People living with Edinburgh airport plane noise adamant that changes to routes persist

The new campaign group, Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial (SEAT), was set up last year in response to the suddenly increased noise from the TUTUR trial that started in June 2015 over some areas. They say Edinburgh Airport is planning to impose a “new airspace regime” on the area surrounding it – effectively a secret flight path. The purpose of TUTUR was to see if the airport could increase capacity by cutting the departure interval between flights from two minutes to one. However, people living beneath it have attacked the airport’s lack of transparency. Helena Paul, from SEAT said Edinburgh Airport failed to adequately communicate about the TUTUR experiment with communities.” She also said there were concerns that data from airport-positioned noise monitors would “not adequately reflect the disturbance on the ground”. The trial was stopped 2 months early after nearly 8,000 complaints. Yet SEAT members say they are still hearing about new problems with noise being experience by residents across West Lothian and into Fife. There are complaints that planes are more frequent, lower and louder. But the airport says: “Aircraft have been flying in and out of Edinburgh Airport on the same routes for 40 years; they are not flying any lower or louder than they did in the past.” This a now familiar pattern – residents and airports not agreeing. The airport will publicise the results of the trial later this month.
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Residents’ fury over Edinburgh Airport flight trials

JANUARY 9TH, 2016

By GREG RUSSELL  (The National)

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A CAMPAIGN group set up to oppose a flight path trial has accused Edinburgh Airport of planning to impose a “new airspace regime” on the area surrounding it – effectively a secret flight path.

The airport has three flight routes to the west, but launched a six-month trial on a new route named TUTUR last June, in a bid to see if it could increase capacity by cutting the departure interval between flights from two minutes to one.However, people living beneath it have attacked the airport’s lack of transparency.

“The Government expects all airports and aerodromes to communicate openly and effectively with their local communities about the impact of their operations,” said Helena Paul from SEAT – Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial.

“Edinburgh Airport failed to adequately communicate about the TUTUR experiment with communities – the first many residents knew about it was when the planes started roaring over their heads.”

“It is a scandal that flight trials may take place without any public consultation – for TUTUR, the trial was ended two months early due to public outcry, but the airport intended to continue using the route while they ‘consulted’ with the public about it.”

She also criticised the delay in publication of the trial results, saying there were concerns that data from airport-positioned noise monitors would “not adequately reflect the disturbance on the ground”.

The trial was stopped early after nearly 8,000 complaints. Yet SEAT members say they are still hearing about new problems with noise from residents across West Lothian and into Fife.

Now the group has written to community councillors across the area to warn them of the effects on quality of life a change to flight paths could have.

Paul, from Blackness, West Lothian, told The National: “Prior to June 2015, I did not have any cause to contact Edinburgh Airport since moving to Blackness four years ago.

“This is a peaceful, tranquil rural area, where sheep, birds and cattle form the sonic backdrop.

“No more. Planes now roar overhead from 6am until midnight. I have sent four emails of complaint to the airport this week to complain about unacceptable levels of aircraft noise that I did not experience previously.”

She added: “Planes are more frequent, lower and louder, yet the airport refuses to accept that anything fundamental has changed.”

In a letter to Gordon Dewar, the airport’s chief executive, Paul said that since July she had complained about more than 600 instances of noise disturbance, many late at night or in the early hours.

“While the airport is well aware of where it is sending planes and the likely effect the noise from them will have on communities beneath, it is a gross imposition on residents to expect us to have to note down dates and times of flights and then complain reactively to you,” she wrote.

“Your airport could choose to mitigate the effects of noise by directing planes differently; and indeed it appeared to a number of residents that the airport may well have actually done so as a deliberate tactic to reduce the noise levels picked up by the additional noise monitors put in place during the trial.”

In his reply, Dewar said that “with the exception of the TUTUR trial there have been no other changes to airspace around Edinburgh Airport in the last six months”.

Martyn Day, the SNP MP for Linlithgow and Falkirk East, told The National he appreciated both sides of the case.

“I can see why Edinburgh Airport wants to shorten the departure interval at peak times, but these are not late at night or after midnight,” he said.

“We have written several letters, but there’s been a lack of a suitable response from the airport management. I think their PR machine has not been particularly effective.”

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said: “Aircraft have been flying in and out of Edinburgh Airport on the same routes for 40 years; they are not flying any lower or louder than they did in the past.

“The recent flight path trial was conducted to gain essential information to enable a full consultation with local residents. In line with CAA guidance all local MPs, MSPs and councils were contacted in advance to inform them of the trial. As previously stated – any future airspace change trails will be preceded by a direct engagement process with local residents.

