete policy proposals” covering the environment. There is no proof that Heathrow could be expanded without an increase in the number of polluting cars being driven to the airport. The runway is likely to increase aviation CO2 by 15% above a previously agreed limit, with no plans for how other sectors of society could compensate with deeper CO2 cuts (or even that they have been advised of the problem). Noise would become worse for many areas, and the independent aviation noise watchdog proposed would be inadequate, with no powers and just an “advisory function”.  And much, much more.
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Government must mitigate environmental impact of new Heathrow runway

23 February 2017 (Environmental Audit Committee)

The Government is still not doing enough to demonstrate that it can mitigate the environmental impacts of the planned new runway at Heathrow, MPs on the cross party Environmental Audit Committee have found.

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said:

“If the Government wants to get Heathrow expansion off the ground it needs to show that a third runway can be built and run without exceeding legal limits on air pollution or breaching our carbon budgets. We have seen little evidence of the ‘step change’ in the Government’s approach we called for in our previous report. Worryingly, the Government looks set to water down the limits on aviation emissions recommended by its own climate change advisors. That would mean other sectors of the economy, like energy and industry, having to cut their carbon emissions even deeper and faster. Mitigating the air quality, carbon and noise impacts of a new runway cannot be an afterthought.  Ministers must work harder to show that Heathrow expansion can be done within the UK’s legally binding environmental commitments.”

Air Quality

The UK has already breached EU NO2 limits in London for 2017. A new air quality strategy is urgently required to ensure that airport expansion is not granted at the expense of public health.  The Committee is concerned that the Government has given no guarantees that air quality targets will be maintained after the UK leaves the EU.

The promise not to increase road traffic at Heathrow needs to be rigorously monitored, with clear accountability and consequences for failure. The MPs are concerned that the Government is relying on people switching to cleaner cars to reduce air pollution but have no confidence the Government will meet their targets for uptake. The report calls on the Government to implement an alert system for people who are especially vulnerable to short-term exposure to air pollution in London.

Carbon emissions

Scant detail has been provided on the Government’s approach to carbon emissions limits. The figures used by Ministers for the costs and benefits of expansion are based on a hypothetical international framework to reduce emissions which does not yet exist. The figures would leave international aviation emissions 15% higher than the level assumed in the UK’s Fifth Carbon Budget, which runs from 2028-32.

The Government is considering rejecting the recommendations of the independent Committee on Climate Change on the most cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions. The Government should publish an independently scrutinised strategy to reduce carbon emissions from international aviation and set out the resulting costs on other sectors to test their feasibility and desirability.

Noise

Measures on noise lack ambition; with no precision offered on the timing of a night flight ban and little evidence that predictable respite can be achieved. The case for an Independent Aviation Noise Authority with powers to enforce policy recommendations remains clear. The Committee is concerned that the Government is watering down the powers it intends to give to a new noise oversight body.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2015/heathrow-expansion-report-published-16-17/


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The Daily Mail:

Plans for third runway at Heathrow ‘will blight 47,000 additional homes with dangerous levels of air pollution’

  • The increase in cars, coaches and lorries will add to toxic nitrogen oxide fumes 
  • A damning report says Heathrow’s expansion will risk the health of people 
  • The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee claims a third runway risks breaching air pollution limits – a key barrier to it being built 
  • Problem is not planes but fumes pumped out by cars and trains travelling to it 

A third runway at Heathrow will expose 47,000 additional homes to dangerous air pollution because more vehicles will travel to the airport, MPs have warned.

The increase in cars, coaches and lorries will add to toxic nitrogen oxide fumes, which come mainly from diesel engines and are linked to the deaths of 23,500 people in Britain every year, it is feared.

With doctors already calling for diesel vehicles to be taken off the road, a damning report says Heathrow’s expansion will risk the health of people living in an extra 47,063 homes.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee claims a third runway risks breaching air pollution limits – a key barrier to it being built.

The big problem is not the aeroplanes, but the fumes pumped out by cars and trains travelling to it.

The committee now reports it has ‘no confidence’ the Government can meet its target to fix the problem, of 60 per cent of all new cars being ultra-low emissions vehicles by 2030.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show 1.29 million new diesel cars were registered last year, 48 per cent of all car purchases.

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the environmental Audit Committee, said: ‘If the Government wants to get Heathrow expansion off the ground, it needs to show that a third runway can be built and run without exceeding legal limits on air pollution or breaching our carbon budgets.

‘We have seen little evidence of the “step change” in the Government’s approach we called for in our previous report.’

Medical leaders have called for a modern version of the Clean Air Act, which 60 years ago ended the ‘pea souper’ smog in Britain, as 37 major cities persistently record illegal pollution levels.

And London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s proposed £3,500 diesel scrappage scheme to pay people to replace their cars.

London breached its annual limit for nitrogen dioxide in just the first five days of this year, with diesel cars pumping out 10 times the tiny particles linked to asthma, heart and lung disease compared to petrol vehicles.

But Heathrow’s runway is feared to worsen the diesel crisis, with the Government admitting it may have a ‘moderate’ impact on health, increasing the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

The big problem is not the aeroplanes, but the fumes pumped out by cars and trains travelling to it

The Government’s own appraisal estimates that an increased 47,063 properties could be exposed to air pollution, with dangerous levels also possible at Wraysbury Reservoir, a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its important breeding birds.

