Hertfordshire County Council objects to Luton Airport expansion, due to negative environmental impacts

Proposals to expand Luton Airport have been described as “madness” by a Hertfordshire county councillor.  The council unanimously voted to oppose further expansion of Luton airport at a meeting on 26th November, as they realised the expansion plans to increase to 32 million passengers a year by 2039 (from almost 17m now) would harm the environment. The airport’s proposals – to be decided by Luton Borough Council – include a second terminal north of the runway, an extensive new airfield infrastructure and a third station. There is a huge conflict of interest, as Luton Council both owns the airport, and decides on its planning applications.  At a time of growing realisation of the climate crises the planet faces, and with no realistic ways to reduce the carbon emissions from aviation, the industry should NOT be given permission to expand. The growth plans of airports across the country add up to a massive expansion in the number of flights and passengers, way above what could be compatible even with aiming for net-zero carbon by 2050 (and that is at least 20 years too late).The motion also called for Luton’s plans to be deferred until the new government has set out the Aviation Strategy, for the UK aviation sector, taking into account the advice of the CCC.  
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Hertfordshire County Council objects to Luton Airport expansion

By Daisy Smith   (St Albans Review)
2nd December 2019

Proposals to expand Luton Airport have been described as “madness” by a county councillor.

Hertfordshire County Council unanimously voted to oppose further expansion of the airport at a meeting last Tuesday (November 26).

Councillors said the expansion to cater for 32 million passengers a year by 2039 would harm the environment.

The proposals – which will be decided by Luton Borough Council – include a second terminal north of the runway, an extensive new airfield infrastructure and a third station.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Colney Heath and Marshalswick John Hale said: “Expanding the airport to 32 million passengers a year when we are trying to reduce carbon emissions is madness.

“The impact on residents in terms of increased noise and pollution is unacceptable.

“I am pleased the motion got the support of all parties at the council.”

The motion also called for any proposed plans to expand to be deferred until the new government has responded to a letter from national body Committee on Climate Change.

The letter calls for a reduction in airport expansion plans in order to reduce emissions from aviation.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Daisy Cooper welcomed the decision made by the council.

She said: “The expansion of Luton Airport would not only have a massive impact on the climate, but also on the people of St Albans who live under the flightpath.”

London Luton Airport Ltd is holding a second consultation on its proposals. Deadline for comments is December 16.

The airport said the expansion could deliver more than 16,000 new jobs and bring £1.3 billion per year to Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

It also said a new funding package will be made to provide £7.5 million to authorities outside of Luton that will be most impacted by the airport.

It added it is making steps to reduce its carbon emissions.

Luton Airport corporate director Graham Olver added: “The airport is aware that neighbouring authorities take a deep interest to expand the airport.

“The airport is keen to hear the views of as many people as possible and would encourage people to attend one of its remaining six consultation events.”

To share your views, visit: futureluton.llal.org.uk

https://www.stalbansreview.co.uk/news/18074877.hertfordshire-county-council-objects-luton-airport-expansion/

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Future Luton

https://futureluton.llal.org.uk/

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The main local community group is LADACAN

(Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise)

http://www.ladacan.org/

They say:

Luton Airport’s owners want a massive further increase in capacity by adding 14 million more passengers on top of the 18 million a year already using the Airport, so they can make even more money at the expense of quality of life for all of us.

We all have until 16th December to submit hard-hitting objections to their plans.

Local people are very concerned about the proposed expansion because it would:

  • cause 77,000 extra journeys a day on congested roads and rail services
  • increase local pollution and contribution to climate change by over 50%
  • add a further 80,000 flights a year to our already noisy and crowded skies

Click the links below to find out more about what YOU can do to help stop this:

1) Find out more by attending one of the local roadshows >> Roadshows

2) Submit a strong objection and spread the word to others >> Objections

3) Email us at info@ladacan.org to go on the mailing list

THIS IS IMPORTANT AND WE NEED TO ACT NOW !!

OTHER NEWS:

Luton Airport wants to break yet another planning condition
Not content with breaching its night noise planning condition, Luton Airport now wants to exceed its 18-million passenger limit, without delivered the mitigations which went hand-in-hand with the growth permission. >> Airport wants to exceed passenger limit

Updated application to exceed noise contour limits
Planning Condition 10 is designed to keep Luton Airport growth in balance: more flights, but quieter planes. The airport has rushed the growth ahead of the quieter planes, and now wants the rules set aside. Latest update >> Object to Condition 10 Variation

What’s Condition 10 Variation all about? Click here to visit our FAQ page

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This is LADACAN’S advice on responding to the consultation:

LADACAN opposes FutureLuToN proposals

We have until 16th December to register strong opposition to LLAL’s expansion plans.

LADACAN believes the FutureLuToN project is designed to make more cash for LLAL at the expense of quality of life and the environment in the whole surrounding area. There are a number of reasons why this Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project would not be in the public interest, and we have summarised them below.

If you agree, and want to OPPOSE this project, you need to review our objections, put them in your own words and add your own additional points (perhaps your reaction to what you saw at one of the LLAL roadshows, or your experience from the expansion project which has been happening over the last 7 years) and email them as objections.

This is probably less risky than being suckered by their online application form when ends to manipulate responses to make them look as if they are in support.

GROUNDS FOR OBJECTION – COMMUNITIES WILL BE ADVERSELY IMPACTED

FutureLuToN is bad for communities which already suffer the unmitigated impacts of the recent doubling of capacity – on the busiest routes an additional 90% flights a year. To cram in more passengers, the aircraft have got bigger and noisier, and the number of quieter-engine planes has been offset by introducing more of the larger noisier ones.

TO OBJECT: If you agree with that point, you can copy this email address or click on it to email futureluton@llal.org.uk and base your objection in your own words on our points below:

“I strongly oppose any additional expansion of capacity at Luton Airport on the grounds that it is not in the public interest for the following reasons:

300-450 planes a day already fly at very low altitude over Hertfordshire causing noise, loss of sleep and negative health effects which impact people’s wellbeing. None of effects of doubling capacity from 9 to 18 million passengers between 2013 and 2019 have been mitigated: planes are still held low for up to 16 miles, aircraft have got larger and noisier, the Airport has breached its noise contour limits since 2017.

All of this has seriously degraded quality of life in Hertfordshire, over which all of Luton’s arriving and departing aircraft must fly.

Luton Airport has no control over the complete UK Airspace redesign being delivered in the next few years, other airport expansions such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted and unknown Brexit effects. It is madness to consider any further expansion plans until we see the outcome of these vital external influences.

Luton is simply trying to jump on the bandwagon of projections for airport capacity which are out of date and unjustifiable in today’s climate. “Making best use of the runway” is not an adequate justification for adding 14 million to the 18 million passengers a year at this Airport so that Luton Borough Council can make yet more money.

The government’s Aviation Policy Framework requires the benefits of airport growth to be balanced with mitigations for the environmental impacts. The current expansion project has taken all the benefits but delivered no balancing mitigations. Night flights have doubled in the past 5 years from 8,000 to 16,000 per year and the night noise contour limit has been exceeded for 3 years.

Since 2013, Luton Airport had doubled its capacity and delivered huge revenue increases BUT: planes are still held low for up to 16 miles; the fleet has become noisier because the 5% slightly quieter neo aircraft have been offset by 5% more of the larger, louder Airbus A321 and Boeing 777 types; flight paths have remained fixed in an out-of-date airspace design.

The current expansion project was due to run until 2028 and should be required to continue until then with no further additional capacity even being considered until all of the noise mitigations have been delivered and all of the existing noise planning conditions satisfied including a reduction of noise contours and a reduction of noise violation limits.

Name, Address, Postcode”

GROUNDS FOR OBJECTION – CLIMATE WILL BE ADVERSELY IMPACTED

FutureLuToN is bad for climate change given the strong effect which aviation has not just from high-level pollutants but contrails which cause additional clouds. The Climate Change Committee has written to government clearly stating that aviation growth must be at least halved to reach net zero by 2050 – the bare minimum we must do to survive.

TO OBJECT: If you agree with that point, you can copy this email address or click on it to email futureluton@llal.org.uk and base your objection in your own words on our points here:

“I strongly oppose any additional expansion of capacity at Luton Airport on the grounds that it is not in the public interest for the following reasons:

DfT aviation demand forecasts in 2017 pegged Luton at 18 million passengers until 2050. In 2019 the Climate Change Committee wrote to government saying that airport expansion must be slashed by at least 50% in order to meet the commitment to net zero carbon emission growth by 2050. Yet Luton’s expansion plan ignores both these facts.

Aviation is one of the most energy and carbon intensive forms of transport, whether measured per passenger km or per hour travelling. In the UK, aviation’s share of emissions is predicted to grow from around 6% today to 25% by 2050, even if the sector is successfully capped at level of 37.5 MtCO2 (equivalent to 2005 levels) as been recommended by the Committee on Climate Change.

Aircraft emit CO2, NOx and harmful particulates while taxiing on the ground and while airborne. The most recent evidence indicates that other non-CO2 effects due to release of high-altitude NOx and formation of contrail clouds could double the warming impact of aviation.

Newer engines are only about 15% more fuel efficient. Official UK forecasts predict annual fleet carbon-efficiency improvements of less than one percent between now and 2050.

Luton Airport has already doubled in capacity in just the last 7 years. It is not appropriate for it to continue this trajectory because no proven and effective mitigations for noise, pollution and increased carbon emissions have been delivered.

Name, Address, Postcode”

GROUNDS FOR OBJECTION – ROAD AND RAIL NETWORKS ARE INADEQUATE

FutureLuToN is bad for commuters because the additional 14 million passengers will cause on average 77,000 additional journeys to and from the airport each day, double that during peak season, clogging road and rail services and causing more pollution. Luton has a very poor track record of passenger use of public transport.