“Later this month we will publicise the results of the trial including noise and any resulting proposed air space change will include comprehensive stakeholder consultation.”

http://www.thenational.scot/news/residents-fury-over-edinburgh-airport-flight-trials.12124

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Earlier:

Linlithgow MSP sends her own 42-page report on impact of Edinburgh flight path trial to CAA

The “Tutur” flight path trial at Edinburgh airport created a storm of protest, from those finding themselves under a new, narrow flight path for the first time. The trial had to be stopped two months early, in October, because of the opposition. Now Fiona Hyslop, the MSP for Linlithgow, which was partly overflown in the trial, has herself surveyed 2,000 residents in West Lothian to find out their views. She has sent her 42-page report to the CAA. Ms Hyslop said the reason for her report was that residents had been kept in the dark about the potential for a new Edinburgh flight path and although the CAA “will receive a report from Edinburgh Airport stating that the complaints they received have originated from a small number of residents who have repeatedly complained, Edinburgh Airport did not proactively contact each individual resident as I have.” Of the 2,000 surveyed, she found that 1,220 respondents felt that noise created by planes overhead was intrusive or disturbing while they were in their house with the windows shut. 760 of those surveyed found that there had been either no change, that the noise was barely noticeable or that it was tolerable. In two areas, the number saying they had been adversely affected were 71% and 60%. These results give a much fuller picture of the noise impact than “simply stating the results from two temporary noise monitors as Edinburgh Airport propose to do.”

Click here to view full story…

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.

Click here to view full story…

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…

 

Read more »

A thousand opponents of new Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport protest outside evictions court hearing

Backers of proposed airport at Nantes want the eviction of farmers from the site. More than 1,000 protesters gathered outside the court in Nantes where the hearing – that could evict the last 11 families living on the proposed airport – was heard. Aéroport du Grand Ouest (AGO), a subsidiary of Vinci Airports, is requesting crippling fines of up to €1,000 per person per day against farmers who are refusing to move, as well as the seizure of farm properties and animals. Around 300 environmental protesters are currently camped out around the site in a long-standing protest that last weekend mobilised 20,000 people for “Operation Escargot”, an action blocking traffic on regional roads, including the Loire bridge. One Nantes resident facing expulsion, Sylvain Fresnau, a 54-year-old farmer with three children, said he did not believe that evictions would be possible due to the strength of local feeling. He said: “We don’t need another airport in Nantes. We already have 145 airports in this country”. Conservation lawyers say the new court action violates a commitment made by President François Hollande that there would be no more evictions until legal avenues had been fully exhausted. He has not kept his promise, and the case has become symbolic for French environmentalists. The judgement in the evictions case is not expected before 25 January. 
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Nantes airport: thousand-strong protest over farmer eviction court hearings

Backers of proposed airport to north-west of French city seek eviction of farmers in case that has become symbolic for French environmentalists

 
Demonstrators hold banners to protest against the expulsion of the families and farmers from land that would permit the construction of a new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, outside the courthouse in Nantes, France, 13 January 2016.
Demonstrators hold banners to protest against the expulsion of the families and farmers from land that would permit the construction of a new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, outside the courthouse in Nantes, France. Photograph: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

 

By  (Guardian)

More than 1,000 protesters thronged the entrance to a court in Nantes on Wednesday as a hearing began that could evict the last 11 families living along the route of a proposed airport.

Aéroport du Grand Ouest (AGO), a subsidiary of Vinci Airports, is requesting fines of up to €1,000 per person per day against hold-out farmers, as well as the seizure of farm properties and animals.

Around 300 environmental protesters are currently camped out around the site in a long-standing protest that last weekend mobilised 20,000 people for “Operation Escargot”, an action blocking traffic on regional roads, including the Loire bridge.

One Nantes resident facing expulsion, Sylvain Fresnau, a 54-year-old farmer with three children, said he did not believe that evictions would be possible due to the strength of local feeling.

“We are staying in our house because for five generations, my family has always lived here,” he told the Guardian. “We don’t need another airport in Nantes. We already have 145 airports in this country. There has been a tremendous growth in the industry.”

Conservation lawyers say the new court action violates a commitment made by President François Hollande that there would be no more evictions until legal avenues had been fully exhausted. The commitment was made against a backdrop of protests and hunger strikes in 2012.