The Transport Secretary told the environmental audit committee the problem of air quality must be tackled before the runway, given the go-ahead last year, goes ahead. It is expected to be compleyed by 2025.

But the committee’s Airports Commission Report Follow-Up states: ‘The Government’s reliance on low emission technology as the solution is of concern because we have no confidence that the Government will meet its target for 60 per cent of all new cars to be Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles by 2030, as a result of our inquiry into sustainability in the Department for Transport.’

The Supreme Court has ordered the Government to produce a new air pollution strategy by April, after ruling that its Air Quality Plan is based on ‘optimistic emissions data’.

Medical leaders have called for a modern version of the Clean Air Act, which 60 years ago ended the ‘pea souper’ smog in Britain, as 37 major cities persistently record illegal pollution levels

The Department for Transport insists that the runway can be delivered within emissions limits and with no extra cars on the road.

However London Mayor Sadiq Khan told MPs: ‘It is yet to be demonstrated that an expanded Heathrow could operate without exceeding legal limits for NO2.’

The environment committee is also calling for the hours of a night-time flight ban to be set, as research suggests an extra 200,000 people could be affected by significant aircraft noise.

Professor Alastair Lewis, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of York, said: ‘Whether the areas around Heathrow will meet current air quality standards will be crucially dependent on how emissions from other sectors evolve over time, and whether predicted reductions from these can offset new pollution arising from expansion.’

He added: ‘Elevated air pollution even below limit values is now known to affect health and has a real cost.

‘The ambition should always be for development to aim for as low a concentration of pollution as is practical, not simply to do the minimum necessary to gain a pass-mark.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4251280/Third-runway-Heathrow-increase-health-risk.html

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The Guardian

Government ‘watering down’ pollution limits to meet Heathrow pledge

MPs say ministers are not doing enough to demonstrate how third runway would meet obligations on noise and air quality

By Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent (Guardian)

Thursday 23 February 2017

The government is set to “water down” limits on aviation emissions and is shifting targets to meet its pledge to mitigate the environmental impact of expanding Heathrow, MPs have said.
The cross-party environmental audit committee said ministers were not doing enough to demonstrate a third Heathrow runway could be built without breaching laws on air quality and carbon emissions.

Its report said the government had persistently failed to define which obligations it would be meeting on climate change, or whether it would keep to EU limits on air quality after Brexit, while assurances on noise respite also fell short on specifics.

Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield and the committee chair, said: “If the government wants to get Heathrow expansion off the ground it needs to show that a third runway can be built and run without exceeding legal limits on air pollution or breaching our carbon budgets.

“Worryingly, the government looks set to water down the limits on aviation emissions recommended by its own climate change advisers. That would mean other sectors of the economy, like energy and industry, having to cut their carbon emissions even deeper and faster,” Creagh said.

“Mitigating the air quality, carbon and noise impacts of a new runway cannot be an afterthought. Ministers must work harder to show that Heathrow expansion can be done within the UK’s legally binding environmental commitments.”

The committee said it was concerned that the government had given no guarantees that air quality targets would be maintained after the UK leaves the EU, and said a new air quality strategy was urgently required.

While conditions for expansion have included a promise not to increase road traffic at Heathrow, MPs said it would need to be rigorously monitored, with clear accountability and consequences for failure. The MPs said the government was relying on people switching to cleaner cars to reduce air pollution but had no confidence its targets would be met.

Meanwhile, the MPs said figures used by ministers were based on a “hypothetical international framework to reduce emissions” that does not yet exist but which would still leave the UK having to deal with higher levels of carbon emissions from aviation than it had budgeted for in meeting its agreed CO2 targets.

A proposed night flight ban had not been nailed down, and there was little evidence that predictable respite could be achieved, MPs said, adding that it feared the government was watering down the powers it would give to a new body overseeing noise pollution from the airport.

John Stewart, chair of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan), a campaign group that opposes Heathrow expansion, said: “The committee is saying in no uncertain terms that both the government and Heathrow airport have got to up their game big time if they are to have any chance of getting a third runway. They have got to prove they can deliver on noise, climate and air pollution, not just say they can.”

The Greenpeace UK executive director, John Sauven, said: “There’s a litany of questions about the environmental impacts of a third runway that the government has been fudging. MPs are absolutely right to demand clear answers. Ministers have produced no evidence that Heathrow expansion is compatible with bringing down illegal levels of air pollution or meeting our climate targets.”

The Department for Transport has yet to comment.

The report was published in the first week of public events in the government’s four-month consultation on the planned third runway at Heathrow. MPs will vote on the plan in the winter.
Local councils have accused the government of misleading the public in leaflets issued to thousands of households. They warn that the “rushed and imbalanced” consultation does not provide them with information on the negative effects of Heathrow expansion – particularly as flight paths that will affect particular communities have yet to be agreed.

Richmond, Hillingdon, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils have sent information leaflets highlighting the expected impact on pollution, health, traffic and noise, as well as costs to taxpayers. The councils say an extra 108 schools would become severely impacted by aircraft noise and that there would an additional 25m road journeys to the airport.