TO OBJECT: If you agree with that point, you can copy this email address or click on it to email futureluton@llal.org.uk and base your objection in your own words on our points here:

“I strongly oppose any additional expansion of capacity at Luton Airport on the grounds that it is not in the public interest for the following reason:

Surface transport by road and rail to and from Luton Airport is busy and often very congested, with no east/west public transport provision. An extra 30,000 passenger rail journeys a day would degrade our already inadequate rail services.

In just the last 7 years, 9 million additional passengers a year have already been added to the road and rail networks feeding Luton Airport, which equates to more than 80,000 passenger journeys a day allowing for drop-off, at busy times.

There is no east/west rail connection to Luton, and the east/west road links are country roads. The main M1 north/south link is heavily congested at busy times and gridlocks if an incident occurs. Trains are often standing room only at Harpenden and further south in the rush hour, and from London going north during the evening peak.

Name, Address, Postcode”

GROUNDS FOR OBJECTION – THE PROPOSER HAS BROKEN TRUST

FutureLuToN is bad for confidence in balanced growth – the airport has taken all the benefits of the recent expansion but failed to deliver better routes, increased altitudes, reduced noise, a quieter fleet, and no evidence that the claimed jobs have materialised. The entire airspace in the south-east is due to be redesigned and until that happens nobody can be sure where these proposed 220,000 flights per year will actually go.

TO OBJECT: If you agree with that point, you can copy this email address or click on it to email futureluton@llal.org.uk and base your objection in your own words on our points here:

“I strongly oppose any additional expansion of capacity at Luton Airport on the grounds that it is not in the public interest for the following reasons:

Luton Airport is owned by Luton Borough Council, its Local Planning Authority, via a private company LLAL which is governed by a board made up of officers and members of the Borough Council, yet is not publicly accountable.

Robin Porter is the CEO of Luton Borough Council (which sets and has failed to enforce a breach of Luton Airport noise planning condition 10 caused by rapid growth). Robin Porter is also now the CEO of LLAL (which currently receives £55 million per year from the airport operators and benefits directly from airport growth). In 2014, LLAL set up a financial incentivisation scheme to stimulate rapid growth at Luton Airport (see p16 of the London Luton Airport Ltd 2016 annual accounts).

Since then, the airport capacity has grown at unprecedented rate, with numbers of passengers doubling in just 7 years, flights up by 40% overall, and yet no balancing mitigations have been delivered. Departures are still held low for up to 16 miles because expansion has rushed ahead of airspace modernisation. Noise impact has increased year-on-year since 2013 because expansion has rushed ahead of fleet modernisation. Night flights have doubled from 8,000 to 16,000 in 5 years and the night noise contour planning condition has been breached since 2017 with no enforcement.

This unbalanced expansion is entirely at odds with the government’s Aviation Policy which states that the benefits of aviation growth must be shared with communities. Over the past 7 years expansion at Luton, driven by LLAL through financial incentivisation, has delivered significant cash benefits to the airport owners, worse environmental impacts for local communities through increased noise, emissions and congestion,and no mitigation. 8 years remains of that project and the owners need to be constrained to deliver redesigned airspace, continuous climb, an overall quieter fleet, and noise and emissions reduction to redress the imbalance.

Even though the decision about future expansion at Luton will be taken by the Planning Inspectorate, the past history of expansion shows that Luton Borough Council has proved ineffective in dealing with the conflict of interest arising because it receives significant cash dividends from the airport but at the same time has a responsibility to protect residential amenity. The fact that it has not enforced against the breach of noise planning condition 10 which was predicted in 2016 and was at least partly due to the  rapid growth incentivisation by LLAL, highlights the conflict.

Name, Address, Postcode”

BEWARE: if you do decide to fiull in their online response form, the questions are worded so that you can easily be suckered into appearing to agree with the proposals. For example, how do you answer the following question if you don’t think they should build a new Terminal on a park:

“Do you have any comments on our proposed park, that would replace Wigmore Valley Park?”

We would recommend prefixing the answer to every response by “I strongly oppose any further capacity expansion at Luton Airport, and I want to see the owners and operators focus on delivering mitigations and abiding by all the current planning conditions.”

See http://www.ladacan.org/llal-consultation-on-futureluton-proposals/

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Read more »

Local campaigners, AXO, encourage local residents to respond to the Southampton airport expansion consultation

There is a planning application consultation by Southampton Airport, that closes on 23rd December. The airport has published plans for a 164-metre runway extension.  The planning application, lodged with Eastleigh Borough Council, is the first phase of its growth set out in its “masterplan” which it charmingly calls (oxymoron) “A Vision For Sustainable Growth.”  The application is likely to be considered by the council on 21st January 2020.  Local opposition group, AXO (Airport Expansion Opposition) Southampton is urging people to read the application, and submit their comments. There are serious concerns about road congestion, and increases in air pollution – as well as the inevitable increase in noise. The longer runway would mean larger aircraft could use it. AXO warns that the application should not be decided before the CAA’s Airspace Change consultation process is completed, as this may change significantly the impact on residents under or near the flight path. It also should not be decided until the government has finalised its Aviation Strategy, for all UK aviation, expected in early-mid 2020, when it has taken into account the new legal situation for aviation carbon emissions, with a net-zero target for 2050.

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  • Airport expansion needs to be considered on a regional/national level rather than at local level – expansion of Heathrow would draw custom away from regional airports, and the impact of expansion at other regional airports will impact on passenger flows through Southampton Airport
  • The expansion would lead to increased traffic generation with associated congestion and air pollution as well as air pollution from the flights themselves. The airport makes some very optimistic assumptions about its ability to increase use of public transport as a means of getting to the airport. In reality, rail cannot take much increase so it is likely the majority of traffic arriving at the airport will be on our already congested roads. The policy of Eastleigh BC to prioritise the Chickenhall Road link and effectively dismiss the ‘Eastleigh Railway Chord’ [to link the airport to Portsmouth and the East with greater ease] makes a mockery of the airport MD’s advertising of its rail links.
  • There will be increased noise for those under the flight path. At present over 5600 local people experience noise levels of 55dB and above – this is twice the loudness of 45dB recommended by the World Health Organisation. The number of people affected will increase with airport expansion.
  • Decision on this application should be delayed until after the Airspace Change consultation process is completed, as this may change significantly the impact on residents under or near the flight path.
  • Eastleigh Borough Council has declared a climate and environmental emergency. Airport expansion will lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions and is simply incompatible with addressing this climate emergency. The Airport’s own estimate is that carbon emissions will rise on average by 350,000 tonnes per year. For comparison, homes, industry and road traffic in the entire Borough of Eastleigh is responsible for 610,000t per year. No amount of presumed economic benefit can justify this level of increase in carbon emissions. There is no way of offsetting this level of emissions, and the airport is proposing mitigation for only the (already small) carbon emissions during the construction phase and for its own operations (current plans are for only 6,000 tonne reduction.
  • Neil Garwood (airport MD) has stated that only 2% of CO2 emissions were due to aviation. This is an absolute minimum figure that applies to global emissions. The UK government itself acknowledges that the current UK aviation emissions are 7% and set to go to 25% by 2050 – when aviation CO2 emissions are likely to be the single greatest offender in the UK. You should know this, because it has been reported extensively on the BBC – as have the recommendations by Lord Deben (the Chair of the Government Committee on Climate Change) that everyone’s appetite for air travel should be curbed and that airport expansion needs to be curtailed.
  • The expansion would lead to increased traffic generation with associated congestion and air pollution as well as air pollution from the flights themselves. The airport makes some very optimistic assumptions about its ability to increase use of public transport as a means of getting to the airport. In reality, rail cannot take much increase so it is likely the majority of traffic arriving at the airport will be on our already congested roads. The policy of Eastleigh BC to prioritise the Chickenhall Road link and effectively dismiss the ‘Eastleigh Railway Chord’ [to link the airport to Portsmouth and the East with greater ease] makes a mockery of the airport MD’s advertising of its rail links.
  • The economic benefits are overstated. The Airport promises 500 new jobs on the site, yet its last masterplan in 2004 promised an extra 391 jobs by 2015 – in fact there were 54 fewer. Its own figures show that nearly 80% of passengers are local people, so the effect on tourism from incoming visitors is limited. The percentage of flights taken for business has fallen. Moreover, in a time of climate emergency we should not be basing our economy on expansion of a sector that needs to be reduced.
  • Aviation expansion is a national issue, as we have a climate. Airport expansion therefore needs to be considered on a regional/national level rather than at local level for example, expansion of Heathrow would draw custom away from regional airports, and the impact of expansion at other regional airports will impact on passenger flows through Southampton Airport. These decisions should not be made locally on a case by case basis by the local authority that each airport happens to be located in, but should be decided nationally.
  • Decision on this application should be delayed until after the Airspace Change consultation process is completed, as this may change significantly the impact on residents under or near the flight path.

For more details from AXO, see

https://axosouthampton.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/reasons-for-objection-eastleigh/

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AXO say:

Why we’re campaigning

Whilst accepting the need for a small regional airport at Southampton, we acknowledge that the Climate Crisis means we must all fly less.


What can you do?

1) Object to Eastleigh Council

The planning application for airport expansion has been submitted [application number F/19/86707] (If this link doesn’t work you enter the number on the planning register ‘simple search’ box).

The consultation period ends on the 23/12/19 so time for reading the application, the associated documents (the devil is in the detail) and commenting is limited. The application is likely to be considered by the Eastleigh Local Area Committee (ELAC) at its meeting on 21st January 2020 (7pm).

Don’t have time to read the planning application? We have! Read our summary of concerns that you may wish to use in your objection.

