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
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Southampton airport expansion plans

The airport’s Masterplan is at  https://www.southamptonairport.com/draft-masterplan-2018/

There was a consultation last year, which closed in October.

The airport wants to extend the runway and increase the number of flights, allowing it to more than double passenger numbers from two million to five million a year by 2037.  A final version of the plans was then drawn up with a planning application due to be submitted soon.

The group’s FoE pages as contact: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofEarthSouthampton/  and https://friendsoftheearth.uk/groups/southampton

People interested are invited to join the FoE mailing list. There will only be occasional emails about airport stuff – so best way to keep in touch –  email foesoton@gmail.com

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.

FoE is hoping for the November full Council meeting. However, they say if Eastleigh Borough Council puts the airport’s application for expansion into its September Planning Committee we will have to abandon the petition and go for an all out campaign asking people to contact their councillors to object, and putting in objections to the planning application.

We have heard that Hampshire Climate Action Network is putting together a Hampshire-wide group against airport expansion too.

There are issues about trees being felled. The airport are trying to argue that they can fell the trees in a copse under a “tree management” banner, rather than it being prior to and facilitating expansion. The trees are within the City Council boundary and are all protected. However, the City Council (although it objected to this work in 1983 and 2003) is giving the work the nod.

There is quite a bit of obfuscation going on about who is for approving the tree felling – whether it is the Forestry Commission for the large trees or Southampton City Council for the  Tree Protection Zone? The Forestry Commission has said “not us – its SCC” but it remains unclear.

The expansion issue compounded by the consultation and proposals for air space changes. Parts of Southampton could be badly affected by increased noise from more jets taking off daily.

Campaigners started a group here to oppose the proposed expansion of Southampton Airport. We haven’t got a name yet, but we can be contacted via the local FoE group.

It’s likely that the airport will submit it’s 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.

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See earlier:

Southampton Airport expansion moving forward as bosses prepare to submit plans

7th May 2019

Southampton Airport is pushing ahead with major expansion plans which could double the number of passengers travelling through the airport.

Bosses will submit a formal planning application to the local authority, following a public consultation.

But campaigners say it would increase noise pollution and damage the environment.

The airport has released impressions of how the expanded airport could look
Under the plans announced last year, the runway would be made longer, allowing more flights to travel to more destinations.

The terminal would also be expanded, with 4,000 extra parking spaces being built.

Airport executives predict that flight numbers would increase from just over 39,000 a year now, to more than 50,000 in ten years – reaching 58,000 by 2037.

The airport says:  “Our ambitions to grow the airport to provide more choice, more connectivity for passengers, are really taking shape now.”

Hundreds of people took part in a major consultation on the plans and the airport say it has taken into account concerns raised.

But not everyone agrees with the plans, with some worried about the affect it could have on their neighbourhood and the environment.

GARETH NARBED, CAMPAIGNER said:  “I’m appalled actually by the potential effects on the whole of Southampton…the expansion plan is really going to have a major effect on a lot of people.”

The airport says it’s due to submit plans to the council later in the summer.

Last updated Tue 7 May 2019

https://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2019-05-07/southampton-airport-expansion-moving-forward-as-bosses-prepare-to-submit-plans/

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Mayor of Newham’s challenge to London City Airport’s expansion as “fundamentally flawed, due to lack of clarity & information”

Campaigners have welcomed a demand by the mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, to halt London City Airport’s consultation on expansion with more daily flights – until it shows how it will tackling noise and CO2 emissions. City Airport’s Consultation Master Plan suggests almost doubling the number of daily flights, with more early morning and late evening. The airport insists its consultation will continue till 20th September. The mayor called the consultation “fundamentally flawed because of lack of clarity and information” in a letter to the airport’s chief executive. She calls on the airport to halt the public consultation immediately until it publishes the “omitted technical details”. “The significance of the mayor’s move cannot be overstated. Newham is the planning authority for the airport,” said Hacan East chairman John Stewart.  Newham Council which declared a “climate emergency” earlier this year, and is seeking more evidence about the airport’s plans to tackle CO2 emissions and air pollution. A huge number of people are already badly affected by aircraft noise. Newham already has a large number of deaths, occurring prematurely, due to air pollution. London City airport growth – pollution from aircraft – would only add to that, as well as the noise assault.
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Mayor of Newham’s challenge to London City Airport’s expansion is greeted by campaigners

16 August 2019

By Mike Brooke (Newham Recorder)

Image result for rokhsana fiaz

Campaigners have welcomed a demand by the mayor of Newham to halt London City Airport’s consultation on expansion with more daily flights until it shows how it will tackling noise and climate emissions.

City AirportConsultation Master Plan suggests more daily flights, early morning and late evening.

But the airport remains firm and insists that the consultation – on plans to almost double the number of landings and take-offs – continues until September 20.

The mayor called the consultation “fundamentally flawed” in a letter to the airport’s chief executive.

The letter “throws down the gauntlet to the airport”, say campaigners from Hacan East which represents households in the flight paths across east London.

“The significance of the mayor’s move cannot be overstated,” its chairman John Stewart said. “Newham is the planning authority for the airport.”

Newham Council which declared a “climate emergency” earlier this year is seeking more evidence about the airport’s plans to tackle pollution.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz says in her letter to airport chief executive Robert Sinclair: “The council would struggle to support London City Airport’s justification to increase the number of flights. Residents are gravely concerned about the high level forecasts.”

Newham has the most deaths in London attributed to pollution with 96 people a year dying prematurely from respiratory diseases, the mayor points out.

The local authority has set up an air quality and climate emergency task force to achieve “carbon neutral” by 2030 and “carbon zero” by 2050.

“The consultation is fundamentally flawed because of lack of clarity and information,” the mayor’s letter to the airport boss states.

“We expected to see ’emissions from airborne aircraft’ detailed in your aims to achieve the level 3-plus neutrality that you claim to seek by 2020.”

She calls on the airport to halt the public consultation immediately until it publishes the “omitted technical details”.

The airport says it is giving proper consideration to the mayor’s views, but the consultation remains open for people who want to have their say.

A spokesman said: “The draft master plan is an opportunity to share views on how the airport can respond to the significant demand for air travel in London and in particular east London.

“We recognise the challenge of climate change in our draft master plan. Our record to date on air quality, noise and carbon reduction demonstrates our commitment to a change in sustainable aviation.”

The 12-week consultation proposes to scrap the 24-weekend break, which would add more early morning and late evening flights.

https://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/politics/challenge-to-airport-expansion-1-6220270?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social_Icon&utm_campaign=in_article_social_icons

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Assembly calls for changes to City Airport airspace to prioritise Londoners over profit

14 August 2019

By Luke Acton (Newham Recorder)

City Hall’s environment committee has called on airspace decision-makers to prioritise the health and wellbeing of Londoners over the commercial interests of City Airport.

The call comes as a national effort gets under way to modernise the UK’s airspace to improve things like efficiency. The Civil Aviation Authority is the body in charge of that process.

With airports responsible for designing airspace routes under 7,000 feet, City has released a draft document outlining what it wants the new design to do.

Among the “musts” is the maintenance or enhancement of safety and airspace that provides “sufficient capacity to support future demand”.

Among lower priorities, things the new design “should” achieve, is minimisation of CO2 and noise, as well as lower air pollution.

Different groups and organisations are now responding to the plan. Assembly Member Caroline Russell is a Green Party politician and chairwoman of the environment committee.

She said: “According to the Civil Aviation Authority, there are already 331,000 people overflown by flights arriving at City Airport, and 416,300 overflown by departures, all under the altitude of 4,000 feet.

“The damaging effect of aircraft noise on Londoners’ lives can no longer be ignored.

“The London Assembly is recommending that any changes to airspace and flight paths at London City Airport prioritise the health and wellbeing of overflown Londoners, over and above the commercial interests of the airport.”

A spokesman for London City thanked the committee for its response, adding that air capacity is vital for jobs, to support business and to encourage trade and tourism.

“As London’s most central airport, we know we have a responsibility to be a good neighbour, which is exactly why we are participating in this airspace modernisation programme, which is anticipated to result in quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys.

“We have also previously highlighted evidence to the environment committee of the extensive work we are doing with airlines, manufacturers, air traffic control services, and other stakeholders, to actively limit noise and mitigate its effects.”

The airspace document comes as City is also consulting on its draft master plan, which calls for more flexibility for early and late flights, and during the 24-hour weekend break.

https://www.romfordrecorder.co.uk/news/new-airspace-plan-priorities-1-6216031?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social_Icon&utm_campaign=in_article_social_icons

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See earlier:

 

HACAN East new major campaign against London City’s expansion plans, asking people to fill in postcard responses to the consultation.

