Spelthorne Council has been a backer of Heathrow expansion for some time, as has its MP, Kwasi Kwateng. Now the council has set out a list of 10 demands from Heathrow, if there is a 3rd runway, n its response to its recent consultation. These include a requirement that residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell join the Wider Property Offer Zone (WPOZ) and that no immigration centre is built in the borough. They want to “secure the best possible outcomes for our residents and businesses, in particular those most affected in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell.” Some of the demands are that residents will be able to either stay in the area or sell their homes to Heathrow for 125% their market value. Also that Heathrow will pay for the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone across Stanwell and Stanwell Moor, so residents would not have to pay for a fee for their annual parking permit. The Council wants community legacy benefits so Heathrow will “fully mitigate and compensate for the disruption, loss of open space, additional traffic, air quality and noise impacts, and removal of community buildings.” They want Heathrow to build an “enhanced multi-purpose community hall” and a new leisure centre for the community. And demands on surface access, noise, air quality, Staines Moor and much else besides.
Spelthorne makes list of demands for Heathrow airport to agree to before planned expansion
Among them is a “requirement” that no immigration centre is built in the borough as part of the airport expansion
By Matthew Lodge (Get Surrey)
16th APR 2018
A list of demands has been published by Spelthorne Borough Council in response to the proposed Heathrow expansion.
Before the airport’s consultation period ended on March 28, the council published what it describes as a “list of requirements” that it will seek assurances on.
Its report includes a list of 10 requirements they believe the airport should meet if the expansion goes ahead.
The list includes many things including a requirement that residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell join the Wider Property Offer Zone and that no immigration centre is built in the borough.
Councillor Ian Harvey, leader of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: “While we support Heathrow expansion in principle, Spelthorne’s primary aim must be to secure the best possible outcomes for our residents and businesses, in particular those most affected in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell.
“Residents need reassurance that Heathrow will fully meet any pledges made to minimise the impacts of whatever scheme is taken forward, and to know that they are going to be properly compensated.”
A spokesman for Heathrow said: “We welcome the feedback from Spelthorne Council on our emerging options for the future development of the airport.
“We meet regularly with the council and will continue to work constructively with them on local issues and find ways that we can help to improve the area and minimise negative impacts from our current and future operations.”
Whether the airport will agree to everything on the list remains to be seen, but in the meantime you can see it in its entirety below:
1. Expanded Wider Property Offer Zone (WPOZ)
There have been calls from residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell to be included in the WPOZ, which the council has now backed.
If included in the WPOZ, residents would be able to either stay in the area or sell their homes to Heathrow for 125% their market value.
The report states the council believes the WPOZ should be extended to include all of Stanwell Moor and all of Stanwell lying north of Clyde Road, Explorer Avenue and Ravensbourne Avenue.
This will be welcome news to supporters of the Sell to Heathrow campaign, which already has the support of local MP Kwasi Kwarteng.
2. Parking controls
Under the expansion proposals, there would be a significant increase in the amount of traffic movement to the south and west of the airport.
The council is asking the airport to pay for the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone across Stanwell and Stanwell Moor.
This would mean residents would not have to pay for a fee for their annual parking permit.
There have been problems with taxis parking in the villages while waiting to pick up passengers from the airport, something the report says “has caused antisocial behaviour” and stopped residents being able to park in their homes.
3. Community legacy benefits
The council believes that residents in Stanwell Moor and Stanwell should be compensated for the impact expansion will have on their lives.
It says it expects Heathrow to “fully mitigate and compensate for the disruption, loss of open space, additional traffic, air quality and noise impacts, and removal of community buildings.”
The council wants the airport to build an “enhanced multi-purpose community hall” for Stanwell Moor and Stanwell Village, while at the same time building a new leisure centre for the community.
Among other things, the council says the airport should provide perimeter paths for buggy walks, disabled cycling, safe cycling for young children and beginners jogging.
It says that all this and more should be put in place before the expansion goes ahead as a mark of the airport’s commitment to the community.
4. No Immigration Removal Centres
It is proposed in the plans that a site near Stanwell Moor could become the new home of the relocated Immigration Removal Centre.
This has caused much concern among local residents, who are concerned about the affect it would have on the area.
The council has come out strongly against this, stating “this is a totally unacceptable use of the site” and that they “object in the strongest possible terms to its relocation here”.
It has also asked about whether the “host” council of the centre would face obligations rehousing those who have left the centre.
5. Surface access/public transport
The council, much like the Commons Transport Select Committee, has expressed concerns about whether the current surface access proposals are suitable for the increased traffic flow to the airport.
In the report it asks for Heathrow to commit to funding public transport from Stanwell Moor and Stanwell to the airport, and support the borough in its quest to join Zone 6 of the London Transport Oyster Card operating zone.
It also asks that the airport backs a proposal that would see a light railway built that could take people to the airport from Staines town centre.
6. Air Quality
The effect the expansion would have on air quality in the communities surrounding the airport has caused a lot of concern to many people.
The council says that even if air quality falls within legal limits, assessments will still need to consider the health effects on the local population.
The airport is asked to commit to “continuous improvement in local air quality and at the very worst air quality should be no worse for our residents than it is now”.
The council acknowledges the large impact noise from the airport has on residents who live near the airport.
The report states it is expected that noise levels are kept below 51 decibels by the implementation of an “ongoing and challenging programme of continuous improvement to reduce the noise footprint of Heathrow”.
The council also says it would “strongly resist” any intention to increase runway capacity after the third runway is completed if it can’t be proven “such a proposal would cause ‘no worsening of the noise environment’ or ‘no reduction in the respite period'”.
It says there must be a continuous noise monitoring system in place to make sure noise problems do not develop over time as technology changes and if it does, it is identified as the earliest opportunity.
8. Night flights banned
Spelthorne Borough Council says there should be strict penalties for any breaches of this ban and that any money recouped from this must be put back into the communities affected.
It is also concerned by the timings of the night ban suggested by Heathrow, saying it is “clearly commercially driven”.
The council wants to see planes gain as much altitude as quickly as possible, and the removal of the “stacking” arrangements that prevents this from happening at the moment.
9. Borough Boundary
The council would like it to be made absolutely clear that Heathrow will not push for boundary change in the local authority.
A boundary change could mean the airport falls out of the jurisdiction of Spelthorne Borough Council and into another.
Any other local authority would “have no interest in protecting and supporting our communities”, the council says.
The borough council also wants to receive a “significantly increased proportion of the business rates generated by the wider expanded airport” as restitution for the impacts it will bring.
10. Staines Moor
Among the proposals for the expansion, there are plans that could involve disturbing Staines Moor, which is a designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The council, concerned about the effect expansion could have on this area which has “huge floral and invertebrate diversity”.
It believes it is “essential” that if the River Colne, which flows through the area, has to be diverted, it must be done in a way that keeps the flow and character of the river “unaltered” on the moor.
and there are more links to other local stories relating to Heathrow at the link above ….
Spelthorne Council Leader admits Heathrow expansion ‘not an easy issue’ while continuing support for 3rd runway, not in his constituency
Support for the expansion of Heathrow has been reaffirmed by Spelthorne Borough Council. The decision to maintain its stance, held since 2008, when the authority withdrew from the 2M group of councils including Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon who opposed Heathrow expansion, was made at an extraordinary council meeting on January 16th. The meeting was called following the publication of the Airports Commission interim report on 17th December, short-listing 2 runway options at Heathrow. for an extended northern runway and the airport’s own plan of demolishing medieval villages to the north to build a third runway. Heathrow’s own proposal is for a runway to the north-west, which does not affect Spelthorne (to the south) very much. It would mean demolition of Harmodsworth, or making it near impossible to live in. Spelthorne Council leader Robert Watts said: “Expanding airports is challenging. …. This is not an easy issue.” Spelthorne has always supported Heathrow expansion. In 2012 their own MP even advocated demolishing part of his borough, to build a runway – till he realised it was not a local vote-winner.