The Commons transport select committee announced on Wednesday that it would hold an inquiry into the national policy statement on airports, the policy paper that sets out the government’s plans to back the third runway, with MPs examining the suitability of the evidence and rationale for the decision, and the effectiveness of the public consultation.
A Department for Transport spokesman said:“We take our air quality commitments extremely seriously and have been very clear that the new runway will not get the go-ahead unless air quality requirements can be met.

“Our draft airports national policy statement sets out a world-class package of compensation and mitigation measures to support local communities and limit the environmental impact of airport expansion. We are currently carrying out a full consultation, and want to hear everyone’s views.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/23/heathrow-third-runway-mps-say-government-watering-down-pollution-limits

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The Times

Heathrow flight ban dismissed as a sham

23 Feb 2017,

By Graeme Paton (Transport Correspondent, The Times)

A proposed ban on night flights into Britain’s biggest airport is a sham because it will only require the rescheduling of four planes a day, according to MPs. In a report published today, a committee warns that a proposed crackdown on noise at an expanded Heathrow risks being an “afterthought”.

MPs accuse the government of using out-of-date measurements of noise impacts, failing to guarantee quiet periods for residents under the flight path and watering down plans for an independent aviation noise watchdog.

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Full Times article at  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heathrow-flight-ban-dismissed-as-a-sham-f2kk9ppkk

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The Financial Times

 

MPs criticise government over Heathrow air quality

No proof that new runway will satisfy emission limits, claims report

by Robert Wright, Transport Correspondent (FT)

23.2.2017

[Some extracts below ….]

The government’s decision to push ahead with a consultation on plans for a third runway at the airport means there has been no time for a comprehensive reappraisal of the emissions projections, according to the report. The original projections were drawn up before new evidence, including the Volkswagen emissions scandal, showed diesel vehicles’ emissions were far higher than previously recognised.

The government looks set to increase aviation’s projected share of future carbon emissions to facilitate Heathrow’s expansion and has also said it might ignore official advice from the Committee on Climate Change, which advises ministers on environmental issues.

“Worryingly, the government looks set to water down the limits on aviation emissions recommended by its own climate change advisers,” Ms Creagh said. “That would mean other sectors of the economy, like energy and industry, having to cut their carbon emissions even deeper and faster.”

Full FT article at   https://www.ft.com/content/1e99e51a-f8ee-11e6-bd4e-68d53499ed71

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Read more »

New EAC report highly critical of government lack on clarity on aircraft noise targets

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances on noise targets and its low level of ambition in limiting noise in future. The EAC says: “We are concerned that the Government’s National Policy Statement has provided no further clarity on how predictable respite will be achieved or on the specific timings of a night flight ban.” … “The Government must carry out further work on respite which should form part of the NPS process, alongside plans for a live timetable of respite to be published beginning when the new runway is operational. We welcome the Government’s commitment to a 6.5 hour night flight ban. … it would appear inconsistent to reject its key recommendation on the precise timing of a night flight ban.” … and …”The stated goal of “fewer people […] affected by noise from Heathrow by 2030 than are today” shows a lack of ambition. Without Heathrow expansion, local communities would have seen a decrease in aircraft noise as new technology and airspace management techniques were developed.” … and “We are concerned with the inconsistency of the metrics used to measure noise attitudes. The Government has recognised that the level of significant annoyance has reduced and the number effected increased, yet it bases its conclusions on the out of date 57 dB LAeq 16hr contour.”  And much more.
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New EAC report  Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise Seventh Report of Session 2016–17

23.2.2017

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) in the House of Commons has been a key means of holding the DfT, Heathrow and the government to account on the environmental impacts of aviation expansion.

There are reports and associated evidence on all its inquiries, on the EAC website.

In November 2015 the EAC published an interim report on the Airports Commission’s recommendation for airport expansion in the South East of England. In October 2016 the Government announced its support for a third runway at Heathrow, in line with the Commission’s recommendation. The Government has since published a draft Airports National Policy Statement.

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report.  It deals with air pollution (including surface access), carbon emissions and noise.

The EAC heard oral evidence from Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, and Caroline Low of the DfT, on 30th November 2015.

In the summary of the new report, the EAC say:

“We have seen little evidence so far of the “step change” in the Government’s approach to environmental mitigation which we called for in our interim report. To inform the National Policy Statement process, the Government needs to set out new modelling on air quality following the High Court’s latest ruling and a new approach to air quality post 2019; an emissions reduction strategy that will allow the UK’s carbon budgets to be met and effective noise mitigation measures enforced by an Independent Aviation Noise Authority. The Government must not allow our air quality standards to be watered down as a result of leaving the EU.”

Below are just the sections from the February 2017 EAC report on noise

 

The Airports Commission Report Follow-up: Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise Seventh Report of Session 2016–17

23.2.2017

Noise

The Government needs to set out effective noise mitigation measures enforced by an Independent Aviation Noise Authority.  In order to minimise the impacts for local communities, the Government must follow the Airports Commission’s recommendations on providing predictable respite and the timing of a night flight ban. The Government’s noise targets should be more ambitious and be assessed against the projected impact of a two-runway airport as well as the position today. The need for an authoritative Independent Aviation Noise Authority remains clear.