HACAN East has launched a major campaign against London City’s expansion plans. It is encouraging people to fill in postcards opposing the expansion plans, and send them in to Freepost LCY MASTER PLAN CONSULTATION. People can also download and display posters. The postcards call on residents to back the existing 24 hour weekend ban on aircraft using London City.  HACAN East wants the airport drop its proposals to end the 24 hour break as well as its plans to almost double flight numbers from today’s levels and to increase flights in the early morning and late evening. The postcards say: I SUPPORT the 24 hour London City Airport weekend flight ban. I DO NOT want up to 40,00 more flights. I DO NOT want more early morning or late evening flights. I DO NOT want more climate damaging airport expansion. Overall, I DO NOT support the plans in the draft master plan.

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Caroline Russell: Action is needed on aircraft noise

Caroline writes in a blog that in parts of London, people are now living with severe levels of noise disruption. This is not acceptable, and urgent, decisive action is needed across the board to alleviate it. For some, the onslaught from Heathrow planes is made worse by the addition of London City planes using narrow, concentrated routes. The noise has significant health impacts for many. A report by the London Assembly’s Environment Committee, which Caroline chairs, concluded that the Government and CAA should regulate noise disturbance more stringently. They should use lower thresholds for noise disturbance (taking into account WHO guidelines and the need for residents to keep windows open) and mapping the combined effect of all London’s airports, especially Heathrow and City.  The WHO guidance is that 45dB is the threshold for health impacts, but the UK government persists with 54dB as the ‘disturbance’ threshold. Also that flight paths should be rotated, to give relief to those under concentrated flight paths – and flight paths should be designed to minimise noise impacts, including avoiding overlapping flight paths. Increasing exposure to aircraft noise is unacceptable, and must be challenged

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What is driving London City Airport’s expansion plans? John Stewart comment

John Stewart, from Hacan East, has looked at why London City Airport is planning huge expansion. The airport Master Plan wants to lift the current cap of 111,000 flights allowed each year to 137,000 by 2030 and to 151,000 by 2035. He says the airport is aiming to promote itself as a major player on the aviation scene, and a key driver of the regional economy, not just a niche business airport. It now often holds receptions at the party conferences, and is raising its profile to get backing for its growth plans. The current owners bought the airport for £2 billion in 2016, and want to make a good return. Business passengers used to be about 60% of the total, but now 50% – with the plans suggesting 36% by 2035. Most business passengers fly in the morning and evening, so leisure flights use the hours in the middle of the day. It can’t offer budget flights because Ryanair and EasyJet planes are too big to use the airport. London City has set out to change to portray itself as a key driver, maybe even the key driver, of the economic development of East, NE and SE London.  It is pushing this to MPs and also local authorities in its regions in order to convince them it is in their interest to back expansion.

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RESIDENTS DISMAYED BY LONDON CITY AIRPORT EXPANSION PLANS TO DOUBLE FLIGHT NUMBERS

London City’s Master Plan has been released, for consultation, and it is very bad news for local residents who suffer from the noise of its planes.  It is proposing to double the number of flights by 2035; to end the break when currently there are no flights between 12:30pm on Saturday and 12.30pm on Sunday; and to bring in more planes in the early morning and late evening. Residents are dismayed by the London City expansion revealed in its Master Plan published today.  The airport wants to lift the current cap of 111,000 flights allowed each year to 137,000 by 2030 and to 151,000 by 2035. Last year there were just over 75,000 flights. John Stewart, chair of HACAN East, which gives a voice to residents under the airport’s flight paths, said, “For all its green talk, this plan would be disastrous for residents.  Flight numbers could double from today’s levels.” Increasingly the airport caters for leisure passengers, not business. The consultation ends on 20th September.  The airport would need to go to a Planning Inquiry to get permission for any proposals it intends to take forward, after applying to Newham Council for its plans. Newham borough has pledged to make the borough “carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon zero by 2050”.  The airport will not be helping with that.

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Plan B Earth skeleton argument for Heathrow legal Appeal in October – that Grayling’s designation of the NPS was unlawful

The legal challenge by Plan B Earth is one of the four that will be heard at the Appeal Court from the 17th October. They have published their skeleton argument, which says, in summary that on 27th June 2019, the UK carbon target was amended by statutory instrument to read “at least 100%” cut by 2050 (ie. net zero) rather than the previous target of an 80% cut.  Plan B say the “Secretary of State [Grayling] proceeded on the false premise that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Government’s commitment to introducing a net zero carbon target in accordance with the Paris Agreement were “irrelevant” considerations for the purposes of s.5(8) of” the 2008 Climate Change Act.  And the Secretary of State “chose to ignore these developments and proceeded as if there had been no material developments in government policy relating to climate change since 2008 and as if no change were in contemplation.”  And The basis of the Appellant’s claim that the designation of the ANPS was unlawful, and that it should be quashed, is that the Secretary of State approach to these matters was fundamentally flawed.”
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Plan B Skeleton Argument

The summary states:

Nb.  At the time of drafting the original Grounds of Appeal, The Climate Change Act 2008 s. 1 maintained a “carbon target” of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to a 1990 baseline. On 27 June 2019 that target was amended by statutory instrument to read “at least 100%”. The Grounds of Appeal have been revised in this skeleton argument in order to reflect that amendment.

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A. INTRODUCTION

1. The Appellant wishes to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision ([CB/x/y] and [CB/x/y]) to designate the Airports National Policy Statement (“the ANPS”) in support of the expansion of Heathrow Airport under the Planning Act 2008 (“the 2008 Act”), on the basis of his failure to give proper consideration to “government policy relating to … climate change” contrary to the statutory requirement of s. 5(8) of the 2008 Act.

2. Specifically the Secretary of State proceeded on the false premise that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Government’s commitment to introducing a net zero carbon target in accordance with the Paris Agreement were “irrelevant” considerations for the purposes of s.5(8) of the 2008 Act.

3. Since climate change is a global threat, which no one country can tackle in isolation, national climate change policies are determined as contributions to maintaining a global climate change temperature limit. The final report of the Airports Commission highlighted the importance of the global climate change context as a constraint on UK aviation capacity [CB/x/y]: “Any change to UK’s aviation capacity would have to take place in the context of global climate change, and the UK’s policy obligations in this area.”

4. In July 2015, when the Airports Commission report was published, the political consensus was that extreme danger from climate change could be avoided by limiting average global warming to 2˚C above pre-industrial levels. It is common ground between the parties that the now superseded “carbon target” in the Climate Change Act 2008 (“CCA”), which was to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, was derived from that 2˚C global limit.

5. In December 2015, however, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (“The Paris Agreement”) introduced a step change to global (and hence national) climate change policy. Amid gathering evidence that even 2˚C warming would pose intolerable risks for humanity, the UK Government played a leading role in negotiating the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which committed governments to holding warming to “well below” 2˚C while aiming for a 1.5˚C limit.

6. In March 2016 the Government made an unequivocal policy commitment to introduce a new “net zero” carbon target to bring the UK into line with the Paris Agreement 1. A “net zero” target means emissions reduction of 100% as opposed to 80%. Such a target does not require actual emissions of carbon to be reduced to zero. It means only that remaining emissions must be balanced by action to remove an equivalent amount of carbon from the atmosphere (eg through reforestation).

7. In April 2018 the Government announced it would commission the Committee on Climate Change (“the CCC”), the Government’s statutory adviser on climate change, to provide formal advice on the implementation of a new target 2; and on 1 May 2018, the Rt Hon Claire MP, on behalf of the Government, informed Parliament that the CCC had been asked to advise on how to reach “net zero” emissions by 2050 3.

8. The Government’s position aligned to an emerging consensus that, if the Paris temperature limit were to be maintained, global emissions would need to reach net zero by 2050. In January 2018, for example, the European Parliament had voted for net zero emissions by 2050 4.

9. Thus at the time of the Secretary of State’s designation of the ANPS, in June 2018, it was already clear that:

(1) it was Government policy to introduce a new net zero carbon target in accordance with the more stringent Paris Agreement temperature limit;

(2) that that target would be substantially more ambitious than the minimum level of 80% set out in the CCA at the time; and

(3) that the new target was likely to be 100% emissions reduction by 2050.

10. In the context of a long term national infrastructure project, such as the proposed expansion of the UK’s national airport, it would have been sensible to have considered these profound developments in government policy on climate change. The Secretary of State should at least have turned his mind to the question of whether the ANPS was likely to be compatible with the more stringent target that was envisaged.