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See earlier:

Southampton airport submits runway extension plans

Southampton airport has published plans for a 164-metre extension to its runway.

The planning application, lodged with Eastleigh Borough Council, is the first phase of growth outlined in the airport’s masterplan – recently re-named A Vision For Sustainable Growth.

The airport says extending the runway by 164 metres within its existing boundaries will allow it to increase passenger numbers from two to three million per year, “significantly” increase route choices and allow aircraft to reach further-afield destinations.

It would bring destinations in Scandinavia, the Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe within reach, Southampton airport said.

Managing director Neil Garwood said: “Our plans will make the airport resilient to changes in the aviation market as the longer runway permits year-round viability for an increased number of airlines.

“The longer runway will enable the airport to increase its financial contribution from £160 million to £400 million per year, create over 500 new jobs, and bring huge gains in connectivity and choice for our region.

“Our development plans have been carefully prepared by a project team including ecologists and technical experts, sensitive to the needs of the local community, including comprehensive noise and air quality management plans.

“The airport has nearly four million people in its catchment area, and we firmly believe enabling them to fly from their local airport and taking tens of thousands of needless car journeys off of our already congested roads is the most sustainable way to fly.

“In construction terms, the runway extension is relatively small, but the benefit it will make to our region’s connectivity is significant.”

Southampton airport has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, for “emissions within the airport’s control” and has owed to invest in the latest technology to maximise the use of sustainable power sources and developments such as electric aircraft.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/350446/southampton-airport-submits-runway-extension-plans

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Almost 2,000 people sign petition against Southampton Airport expansion plans

About 1,900 people have signed a petition opposing the expansion of Southampton Airport. The local opposition campaign, Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO), will be asking Southampton Councillors not to back plans to extend the airport’s runway by 164 metres.  AXO members will present the petition to councillors at a full council meeting. The plans to extend the runway and increase the number of flights will increase carbon emissions, and are contrary to the council’s plans to cut CO2 locally.  The airport will submit its expansion planning application to Eastleigh Borough Council. AXO said that if Southampton is serious about declaring a climate emergency, the airport expansion should not be permitted. Airports and their backers try to use the argument that it is better for people to fly (as they assume people will continue to do, in growing numbers….) from a local airport, citing the carbon emissions of their trip to/from another larger airport. Those emissions are generally small compared to those of the flight itself. And the aim of having a local airport is to get people to fly more, as it is more convenient.  Net effect – more flights, more carbon. And more noise and local impacts around the airport.

Click here to view full story…

Local opposition growing to expansion plans by Southampton airport

A group within Southampton Friends of the Earth has set up a campaign to oppose Southampton Airport expansion. Despite the Government’s recent commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, there are many airport expansion applications across the UK. This expansion cannot enable the aviation sector to meet even its current, easy, carbon target – let alone the much more stringent one required for a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. The airport will probably submit its planning application to extend the runway by 170 metres to Eastleigh Borough Council in the next few weeks. The scoping report and Master Plan have received approval in principle from Southampton City Council. Twyford Parish Council has objected, due to a proposed increase of flights over the village. Eastleigh Greens are likely to be objecting as well.  Friends of the Earth Southampton are currently putting together a petition to Southampton City Council to ask them to re-think their support for airport expansion, given that the Government is asking for net zero carbon by 2050. Campaigners started a group here to oppose the proposed expansion but it has not got a name yet. People interested can get in touch via the local FoE group foesoton@gmail.com

Click here to view full story…

 

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Read more »

The Gatwick’s Big Enough Campaign writes to local authorities to ask that all Gatwick expansion plans should be properly scrutinised

The newly formed coalition of community groups, opposing the expansion of Gatwick airport and the noise made by its flights, has written to all the Leaders and CEOs of all Gatwick’s Host and Neighbouring local authorities. The letter proposes actions that Councils could take to ensure that all Gatwick’s proposed growth is properly scrutinised, as is the case at every other major UK airport. In particular it urges Councils to ask the Secretary of State for Transport to direct that Gatwick’s main runway development should be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) requiring development consent (a DCO) using his powers under section 35 of the Planning Act 2008. This would ensure that there was proper scrutiny of all proposed growth, of more flights on the existing runway – as well as more flights by using the current emergency runway as a full runway.  As things stand at present, the approximately 60% increase in flights that Gatwick plans would not require any particular planning scrutiny, while the use of the emergency runway (about 40% of the growth) would.  This is an anomaly. The groups are also keen to discuss the issues with the affected councils.
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The letter:

28 November 2019

Email: info@gatwicksbigenough.org

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Dear Council Leader

I am writing to you as Leader of one of the Host or Neighbouring Authorities for the purposes of Gatwick Airport’s emergency runway Development Consent Order (DCO) application.

Gatwick’s master plan proposes that the airport should grow from 46m to 70m passengers annually and from 280,000 movements to 390,000.

Some 40% of this growth would be achieved by making routine use of the airport’s emergency runway. The climate change, congestion, noise and other consequences of that growth, and its benefits, will be addressed through the DCO process and we look forward to engaging in that. If approved, routine use of the emergency runway would not commence until the mid 2020s.

But 60% of Gatwick’s proposed growth, commencing immediately, would be achieved by making more use of the airport’s existing main runway. That growth is not within the scope of the emergency runway DCO process and is not currently subject to any other scrutiny, planning permission or consultation.

That cannot be right. Both the Planning Act 2008 and the government’s “Making Best Use of Existing Runways” policy are very clear that airport growth of more than 10m passengers constitutes a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) requiring Development Consent. Gatwick’s current position breaches government policy and represents a major democratic deficit.

From initial discussions, it would appear many Councils believe there is little they can do to bring Gatwick’s main runway growth within the scope of a DCO process or another robust planning process.

That is also not right. We believe there are numerous steps Councils could take to ensure that all Gatwick’s proposed growth is properly scrutinised, as it is at every other major UK airport. The Annex to this letter sets out the legal and policy positions and suggests a series of specific actions Councils could consider.

In particular, Councils can ask the Secretary of State to direct that Gatwick’s main runway development be considered an NSIP requiring development consent using his powers under section 35 of the Planning Act 2008. We urge you to do so. Such action would impose no additional burdens on your Council, but would ensure that the consequences of Gatwick’s growth were properly scrutinised and that you, and the residents you represent, have a voice.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this proposal, and other potential actions, with you, your Cabinet colleagues and relevant officers.

Yours sincerely

Peter Barclay
Chair, Gatwick’s Big Enough coalition


The letter was sent to:

To Leaders of Gatwick Host and Neighbouring councils:

Peter Lamb, Leader, Crawley Borough Council
Keith Glazier, Leader, East Sussex County Council
Stuart Selleck, Leader, Elmbridge Borough Council
John Beckett, Mayor of Epsom and Ewell
Caroline Reeves, Leader, Guildford Borough Council
Keith Mans, Leader, Hampshire County Council
Ray Dawe, Leader, Horsham District Council
Roger Gough, Leader, Kent County Council
Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader, Mid Sussex District Council Stephen Cooksey, Leader, Mole Valley District Council Mark Brunt, Leader, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council Tony Elias, Leader, Tandridge District Council
Peter Fleming, Leader, Sevenoaks District Council
Tim Oliver, Leader, Surrey County Council
Paul Marshall, Leader, West Sussex County Council
John Ward, Leader, Waverley Borough Council
Robert Standley, Leader, Wealden District Council
Eileen Lintill, Leader, Chichester District Council

cc:
Chief Executive officers, Gatwick Host and Neighbouring Authorities

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See earlier:

Groups write to Government asking for a moratorium on airport expansion planning applications

Representatives of groups at some of the largest UK airports  [including GACC, the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign] have written to both the Secretaries of State for Transport, and Housing, Communities and Local Government, to request a halt to airport expansion.  The letter asks them to suspend the determination by all planning authorities of applications to increase the physical capacity of UK airports, or their approved operating caps, until there is a settled UK policy position against which such applications can be judged.  Many UK airports are seeking – or have announced their intention to seek – planning approval to increase their capacity and/or their operating caps. In aggregate it has been estimated that proposals announced by UK airports would increase the country’s airport capacity by over 70% compared to 2017.  There is no settled UK policy on aircraft noise, or  policy on aviation carbon and how the sector will, as the CCC advises,  “limit growth in demand to at most 25% above current levels by 2050”. The letter says: “Until a settled policy with set limits is established for greenhouse gas emissions and noise there should be a moratorium on all airport expansion planning applications.”

Click here to view full story…

Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) announce a major campaign to challenge Gatwick’s Master Plan

Under the banner Gatwick’s Big Enough community groups around Gatwick have joined forces with GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) to call Gatwick to account over their Master Plan growth proposals.  The airport plans to grow to be the size of Heathrow today, with an increase in flights in the next 10 years to 390,000 pa (1,050 or more per day), and passenger numbers to 70 million passengers per year (190,000 or more per day). By contrast the current numbers are around  283,000 flights in 2018, and 46 million passengers.  That growth will bring increased misery to thousands through noise, pollution and impacts on local infrastructure.  They also mean a massive increase in CO2 emissions caused by the additional flights estimated at an increase of almost 1 million tonnes CO2 (circa 37% increase) per annum by 2050. The new campaign group is already challenging Gatwick’s attempts to bypass full scrutiny on its main runway growth plans through use of the Planning Permitted Development processes. It has made a submission to the Planning Inspectorate for Gatwick’s use of its emergency runway to be fully used. It is also planning challenges to plans for a 3rd runway.