There is a long section on noise – too long to copy here.

It can be seen at https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvaud/840/84007.htm#_idTextAnchor043

Conclusions

86.

The stated goal of “fewer people […] affected by noise from Heathrow by 2030 than are today” shows a lack of ambition. Without Heathrow expansion, local communities would have seen a decrease in aircraft noise as new technology and airspace management techniques were developed. A number of scenarios in the Airports Commission’s technical report showed that an expanded Heathrow in 2030 could be quieter than a two runway airport at the same time. The Government and Heathrow have argued three runways will allow the airport to manage its airspace more efficiently. The NPS does not clearly lay out the nature of the legally binding noise targets and it only compares an expanded airport in 2030 with noise levels today, it does not compare noise levels in 2030 with a two-runway airport at the same time. The Government should publish a comparison between projected three and two-runway noise levels in 2030 as well as with noise levels now. The Government and Heathrow should work towards a goal of less noise than a two runway Heathrow would create in 2030.

87.

The Government has argued that, with more effective use of airspace and new technology and operational techniques, noise levels will fall. There is a trade-off between carbon emissions reduction and noise reduction. The Government should work with the sector and public to set its priorities. If the Government plans to rely on future technical improvement to reduce noise impacts, then it must provide the aviation industry with support by setting a clear strategic direction for the industry and guarantee policy certainty for investment.

and

105.

The importance of the Government’s proposed Independent Aviation Noise Authority is demonstrated by the lack of ambitious noise targets and the necessity for a body to enforce the mitigation and compensation measures proposed by the Government and Heathrow. We are concerned that the Government has downgraded the proposed Independent Aviation Noise Authority to an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise. The proposed structure and role of this body would prevent it from having an authoritative role, and may raise questions about whether it is truly independent and credible. The Government must create an Independent Aviation Noise Authority with an independent chair, the ability to enforce its policy recommendations and the remit to monitor and enforce Heathrow’s commitments to provide respite, including the live timetable; its compliance with night flight scheduling; and the schedule and investment timetable for rolling out the promised noise insulation.

106.

We are concerned with the inconsistency of the metrics used to measure noise attitudes. The Government has recognised that the level of significant annoyance has reduced and the number effected increased, yet it bases its conclusions on the out of date 57 dB LAeq 16hr contour. The Government must ensure that the NPS process is informed by the most up-to-date noise metrics, in light of the Attitudes to Noise Survey we expect the Government to consider 54 dB LAeq 16hr as the onset of significant annoyance.

107.

We continue to support the Airports Commission in its recommendation of a Community Engagement Board, but emphasise that this body must have real influence and act as a bridge between the airport and communities during the NPS process. We question whether Heathrow’s 20 year timetable for rolling out noise insulation is reasonable. We believe that communities affected by noise in 2026 should not have to wait 20 years for insulation.


Conclusions and recommendations

Noise

18. We are concerned that the Government’s National Policy Statement has provided no further clarity on how predictable respite will be achieved or on the specific timings of a night flight ban. (Paragraph 72)

19. The Government must carry out further work on respite which should form part of the NPS process, alongside plans for a live timetable of respite to be published beginning when the new runway is operational. We welcome the Government’s commitment to a 6.5 hour night flight ban. However as the Government’s case for expansion has relied heavily on the Airports Commission’s work; it would appear inconsistent to reject its key recommendation on the precise timing of a night flight ban. The Government must consider this recommendation alongside consideration of the health aspects caused to residents, in line with the requirements of EU Directive 598/2014. (Paragraph 72)

20. The stated goal of “fewer people […] affected by noise from Heathrow by 2030 than are today” shows a lack of ambition. Without Heathrow expansion, local communities would have seen a decrease in aircraft noise as new technology and airspace management techniques were developed. A number of scenarios in the Airports Commission’s technical report showed that an expanded Heathrow in 2030 could be quieter than a two runway airport at the same time. The Government and Heathrow have argued three runways will allow the airport to manage its airspace more efficiently. The NPS does not clearly lay out the nature of the legally binding noise targets and it only compares an expanded airport in 2030 with noise levels today, it does not compare noise levels in 2030 with a two-runway airport at the same time. (Paragraph 86)

21. The Government should publish a comparison between projected three and two runway noise levels in 2030 as well as with noise levels now. The Government and Heathrow should work towards a goal of less noise than a two runway Heathrow would create in 2030. (Paragraph 86)

22. The Government has argued that, with more effective use of airspace and new technology and operational techniques, noise levels will fall. There is a trade-off between carbon emissions reduction and noise reduction. (Paragraph 87)

23. The Government should work with the sector and public to set its priorities. If the Government plans to rely on future technical improvement to reduce noise impacts, then it must provide the aviation industry with support by setting a clear strategic direction for the industry and guarantee policy certainty for investment. (Paragraph 87)

24. The importance of the Government’s proposed Independent Aviation Noise Authority is demonstrated by the lack of ambitious noise targets and the necessity for a body to enforce the mitigation and compensation measures proposed by the Government and Heathrow. We are concerned that the Government has downgraded the proposed Independent Aviation Noise Authority to an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise. The proposed structure and role of this body would prevent it from having an authoritative role, and may raise questions about whether it is truly independent and credible. (Paragraph 105)