11. The Secretary of State, however, chose to ignore these developments and proceeded as if there had been no material developments in government policy relating to climate change since 2008 and as if no change were in contemplation. He proceeded on the basis that the seminal Paris Agreement and the Government commitment to introduce a net zero target in line with that agreement were “irrelevant” to government policy on climate change and hence irrelevant to his decision.

12. The basis of the Appellant’s claim that the designation of the ANPS was unlawful, and that it should be quashed, is that the Secretary of State approach to these matters was fundamentally flawed.

13. The short-sightedness of his approach has been highlighted by subsequent events.

14. The judgement of the Court below was published on the morning of 1 May 2019.

15. On 2 May 2019, the CCC published its advice on a new carbon target, as requested by the Government, recommending the introduction of a net zero target by 2050, in accordance with the Government’s stated intention of May 2018 [SB/x/y].

16. On 27 June 2019, the CCA s.1 carbon target of at least 80% emissions reduction by 2050 was replaced, via statutory instrument, with the substantially more ambitious target of “at least 100%” by 2050 (ie a “net zero” target) [SB/x/y].

17. The Secretary of State must now concede that the benchmark used to assess the ANPS was fundamentally less demanding than current government policy on climate change: current government policy is to reduce emissions by at least 100% by 2050 in accordance with a global temperature limit of “well below 2˚C” and 1.5˚C.

18. Presumably, the Secretary of State will say that at the time of the designation of the ANPS, in June 2018 he could not have predicted these “developments” in Government policy.

19. In truth, while Government policy was not implemented into law until June 2019, the policy commitment to introduce a new net zero target in accordance with the Paris Agreement had been made in March 2016 and by May 2018 it was already clear that the Government was aiming to decarbonise the economy by 2050. It was not sensible for the Secretary of State to ignore that position.

20. In any event, it is now apparent that contrary to the express purpose of the 2008 Act, Government policy on aviation and climate change are now advancing in contrary directions. In the Appellant’s submission, this is the inevitable consequence of the Secretary of State’s blinkered approach.

21. The Court below ruled in favour of the Secretary of State on the basis that “neither policy nor international agreement can override a statute”. In reality there was no question of “overriding” a statute, since the CCA, prior to amendment, imposed only a minimum requirement in terms of emissions reduction. Further, the express terms of s. 5(8) of the 2008 Act required the Secretary of State to take account of government policy and not to confine his consideration to the statutory minimum obligation.

 

…….. and the document continues (15 pages) at

https://planb.earth/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Appeal-skeleton-Oct-final.pdf

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See also

 

What will be the impact of the UK ambition of “Net Zero” on the Airports NPS?

Lawyers, BDB Pitmans, for whom airport planning is an area of work, have commented on the change by the UK to a net zero carbon target by 2050 – and its effect on the aviation sector. They say the 1990 baseline was 778 million tonnes of CO2. With the 80% cut target, until 27th June, the UK had to cut CO2 emissions to 155.6 million tonnes by 2050. It now has to be reduced to 0 tonnes. The government understands that: “Achieving net-zero GHG emissions for the UK will rely on a range of Speculative options that currently have very low levels of technology readiness, very high costs, and/or significant barriers to public acceptability.” One change that will be needed is for people to fly less. The legal challenges in March 2019 against the Airports NPS had grounds relating to carbon emissions, but these were dismissed, on the basis of developments like the Paris Agreement had not yet being translated into UK law. Now the Appeal Court will hear the legal challenges, and as the CO2 target has been changed, presumably the conclusions of the NPS are now vulnerable. The Sec of State for Transport will need to review the NPS, considering whether there has been a “significant change in any circumstances.”

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Heathrow legal challenge Appeals to be live-streamed from the Court of Appeal (from 17th October)

On 23rd July 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled that there were grounds for appeal for all four of the legal judicial reviews, challenging the Governments support for the expansion of Heathrow. These will take place at the Court of Appeal, from 17th October, for 6 days, and will be live-streamed. On 1st May 2019, the High Court dismissed the judicial review claims made by five separate parties that the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), as approved by Parliament in June 2018, was unlawful.  Paul Beckford, Policy Director of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, the leading campaign organisation opposing the expansion of Heathrow, said: “This is excellent news for transparency. It is vital that the public get the opportunity to hear that the Government chose to proceed with expansion at Heathrow because the former Secretary of State for Transport (Grayling) did not consider the Paris Agreement relevant. The fact that a net zero target has now been included in the Climate Change Act makes the climate case against expansion even stronger.”

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HEATHROW EXPANSION COURT CASE TO BE LIVE STREAMED

14th August 2019 (No 3rd Runway Coalition press release)

The legal cases challenging the Governments support for the expansion of Heathrow Airport will be live streamed from the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal has announced that the appeal hearings, which will take place over 6 days from 17 October. (1)

On 1 May 2019, the High Court dismissed the judicial review claims made by five separate parties that the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), as approved by Parliament in June 2018, was unlawful.

Four of those claimants lodged appeals against the judgement in terms of the undue consideration given to the environment, noise and climate change. (2) On 23 Jul 2019, The Court of Appeal ruled that there were grounds for appeal.

Yesterday, the environmental organisation Plan B filed its skeleton argument for the appeal hearing. (3)

Welcoming the news, Paul Beckford, Policy Director of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, the leading campaign organisation opposing the expansion of Heathrow, said:

This is excellent news for transparency. It is vital that the public get the opportunity to hear that the Government chose to proceed with expansion at Heathrow because the former Secretary of State for Transport did not consider the Paris Agreement relevant. The fact that a net zero target has now been included in the Climate Change Act makes the climate case against expansion even stronger.”

Notes:

  1. https://www.judiciary.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/going-to-court/court-of-appeal-home/the-court-of-appeal-civil-division-live-streaming-of-court-hearings/
  2. The claimants consist of the following parties:
  • Local authorities of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham, Windsor & Maidenhead, Greenpeace UK, with the Mayor of London
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Plan B Earth
  • Heathrow Hub Ltd
  1. https://planb.earth/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Appeal-skeleton-Oct-final.pdf

Plan B Skeleton Argument

The summary states:

Nb. At the time of drafting the original Grounds of Appeal, The Climate Change Act 2008 s. 1 maintained a “carbon target” of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to a 1990 baseline. On 27 June 2019 that target was amended by statutory instrument to read “at least 100%”. The Grounds of Appeal have been revised in this skeleton argument in order to reflect that amendment.

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A. INTRODUCTION

1. The Appellant wishes to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision ([CB/x/y] and [CB/x/y]) to designate the Airports National Policy Statement (“the ANPS”) in support of the expansion of Heathrow Airport under the Planning Act 2008 (“the 2008 Act”), on the basis of his failure to give proper consideration to “government policy relating to … climate change” contrary to the statutory requirement of s. 5(8) of the 2008 Act.

2. Specifically the Secretary of State proceeded on the false premise that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Government’s commitment to introducing a net zero carbon target in accordance with the Paris Agreement were “irrelevant” considerations for the purposes of s.5(8) of the 2008 Act.

3. Since climate change is a global threat, which no one country can tackle in isolation, national climate change policies are determined as contributions to maintaining a global climate change temperature limit. The final report of the Airports Commission highlighted the importance of the global climate change context as a constraint on UK aviation capacity [CB/x/y]: “Any change to UK’s aviation capacity would have to take place in the context of global climate change, and the UK’s policy obligations in this area.”

4. In July 2015, when the Airports Commission report was published, the political consensus was that extreme danger from climate change could be avoided by limiting average global warming to 2˚C above pre-industrial levels. It is common ground between the parties that the now superseded “carbon target” in the Climate Change Act 2008 (“CCA”), which was to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, was derived from that 2˚C global limit.

5. In December 2015, however, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (“The Paris Agreement”) introduced a step change to global (and hence national) climate change policy. Amid gathering evidence that even 2˚C warming would pose intolerable risks for humanity, the UK Government played a leading role in negotiating the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which committed governments to holding warming to “well below” 2˚C while aiming for a 1.5˚C limit.

6. In March 2016 the Government made an unequivocal policy commitment to introduce a new “net zero” carbon target to bring the UK into line with the Paris Agreement 1. A “net zero” target means emissions reduction of 100% as opposed to 80%. Such a target does not require actual emissions of carbon to be reduced to zero. It means only that remaining emissions must be balanced by action to remove an equivalent amount of carbon from the atmosphere (eg through reforestation).

7. In April 2018 the Government announced it would commission the Committee on Climate Change (“the CCC”), the Government’s statutory adviser on climate change, to provide formal advice on the implementation of a new target 2; and on 1 May 2018, the Rt Hon Claire MP, on behalf of the Government, informed Parliament that the CCC had been asked to advise on how to reach “net zero” emissions by 2050 3.