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Heathrow ordered by CAA to rein in 3rd runway costs – to ensure it is built economically and efficiently

The CAA has inserted a significant new clause into Heathrow’s licence, starting in January 2020, amid concerns that costs on the vast 3rd runway project will spiral out of control. Heathrow will be penalised if it fails to build its £14bn expansion scheme efficiently — the first time such a condition has been imposed on the airport. Airlines, especially British Airways, are nervous that Heathrow will try to get them to pay up-front for construction costs, which would put up the price of air tickets, deterring passengers. The CAA polices the fees the airport charges passengers. It said the new licence clause was needed to “set clear expectations for Heathrow to conduct its business economically and efficiently”. Heathrow says this is disproportionate and could put off investors. IAG boss Willie Walsh has repeatedly complained that Heathrow’s runway scheme is a “gold-plated”, and that there is little incentive for Heathrow to keep costs down. Under a complex incentive system, the more Heathrow spends, the more its owners can earn. Heathrow has already spent £3.3 billion on its plans, which have not even yet passed through legal challenges, let alone the DCO process. 

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Heathrow ordered by CAA to rein in third runway costs

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has inserted a significant new clause into its licence, amid concerns that costs on the vast project will spiral out of control.

Heathrow’s plans for the third runway are a complex feat of engineering that will see it straddle the M25. That has stoked a fear in airlines, including British Airways owner IAG, that rising costs will fall on passengers and make flying to and from the airport unaffordable.

The runway is caught in a political storm over spending and environmental concerns. Boris Johnson pledged to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop Heathrow expanding when he became a local MP in 2015. Labour has suggested it could stop the project.

The CAA, which polices the fees the airport charges passengers, said the new licence clause was needed to “set clear expectations for Heathrow to conduct its business economically and efficiently”. Heathrow argued it was disproportionate and could put off investors.

IAG boss Willie Walsh has repeatedly complained that the runway is a “gold-plated” scheme, and that there is little incentive for Heathrow to keep costs down. Under a complex incentive system, the more Heathrow spends, the more its owners can earn.

Investment is recouped through passenger charges, which can be levied years before a project is completed. An attempt to bill passengers for £3.3bn of early spending has already hit opposition.

The CAA said the clause, which comes into effect next month, was necessary because the “commercial pressure that airlines can bring to bear on Heathrow is not sufficient to ensure it always acts efficiently in the interests of consumers”.

Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport, handling more than 80m passengers a year. It said it is “extremely efficient and viewed as a benchmark for major infrastructure projects . . . The current level of scrutiny and transparency around capital investment is already unmatched globally.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heathrow-ordered-by-caa-to-rein-in-third-runway-costs-fprgvf32m

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How Heathrow is happy to pay way over the odds, to increase its RAB, allowing more revenue

The City Editor of the Financial Times, Jonathan Ford, has written about how the reasons for Heathrow’s anticipated costs for its possible 3rd runway.  The cost of £17 billion, or now £15 billion are exceptional. But Jonathan explains how Heathrow’s investors seem happy to spend so much. It is because of the curious incentives that operate in the topsy-turvy world of utility financing. As with most ventures that have monopolistic aspects, Heathrow is not subject to ordinary restraints on capital expenditure. The principal check is the willingness of the airport’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, to sign off on the mechanism by which these costs can be recovered from captive airline customers through passenger charges. Heathrow often pays far above the going rate for building, new technology etc, because this adds to the airport’s regulated asset base (RAB) on which it gets an allowed return, and thus permits it predictably to expand its own revenues. Since taking over BAA in 2006, Ferrovial has been extremely active, tripling Heathrow’s RAB to £15bn. It is a system that has allowed the airport’s owners to finance these expansions with vanishingly little equity capital. Heathrow is encouraged to fund everything with debt by a regulatory system that allows it to keep the gains from financial engineering. Heathrow’s owners hope to shrug off the risks of completion, but transfer them on to customers. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/03/how-heathrow-is-happy-to-pay-way-over-the-odds-to-increase-its-rab-allowing-more-revenue/

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See earlier:

Heathrow regulator, the CAA, demands answers urgently on Heathrow’s 3rd runway plan

The CEO, Richard Moriarty, of aviation watchdog body, the CAA, have written to the Department for Transport (DfT) asking that they should “decisively and urgently” address major concerns about the funding for the 3rd runway scheme – at least £14 billion, and doubtless more with cost over-runs and things not going to plan. They say Heathrow must “provide assurance that its revised timetable is realistic” and would “ensure timely delivery” of the expansion. The CAA threatens enforcement action against Heathrow to force it to provide clear evidence about how it would finance the scheme, while avoiding pushing up costs for airlines and passengers. The CAA says the project had been hit by a further delay, with a public consultation on detailed plans for the new runway now scheduled for June rather than in the first three months of next year. Heathrow is already the most expensive airport in the world, with landing charges of over £20 per ticket, and that is likely to rise – regardless of flimsy Heathrow assurances. Mr Moriarty said there is a  “lack of high quality and comprehensive information” about how Heathrow would keep costs down, while being commercially viable, and these concerns had “not been adequately addressed, despite repeated requests”. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/11/heathrow-regulator-the-caa-demands-answer-urgently-on-heathrows-3rd-runway-plan/


Heathrow plans to increase 3rd runway costs – to £2.9 bn – before approval, hoping it will be too costly to scrap its plans

Heathrow plans to triple the amount it spends on its third runway proposal, to £2.9bn – well before getting final approval. This either means air passengers using Heathrow would be charged more (something the industry and the government do not want), or else the taxpayer will be charged. Even if the runway never goes ahead.  The CAA has a consultation about the costs and how Heathrow has been speeding up the process, spending ever more money. (The legal challenges are now going to appeal in October, but Heathrow is pressing ahead with its DCO consultations). Especially on carbon emissions, air pollution and noise grounds, it is entirely possible the runway will be blocked and the DCO will not be granted.  The CAA says it has asked Heathrow “to consider different options for this spending and the implications of this spending for the overall programme timetable and the interests of consumers.” [Not to mention the taxpayer, who may end up paying …] Heathrow is increasing the amount of its “Category B” costs and “early Category C” costs. They want to increase the amount spent already to be so large, that it effectively cannot be cancelled. Detailed costs still have to be outlined, but Heathrow is expected to submit its initial business plan to the CAA for review towards the end of this year. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2019/07/heathrow-plans-to-increase-3rd-runway-costs-to-2-9-bn-before-approval-hoping-it-will-be-too-costly-to-scrap-its-plans/

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Jonathan Ford (FT) on the serious financing doubts: “Who will pay for Heathrow airport’s £14bn 3rd runway?”

With the vote on a possible 3rd Heathrow runway expected on 25th June, Jonathan Ford and Gill Plimmer write, in the Financial Times, of the very serious doubts over how the runway could be funded. They say: “Most agree that this leveraged structure is wholly inappropriate to support a project as large as the 3rd runway. It offers no leeway for construction risk on what will be a highly complex engineering challenge. There is also the question of how Heathrow might meet the financing costs, which could run to £2bn-£3bn over the six-year construction period, assuming an interest rate of between 4 -7%.” And …”investors have been pulling out more in dividends than Heathrow has been earning. Last year they received a payout of £847m even though post tax profits were just £516m, implying that the corporate debt was used, in part, to fund these returns.” … And “A key question is how much debt the markets will lend against the £2bn of operating cash flow Heathrow expects to have by the time construction begins in 2019.” … The Airports Commission said it could saddle Heathrow with up to £27 billion of debt.  Ford also questions the opaque structure of Heathrow, with at least 10 corporate layers between Heathrow Airport Limited ….and shareholders.”   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/06/jonathan-ford-ft-on-the-serious-financing-doubts-who-will-pay-for-heathrow-airports-14bn-3rd-runway/


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How Heathrow’s new runway would be funded, (higher landing costs, more costs to taxpayer) – all unclear

Heathrow’s plans for a 3rd runway, and associated building, are due to cost the airport at least £18 billion (not including unexpected over-runs and engineering problems etc). Heathrow now wants the right to make airlines and passengers contribute to any unexpected higher costs. The CAA controls the amount Heathrow can charge airlines. Heathrow has asked the CAA to factor in a huge array of risks from building the 3,500 metre runway across the M25 into the charges it is allowed to claw back from carriers. Heathrow keeps insisting its landing charges would remain close to current levels, aviation experts said there are few credible alternatives to charging users more. IAG believes the huge construction costs will lead to charges doubling to landing charges per passenger, from about £40 now to £80 for a return ticket. Heathrow is mainly owned by overseas investors. As well as higher than expected costs of construction, there are risks such as lack of interest from airlines in taking up the new landing slots; financial markets turning against the airport, leading to a downgrade of its credit rating; higher debt costs; and politics. There is real fear that if the Heathrow expansion project was allowed, the costs – many £ billion – might fall on the taxpayer – if the enterprise becomes a bit of a white elephant. The Airports Commission and DfT have said little about this massive risk to the public finances.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/08/how-heathrows-new-runway-would-be-funded-higher-landing-costs-costs-to-taxpayer-all-unclear/

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Heathrow growth – election briefing (one page) from the No 3rd Runway Coalition – check your candidates’ views

The No 3rd Runway Coalition has put together a simple one-page briefing on Heathrow and its proposed new runway, to help people quiz their parliamentary candidates, and check they know the real facts. The Coalition says: “Supporting Heathrow Expansion comes at the expense of the regions and to the UK as a whole.  Here’ s why it should be opposed.” The briefing deals with the Economic costs, the carbon implications, noise, air pollution, transport impacts, and connectivity. Lots of key points, including on economics:  ” The Government’ s own economic analysis found that once all negative impacts are monetised, a third runway could bring net NEGATIVE economic benefits to the UK overall in the long term.  There is no explicit job model and no clear job creation analysis included in the Airports National Policy Statement. Many of the few jobs created will be low-skilled and short term.  The costs of the project are now expected to rise to over £31bn, increasing Heathrow’s debt from £11bn (2014) to over £40bn in 2028. This could still increase further.” On noise: “Data from the CAA reveals that 2.2 MILLION people would experience an increase in noise from an expanded Heathrow.”

