Already 236 people are claiming compensation from Farnborough airport, for decreased house value

In 2010 Farnborough airport expanded their West One Apron from from 19,800 square metres to 32,600 square metres, providing facilities for a greater number of aircraft. Residents in the area say the value of their house has been decreased due to noise and other physical factors. The Lands Tribunal recently ruled that residents whose property values had decreased due to the expansion of Farnborough airport could pursue a compensation claim against the airport’s operators. Hugh James is the law firm representing the claimants, which is currently 236 people (at the 9th November). Neil Stockdale, head of environmental law at Hugh James commented: “TAG Farnborough Airport has developed a huge operation widely regarded as Europe’s leading business aviation centre and my clients feel the impact on them hasn’t been taken into account and that’s what they’re pursuing these claims….It doesn’t take much for each claim to be worth £ X, you multiply that by the number of properties affected and you would expect many hundreds of thousands if not millions of ££s in compensation.” Residents have until 28 May 2017 to claim, but cases will need to be prepared for lodging with the Tribunal. That takes time so people should get their claims in sooner rather than later.
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Over 200 residents claim compensation from TAG Farnborough Airport

9th November 2015

Eagle Radio

Hundreds of residents could be entitled to millions in compensation from TAG Farnborough Airport.

In 2010 the airport expanded their West One Apron from from 19,800 square metres to 32,600 square metres, providing facilities for a greater number of aircraft.

Residents in the area say the value of their house has been decreased due to noise and other physical factors.

The Lands Tribunal recently ruled that residents whose property values had decreased due to the expansion of Farnborough airport could pursue a compensation claim against the airport’s operators.

Hugh James is the law firm representing the claimants, which is currently 236 people (from 09/11/2015).

Neil Stockdale is their head of environmental law:
“TAG Farnborough Airport has developed a huge operation widely regarded as Europe’s leading business aviation centre and my clients feel the impact on them hasn’t been taken into account and that’s what they’re pursuing these claims.”

He tells Eagle Radio the compensation fee could even run into millions in total:
“It doesn’t take much for each claim to be worth X pounds, you multiply that by the number of properties affected and you would expect many hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds in compensation.”

Residents have until 28 May 2017 to claim, but Neil tells Eagle Radio:
“People can’t wait until the last minute as cases will need to be prepared for lodging with the Tribunal and this will take time.”

http://www.964eagle.co.uk/news/local-news/1785287/over-200-residents-claim-compensation-from-tag-farnborough-airport/

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See earlier:

 

Lands Tribunal rules that residents near Farnborough can claim if their homes have been devalued by more flights

The Lands Tribunal has ruled that residents impacted by operations at Farnborough Airport, whose homes have been devalued by flights, can claim against the airport operators TAG. Law firm Hugh James is already dealing with 200 claimants and estimates that compensation could run into the millions.  The ruling concerns claims for compensation under Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973, which provides a right to compensation where property value has been depreciated by increases in noise and other physical factors caused by the use of certain works including airports. The deputy president of the Lands Tribunal ruled that claims can proceed for any depreciation in property values caused by the addition of the airport’s West One Apron, completed in May 2010. This Apron was considered to be a substantial alteration built with the purpose of providing facilities for a greater number of aircraft. A partner at Hugh James said: “It’s yet to be determined whether any depreciation has been caused to property values and if so by how much, but it will now be the subject of ongoing proceedings.” Any claims for compensation arising out of the decision will need to be brought prior to the expiry of the statutory limitation period in May 2017. Other claims for work done at the airport in 2002 cannot be made, as these are now out of time.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/lands-tribunal-rules-that-residents-near-farnborough-can-claim-if-their-homes-have-been-devalued-by-more-flights/

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Edinburgh TUTUR flight path trial ended 2 months early – but residents say changes persist

In June Edinburgh airport started a trial of a new, concentrated take off flight path (TUTUR), designed to enable the airport to deal with more planes per hour, and therefore make more money and raise the airport’s value. Due to the utter noise misery the trial produced and the huge volume of complaints, it was ended two months early – on 28th October, not 24th December. However, as has  been the pattern at other airports, people overflown say the route has not returned to how it was before the trial. Campaigner Helena Paul from local group SEAT (Stop Edinburgh Airport Trial) said: “Despite assurances that the TUTUR trial has ended, the noise disturbance has not stopped. In fact, many residents are reporting a serious increase in the levels of noise from flights compared to before the trial started. … It’s perfectly clear to many thousands of us that there’s been a significant change in the pattern of use of the skies above our heads, to the severe detriment of many communities living beneath.” Helena has asked for data gathered during the trail period to be released, so that questions can be answered. They want to show definitively and precisely what happened pre-trial, and what is happening now.
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Edinburgh Airport boss confirms trial flight path ended

Airport boss Gordon Dewar assured communities under the trial flight path that it is no longer being used

By Morven Quin (Linlithgow Gazette)

6.11.2015

Campaigners against the trial flight path at Edinburgh Airport say their lives are still being disrupted by noise, despite assurances that the flight path is no longer being used.

Chief executive, Gordon Dewar, has had to confirm the trial flight path over parts of South Queensferry, Linlithgow and Bo’ness did end last week, after reports of planes still flying overhead came to light.

Campaigner Helena Paul said: “Despite assurances that the TUTUR trial has ended, the noise disturbance has not stopped. In fact, many residents are reporting a serious increase in the levels of noise from flights compared to before the trial started.

“It’s perfectly clear to many thousands of us that there’s been a significant change in the pattern of use of the skies above our heads, to the severe detriment of many communities living beneath.”

Helena, who lives in affected area Blackness, is calling for the airport to release data gathered during the test period so that questions can be answered.

Local group on Facebook. Comment and discussion about whether flights have gone back to earlier state, or not.

She said: “From this data we can show definitively and precisely what happened pre-trial, and what is happening now.

“We’re not neurotic fools who have suddenly become more sensitised to noise, there has unquestionably and categorically been a change in the noise levels being experienced by many residents across many areas.”

Edinburgh Airport said early noise complaint analysis suggested over half of the noise complaints received during the trial were not about TUTUR flights and were actually in reference to aircraft on a flight path called GRICE – which has been used for over 40 years.
According to figures released by the airport, there were 331 departures on the GRICE path in August last year compared to 362 in August this year.

Mr Dewar said: “The trial has stopped as we stated and there are no flights operating on this route.

“However an MSP and some residents have been in touch with Edinburgh Airport since the end of the trial and have misinterpreted flights that are on a well-established route called GRICE.

“It is worth noting that a substantial percentage of complaints, early indications would suggest well over half, received during the trial also related to flights on well-established and unchanged routes.
“We care greatly about our local standing as we are local ourselves. A huge number of the people who benefit from the 8000 jobs that Edinburgh Airport supports live within 20 miles of the airport – myself included.

“I hope that we can now have a debate about how the airport is to grow in order to deliver for Scotland and at the same time maintain positive relationships with our neighbouring communities.”

http://www.linlithgowgazette.co.uk/news/local-news/edinburgh-airport-boss-confirms-trial-flight-path-ended-1-3939791#axzz3qpHOYZgT

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Edinburgh Airport confirms TUTUR flight path trial ended last week

Date? Around 7th November 2015

Edinburgh Airport Press Release

Edinburgh Airport has today offered further confirmation to its neighbouring communities that the TUTUR flight path trial ended last week.

This follows letters and calls to Edinburgh Airport from a politician and some concerned residents who have been in contact about aircraft they can see or hear.

This coincides with early noise complaint analysis suggesting that well over half of the noise complaints received during the trial period were not about TUTUR flights – and instead were actually a response to aircraft on a flight path called GRICE which has been used for over 40 years.

During August of this year there were 362 GRICE departures from Edinburgh Airport – compared to 331 GRICE departures in August 2014.

Commenting, Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s CEO, said:

“Last week Edinburgh Airport’s flight path trial TUTUR came to a close. The trial has stopped as we stated and there are no flights operating on this route.

“TUTUR was due to officially end in the early hours of Thursday 29th October.

However, due to wind conditions, the last flight that used the TUTUR flight path out of Edinburgh Airport was actually on Monday 26th October.

“However an MSP and some residents have been in touch with us since the end of the trial and have misinterpreted flights that are on a well-established route called GRICE which has flown out of Edinburgh for over 40 years.

“It is worth noting that a large number of complaints – early indications would suggest well over half – received during the trial also related to flights on well-established and unchanged routes.

“It would appear that TUTUR – and the attention it has gained – has made some people more aware and sensitive to flights that have been passing them on the same route for many years.

“We care greatly about our local standing as we are local ourselves. A huge number of the people who benefit from the 8000 jobs that Edinburgh Airport supports live within 20 miles of the airport – myself included.

“I hope that we can now have a debate about how the airport is to grow in order to deliver for Scotland and at the same time maintain positive relationships with our neighbouring communities.”

August 2014
GRICE 3C departures
331 tracks
August 2015
GRICE 3C departures
362 tracks

ENDS

Notes:

End of Edinburgh Airport SID trial (29.10.15) http://www.edinburghairport.com/about-us/media-centre/news/end-of-edinburgh-airport-sid-trial(http://www.edinburghairport.com/about-us/media-centre/news/end-of-edinburgh-airport-sid-trial)

Edinburgh Evening News (29.10.15) http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/opinion/gordon-dewar-new-flights-have-to-go-somewhere-1-3931230(http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/opinion/gordon-dewar-new-flights-have-to-go-somewhere-1-3931230)

The GRICE departure is the standard route for aircraft flying north from Edinburgh. Historically, this route has primarily been used by smaller aircraft flying to northern Scotland and the Highlands & Islands. Over the last ten years the route has become busier as the airport added links to new destinations in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. The route is sometimes used by transatlantic flights making a more northerly crossing and by flights to the Near/Middle East. The route takes aircraft to a point north of Stirling where they typically either join the main airway to Aberdeen, head west to the Atlantic or east towards Denmark.

http://www.edinburghairport.com/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/edinburgh-airport-confirms-tutur-flight-path-trial-ended-last-week


 

Earlier:

Edinburgh trial (no prior consultation) of new narrow route to be ended 2 months early, due to opposition

Edinburgh Airport is to halt its controversial trial of a new flight path two months early (28th October). The trial of the concentrated route resulted in unacceptable levels of noise for those below the new route. The airport’s Chief executive Gordon Dewar admitted the airport had been overwhelmed with complaints about the trial route over areas which were not previously over flown. He said a letter from Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, asking if the trial could be shortened had also influenced the decision. The announcement was made at a packed public meeting in Broxburn. Like all other new routes that have been introduced through the CAA, there was no consultation. Mr Dewar said on the consultation: “…I do apologise. We have learned a lesson on that one.” The CAA has been taken aback by the extent of opposition to every new concentrated flight path it has introduced, and appears unable to work out how to implement the European SESAR changes to airspace on an articulate and determined population, against their will. Someone at the meeting commented that Gordon Dewar’s presentation was met with silence from the audience. But a short video by Sally Pavey, an experienced noise campaigner from Gatwick, received enthusiastic applause. Campaigners from affected airports are linking up to oppose unsuitable airspace changes.

Click here to view full story…

Scottish MSPs call for the Edinburgh flight path trial, that is reducing people to tears, to be ended early

Edinburgh Airport started a trial of a new flight path in June, due to continue till 24th December. The purpose of the route is to enable the airport to have take-offs every minute, rather than every two minutes. It has resulted in a narrow, concentrated flight path over areas that did not have much plane noise before, and this has caused real distress. People are especially infuriated because the CAA allows NATS to run trials with no consultation of the public. This consultation is currently only needed once the trial has been done (and it pretty much a fait accompli). Campaigners of SEAT (Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial) launched a petition against the trial and have won the support of cross-party Lothian MSPs, including Labour’s Neil Findlay who yesterday led the debate. Four MSPs spoke up in a debate at Hollyrood, saying it is not acceptable that people now badly affected by noise were not consulted, and they want the trial ended early. Alison Johnstone (Green Party Scotland) said the relentless noise, often from 5am all day through till midnight, had reduced people to tears due to stress and sleep deprivation. She added, re. the CAA: “Just because you don’t have to consult, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.”