8. The Government’s position aligned to an emerging consensus that, if the Paris temperature limit were to be maintained, global emissions would need to reach net zero by 2050. In January 2018, for example, the European Parliament had voted for net zero emissions by 2050 4.

9. Thus at the time of the Secretary of State’s designation of the ANPS, in June 2018, it was already clear that:

(1) it was Government policy to introduce a new net zero carbon target in accordance with the more stringent Paris Agreement temperature limit;

(2) that that target would be substantially more ambitious than the minimum level of 80% set out in the CCA at the time; and

(3) that the new target was likely to be 100% emissions reduction by 2050.

10. In the context of a long term national infrastructure project, such as the proposed expansion of the UK’s national airport, it would have been sensible to have considered these profound developments in government policy on climate change. The Secretary of State should at least have turned his mind to the question of whether the ANPS was likely to be compatible with the more stringent target that was envisaged.

11. The Secretary of State, however, chose to ignore these developments and proceeded as if there had been no material developments in government policy relating to climate change since 2008 and as if no change were in contemplation. He proceeded on the basis that the seminal Paris Agreement and the Government commitment to introduce a net zero target in line with that agreement were “irrelevant” to government policy on climate change and hence irrelevant to his decision.

12. The basis of the Appellant’s claim that the designation of the ANPS was unlawful, and that it should be quashed, is that the Secretary of State approach to these matters was fundamentally flawed.

13. The short-sightedness of his approach has been highlighted by subsequent events.

14. The judgement of the Court below was published on the morning of 1 May 2019.

15. On 2 May 2019, the CCC published its advice on a new carbon target, as requested by the Government, recommending the introduction of a net zero target by 2050, in accordance with the Government’s stated intention of May 2018 [SB/x/y].

16. On 27 June 2019, the CCA s.1 carbon target of at least 80% emissions reduction by 2050 was replaced, via statutory instrument, with the substantially more ambitious target of “at least 100%” by 2050 (ie a “net zero” target) [SB/x/y].

17. The Secretary of State must now concede that the benchmark used to assess the ANPS was fundamentally less demanding than current government policy on climate change: current government policy is to reduce emissions by at least 100% by 2050 in accordance with a global temperature limit of “well below 2˚C” and 1.5˚C.

18. Presumably, the Secretary of State will say that at the time of the designation of the ANPS, in June 2018 he could not have predicted these “developments” in Government policy.

19. In truth, while Government policy was not implemented into law until June 2019, the policy commitment to introduce a new net zero target in accordance with the Paris Agreement had been made in March 2016 and by May 2018 it was already clear that the Government was aiming to decarbonise the economy by 2050. It was not sensible for the Secretary of State to ignore that position.

20. In any event, it is now apparent that contrary to the express purpose of the 2008 Act, Government policy on aviation and climate change are now advancing in contrary directions. In the Appellant’s submission, this is the inevitable consequence of the Secretary of State’s blinkered approach.

21. The Court below ruled in favour of the Secretary of State on the basis that “neither policy nor international agreement can override a statute”. In reality there was no question of “overriding” a statute, since the CCA, prior to amendment, imposed only a minimum requirement in terms of emissions reduction. Further, the express terms of s. 5(8) of the 2008 Act required the Secretary of State to take account of government policy and not to confine his consideration to the statutory minimum obligation.

 

…….. and the document continues (15 pages) at

https://planb.earth/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Appeal-skeleton-Oct-final.pdf

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AEF explains why Gatwick expansion adds to UK’s aviation CO2 headache – at least 1 million tonnes more CO2 per year

If Gatwick was allowed to increase its number of flights and passengers, that would be a huge increase in its carbon emissions. Already the UK aviation sector is not on track to stay under even the outdated cap of 37.5MtCO2. That was when the UK was aiming for an 80% cut in carbon emissions, compared to 1990, by 2050. But now the UK has signed up to zero carbon  – ie. 100% cut – by 2050.  The corresponding carbon cap for aviation would then be more like below 30MtCO2 by 2050. As the ongoing growth, from incremental increases in flights and passengers from most UK airports, will take the UK aviation sector well over the 37.5MtCO2 limit, let alone the 30MtCO2 cap. So there is absolutely no room for a Heathrow 3rd runway, or the semi-new-runway at Gatwick – achieved by making use of its emergency runway for much of the time. The AEF has pointed out that Gatwick’s Masterplan is for 390,000 flights per annum by 2032/33, around 39% more than in 2018.  Gatwick carefully avoids giving any CO2 estimates in future, let alone to 2050. Extrapolating the carbon emissions from 2017 estimates by the DfT, it is likely that Gatwick’s carbon emissions would rise by about 1Mt CO2 per year, to 3.6MtCO2 (or more, if Gatwick has a larger % of long-haul flights in future) if it uses its emergency runway as a second runway. 
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Why Gatwick expansion adds to the aviation carbon headache

By AEF (Aviation Environment Federation)

In July, Gatwick Airport published its master plan setting out its intention to progress detailed design and development work to bring the existing standby runway into regular use alongside the main runway, while continuing to safeguard land for an additional runway to the south.

Growth projections underpinning the master plan suggest that use of the standby runway could see passenger numbers grow to 70 million passengers per annum (mppa) by 2032/33, a 53% increase on the 45.7 million passengers who used the airport in 2017/18.

Aircraft movements are set to grow at a slower rate due to an estimated 10% increase in the average number of passengers per plane, but by 2032/33 they could reach 390,000 movements per annum, around 39% more than the airport handled last year.

While the airport says it has no immediate plans to seek permission for an additional runway, the master plan suggests that if it’s built, the airport’s capacity could eventually reach 95 million passengers per annum.

What about the carbon implications of using Gatwick’s standby runway?

But what about the carbon implications of using Gatwick’s standby runway? At first glance it’s hard to find the complete answer. The master plan does point to an increase in the airport’s emissions from 0.77MtCO2 in 2017 to 0.95MtCO2 in 2028, but this assessment is limited in both scope and duration: the analysis shows the emissions that Gatwick is directly responsible for (such as fuel used by vehicles at the airport, and the electricity purchased), as well as indirect emissions from passenger journeys to and from the airport and staff commuting.

Aircraft emissions are also included in this calculation, but crucially, only for the landing and take-off cycle, capturing the flights emissions below an altitude of 3,000 feet only.

The majority of in-flight emissions, those produced in the climb and cruise phases, are excluded. It also fails to look beyond 2028 which limits its relevance when it comes to analysing how expansion could impact the UK’s ability to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Department for Transport’s 2017 UK Aviation Forecasts for air passengers, aircraft movements and CO2 emissions at UK airports, provide better evidence for the likely carbon impacts of expansion out to 2050. Unlike Gatwick’s estimate, the DfT forecasts calculate the emissions for the entire flight and attribute them to UK airports on the basis of all departing flights.

In a 2050 scenario where Heathrow builds and operates a third runway, Gatwick Airport (without using its standby runway), is assumed to handle 52 mppa, served by 297,000 aircraft movements annually, and generating 2.7MtCO2.

Assuming Gatwick’s standby runway continues to serve a similar range of destinations with the same aircraft fleet mix, and extrapolating the data from the DfT’s scenario and applying it to an increased passenger throughput of 70mppa, this would equate to 3.63MtCO2 in 2050, an increase of nearly 1MtCO2.

This may prove to be a conservative figure if Gatwick develops a wider range of long-haul destinations than assumed by the DfT model, or if its passenger numbers increase beyond 70mppa between 2033 and 2050.

It is also dependant on delivery of a large number of modelling assumptions including the application of a carbon price that reaches £221 per tCO2 by 2050 (substantially higher than the carbon prices that apply to aviation today, or that are likely to apply in the coming years) and a 48% improvement in aircraft efficiency between 2016 and 2050.

In relation to the Climate Change Act’s original 80% reduction target, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) consistently advised Government that it should plan for UK aviation emissions in 2050 to be no higher than they were in 2005 (when the sector emitted 37.5Mt CO2).

CCC is now expected to write to the Secretary of State for Transport [now Grant Shapps] this autumn setting out its recommendations for the aviation sector consistent with delivering the newly legislated net zero target.

Based on the CCC’s modelling scenarios, there is a strong suggestion that the sector may need to limit its emissions to somewhere between 22-30MtCO2 by 2050, balanced by carbon removals, if the UK is to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the economy.

However, with the addition of a third runway at Heathrow, the DfT forecasts show that emissions will not even meet the current 37.5Mt planning assumption and will rise to around 40Mt by 2050.