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The Queen and Sir David Attenborough, were recording for a programme in Windsor. Their genial chatter was marred by the overhead din of aircraft or helicopters. The Queen could not contain her irritation. “Why do they go round and round when you want to talk?” she pondered aloud. Poking fun at the noisy aircraft favoured by US leaders, she joked: “Sounds like President Trump or President Obama.” It is not the first time the monarch has expressed frustration about living under a flight path. Last year, she bemoaned the increasing “noise from the air” that disturbs the peace when she is enjoying the gardens at Frogmore House in Windsor. “These days there is more noise from the air than in 1867, but Frogmore remains a wonderfully relaxing environment.” Heathrow airport is barely a seven mile drive from Frogmore House and its flight path passes very close to the royal retreat. It was suggested in 2015 that the monarch could receive millions of pounds in compensation to soundproof Windsor Castle due to the noise of planes from an expanded Heathrow.
Queen jokes that noisy plane ‘sounds like President Trump’ during cordial chat with Sir David Attenborough
By Victoria Ward (Telegraph)
10 APRIL 2018
In any other circumstance, two 91-year-olds strolling slowly around a garden, complaining about the prevalence of noisy aircraft would hardly be of note.
But when that elderly couple happens to be the Queen and Sir David Attenborough, old friends and undisputed national treasures, the nature of their conversation is rather more of interest.
As it happened, the pair’s genial chatter was marred by the aforesaid overhead din.
The Queen could not contain her irritation. “Why do they go round and round when you want to talk?” she pondered aloud.
Poking fun at the noisy aircraft favoured by US leaders, she joked: “Sounds like President Trump or President Obama.”
It is not the first time the monarch has expressed frustration about living under a flight path.
Last year, she bemoaned the increasing “noise from the air” that disturbs the peace when she is enjoying the gardens at Frogmore House in Windsor.
In a pre-recorded message, she told BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time: “I very much hope you have enjoyed visiting Frogmore House and garden, which holds a special place in my family affections.
“Indeed, I would echo the sentiments of Queen Victoria, who, 150 years ago, wrote of this dear lovely garden where all is peace and you only hear the gum of bees, the singing of the birds.
“These days there is more noise from the air than in 1867, but Frogmore remains a wonderfully relaxing environment.”
Heathrow airport is barely a seven mile drive from Frogmore House and its flight path passes very close to the royal retreat.
It was suggested in 2015 that the monarch could receive millions of pounds in compensation to soundproof Windsor Castle due to the noise of planes from an expanded Heathrow.
But aside from the noise pollution, the Queen and Sir David clearly revelled in each other’s company.
The pair, who were born just a month apart, had met after the former agreed to escort Sir David personally around the Buckingham Palace tree collection.
Their summer stroll was the culmination of a year’s filming that also involved her grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry, for the Queen’s Green Planet documentary, which follows the progress of a project known as the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, which aims to create a network of forests around the globe, second only in size to the Amazon rainforest.
Sir David admitted that despite their many previous meetings he was a little nervous about the garden walk because “all sorts of things could have gone wrong.”
“There were problems in that where the palace is, geographically, there are always police sirens and ambulance sirens that make filming difficult,” he told the Radio Times.
“But she took it all in her stride. It was a privilege of course, a very nice occasion — and she was very gracious. “She is very unsolemn, very good at putting people at their ease.”
At one point, the Queen teased Sir David because he was struggling to identify the nametags on two oak trees planted to celebrate the births of Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
“The truth was I couldn’t find my glasses,” he said.
The monarch also chuckled when Sir David pointed out a sundial “neatly planted in the shade”.
Asked how two nonagarians were still going strong, protecting the planet, he said: “We must be very lucky in our constitutions.
“There are very many virtuous people I can think of who can’t walk at my age, so it’s a matter of luck isn’t it?”
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Investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners is considering the sale of its 42% stake in Gatwick Airport, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It is believed that GIP plans to initially seek buyers for its stake among existing shareholders before reaching out to other potential buyers, but this is still speculation. It is not clear if any banks have been hired for the transaction, and GIP may change its mind. Representatives for GIP and Gatwick declined to comment. While GIP is the largest shareholder in the airport, its other owners include funds from Abu Dhabi, California and South Korea. GIP, which manages about $40 billion in assets, bought Gatwick with the consortium of investors in 2009 for about $2.5 billion. Gatwick handled 45.6 million passengers in 2017 and continues to lobby the UK government for permission to build a 2nd runway, to take trade away from Heathrow. GIP, founded in May 2006, manages assets ranging from ports and pipelines to multiple airports and a vast wind farm in the North Sea. Over 10 years, GIP has expanded its roster of backers to include some of the world’s biggest sovereign funds and various US pension funds.
GIP Considers Sale of Stake in Gatwick Airport
April 10, 2018, (Bloomberg)
Investment fund is seeking to offload its 42 percent stake
GIP bought London airport in 2009 with group of investors
Investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners is considering the sale of its 42 percent stake in London’s Gatwick Airport, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The fund plans to initially seek buyers for its stake among existing shareholders before reaching out to other potential suitors, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is confidential. Financial advisers have contacted New York-based GIP about a possible sale, though it isn’t clear if any banks have been hired, they said. No final decisions have been made and the fund may decide not to proceed with a transaction, the people said.
Representatives for GIP and Gatwick declined to comment. While GIP is the largest shareholder in the airport, its other owners include funds from Abu Dhabi, California and South Korea, according to its annual report.
GIP, which manages about $40 billion in assets, bought London’s second-busiest airport with the consortium of investors in 2009 for about $2.5 billion. Gatwick has been under pressure due to intensifying competition from at least two other airports in the city after Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, and Stansted, the biggest hub for Ryanair Holdings Plc, this year said they could add almost 30 million more passengers between them yearly without requiring extra runways.
Gatwick has a single landing strip and was able to handle 45.6 million passengers in 2017. Heathrow, which has been effectively full for a decade, is in the middle of a consultation period to add a third runway after getting the green light from Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration in 2016. Gatwick meanwhile is continuing to lobby the U.K. government for permission to also add another runway, with Chief Executive Officer Stewart Wingate saying in October that the airport would privately finance its own growth.
GIP, founded in May 2006, manages assets ranging from ports and pipelines to multiple airports and a vast wind farm in the North Sea. Over 10 years, GIP has expanded its roster of backers to include some of the world’s biggest sovereign funds and a slate of U.S. pensions.
— With assistance by Benjamin D Katz
Speculation grows that GIP and the consortium of Gatwick owners will sell the airport soon
Gatwick’s private equity owners have had a £175 million dividend as speculation mounts over a sale of the airport. The dividend, paid in October 2017, was up from £125m a year earlier and followed 6 months of rising passenger numbers and profits. Gatwick is owned by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and a consortium of investors, who bought it for £1.5 billion in 2009 from the former airports monopoly BAA. They have improved the airport, attracting more airlines, and now have 44 million annual air passengers. That has increased the value of the airport to an estimated £6 – £8 billion. GIP also owned London City airport, which they sold almost 2 years ago for over £2 billion, making a huge profit. City experts believe GIP is now looking to sell one or both of its 2 remaining UK airports, Gatwick and Edinburgh – or at least reduce its stake. A sale of Gatwick would be a vast profit. There is speculation that GIP would have sold Edinburgh earlier, but held back due to the German election and complications of Brexit. Gatwick is still keen to build a 2nd runway, but the government prefers a 3rd Heathrow runway. Consultations on that will continue in 2018, and Gatwick continues to press for its runway – as that would raise the selling price.