Click here to view full story…

Edinburgh Airport’s new TUTUR flight path trial started 25th June – maybe for 6 months

The trial of a new flight path to the west of Edinburgh airport started on 25th June. The airport itself does not say how long the trial with last, but reports say either 5 months or 6 months. The trial sees southbound planes take off over Broxburn and Uphall before turning east over the Forth, then south over East Lothian. The aim of the trial is to speed up departures, increase the number of planes than can be handles, and make more money for airlines and the airport. Edinburgh airport says if the trial is a “success,” [a success may mean if the level of opposition is low enough, or can be discounted] it could cut the minimum interval between take-offs from two minutes to one minute, doubling the potential number of flights by large planes from the airport. That could mean increasing the total number of flights by 20% to around 120,000 per year. People finding themselves under the new, narrow, route are experiencing much worse plane noise than before – especially as much of the new flight path is on a turn. People are encouraged to contact the airport and make complaints, if the are not happy with the new situation. Edinburgh airport says: “If the trial is successful it will continue for a bit longer” (ie. no end date?) going through the formal Airspace Change Process by the CAA. Once that is done, the route will be permanent – after a public consultation and the statutory change process.

Click here to view full story…

Edinburgh Airport unveils 5 month trial of flight path to boost the airport’s capacity

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a 5-month trial of a new flight path for aircraft taking off to the west, in a bid to increase capacity. The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June, will introduce a new SID route, the purpose of which is to allow more flights to use the runway, and allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals. This is to “allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.” Most of the time the flights take off to the west and there are currently 3 SID€™ routes – known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south). The new route – Tutur – will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow. The settlements worse affected, with planes at 1900 – 2000 feet, would be Uphall and Dechmont. Map Aircraft will climb as they turn, to fly over the coast and down the Firth of Forth passing North Queensferry, and then fly back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh. The airport says the aircraft using the trial route are likely to be their least noisy (B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s). The airport says the trial would monitor the impact on local communities, and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.

Click here to view full story…

 

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British Airways, in evidence to Transport Cttee, says that Heathrow runway is “unfinanceable” and a “white elephant”

British Airways has made its strongest attack yet on plans for a new Heathrow runway, saying its proposals are “unfinanceable” and a “white elephant”. The comments are in written evidence to the Commons Transport Select Cttee, dated 12th October, in its submission to its inquiry into surface access on October 27th.  BA repeats its view that the cost of transport infrastructure for the runway scheme should not be funded by airlines and their customers. BA is the biggest airline (51%) at Heathrow. It says – dangerously – that because of the alleged “up to £147 billion” of benefits of a runway to the UK, new road and rail link for the airport should, like standalone transport schemes like M4 widening, be paid for by taxpayers. [That “ up to £147 billion” benefit figure is highly dubious, and the Airports Commission’s own expert economic advisors, Mackie and Pearce, warned that it includes double counting and should be treated with caution.]  While avoiding any specific opposition in principle to expanding Heathrow, BA is not willing to pay – but it says the runway plan is is unaffordable and unfinanceable, and called into question the economic benefits. There has been speculation if Willie Walsh is just “browbeating aimed at cowing the CAA into lower charges” rather than stopping a Heathrow runway.
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Runway through Colnbrook is “unfinanceable” and a “white elephant” says British Airways

7.11.2015 (Colnbrook Views)

British Airways has made its strongest attack yet on plans for a new runway through the parish, labelling Heathrow’s proposals “unfinanceable” and a “white elephant”.

British Airways: "The Commission’s proposals, costed at £17.6bn, would turn Heathrow into a white elephant".

That British Airways has made several statements in recent months around its unwillingness to contribute toward the cost of a Third Runway is old news.

But in a statement to a Parliamentary committee just over a week ago the airline has labelled the current proposals a “white elephant” and called for a rethink.

The comments were made in a submission to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into surface access to on October 27. http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/transport-committee/surface-transport-to-airports/written/22975.html  (dated 12.10.2015)

BA repeats its oft-made view that the cost of transport infrastructure for the North-West Runway scheme should not be funded by airlines and their customers.  It says new road and rail link for the airport should, like standalone transport schemes like M4 widening, be paid for by taxpayers.

While avoiding any specific opposition in principle to expanding Heathrow in the statement, BA has baulked at the exorbitant cost of transport infrastructure which it fears it will be expected to contribute to, telling MPs:

The Heathrow option recommended by the Airports Commission is unaffordable and unfinanceable. This calls into question the economic benefits of the scheme. The Commission’s proposals, costed at £17.6bn, would turn Heathrow into a white elephant

It adds:

“The surface access costs estimated in the Commission’s report to be some £5bn are especially excessive. BA therefore cannot support a further increase in airport charges for our customers, on top of the significant increases estimated by the Commission, to fund the necessary surface access.”

BA says that with up to £147n of claimed economic benefit to the UK, and the airline already having forked out “substantial sums” for rail links to T5, the Government not airlines should pay “unless there is a clear business case for the airline”.

Would the airline support Heathrow’s plans if it didn’t have to pay is not so clear.  The airline’s recent position of opposition has only ever been about who pays for the current transport links proposed.  It says the price tag is too high but has not said links proposed are wrong and has presented no alternatives.  With a 51% market share at Heathrow BA could well be expected to shoulder a large proportion of the burden if expansion is allowed.

The Economist noted in August that Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive, has engaged in a “big bluff” over a Third Runway after his apparent u-turn earlier this year after promoting it in speeches since 2009.  In 2011, it notes, Mr Walsh declared a third runway “dead” and talked up growth at the airline’s other hub, Madrid.  Similarly there is talk now about expansion in Dublin.  The Economist suggests his threat a few months ago to challenge a third runway “by any and every avenue” is “legal browbeating aimed at cowing the CAA into lower charges” rather than stopping Heathrow expansion in its tracks.

BA used the opportunity of its submission to reiterate its previous statement to the Airports Commission: that limited surface access options at Gatwick is one reason why there is no business case for a new runway there.

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See earlier:

Willie Walsh says Heathrow 3rd runway is a “vanity project” with outrageous costs

British Airways boss Willie Walsh has said that the costs of Heathrow’s plans for a 3rd runway would be “outrageous”.  He said: “At the moment this is a vanity project by the management of Heathrow who are driven to build a monument to themselves.”  Walsh said that even if Heathrow gained another runway it would be lagging behind Dubai as a global hub by the time it is built.  “It is based on inefficient infrastructure which is not fit for purpose. Airlines and consumers are looking for lower costs when it comes to flying but airports only seem to be looking at higher costs.” Heathrow was already one of the most expensive airports in the world and was now “talking about raising costs by 50% to build the extra runway”. His criticism may be the start of negotiations to ensure BA is not landed with a huge bill to fund Heathrow expansion.  John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said: “Willie Walsh is saying that a 3rd runway won’t deliver benefits for the aviation industry that are worth paying for. This could turn out to be curtains for the third runway unless this is no more than clever negotiating tactics by one of the sharpest operators in the business.”


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British Airways-owner CEO, Willie Walsh, opposes new Heathrow runway as too expensive to airlines

British Airways-owner IAG does not support the building of a 3rd Heathrow runway, its chief executive said, because the costs of the project does not make sense for the airline. Willie Walsh said: “We think the costs associated with the third runway are outrageous and certainly from an IAG point of view we will not be supporting it and we will not be paying for it.  …We’re not going to support something that increases our costs.” British Airways is the biggest airline at Heathrow [it has around 50% of the slots]. An expanded Heathrow with a new runway would be partly paid for by higher charges to airlines. In May this year he had said “the cost of all three [runway] options are excessive and would translate into an unacceptable increase in charges at the airports.”  Not to mention the problems of politics and unacceptability to the public.   The Airports Commission’s final report says, with a new runway at Heathrow, “The resulting impact on passenger aeronautical charges across the Commission’s four demand scenarios for Heathrow is an increase from c. £20 per passenger to a weighted average charge of c. £28-30 per passenger and a potential peak of up to c. £31.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/british-airways-owner-ceo-willie-walsh-opposes-new-heathrow-runway-as-too-expensive-to-airlines/


Analysis by AEF shows economic impact of Heathrow runway likely to be minimal, or negative. Not £147 billion (over 60 years)

The Airports Commission has claimed,in its final report (1st July) and the media has uncritically repeated, that a new north-west runway at Heathrow would deliver up to £147 billion benefit for the UK (over 60 years). Now the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) has done some critical analysis of the Commission’s various documents and figures, to elucidate what the actual economic impact on the UK economy might be. This is complex stuff, and making sense of the various facts (often in different documents at different dates) is not for the faint hearted. However, AEF shows that claims of £147 billion do not take into account the environmental or surface access costs associated with a new runway. The Commission’s own economic advisers have criticised the analysis (not done with the usual “WebTAG” model used by government) for double counting and questionable assumptions in relation to the indirect benefits associated with increased seat capacity. Using WebTAG, it appears – using the Commission’s own data – that there could be a net cost to the UK economy of – £9 billion over 60 years. Not a benefit at all, once all environmental and surface access costs are factored in. With some ‘wider economic benefits’ included, the benefit over 60 years would still be only £1.4 billion  (not £147 billion), as quoted in the Commission’s own final report.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/08/analysis-by-aef-shows-60-year-impact-of-heathrow-runway-likely-to-be-minimal-or-negative-not-147-billion-over-60-years/

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Letter from two expert economic advisors to the Airports Commission:

A Note from Expert Advisors, Prof. Peter Mackie and Mr Brian Pearce, on key issues considering the Airports Commission Economic Case

May 2015

Two extracts from that letter:

“Our assessment of the PWC approach is that there is a high degree of overlap between the direct and wider impacts. So for example a benefit accruing proximately to a business traveller going abroad to negotiate an export contract might also show up as a trade effect. We think there is likely to be some double counting between the direct and wider impact channels in the PWC calculations”

and

“Furthermore the interpretation of the result – what exactly do they mean and is their basis transparent – is an issue. Overall, therefore, we counsel caution in attaching significant weight either to the absolute or relative results of the GDP/GVA SCGE approach (PwC report) within the Economic Case. We would accept that there is some useful indicative material for the Strategic Case but care is required in assessing its robustness and reliability.”

5.5.2015    Letter at
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/438981/economy-expert-panelist-wider-economic-impacts-review.pdf

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Willie Walsh of BA: Heathrow expansion is a ‘lost cause’

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA owner, IAG, has said again that there will not be a 3rd Heathrow runway, as it is too controversial. He says UK politicians “lack the character” to get it built. “Historically, politicians have not been brave enough and I don’t think they will be brave enough going forward. You need a big shift in the politics of the country,” he said. However, Walsh warned a Conservative or Labour-led government against choosing Gatwick for an extra runway, adding that the case for growing the capital’s second-largest airport is “significantly weaker.”  Gatwick did not have the same international attraction. He said: “You won’t find many airlines that say ‘God I’d love to be able to fly to Gatwick’. That’s why this isn’t a business issue, an economic argument. It’s a political argument and the politics of expanding Heathrow are significantly more difficult than the politics of expanding Gatwick.”

 

 

Read more »

10 MPs and council leaders write to PM to warn over air quality problems of Heathrow 3rd runway

Opponents of a Heathrow 3rd runway have written to David Cameron, asking him to block it on the grounds of “illegal” air pollution. Ten MPs have signed the letter, including Tim Farron, (leader of the Liberal Democrats and staunch opponent of Heathrow), London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, and the representatives of Twickenham (Tania Mathias), Windsor (Adam Afriye), Hammersmith (Andy Slaughter), Harrow East (Bob Blackman), Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake), and Brentford and Isleworth (Ruth Cadbury). Poor air quality is a huge cause of public concern, particularly in London, with increasing awareness of the impact of NO2 and particulate matter on health.  Air pollution is a make or break issue for Heathrow, already often in breach of air quality limits. In the letter, the MPs said:  “Air quality is a huge cause of public concern, particularly in London, and this has only been exacerbated by the recent revelations regarding VW emissions tests.” They say that failing to meet European Union air pollution rules could mean that “large financial penalties” are imposed on Britain “which would ultimately have huge implications for the UK taxpayer”. Heathrow has various optimistic – somewhat unrealistic – claims about how air pollution limits could be met, even with more air freight and 50% more flights.
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Heathrow opponents fire fresh salvo against runway

Critics of Heathrow’s expansion plans write to the Prime Minister to warn over air quality

By Ben Martin(Telegraph)

7.11.2015

Opponents of a third runway at Heathrow have fired another salvo against the airport’s plans to expand by urging the Prime Minister to block it on the grounds of “illegal” air pollution.

Local MPs and council leaders have sent a letter, seen by the Telegraph, to David Cameron imploring him to “rule out” another Heathrow runway, because of the “illegal impact on air quality that expansion would have”.