As this forecast assumes other airports will only grow to the levels determined by their existing terminal and runway capacities, the prospect of an additional 1MtCO2 from use of Gatwick’s standby runway, plus any increases from proposed airport developments elsewhere, will heighten the scale of the problem.

This will threaten the UK’s ability to meet its climate target, reinforcing AEF’s argument, set out in our response to the Government’s recent aviation strategy consultation, that further runways should be ruled out on climate grounds.

https://www.aef.org.uk/2019/08/15/why-gatwick-expansion-adds-to-the-aviation-carbon-headache/

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Press release from CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)

15thAugust 2019

According to Aviation Environment Federation’s (AEF) report released today, over 1m extra tonnes of carbon would be released by Gatwick Airport every year if the airport were allowed to go ahead and use their emergency runway on a daily basis.

“This finding is absolutely horrifying for us inhabitants of this fragile planet we call home,” says CAGNE, the umbrella community and environmental group concerned with Gatwick Airport.  

The Gatwick Airport master plan for a 3-runway airport launched on 18thJuly dedicated only one page to the impact its growth would have on the planet.  It seems to have looked to weaken the story of climate impacts of aviation as its planes burns fossil fuel by only accounting for departures and arrivals up to an altitude of 3,000ft.  The amount of CO2 it would release into our atmosphere painted as insignificant, and yet the airport management sets out 150 pages of business camouflage to hide this fact from local authorities, elected members, and the public.

Released today by the respected international authority on the environment in relation to aviation, the Aviation Environment Federation, details how Gatwick Airport would be releasing over 1m tonnes of carbon MORE each year if permitted to use the emergency runway as a second runway in conjunction with the main runway as proposed.

AEF state that the majority of in-flight emissions, those produced in the climb and cruise phases, (all except those below 3,000 ft approaching or leaving the airport – the LTO – Landing and Take-Off cycle) are excluded by Gatwick. It also fails to look beyond 2028 which limits its relevance when it comes to analysing how expansion could impact the UK’s ability to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“Gatwick and the industry are simply offering too many assumptions about realistic improvements the aviation industry will make to allow them to continue to grow unconditionally to the detriment of our planet and the climate crisis we now all face,” says CAGNE.

The government forecasts assume other airports will only grow to the levels determined by their existing terminal and runway capacities, the prospect of an additional 1MtCO2 from use of Gatwick’s standby runway, plus any increases from proposed airport developments elsewhere, will heighten the scale of the problem. This will threaten the UK’s ability to meet its climate target, reinforcing AEF’s argument, states AEF.

“Understandably, the new owners of Gatwick Airport, VINCI, are very keen to expand as much as they are allowed to, but this price for leisure travel is too high for our planet and for the local communities of Sussex, Surrey and Kent that will be hit the hardest by such unsustainable growth,” says CAGNE.

Note to Editor

Full report can be found at www.aef.org.uk

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Heathrow gets £9M payout from DfT for HS2 work at Old Oak Common affecting Heathrow Express

In mid-July, before he left the job, Transport secretary Chris Grayling signed off on a £9M payout to be handed to Heathrow Airport to prepare for HS2.  The pre-emptive payment from the DfT to Heathrow is compensation for knocking down a rail depot at Old Oak Common where Heathrow Express trains are kept.  The £9M figure was reported in Heathrow Express’ annual accounts. It is understood that the sum will be paid irrespective of whether or not HS2 gets the go ahead, with the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson in charge. A DfT spokesperson said the compensation would be part of “a series of agreements to secure the future of the Heathrow Express service, while enabling the construction of a new HS2 station at Old Oak Common”.  For the £9 million, Heathrow Express “agreed to vacate its train care depot at Old Oak Common to make way for the development of HS2.” In the Lords, on 24th July (the day Boris became PM), Lib Dem Baroness Elizabeth Randerson asked the DfT if the £9 million was still being paid, and the then Transport Minister Baroness Vere replied that “Work continues on HS2 and that £9 million was part of that work.” 

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Heathrow Express is a wholly owned subsidiary of Heathrow Airport Holdings.

Question by Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport)
House of Lords Debate

24th July 2019

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2019-07-24a.750.2#g751.2

My Lords, the Minister is very firm in her assurances, and I would like to think that we can be convinced that HS2 will be built. However, the new Prime Minister has cast serious doubt on it and the Minister has referred to HS2 being subject to review. I therefore ask her to explain why £9 million has been given as compensation to Heathrow Airport in preparation for HS2, despite this ongoing review. Can she confirm the press reports that the £9 million will be paid even if HS2 does not go ahead?

Reply by Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Work continues on HS2 and that £9 million was part of that work. To date, HS2 has spent £7.4 billion. The review I referred to was done by the current chairman of HS2; it may be that there is a separate, second external review. I welcome the new Prime Minister’s reported focus on infrastructure. Infrastructure is critically important to our country and very complex, and sometimes it represents a large and slow-moving target for criticism. It is essential that we get infrastructure right and that it is fit for purpose.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2019-07-24a.750.2#g751.2

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Heathrow receives £9M payout for HS2 work at Old Oak Common

16 JUL, 2019

BY SAM SHOLLI (New Civil Engineer)

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has signed off on a £9M payout to be handed to Heathrow Airport to prepare for High Speed 2 (HS2).

Heathrow will be pre-emptively handed the money by the DfT as compensation for knocking down a rail depot at Old Oak Common where Heathrow Express trains are kept.

The £9M figure was reported in Heathrow Express’ annual accounts.

It is understood that the sum will be paid irrespective of whether or not HS2 gets the go ahead following the Tory leadership race.

A government spokesperson said the compensation would be part of “a series of agreements to secure the future of the Heathrow Express service, while enabling the construction of a new HS2 station at Old Oak Common”.

“As noted in Heathrow’s accounts, £9M is part of our upfront compensation for additional operating costs incurred under these agreements,” the spokesperson also said.

A Heathrow Express spokesperson added: “As part of this agreement Heathrow Express agreed to vacate its train care depot at Old Oak Common to make way for the development of HS2.”

News of the £9M expense comes after it was revealed that HS2 Ltd had terminated its search for a contractor to design and build the £435M Birmingham Curzon Street Station after increasing concern regarding risk transfer.

The high speed rail project’s promoter has now relaunched its procurement process to provide a “better balance” and create “a more competitive process”.

https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/grayling-agrees-9m-hs2-compensation-sum-heathrow-16-07-2019/ 

 

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London Assembly – wholly opposed to Heathrow expansion – urges people to respond, rejecting 3rd runway plans

The London Assembly is totally opposed to a 3rd Heathrow runway. They have set out clearly 5 key reasons why it should be opposed, and are asking Londoners to reject the plans. They point out that the Heathrow consultation is confusing, and very difficult indeed for anyone who is not an expert to fill in. The Assembly says: “We are gravely concerned that Heathrow is prioritising the interests of the airline industry and passengers over and above the wellbeing of Londoners, who are going to be the most affected by the expansion.”   The plans would mean unacceptable levels of noise, air pollution, carbon emissions and amounts of road traffic. The extra noise is likely to harm health and well-being of thousands of people. As the consultation is too hard to respond to, using the online or paper forms, the Assembly suggests that people send a short message to the Heathrow email address feedback@heathrowconsultation.com  The text they suggest – vary it however you wish – is “Heathrow expansion fundamentally goes against the UK’s commitment to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality in the capital.  It’s going to make air pollution worse, increase carbon emissions and increase noise, and we don’t support it. I stand with hundreds of others calling for it to be CANCELLED.”
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Five reasons why the expansion of Heathrow is the wrong move for London

by the London Assembly

London Assembly
Aug 15th 2019
Heathrow Airport’s new runway proposal would enable it to grow from around 475,000 to around 740,000 flights a year.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: it’s bad for the environment, and it’s bad for Londoners.

Here’s why:

5️⃣ The consultation process has been confusing for Londoners

We are gravely concerned that Heathrow is prioritising the interests of the airline industry and passengers over and above the wellbeing of Londoners, who are going to be the most affected by the expansion. Thus far, the consultation process has been highly inaccessible to those without the time or inclination to work through several hundred-page documents, and numerous webpages to find information on areas that may impact them.

Many Londoners are cynical about the consultation process; here’s what people have been saying in response to the consultation on Facebook:

Future consultation processes must be accessible to local people and communities, in all areas but especially those overflown. Further, future consultations should facilitate engagement between communities, so that advocacy efforts do not leave any one community behind.

4️⃣ Noise pollution will drastically increase

The World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that average noise levels above 45dB are associated with adverse health effects. We asked Heathrow representatives to indicate the number of people newly affected by noise as a result of the expansion. None of the representatives could provide this figure, despite its relevance to the discussion on noise impacts.