25. The Government must create an Independent Aviation Noise Authority with an independent chair, the ability to enforce its policy recommendations and the remit to monitor and enforce Heathrow’s commitments to provide respite, including the live timetable; its compliance with night flight scheduling; and the schedule and investment timetable for rolling out the promised noise insulation. (Paragraph 105)

26. We are concerned with the inconsistency of the metrics used to measure noise attitudes. The Government has recognised that the level of significant annoyance has reduced and the number effected increased, yet it bases its conclusions on the out of date 57 dB LAeq 16hr contour. (Paragraph 106)

27. The Government must ensure that the NPS process is informed by the most up-to-date noise metrics, in light of the Attitudes to Noise Survey we expect the Government to consider 54 dB LAeq 16hr as the onset of significant annoyance. (Paragraph 106)

28. We continue to support the Airports Commission in its recommendation of a Community Engagement Board, but emphasise that this body must have real influence and act as a bridge between the airport and communities during the NPS process. We question whether Heathrow’s 20 year timetable for rolling out noise insulation is reasonable. We believe that communities affected by noise in 2026 should not have to wait 20 years for insulation. (Paragraph 107)

see  https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvaud/840/84008.htm


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See the EAC report 


The Environmental Audit Committee, chaired by Mary Creagh, heard oral evidence from Chris Grayling, and Caroline Low (Dft) on 30th November.

“The Airports Commission Report: Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise, HC 840 Wednesday 30 November 2016

Members present: Mary Creagh (Chair); Peter Aldous; Caroline Ansell; Glyn Davies; Caroline Lucas; Mr Gavin Shuker.

Questions 1 – 133 Witnesses: Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, and Caroline Low, Director of Airport Capacity, Department for Transport.

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/environmental-audit-committee/the-airports-commission-reportcarbon-emissionsair-quality-and-noise/oral/44113.pdf

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New EAC report says government must provide clarity about its intentions on Heathrow CO2 emissions

The EAC has now published a follow up report to its November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances that the runway will meet carbon limits. The EAC says: “The Government claims that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within “the UK’s climate change obligations”. The Government has not set out what it means by “obligations”, let alone how it will meet them. It has not decided whether to accept the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation on limiting emissions from international aviation. It has not decided on whether to follow the CCC’s advice on offsetting. The Airports Commission told us the appropriate body to make recommendations on managing aviation emissions is the CCC. It would not be a credible position for the Government to claim that it can deliver Heathrow expansion within emissions limits whilst rejecting independent advice as to what those limits should be and how they should be met.” … The EAC says though Chris Grayling said told them the Government had not decided whether it intended to work towards the planning assumption [of limiting UK aviation to 37.5MtCO2 by 2050], when asked if he “had consulted other Ministers or sectors over the higher emissions reductions that they might be required to make if the planning assumption was not met. He said he had not yet done so.” And much more ….
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New EAC report  Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise Seventh Report of Session 2016–17

23.2.2017

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) in the House of Commons has been a key means of holding the DfT, Heathrow and the government to account on the environmental impacts of aviation expansion.

There are reports and associated evidence on all its inquiries, on the EAC website.

In November 2015 the EAC published an interim report on the Airports Commission’s recommendation for airport expansion in the South East of England. In October 2016 the Government announced its support for a third runway at Heathrow, in line with the Commission’s recommendation. The Government has since published a draft Airports National Policy Statement.

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report.  It deals with air pollution (including surface access), carbon emissions and noise.

The EAC heard oral evidence from Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, and Caroline Low of the DfT, on 30th November 2015.

In the summary of the new report, the EAC say:

“We have seen little evidence so far of the “step change” in the Government’s approach to environmental mitigation which we called for in our interim report. To inform the National Policy Statement process, the Government needs to set out new modelling on air quality following the High Court’s latest ruling and a new approach to air quality post 2019; an emissions reduction strategy that will allow the UK’s carbon budgets to be met and effective noise mitigation measures enforced by an Independent Aviation Noise Authority. The Government must not allow our air quality standards to be watered down as a result of leaving the EU.”

Below are just the sections from the February 2017 EAC report on carbon emissions 

 

The Airports Commission Report Follow-up: Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise Seventh Report of Session 2016–17

23.2.2017

Carbon emissions

There has been no clarity from the Government on carbon emissions. The Government’s headline cost-benefit analysis for Heathrow expansion is based on a hypothetical international framework to reduce emissions which would leave international aviation emissions 15% higher than the level assumed in the Fifth Carbon Budget (2028–2033).

The Government has said Heathrow “can” be delivered within emissions limits but it hasn’t decided or stated what these limits are. It is considering rejecting the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on the limits that should be adhered to and the level of passenger demand which is compatible with those limits. The Government’s revised aviation strategy must set out its approach to reducing emissions, the target it will work to and the measures it will take to close the policy gap between where we currently are and where we will need to be in each carbon budget period to 2050. If the Government does reject the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on aviation emissions it should  set out clearly the resulting additional emissions reduction requirements on other sectors of the economy and the resulting costs to those sectors. These assumptions should be tested with industry and subjected to independent scrutiny by the Committee on Climate Change.