Air quality is a huge cause of public concern, particularly in London, and this has only been exacerbated by the recent revelations regarding VW emissions tests

Ten MPs have signed the letter, including Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and staunch opponent of Heathrow, London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, and the representatives of Twickenham, Windsor, Hammersmith, Harrow East, Carshalton and Wallington, and Brentford and Isleworth.

The Government is expected to make a decision in a matter of weeks about whether it should allow the west London airport to build another runway, and air pollution is a central issue.

In July, the Government-appointed Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, concluded that Heathrow had the best case for expansion, to help the country solve its looming aviation capacity crisis.

However, worries that a third runway would worsen air quality and increase the blight of noise for local residents have blocked plans to expand the airport in the past. Similar concerns have greeted Sir Howard’s recommendation and the Volkswagen scandal has heightened worries about air pollution in recent weeks.

“Air quality is a huge cause of public concern, particularly in London, and this has only been exacerbated by the recent revelations regarding VW emissions tests,” the Heathrow opponents said in the letter.

They claimed that failing to meet European Union air pollution rules could mean that “large financial penalties” are imposed on Britain “which would ultimately have huge implications for the UK taxpayer”.
However, Heathrow has always insisted that it can expand within environmental restrictions.

John Holland-Kaye, the boss of Heathrow, last week told MPs on the House of Commons’s Environmental Audit Committee that the airport has “a very good and robust plan in place to make sure that even with expansion we will continue” to meet EU limits. The two air monitoring stations around Heathrow that currently exceed EU restrictions are outside the airport on the M4.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/11981495/Heathrow-opponents-fire-fresh-salvo-against-runway.html

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Environmental Audit Committee hearing into

“The Airports Commission report: Carbon emissions, air quality and noise inquiry”

John Holland-Kaye and Matt Gorman gave evidence in front of the Commons  Environmental Audit Committee on 4th December.

The section dealing with air quality, and associated with it, the ambitions of Heathrow to have no increase in car journeys associated with the airport with a 3rd runway, is on pages 10 – 20 of the transcript at

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/environmental-audit-committee/the-airports-commission-report-carbon-emissions-air-quality-and-noise/oral/24268.pdf

 

A few quotes from that below: 

“Q106 Caroline Ansell: Will traffic not also increase, though, with an expanded Heathrow?

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John Holland-Kaye:  No, it won’t. We will have no more cars on the road as a result of Heathrow expansion.  Now that sounds like a surprising statement but if you look back at history the number of passengers using Heathrow has doubled with no more cars on the road. The reason for that is the point that we were just talking about, which is improvements in alternative surface access. Give people an opportunity to get there by public transport and they take it. When we invested in Heathrow Express, which is just one of the rail routes we have into London at the moment, we increased modeshare—the proportion of people coming to the airport by rail—by 11%. It took us from just over 30% to 41% today. That is just one increase in surface access and that is just into the centre of London. We have no rail links today to the north, to the west or to the south, but with expansion and for the most part with committed projects such as HS2 and Western Rail and Crossrail, we will have significantly more capacity coming into the airport. Give people a choice to get out of their cars and they take it.

“On top of that we are making a number of changes that will encourage people to do so whether they are working at the airport or coming to the airport to travel. This is part of what we have designed into the new layout for the airport. Today if you are working in one of the hotels or the offices to the north of the airport, around the Bath Road, you have very little choice other than to get into your car, particularly if you are coming from the west or the north. With expansion we will be relocating all of those offices and hotels next to the public transport interchange, next to the railway station and the coach and bus station at Terminal 5. That means that if you are living out in Reading or Slough and working at BA head office, you will be able to get there by public transport. There is a big change and we have seen that if you give people the choice of going by public transport they take it”

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and

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Q127 Peter Heaton-Jones: ……. It is going back to air quality, not particularly around the perimeter of the airport, but in the surrounding boroughs. We took some evidence from Hounslow, for instance, and whether or not they accept the particular points you are making about what the air quality will be around the airport perimeter itself, they are worried about beyond that. They are saying that the difficulty is that some of the transport modelling that has been done in effect pushes the problem out. So you find your targets fine, you hit your targets, but in the surrounding boroughs they get the problem exported to them. Is that a difficulty?

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Matt Gorman: Not from the modelling that we have done. So just to be absolutely clear, the commitment that we are making is no more airport-related vehicles on the road. In future those vehicles coming to Heathrow will be cleaner, because the whole vehicle fleet in the UK will be shifting away from petrol and diesel over time to hybrid electric and hydrogen. We are saying we will, if you like, solve the airport contribution to the air quality issue.

What we have also been absolutely clear on is our action needs to go hand in hand with action from city hall and from central government to both improve public transport, back to our earlier debate with Mr Goldsmith, but also to improve vehicle standards across not just London but the whole of the UK. The two we see going hand in hand.

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John Holland-Kaye:  Can I just build on that? One of the great opportunities with Heathrow expansion is we take something that has developed in a fairly piecemeal manner, the master plan around Heathrow, over the last 60 years with buildings popping up all over the place wherever is available and we turn it into something that is master plan, where things are in the right place. My example of moving hotels and offices is one of those.

We can also redesign the routes around the airport. We can build a new tunnel to the south of the airport that makes it easier to balance flows of traffic and get them off local roads. There is an opportunity here to sort out some of the concerns about local road connectivity that exists today with this massive privately-funded infrastructure investment.”

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and

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On the proposed condition, by the Airports Commission, that the new runway could only be partly used if the levels of air pollution ended up being too high: 

Q104 Zac Goldsmith: Just as a business, how do you anticipate raising nearly £18 billion of finance to build a runway that you may theoretically not be able to use? How do you square that? That does not include the £20 billion or so that would be required for surface access. So the £18 billion, excluding surface access improvements: how are you going to do that? How will you make the case to investors that we want this vast sum of money to build something that the law may prevent us from using?

John Holland-Kaye: Let’s pick up on the plan first. We have got a good record of increasing the use of surface access to get to the airport and encouraging people to shift out of their cars on to public transport.

Zac Goldsmith: I know. We are coming to surface transport. On the first point.

John Holland-Kaye: So I am very confident in the plan that we will deliver because we have a good record of doing exactly that. ”

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Full EAC transcript from 4th November is at

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/environmental-audit-committee/the-airports-commission-report-carbon-emissions-air-quality-and-noise/oral/24268.pdf

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There are many stories about aviation and air quality over the past few years at 

Air Quality News Stories

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Telegraph reports Whitehall sources saying Cameron ‘preparing to drop opposition to Heathrow 3rd runway’

The Telegraph reports (Whitehall sources say) that David Cameron is believed to have decided it would not be too politically damaging to back a Heathrow runway. David Cameron personally pledged in 2009 that there would be no Heathrow runway (No ifs, No buts) but soon changed his mind. The government insists it will make an announcement on the next phase of the runway process before Christmas, but how firmly it will be backing one runway option is not yet clear. It may be Osborne who takes control over the issue, keen to be seen as building infrastructure..There is then to be a new public consultation on this in early 2016. David Cameron apparently hopes – as was always the intention of setting up the Commission, during the coalition government – that the Commission’s recommendation would remove responsibility for the decision from himself. It would cover him from blame for breaking a pledge, and make that “politically acceptable.”  The problem is that the Airports Commission has produced vast reams of material in its reports. Few – including few politicians – have read much of it.  Its recommendation is not in fact reflected in the details of the reports. The economic benefit of “up to £147 billion over 60 years” to the UK economy may really be as little as £1.4 billion.  The regional airports would suffer, as would UK carbon targets. The noise and air pollution issues are not resolved, as the Commission’s work shows.
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Heathrow: Cameron ‘preparing to drop opposition to third runway’

The government is preparing to announce the next phase for airport expansion within weeks, ahead of a new public consultation on increasing aviation capacity

By Tim Ross, Senior Political Correspondent (Telegraph)
7 Nov 2015

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David Cameron has decided it would be politically safe to back a third runway at Heathrow, despite previously promising to block the expansion of Britain’s busiest airport, Whitehall sources have said.

The government is preparing to announce the next phase for airport expansion within weeks, ahead of a new public consultation on increasing aviation capacity.

The Prime Minister has been wrestling with a “difficult decision” over whether to approve a third runway at Heathrow because he promised before the 2010 election that he would oppose such a plan.

However, Whitehall figures said Mr Cameron has been offered a way out by the independent Davies Commission, which decisively recommended expanding Heathrow while leaving the door ajar to potentially extending Gatwick.

Government insiders say that the Prime Minister believes that the Davies Commission’s strong recommendation in favour of the new Heathrow plan would make it politically acceptable for him to reverse his opposition to the earlier third runway proposal.

Officials are preparing for an announcement before Christmas on how the aviation plans will progress.

Increasing aviation capacity in the South East represents one of the most expensive and controversial infrastructure decisions facing the new Conservative government.

A number of MPs including Cabinet minister and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, have vocally opposed a third runway at Heathrow,while others oppose expanding Gatwick.

However, Sir Howard Davies, who chaired the commission examining the future of aviation capacity in the South East, recommended decisively that the government should allow Heathrow to expand because this would lead to more jobs, and wider economic benefits than extending Gatwick. [Some of the Commission’s own advisors on economics say the claims should be treated with caution. Letter to the Commission from Prof Peter Mackie and Brian Pearce. May 2015.   See details below.    AW note]

One Whitehall source said: “There will be some sort of announcement next month. Officials are still analysing data. The decision will be for the Prime Minister but it is difficult for him because he made this ‘no ifs, no buts’ promise not to build a third runway.”

The Davies Commission was so clearly in favour of Heathrow over Gatwick that “in the Prime Minister’s mind” it would be safe to choose a third runway at Heathrow. It’s not yet clear whether the public would agree, the source said.

The Chancellor is likely to want a decision as soon as possible, given how he has sought to brand the Conservatives as the champions of new building schemes.

“It would be difficult for the Chancellor to stand up and say ‘we are the builders’ and then when he has been given a really clear direction to build Heathrow, to say, ‘actually, we’re the pragmatists,’” one government insider said.

Mr Cameron is understood to want all the analysis to be completed before he comes to a verdict.

It has been suggested that the Chancellor will take control over the issue, making the crucial announcement about the government’s preferred option.

This would potentially save the Prime Minister from awkward questions over a policy reversal.

Government sources suggested that an announcement formally responding to the Davies Commission may not be part of Mr Osborne’s Autumn Statement on November 25 but could be made separately in December.

Justine Greening, the Tory MP for Putney and International Development Secretary, has promised to continue fighting against expansion at Heathrow.

She has told her constituents that she has been assured by Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, that there will be a new public consultation on plans before a final decision is taken.

The high costs of expanding Heathrow and the impact on the environment, including noise and air pollution, remain the subjects of considerable argument.

Heathrow has promised to charge airlines higher fees for landing noisier and more polluting aircraft at the airport in future. “We will encourage the world’s quietest aircraft to use Heathrow, charging more for noisier aircraft to land and quieter aircraft less and introduce “green slots” so that only the quietest and cleanest aircraft can use the capacity provided by a new runway,” the group  [which group?? – John Holland-Kaye ] said in a new report to MPs.

“We are clear – Heathrow expansion should only go ahead within strict environmental limits on noise, local air quality and in line with the UK’s climate change targets.” [None of those can be provided.  AW note]

Changes to road networks and new train links direct to Reading and Waterloo, as well as Crossrail, will help discourage travellers from driving to Heathrow, the airport said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11981863/Heathrow-Cameron-preparing-to-drop-opposition-to-third-runway.html

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Letter from two expert economic advisors to the Airports Commission:

A Note from Expert Advisors, Prof. Peter Mackie and Mr Brian Pearce, on key issues considering the Airports Commission Economic Case

May 2015

Two extracts from that letter:

“Our assessment of the PWC approach is that there is a high degree of overlap between the direct and wider impacts. So for example a benefit accruing proximately to a business traveller going abroad to negotiate an export contract might also show up as a trade effect. We think there is likely to be some double counting between the direct and wider impact channels in the PWC calculations”

and

“Furthermore the interpretation of the result – what exactly do they mean and is their basis transparent – is an issue. Overall, therefore, we counsel caution in attaching significant weight either to the absolute or relative results of the GDP/GVA SCGE approach (PwC report) within the Economic Case. We would accept that there is some useful indicative material for the Strategic Case but care is required in assessing its robustness and reliability.”