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Over 2 million people could be affected by noise from an expanded Heathrow according to secret documents obtained by campaigners. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had previously claimed in October 2016 that an expanded Heathrow (up to 50% more flights) would be quieter in 2030 than today. This claim (obviously ludicrous) was not repeated in the revised draft consultation on the Airports National Policy statement (NPS) published in October 2017. This predicted that 92,700 additional people in the area around Heathrow would be exposed to noise by 2030 as a consequence of the 3rd runway. Now, following an FOI request for the noise data contained in the CAA’s economic analysis, a new figure emerges of 972,957 households who would experience greater noise by 2060. This is the time frame for the full introduction of ‘quieter’ (= slightly less noisy) planes. Based on CAA assumptions on household size this figure is equivalent to 2.2 million people. The third runway, if approved, is expected to be fully open by 2028. At this point it is claimed that a maximum of 90% of the aircraft fleet would have been updated. This excludes many of the noisier four-engine planes. It is likely therefore that at this point the numbers of people experiencing increased noise would be significantly higher.
THIRD RUNWAY NOISE TO HIT OVER 2M PEOPLE
9.4.2018 (No 3rd Runway Coalition press release)
Over 2 million people could be affected by noise from an expanded Heathrow according to secret documents obtained by campaigners.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had previously claimed in October 2016 that an expanded Heathrow would be quieter in 2030 than today (1).
This claim was not repeated in the revised draft consultation on the airports national policy statement (NPS) published in October 2017. This predicted that 92,700 additional people in the area around Heathrow would be exposed to noise by 2030 as a consequence of the third runway (2).
Now following an FOI request for the noise data contained in the CAA’s economic analysis, a new figure emerges of 972,957 households who would experience greater noise by 2060. This is the time frame for the full introduction of ‘quieter’ planes (3).
Based on CAA assumptions on household size this figure is equivalent to 2.2 million people.
The third runway, if approved, is expected to be fully open by 2028. At this point it is claimed that a maximum of 90 per cent of the aircraft fleet would have been updated. This excludes many of the noisier four-engine planes. It is likely therefore that at this point the numbers of people experiencing increased noise would be significantly higher.
The detailed workings obtained from the CAA also show that within this figure there are 420,000 people who already suffer significant noise who would experience a doubling of flights overhead every day.
The 2.2 million figure is a best-case scenario. It relies on a flightpath strategy that aims to minimise the overall numbers affected. A different option which aimed to minimise the numbers newly affected by noise could increase the overall figure by 24% based on CAA calculations. (3)
Together with the noise from older planes that had not been replaced this could take the overall numbers affected to 3 million.
People’s real-life experience of noise is not reflected in the figures. The NPS proposes reducing the current half-day’s respite to one third. It also proposes that daytime flights should start every day at 0530 instead of 0600 currently.
The lack of information in the NPS on flight paths and the failure by the CAA to consider alternative flight path strategies makes it impossible for people to know if they will be affected and by how much.
Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:
“It has long been clear that the DfT have understated the numbers who will be impacted by an expanded Heathrow’s noise. Every analyst has pointed out that – by considering just one, and the most unrealistic flight path scenario – the figures were being massaged.
So, it’s hardly surprising to learn that these CAA calculations were not presented to the public and parliament. The DfT wish to conceal the true impact of expanding this highly disruptive airport, that sits at the heart of our country’s most densely populated region. And news of this concealment simply completes the narrative”.
John McDonnell MP said:
“As the true impact of expanding Heathrow is revealed, the more politicians are realising that it is a political costly and environmental liability for any political party that tries to force it through”
Zac Goldsmith MP said:
“It is astonishing that even while virtually every argument put forward in the Airports Commission and subsequently by Government to support the third runway has had to be abandoned or significantly revised, the Government’s position on the third runway has not altered one jot.
“The Government’s own figures show that Heathrow expansion is the most polluting, most expensive, least economically beneficial, and most difficult to deliver of the options. And now we learn that, disgracefully, the Government has deliberately downplayed the number of people who stand to be affected by noise.”
The CAA’s economic analysis, which uses the DfT’s webTAG appraisal model, was made available on January 31, 2018 following a Freedom of Information request (3).
- Chris Grayling, Statement to Parliament, 25 October 2016 https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/airport-capacity
- Appraisal of Sustainability, Revised NPS, October 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/654320/aos-revised-draft-airports-nps-non-technical-summary.pdf p. 22
- FOI https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aviation_policy_framework_metric_2#incoming-1104762
For more information – Rob Barnstone, 07806 947050; Robert.email@example.com
Official files show government expects 973,000 households to face increased daytime noise
More than 2 million people would be exposed to additional aircraft noise if Heathrow builds a third runway, according to a government analysis.
Ministers have argued that Britain’s biggest airport will affect fewer people with noise in future, due to quieter planes. But government calculations suggest a new runway would still have a negative impact on nearly a million households, or 2.2 million people.
Department for Transport documents, released by the Civil Aviation Authority after a freedom of information request, show the government expects 973,000 households around Heathrow to experience increased daytime noise by 2050 after a third runway is built.
It said 673,800 households affected by Heathrow’s two runways will experience less noise once expansion takes place, making a net 300,000 worse off.
The DfT work was carried out for a revised national policy statement published last year, which gives the green light to Heathrow expansion if approved by a parliamentary vote expected this summer.
Campaigners and parliamentary opponents of expansion accused the government of attempting to bury the figures.
Paul McGuinness, the chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “It has long been clear that the DfT have understated the numbers who will be impacted by an expanded Heathrow’s noise.
“So it’s hardly surprising to learn that these calculations were not presented to the public and parliament. The DfT wish to conceal the true impact of expanding this highly disruptive airport.”
According to the Heathrow anti-noise group Hacan, households in Heston, Osterley Park, Brentford and parts of Chiswick and Hammersmith would be brought directly under a new flight path.
When announcing the government’s backing for a third runway in 2016, the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, told the House of Commons: “Even with expansion, fewer people will be affected by aircraft noise than today.”
In February, he told the transport select committee: “If you look ahead 20 years, I expect an expanded Heathrow airport to be quieter than the existing two-runway airport.”
The policy statement acknowledged that 92,700 more people around Heathrow would by 2030 be affected by noise at levels recognised as causing disturbance, although it said the numbers would diminish as plane technology improved.
The DfT said increased noise would be addressed by home insulation and compensation. “We have been clear that expansion at Heathrow would not be allowed to proceed without a world-class package of compensation and mitigation measures for local communities,” a spokesperson said.
“This includes noise insulation for homes and community buildings and a community compensation fund worth up to £50m per year. We have consulted extensively on the options for airport expansion and will continue to engage with MPs and their communities as the proposals develop.”
Heathrow insisted fewer people would be affected by noise than at present, even with another runway. “We stand by our commitment to expand Heathrow while reducing the number of people affected by noise, compared to today. We are currently consulting with our local communities on airspace modernisation, which will redesign how planes fly over Heathrow in coming years,” a spokesperson said.
“Any future modelling of noise impacts must take into account these changes, as well as the stringent mitigation and insulation plans Heathrow will put in place, which will continue to reduce the number of people affected by our operations.”