The UK Government found that, with the expansion, an extra 539,327 people would be affected should the threshold of annoyance be extended down to their limit of 51dB, taking the total number of people in the noise annoyance footprint to over 1.15 million.

Further, NHS guidelines say that getting less than seven hours of sleep can damage mental and physical health. The proposed expansion plans suggest the ban on night flights would be between 23:00p.m. and 5:30a.m — just 6 and a half hours.

We’re recommending that Heathrow commissions an independent noise impact assessment to better understand the harms of aviation noise and determine an appropriate, evidence-based noise threshold. In addition to that research, we’re calling for specific, stringent and binding targets for noise reduction, based on lower thresholds of disturbance, as specified by the WHO.

3️⃣ There will be more air pollution

The Government has said that any increase in pollution from an expanded Heathrow would be acceptable as long as emissions remain within legal limits — i.e. do not exceed the worst pollution levels in the whole Greater London area. But if air quality is improved in one area of London, that shouldn’t mean it is acceptable for Heathrow to increase its contributions to air pollution.

It would be illegal to worsen and prolong local breaches in health-based air pollutant concentration limits.

2️⃣ There will be more pollution from cars

The proposed expansion of Heathrow will significantly increase traffic, and there’s been a real lack of planning for improving surface access (the way cars, buses and lorries will be managed going to and from Heathrow). This increase will have a serious impact on air quality in an area already experiencing high — and potentially illegal — levels of pollution.

Currently, 40% of Heathrow’s passengers are using public transportation, up only 1% in the last 10 years. The Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) required Heathrow to drive up the number of passengers using public transport to 50% by 2030 and 55% by 2040. With another 10 to 12 million passengers travelling to and from the airport with the expansion, how is it possible Heathrow will deliver on its goals?

Heathrow has said it relies on public transportation improvements like Crossrail, High Speed 2, Western and Southern Rail, and buses and coaches. But most of these plans fall outside the governance and financial jurisdiction of Heathrow — meaning taxpayers will ultimately bear the burden. We need to know what surface access is required, how much it would cost and who would be expected to pay for it.

And further, these objectives are significantly lower than the Mayor’s city-wide target of 80% of journeys being taken by walking, cycling and public transport by 2041. Heathrow’s targets should be consistent with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and the draft London Plan, so as to not undermine city-wide efforts.

1️⃣ There will be increased carbon emissions

Heathrow is the biggest single source of carbon emissions in the UK, and though the Government just announced plans to meet new, much tougher “net zero” greenhouse gas target by 2050 — aviation is not currently included in these carbon budgets.

CO2 emissions after expansion will be eight to nine million tonnes higher per year. This is equivalent to over seven million passenger vehicles driven for one year.

Proposed plans to reduce emissions rely primarily on technological improvements — but there is no credible evidence that technology will be available fast enough to support and deliver on Heathrow’s net-zero carbon objectives. For instance, Heathrow indicated landing fees would be waived for electric planes. But Cait Hewitt of the Aviation Environment Federation said in our meeting that they “foresaw no [implementation of the use of] electric aircraft this side of 2050.” Therefore, waiving of landing fees is not a fitting incentive for the near future.

So how can Heathrow expand while ensuring the Government meets its carbon objectives? That’s what we need to know before we move ahead with expansion.

We sent this list to Heathrow Airport Consultation. Add your voice if you agree>>


If you would like to relay this information to the Heathrow Consultation process, copy and paste the below paragraph and send to: feedback@heathrowconsultation.com

Heathrow expansion fundamentally goes against the UK’s commitment to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality in the capital.

It’s going to make air pollution worse, increase carbon emissions and increase noise, and we don’t support it.

I stand with hundreds of others calling for it to be CANCELLED.  http://bit.ly/5ReasonsForNoHeathrow

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Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, hints at scrapping Heathrow expansion and “taking a really close look” at whether it stacks up

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has hinted that the Government could scrap Heathrow expansion, in his first public utterances on the topic in his new job. He told Sky News that “there are questions about whether the whole plan stacks up” and that Heathrow are going to need to “make sure they bring in enough income to justify the billions of pounds spent on it.” Mr Shapps also mentioned the upcoming legal challenge appeal, starting on Thursday 17 October. He said “there are of course court cases to do with emissions, that sort of thing so what we’ve said is we’ll watch that process very carefully and in the meantime I’ll be having a really close look at whether figures stack up or whether building more capacity, another runway there, would add to the charges to such an extent that it doesn’t.” Rob Barnstone, from the No 3rd Runway Coalition said: “Whether it is Heathrow’s overconfidence of being able to deliver the necessary funds for this project or the catastrophic environmental impacts, it is becoming clearer than ever that a third runway won’t be able to be delivered on time or budget and certainly does not fit within the Government’s environmental commitments of net zero emissions by 2050.”

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Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, hints at scrapping Heathrow expansion

14th August 2019 (No 3rd Runway Coalition press release(

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hinted that the Government could scrap Heathrow expansion in his first public utterances on the topic as transport secretary (1).

Mr Shapps told Sky News that “there are questions about whether the whole plan stacks up” and that Heathrow are going to need to “make sure they bring in enough income to justify the billions of pounds spent on it.”

Mr Shapps also mentioned the upcoming legal challenge, which will be heard (and live-streamed) at the Court of Appeal from Thursday 17 October, commenting that “there are of course court cases to do with emissions, that sort of thing so what we’ve said is we’ll watch that process very carefully and in the meantime I’ll be having a really close look at whether figures stack up or whether building more capacity, another runway there, would add to the charges to such an extent that it doesn’t.”

Responding to the Transport Secretary’s comments, Rob Barnstone from Stop Heathrow Expansion said:

“This refreshing move, compared with Mr Shapps’ predecessor, acknowledges the serious hurdles that Heathrow are far from ever overcoming.

“Whether it is Heathrow’s overconfidence of being able to deliver the necessary funds for this project or the catastrophic environmental impacts, it is becoming clearer than ever that a third runway won’t be able to be delivered on time or budget and certainly does not fit within the Government’s environmental commitments of net zero emissions by 2050.”

ENDS.

Notes:

  1. Comments by Mr. Shapps’ Sky News Interview – https://youtu.be/lEOyTiqXDHw
  2. Comments in this piece from Politics Home https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/transport/air-transport/news/105918/transport-secretary-grant-shapps-suggests-boris-johnson
  3. Heathrow Judicial Review begins 17 October – more information https://planb.earth/court-grants-plan-b-permission-to-appeal-on-heathrow-expansion/ and https://planb.earth/heathrow-appeal-to-be-live-streamed/

For more information:


 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggests Boris Johnson could scrap Heathrow third runway plan

Written by: Nicholas Mairs (Politics Home)

14th August 2019

Grant Shapps has suggested that Boris Johnson could abandon plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

The Transport Secretary said it was unclear whether the project “stacks up” financially and comes amid doubts over whether the new Prime Minister would pursue the project that he has long voiced opposition to.

Mr Johnson vowed to lie down “in front of those bulldozers” to stop its construction when he was elected as the MP for South Uxbridge and Ruislip in 2015.

…..

When asked what the new Government’s position was on the £14bn runway, Mr Shapps told Sky News: “My view and the Prime Minister’s view is the same actually.

“He was obviously and famously so against it. Of course Parliament has voted for it with a massive majority.

“Most people accept we need more south-east airport capacity, Parliament’s voted for Heathrow.”

But he added: “There are questions about whether the whole plan stacks up.

“This is privately funded. They’re going to need to make sure they bring in enough income to justify the billions of pounds spent on it, that’s something that we’ll be taking a really, really close look at, I certainly will as the new Transport Secretary.”

When asked whether the project, backed by 415-119 MPs last year, would go ahead despite the PM’s opposition, he added: “[Mr Johnson has] also said that subsequent parliaments voted for it.

“But there are of course court cases to do with emissions, that sort of thing so what we’ve said is we’ll watch that process very carefully and in the meantime I’ll be having a really close look at whether figures stack up or whether building more capacity, another runway there, would add to the charges to such an extent that it doesn’t.”

MPs from across the House have been divided over the case for a third runway amid fears that it could disrupt local communities and over its impact on the environment.

Labour last year gave its MPs a free vote on the issue, with Shadow Chancellor and Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell one of the project’s staunchest opponents.