5.5.2015    Letter at
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/438981/economy-expert-panelist-wider-economic-impacts-review.pdf

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See earlier: 

 

George Osborne launches National Infrastructure Commission, under Andrew Adonis, so UK can “think big again”

George Osborne has launched his national infrastructure commission. He said infrastructure investment would be at the heart of November’s spending review and the new independent body would think “dispassionately and independently” about Britain’s infrastructure needs. Andrew Adonis will chair the commission, which will oversee £100 billion of infrastructure spending by 2020. Osborne says the failure of successive governments to invest in infrastructure has meant that the British people have longer commutes, higher energy bills and can’t afford to be home-owners. Osborne himself has overseen a 5.4% fall in infrastructure investment since he took office in 2010.  He wants this government to be thinking “long term” and he wants new railway lines, new broadband installed (and perhaps a new runway). Other members of the commission include Michael Heseltine, Prof Tim Besley, Sir John Armitt, and Bridget Rosewell,  The commission will have the initial priorities of examining connections between the big northern cities, London’s transport system and energy infrastructure. It will produce a report at the beginning of each parliament with recommendations for spending on infrastructure projects, though politicians will have the final say.  In the spending review, Osborne will probably announce a suite of asset sales which the Treasury expects to raise billions of pounds to be ploughed back into projects.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/george-osborne-launches-national-infrastructure-commission-under-andrew-adonis-so-uk-can-think-big-again/


Patrick McLoughlin insists government has not yet decided on runway options, despite Osborne rumours

It is still thought likely that the government will make some sort of announcement on whether it backs a runway at Heathrow or Gatwick, by the end of the year. Whether that will come before Christmas Eve is anyone’s guess. The Times reported that George Osborne may be convinced by the Airports Commission report and is therefore ready to rule out Gatwick, considering it is “Heathrow or nothing.” But Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said that the Government may reject the recommendation of the Commission’s report, that Heathrow should be expanded. He said the report had just given 3 “options” with a “preferred option”, rather than a ruling with much weight. “…we are looking at the options that it gave us. We are doing the work that is required to see how those three options stack up.” He argued the Government would have to see if some of the report’s recommendations were “actually doable”, and that though the work of the Commission would make a decision on expansion easier, questions still remained. An ally of the Chancellor told the Times: “George doesn’t have a settled view on this. He just wants to see a runway built somewhere as soon as possible once all the proper processes are concluded.”

Click here to view full story…

2M group boroughs produce highly critical report of Airports Commission’s Heathrow runway recommendation

The four boroughs that have worked hardest to oppose a Heathrow runway, Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth, and Windsor and Maidenhead, have produced a damning report on the Airports Commission’s recommendation. They have called on MPs to carefully consider their in-depth assessment of the Commission’s claims, which they have say put together an inflated and distorted case for expanding Heathrow. The councils’ report challenges the recommendation on environmental, health, and community impact grounds, and highlights the environmental, transport, social and political factors that make the 3rd runway undeliverable. They point out how little extra connectivity a new runway would provide; they show claims regarding EU air quality legislation have been misunderstood by the Commission and that it has deliberately recommended adding a large source of pollution in an area that is already under severe strain. Critical factors presenting the biggest challenge to a runway “have been either avoided, or worse, misinterpreted by the Commission.” The councils conclude that a 3rd runway “would significantly reduce regional connectivity and economic competiveness. It would be severely damaging for the millions of people who neighbour the airport and live below its new flightpaths. It is the wrong choice at every level.”

Click here to view full story…

Leaders of Hillingdon, Richmond and Wandsworth councils tell PM that flight path consultation must precede Government’s runway support

The leaders of Hillingdon, Richmond & Wandsworth councils have written to the Prime Minister to warn that signalling Government support for a 3rd Heathrow runway would be unlawful unless the new flight paths needed re first subject to public consultation. The leaders also highlight a series of flaws and omissions in the Airports Commission’s final report, that recommends a Heathrow runway. They point out that by law, changes to London’s airspace require open consultation. Therefore a decision to expand Heathrow would pre-empt this statutory process. Approving a runway clearly infers the associated flight paths will also be approved. The Airports Commission, though working on Heathrow’s plans for 2 years, failed to identify the location of its new flight paths, let alone consult on them. Instead the Commission’s final report, which costs tax payers in the region of £25m, asks ministers to approve a 3rd Heathrow runway with no details at all on where flight paths would be. That is key information, needed to assess the areas to be worst affected. The local councils have now pointed out that the Commission’s recommendation is directing the Government down a legal cul-de-sac and has urged the PM to dismiss the report.

Click here to view full story…

Labour peer Lord Adonis to head Osborne infrastructure body – to get things like a new runway built fast

A new body to plan infrastructure projects, the “independent” National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will be chaired by the former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis. The government is expected to announce it will pledge an extra £5 billion in this Parliament for major schemes, which he hopes will boost the UK economy. Osborne says he plans to “shake Britain out of its inertia” and Lord Adonis thinks that without “big improvements” in transport and energy “Britain will grind to a halt”. The NIC will initially focus on London’s transport system, connections between cities in the north of England, and updating the energy network – funded by selling off land, buildings and other government assets. Lord Adonis has resigned the Labour whip and will sit as a crossbencher in the Lords as he starts work in his new role immediately. The NIC will produce a report at the start of each five-year Parliament containing recommendations of infrastructure building over the next 20 to 30 years. Osborne: “I’m not prepared to turn round to my children – or indeed anyone else’s child – and say ‘I’m sorry, we didn’t build for you.’ John Cridland, director-general of the CBI business lobby said: ” ….we must not duck the important infrastructure decisions that need taking now, particularly on expanding aviation capacity in the South East.”

Click here to view full story…

Dave – what’s your legacy?

14/10/10

Guest blog from Jenine Langrish – for Hacan

Three parties, three leaders: Tony Blair; Nick Clegg; and David Cameron.  How will history remember them?

Tony Blair united the Labour party and led them to their biggest ever majority and three consecutive election victories.  His government oversaw the introduction of a national minimum wage; freedom of information; devolution; and the signing of the Good Friday agreement.

And yet…if you ask the man in the street, he’s remembered for just one thing: his misguided decision to support George Bush’s invasion of Iraq, justified by the claim that Saddam Hussein had ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

That single policy decision has led to mass vilification in the media and ensures that he will forever be remembered as “Tony B-liar”.

Under Nick Clegg’s leadership the Lib Dems soared in popularity and surprised everyone by securing enough votes to hold the balance of power following 2010’s election.  For the first time since the days of Asquith and Lloyd George, the political party in the centre of politics held real power.  They can claim credit for a number of policies in the coalition government, notably raising the tax threshold to take over 3 million low earners out of the income tax system; introducing the pupil premium; and creating the Green Investment Bank.

And yet…once again, if you ask the man in the street, Clegg is remembered for just one thing: breaking his promise on student tuition fees.

That single concession in the coalition agreement discussions led to highly personal attacks in the media and to his party’s vote being decimated in the last election.

Which brings me to David Cameron.  He can claim credit for having overseen the recovery from the financial crisis; bringing the deficit under control; and generally keeping his party’s divisions on Europe under control.

But how will he be remembered in ten years time?  The lesson from Tony Blair and Nick Clegg is that the public have little tolerance if they believe politicians have lied or broken high profile promises.  Part of the reason for Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise ascendancy appears to be that Labour’s grass roots supporters saw him as an honest man who’d do what he said he would.

David Cameron’s highest profile promise is of course ‘No ifs, no buts, no third runway’.  As he appears to stand on the brink of an about turn on Heathrow he would do well to reflect on the lessons of Tony Blair and Nick Clegg.

Dave – how do you want to be remembered?  Do you want to be judged on your policies or simply remembered as the latest in a line of political leaders who broke their promises.  The choice is yours.

#WhatsyourlegacyDave ?

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=434

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Number affected by Gatwick night flights up 15% last year – 12,850 in the larger 48 dB Leq contour

The CAA has released figures showing 12,850 people were adversely affected by Gatwick night flights, a 15% increase from the previous year. The increase comes despite the fact the airport has changed the way it counts complaints, with multiple issues raised by the same person on the same day now counted as a single incidence. Campaigners say the dramatic increase in complaints is proof a 2nd runway should not be allowed. A review of the changed arrivals flight paths, by Bo Redeborn, is due to be completed around the end of 2015. People are very stressed by noise from night flights, adversely affecting their sleep and their health. Gatwick made an even worse than usual comment. A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: “Gatwick recognises that aircraft noise has an impact on people living near the airport and will continue to do everything possible to minimise its effects…..The increase in people affected has been influenced by an increase in aircraft movements, a change in the fleet mix from planes with propellers to small jets, and an increase in population due to Gatwick’s immigration centre being included in the numbers.” (sic) On Sunday 1st November, CAGNE released a short film highlighting the plight of residents, businesses and communities beneath Gatwick concentrated flight paths. 

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Gatwick night noise 2013 2014 

The table from CAA document “ERCD REPORT 1502 Noise Exposure Contours for Gatwick Airport 2014”

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/458528/lgw_2014_report_final.pdf


 

Night Flight Shock

26.10.2015 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Nearly 13,000 people were adversely affected by the noise of Gatwick night flights in 2014 – a 15% rise on the previous year. [This is the number within the 48dB noise contour, that is an average noise of over 48 dB, generally accepted as the area within which there is community disturbance.  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/458528/lgw_2014_report_final.pdf  paragraph 4.2.1]

These shocking figures, in a report by the Civil Aviation Authority, were revealed at a meeting of the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee on Thursday 22 October.

The CAA report also shows that the number of people more seriously affected by night time noise doubled in the past year.  [The number within the 57 dB contour.  The 2014 figures include the Gatwick immigration centre for the first time but when that is taken out of the calculation, the rise in the number of residents was still a shocking 66%.]

Peter Barclay, GACC’s representative on the consultative committee, said:  ‘At the meeting when I drew attention to these figures, members were dismayed.  As I pointed out, by increasing the number of night flights, Gatwick are going against Government policy to reduce the number of people affected by noise.’

Peter also drew attention to the colossal increase in the number of complaints to the airport, up from 2,673 in 2011 to 19,277 in the past year. [ http://www2.westsussex.gov.uk/ds/cttee/gat/gat221015i9.pdf page 1]

‘This seven fold increase is all the more remarkable because this year Gatwick have instituted a policy of only counting one complaint per person per day.  So if someone is annoyed five or ten times a day, and puts in five or ten complaints, it still is only counted as one complaint.  This is a fiddle to disguise the true level of anger created by all the new flight paths.’

Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, added:  ‘It is not surprising that pressure is growing for a total ban on night flights.  It is well known that being kept awake at night has a serious effect on health.’

A petition to ban Gatwick night flights is on the government website.  To sign it just google ‘night flight petition’.  [https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/106462]

http://www.gacc.org.uk/the-environment.php

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Gatwick noise complaints are up thousands in the last year

Campaigners have claimed the dramatic increase in noise complaints about Gatwick flights is proof a second runway should not be allowed at the airport.

The Civil Aviation Authority released a report last month that showed almost 13,000 people were adversely affected by Gatwick night flights, a 15 per cent increase from the previous year.

The increase comes despite the fact the airport has changed the way it counts complaints, with multiple issues raised by the same person on the same day now counted as a single incidence.

The Times has previously reported that Gatwick had changed its flight paths, into ‘aerial superhighways’, according to campaigners. The initial phase of a review into the move is due to be completed this month.

Tunbridge Wells pressure group TW No to Gatwick was formed last month in response to an ‘uprising’ of people complaining about the recent surge in ‘intolerable’ aircraft noise.

And last Sunday, Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions released a short film  [See it at  www. vimeo.com/144304640 ]highlighting the plight of residents, businesses and communities beneath the flight paths.

Chairman Sally Pavey said: “We launched the film to raise the issue that communities are being blighted by concentrated flight paths, and that if this is what we’re suffering now there’s no way Gatwick should get a second runway.

“The 15 per cent increase in complaints proves what people are saying about sleep deprivation being a major issue for them.

“We would go as far to ask if actual calculations have been done on the cost to people’s health.

“Sleep deprivation is a form of torture, constant noise is used in warfare. But the government has simply not done any research into the long-term effects.”

Claudia Williamson, a nutritional therapist based in Tunbridge Wells said: “Broken sleep is very detrimental on many levels, not just fatigue.