The airport has managed to double passenger numbers and decrease its noise footprint in recent decades, as the oldest and loudest planes have been phased out. It expects to be held to a 6.5-hour night flight ban as a condition of building a third runway.
Airspace around Heathrow is also to be redesigned, which could see fewer newly affected households, although with 50% more flights, taking the total number to up to 740,000 a year, limiting additional flightpaths would concentrate the burden on areas that are already overflown.
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For a masterful summary (2 pages with all references) of the reasons why the UK government should not be persuaded into allowing a 3rd Heathrow runway, see this briefing by Sally Cairns and Carey Newson, from Transport for Quality of Life. They sum up all the ways in which the business case for the runway is flawed and the environmental case rests on hugely optimistic assumptions. They list these as: “planes will get cleaner and quieter at a faster rate than has previously been expected; cars and vans will also get dramatically cleaner; freight movements will somehow be optimised; the latest National Air Quality Plan will deliver all anticipated air quality improvements; the fledgling international aviation carbon offsetting scheme will generate a high enough carbon price; the national Aviation Strategy (not yet written) will come up with cost-effective mechanisms for constraining aviation emissions further; the new Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise will prove effective; a review of airspace (that has not taken place for over 40 years, as it is so controversial) will take place soon; HS2, Crossrail and the Piccadilly line upgrades will attract air passengers and airport staff in sufficiently large numbers; funding will be found for Western and Southern rail access; etc. It seems very unlikely that all of these will fall into place.”
Radical Transport Policy Two-Pager #2
Reality Check: Why politicians should reject the third runway
by Sally Cairns and Carey Newson (Transport for Quality of Life.com)
The business case for a third runway is flawed and the environmental case rests on hugely optimistic assumptions.
Given how long the debate about Heathrow expansion has worn on, it may be tempting for politicians to think “let’s just get on with it”. There is a danger that the sheer weight of paper generated, the time spent debating the issue, and the dogged persistence of the airport’s operator, which has spent £30m promoting its cause1 , now tips the scales towards development, whatever the social and environmental cost. But a third runway represents a very serious threat to the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of people living around the airport2 and could also compromise the UK’s ability to deliver on its climate change commitments3 . The decision should be the right one, not just the easiest.
Proponents of expansion argue that there is an urgent economic need for the runway; that mitigating measures will protect the health of those affected; and that we will still be able to meet our climate targets. Up close, however, these claims rest on a web of tenuous assumptions and highly optimistic predictions. And, although the House of Commons transport committee has just come out in favour of expansion 4 , the endless caveats to its judgment only highlight the huge uncertainties surrounding the scheme.
Take, first, the claim that we urgently need new capacity for business travellers. In practice, over the last ten years, the number of flights made for business at the UK’s five largest airports, including Heathrow, has not increased5 . Latest DfT forecasts also suggest that a new runway will make little difference to the number of flights taken for business across the UK in the future 6 .
Instead, the argument made is that business travellers will enjoy more services to key destinations, fewer delays, and (even) cheaper fares 7 . However, this is all subject to future business decisions made by the airport’s operator. The level of fares, for instance, depends on whether Heathrow avoids passing on costs of the new runway to its users – something the airlines are deeply sceptical about 8 , and one of many areas where the transport committee is now calling for safeguards. Meanwhile, although Heathrow’s hub status may enable it to offer services to more obscure places, there is no guarantee that flights will therefore go to emerging business destinations, rather than more lucrative holiday hotspots.
We might expect the Government’s economic assessment to tell us about the effects on UK-wide prosperity. However, the majority of calculated economic benefits for expansion come from adding together estimates of small reductions in journey times or fares for individual passengers. Making flying quicker and cheaper is not beneficial for ferry or rail operators, or thousands of UK businesses that depend on domestic tourism. In 2016, UK residents flying abroad for leisure spent £33.5bn, whilst overseas visitors flying here for leisure spent only £14.5bn – a deficit of £19bn 9 . This loss to the UK’s tourism economy is not even factored into the cost-benefit analysis of the third runway.
And latest Government forecasts also suggest that regional airports will lose out from expansion, since, with the third runway, they will have 17 million fewer passengers by 2050 than they would without it10 .
The validity of the case for expansion is further undermined by the sheer volatility of the figures presented. The maximum estimated benefits (over 60 years) have been repeatedly revised, from £211bn in 2014 11, down to £74bn in 2017 12. When the costs of the project are then added in, latest official figures show that, in some scenarios, the overall ‘net present value’ for the expansion is actually negative 13 .
Worse still, the environmental case for the runway relies on a series of hugely optimistic forecasts. In evidence to the transport committee, advocates of the runway argued that there will be no additional road traffic, that air quality will stay within legal limits, that noise impacts can be effectively managed, and that Climate Change Act requirements will not be breached.
However, this rests on the following assumptions:
- planes will get cleaner and quieter at a faster rate than has previously been expected 14,15;
- cars and vans will also get dramatically cleaner 16;
- freight movements will somehow be optimised 17;
- the latest National Air Quality Plan will deliver all anticipated air quality improvements 18;
- the fledgling international aviation carbon offsetting scheme will generate a high enough carbon price 19;
- the national Aviation Strategy (not yet written) will come up with cost-effective mechanisms for constraining aviation emissions further 20;
- the new Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise will prove effective; a review of airspace (that has not taken place for over 40 years, because it is so controversial) will take place soon 21;
- HS2, Crossrail and the Piccadilly line upgrades will attract air passengers and airport staff in sufficiently large numbers;
- funding will be found for Western and Southern rail access 22; etc
It seems very unlikely that all of these will fall into place.
Doubts about the timing and effectiveness of such measures are also expressed by the Commons Transport Committee, which is calling for more safeguards to be written into the Airports National Policy Statement, including conditions withholding the use of new capacity if targets are not met. However, for Heathrow to open in 2026, the scale of what would have to be delivered in the next eight years is immense. It is unclear how, at this stage, any re-written paperwork can provide the certainty needed. Nor does it seem credible to believe that, after billions have been spent on building the runway, politicians will tell Heathrow they can’t use it.
Surely, instead, before taking any decision, it makes sense to wait and see whether, as promised, in the next few years, air quality improves, planes get quieter, airspace becomes better organised, carbon emissions can be managed, and an increasing share of air passengers and staff start using public transport. If these things don’t happen – or, indeed, if the airport operator then decides that it is no longer financially viable to build the runway – politicians will have made the right choice, safeguarding both the health of local communities and the UK’s climate commitments. Giving a green light to expansion now is an enormous gamble with the future.
Sally Cairns and Carey Newson are independent researchers and Associates of specialist transport consultancy, Transport for Quality of Life. Input to this article was also provided by Cait Hewitt and Tim Johnson of the Aviation Environment Federation. A version of this Two-Pager was first published as an article in Local Transport Today: “Approving a third runway at Heathrow is the easy option. But it would also be wrong.” LTT Issue 744, 3rd April 2018.
1 John Holland-Kaye, CEO Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd: [In response to a direct question about the amount of money spent ‘solely on promoting the third runway’] “Solely on promoting it, the number I have in mind is £30 million.” Emma Gilthorpe, Executive Director Expansion, Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd: “More than that has gone into community engagement, which I would not consider to be promotional. I would consider that just being a good responsible business.” Q360, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 5/2/18.
2 Val Shawcross CBE, Deputy Mayor of London: “..something like three quarters of a million people are already affected, so the potential expansion could push one million people to experience significant noise nuisance.” Q264, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18.