Background

46.

In our interim report, we examined the Airports Commission’s analysis of the potential impact of differing carbon policies on the viability of expanding airport capacity in the South East of England. By far the largest climate change impacts come from additional international flights, we have therefore focused on these rather than the mitigation measures proposed in relation to construction and operation.64 We found a significant policy gap between aviation emissions policy as it stood and the measures modelled by the Commission. We noted that, whilst the Airports Commission had modelled various carbon policy scenarios,65 it had not made recommendations on how emissions should be managed. The former Commissioners argued this was for the Committee on Climate Change. We recommended that the Government’s decision on airport expansion should be accompanied by a package of measures to demonstrate a commitment to bringing emissions from international aviation within the economy-wide target set by the Climate Change Act 2008.66

47.

Since our interim report, the Government has legislated for the Fifth Carbon Budget,67 which starts in 2028, but is yet to publish its plan for meeting the Budget. The International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) has also agreed a Global Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme (CORSIA).68 The UK has indicated it will participate from the beginning of the scheme in 2021.69

48.In announcing the Government’s decision, the Secretary of State for Transport said “it [Heathrow expansion] can be delivered within carbon […] limits”.70 The draft National Policy Statement document repeats this claim–acknowledging that the Heathrow additional runway scheme generates the most additional CO2, but stating this was not considered a differentiating factor between schemes because “The Airports Commission concluded that any one of the three shortlisted schemes could be delivered within the UK’s climate change obligations, as well as showing that a mix of policy measures and technologies could be employed to meet the Committee of [sic.] Climate Change’s planning assumption”.71 The Government has said it will update its aviation strategy—including on carbon emissions—later this year.72

International Aviation and the Climate Change Act 2008

49.

As set out in our interim report, the Committee on Climate Change and Government are required by the Climate Change Act 2008 to take international aviation emissions into account when setting carbon budgets.73 To do this, the Committee on Climate Change includes “an appropriate planning assumption” into carbon budgets for the purposes of setting contributions from other sectors. This assumes that UK gross74international aviation emissions will be no more than 2005 levels—37.5 MtCO2—in 2050. This is in line with a target set by the then-Government in 2009 and has been described by the CCC as consistent with passenger growth of around 60% over the 2005–2050 period.75 This is less than the carbon reduction targets set for other sectors, such as energy or industry, reflecting the technical challenges of developing non-fossil fuel alternatives for aviation fuel.76

50.

The status of the planning assumption in relation to Government policy has been the source of some confusion during our inquiry. The Secretary of State told us “there is no law of the land that requires us to meet any particular [international aviation emissions reduction] target” and pointed out that the Climate Change Act 2008 does not require international aviation to be included in the carbon budgets.77 However, the planning assumption played a key role in the Airports Commission’s report and was perceived by some of our witnesses, including Heathrow Ltd. itself, to be a Government target.78

51.

The aviation industry also has its own emissions reductions targets, although they are less ambitious than the CCC’s planning assumption which was used by the Government when legislating for the Fifth Carbon Budget. The ICAO agreement aims at a “global aspirational goal of keeping the global net CO2 emissions from international aviation from 2020 at the same level”. The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) have set out a number of ways in which it falls short of meeting the planning assumption and, as we set out below, it assumes carbon prices lower than those assumed under the Airports Commission’s carbon-traded model.79 Sustainable Aviation published a “CO2 Road Map” in 2012 which aimed to show how the UK aviation industry could “accommodate significant growth to 2050 without a substantial increase in absolute CO2emissions” and reduce net levels to 50% of 2005 levels through internationally agreed carbon trading.80 The planning assumption requires reductions in actual emissions to 2005 levels, as opposed to calculating net emissions after the operation of a carbon trading system, which both the ICAO and Sustainable Aviation focus on.81

52.

Whilst international aviation is not yet included in carbon budgets, other sectors’ contributions have been calculated assuming that the planning assumption for international aviation will be met by 2050. This point was made in a letter from the Chairman of the CCC, Lord Deben, to the Secretary of State for BEIS, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, following the Government’s announcement on Heathrow. Lord Deben noted that the Government’s headline analysis of the costs and benefits of expansion in its announcement on expansion was based on modelling which assumed the planning assumption would be exceeded by 15% in 2050. Lord Deben observed that exceeding the planning assumption would result in other sectors having to make deeper reductions in their emissions. He said the CCC has “limited confidence” that such reductions could be achieved.82 We also note that the modelling used by the Airports Commission in this scenario assumes the UK’s continued participation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme up to 2030.

53.

The Government intends to set out further details about its approach to aviation emissions in a series of documents to be published later this year.83 Caroline Low said the Government would be looking to put “flesh on the bones” of the Airports Commission’s carbon sensitivity model.84 The Government argued this analysis demonstrates it is possible to meet the planning assumption with a higher rate of passenger growth—80% between 2005 and 2050—than the CCC believes is compatible.85 The Secretary of State said that three elements would make this possible: improvements in aircraft efficiency, biofuels (which the Government has just launched a consultation on) and the ICAO agreement on offsetting.86 In our interim report we noted that current Government policy fell short of meeting some of the assumptions modelled by the Commission in these areas alongside concerns that some of these may not be achievable practically or politically.87

54.