“The farmers are upset because Hollande did not keep his promise,” Thomas Dubreuil, a lawyer for the campaigners, told the Guardian. “It looks as though the authorities want to accelerate the [construction] process.” The airport, which would cost at least €556m, has been planned for 45 years.

“Personally I don’t think the farmers will leave, as it is their land,” Dubreuil added. “But if they are condemned to fees of €1,000 per day, it shows that [the authorities] want to financially strangle them.”

Campaigners argue that court moves to force the farmers from their land with just one month’s notice could create afait accomplis, as a separate appeal against the airport’s impact on local biodiversity is not expected until later in 2016.

Construction delays are thought to have caused financial problems for AGO, the firm that brought the case. But the airport issue has also become a symbolic one for French environmentalists, who have mobilised tens of thousands in sometimes violent protests.

Woods and wetlands around the proposed airport site in Notre-Dame-des-Landes are rich in biodiversity and contain several protected species of newts and bats.

One, the Triton Crêté (crested newt), has become a symbol for the “Zone A Defendre”, a community of squatters and activists in an open air space around the airport site. If an eviction or new construction work appears imminent, their numbers could be swollen by supporters from some 200 activist committees around France.

“I don’t know what it is about this struggle that attracts so many people – from grey beards to black hoodies – but it is becoming a focal point for a huge movement,” said “Pennie Black”, a 30-year-old activist at the camp. “It is not just about fighting an airport, but the world that goes with it.”

The judgement in the evictions case is not expected before 25 January.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/14/nantes-airport-thousand-protest-over-farmer-eviction-court-hearings?CMP=share_btn_tw

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Earlier: 

Estimated 20,000 protesters from across France demonstrate massive opposition to proposed Nantes airport

Organisers of the massive peaceful protest on the 9th January, against the proposed new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes estimated there were 20,000 people at the demonstration. The aim was to show the massive opposition there is to the airport, and especially to the forced eviction of the 11 families and 4 farmers from land on the planned construction site. At the protest, traffic was halted on the Nantes ring road, using dozens of tractors and blocking access to the city’s airport, Nantes Atlantique. Protesters say that the €580 million project is not necessary,will be detrimental to the environment and is a wasteful use of government funds.The battle against this development has been going on for 15 years, and has become a focal issue across France, against unnecessary high carbon projects that damage the environment or uproot people. There are over 100 support committees in places across France. The airport would require the loss of valuable marshy habitat, home to important wildlife, and good agricultural land. Some agricultural organizations threatened to maintain an indefinite blockade of one of the main river crossings, the Chevire Bridge over the Loire. Clashes between protesters and the authorities in 2012 resulted in a temporary halt to construction. The last major protest resulted in clashes with police in February 2014. There was a legal hearing in Nantes about the evictions on Tuesday 13th January – with again a huge crowd outside – the outcome is expected to be known on 25th January.

Click here to view full story…

Protests and mobilisations on Saturday 9th January against evictions for planned Nantes airport at NDDL

On Saturday 9th January, there will again be huge mobilisations of people against the planned new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, in western France. Not only will there be gatherings at NDDL itself, and in Nantes but the many support committees in other places across France will plan mobilisations too. These included a bike convoy and a protest on foot in Paris, where people will be singing and dancing and giving out literature. The protest is because the authorities plan to carry out compulsory evictions on the 11 families and 4 farms in the ZAD (the zone à défendre), which are due to start in January. They are in the area where Vinci, the company planning to build the airport, want to start work. There is to be a court hearing on 13th January to request their removal, with a fine of € 200 to € 1,000 / day / person and the seizure and sequestration of property and farm animals. People who are passionate that the airport should not be built are not prepared to see these evictions. The government had agreed they would not happen until all legal remedies had been fully exhausted – and they have not. The airport opponents believe it would make better environmental and economic sense to improve the existing Nantes airport, rather than ruin valuable natural habitats and destroy productive farmland. They want a proper independent study done.