3 The aviation forecasts currently suggest that Heathrow expansion will lead to total UK aviation emissions from departing aircraft of 39.9MtCO2 p.a. by 2050, which exceeds the total needed to meet the Climate Change Act requirements (DfT 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts, Table 39, p110). A review of theoretical additional carbon abatement measures was published in conjunction with the revised NPS, however, critics have highlighted the potentially high costs and practical challenges to implementing them. https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2017/12/AEF-comments-on-NPS-reconsultation.pdf
4 House of Commons Transport Committee (2018) Airports National Policy Statement. HC548. Third report of session 2017-19 5 Airports Commission (2015) Final Report shows the trend in the number of international terminal passengers travelling for business at the UK’s
5 largest airports between 2000 and 2013, Figure 3.1, page 70. According to Civil Aviation Statistics, the total number of terminal passengers travelling for business at the UK’s five largest airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and Manchester) was 40.5 million in 2006, 34.9 million in 2011 and 34.8 million in 2016.
6 DfT (2017) UK Aviation Forecasts. Table 31, page 100. In the unconstrained capacity scenario, the forecast is for 93 million business passengers p.a. (including UK business, foreign business and domestic business) in 2050. In the constrained scenario, the forecast is for 91 million. The forecast difference in total passenger numbers is 494 mppa compared with 410 mppa. Allowing a third runway at Heathrow (which is expected to reduce constraints, but not reach the ‘unconstrained’ scenario) is expected to result in total passenger numbers of 435 mppa (Table 34). The Transport Committee’s report (page 17) states that “the passenger growth facilitated by a NWR scheme is accounted for almost entirely by leisure passengers (i.e. those travelling for holiday purposes or those visiting friends and relatives sometimes referred to as VFR) and international transfer passengers”.
7 Caroline Low, Director of Airport Expansion and Aviation and Maritime Analysis: “The number of people travelling is not dissimilar, because in any scenario, business travellers will pay to travel…” “…the benefits we monetise are reduced delays, increased frequency and reduced fares…” Q464 and 465, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 7/2/18
8 Craig Keeger, CEO Virgin Atlantic: “…we find ourselves today – being quite concerned that we or our customers, or some combination thereof, would effectively be left holding the bag for any overspending in what is now, at this point, a very unpredictable outcome.” Q578 Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group: “It is a huge cost, and the risk at this stage is completely unknown, because we do not know what we are talking about…We are being asked to sign a blank cheque.” Q585, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 20/2/18
9 Office for National Statistics (2017) Travel trends: 2016. Figures taken from the underlying data tables (2.09 and 3.09), in order to exclude international travel done for business, or by sea or channel tunnel. Leisure includes holidays, visiting friends or relatives, and ‘miscellaneous’. In 2012, the equivalent figures were £23.2 billion versus £11.5 billion, a difference of £12 billion. It is also notable that, in 2016, 78% of leisure spending by UK residents flying overseas was on holidays, whereas this was only the case for 48% of leisure spending by overseas visitors. Inbound foreign holiday makers (travelling by air) only spent £7 billion in the UK in 2016. This is a significant difference to the figure of ‘over £22 billion’ for ‘inbound tourism’ given on page 14 of the revised NPS. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/leisureandtourism/articles/traveltrends/2016
10 Department for Transport (2017) Updated appraisal report: airport capacity in the South East. Table 3.7, p21.
11 Airports Commission (2014) Consultation document: Gatwick Airport Second Runway, Heathrow Airport Extended Northern Runway, Heathrow Airport North West Runway, p75, para 3.128
12 Department for Transport (2017) Revised Draft Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England. p23, para 3.26
13 Department for Transport (2017) Updated appraisal report: airport capacity in the South East. Tables 9.2 and 9.3, p44 and 46.
14 The aviation forecasts assume that there will be a 46-48% improvement in fuel efficiency between 2016 and 2050 (DfT 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts. Table 8, page 55). In 2013, the expectation, in line with mid-point technology assumptions used by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation, was for a 32% improvement, according to the Aviation Environment Federation. https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2017/12/AEF-comments-on-NPS-reconsultation.pdf
15 Stephen Clark, No Third Runway Coalition: “… a heroic gamble is being taken on a quieter fleet. Some of these changes are not happening… The new generation A380s are not being ordered at the moment. There are other new types of quieter planes where production has been scaled right back. This is a huge gamble, and it has not been properly investigated.” Q304, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18
16 BEIS (2017) The Clean Growth Strategy refers to intentions for almost every car and van to be zero emissions by 2050 and to end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040 (p85). Meanwhile, the Defra/DfT (2017) Draft UK air quality plan for tackling nitrogen dioxide: technical report includes graphs in Annex H, which indicate the scale of reduction in nitrogen dioxide expected over time, most of which is anticipated to come from reductions in NOx from vehicles.
17 Alex William, Director of City Planning, Transport for London: “..the NPS sets out no objectives to reduce, manage or consolidate that [freight] to reduce the impacts on the wider network. HAL would like an arrangement where there is no increase in the overall volume of trips. We see no strategy from HAL as to how that will be achieved. It is the right objective in our view, but there is no detailed evidence base to say how it will be achieved.” Q244, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18
18 The updated air quality analysis highlights that there is a ‘high’ risk that the Heathrow scheme could delay or worsen compliance with limit values, and that “the mitigation of risks relies on the effective implementation of the Government’s 2017 Plan measures and RDE legislation to reduce emissions from road transport.” DfT/WSP (2017) 2017 Plan Update to Air Quality Re-Analysis, p4
19 The aviation forecasts assume that a theoretical global carbon trading scheme is operational, with BEIS estimating the associated cost of carbon to be £77/tonne in 2030 (DfT 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts, para 5.16, p78). This cost feeds through to fares, and thereby causes some suppression of demand, resulting in lower carbon emissions than would otherwise occur. However, in reality, aviation will not participate in a global trading scheme, as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has agreed to introduce an offsetting scheme, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). ICAO analysis suggests the carbon costs of CORSIA will be only £11/tonne in 2030, and will therefore fail to have the same effect on demand and CO2 reduction. https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2017/12/AEF-comments-on-NPS-reconsultation.pdf
20 See footnote 3
21 Lilian Greenwood, Transport Select Committee Chair: “…ultimately, you are having to make choices about who is affected – who is going to be overflown. These are hugely contentious and have proved very difficult issues in the past, have they not?” Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport: “They are very difficult issues…” Q535, House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 7/2/18
22 Alex Williams, Director of City Planning, Transport for London: “We hear warm words in the NPS [about western and southern rail access], but we do not hear firm statements about commitment… We see them as essential to getting anywhere near the mode shift targets.” Brendon Walsh, Chairman of the Officer Group, Heathrow Strategic Planning Group: ”The Heathrow Strategic Planning Group represents 12 local authorities and the local LEPs in the area. We too agree that it is essential rather than desirable to see southern and western rail access.” Q238 House of Commons Transport Committee Oral evidence: Airports National Policy Statement HC548, 15/1/18
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The Government’s Aviation Strategy will now not be presented to Parliament until summer 2019 despite the initial consultation in July 2017 promising the full strategy to be presented to Parliament “before the end of 2018”. The reason for the delay is unclear but campaigners say the strategy could in fact be put in jeopardy because of its reliance on Heathrow expansion – a project which has major parliamentary and legal hurdles to overcome. Rob Barnstone, Coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “This strategy is written on the basis that Heathrow expansion is a done deal. It is in fact very uncertain with parliamentary and legal hurdles which it will struggle to overcome. The Government seems hell-bent on expanding Heathrow, despite evidence that alternative options for growth in the sector would bring a greater benefit to regions across the UK and not just in the south east, as usual.” It has always been profoundly unsatisfactory, and illogical, for a key part of the UK aviation sector – Heathrow airport – being decided upon BEFORE the UK aviation policy for the whole sector. Rationally, it would be the other way round – aviation policy first, and then decide on whether Heathrow should expand.