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GENERAL ELECTION 2019 BRIEFING – Heathrow 3rd runway

Supporting Heathrow Expansion comes at the expense of the regions and to the UK as a whole.  Here’ s why it should be opposed.

ECONOMIC COSTS

  • The Government’ s own economic analysis found that once all negative impacts are monetised, a third runway could bring net NEGATIVE economic benefits to the UK overall in the long term.
  • There is no explicit job model and no clear job creation analysis included in the Airports National Policy Statement. Many of the few jobs created will be low-skilled and short term.
  • The costs of the project are now expected to rise to over £31bn, increasing Heathrow’s debt from £11bn (2014) to over £40bn in 2028. This could still increase further.

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Heathrow is already the biggest single source of carbon emissions in the UK and expansion will add an extra 8-9 megatonnes of CO2 per year. Thus, a third runway is not compatible with the UK’ s legally binding climate targets.
  • The Committee on Climate Change has advised the Government to limit growth in passenger demand to 25% between now and 2050. The Government currently anticipates twice this level of passenger growth.
  • While the CCC model assumes 31 megatonnes of CO2 by 2050 from aviation, the Government’ s forecasts are that with Heathrow expansion, UK aviation emissions would be as high as 40 megatonnes annually by 2050.
  • Consequently, growth would need to be curbed at all other UK airports if a third runway is built in order for the UK not to breach its carbon targets.

AIR POLLUTION

  • The Government accepts Heathrow expansion would have a “ significant negative ” effect on Air Quality.
  • Government has provided no evidence to show how Heathrow can expand and comply with legal limits and there are currently no enforcement methods should Heathrow not meet legal requirements.
  • The area around Heathrow is the second major hot spot for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in London, with breaches of legal limits having been recorded close to the airport for many years.

NOISE

  • Expansion would result in an additional 285,000 flights each year or over 700 extra flights per day.
  • Data from the Civil Aviation Authority reveals that 2.2 MILLION people experience an increase in noise from an expanded Heathrow.
  • Transport Select Committee concluded that 323,684 people will be newly affected by noise from Heathrow.
  • Hundreds of thousands of school children across the South East are already exposed to aircraft noise above 54 decibels, the sound level threshold which has a negative effect on children ’ s behaviour, memory and learning.

TRANSPORT IMPACTS

  • Expansion would result in a total of 175,000 additional daily trips on local transport networks.
  • Heathrow has to increase the proportion of passengers accessing the airport by public transport from 40% today to 50% in 2030 and 55% in 2040. However, it has only increased this figure by 1% since 2009.
  • It is unclear what the cost to the taxpayer of the road and rail infrastructure will be. Estimates of these are up to £18bn, which could easily overrun. Heathrow has only committed to contributing £1bn.

CONNECTIVITY

  • Regional Airports will lose 17 million passengers by 2050 if Heathrow expands.
  • Transport Select Committee found that expansion at Heathrow would result in 170,000 fewer flights at regional airports by 2050.
  • The UK Government currently funds three Public Service Obligations (PSOs) into London airports.
  • The total annual subsidy in 2017 for PSO’ s was £10,564,194. The average annual cost of existing PSOs in 2017 was £480,191. 50% of this cost is met by local authorities.

 

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300th Frankfurt Monday demo against aircraft noise – 1,000 people -.  “Only when no one comes, is it over!”

Back in October 2011 the Frankfurt airport 3rd runway opened. It was greeted with huge anger, because residents had not been informed how much new noise there would be, and that there would be noise where there previously was none. Huge protests started on Monday evenings (airports are public property in Germany, so protests can happen). These carried on with often as many as 1,000 people each week. People were devastated by the noise battering they were being subjected to. Now, 8 years later, the protesters have had their 300th protest, again with perhaps almost 1,000 people present. They say they will not give up, until there are no more protesters. “Only when no one comes, is it over.” Their complaints have not been addressed, about noise or particulate air pollution, or the health issues people are suffering – including depression. The airport is continuing to expand, with a new terminal. Its opponents now hope the increasing awareness of carbon emissions from aviation, with campaigns like Fridays for Future, will help put pressure on Frankfurt airport. There is a new campaign against domestic flights. 
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Slightly odd Google Translate version of this German story:

300th Frankfurt Monday demonstration against aircraft noise.  “Only when no one comes, it is over!”

11.11.19

“Deutschland fliegt nicht” means  “Germany does not fly”

Giving up is out of the question for the aircraft noise opponents: About eight years after the first protest, their 300th Monday demonstration took place at Frankfurt Airport. There are plenty of unfulfilled demands.

The participants would like to have spared the anniversary: Monday, people are coming to the Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport with posters for about eight years. They protest against the aircraft noise, ultrafine dust and the further expansion of the airport. Now the aircraft noise opponents demonstrated for the 300th time. Around 550 people counted the police. Thomas Scheffler, spokesman for the Alliance of Citizens’ Initiatives (BBI), spoke of more than 1,000 participants.

Frankfurt Airport is located in the center of the Rhine-Main conurbation, with hundreds of aircraft taking off and landing daily. This is felt by many people in the surrounding area whose houses are located in particular in the entry lanes. The circle of those concerned extends far beyond Frankfurt and Offenbach out to the neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate around Mainz. From there, cabaret artist Lars Reichow traveled to the demo on Monday evening and addressed the participants.

Demo was already bigger

At the end of 2011, when the new northwest runway went into operation, resistance had “increased explosively,” says Scheffler. At times even several thousand people came to the demos. Then it was a little quieter. The recently started construction of Terminal 3 caused new displeasure , the opponents fear thereby a further increase of the aircraft noise.

Lately, according to Scheffler, around 250 people have regularly come to the airport for the Monday demonstration. The demonstrators outraged because the new runway had led to an even greater aircraft noise. Not only the ultrafine dust endangers the health , but also the noise. He could cause cardiovascular problems and even depression.

More than a demand

For years, the BBI has called for a stop to the expansion of the airport and an extension of the no-fly ban. Currently, this is between 23.00 and 5.00 clock, which was then set in the construction of the Northwest runway. In addition, the Alliance wants the flight movements to be reduced every year and the Northwest runway to be shut down. The aircraft noise opponents are now hoping for an upswing through the climate debate. A new action, which was presented in the evening, is aimed at short-haul flights.

The initiators of the “Germany-flies-not” campaign are calling on people to refrain from private and professional domestic flights during the week from 10 to 16 February 2020. A photo campaign in Terminal 1 is planned – on a “do-nothing-do” sofa. A photo will be displayed on one of the world’s largest screens in Times Square, New York. Afterwards, the sofa, which is over two meters wide, travels through Germany. At the beginning of December there will be a sofa concert at Frankfurt Airport.

Minister is impressed

The operator of the Frankfurt airport does not disturb actions like these. “We take our responsibility for passive and active noise control in the vicinity of the airport very seriously,” said a Fraport spokesman. Hesse Transport Minister Tarek Al-Wazir (Greens) is impressed by the persistent commitment of the activists. “We’re ultimately pursuing the same goal,” he said. Hesse was able to do a lot within its capabilities – for example, with the seven-hour noise break, during which individual railways are temporarily not used, thus temporarily relieving neighboring municipalities of noise or the upper limit of noise.

For critics like Scheffler that’s not enough. The years of resistance had not been in vain, even if the construction of the new terminal, for instance, was a shadow over Monday’s demos. The most important success was that the subject of aircraft noise and particulate matter pollution is firmly anchored in public discourse today. And climate change movements such as “Fridays for Future” rekindled the debate surrounding the effects of air traffic. And the Monday demos? “Only when no one comes, it’s over.”

https://www.hessenschau.de/wirtschaft/fluglaermgegner-geben-nicht-auf-die-300-frankfurter-montagsdemo,fluglaerm-demo-frankfurt-100.html

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Video:

https://vimeo.com/374703530/4ab1c50783  video of part of the protest.

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There was also the launch of the “Germany does not fly” …”Deutschland fliegt nicht” campaign

 

DEMONSTRATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE

Germany does not fly?

Photo: © Gegenwind 2011 Rhein-Main eV / PR Newswire New York

Photo: © Gegenwind 2011 Rhein-Main eV / PR Newswire New York
With the new campaign “Germany does not fly”, a nationwide campaign to waive domestic flights will be launched in February 2020. Campaign start is already next Monday at the Frankfurt airport.

“Germany Grounded”, freely translated “Germany does not fly”, “Deutschland fliegt nicht” was the message that flickered in New York’s Times Square on October 31 in big letters on the Reuters scoreboard and was seen by thousands of people in the world metropolis. This was the highly ambitious starting signal for the initiative launched by aviation noise opponents from the Rhine-Main area “Germany is not flying”, which will cause a sensation nationwide from February 2020. The aim of the campaign is to get as many people as possible to refrain from flying.

At least since the world-wide Fridays for Future protests, a debate about travel behaviour in Germany has flared up. Frequent flying is becoming more and more in the focus, because air travel damages the climate much more than bus or train travel. Although only about ten percent of the earth’s population has access to the luxury of flying, it accounts for five percent of global CO2 emissions. At nitrogen and water vapour emissions, the proportion is even higher. Germany’s largest airport also plays an important role: it handles 35 percent of domestic flights. Overall, Frankfurt Airport is one of the 15 largest airports in the world, transporting around 70 million passengers a year. Before the construction of Terminal 3 began, the last big step towards the airport extension was the opening of the Northwest Runway in 2011.