Click here to view full story…


 

Open letter by ACIPA to François Hollande asking for forced evictions at NDDL to be stopped

At Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), where a new airport for Nantes is planned, there are due to be forced evictions of those who remain on the land, after a tribunal hearing on 10th December. At the moment 11 families and four farms located in the area of the airport wants to build. The protest group at NDDL have now written to the President of the Republic François Hollande, to ask him to prevent these expulsions. The expulsion order is by AGO (Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of Vinci) on behalf of the state. ACIPA says that therefore, the responsibility lies with the President. There was a month long hunger strike in May 2012, and to end that, an assurance was given that there would not be evictions. That was updated in 2014. ACIPA say the families believed the assurances by government, and they have therefore not made arrangements to leave. The families and the farmers face all their property and livestock being put into receivership if they will not leave. The government made successive promises that all legal remedies would be pursued to exhaustion, and appeals are still pending. ACIPA asks how the President will keep the trust of potential voters, if he does not keep his word. ACIPA want a meeting with the President, the waiving of expulsion orders, and a proper investigation into options to improve the existing Nantes airport

Click here to view full story…

Planned airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes deemed one of Europe’s “Grands Projets Inutiles et Imposés”

NDDL beach art

While the authorities in Loire Atlantique are hoping to start work on the new Nantes airport, to be built over good farmland and wetland at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, (NDDL)opponents say this is premature. While the French Prime Minister, Manual Valls, is keen for work to get started, the main opposition group to the airport plan – ACIPA – say President François Hollande has recently confirmed that the legal challenges should be allowed to run their course. There are still some procedures to go through. Opponents produced a huge beach art protest – writing in the sand: ” Pour le climat, pas d’aeroport a Notre-Dame-des-Landes.” ACIPA points out that when the airport and its backers say they will be “resuming” work on the site, they never in fact started. ACIPA also points out that the tendering for work contract is also a PR thing, as various administrative permits must first be obtained. The new NDDL airport is being considered as one of a class of Grands Projets Inutiles et Imposés – big unnecessary imposed projects – along with HS2 in the UK, a new high-speed Lyon-Turin line, gold mining using cyanide in Romania, and a high speed rail line in the Basque Country. A people’s tribunal in Turin will look at all these cases to reach a joint decision that will have ethical, moral, political value, in the broadest sense.

Click here to view full story…

Work on the new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes might start by early next year

In 2008 plans to build a new airport for Nantes, 20 miles north of the city at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, were approved. The plan is to move the airport from its current site to the south of the city, Nantes Atlantique Airport, and build over farmland and wetlands, that are rich in wildlife and have good agriculture. The new “Aéroport du Grand Ouest” is intended to be a “gateway to western France” with up to 9 million passengers per year by 2050. For that tiny number, it wants two runways. It has been bitterly opposed for years, and while it was originally to open in 2014, work may now eventually start soon. Opponents have done everything they could to stop it, including huge occupations of parts of the site, scuffles with the authorities that sometimes turned unpleasant, a hunger strike, and recourse to legal challenges on European law. Finally it seems all legal avenues have been exhausted. The Prefecture of the Loire-Atlantic announced in effect that work on the airport will start, and a call for tenders has been launched. Compensation will have to be paid to those having their land expropriated, and environmental mitigation will have to be done – including protection of water voles. There are still people (zadistes) occupying shacks on part of the site, and they would have to be removed. Opponents do not believe any work can start yet. They say the airport is not needed, it is not consistent with climate targets, and the damage to farmland and habitats cannot be justified. .

Click here to view full story…

French court rules against environmental challenges by opponents of new Nantes airport

On 17th July the Administrative Tribunal of Nantes rejected all appeals by opponents of the new airport to be built at Notre Dame des Landes. The legal challenge was on two areas of environmental law, on destruction of wetlands and movement of protected species. It ruled that the project does not pose environmental concerns. This was one of the last legal confrontations between opponents and supporters of the transfer of Nantes-Atlantique airport to the village of Notre-Dame-des-Landes (building a new airport there instead, to be called L’aeroport du Grand Ouest). This battle has been going on since the plan was first proposed in 1967. Those wanting the new airport hope work could start very soon, but Europe Ecologie-Les Verts believe appeals are not yet completed and work on the airport cannot resume. The “zadistes” (ZAD – Zone À Défendre) have been occupying the site for 5 years, and farmers hostile to the project do not intend to give up. Opponents of the airport ACIPA and CEDPA) also intend to challenge with a prefectural order for the protection of the water vole. There are also problems of crested or marbled newts, great horned beetles and the floating plantain, an endangered water plant. In addition the CGT trade union is opposed to the new airport believing that modifying the old airport is a better option.