Government pushes aviation strategy back six months
7.4.2018 (No 3rd Runway Coalition press release)
The Government’s Aviation Strategy will now not be presented to Parliament until summer 2019 (1) despite the initial consultation promising the full strategy to be presented to Parliament “before the end of 2018” (2).
The reason for the delay is unclear but campaigners say the strategy could in fact be put in jeopardy because of its reliance on Heathrow expansion – a project which has major parliamentary and legal hurdles to overcome.
Rob Barnstone, Coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:
“This strategy is written on the basis that Heathrow expansion is a done deal. It is in fact very uncertain with parliamentary and legal hurdles which it will struggle to overcome.
“The Government seems hell-bent on expanding Heathrow, despite evidence that alternative options for growth in the sector would bring a greater benefit to regions across the UK and not just in the south east, as usual.”
For more info: Rob Barnstone, 07806 947050
In July 2017 the DfT said: (page 6 of document)
These consultations will take place during 2017 and 2018. A final Aviation Strategy will then be published by the end of 2018.
The April 2018 DfT document says: (page 84 of document)
This Next Steps document will start a period of intense engagement and policy development that will inform the contents of the green paper. This will ensure that the government is able publish a comprehensive and fully informed aviation strategy in early 2019.
and instead of consultation, it is now to be a period of “widespread engagement, to include a series of roundtables & workshops.” Page 85.
DfT publishes Aviation Strategy, with focus on growth and helping passengers – little on environmental impacts
The government has published its Aviation Strategy, which the DfT says “will set out the longterm direction for aviation policy to 2050 and beyond.” The first phase of its development was the publication of a call for evidence in July 2017. The Aviation Strategy says it will now “pursue 6 objectives, which are unchanged following the consultation.” It is very much focused on the passenger, the passenger experience, helping the aviation industry, expanding aviation and “building a global and connected Britain.” The Strategy “sets out further detail on the challenges associated with these objectives and some of the action that the government is considering and which will form part of further consultation later in the year.” The DfT says: “The government will continue the dialogue that has already begun on these issues. The next step will be the publication of detailed policy proposals in a green paper in the autumn of 2018. This will be followed by the final Aviation Strategy document in early 2019.” There is mention of the environmental problems (carbon, noise, air pollution) but they are given scant attention, and it is presumed they can all be reduced – even while the sector has huge growth. A new runway at Heathrow is assumed to happen.
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Planned new flightpaths into Glasgow airport will see planes flying over some of Scotland’s wealthiest suburbs, so there can be slight fuel use reductions and the airport can handle increased passenger numbers. The changes to the routes will see flights take off or land over areas such as Bearsden, Bishopbriggs and East Renfrewshire to cut down on the time it takes planes to reach international flightpaths. The proposals are aimed at “modernising” Glasgow’s airspace to handle increasing passenger numbers, larger aircraft and (allegedly) greenwash the plans and “to make flying less harmful to the environment.” Community groups in affected areas are worried about the impact on their communities and are urging the airport to rethink the plans, which are out to consultation till April 13th. The system will change from older ground navigation, to new satellite systems (PBN), and will enable flight paths to be concentrated, so particular areas get intensified plane noise, as plane after plane follows the same track. One village that fears it will be badly affected is Uplawmoor, which currently is tranquil, where residents are angry they were not consulted until “very late in the day”. People want a more open and honest consultation, and for the CAA to ensure that happens.
Residents alarm at proposed changes to Glasgow Airport flightpaths
PLANNED new flightpaths into Scotland‘s largest airport will see planes flying over some of the country’s wealthiest suburbs in a bid to cut down on carbon emissions and handle increased passenger numbers.
The changes to the routes around Glasgow Airport will see flights take off or land over areas such as Bearsden, Bishopbriggs and East Renfrewshire to cut down on the time it takes planes to reach international flightpaths.
The proposals are aimed at “modernising” Glasgow’s airspace to handle increasing passenger numbers, larger aircraft and to make flying less harmful to the environment.
But community groups in affected areas such as Bearsden, Dennistoun and Uplawmoor are worried about the impact on their communities nad are urging the airport to rethink the plans.
The plans are currently out to public consultation which closes on April 13.
READ MORE: Ryanair to cut Glasgow Airport base with 300 jobs at risk
A key element of the plan involves removing ground-based navigation aids, which were devised in the 1960’s, in favour of satellite systems. Ground navigation aids used by Glasgow Airport, which guide the aircraft to and from the airfield, will be decommissioned in 2019.
Supporters say the move to satellite systems will help reduce the time planes queue in the air and on the ground and reduce overall CO2 and fuel emissions.
But opponents claim the change from beacon to GPS will concentrate air traffic in a way that has not been seen around Glasgow before with all aircraft flying on exactly the same route, causing increased noise in the affected areas.
Stuart Wilson, who represents Uplawmoor Community Council, said the airport had not explained why the departure route needed to go directly over the village when it was surrounded by empty countryside.
The village lies in the East Renfrewshire countryside about nine miles south of the airport and Mr Wilson said his main concerns were with the increase in noise over the “very tranquil peaceful surroundings”.
He said there would be departure flights flying over the village every few minutes and the noise would be equivalent to “being next to a busy 50mph road”.
He said: “The proposals as they currently stand estimate on most days up to 70% of traffic leaving Glasgow airport will now come over a very condensed area over a very small rural population,” he said.
He criticised the airport for not consulting the community until “very late in the day”.
READ MORE: Ryanair to cut Glasgow Airport base with 300 jobs at risk
Mr Wilson said he hoped the Civil Aviation Authority, which has the final say on the proposals, would force the airport into a more “transparent, open and honest” consultation.
Residents in Bearsden, which is about six miles the north of the airport, have also protested over the increase flights taking off over parts of their area.
A similar Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) review of proposed changes to Edinburgh Airport’s flight paths has been halted on a techinicality amid thousands of complaints from affected communities.
The CAA decision – which is very unusual – is thought to relate to technical aspects of the proposal, as well as a delay in receiving elements of the submission.
Edinburgh Airport had said the changes were necessary to cope with increasing numbers of passengers.
But local campaigners raised concerns about increased noise and the impact on communities.
Edinburgh Airport insisted its flight path proposals “work” and were “the best balance achievable” but last years it said it had modified its plans following the latest public consultation.
A Glasgow Airport spokesman said: “The flight paths have not changed materially in decades.
“As is the case with wider UK airspace infrastructure, they are no longer fit for purpose.
“There is a need for Glasgow to modernise the departure paths, however it is important to stress that what we have put forward are only proposals.
READ MORE: Ryanair to cut Glasgow Airport base with 300 jobs at risk
“We can only make changes once we have considered the views of all those who respond directly to the consultation.
“Those views will then be presented to our regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, who will ultimately make the decision on whether or not we can proceed, however, we will of course take on board all of the views that were expressed as we consider our next steps.”
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The Heathrow Community Engagement Board (HCEB) has announced Rachel Cerfontyne as its new Chair. The HCEB, the successor body to the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee, initiated an open hiring process for a new Chair at the end of 2017. A selection panel made up of representatives from the new HCEB, Heathrow, the Department for Transport and a local residents group, the HASRA (Harmondsworth & Sipson Residents Assn), agreed that Rachel “would provide the necessary open and independent leadership to evolve the work of the new Board and represent the interests of all communities associated with Heathrow Airport.” She will focus on “building trust between Heathrow and its communities, holding the airport to account when it comes to delivering on its commitments today and into the future.” There is a history of serious distrust of the airport by many, after decades of broken promises, misleading statements, half truths etc. Rachel was Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, where she has spent 9 years trying to improve public confidence in the police complaints system.