He also called the initiators of the campaign “Germany does not fly” on the plan, eight years ago the non-profit associations Stop-Fluglärm.de, headwind 2011 Rhein-Main and the initiative climate, environmental and noise protection in aviation founded and since then demonstrating with great perseverance on Monday evenings at Frankfurt Airport. After demonstrating 6,000 participants on 4 February 2012, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) tested to what extent higher departure angles for noise avoidance are possible and made an adjustment from 3 to 3.2 degrees.

Next Monday the 11.11. the aviation noise opponents propose a new chapter. During the 300th Monday demonstration in Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport, as part of the “Germany does not fly” “Deutschland fliegt nicht”  campaign, flying people are to be convinced that they will be able to forego their private and business domestic flights at the latest in the action week in February.

Furthermore, it will be presented on Monday evening “when, where and how the action will reach Germany’s airports and cities by February 2020,” said Rolf Fritsch von Gegenwind 2011. In order to generate as much attention as possible, not only companies, associations, institutions and politics but also prominent “opinion leaders” should be convinced.

Thus television presenter Joko Winterscheidt and former Olympic champion Britta Steffen have publicly commented on their flight renouncement. On 11.11. The Monday demo also receives support from cabaret artist Lars Reichow, whose performance rounds off the program.

Unlike, for example, Extinction Rebellion, which was planning to block the airspace at Heathrow Airport in London with a drone blockade, [it never happened] the aviation noise activists resort to more lenient persuasive methods: “Our appeal is directed to human reason, it should encourage thought and help “Habits change,” it says in the call.

“Flying sustainably does not mean flying,” says Hans-Peter Huppert von Gegenwind in 2011, and sees himself strengthened in Chinese philosophy: “Since Confucius, “do-nothing-together “has been a strong, non-partisan and well-tested instrument.” the “Do-Nothing-together” sofa will be revealed on which the first non-fliers will be presented. This will be photographed in January 2020, among others, before the Chancellery. The initiators are expressing their disappointment at the (not yet) made changes by the politicians. Their concept: putting responsibility in the hands of individuals rather than waiting for prohibitions, ordinances and laws.

>> Official campaign start, 11.11., Frankfurt Airport, Terminal 1, from 18 o’clock Demonstration, from 18.15 Performance cabaret artist Lars Reichow, 18.40 Presentation of the campaign and online-circuit of www.deutschland-fliegt-nicht.de

https://www.journal-frankfurt.de/journal_news/Panorama-2/Demonstration-gegen-den-Klimawandel-Deutschland-fliegt-nicht-34883.html
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See earlier:

The 200th Frankfurt airport Monday Demo (Montagsdemo) against the noise will be on 30th January

The 4th runway at Frankfurt was opened in October 2011. Due to re-alignment of flight paths, with thousands of people either newly overflown, or with more flights than before, there was uproar. The airport had not felt it necessary to warn people, or consult about the noise. Several thousand people started to congregate in the airport terminal every Monday evening, for a protest demo. (The airport buildings are public property, so the airport cannot prevent people gathering.). The 100th Monday demo was on 20th May 2014, when a group from the UK attended. Now the 200th Monday demo will take place on Monday 30th January, and a large crowd is expected. Politicians from the local area and from the region, as well as for Berlin, will be attending. The demands of the protesters are ultimately that the runway is closed down (though that is an ambitious, or unrealistic hope….) but they want no night flights from 10pm to 6am, no further airport expansion, and no 3rd terminal. Work to build the 3rd terminal started in October 2015, and the airport hopes it will open (first phase) in 2022. It is an astonishing achievement that Frankfurt residents have organised 200 Monday protests, all attended by many hundreds of people – sometimes several thousand. The demos are possible because people are so upset and angry about the noise burden that has been inflicted on them, reducing their quality of life.

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The 3rd terminal

In 2009, the German government decided to create third terminals for both Frankfurt Airport and Munich Airport, in order to handle expected passenger flows of 90 million in Frankfurt by 2020 and 50 million in Munich by 2017.

The new terminal is scheduled to be built by Fraport, south of the existing terminals on the grounds of the former Rhein-Main Air Base. The new Terminal 3 is to accommodate up to 25 million passengers and will feature 75 new aircraft positions when completely constructed. An extension of the SkyLine people mover system is planned to connect the new terminal to Terminals 1 and 2 and the airport train stations.

In August 2014, the city of Frankfurt granted building permission for the first phase of Terminal 3. The groundbreaking for the new Terminal took place on 5 October 2015. Its first phase, consisting of the main building and two of the planned four piers, is planned to open by 2022 and will be able to handle 15 million additional passengers per year. Total costs are estimated at €3 billion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_Airport#The_new_main_terminal


Residents around Frankfurt hold their 150th huge Monday evening protest against aircraft noise

On Monday 28th September, the 150th Monday evening protest against aircraft noise, due to the new runway, took place at Frankfurt airport. The new 4th runway was opened in October 2011, to the north west of the airport, and caused not only new flight paths but changes to existing flight paths. People had not been expecting the noise problem to be so bad. As soon as the runway opened, residents starting protesting against the noise – that was stopping them sleeping, reducing their quality of life, preventing them enjoying relaxing outside under flight paths, and reducing the prices of their homes. They started protests in the airport Terminal 1 (almost) every Monday evening. These are attended by between about 600 and 3,000 people. That is an astonishing achievement, and manifestation of real anger and determination by the thousands affected by plane noise. They are concerned now that the protests are seen to be becoming routine, and there is some appetite for more radical action, especially now that work is due to start very soon on a deeply opposed 3rd airport terminal. The style of protesting may perhaps now change. In German airport buildings are public property, so protesters are entitled to congregate in the terminal.

Click here to view full story…

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Greenpeace bring bulldozer to Uxbridge – reminding Boris of his 2015 “lying in front of a bulldozer” comment

On 26th November, Greenpeace brought a big yellow bulldozer to Uxbridge tube station, on the High Street, together with a very comfortable chaise longue, to give the Prime Minister the opportunity to make good on his 2015 promise to ‘lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that 3rd runway’. Rival local candidates were invited to do likewise; the LibDem and Labour candidates came to show their opposition to Heathrow’s plans. Boris, of course, did not.  Greenpeace activists delivered leaflets around the constituency, suggesting that they ask all election candidates what they would do about the runway, and vote accordingly.  Boris is thought to be be generally against the runway, but has been notable by his absence of comment on the issue lately.  Greenpeace said: “Since Boris Johnson pledged to lie in front of bulldozers to stop Heathrow’s third runway, a lot has changed. The Amazon is burning, Greenland is melting, Yorkshire has flooded and people have been spotted sunbathing in the UK in February…. we are in a climate emergency”. The 3rd runway is so obviously the sort of development the UK should NOT be building now.
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Greenpeace bring bulldozer to Boris in Uxbridge

Tuesday 26th November, 2019, London.

26.11.2019  (Greenpeace UK)

This morning Greenpeace have brought a bulldozer to Uxbridge tube station, on the High Street, together with a very comfortable chaise longue, to give the Prime Minister the opportunity to make good on his 2015 promise to ‘lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway’. Rival local candidates have been invited, and the LibDem and Labour candidates have agreed to come and show their opposition to Heathrow’s plans.

The Lib Dem candidate, lying in front of the bulldozer

Greenpeace activists delivered leaflets around the constituency, and will be helping Uxbridge locals to register to vote, and letting them have their own pictures taken lying in front of the bulldozer.

Paul Morozzo, a climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said –

“We’re here to help people in Uxbridge, and across the UK, to get some clarity on an issue which affects all of us. When Heathrow starts to build a new runway, bulldozing through people’s homes and our climate targets, will the Prime Minister be lying in front of the bulldozer, or driving it?

“Since Boris Johnson pledged to lie in front of bulldozers to stop Heathrow’s third runway, a lot has changed. The Amazon is burning, Greenland is melting, Yorkshire has flooded and people have been spotted sunbathing in the UK in February.

“It’s becoming more and more obvious that we are in a climate emergency and the government must cancel Heathrow’s carbon bomb. If the PM doesn’t want to explain his position here, perhaps he can explain on the party leaders’ climate debate?”

Greenpeace hope to leaflet every household in the constituency with advice to register to vote, check candidates’ position on the proposed third runway, and only vote for candidates who are clearly opposed.

 

ENDS

Greenpeace UK Press Office – press.uk@greenpeace.org or 020 7865 8255

Press Officer on site – 07801 212 960

Photos and video of the Greenpeace ‘bullingdozer’ and activists in Uxbridge, updated throughout the morning –

https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJ8RR77I

Notes

PM Johnson on video pledging ‘I will lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop construction of that third runway.’ –

https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/london/west/hillingdon/boris-johnson-to-miss-heathrow-vote-bulldozers/

Greenpeace ‘vote no third runway’ leaflet (folds out into a poster) –

https://greenpeace.app.box.com/s/85ysforat44nfn1vk0vwfddf4g3opzdz

Greenpeace are party to an appeal of a Judicial Review (JR) of the government’s Aviation National Policy Statement, together with Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond upon Thames and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, joined by the Mayor of London. Other JRs have been brought by Friends of the Earth, Plan B, and Heathrow Hub Ltd.