Click here to view full story…

and many more earlier news stories  at

Read more »

Estimated 20,000 protesters from across France demonstrate massive opposition to proposed Nantes airport

Organisers of the massive peaceful protest on the 9th January, against the proposed new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes estimated there were 20,000 people at the demonstration. The aim was to show the massive opposition there is to the airport, and especially to the forced eviction of the 11 families and 4 farmers from land on the planned construction site. At the protest, traffic was halted on the Nantes ring road, using dozens of tractors and blocking access to the city’s airport, Nantes Atlantique. Protesters say that the €580 million project is not necessary,will be detrimental to the environment and is a wasteful use of government funds.The battle against this development has been going on for 15 years, and has become a focal issue across France, against unnecessary high carbon projects that damage the environment or uproot people. There are over 100 support committees in places across France. The airport would require the loss of valuable marshy habitat, home to important wildlife, and good agricultural land.  Some agricultural organizations threatened to maintain an indefinite blockade of one of the main river crossings, the Chevire Bridge over the Loire.  Clashes between protesters and the authorities in 2012 resulted in a temporary halt to construction. The last major protest resulted in clashes with police in February 2014. There was a legal hearing in Nantes about the evictions on Tuesday 13th January – with again a huge crowd outside – the outcome is expected to be known on 25th January.
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20,000 protest forceful evictions, block roads at Nantes airport construction site

People attend a demonstration in Nantes against the construction of a new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes

January 9, 2016

By Stephane Mahe (Reuters)

Nantes bikes on the peripherique 9.1.2016
In a massive protest against controversial airport construction outside the western French city of Nantes, up to 20,000 demonstrators blocked roads, demanding the reversal of the city’s plan to build a new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, by forcefully evicting local people and farmers living there.

Halting traffic on the Nantes ring road using dozens of tractors and blocking access to the city’s international airport, Nantes Atlantique, protesters rallied against legal proceedings to evict 11 families and four farmers from the planned construction site.

Nantes bridge packed 9.1.2016

Protesters say that the €580 million project, which has divided government officials, citizens and activists for over 15 years, will be detrimental to the environment and is a wasteful use of government funds.

Nantes marching along 9.1.2016

Some agricultural organizations that gathered as part of the 20,000-strong crowd (according to organizers, whereas police estimate the number to have been 7,200) threatened to maintain an indefinite blockade of one of the main river crossings, the Chevire Bridge over the Loire.

Nantes the crowd near the Chevire bridge 9.1.2016

In July, Paris announced that construction would resume at the highly controversial airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes after a series of clashes between the locals and the authorities in 2012 resulted in a temporary halt to construction.

Nantes tractors 9.1.2016

Overall protesters have been battling for 15 years to save the 1,650 hectares (4,000 acres) of protected swampland outside the city, which is to be the site of the new airport.

Approved in 2008, the new airport is scheduled for opening next year (construction has not yet even started) and will replace the current Nantes Atlantique Airport that handles three million annual passengers. Developers (Vinci)say the new air hub will provide a major boost to the tourism economy in western France.

Saturday’s demonstration was the biggest gathering in two years. The last major protest over the issue took resulted in clashes with police in February 2014. Saturday’s blockade however proceeded peacefully.

https://www.rt.com/news/328410-nantes-airport-construction-protest/ Notre-Dame-des-Landes
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Nantes: Thousands March Against Proposed Airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes

9.1.2016

The depart of the protesr against the airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes

“The peasant mobilization is to go beyond expectations,” said an organizer …

The protest against the airport project of Notre-Dame-des-Landes was full on Saturday. According to organizers, it attracted 20,000 people Saturday on the ring road around Nantes, although police are estimating a figure of 7,200 demonstrators.

 

Traffic disrupted on the Ring Road

Traffic was disrupted on the ring road but also the access to the nearby airport of Nantes Atlantique. The demonstration was not to enter the city centre, a “deliberate choice” of the organizers to avoid the recurrence of violence in 2014. The organizers have planned to call to the dispersion from 3.30pm, while rain is expected on region.

Behind a banner “Neither deportation or trial,” protesters converged at the sound of the drum to the  Cheviré bridge, an imposing work, windswept, which spans the Loire River downstream from the city centre.  Among the crowd, protesters of all ages, most with big jackets, shoes and woollen caps, and for a hike on highway. Protesters waved flags and placards that read “No to deportation, yes to the peasants” or “Neither expulsion or trial.”

Arm wrestling for 15 years

Wednesday, Aéroports du Grand Ouest (AGO), a subsidiary of the Vinci Group and the future airport concessionaire intends to apply to the High Court of Nantes immediate eviction of 11 families and four farmers, coupled with a daily fine of 200 to 1,000 euros and a sequestration of their property and livestock if they do not comply.

This new mobilization of opponents at the airport for 15 years engaged in a legal tussle in addition to an occupation on the ground, made more than two months after the announcement, on October 30, a stimulus “for 2016 “of the project, after approval by the Nantes Administrative Court of prefectural orders authorizing the start of construction.