“Studies have shown that people who don’t sleep have more weight problems than those who sleep well.

“And if people are concerned about not being able to sleep, waiting for the planes to go overhead, that can be enough to stop them from sleeping by itself.

“It effects work performance, and could also be a health concern for people as they get older as well, as they tend to sleep less at night already.

“People have enough stress in their lives as it is.”

A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: “Gatwick recognises that aircraft noise has an impact on people living near the airport and will continue to do everything possible to minimise its effects.

“For example, in response to feedback from local residents, Gatwick commissioned an independent review of air traffic arriving into Gatwick. Similarly, following concerns from the local community, we are working toward implementing a redesigned of the westerly departure flight path that takes aircraft close to Redhill and Reigate.

“The increase in people affected has been influenced by an increase in aircraft movements, a change in the fleet mix from planes with propellers to small jets, and an increase in population due to Gatwick’s immigration centre being included in the numbers.”

http://www.timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk/gatwick-noise-complaints-are-up-thousands-in-the-last-year/

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New film highlights residents’ opposition to Gatwick second runway

Residents launched a film entitled what does a new runway at Gatwick mean to you on Sunday November 1 outside the Red Lyon Pub in Slinfold

1.11.2015

To watch the film visit www.vimeo.com/144304640

Slinfold photo group film
A film highlighting opposition to a second runway at Gatwick from business owners and residents was launched in Slinfold at the weekend.

The five-minute video, called ‘What does a new runway at Gatwick mean to you’, was put together by Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE) and was unveiled outside the Red Lyon pub on Sunday November 1.

In the film a number of residents speak about the effect a second runway could have on traffic congestion near the airport, the potential loss of business premises, and the amount of extra people affected by aircraft noise.

Sally Pavey, chair of CAGNE, said: “We are delighted by the turn out of local people, it plainly shows the anger residents currently feel towards Gatwick and the increase in flights and noise.”

The number of people affected by Gatwick night flights increased by 15 per cent in 2014, according to a report by the Civil Aviation Authority, although these figures include the Gatwick’s immigration removal centre for the first time.

While Sir Howard Davies recommended a third runway at Heathrow over expansion at Gatwick back in July, the airport has continued to press its case for a second runway.

The Government has yet to announce whether or not it will accept Sir Howard’s recommendations.

CAGNE said it would continue to press for less concentrated aircraft routes, which it argues is causing sleep deprivation for some communities.
The group was formed in February 2014 after trial flight paths started sending planes over Warnham and the surrounding area.

Both Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council voted to oppose a second runway earlier this year.

Since Sir Howard published his report, Gatwick has challenged the recommendation, called the findings ‘inconsistent and flawed’.

The Airports Commission concluded that the economic benefits of expanding Gatwick were ‘considerably smaller’ than those of expansion at Heathrow, while its conclusions were ‘clear and unanimous’.

To watch the film visit www.vimeo.com/144304640

http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/local/new-film-highlights-residents-opposition-to-gatwick-second-runway-1-7048655#axzz3qj06lKbf

 

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Beijing Capital Airlines hopes to get permission for direct flights between Birmingham and Hangzhou

Beijing Capital Airlines has requested rights to introduce weekly services at Birmingham from Beijing, and also the first direct link to the UK from the Hangzhou, the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China.  The airline wants this from 2016, according to the CAAC.  The airline entered the long-haul market in September this year having introduced a first Airbus A330 into its fleet. The aircraft, a former Garuda Indonesia A330-200, has been used on weekly flights from Beijing and Hangzhou to Copenhagen. Its debut in the UK would see it replicate this Copenhagen operation at Birmingham with weekly flights from both Beijing and Hangzhou from April 2016. The Beijing route has been served in the past two summer schedules by China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, but Hangzhou will be a new market not just for Birmingham, but the UK.  KLM currently is the only airline with a direct link from Europe, at Schiphol, to Hangzhou.  Beijing Capital Airlines has only held informal discussions with Birmingham airport’s management and no agreement has yet been reached should it get the green light from Chinese authorities. More should be know later this month.  If Birmingham gets China flights, that is one less reason why a south east runway is needed for “vital business connectivity” to China.
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Beijing Capital Airlines seeks rights to serve Birmingham

2 November 2015
By Richard Maslen (Routes online)
Beijing Capital Airlines seeks rights to serve Birmingham

Beijing Capital Airlines is seeking to further grow its long-haul network with flights to the UK city of Birmingham in 2016, according to information released by aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The airline, part of the HNA Group, has requested rights to introduce weekly services from Beijing and the first direct link to the UK from the Hangzhou, the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China.

The airline entered the long-haul market in September this year having introduced a first Airbus A330 into its fleet. The aircraft, a former Garuda Indonesia A330-200, has been used on weekly flights from Beijing and Hangzhou to the Danish capital, Copenhagen in partnership with Chinese tour operator and fellow HNA Group company, Caissa during September and October.

Its debut in the UK will see it replicate this Copenhagen operation at Birmingham with weekly flights from both Beijing and Hangzhou from April 2016. The Beijing route has been served in the past two summer schedules by China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, but Hangzhou will be a new market not just for Birmingham, but the UK. In fact alongside the airline’s flight to Copenhagen, KLM is the only other carrier to link the city to Europe, via its Amsterdam Schiphol hub.

Although Beijing Capital Airlines has made an official application to the CAAC to serve Birmingham, it is understood to have only held informal discussions with the airport’s management and no agreement has yet been reached should it get the green light from Chinese authorities to serve the market. CAAC is seeking formal replies to the request before ruling on the application after November 10, 2015.

In an interview with the Chinese media following the arrival of the A330 in China in July this year, Xu Xin, chief executive officer, Beijing Capital Airlines said that over the next five years the carrier intends to purchase at least 30 widebody aircraft to open more international routes between Chinese cities and major overseas tourist destinations.

“My company focuses on tourism market so we must open more overseas routes, which requires us to maintain a fleet of large jetliners,” he said.

Alongside the flights to Copenhagen, Beijing Capital Airlines has also applied to the CAAC to serve the Finnish capital Helsinki from Beijing, again through a partnership with Caissa. . It is also seeking permission to begin flights between Hangzhou and Madrid from December 2015 and Qingdao and Melbourne in July 2016.

Although these flights will initially operate as charter packages it is understood to be Beijing Capital Airlines goal to develop them into scheduled operations in the future. It is now the seventh mainland Chinese carrier to introduce long-haul flights after Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

http://www.routesonline.com/news/29/breaking-news/251714/beijing-capital-airlines-seeks-rights-to-serve-birmingham/

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New flights to connect Coventry and Warwickshire with two Chinese cities

4.11.2015 (Coventry Telegraph)

Birmingham Airport lined up for new flights to Beijing and Hangzhou

Coventry and Warwickshire could soon be connected to China with weekly flights from Birmingham Airport.

It is understood Beijing Capital Airlines is planning two weekly flights to China from next year.

That will make the Midlands the first region outside of London to offer scheduled flights to China – a major coup for the airport which markets itself as Shakespeare’s Airport in the Far East, owing to huge interest in the Bard.

The flights, made possible by the £40million extension of the runway, would be to Beijing and Hangzhou and would begin two months before direct services launch in Manchester.

Birmingham Airport, part-owned by Coventry City Council, would become the only place in the UK with a direct link to Hangzhou, the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in eastern China. It is the country’s ninth biggest city, with a population of more than eight million, and is currently unserved.

 

It will be welcomed by business leaders with China a vital part of the region’s growth plans. Already, the Far Eastern superpower is the West Midlands’ top export market.

A summer of chartered flights between Birmingham and Beijing brought in £19m to the region’s economy.

Proposals for the new long-haul flights were revealed in documents released by aviation regulator Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which showed the airline, part of the HNA Group, revealed early-stage plans to start flights from April 2016.

It is believed the airline has only held informal discussions with the airport’s management and no agreement has yet been reached.

A spokesman for the airport would not confirm the plans, but said: “Birmingham Airport continues to work with its partners to operate flights to China again next year to meet the enormous demand there is for direct connectivity to and from the Midlands.”

The Midlands is the only region in the UK with an export surplus to China which widened to an incredible £2.76 billion last year.

Last week, Czech Airlines became the 11th airline this year to announce that it will launch flights from Birmingham.

The flag carrier for the Czech Republic will deliver an additional 50,000 passengers a year through the airport with five flights a week to Prague from April 2016.

That came a day after a service to Qatar – where the World Cup final will be held in 2022 – was announced. The flights mean more than 100,000 people a year will be able to head to Qatar, which is one of the world’s strongest economies.

It opens up onward flights to places like Pakistan, Thailand Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/local-news/new-flights-connect-coventry-warwickshire-10385546

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Earlie:

Birmingham airport to get 8 flights per week to Doha by Qatar Airways

After the runway extension at Birmingham was finally opened in May 2014, the airport has been keen to get some long haul flights to justify it. Now from March 2016 there are to be 8 flights per week by Qatar Airways Boeing 787s between Birmingham and Qatar. There will be one flight per day, but two on Saturdays. This means there is capacity for 100,000 people per year to fly between Birmingham and Qatar. The 787s have 22 business class seats,and 232 economy seats (= 254 seats. Variants of 787 seating plans can be from 242 to 335 passengers, so this few passengers is not particularly fuel efficient). Birmingham says they are the 4th airport (with Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh) in the UK to have flights to Qatar. This is being sold as being a useful link for people from the Midlands wanting to watch the World Cup final in 2022. Birmingham airport’s CEO, Paul Kehoe is enthusiastic about “a choice of 152 destinations served by the airline, including South East Asia, China and Australasia” from Qatar, for “commercial and leisure links.” With more Qatar flights from Edinburgh and Manchester, it will operate 71 flights per week between the UK and Qatar from March 2016. Again, reducing the alleged need for a new south east runway, for this sort of flight.

Click here to view full story…

Birmingham Airport wildly optimistic in anticipating 8,000 jobs from its runway extension

April 11, 2014

David Cameron has visited Birmingham airport, and effusively welcoming the announcement that 8,000 new jobs would be created, principally as a result of the long-awaited runway extension, with anticipated direct links to destinations like the West Coast of America and China. Shamelessly linking the airport jobs announcement with totally unrelated Government tax-cutting measures, the PM boomed: “The announcement of 8,000 jobs from Birmingham Airport is more great news in a week when we are cutting tax for 26 million hard-working people and taking over three million people out of income tax altogether.” Paul Kehoe used the PM’s visit for his PR purposes. Kehoe says by 2020 he forecasts Birmingham airport will have 15 million passengers a year, up from 9 million now. He claims this will create 4,000 jobs on-site and a further 4,000 in the immediate supply chain (doubtful figures, generally involving much double counting and optimism). “Politicians and business leaders are very good at talking the talk, but not always so assiduous at walking the walk.”

Click here to view full story…


 

Birmingham business leaders condemn Airports Commission for not recognising Birmingham Airport’s economic potential

February 3, 2014

Business leaders in Birmingham have criticised the Airports Commission’s interim report, released on 17th December, for overlooking the “crucial role” Birmingham Airport could play, in allegedly supporting the local and national economy. The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) said the potential for the airport to capture thousands of new passengers was not being considered. It has written to MPs Louise Ellman, chair of the Common’s Transport Select Committee, and committee member Chloe Smith to outline its view. The GBCC would like to invite Ms Ellman and other members of the Transport Select Committee to visit businesses in Birmingham “to showcase how Birmingham Airport can help drive the export-led recovery.” The GBCC says it is pleased that Birmingham Airport has been identified as a long-term option for development. They say that “the catchment area for Birmingham Airport is home to half a million businesses (approximately 25% of British business) and has the largest share of manufacturing activity of all airport catchment areas.” Also that the Commission “could have gone much further in exploring the role of both HS2 and other economic assets across the West Midlands.”