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/transport/air-transport/news/105918/transport-secretary-grant-shapps-suggests-boris-johnson

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Key facts about Heathrow 3rd runway: total EXTRA CO2 emissions would be about 183 MtCO2 between 2022 – 2050 (above staying with 2 runways)

Heathrow is attempting to make out that the carbon emissions to be caused by its 3rd runway would be insignificant. They would either not be counted in UK totals; or they would all be offset by airlines and so “vanish”. They also ignore all non-CO2 impacts. Or they would in some other miraculous ways be offset by various untested, unproven technologies.  These are the key facts people need to realise:  Heathrow’s own figures show a total of 173 MtCO2 MORE carbon emitted, over 2022-2050, with the 3rd runway than without building it. The emissions could reach 25MtCO2 per year from flights alone. The increased CO2 would be as much as 9MtCO2 per year more, in the peak year (2035) than with 2 runways. The total extra CO2 from more surface access transport would be 7MtCO2 over that time period. The extra CO2 from all the construction work would be 3.7MtCO2, to build it all. The total of all that would be 183MtCO2 MORE carbon produced in total (flights, surface access + construction) than if the runway was not built. The estimates may be on the low side, as Heathrow has factored in future carbon efficiencies. Heathrow has taken no account of the fact that we now have a net zero target for 2050. The CCC has now said the total cap for UK aviation CO2 should be no more than 31MtCO2. Not the earlier 37.5MtCO2 it had recommended earlier.
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Chapter 9. CARBON AND GREENHOUSE GASES

There are 2 documents in which you will find the information:

1. Chapter 9 itself at
https://aec.heathrowconsultation.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2019/06/11-Volume-1-PEIR-Chapter-9-Carbon-and-greenhouse-gases.pdf

2. The Appendices for Chapter 9 at
https://aec.heathrowconsultation.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2019/06/07-Volume-3-PEIR-Chapter-9-Carbon-and-other-greenhouse-gases-Appendices.pdf

Then there is the main consultation summary document at
https://aec.heathrowconsultation.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2019/06/3780-HRW-CONS-DOC-June-2019-A-MASTER-BOOK-FINAL-AW-LOW-RES-NO-CROPS.pdf
which gives no numbers at all.

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Below are the key facts about the carbon figures for the Heathrow 3rd runway proposal:

Flights themselves:

Basic problem is that the carbon emissions with the new runway will be about 8 – 9 million tonnes of CO2 more, with the 3rd runway, than without it.

The main facts are in the The Appendices for Chapter 9 at

https://aec.heathrowconsultation.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2019/06/07-Volume-3-PEIR-Chapter-9-Carbon-and-other-greenhouse-gases-Appendices.pdf   

 

This shows how they expect carbon emissions from flights to reduce slightly over time, with just two runways. And how they would increase – theoretically to a peak in 2035. That would be about 25 Million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Compared to about 19 million tonnes now.

And about 16 million tonnes by 2035, with just two runways, if their expected carbon efficiencies are working then.  ie. there is 25 cf. 16. (their numbers – see in the attached document – are 16.17 and 25.09 MtCO2). Which is almost 9 million tonnes CO2 (8.92 is their number) more with a 3rd runway, than sticking with two, in 2035.

Their figures suggest the difference, by 2050, between having the 3rd runway and not having it, would be 7.53 MtCO2 per year.   (ie. 19.9 MtCO2 with the 3rd runway, compared to 12.37 Mt CO2 by 2050 if they stuck with two runways.)

The key graphic to use is this.   Graphic 9.3.2  in the Appendix 3.   Document does not have page numbers ….

Heathrow admits the cumulative emissions of Heathrow flights would be, over the period 2022 to 2050,  456 MtCO2 (Table 9.3.9)  if they stuck with two runways – and 629 MtCO2 (see Table 9.3.11 of this )  with the 3rd runway.

That would mean a difference of  173 MtCO2 over the 29 years – so a total of 173 MtCO2  MORE with the 3rd runway.

That spread over the 29 years (2022 to 2050) is on average 6.18 MtCO2 more CO2 per year.  More in peak years, less in others.  (They give some rather unconvincing explanations are given for the assumed carbon reductions.)

While we need serious carbon cuts starting now. Heathrow plans to be increasing its carbon emissions – rather than lowering them – from about 2025 to 2035.

 

Surface access

The carbon emissions from surface transport would be about 0.95 MtCO2 in 2022 to 0.9 MrCO2 by 2050 with 2 runways.

Up to about ? 1.24 MtCO2 by 2050 with a 3rd runway.  (There is just a chart, not actual numbers given).

  1. a difference of something of the order of 0.25MtCO2 per year.

Heathrow says ( Graphic 9.4.2.) the cumulative carbon emissions from surface access would be, by 2050, about 27 MtCO2, and it would be about 34 MtCO2 with the 3rd runway  (and even with their “mitigation” it would be 30MtCO2).

ie. about 7 Mt CO2 more over the 29 years, with a 3rd runway.

An insignificant amount compared to the planes (which would add, on Heathrow’s calculation, 173 Mt CO2 more).

Though they are assuming (Webtag apparently) 25% use of electric vehicles by 2050, their graph of carbon emissions (the “unmitigated”scenario) shows a rise in carbon emissions from transport.  While they say there will be no more vehicles on the roads. The carbon does include carbon from trips made by bus and rail.

 

Construction

The construction cumulative GHG emissions for the modelled scenario from 2022 to 2050 result in 3.70 MtCO2e over the 29 years.   (See Table 9.2.4).

ie. 3.7 Mt CO2 more with a 3rd runway.

 

Total carbon

So adding – for the 29 years, 2022 to 2050 – the extra 173 Mt CO2 from flights, the 3.7 MtCO2 from construction, and the 7Mt CO2 from surface access, that comes to about 183 MtCO2 more if the 3rd runway is built.   That is using Heathrow’s own figures, which make various assumptions about aircraft and vehicle fuel efficiency.

 

General stuff

When Heathrow claims its carbon will not be a problem, they say themselves . “The carbon emissions from an expanded Heathrow are calculated to be equivalent to 1.2% of the UK 2050 carbon target set by the Climate Change Act 2008. This comparison excludes Greenhouse Gas emissions from international aviation”

Heathrow would like to pretend all the carbon will be offset by the airlines, and so it is not of concern to the airport.

Heathrow uses 3 scenarios.    No 3rd runway.  Runway with mitigation.  Runway without mitigation.

A key problem is that  though “The CCC has also recommended that UK aviation CO2 emissions, from both international and domestic flights, should total no more than 37.5MtCO2 in 2050.” this is from the time when the UK carbon target  was an 80% cut on 1990; not the net-zero -ie. 100% cut – there is now as the policy.

A crucial lie in the Heathrow documents is : “Any increase in carbon emissions alone is not a reason to refuse development consent, unless the increase in carbon emissions resulting from the project is so significant that it would have a material impact on the ability of Government to meet its carbon reduction targets, including carbon budgets.”  And they then try to claim there is hardly any impact.

The key point Heathrow tries to get away with is that “The CCC Net Zero report provides recommendations to the Government and is therefore not adopted UK policy.”

Heathrow is hoping that the UK government is going to allow international offsets:  The report advises that the aim should be to meet the target through UK domestic effort, without relying on international carbon units, though the CCC do not completely rule out international carbon units as a useful contingency. ”

Heathrow hopes it can kick the can down the road, in putting key issues off until the Environment Statement.  “The assumptions and uncertainties regarding future improvements scenarios should be clearly set out in the ES [Environmental Statement]”.

Heathrow is NOT taking into account any non-CO2 impacts.

Heathrow hopes to con the gullible into believing their CO2 is not a problem:  “Heathrow’s carbon neutral growth aspiration means that growth in CO2 emissions from additional flights after expansion would be offset through carbon credits, resulting in no net growth in emissions.”

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See also the post from Teddington Action Group (TAG) with a lot more information at  http://www.teddingtonactiongroup.com/2019/07/17/heathrow-d-c-o-consultation-and-climate-change/ 

TAG says: 

The target of CO2 limitation has been for only an 80% reduction of 1990 levels and not 100%. The Committee on Climate Change agreed that the target 80% reduction overall requires aviation CO2 emissions to be 37.5 MtCO2 by 2050 (which is 100% of the 2005 total).

We do know from the report of the Department for Transport entitled “Beyond the Horizon” of June 2018 that predicted CO2 is likely to be 40.8 MtCO2 in 2050 having peaked at 43.4 MtCO2 in 2030. Thus, aviation, with Heathrow expansion, will fail even on an 80% reduction over 1990 values – never mind a 100% reduction. Any reduction from 40.8 MtCO2 in 2050 is highly speculative and the Government should not be gambling with climate change in this way. 

The likely required reduction of aviation emissions as a result of net zero is considered by the CCC to be down to no more than 31MtCO2 by 2050 (CCC Net Zero report May 2019 at page 148).