Although the Secretary of State argued that the Airports Commission Report showed it was possible to deliver Heathrow expansion and additional passenger growth whilst still meeting the planning assumption, he did not say that this was necessarily the Government’s intention. He told us that the Government had not decided whether it intended to work towards the planning assumption.88 Nor had the Government decided whether to work towards a target of reducing actual aviation emissions (as recommended by the CCC) or one of reducing net emissions (which would count offset emissions as a reduction).89 We asked whether he had consulted other Ministers or sectors over the higher emissions reductions that they might be required to make if the planning assumption was not met. He said he had not yet done so.90

55.

In its draft National Policy Statement, the Government states that the Airports Commission Report showed “that a mix of policy measures and technologies could be employed to meet the Committee of Climate Change’s [sic.] planning assumption”.91 In our interim report, we identified a “policy gap” between the theoretical measures modelled by the Airports Commission to control aviation emissions and current policy.92 The AEF, in their supplementary evidence, argued that the Government had tacitly accepted the existence of a policy gap in their announcement and had decided to dispense with the planning assumption rather than try to meet it.93 The Secretary of State denied that such a gap existed—citing the Airports Commission’s work and the measures discussed above.94 The draft National Policy Statement states that Heathrow Airport will be expected to take “ambitious measures” to limit carbon emissions, however, as discussed earlier, the main generator of CO2 will be through flights themselves.95

56.

As an example, we asked the Secretary of State about carbon prices. The ICAO envisages a carbon price of between $12 and $40 per tonne in 2035.96 The price modelled by the Commission for 2035—under the carbon-traded scenario which underpins the headline figures in the Government’s announcement and which would miss the planning assumption by 15% in 2050—was £101 per tonne.97 For other scenarios, particularly the carbon-capped scenario in which the planning assumption is met—the price modelled by the Commission was higher.98 We note the uncertainty in carbon price forecasts, and that the price of an emissions allowance in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme was around €4.60 when this report was produced. In our interim report we remarked that these “give an indication of the scale of intervention likely to be required” to meet the CCC’s planning assumption.99

57.

In our interim report we noted scepticism from some witnesses that future Governments would be likely to sign up to such prices, although Heathrow Ltd. were confident of their ability to prosper under them.100 In oral evidence, to the Committee in 2015, the former Commissioner, Professor Dame Julia King, agreed that the lower carbon prices–for the carbon traded model–were in line with CCC and Government modelling, but higher prices–those needed to meet the planning assumption–“are such high carbon prices that […] I do not think it is entirely sensible to regard them as in any way real carbon prices.”101 When asked if he could envisage carbon prices reaching those levels the Secretary of State said “The answer is we don’t know [but] the Airports Commission has taken some fairly prudent assessments on this.”102

Non-CO2 Emissions

58.

We asked the Secretary of State whether its upcoming aviation strategy would examine greenhouse gas emissions other than CO2. He said that non-CO2 emissions would be reduced alongside CO2, but “there is no clear scientific basis to look at other emissions and put those at the heart of our strategy”.103 The Assessment of Sustainability says that non-CO2 emissions “are likely to be up to two times the magnitude of the CO2 emissions themselves, but […] cannot be readily quantified due to the level of scientific uncertainty and therefore have not been assessed”.104

Conclusions

59.

The headline cost and benefits figures in the Government’s announcement on Heathrow and the draft National Policy Statement assume a black hole in the 2050 carbon budget that other sectors, such as energy or industry, would have to fill. It also assumes continued participation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme up to 2030, it is imperative that the UK remains within the EUTS or any future European emissions trading scheme. The Government has told us it intends to base its policy on another scenario which incorporates assumptions about the level of passenger demand compatible with managing emissions which are more optimistic than the Committee on Climate Change’s advice. The business case for Heathrow expansions must be assessed against a cost/benefit analysis which uses realistic carbon policy assumptions, in line with the Government’s aviation strategy, and takes account of the resulting impacts on other airports and other sectors of the economy. These must be the headline figures in future Government publications, including the final National Policy Statement.

60.

The Government claims that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within “the UK’s climate change obligations”. The Government has not set out what it means by “obligations”, let alone how it will meet them. It has not decided whether to accept the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation on limiting emissions from international aviation. It has not decided on whether to follow the CCC’s advice on offsetting. The Airports Commission told us the appropriate body to make recommendations on managing aviation emissions is the CCC. It would not be a credible position for the Government to claim that it can deliver Heathrow expansion within emissions limits whilst rejecting independent advice as to what those limits should be and how they should be met.

61.

The signing of the ICAO agreement is a necessary first step to reducing emissions from international aviation, but it is not sufficient in itself. The Government should reconfirm its intention to participate in this scheme from 2021, which is after the date when the Government intends to have formally completed leaving the EU, urge other major emitters, including the United States, to live up to their commitments to participate from the earliest possible date, and work towards strengthening the agreement during its review periods.

62.