Click here to view full story…

 

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Heathrow plans to double its volume of air freight, necessitating more trips by diesel powered HGVs and goods vehicles

Heathrow plans to double its  air freight volumes in its aspiration to become one of the leading airports for cargo in Europe. CEO John Holland-Kaye announced at the British Chambers of Commerce that Heathrow will invest £180 million in the project and has its blueprint ready. Investment will be made to enhance air to air transit by building a facility on the airport for faster handling of transit cargo that arrives by air and is due to fly out again by air, reducing the times. The improvements to air freight is meant to be “essential for the growth and success of the UK economy.” (Where have we heard that  before?)  There will need to be a new truck parking facility for over 100 vehicles, with waiting arenas for drivers. There will be a special pharmaceutical storage area to move temperature-sensitive medicines and provide better infrastructure for faster freight movement. Holland-Kaye wants the UK “reach its £1 trillion export target by 2020.” Heathrow dealt with 1.50 million metric tonnes of cargo in 2014. This can only increase the number of HGVs in the Heathrow area. HGVs are all powered by diesel, not petrol – with its attendant higher NO2 emissions.  Meanwhile Mr Holland-Kaye was at the EAC saying there would be no extra car journeys to/from Heathrow with a 3rd runway.
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Heathrow to invest £180m in cargo facilities

4 November 2015 (Airport Technology)
Heathrow airport in London plans to double the airfreight volumes in its endeavour to become one of the leading airports for cargo in Europe.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye announced at the British Chambers of Commerce that the airport will invest £180m in the project and has its blueprint ready.

Investment will be made to enhance air to air transit by building a facility on the airfield for faster handling of transit cargo that arrives by air and is due to fly out by air, reducing the times from a current average of more than hours.(sic)

E-freight will be fully implemented cut down on paper work and make it 100% digital.

“The improvements it is proposing are essential for the growth and success of the UK economy.”

The airport will build a new truck parking facility for over 100 vehicles, with waiting arenas for drivers.

The project includes development of a special pharmaceutical storage area to move highly valuable and temperature-sensitive medicines and provide better infrastructure for hazard-less movement of the freight in half of its usual time.

Being the international trade hub of the UK, Heathrow airport plays a critical role in connecting the British exporters to the global markets.

Freight Transport Association (FTA) director of global and European policy Chris Welsh said at the BCC conference: “Heathrow’s planned investment and increased freight capacity is excellent news, and exactly the type of commitment that FTA has long been asking for.

“The improvements it is proposing are essential for the growth and success of the UK economy.”

According to FTA, airfreight occupies 40% of UK’s imports and exports business.

“Cargo is essential for UK PLC and Heathrow is its global freight connector, with 26% of all UK goods by value going through the airport.

“This investment plan will significantly improve our cargo facilities and support British businesses to keep the economy moving, connecting exporters to the world and helping the government reach its £1 trillion export target by 2020,” Holland-Kaye added.

The airport dealt with 1.50 million metric tonnes of cargo in 2014.

http://www.airport-technology.com/news/newsheathrow-to-invest-180m-in-cargo-facilities-4710294

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Airports Commission did not properly look at air pollution related to air freight

Transport for London said Heathrow expansion “will lead to an increase in freight movements to and from the airport, and this was not properly included in the surface access assessment undertaken by the Airports Commission.”

TfL October 2015
http://content.tfl.gov.uk/tfl-response-to-airports-commissions-final-recommendation.pdf


“The real issue for air quality is vehicle traffic, not the airport.” – JHK

Embedded image permalink

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See earlier:

Heathrow’s bid for a 3rd runway includes doubling air freight – with associated increase in lorries

In Heathrow’s proposal for a 3rd runway, it plans to double its cargo capacity. It hopes this will help its bid, due to the financial value of air freight. In the past, some of the air freight industry have said Heathrow ignored their needs. Heathrow is now saying that its key logistics role as a single primary air freight hub for the UK is important for the economy, for export competitiveness, and essential for British importers and exporters to enable them to access key global markets.  Some 65% of the UK’s £400bn air freight exports already travel via Heathrow, almost all as belly hold in passenger planes. The airport plans to have its freight area improved with a new cargo railhead, and better road links.  Speaking at the Runways UK conference on 2nd June, Simon Earle said local residents consulted by Heathrow were unhappy about the number of HGV lorries. Air pollution is already often in breach of air quality levels. An article by T&E bemoans the resistance to changes and to cuts in polluting emissions by the lorry manufacturers. That does not bode well for Heathrow air quality, with much higher numbers of HGV movements in future.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/06/heathrows-bid-for-a-3rd-runway-includes-doubling-air-freight-with-associated-increase-in-lorries/

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Lorries: 21st-century fleet or dinosaurs on our roads?

Driving Europe’s transport industry in a more sustainable direction is a formidable challenge, not least because it means a fairly fundamental change in the way fairly large industries do their business.

It is in the DNA of these industries to resist change forced upon them by politicians.Carmakers oppose CO2 standards that make them fit clean tech to their cars, the aviation and shipping industries oppose doing their share and of course oil companies fight any kind of change that could end our addiction to their products.

Still, truck makers are a rather special case. I will explain.
The trucking sector disproportionately affects all of us. Lorries represent just 3% of vehicles but they emit 25% of road transport CO2 emissions and that share continues to rise.
Lorries are also involved in 15% of road deaths, often killing cyclists and pedestrians, and the health costs associated with lorry pollution are estimated at €45 billion a year, according to the European Environment Agency.
The lorry industry hasn’t exactly been pro-active in tackling these problems. Lorry fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions levels stagnated for almost 20 years and truck safety made only minimal strides, when compared to the Euro NCAP-driven safety improvements in the car sector.
Still, lorry makers vehemently oppose any suggestion that they should do more. They’re against CO2 standards and  dismiss new safety rules. Instead they promise us all will be well as long as we let the market take care of the problem. Given its past performance, that’s a hard line to tow.
What makes the lorry industry really stand out though is that it does not merely oppose change that is imposed; it simply opposes any kind of change.
The weights and dimensions file that is currently going through the EU legislative machinery is a case in point. Europe’s outdated lorry dimensions rules constrain the design of lorry tractors and force blunt cab-over-engine designs. So the Commission has proposed relaxing length constraints, so that lorry makers can make  new curvy designs. Such curvy designs would be more aerodynamic, safer and more comfortable for drivers. There’s absolutely no downside to it.
The truck industry didn’t ask for this design flexibility, so when it was confronted with the Commission proposal, confusion reigned. How to react to a proposal that does not impose anything but just enables things?
Eventually, the industry grudgingly conceded that while in principle flexibility to make better cabins isn’t a bad thing, in this case new designs should be prohibited until at least 2025. The reason for this rather odd position? To maintain ‘competitive neutrality’ – suppose one manufacturer would have better designs on the shelves and another not, wouldn’t that be terribly unfair?
Imagine the big smart phone producers demanding a 10-year moratorium on 4G connectivity because one of them has just put out a new 3G smartphone and wants to keep selling it for a while. You could be certain the anti-cartel police would find them soon.
Not so in the truck sector. EU governments sympathise with the prohibition line of truck makers and agreed new designs should be banned for at least another eight years.
That banning safer, cleaner trucks will go at the expense of lives, diesel, pollution, and even those truck makers that are ready for new designs, doesn’t seem to sway Council.
Lorry makers as well as those regulating the sector should reflect carefully. The problems associated with trucking are real and very tangible for a lot of people. Lorries killing cyclists or lorry pollution destroying people’s health will continue to make headlines.
Not harvesting the lowest-hanging fruit available will raise the cost of tackling our oil addition and climate change. And it may also suggest truckmakers are inherently incapable of cleaning up their act – in which  case the EU should take its ambitions to shift vast amounts of freight to rail a bit more seriously.
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Richmond campaign shows Heathrow runway would lead to 50% of the new capacity used for international transfers

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign has produced a very useful set of carefully argued briefings and aspects of a 3rd Heathrow runway (noise, CO2, air quality etc). These can be found here. There is now an updated briefing on economics. It makes several vital points showing how the Airports Commission’s conclusion and recommendation for a Heathrow runway is not supported by its own evidence. The RHC points out  that the Commission’s own “strategic fit” document shows that with a new Heathrow runway, there would be an extra 22 million international-to-international (I to I) transfer passengers using Heathrow per year (about 30 million in 2050 rather than about 8 million then if there was no runway). The additional 22 million passengers would take up over 50% of the new runway capacity, and would provide little or no economic benefit to the UK. They do not pay APD.  Transfer passengers do not leave the air-side at Heathrow. They contribute to the airline and airport profits and their value is said to add connectivity by providing minimum aircraft loads for otherwise unviable routes and by adding to route frequency. Support for thin (i.e. low demand/frequency) destinations is a main justification for the Commission recommending a Heathrow runway. But 95% of Heathrow’s I-to-I transfers support higher frequencies to already popular destinations rather than otherwise economically unviable thin destinations.
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The RHC also points out that the £17.6 billion investment in the Heathrow runway produces just £1.4 billion of net benefit (present value over 60 years), which is negligible in macro-economic terms and within the margin for statistical error. 

 

 

What impact would a new runway at Heathrow have on the UK Economy?

New economics briefing by the Richmond Heathrow Group

http://www.richmondheathrowcampaign.org/

3.11.2015

The Airports Commission’s brief was to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub. The Commission’s conclusion and recommendation for a northwest runway (NWR) at Heathrow is not supported by the Commission’s own evidence.

This Fact Sheet, updated to reflect the Commission’s Final report, shows that:

  • There is already significant spare capacity at almost all UK airports, including Heathrow, which has existing capacity for an additional 34 million terminating passengers a year.
  • Heathrow’s north west runway expansion results across the UK in 17 million fewer passengers a year, fewer business passengers, fewer flights, and less connectivity.
  • Heathrow’s 41 million additional passengers a year result in a loss of 58 million passengers a year at other UK airports, including Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.
  • An extra 22 million international to international transfer passengers a year (over 50% of the NWR capacity) provide little or no economic value to the UK.
  • Heathrow adds only 9 long-haul destinations, 2 million long-haul business passengers a year and one new domestic destination but 37 new short-haul destinations. The increased connectivity is of doubtful value and is offset by reduced connectivity at other London and regional airports. The overall number of destinations from the UK is reduced by three.
  • The £17.6 billion investment produces just £1.4 billion of net benefit (present value over 60 years), which is negligible in macro-economic terms and within the margin for statistical error. Omitted are: £15 billion of surface access costs needed to avoid road congestion and to meet service level standards and air quality limits; full recognition of noise costs; and the negative impact on the UK aviation market.
  • State funding of surface access costs of £20 billion in total is unjustified, but without it, the scheme is potentially undeliverable.

Full briefing at

http://www.rhcfacts.org/economy2/

including Annexes

Annex 1: Passengers, Flights and Destinations Analysis

Annex 2: Destinations Strategic Fit Updated Forecasts


 

Just considering the points on the international-to-international passengers, from the RHC report, to look at here in more  detail:

Some extracts on this:

 

[With a new Heathrow NW runway]  Impact on the UK as a whole:  [Data from Airports Commission’s Strategic Fit: Forecasts.  Tables 5.6 and 6.1

viii. Reverses the decline in I-to-I transfers in the UK (most are at Heathrow). Without a 3rd runway, UK-wide I-to-I transfers decrease from 20.4 million transfers in 2011 to 8.3 million in 2050. But the NWR option results in 30.5 million I-to-I transfers across the UK by 2050, which means the NWR option adds 22.2 million transfers compared to the Do-minimum option or the equivalent of around 54% of the 3rd runway’s capacity. These provide little or no economic benefit to the UK (see paras. 26-29 below).NEGATIVE for the UK.

and

Impact on Heathrow:  Reverses the decline in I-to-I transfers at Heathrow. Without a 3rd runway, Heathrow I-to-I transfers decrease from 18.5 million transfers in 2011 to 8.1 million in 2050 [AON carbon capped. Page 80 of link ]. But the NWR option results in 29.9 million I-to-I transfers at Heathrow by 2050, [AON carbon capped. Page 141 of link ] which means the NWR option adds 21.8 million transfers compared to the Do-minimum option or the equivalent of around 55% of the 3rd runway’s capacity. These provide little or no economic benefit to the UK (see paras. 26-29 below). POSITIVE for Heathrow but NEGATIVE for the UK.

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22. The number of destinations served by Heathrow itself is forecast to decrease from 179 in 2011 to 151 in 2050 without Heathrow’s NWR expansion but to increase to 198 with Heathrow expansion. Compared to no NWR expansion, Heathrow’s NWR expansion adds 9 long-haul destination, 37 short-haul and one domestic destination. These increases, together with an increase of over 50% in the number of flights, improve Heathrow’s connectivity. But this results in increased numbers of I-to-I transfer passengers, UK resident leisure passengers on short-haul flights and increased frequency of flights to popular destinations. Therefore, the increased connectivity of Heathrow flights and destinations is of doubtful economic value. POSITIVE for Heathrow but of doubtful value for the UK.