 

 

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FoI documents show Scottish airports would lose perhaps 220,000 passengers per year, if Heathrow got 3rd runway

Scottish airports could lose more than 220,000 passengers per year, if Heathrow got a 3rd runway.  The regions have been led to believe the runway would benefit them, in terms of links to Heathrow and more jobs. The reality is different. The Scottish Government had backed the runway plans, hoping Scotland would benefit. But the DfT’s own data – revealed in emails – shows they expect number of passengers using  Scottish airports would reduce, with the 3rd runway, as Heathrow would increasingly have a monopoly of lucrative long-haul routes.  There might be more domestic flights to Heathrow from Newcastle, cutting demand from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. The Scottish government needs to consider their position on Heathrow very carefully. The figures on alleged jobs were based on very, very dodgy, out of date data, (assuming benefits of the runway to the UK over 60 years as £147 bn, when in reality they might at most be £3bn – or an actual cost) that cannot be believed. “Estimates of aviation emissions from an expanded Heathrow were redacted in the emails released.”
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Taking off: Secret report reveals Scots airports will lose more than 220,000 flyers after £16bn Heathrow expansion

by Billy Briggs (Sunday Post)
August 4, 2019

Scots airports could lose more than 220,000 passengers if the £14 billion third runway at Heathrow goes ahead, according to secret government figures.

The proposed £16bn ­expansion of the London airport, including the building of a third runway, is high in the in-tray of Boris Johnson, who is under mounting pressure to reverse his ­previous opposition to the project.

The Scottish Government also backed the proposal, claiming the huge expansion would create jobs around Britain before launching a review into its environmental impact.

However, previously unseen data from the Department for Transport reveals Scots airports will lose more than 220,000 passengers if Heathrow expands.

Increased competition from Newcastle airport, forecast to have more connecting flights to London, is one reason cited for a projected fall in business for Glasgow and Edinburgh airports.

The figures pile pressure on the Scottish Government to clarify its transport policy and call into question claims by the UK Government that Heathrow’s expansion will create 16,000 jobs in Scotland.

Internal emails reveal DfT data, passed to the Scottish Government last year, predicted a loss of 220,450 passengers between Glasgow and Edinburgh airports by 2030.

Glasgow could see a fall of 171,037 passengers over the next decade while Edinburgh could lose 49,413, according to a table of projections by the UK Government.

The official projections, obtained under freedom of information requests, also said Glasgow is predicted to lose 267,868 passengers by 2040 and, although Edinburgh is forecast to gain 119,321 people by then, the net loss jointly to Scotland’s two major airports would be 148,547.

Estimates of aviation emissions from an expanded Heathrow were redacted in the emails released.

Until recently, the Scottish Government supported a third runway at Heathrow after signing a memorandum of understanding in October 2016. In May, however, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said backing for the expansion of the UK’s busiest airport was under review after her decision to announce a “climate emergency”.

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said it had always maintained the continued growth of Heathrow would be “at the detriment of Scotland’s airports and these projections demonstrate exactly that”.

He added: “Creating a huge monopoly airport in the south-east of England will clearly have an adverse impact on other airports around the country, and the perception we are feeder airports for London is as outdated as it is false.

“We are an international airport in our own right, one that delivers economic benefit through jobs and business. We should be working to release the even greater potential Scotland’s industry has, not grounding it by an obsession with Heathrow.”

Scottish Green transport spokesperson John Finnie challenged the Scottish Government to clarify its position on the issue, arguing it was “incompatible” with a climate emergency to “relentlessly pursue growth in air travel”.

He said: “They (Scottish Government) tell us they’ll come up with a climate-change plan in six months but, meanwhile, they support an expansion of Heathrow while our airports compete for new capacity. Declaring a climate emergency is meaningless unless the Scottish Government also has the will to address the main contributors to it. Warm words will not address global climate change.”

The Department for Transport said a new runway at Heathrow would bring benefits to Scotland, adding that, as well as creating opportunities for “new and more frequent routes”, passengers will be able to “choose from a wider range of destinations to travel, and enjoy cheaper fares”.

The Scottish Government said the decision on airport expansion rests with the UK Government and the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Heathrow Airport will potentially bring “significant job creation and investment opportunities”.

A Scottish Government ­spokesman said: “We have already announced a change in our policy on Air Departure Tax. Later this month, our new National Transport Strategy will be launched for public consultation.

“It will set the future direction for transport over the next 20 years and identifies taking climate action as a priority.

“We are currently commissioning independent research to inform what further action is needed to de-carbonise the Scottish Transport Sector.  “We have been a leader in this field for many years.”

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/taking-off-secret-report-reveals-scots-airports-will-lose-more-than-220000-flyers-after-16bn-heathrow-expansion/

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See earlier:

SNP “promised” 16,000 new jobs if it backs 3rd runway – but that figure is crazily inflated – as Heathrow & DfT well know

The Conservative government may need the SNP’s support if some of its MPs rebel against the new Heathrow runway – which is likely. The SNP will demand guaranteed extra slots for Scottish flights into London in return for the party’s support for the 3rd runway.  Ian Blackford, the head of the SNP’s parliamentary group in London, said the party had not taken a decision on runway yet – and would only do so if Scotland stood to benefit. Their backing may not be guaranteed, though that had been assumed – particularly after Keith Brown, Scotland’s infrastructure secretary, believed there might be 16,000 Scottish jobs, created by the project. That figure of 16,000 jobs is what Heathrow has, for several years, been peddling. Along with similarly inflated claims for all the regions. The number was derived by a consultancy called Quod, in a flimsy little 4 page paper, with no methodology, no date, no author etc. It is based on the assumption that Heathrow would provide an economic benefit (NPV) to the UK, over 60 years, of £147 billion. That number is now known to actually be about £3.3 billion, at best (if not a negative number). The SNP would be very ill-advised to believe Scotland will benefit; in reality its airports would be damaged by allowing the runway. Tragic if they vote in favour of it, because they have not checked out the facts properly. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/06/snp-promised-16000-new-jobs-if-it-backs-3rd-runway-but-that-figure-is-crazily-inflated-as-heathrow-dft-well-know/

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Alex Salmond says 3rd Heathrow runway is for the benefit of London and SE, to the detriment of Scotland

Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland, speaking on the subject of Heathrow expansion, said that UK Governments have a long history of dressing up London investment as being of equal benefit to the whole nation. He is not persuaded that the Treasury is particularly interested in benefiting Scotland. There is evidence that public spending in previous decades, while supposedly UK-wide, is in reality aimed at helping London and the south of England.  Some examples given are the redevelopment of docklands, the Jubilee line extension, and concentrating defence spending, procurement, and the civil service firmly in the south. Alex Salmond says that much of this type of spending was omitted from all official accounts of “identifiable public spending” and it still is. But public spending in Scotland was routinely described as a “subsidy.”  He says the proposed Heathrow runway would be to the potential detriment of Scotland, which is facing all of the pain and none of the gain. He wants to boost direct Scottish flights to and from international destinations for the benefit of travellers, tourism and Scottish exporting industries. And he wants APD cut in Scotland, reducing the need to fly via London at all. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/08/alex-salmond-says-3rd-heathrow-runway-is-for-the-benefit-of-london-and-to-the-detriment-of-scotland/

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Airports Commission report shows fewer, not more, links to regional airports by 2030 with 3rd runway

The Times reports that analysis by Transport for London (TfL) of the Airports Commission’s final report shows that, with a 3rd runway, Heathrow would only serve 4 domestic destinations by 2030, compared to the 7 is now serves.  It would serve only 3 with no new runway by 2030. (The Gatwick figures are 7 domestic destinations by 2030 with a 2nd runway, compared to 10 now). Heathrow has been claiming that its runway will be important for better links to the regions, and improved domestic connectivity by air. The Heathrow runway has been backed by Peter Robinson, the first minister of Northern Ireland, Derek Mackay, the Scottish transport minister, and Louise Ellman, the chairwoman of the transport select committee – on the grounds that it would help the regions. The Commission’s report says: (Page 313) “15.8 ….without specific measures to support domestic connectivity even an expanded Heathrow may accommodate fewer domestic routes in future….”  The Commission cannot see effective ways to ensure domestic links are not cut in future, as less profitable than long haul, but they suggest public subsidy by the taxpayer for these routes. This is by using PSO (Public Service Obligations) which could cost £ millions, is a bad use of public money, and may fall foul of EU law.  So if the taxpayer has to pay, that means the runway costs us even more. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/airports-commission-report-shows-fewer-not-more-links-to-regional-airports-by-2030-with-3rd-runway/

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