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See also Mirror article at

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-asked-stick-2015-20964126


See earlier:

 

Boris to fight (“undeliverable”) 3rd Heathrow runway; he won’t resign over it – but would fight from within Parliament

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is now also MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip, has said he would not resign as an MP if the Conservative government approved a Heathrow 3rd runway. He believes he would be better able to fight it by remaining in Parliament. Boris will now be attending the Cabinet – but he does not have a ministerial role, so he can devote his attention to his final year as Mayor. Boris has, for many years, been an outspoken opponent of a new Heathrow runway because of the highly negative impacts of noise and air pollution on Londoners.  He has now said that if there was a Heathrow runway, with meeting air quality standards a very difficult challenge, there would have to be a new congestion charge zone around it. That would be the only way to tackle the traffic congestion and air pollution caused by so many extra road vehicles (as well as planes and airport vehicles). Boris said in his MP acceptance speech that he would join Zac Goldsmith and lie down “in front of those bulldozers and stop the building, stop the construction of that 3rd runway” at Heathrow. He said a 3rd Heathrow runway was “undeliverable” and that if the Airports Commission recommended it, he hoped their report would be “filed vertically [shelved]” as others had been. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/05/boris-to-fight-undeliverable-3rd-heathrow-runway-he-wont-resign-over-it-but-fight-from-within-parliament/

 

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Flight link between Newquay and Heathrow in doubt, after just one year

A flight link between Heathrow and Newquay, Cornwall, started at the end of March 2019, with 4 round trips per day using Q400 propeller turboprops, is said to have done well, in terms of the number of passengers. But now Flybe is not selling tickets for flights on the route beyond 28 March 2020. The “booking horizon” for scheduled flights is commonly 11 months. The only route from Cornwall to London now on sale after March 2020 is a 4-times weekly link with Southend airport. Earlier this year, a consortium comprising Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and a US hedge fund, Cyrus Capital, bought Flybe for £2.8m. They have pumped in tens of millions of pounds to keep Flybe, which is heavily loss-making,  afloat. It is to be rebranded as Virgin Connect in 2020.  Before the Heathrow route opened, there were 3 daily flights between Newquay and Gatwick.  Flybe’s slots at Heathrow are valuable, if they want to sell them to sort out debts, as slots can change hands for over £50m a pair. From March 2018, the agreement was that for 4 years, the DfT and Cornwall Council would each pay up to £1.7m, per year, representing a subsidy of £5 per passenger – or £10 for a round-trip (with 170,000 passengers per year).
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FLYBE FLIGHT FROM HEATHROW TO NEWQUAY THROWN INTO DOUBT

No bookings for Cornwall’s link with Heathrow are being taken from 28 March 2020

By Simon Calder, Travel Correspondent (The Independent)
@SimonCalder

26th November 2019

When Flybe’s link between Newquay and London Heathrow began on the last day of March 2019, the four daily round trips were seen as a triumph for Cornwall.

The service, using Q400 propeller jets, [turboprop, not a jet …. different] has thrived, with high “load factors” on most flights. It provides a crucial connection between Southwest England and the world.

But the regional airline has is not selling tickets for flights between Newquay and Heathrow beyond 28 March 2020.

The “booking horizon” for scheduled flights is commonly 11 months.

The only route from Cornwall to the capital currently on sale after that is a four-times weekly link with Southend airport.

The regional airline secured the precious slots for the four daily flights each way last winter, at a time when it was under severe financial pressure.

Earlier this year, a consortium comprising Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and a US hedge fund, Cyrus Capital, bought Flybe for £2.8m. The group has pumped in tens of millions of pounds to keep the heavily loss-making airline afloat. It is to be rebranded as Virgin Connect in 2020.

Many routes have been closed and some have been launched. But the ending of sales between Newquay and Heathrow has caused considerable alarm in Cornwall.

Regular travellers have taken to social media to express their concerns.

“Cornish Boy Simon” tweeted: “Come on. Let’s have some honesty and transparency here. Nothing available after end of March.

“No meaningful comments from airline or airport.”

Another Twitter user, Xander, wrote: “I’ve just been trying to book flights to LHR from NQY next year, I’m seeing that the flights are cancelled, is this correct? Is there no London service at all?”

Until the Heathrow route opened, the Cornish airport had three daily jet services a day to and from Gatwick airport, carrying much the same number of passengers as the Heathrow link because of the larger aircraft used.

The airline has left the door open for the link to continue. A Flybe spokesperson said: “As part of the first phase of our 2020 summer programme, we have six routes on sale from Cornwall Airport.

“We are working closely with our partners in Cornwall to finalise our full 2020 summer programme relating to those services which may currently not feature in this seasonal schedule.”

A spokesperson for Cornwall Airport Newquay, as the airport is officially known, said: “We are still working with Flybe to finalise their full 2020 summer programme from Cornwall Airport Newquay and hope that the full schedule will be available to book in the near future.”

For a route not to be on sale four months before departure is most unusual. Travellers planning to fly to or from Newquay via Heathrow are unable to book.

Slots at Heathrow are among the most valuable commodities in aviation. They have in the past changed hands for over £50m a pair.

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/flybe-london-heathrow-newquay-cornwall-route-flights-bookings-a9217936.html

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See earlier:

HEATHROW-NEWQUAY FLIGHTS: TAXPAYERS TO SUBSIDISE NEW FLYBE ROUTE BY £10 PER ROUND-TRIP

Cornish airport gets better connections than Leeds Bradford, Inverness and many other UK airports

BySimon CalderTravel Correspondent (The Independent)

Thursday 22 November 2018

Taxpayers are to subsidise a new air link between Cornwall Airport Newquay and Heathrow.

From 31 March 2019 Flybe will shuttle the 210 miles from the Cornish airport, which is shared with RAF St Mawgan, four times a day.

Around 170,000 passengers are predicted to use the service each year. Over the first four years of the link, the Department for Transport and Cornwall Council will each pay up to £1.7m, representing a subsidy of £5 per passenger – or £10 for a round-trip.

Each departure will receive almost £300 in subsidy. The prediction assumes that three-quarters of seats on each flight will be filled.

The current thrice-daily link with Gatwick, which is also subsidised, will end.

The slots at Heathrow, which is the busiest airport in Europe, are part of an allocation which British Airways was required to surrender after taking over BMI in 2012.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “Maintaining and enhancing air routes that help bring together the UK is one of the key benefits of any expansion at Heathrow.

“This new route will see the people of the southwest profit from a direct connection into our national hub airport even before it expands, building on the government’s ongoing commitment to the Newquay route, protecting choice and strengthening trade and travel opportunities for the whole UK.”

The Cornish airport’s managing director, Al Titterington, said: “By having direct flights to Heathrow, it grows the strength of Newquay and Cornwall’s brand abroad, which is great for the local business community and those wanting to visit our beautiful county.”

John Holland Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to secure a more regular service to Newquay, connecting exporters from Cornwall to global markets through Heathrow and making it easier for inward investors, tourists and students from all over the world to get there.”

While the average aircraft using Heathrow is a jet with around 200 seats, Flybe will use 78-seat Q400 turboprop aircraft on the service.

The airline is losing around £7,000 per hour, and last week announced it was in talks with prospective buyers. Both easyJet and Ryanair have told The Independent they are not interested in buying Flybe.

Roy Kinnear, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said: “The decision confirms that Flybe is a vital part of the UK’s transport infrastructure.”

The move will either encourage or dismay other UK airports who have fewer or no connections with Heathrow. British Airways recently cut back its three-times-daily link from Leeds Bradford to one or two flights a day.

Newquay will also be better connected to Heathrow than Inverness, which will have a maximum of three flights a day next summer.

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Durham Tees Valley, which is further from Heathrow than Newquay is, lost its link with the airport a decade ago.

Liverpool, Prestwick, Belfast International and the Channel Islands have also lost connections with Heathrow.

City of Derry Airport in northwest Ireland also has subsidised flights to and from London, but these use Stansted rather than Heathrow.

If and when a third runway at Heathrow is built, it is anticipated that some of the additional slots will be “ring-fenced” to increase the number of domestic routes.

The Regional and Business Airports Group, representing 40 UK airports, said: “It is crucial that the 15 per cent of slots allocated on the new runway are for unserved and underserved (less than two services per day) routes.”

Cornwall Newquay Airport recently announced a summer 2019 link with Copenhagen. Sales have proved so buoyant that extra flights have been added.

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/heathrow-newquay-flights-flybe-taxpayers-subsidise-cornwall-airport-a8646691.html

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Almost 2,000 people sign petition against Southampton Airport expansion plans

About 1,900 people have signed a petition opposing the expansion of Southampton Airport. The local opposition campaign, Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO), will be asking Southampton Councillors not to back plans to extend the airport’s runway by 164 metres.  AXO members will present the petition to councillors at a full council meeting. The plans to extend the runway and increase the number of flights will increase carbon emissions, and are contrary to the council’s plans to cut CO2 locally.  The airport will submit its expansion planning application to Eastleigh Borough Council. AXO said that if Southampton is serious about declaring a climate emergency, the airport expansion should not be permitted. Airports and their backers try to use the argument that it is better for people to fly (as they assume people will continue to do, in growing numbers….) from a local airport, citing the carbon emissions of their trip to/from another larger airport. Those emissions are generally small compared to those of the flight itself. And the aim of having a local airport is to get people to fly more, as it is more convenient.  Net effect – more flights, more carbon. And more noise and local impacts around the airport.
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Nearly 2,000 people sign petition against Southampton Airport expansion

Southampton Airport wants to expand its runway

Monday 18 November 2019
The Portsmouth News

ALMOST 2,000 people have signed a petition opposing the expansion of Southampton Airport.

Campaigners will this week ask city councillors in Southampton not to back plans to extend the airport’s runway by 164 metres claiming it will affect the environment.

Members of Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO) will present a petition signed by 1,900 people to councillors at the full council meeting set to be held on Wednesday.

Civic chiefs said they will scrutinise the plans that the airport is set to submit to Eastleigh Borough Council.

Campaigners think the plans clash with the Green City Charter that Southampton’s council launched this year to combat air pollution.