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25. Heathrow’s NWR expansion concentrates flights and passengers at a single airport. It follows that competition will be stifled. It could thrive if other airports were allowed to grow their market share and, in the south-east, all five London airports were encouraged to compete. ……… Heathrow has over 90% of the I-to-I transfer market. POSITIVE for Heathrow but NEGATIVE for all other airports.

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26. Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) claims that Heathrow competes with overseas airports as the UK’s only hub airport. A hub airport is one where transfers represent a major part of the activity and there are the facilities to cater for transfers.   I-to-I transfer passengers represented 19 million or 27% of Heathrow passengers in 2011 or 91% of the UK’s total I-to-I transfers. In the absence of Heathrow’s NWR expansion, the number of I-to-I transfers at Heathrow decreases to 8 million passengers by 2050. This is 9% of Heathrow passengers. But with Heathrow’s NWR expansion the I-to-I transfers rise to 30 million passengers or 22% of Heathrow passengers by 2050.

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27. An increase of 22 million I-to-I transfer passengers is over 50% of the new capacity of 41 million passengers served by an additional Heathrow runway.

28. Transfer passengers do not leave the air-side at Heathrow. They contribute to the airline and airport profits and their value is said to add connectivity by providing minimum aircraft loads for otherwise unviable routes and by adding to route frequency. However, there are very few thin (i.e. low demand/frequency) international routes from Heathrow that have any I-to-I transfers. There were 44 long-haul thin destinations in 2011 (less than one departure a day) out of a total of nearly 100 long-haul destinations. Only 7 of these thin destinations had I-to-I transfers and these accounted for just 446,000 out of 19 million transfers. It is doubtful that the economic viability of any of these 7 low frequency services depended on transfers.

But support for thin destinations is a main justification for the Commission recommending a hub airport such as Heathrow. Instead, 95% of Heathrow’s I-to-I transfers support higher frequencies to already popular destinations rather than otherwise economically unviable thin destinations. In 2011 New York JFK and Newark airports together had over 26 departures from Heathrow every day serving 1.2 million I-to-I transfers and 2.6 million terminating passengers. Average loads were as low as 216 passengers on flights to New York JFK in 2011 and 170 passengers to Newark, compared to an A380’s capacity of over 500 passengers. This issue was recently confirmed by the Sunday Times 18/10/15; it said that BA has over capacity on some US routes from Heathrow and is cutting the frequency of flights.

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29. While frequency is important to connectivity there is a question of diminishing returns and efficient use of resources on high frequency routes, especially those serving primarily the leisure market.   I-to-I transfer passengers are exempt from Air Passenger Duty. They support business travel between overseas countries in competition with the UK. The routes tend to be circuitous with an additional landing and take-off compared to a direct flight, which results in additional noise and pollution. They use the UK’s valuable CO2 ceiling. As a result of Heathrow expansion, a very substantial 22% of Heathrow’s capacity would be used for the benefit of I-to-I transfers but not for the benefit of the UK. Fewer I-to-I transfers could free up Heathrow slots for flights to as many as 100 new destinations a day.

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The Commission has given weight to the importance of I-to-I transfers supporting new long-haul destination with potentially rich business opportunities. However, we question whether I-to-I transfers support thin destinations and we question their value in adding frequency to already popular routes serving the leisure market and the diminishing returns on high frequency routes, as explained in paras. 26-29. The WebTAG model attributes £6.2 billion of benefit to I-to-I transfer passengers but why WebTAG assumes their benefit should benefit the UK is unclear; they appear to be excluded explicitly from the S-CGE valuation because they are said by PWC to add no value to the UK. Oxera also confirm that there is no I-to-I value in their report [Oxera Report – Concerns with the Airports Commission’s Economic Appraisal. Oct 2015].

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39. Heathrow needs to find £28 billion to finance a third runway and ongoing cash outflows [14] and £20 billion for surface access [12]. Almost certainly Heathrow’s NWR expansion will require large amounts of state aid which will be at the expense of the rest of the UK and UK tax payer and will end up subsidising the return of Heathrow’s mainly overseas shareholders and the majority of users of the new capacity of 41 million passengers a year who will be I-to-I transfers passengers (an incremental 22 million by 2050) and UK resident leisure passengers (an incremental 7 million by 2050). The latter has a negative impact on the UK’s balance of payments. Air travel for leisure is also predominantly by the more wealthy and a questionable candidate for state subsidies. ABC1s are the predominant users of leisure air travel (74%)[15]. There is already substantial spare capacity at airports outside the UK requiring little further investment.

 


 

Series of RHC Factsheets on Heathrow

The other factsheets on Heathrow by the Richmond Heathrow Group are at 

rhcfacts.org/economy

There are briefings on:

Economy. rhcfacts.org/economy
Deliverability. rhcfacts.org/deliverable
CO2. rhcfacts.org/carbon
Air pollution. rhcfacts.org/air
Noise. rhcfacts.org/noise
Local economy. rhcfacts.org/local
Surface access. rhcfacts.org/surface
Safety. rhcfacts.org/safety

Read more »

On day of appearance before the EAC, Heathrow “pledges” a (dubious) “triple lock” on air pollution

Heathrow knows it has a problem with the high levels of NO2 pollution (and actually also particulates) in its surrounding area, and these regularly already breach EU limits. Appearing in front of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) on 4th November, John Holland-Kaye and Matt Gorman attempted to convince the MPs that Heathrow could solve the problems and add a new runway without local air pollution getting worse.  Mr Holland-Kaye repeated his intention that there would be a pledge by Heathrow for a “triple lock” on air quality under plans for a third runway. He wants people to believe that there would be (sic) no more car journeys to Heathrow with 3 runways than with 2. People would almost all travel to Heathrow on public transport, and likewise almost all staff at the airport. Heathrow would have options “ready” if needed to cut traffic flows and emissions, such as a congestion charge. And also more flights would only be allowed on the 3rd runway, if it was clear “the airport’s contribution would not delay compliance with EU air quality limits.” Challenged by the EAC there was the usual unconfirmed spin about jobs and growth, and no convincing evidence that NO2 air pollution could be reduced with a new runway.  The Airports Commission appears to have misunderstood the EU air quality directives, implying a runway would be permissible as long as air pollution was worse somewhere else in London.
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The full EAC session on 4th November can be viewed on Parliament TV at  http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Commons

The full transcript of the 4th November session will be available at

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/the-airports-commission-report-carbon-emissions-air-quality-and-noise-inquiry/


 

Heathrow Chief Executive pledges guarantee on air quality limits with expansion

[Beware – read with eyes wide open, and a pinch of salt ….  AW note]

4.11.2014 (Heathrow airport press release)

  • Heathrow promises “triple lock” guarantee to keep air quality within EU legal limits, should Heathrow be allowed to expand
  • Airports Commission’s environmental caveats for Heathrow expansion explained

Giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye confirmed that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within EU air quality limits and without increasing the amount of airport-related vehicles on the roads compared to today. [That should read that he “confirmed that he hopes Heathrow expansion can be delivered …etc. AW note]. 

Mr Holland-Kaye explained that a “triple lock” guarantee would address the air quality surrounding the airport, should Heathrow be allowed to expand. [Why is it not doing everything possible to improve air quality now, regardless of a new runway?  AW note] 

The three elements of the triple lock are:

1. Meeting our existing commitment to improve air quality: 

by supporting [not necessarily paying for … AW note] improved surface access that would increase the number of people, both passengers and employees, using public transport and encouraging and incentivising the use of new technology and cleaner vehicles [how exactly? Heathrow cannot influence the take up of electric cars in the UK market. AW note]. . This will include new rail lines to the north, east and west of Heathrow that will be transformational and put Heathrow at the heart of an integrated transport system. The Airports Commission is confident that this will enable an expanded Heathrow to meet EU air quality limits. [It is widely considered that the Airports Commission misinterpreted the EU law on air quality. AW note]

2. Ensuring further options are ready to be introduced if required to reduce traffic:

In its plans for expansion Heathrow has a number of options available to improve air quality that can be implemented if needed. An airport congestion charge is a good example as, if needed, Heathrow believes it would help to reduce road journeys, reduce emissions and support more sustainable travel patterns. [Widely believed to be impractical. Another was ?? refrigeration units for plane engines on the ground, to cool them and emit less NOx ?? AW note ].

3. Binding our commitment: 

by guaranteeing that new capacity at an expanded airport will only be released when it is clear that the airport’s contribution will not delay compliance with EU air quality limits. [As revealed at the EAC hearing, it is implausible that Heathrow funders and share holders would accept paying £18 billion for a runway, to then find it could not be used, for air quality reasons.  Zac Goldsmith asked aboutt his at the EAC and JH-K could only say he was very confident that Heathrow would get people out of their cars. AW note.]

.

Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said:

“Heathrow expansion is not a choice between the economy or the environment – we can deliver both.  [Highly unlikely]  We will boost the economy for the whole of the UK by £211 billion, [utter rubbish – even the figure of “up to £147 billion over 60 years, from the Airports Commission has been seriously criticised, even by the Commission’s own economics advisors, let alone £211 billion.  AW note] create 180,000 jobs, the potential to eliminate local youth unemployment, and double the number of our apprenticeships, while ensuring we remove people from our noise footprint and meet both EU air quality limits and carbon targets.”  [This is just PR speak, carefully worded to give the right impression, but with little real content.  AW note]

While some of the Commission’s recommendations are dependent on action from other parties, including government and airlines, others are within Heathrow’s control and are already being worked on.

Heathrow is today:

  • Supporting the Airports Commission’s suggestion for the establishment of an independent aviation noise authority, with a statutory right to be consulted on flight paths and other operating procedures
  • Charging fines for aircraft breaking departure noise limits and re-investing that money in local community projects. [Note, this money does not come from Heathrow itself,. Its apparent generosity comes from airlines.  AW note] This year, Heathrow increased the amount it charges for all noise breaches, and introduced a sliding scale of fines that will charge more for noise made during sensitive early morning periods
  • Working with partners to deliver projects such as Crossrail [Note that Heathrow wriggled out of paying £230 million for Crossrail, and only paid £70 million. AW note] and Western Rail to increase public transport use by passengers to over 50% by the time another runway is operational, and providing additional avenues to reduce staff car use, including by hosting Europe’s largest car share scheme.
  • Proposing a world-class noise insulation scheme worth over £700 million [This amounts to only about £4,400 per house, spread over the 160,000 homes included.  That amount per house does not go far, if there are perhaps 6 – 8 windows and a door …. AW note]
  • Offering one of the country’s most generous property compensation schemes for a major infrastructure project, with proposals to offer those within the compulsory purchase zone as well as in close proximity to the airport to buy their homes at 25% above their un-blighted market, in addition to stamp duty and legal fee costs  [ie. making thousands homeless by compulsory purchase. And what has this got to do with air quality at Heathrow improving? AW note] 
  • Doubling apprenticeships to 10,000, and working to expand the training work of the Heathrow Academy, now celebrating its 11th anniversary. [What has that got to do with the air pollution problem?  PR and press department just left it in, for good effect?  AW note] 

Heathrow’s environmental approach has won the ACI’s Eco-Innovation Award, the GreenFleet Awards for our electric vehicle fleet, the 2014 award Transport Team of the Year award at the London Transport Awards for our sustainable commuting efforts  and earned the airport its 8th biodiversity benchmark award.

After three years of research, scrutiny and consultation, the Airports Commission has made a unanimous and unambiguous recommendation for expansion at Heathrow. Heathrow has taken a new approach to its expansion proposals, one which balances the needs of airport users with the concerns of people living nearby.

–ENDS —

.
Notes to editors:

A congestion charge is one more scheme Heathrow has said it could introduce to reduce traffic congestion levels and improve air quality for local communities while raising money for public transport improvements. The scheme would only be considered following widespread consultation and once public transport alternatives are in place.

Heathrow has said that any revenue raised would be ring fenced and could be used to fund public transport projects at the airport and local sustainable transport projects.

For more information, please see:

http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Expansion-News-23/5267


Also:

“London mayoral candidate and Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith asked Mr Holland-Kaye if he expected the Government to make a decision on expansion “in the absence of clarity from you on that very core condition” of night flights.

Mr Holland-Kaye replied: “I think that is a question for government. I do see that there are no showstoppers in the conditions that were set by the Airports Commission and as Matt has said I think there is an opportunity to significantly reduce the night flights at Heathrow.”

Heathrow is currently restricted to 5,800 take-offs and landings between 11.30pm to 6am.