As for the supporters of the project, the association “Des Ailes pour l’Ouest” argues that unlike the fifteen occupants facing eviction, 260 other residents have accepted the compensation procedures. “This state of emergency in full manifestation is a real provocation of people who reject the democratic decisions and judgments,” accuses Alain Mustière in a statement, the president of the association.

“The peasant mobilization is to go beyond expectations,” commented Julien Durand, spokesman for the ACIPA, the main opponents of association of Nantes airport project. “Today it is for Francois Hollande today to acknowledge the extraordinary mobilization in Nantes (…). We need the process (judicial) evictions to stop before Wednesday “when a hearing is scheduled in Nantes calling for the expulsion of fifteen inhabitants of the site planned for the project.

The mobilization is in any case the strongest since the demonstration on February 22, 2014, when at least 20,000 people gathered in the city centre of Nantes. But unlike the rally which had resulted in damage and clashes with security forces, Saturday’s demonstration took place in a friendly atmosphere, with “a large banquet” organized along mid-way along the ring road, usually reserved for vehicles.

http://chb44.com/2016/01/nantes-thousands-march-against-proposed-airport-notre-dame-des-landes/
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Also

A thousand opponents of new Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport protest outside evictions court hearing

Backers of proposed airport at Nantes want the eviction of farmers from the site. More than 1,000 protesters gathered outside the court in Nantes where the hearing – that could evict the last 11 families living on the proposed airport – was heard. Aéroport du Grand Ouest (AGO), a subsidiary of Vinci Airports, is requesting crippling fines of up to €1,000 per person per day against farmers who are refusing to move, as well as the seizure of farm properties and animals. Around 300 environmental protesters are currently camped out around the site in a long-standing protest that last weekend mobilised 20,000 people for “Operation Escargot”, an action blocking traffic on regional roads, including the Loire bridge. One Nantes resident facing expulsion, Sylvain Fresnau, a 54-year-old farmer with three children, said he did not believe that evictions would be possible due to the strength of local feeling. He said: “We don’t need another airport in Nantes. We already have 145 airports in this country”. Conservation lawyers say the new court action violates a commitment made by President François Hollande that there would be no more evictions until legal avenues had been fully exhausted. He has not kept his promise, and the case has become symbolic for French environmentalists. The judgement in the evictions case is not expected before 25 January.

Click here to view full story…


See earlier:

Protests and mobilisations on Saturday 9th January against evictions for planned Nantes airport at NDDL

On Saturday 9th January, there will again be huge mobilisations of people against the planned new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, in western France. Not only will there be gatherings at NDDL itself, and in Nantes but the many support committees in other places across France will plan mobilisations too. These included a bike convoy and a protest on foot in Paris, where people will be singing and dancing and giving out literature. The protest is because the authorities plan to carry out compulsory evictions on the 11 families and 4 farms in the ZAD (the zone à défendre), which are due to start in January. They are in the area where Vinci, the company planning to build the airport, want to start work. There is to be a court hearing on 13th January to request their removal, with a fine of € 200 to € 1,000 / day / person and the seizure and sequestration of property and farm animals. People who are passionate that the airport should not be built are not prepared to see these evictions. The government had agreed they would not happen until all legal remedies had been fully exhausted – and they have not. The airport opponents believe it would make better environmental and economic sense to improve the existing Nantes airport, rather than ruin valuable natural habitats and destroy productive farmland. They want a proper independent study done.

Click here to view full story…


 

Open letter by ACIPA to François Hollande asking for forced evictions at NDDL to be stopped

At Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), where a new airport for Nantes is planned, there are due to be forced evictions of those who remain on the land, after a tribunal hearing on 10th December. At the moment 11 families and four farms located in the area of the airport wants to build. The protest group at NDDL have now written to the President of the Republic François Hollande, to ask him to prevent these expulsions. The expulsion order is by AGO (Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of Vinci) on behalf of the state. ACIPA says that therefore, the responsibility lies with the President. There was a month long hunger strike in May 2012, and to end that, an assurance was given that there would not be evictions. That was updated in 2014. ACIPA say the families believed the assurances by government, and they have therefore not made arrangements to leave. The families and the farmers face all their property and livestock being put into receivership if they will not leave. The government made successive promises that all legal remedies would be pursued to exhaustion, and appeals are still pending. ACIPA asks how the President will keep the trust of potential voters, if he does not keep his word. ACIPA want a meeting with the President, the waiving of expulsion orders, and a proper investigation into options to improve the existing Nantes airport