HEATHROW COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT BOARD APPOINTS NEW CHAIR
4.4.2018 (a Heathrow airport press release, on behalf of its “Community Engagement Board (HCEB)
The Heathrow Community Engagement Board (HCEB) has, today, announced Rachel Cerfontyne as its new Chair. The HCEB, the successor body to the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee, initiated an open hiring process for a new Chair at the end of 2017.
A selection panel made up of representatives from the new HCEB, Heathrow, the Department for Transport and a local resident group unanimously agreed that Rachel Cerfontyne would provide the necessary open and independent leadership to evolve the work of the new Board and represent the interests of all communities associated with Heathrow Airport.
Rachel’s work will focus on building trust between Heathrow and its communities, holding the airport to account when it comes to delivering on its commitments today and into the future. With over twenty years’ experience in leading public sector and charitable organisations Rachel has consistently shown independence and inclusivity in her work. Her most recent role was as Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, where she has spent 9 years improving public confidence in the police complaints system and overseen their two largest investigations including the Hillsborough Disaster and the Rotherham Child Sexual Abuse scandal.
Having spent her early years in Feltham, a community close to the airport, Rachel has first-hand knowledge of the impacts and importance Heathrow can have on local residents.
Commenting on her appointment, Rachel Cerfontyne said:
“My highest priority is getting out and about, meeting people in the local communities and hearing their views. I am keen to listen and learn and to ensure that the membership and activities of the HCEB are shaped by the key stakeholders, especially Heathrow’s closest neighbours. I’ve already started meeting with local community representatives and over the coming weeks and months look forward to engaging formally and informally from all who have a view on and a relationship with the airport.”
Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said:
“Rachel’s track record of independence and strong community engagement is a clear indication that the new Community Engagement Board will be an excellent advocate for those who live, work and travel through Heathrow. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with Rachel and the new Board which will play a key role in influencing how Heathrow operates and grows.”
Mark Izatt, Chair of the HCEB Appointments Panel who oversaw Rachel’s appointment process, said:
“A reinvigorated community and oversight group had a need for a committed and independent chair who would be equally at home in a community hall as a ministerial office. In Rachel we have found the perfect mix of skills and experience to ensure the HCEB grows in stature with local communities, users and stakeholders. Her energy and passion for the role have already been on display even before today’s official appointment.”
020 8745 7224
Notes to editors:
(1) The Heathrow Community Engagement Board (HCEB) is an independently chaired body constituted to provide the functions of an airport consultative committee for Heathrow Airport (in accordance with Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982) and the functions of the Heathrow Airport community engagement board (as set out in the draft Airports National Policy Statement). The Community Engagement Board was established following a recommendation by the Airports Commission to ensure airport stakeholders, local authorities, communities, passengers and interest groups can contribute effectively to the planning process for the proposed expansion of the airport.
(2) The original Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC) was established in 1956 and is constituted to meet the requirements of Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 (as amended by the Airports Act 1986) for an airport to provide adequate facilities for consultation with respect to any matter concerning the management or administration of the airport which affects the interests of users of the airport, local authorities and any other organisation representing the interests of persons concerned with the locality in which the airport is situated.
(3) Until now, the HCEB has been chaired by interim Chair Professor Roderick Smith ScD, FREng and is made up of 27 appointed representatives brought together from local authorities, airports users and local interest groups. A Government representative is also present at the main Committee meetings, together with Heathrow Airport Limited’s Chief Executive, John Holland-Kaye and his senior management team. The first meeting of the HCEB, which is open to the public and media will be at 2pm on Wednesday 18th April 2018 at the Heathrow Academy.
(4) Ms. Cerfontyne was appointed by a panel involving representatives from Heathrow, DfT, local authorities, airports users, local interest groups and the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents association. The open hiring process was run by the executive research firm Gatenby Sanderson.
(5) The HCEB has asked Heathrow Airport Limited to issue this media release on their behalf.
8 December, 2017
Heathrow seeks Chair for new independent Community Engagement Board
Heathrow Airport, alongside the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC), have launched a campaign to recruit a high-profile Chair to head up the new independent Community Engagement Board (CEB).
The CEB will take on the role of the current consultative committee and was a recommendation by the Airports Commission, drawing on best practice from European hub airports.
The influential Chair will lead the CEB which will play an important role in building trust between the airport and its communities making sure that Heathrow delivers its commitments today and in the future. It will also play a crucial role during the planning process for the proposed expansion of Heathrow to check that communities are meaningfully engaged in Heathrow’s public consultations over the coming months and years.
The CEB will be established in the New Year and will act as the focal point for engagement between the airport, local authorities, community groups and passengers. The Chair will be appointed by a panel representative of the existing HACC, government, Heathrow and a nominated community representative through an open process run by established executive search firm, Gatenby Sanderson. Closing date for applications is 14 January 2018.
Deputy Chair of the HACC Steering Group Brian Yates, said:
“The appointment of a Chair will be a major early milestone in the establishment of this newly created Board which aims to build on the strength of the existing consultative committee. We are looking for a seasoned leader who will have the gravitas and experience to represent the diverse airport communities – residents, local authorities, passengers and pressure groups – at the highest levels of government and, of course, to the airport too.”
Heathrow’s Chief Executive Officer John Holland-Kaye, said:
“The arrival of the Community Engagement Board is a demonstration of Heathrow’s commitment to deliver and contribute to world-class local engagement, both as part of today’s airport operations and future expansion plans. We look forward to working with the successful candidate who will help us make sure Heathrow delivers expansion fairly and responsibly so that we maximise the benefits for our local communities.”
Notes to editors:
About the Community Engagement Board
The Community Engagement Board (CEB) will play a key role in making sure airport stakeholders, local authorities, communities, passengers and interest groups can influence the airport’s expansion proposals over the planning phase, as set out in the government’s draft Airports National Policy Statement.
The CEB will also be responsible for delivering the functions of the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee under the Civil Aviation Act 1982, considering and influencing the airport’s current administration and operations.
For more information on the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee, please visit www.hacc.org.uk
The History of broken promises over Heathrow’s 3rd runway
In 1995 Heathrow denied it would want a 3rd runway. It persisted in denying this until 2003, when it came out as lobbying for one.
FoE says that in 2001 “BAA echoes BA’s denial and says it is not pushing for a third runway at Heathrow. “It is the company’s view that the local communities around Heathrow should be give (sic) assurances. BAA would urge the government to rule out any additional runway at Heathrow.”
In November 2001, having sat on the Terminal 5 Inquiry Inspector Vandermeer’s report for almost a year, the Government announces its decision on T5 and releases the inspector’s report. The inspector says that a 3rd runway could have “unacceptable environmental consequences”. He recommends a cap on the number of flights at 480,000 a year in order to prevent the need for a third runway.
Then FoE says: “On 13 May 2003, BAA plc admits publicly that it wants third runway at Heathrow. In its response to the Government’s airport consultation BAA short-lists a third runway at Heathrow and claims that this is part of the company’s approach of ‘responsible growth’. “
During the 2010 election, local election campaign material in west London said:
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A new study Corridors of Concentration, published by HACAN and Plane Hell Action, reveals a dramatic increase in the number of flights over many areas of South East London in recent years. It also found that flight paths have become more concentrated. The study was carried out to highlight the current impact of aircraft noise on south east London and to influence the policy debate by feeding into Heathrow’s recent consultation on future flight path design. Over a dozen areas from Clapham Common to Greenwich were surveyed, and the number of aircraft audible from each location recorded. The study found that the area is heavily overflown, with typically 38 planes an hour audible to many communities. This could rise to over 40 during busy periods. Due to increasing concentration, some communities are especially badly hit. The study concluded many more planes are joining their final approach corridors further east than before and are more concentrated within those corridors. People living south of the Thames are experiencing an increased density of turning aircraft over their homes. The study recommends that flight paths need to be varied more, and the practice of concentrating night flights over particular communities should be avoided. See the whole study for details.