Around 80% of the night flights at Heathrow are between 4.30am to 6am.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson claimed the select committee session showed that the Airports Commission is “falling apart”.

He said: “I have never accepted that a third runway at Heathrow is the right solution even with all of the Airports Commission’s conditions, but Mr Holland-Kaye’s flat refusal to rule out the possibility of a fourth runway or to commit to conditions to limit air pollution, night flights and noise shows that he simply doesn’t understand that the recommendation of a third runway is crucially tied to these conditions.

“As so often with Heathrow in the past, it is all take and no give. Today’s hearings, apart from showing that Heathrow is willing to undermine the Airports Commission in pursuit of its own ends, prove once again that Heathrow expansion is the wrong solution to Britain’s aviation needs.”  ”

from   http://home.bt.com/news/uk-news/heathrow-bosses-committed-to-reducing-night-flights-if-third-runway-built-11364014725410


 

Heathrow’s pledges on air pollution in runway battle

By NICHOLAS CECIL (Standard)

4.11.2015

Heathrow bosses today pledged a “triple lock” on air quality under plans for a third runway — but it failed to guarantee pollution would be cut.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye unveiled proposals aimed at addressing fears that another runway would lead to dirtier air around the airport. Their three key points are:

– Meeting the airport’s “existing commitment” on air quality including pledging to have no more airport-related traffic on the roads round the airport with a third runway.

– Having options “ready” if needed to cut traffic flows and emissions, such as a congestion charge.

– Guaranteeing new capacity at an expanded airport would only be released when it was clear that the airport’s contribution would not delay compliance with EU air quality  limits.

Mr Holland-Kaye, [who appeared] before the Commons environmental audit committee today on the third runway plans, said: “Heathrow expansion is not a choice between the economy or the environment — we can deliver both. We will boost the economy for the whole of the UK by £211 billion, create 180,000 jobs, the potential to eliminate local youth unemployment, and double the number of our apprenticeships, while ensuring fewer people are impacted by aircraft noise than today and we meet both EU air quality limits and carbon targets.”

However, critics are likely to point out that the “triple lock” does not pledge that pollution will be reduced or that a third runway would only be built, or operated, if it did not locally breach EU air quality limits.

New research claims that levels of nitrogen dioxide outside some homes close to Heathrow were sometimes about double EU rules, but the airport questioned these findings.

The Airports Commission, which strongly recommended that Heathrow rather than Gatwick be allowed to expand, argued that a third runway could happen provided it did not delay London complying with EU pollution regulations.

But this appeared to suggest that air quality could stay the same or even deteriorate around the airport if there were worse pollution blackspots in the capital.

Gatwick today published its response on air quality, saying “a third runway at Heathrow would mean millions more car journeys.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/heathrow-s-pledges-on-air-pollution-in-runway-battle-a3106661.html

 


 

Pollution around Heathrow threatens third runway plan

4.11.2015 (The Times)

Pollution levels around Heathrow are more than twice the legal limit, causing fresh demands to abandon plans for a third runway.

Research published yesterday found that levels of toxic gas in gardens close to the airport were regularly 125 per cent higher than maximum thresholds set out by the EU.
Meeting EU air quality standards has become one of the most critical issues determining aviation capacity in the southeast, with David Cameron due to decide on the issue within weeks.

The disclosure was made as the bosses of Heathrow and the government’s airports commission prepared to be questioned today by MPs investigating the environmental impact of the runway. Gatwick, Heathrow’s main rival, warned that pollution levels in west London were now worse than they were five years ago, insisting that there could be no “legal basis for approving Heathrow expansion”.

The airports commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, decisively recommended in July that Heathrow should expand because it would generate greater economic benefits, including more jobs and profitable long-haul routes, than Gatwick. Controversially, it insisted that the environmental impact of expansion “does not outweigh its very significant national and local benefits” when mitigation measures were taken into account.

Heathrow insists that greener aircraft, changes to landing approaches and reforms designed to stop people driving to the airport — the biggest cause of pollution in the area — will enable it to achieve long-term pollution targets. This includes a link to the Crossrail network and new direct rail access to Reading and Waterloo.

EU regulations state that emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is linked to 23,500 deaths in the UK each year, should be limited to 40 micrograms per cubic metre ( m3).
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs is consulting on a wide-ranging strategy designed to improve UKair quality, including banning the worst diesel vehicles from up to a dozen of the most polluted urban areas.

Yesterday, a study by OpenSensors, a data management company, found that pollution levels near Heathrow regularly exceeded the 40 m3 standard.

The study, which placed sensors in 20 residential gardens around west London, found that NO2 reached an average of 70 m3 at Sipson, just over half a mile north of Heathrow, with highs regularly exceeding 90 m3, 125 per cent higher than the permitted standard. The research, funded by Open Data Institute, showed that readings in Isleworth, which is six miles east of Heathrow, reached up to 75 m3.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We take air quality issues very seriously. The airports commission has been clear that Heathrow can expand while remaining within EU legal limits.”

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article4604057.ece

.


 

See also:

AEF considers DEFRA’s updated air quality plan is insufficient to address Heathrow’s pollution challenge

23.11.2015

Air pollution around Heathrow has been in breach of legal limits for many years and could prove a significant barrier to a 3rd runway. At the time of the Airports Commission’s recommendation this summer, the Government’s modelling indicated that breaches of the NO2 limit in London would continue until and perhaps beyond 2030. Under the Commission’s plan a new Heathrow runway could be operational by 2025, and would be likely to further worsen air quality in the Heathrow area. AEF reports that Defra has now published an updated air quality ‘plan’, in response to the Supreme Court ruling in April that the Government’s strategy would fail to achieve EU legal limits in the ‘shortest time possible’ and must be improved. Under the revised plan, NO2 would be within legal limits by 2025 throughout London. But the improvements compared with the earlier plan appear to relate almost entirely to new, more optimistic assumptions being made about emissions from diesel vehicles rather than to any new policies or strategies at a national level. The only significant new proposal relates to the formation of Clean Air Zones in order to restrict high emissions vehicles. The AEF does not consider that the measures can deal adequately with air pollution around Heathrow, with a new runway.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/11/aef-considers-defras-updated-air-quality-plan-is-insufficient-to-address-heathrows-pollution-challenge/


Earlier:

‘Clean Air in London’ obtains QC Opinion on Air Quality Law (including at Heathrow)

The group, Clean Air in London (CAL), is very aware of the problems of air quality in London. Its founder and director, Simon Birkett, says the law about air pollution is not being properly applied. So they have asked their environmental solicitors, Harrison Grant, to obtain advice from a QC on the approach which planning authorities across the UK should take to Air Quality Law. CAL wants to ensure that tough decisions to reduce air pollution and protect public health are taken by the Government, the Mayor and other planning authorities. In particular CAL wanted to clarify the extent to which planning decisions should take into account breaches, or potential breaches, of air pollution limits. This applies particularly to a Heathrow runway, among other projects. CAL now have advice from Robert McCracken QC. It says: “Where a development would in the locality either make significantly worse an existing breach or significantly delay the achievement of compliance with limit values it must be refused.” And “Any action which significantly increases risk to the health of the present generation, especially the poor who are often those most directly affected by poor air quality, would not be compatible with the concept as health is plainly a need for every generation.

Click here to view full story…

Chairman of Commons Environmental Audit Committee says Cameron must answer questions on Heathrow expansion

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee recently set up an Inquiry on the “Airports Commission report: Carbon emissions, air quality and noise.” It closed on 3rd September. A considerable number of submissions have been made, from councils, organisations, individuals (and a few from the aviation industry or its consultants). The Chairman of the Committee, Hugh Irranca-Davies, has said that the Government has “big questions to answer” over how it could meet the legally binding EU air quality rules while backing a 3rd Heathrow runway. The submissions, including the one from Transport for London (Boris Johnson) raised a series of objections to a bigger Heathrow. Boris said: “The Commission has failed to demonstrate that a three-runway Heathrow, even with mitigation, will not have the worst NO2 concentration in Greater London, so risking the compliance of the entire zone and EU fines on the UK.” He said the Commission failed to recognise the impact of increased road traffic. Clean Air in London said: “If the Commission is suggesting that the only relevant requirement is that additional runway capacity should not delay in time average compliance throughout the London zone, then it has misdirected itself on the law.” Sections on air quality from a number of submissions are shown in this article.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow refuses to backtrack on misleading claim that “M4 pollution will be fixed by 2020″

 28 OCTOBER, 2015
(Colnbrook Views)

 

New analysis by Defra “has confirmed” that the M4 near Heathrow will meet EU air quality standards by 2020, the airport says.  But the airport has given a frosty response to Colnbrook Views when challenged that Defra’s draft findings actually say the opposite.

Conflicting messages: Heathrow says the M4 nearest the airport will be compliant by 2020 based on defra's draft plans. But defra's plans show the stretch around J5 won't be while J4B is not included. "Not out problem", says Heathrow.

Talk to Defra! is Heathrow’s blunt response to questioning on its claim that pollution on the M4 will meet the EU standard by 2020.

The unsubstantiated claim on October 12 that went (nearly) unnoticed was delivered among a flurry of media releases in the past few weeks trumpeting record passenger numbers and even better freight figures in the run-up to the Government’s decision on a Colnbrook Runway.

New analysis by defra has confirmed that the M4 near Heathrow will meet EU air quality standards by 2020 as a result of actions taken by us and others

But rather than anything “new” the unattributed statement turns out to a reference to a diagram on one page of defra’s draft plan to improve air quality in Greater London (fig.7, p.30), and is contradicted within defra’s equivalent plan for the South East.

Why defra’s analysis is anything but confirmed:

  • The plan is draft (out for consultation until November 6 and currently under scrutiny by the EFRA Parliamentary committee). It is not yet confirmed.
  • The draft plan has been widely criticised for including more optimistic assumptions on diesel emissions (compared to July 2014) which have subsequently been found to be far removed from real world emissions in light of the VW scandal.
  • The draft plan indicates that emissions will be close to or at the upper limit on a small stretch of the M4 immediately north of Heathrow in the Greater London agglomeration, while the South East zone plan includes an assessment by Slough Borough Council that its part of the M4 will NOT be compliant by 2020 – where the new runway will go.
  • There is no suggestion in the draft plan that WHO guideline levels (the definition of “safe” air which the EU also acknowledges) will be met. The plan indicates EU air quality objectives and limits will be met (at least for Greater London) but not standards.

 

The draft plan for the ‘Greater London agglomeration’ includes a stretch of the M4 from Longford eastward – incorporating 3 of the 4 miles of M4 immediately north of the airport.  According to defra’s forecasts this area will be registering between 30-40 µg/m³ by 2020.  40 µg/m³ is the legal limit which is currently greatly exceeded.

But the M4 west of the airport is part of the ‘South East zone’, for which the picture is not so clear cut.  While defra says it expects the zone to achieve minimum EU limits by 2020, as highlighted byColnbrook Views a month ago buried deep in the 260-page draft plan (p.226) is contradictory information. Slough Borough Council says that it does not expect to achieve compliance without “significant intervention”.  AQMA 1, which includes Brands Hill and parts of the M4 west of Heathrow, will still exceed safe levels of air pollution.

A missing mile of the M4 between Longford and the M25 is covered by neither zone!  Harmondsworth, Sipson and Longford residents find themselves in the curious position of being outside of all EU air quality reporting according to defra’s plans.

The forgotten Heathrow Villages ... outside of all zones for EU air quality reporting!

Heathrow Senior Press Officer Paloma Aguilar’s initial response to Colnbrook Views yesterday was to issue the usual boilerplate quote attributable to ‘a Heathrow spokesperson’ that Government needs to do more:

“Road traffic, the most serious issue for London’s air quality, needs to be urgently tackled by government and the Mayor’s office – and Heathrow is willing to do more to play its part. Through investments in public transport use, and electric vehicle infrastructure, Heathrow has already reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 16% over five years.”

But on being pushed further on whether it was misleading to state so categorically that that the M4 nearest Heathrow will be compliant with EU air quality standards by 2020 in spite of the opposing statements in the “new analysis”:

… this is analysis by defra so questions around their methods and comments on the confidence in their findings should be directed to them

Needless to say Heathrow has opted not to highlight the conflicting statements itself.

Colnbrook Views has taken the Heathrow Press Office’s advice and passed these questions on to defra, including Heathrow’s claims, and is awaiting clarification.

 

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