Click here to view full story…

and other news about the proposed new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes 

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Continuing anger in Chicago about large number of night flights over new areas, due to new runway

Changes to Chicago O’Hare flight paths were made from October 2013 when flight were shifted to being mainly over suburbs north and south of the airport to mostly areas east and west of it. The airport has 8 runways, and is slowly closing the diagonal ones and opening new east-west ones  to accommodate more flights. There are numerous night flights – perhaps as many as 19 between 11.30pm and 6am on one night.  People whose sleep is repeatedly interrupted by plane noise are angry and criticised the Chicago Aviation Commissioner for her failure to stop and listen to the complaints from affected communities. She does at least attend noise commission meetings, but has left every meeting before the public comment section. People feel this is indicative of how the citizens of Chicago have been treated and ignored. The Aviation Commission is looking at proposals to spread night noise, by rotating O’Hare runways used at night on a regular basis and using less populated flight corridors. However, city consultants have made clear that the current number of flights from 6 -7am and from 10 -11pm demand more runways than voluntary “fly-quiet” rules require. Therefore, they say different fly-quiet rules should be established for those hours. 
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Rude’ O’Hare awakening: Sleep-deprived residents unload on City Aviation commissioner

BY ROSALIND ROSSI  (Chicago Sun Times)

8th January 2016

Citizens angry about new O’Hare Airport jet noise disrupting their sleep unloaded on the city’s aviation commissioner on Friday for repeatedly leaving noise commission meetings early, before any public participation session.

The first outburst of clear irritation occurred in a foyer outside the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission meeting room, as Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans headed out the door.

“Once again, I had four hours of sleep!’’ Arlene Banas, of Chicago’s 41st Ward, angrily snapped at the fleeing commissioner.

Banas said committee meetings had devolved into a “dog and pony show” by Evans’ failure to stick around and listen to the public.

“Can’t you stay for community comments?” Jimmy Nuter, of Norridge, asked as Evans walked away.

Nuter said his Mayfair home sees as many as 600 to 700 O’Hare flights a day overhead, ruining his sleep. He called Evans “rude.”

Unlike her predecessor, Rosemarie Andolino, Evans has actually attended noise commission meetings since becoming city aviation commissioner last June and inheriting a wellspring of anger over a dramatic October 2013 shift in O’Hare flight paths.

However, Evans routinely leaves before the public comment section of each meeting.

Evans tries to attend “as many meetings as she can for as long as she can” but had some other meetings Friday morning, her spokesman, Owen Kilmer, told a reporter after Friday’s meeting.

Evans’ plan to spread out night jet noise more evenly and other O’Hare proposals prove she is “very sympathetic” to resident complaints, Kilmer said.

But several citizens Friday didn’t see it that way.

“We do not get respect from the commissioner. She’s left every meeting early,” Nuter told the noise commission during its public participation session.

“This is so indicative of how the citizens of Chicago have been treated,” Steve Brick, of Chicago, chimed in. “At every turn, we are ignored.”

Brick said Evans and the noise commission chair, Arlene Juracek, were literally turning their backs on residents. They and others sit with their backs to the audience, sometimes making it difficult for the public to hear what’s being said or know who is speaking, he said.

“We go to all these meetings and the citizens are sitting in the back, looking at your backs,” Brick said. “Up until now, we have been completely ignored. I for one am not going to stand for it.”

Brick said he might not be so angry if not for the fact that the last thing he heard at night – and the first thing that woke him at 3 a.m. – was an O’Hare jet.

“This is the hell we are living under,” Brick said. “The citizens of Chicago are fed up.”

Commission members Friday were given an update on how an ad hoc committee of their group was reviewing proposals to spread out night jet noise by rotating O’Hare runways used at night on a regular basis and using less populated flight corridors.

However, city consultants have made clear that the current number of flights from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. and from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. demand more runways than voluntary fly-quiet rules require. Therefore, they say, different fly-quiet rules should be established for those hours.

A key goal of the ongoing $8.7 billion conversion of the O’Hare airfield from mostly diagonal runways to mostly east-west parallel ones is to better accommodate more flights.

But the fallout has been that since October 2013, residents east and west of the airport have been bombarded with new jet noise.

Since the big switch, the growth in jet noise complaints, especially in Chicago, as been explosive and has won O’Hare the distinction of racking up the most jet noise beefs — by a landslide — among the nation’s 10 largest airports, a Chicago Sun-Times/Better Government Association investigation has shown.