NEW STUDY: DRAMATIC INCREASE IN FLIGHT NUMBERS OVER PARTS OF SOUTH EAST LONDON
3.4.2018 (HACAN press release)
A new study (1) reveals a dramatic increase in the number of flights over many areas of South East London in recent years. Corridors of Concentration, published today by HACAN and Plane Hell Action, also found that flight paths have become more concentrated. The study was carried out to highlight the current impact of aircraft noise on south east London and to influence the policy debate by feeding into Heathrow’s recent consultation on future flight path design.
Over a dozen areas from Clapham Common in the west to Greenwich in the east were surveyed. The number of aircraft audible from each location was recorded. Key counts were verified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The study found that:
- The area is heavily overflown, with typically 38 planes an hour audible to many communities. This could rise to over 40 during busy periods.
- Increased concentration of flights has taken place in recent years. More than ever, flights are being guided through ‘concentrated corridors’ which means particular communities are especially badly hit.
- The overall number of flights is much the same as when we last surveyed the area 10 years ago but this masks significant changes in certain places:
– the number of flights in the east of the region has increased dramatically: daily flights in the Brockley corridor grew by 135 between 2011 and 2017; Greenwich saw an increase of 165 a day.
– flight numbers in the ‘southern corridor’ – which is focused on the southern runway – have risen significantly.
– increased concentration has meant more flights for particular communities. Although the study focused on daytime flights, it found evidence to suggest night flights have also become more concentrated.
The study concluded many more planes are joining their final approach corridors further east than before and are more concentrated within those corridors. Increased concentration and the join point shifting have meant that people living south of the river are experiencing an increased density of turning aircraft over their homes.
The study made three key recommendations:
- In the short-term, flight paths need to be varied as much as possible to reduce the concentration identified.
- The practice of concentrating night flights over particular communities should be avoided.
- In the longer-term, when Heathrow redesigns its airspace, it needs to ensure that the new technology is used to distribute arrivals fairly over multiple approach routes.
Dan Scorer, of Plane Hell Action, said: “This study confirms everything that people have been telling us across south east London. The increased concentration of flights is driving many people to despair, with no escape from the constant noise over our heads. We can’t wait 7 years for Heathrow to change flight paths – action is needed now.”
HACAN chair John Stewart said, “This study makes a powerful case that the problems caused by flights to Heathrow are not confined to West London and areas close to the airport. For many communities in South East London the situation has got worse rather than better over the last decade.”
Notes for editors:
(1). Link to the study: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Corridors-of-Concentration-Report.pdf
For further information:
John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650
Dan Scorer on 07949 653 704
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The publication of the Transport Select Committee (TSC) report into the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) has been interpreted by the government and Heathrow as a green light for expansion to proceed. Whilst the TSC recognised the strategic case for a third runway, the real story is the significant shift in position from a select committee that has long been supportive of a expansion to one that is highly critical of the lack of detail in the plans. The robust list of recommendations in the TSC report highlights areas where significant work is still required before the government bring the final NPS to parliament for a vote. The TSC report also includes several additional conditions of approval to be included in the final version of the NPS on air quality, surface access, connectivity, costs and charges, noise, community impacts, resource and waste management. The NPS is the document against which the Heathrow planning application will be judged, and if it lacks sufficient detail on these key issues then it will not be strong enough to hold the airport to account. There is little evidence to suggest that parliament can have confidence in simply trusting Heathrow. I “urge my parliamentary colleagues to read the report. Those who do will understand why they should vote against the NPS when it is brought to parliament.”
By Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, in Labour List
The publication of the transport select committee report into the Airports National Policy Statement has been interpreted by the government and Heathrow as a green light for expansion to proceed. Whilst the TSC recognised the strategic case for a third runway, the real story is the significant shift in position from a select committee that has long been supportive of a expansion to one that is highly critical of the lack of detail in the plans.
The robust list of recommendations in the TSC report highlights areas where significant work is still required before the government bring the final NPS to parliament for a vote. The TSC report also includes several additional conditions of approval to be included in the final version of the NPS on air quality, surface access, connectivity, costs and charges, noise, community impacts, resource and waste management.
Government will state that the NPS is about establishing the principles of design and that much of the detail will come in Heathrow’s planning application during the DCO process. However, the NPS is the document against which the planning application will be judged, and if it lacks sufficient detail on these key issues then it will not be strong enough to hold the airport to account. There is little evidence to suggest that parliament can have confidence in simply trusting Heathrow to ensure the appropriate detail is included in the planning application.
Heathrow and the government have had years to develop the detail of these proposals – it has been three years alone since the Airports Commission concluded – yet there still remains no robust mechanisms for addressing the negative impacts of the proposed expansion. In particular, the costs of the proposal to passengers, airlines and the taxpayer remain unclear.
Consequently, the TSC report is clear that parliament should approve the final NPS only if the conditions it recommends are included. The volume of work required to provide these detail and evidence is substantial and it is difficult to see how the government can incorporate all the recommendations fully and keep to its self-imposed timetable of a vote by the summer recess.
The decision to support expansion at Heathrow was based on the reports produced by the Airports Commission. However, since their publication in 2015 further analysis (including work by the DfT) has significantly undermined the conclusions drawn, particularly in relation the purported economic benefits of the scheme.
As highlighted in a letter signed by parliamentarians and local authority leaders, the fact that expansion at Heathrow will have a negative impact on the opportunity for growth at nearly all regional airports around the UK should be a significant cause for concern for MPs outside of London.
The TSC report also raises concerns that many regional routes into Heathrow will require government subsidy in order to be commercially viable, yet government has given no commitments as to the precise level of funds it is prepared to provide. The detail is again missing from the NPS.
Increasing the number of flights at Heathrow by around 50 per cent will inevitably increase traffic and worsen congestion on local transport networks, particularly as the Crossrail and the Piccadilly line upgrade were designed to support population growth in London, not a third runway at Heathrow. The TSC’s recommendation that the NPS include information about what surface access improvements are required to support a third runway is extremely welcome.
Government has now admitted that they would have to contribute an unspecified amount towards these schemes, yet as the TSC report makes clear the lack of detail about the size of this contribution is a significant cause for concern.
The report also recommends that significant work is undertaken to understand the impacts of construction on local transport networks. The fact that this has not already been undertaken is simply staggering – MPs need to know this information before they vote on the NPS.
Far from being a green light for expansion, the TSC report is damning in its critique of the NPS and highlights the strength of the case against expansion at Heathrow. Indeed, a number of recommendations in the TSC report are aimed at reducing the prospect of successful legal challenge against the government.
The TSC report demonstrates that a third runway at Heathrow is the most expensive and complex scheme, carries the highest financial and planning risks, has the most destructive environmental impact and delivers no economic benefit to the country. It seems counterproductive that government continues to support a scheme that simply will not be delivered.
I commend the work of the TSC for their scrutiny of this issue and urge my parliamentary colleagues to read the report. Those who do will understand why they should vote against the NPS when it is brought to parliament.
Andy Slaughter is MP for Hammersmith.
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