Lyn Brayshaw, a member of AXO, said: ‘Most of the points of the green city charter are contradicted by an increase in flights. We want this to be discussed at full council. If Southampton is serious about declaring a climate emergency then the airport expansion should not be on the agenda. We can’t have more flights.’

A planning application to expand the airport is expected to be submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council soon.

Cllr Steve Leggett, cabinet member for green city and environment at Southampton City Council, said: ‘When this has been done we will be able to scrutinise this application plus the associated documents, including the environment impact assessment. Then we will make a detailed submission to EBC planning.’

Earlier this week councillor Keith House, leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, said concerns will be looked at very carefully.

It comes after airline Flybe announced it is dropping eight routes from Southampton next summer.

The airport had said this shows the need for a longer runway so a wider range of aircraft can use the site.

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting a spokesperson for Southampton Airport added: ‘We know that people are going to continue to fly and that the demand is not going away. We strongly believe that enabling passengers to fly locally is the best solution, and our development will take thousands of needless car journeys off the region’s roads. We are just 99 steps from a major railway station and have excellent bus and onward transport links. We will grow sustainably and responsibly, sensitive to the needs of the local community.’

Cllr Dan Fitzhenry, leader of the Conservatives at Southampton City Council, said his group will listen to what campaigners have to say.

By Maria Zaccaro

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/business/hundreds-of-people-sign-petition-against-southampton-airport-expansion-1-9145994

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See also:

Campaigners to launch protest against Southampton Airport expansion today

By Maria Zaccaro @MariaDailyEcho (Daily Echo)
20th November 2019

CAMPAIGNERS are to protest against the expansion of Southampton Airport before asking city councillors to object to the plans.

Residents are expected to take part in a demonstration in Guildhall Square at 1pm today (Nov 20) to voice their concerns over the impact the plans to extend the airport’s runway by 164 metres would have on the environment and pollution.

It comes as a petition signed by 1,900 people asking city councillors to oppose the expansion will be discussed at the full council meeting set to be held at the civic centre today at 2pm.

The airport said it has and will continue to work with ecologists, environmental and technical experts to ensure the planned development is carried out “sensitive to the needs of the community”.

But Extinction Rebellion, Friends of The Earth Southampton and Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO) have joined forces in a bid to persuade city bosses.

Gareth Narbed, speaking on behalf of AXO, said: “I’m hoping that there will be a clear statement saying that Southampton City Council oppose the airport’s expansion. We are in a climate emergency, we need a clear statement about climate emergency and the airport expansion is totally incompatible with declaring a climate emergency. The council needs to oppose the airport expansion. It’s unnecessary and harmful.”

Campaigners said the plans clash with the Green City Charter that Southampton City Council launched in June this year in a bid to tackle pollution.

Earlier this week councillor Steve Leggett, cabinet member for green city and environment at Southampton City Council, said civic chiefs will scrutinise the plans once they will be submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council.

Opposition leader Dan Fitzhenry said his group will be listening to the campaigners and ensure their views are fed into the planning application.

A spokesperson for Southampton Airport said the airport has met with the campaigners and spoken with them at length.

In a statement the airport added: “Whilst we fully respect their views, flying from your local airport removes thousands of unnecessary car journeys from our roads every year.

“We know people still want to fly – it’s about finding the most sustainable way forward.Our extremely carefully considered planning application will provide all the detail behind our development plans and we are hopeful that the members of Southampton City Council will review this when it goes live and endorse our plans for sustainable growth, which will bring 400 extra jobs to the area and boost financial investment from £160million a year to £275 million. ”

https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/18047756.campaigners-launch-protest-southampton-airport-expansion-today/

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See earlier:

 

Local opposition growing to expansion plans by Southampton airport

A group within Southampton Friends of the Earth has set up a campaign to oppose Southampton Airport expansion. Despite the Government’s recent commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, there are many airport expansion applications across the UK. This expansion cannot enable the aviation sector to meet even its current, easy, carbon target – let alone the much more stringent one required for a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. The airport will probably submit its planning application to extend the runway by 170 metres to Eastleigh Borough Council in the next few weeks. The scoping report and Master Plan have received approval in principle from Southampton City Council. Twyford Parish Council has objected, due to a proposed increase of flights over the village. Eastleigh Greens are likely to be objecting as well.  Friends of the Earth Southampton are currently putting together a petition to Southampton City Council to ask them to re-think their support for airport expansion, given that the Government is asking for net zero carbon by 2050. Campaigners started a group here to oppose the proposed expansion but it has not got a name yet. People interested can get in touch via the local FoE group foesoton@gmail.com

Click here to view full story…

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Stansted Airport denies plans to expand to 50 million passengers a year

Stansted Airport has denied that it is planning to expand the airport to a throughput of 50 million passengers a year (mppa), well beyond the 43mppa limit applied for in its 2018 planning application, which continues to be under consideration. Local campaign, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), says this denial came from Thomas Hill QC, representing Stansted, on 13th November in the High Court in connection with SSE’s legal challenge over the handling of the current 43 mppa application.  However, earlier SSE’s barrister, Paul Stinchcombe QC, had provided the Judge with multiple sources of evidence demonstrating that the airport was planning to expand to 50 mppa and intended to do so in two stages: first, by seeking an 8 mppa uplift in the cap, to 43 mppa; and then later seeking a 7 mppa increase to 50 mppa.  The DfT was aware of all this and knew also that the existing runway was capable of handling 50 mppa. Any airport expansion project, or combination of projects, for an increase of over 10 mppa must, by law, be dealt with at national level by the Secretary of State rather than by the Local Planning Authority – i.e. Uttlesford District Council. The verdict of the court is awaited.
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AIRPORT DENIES PLANS TO EXPAND TO 50 MILLION PASSENGERS A YEAR

14th November 2019

Stansted Airport Limited (STAL) has denied that it is planning to expand the airport to a throughput of 50 million passengers a year (mppa), well beyond the 43mppa limit applied for in its 2018 planning application, which continues to be under consideration.

STAL’s denial came from Thomas Hill QC, representing STAL, on Wednesday 13th November in the High Court in connection with SSE’s legal challenge over the handling of the current 43mppa Stansted Airport Planning Application.  Mr Hill gave the Judge a categorical assurance on behalf of STAL that 43mppa was the “ultimate capacity” of the Stansted runway and that STAL had no expansion plans beyond that.

However, the previous day (Tuesday 12th November) SSE’s barrister, Paul Stinchcombe QC, had provided the Judge with multiple sources of evidence demonstrating that STAL was planning to expand Stansted to 50mppa and intended to do so in two stages: first, by seeking an 8mppa uplift in the cap, to 43mppa; and then later seeking a 7mppa increase to 50mppa.  Moreover, the Department for Transport (DfT) was aware of all this and knew also that the existing runway was capable of handling 50mppa.

The significance of this is that any airport expansion project (or combination of projects) which could result in an additional 10mppa must, by law, be dealt with at national level by the Secretary of State rather than by the Local Planning Authority – i.e. Uttlesford District Council (UDC). [Note 1]   Expansion to 50mppa would be 15mppa above the present 35mppa cap, and would therefore require detailed national scrutiny. STAL’s current 43mppa planning application is below the 10mppa threshold and STAL wants it to be approved locally.  SSE believes that this is because STAL wants to avoid the more detailed national scrutiny process. [Note 2]

SSE had amassed its evidence over the past two years primarily through the disclosure of the notes of confidential meetings that took place between STAL and DfT officials in 2017 and 2018.  The DfT was subject to a ‘Duty of Candour’ to provide SSE with the confidential information as soon as SSE filed its Judicial Review application with the High Court.  This evidence – running to several hundred pages – was augmented by notes of meetings between STAL and Uttlesford District Council (UDC) in 2017 and 2018, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  It was further augmented by additional disclosures provided by the DfT to SSE, following a High Court order issued by the Judge in June of this year.

Since September 2018, however, SSE has been bound by a Non-Disclosure Agreement (‘NDA’) – a so-called ‘gagging order’, imposed by the DfT on behalf of the Secretary of State – which prohibited SSE from disclosing certain documentary evidence. The NDA no longer applies because the information, having been presented and discussed in the High Court, is now deemed to be in the public domain.

Another key element in SSE’s case was the critical importance of tackling climate change and the need for the Secretary of State to have a clear national strategy for limiting aviation emissions.  SSE argued that it was irrational for the Secretary of State to allow local authorities to make decisions on airport planning applications which could give rise to millions of additional tonnes of CO2 emissions whilst, at the same time, instructing local authorities that they were not to take account of these COemissions!  The Judge acknowledged that SSE’s point on carbon emissions “appeared to have some traction”.

Court protocol requires that we do not refer to the evidence in any detail prior to the case being finally determined.  Suffice to say at this stage that we believe the evidence is unambiguous.  Whether it is sufficient for SSE’s High Court challenge to succeed, remains to be seen.  The Judge has given no indication as to when he might issue his ruling.

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “We have undoubtedly given the Judge a great deal to think about and we must now wait and see whether that will be enough.  In challenging the combined forces of the Secretary of State, the Manchester Airports Group and Uttlesford District Council, it is obviously essential to present the strongest possible case supported by the clearest possible evidence.  We have certainly given it our best shot.  We’ve learned, however, never to make predictions in this type of case.”

ENDS

NOTES

Note 1:  Stansted Airport handled 28mppa last year and so expansion to 50mppa would represent an increase of 22mppa (79%) compared to 2018.

Note 2:  The Secretary of State for Transport was represented by Charles Banner QC.  UDC did not present any evidence.  However, the fact that they had shown themselves to be content to determine the 43mppa planning application provided a clear indication that they opposed SSE’s argument which was that the application should be determined by the Secretary of State rather than by UDC.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT

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