Our interim report noted a significant policy gap between the modelling done by the Airports Commission and meeting the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on aviation emissions. The Committee on Climate Change has repeatedly urged the Government to draw up an emissions reduction strategy for aviation. The ICAO agreement means the Government no longer has any excuse not to do so. In the absence of concrete policy proposals from Government, we cannot assess whether the additional emissions from additional flights to and from Heathrow can be properly mitigated. Expanding Heathrow without drawing up such a strategy would, therefore, be putting the cart before the horse.

63.

The Government’s aviation strategy should be integrated with the cross-Government emissions reduction plan. It should set out costed policies to either meet the Committee on Climate Change’s planning assumption or to make up the shortfall from other sectors. This decision will have to take account of the limited progress towards decarbonisation outside the energy sector and the likely additional climate change impact of some non-CO2 emissions. Where the Government makes assumptions that are more optimistic than the Committee on Climate Change’s advice it should subject those assumptions to independent scrutiny from industry and the CCC and, if necessary, revise its plans accordingly. This strategy should be available well before the end of the scrutiny period for the draft National Policy Statement and consultation on it should be completed before the National Policy Statement is finalised.


Conclusions and recommendations document at 

https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvaud/840/84008.htm

Carbon Emissions

9. We reiterate that we foresee legal and commercial risks down the line if clear responsibilities and accountability for meeting air quality targets are not set out at the beginning of the process. For example, Heathrow have said there will be “no more cars on the road” as a result of expansion. (Paragraph 45)

10. There needs to be clarity over how this pledge will be delivered and monitored, the consequences if it is not met and the implications of that for local authorities’ responsibilities to deliver air quality compliance. (Paragraph 45)

11. The headline cost and benefits figures in the Government’s announcement on Heathrow and the draft National Policy Statement assume a black hole in the 2050 carbon budget that other sectors, such as energy or industry, would have to fill. It also assumes continued participation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme up to 2030, it is imperative that the UK remains within the EUTS or any future European emissions trading scheme. The Government has told us it intends to base its policy on another scenario which incorporates assumptions about the level of passenger demand compatible with managing emissions which are more optimistic than the Committee on Climate Change’s advice. (Paragraph 59)

12. The business case for Heathrow expansions must be assessed against a cost/benefit analysis which uses realistic carbon policy assumptions, in line with the Government’s aviation strategy, and takes account of the resulting impacts on other airports and other sectors of the economy. These must be the headline figures in future Government publications, including the final National Policy Statement. (Paragraph 59)

13. The Government claims that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within “the UK’s climate change obligations”. The Government has not set out what it means by “obligations”, let alone how it will meet them. It has not decided whether to accept the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation on limiting emissions from international aviation. It has not decided on whether to follow the CCC’s advice on offsetting. The Airports Commission told us the appropriate body to make recommendations on managing aviation emissions is the CCC. It would not be a credible position for the Government to claim that it can deliver Heathrow expansion within emissions limits whilst rejecting independent advice as to what those limits should be and how they should be met. (Paragraph 60)

14. The signing of the ICAO agreement is a necessary first step to reducing emissions from international aviation, but it is not sufficient in itself. (Paragraph 61)

15. The Government should reconfirm its intention to participate in this scheme from 2021, which is after the date when the Government intends to have formally completed leaving the EU, urge other major emitters, including the United States, to live up to their commitments to participate from the earliest possible date, and work towards strengthening the agreement during its review periods. (Paragraph 61)

16. Our interim report noted a significant policy gap between the modelling done by the Airports Commission and meeting the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on aviation emissions. The Committee on Climate Change has repeatedly urged the Government to draw up an emissions reduction strategy for aviation. The ICAO agreement means the Government no longer has any excuse not to do so. In the absence of concrete policy proposals from Government, we cannot assess whether the additional emissions from additional flights to and from Heathrow can be properly mitigated. Expanding Heathrow without drawing up such a strategy would, therefore, be putting the cart before the horse. (Paragraph 62)

17. The Government’s aviation strategy should be integrated with the cross-Government emissions reduction plan. It should set out costed policies to either meet the Committee on Climate Change’s planning assumption or to make up the shortfall from other sectors. This decision will have to take account of the limited progress towards decarbonisation outside the energy sector and the likely additional climate change impact of some non-CO2 emissions. Where the Government makes assumptions that are more optimistic than the Committee on Climate Change’s advice it should subject those assumptions to independent scrutiny from industry and the CCC and, if necessary, revise its plans accordingly. This strategy should be available well before the end of the scrutiny period for the draft National Policy Statement and consultation on it should be completed before the National Policy Statement is finalised. (Paragraph 63)


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See the EAC report 


The Environmental Audit Committee, chaired by Mary Creagh, heard oral evidence from Chris Grayling, and Caroline Low (Dft) on 30th November.

“The Airports Commission Report: Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise, HC 840 Wednesday 30 November 2016

Members present: Mary Creagh (Chair); Peter Aldous; Caroline Ansell; Glyn Davies; Caroline Lucas; Mr Gavin Shuker.

Questions 1 – 133 Witnesses: Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, and Caroline Low, Director of Airport Capacity, Department for Transport.

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/environmental-audit-committee/the-airports-commission-reportcarbon-emissionsair-quality-and-noise/oral/44113.pdf

 

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