Data released Friday indicated that from January through November of 2015, the city received a record 3.7 million O’Hare noise complaints — 170 times more than during all of 2012, which was the last full year before flight paths changed. However, November saw fewer complaints (351,873) and complainants (50,862) than October.

One citizen contended Friday that there are other ways to address jet traffic besides using more runways during shoulder hours than current fly-quiet rules require.

“There’s an alternative: restrict demand,” 41st Ward resident Frank Gagliardi told the commission. “There are other places that do this.”

Also Friday, Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) told the commission that he wrote Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Dec. 21, saying he wanted to replace Emanuel-appointee Catherine Dunlap as the ward’s representative on the noise commission, but has yet to hear back.

Emanuel has the final say in naming or replacing commission members.

Napolitano said he’s attended every commission meeting since his April election, and has always been given a seat at the commission table and a name placard, along with Dunlap. But at his first appearance since asking to replace Dunlap — on Friday— suddenly he was denied a seat at the table, Napolitano said.

“As the elected official of the 41st Ward, I feel it is time for a change and I can best represent the ward in this fight on noise and pollution,” Napolitano said.

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/1238114/rude-awakening-sleep-deprived-residents-unload-city-aviation-commissioner

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Earlier:

Number of noise complaints around Chicago O’Hare airport rise to over 2.1 million up to end of July 2015

The number of complaints about aircraft noise from O’Hare Airport topped 2 million during the first 7 months of this year — 8 times the number filed in all of 2014. The total number of complaints so far this year hit a record 2,150,258, according to a report the city provided to the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission. Though 35% of the complaints in July came from 10 addresses, the total number of addresses from which complaints came was 44,502, compared with 2,705 in July 2014.  Noise complaints have soared since October 2013 when a 4th east-west parallel runway [O’Hare has 8 runways] opened and the FAA changed O’Hare flight patterns. The majority of flights take off and land westbound and eastbound. A 5th east-west runway is due to open this October. Then a 6th east-west runway in planned. Air traffic activity has been temporarily altered this summer due to the runway construction. Some of the runways are in the “fly-quiet” noise abatement program, on which pilots are asked to follow recommended procedures to reduce noise between 10 pm and 7 am, but it is up to the pilot to decide whether to follow the guidelines. Though it is in a “fly quiet” area, Schiller Park is among the communities where the noise has been worse. Its mayor said: “It’s just distressing. …Our people cannot take it any more. It’s just insane.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/09/number-of-noise-complaints-around-chicago-ohare-airport-rise-to-over-2-1-million-up-to-end-of-july-2015/

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New O’Hare flight paths wake hundreds of Chicagoans beyond free-insulation zone

Chicago O’Hare Airport has a real noise problem. Figures for March show hundreds of Chicago residents were kept awake by aircraft noise, even though they live outside an area predicted to shoulder the worst noise from new flight paths. Analysis from the complaints website shows these people live outside a “noise contour” that determines eligibility for free sound insulation. The noise complaints came from up to 13 miles away from the airport, which is over 8 miles beyond the limits of the noise contour that the FAA predicted would experience onerous jet noise once an $8 billion O’Hare Modernization Program is completed. Studying the locations from where complaints come, it can be seen that many are between two flight paths, which shows people are being affected by noise from both. (That would be the case over London if there was another runway – two parallel arrivals routes a mile or so apart). Changes to Chicago flight paths were made from October 2013 when flight were shifted to being mainly over suburbs north and south of O’Hare to mostly areas east and west of it. Some people are aware of many flights over them at night, with one resident counting 19 between 11.30pm and 6am on one night. People are finding the sleep disturbance very distressing.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/05/new-ohare-flight-paths-wake-hundreds-of-chicagoans-beyond-free-insulation-zone/

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Residents in Chicago, fed up with O’Hare airport jet noise, take to the streets to fight it

O’Hare airport in Chicago has been upsetting residents to the northwest of the city, by changing flight paths, so some people are being over flown a great deal than before. This is the result of the O’Hare Modernization Project that took effect in October 2013. The changes mean that 85% of O’Hare arrivals and departures between 11 pm and 6am will fly over homes in certain suburbs. Those living under these flight paths face not only the noise, the annoyance, the potential impacts on their health and the loss of sleep, but also a decrease in their property prices.  The local community campaign, FAiR (Fair Allocation in Runways) has been touring affected neighbourhoods giving out door hanger signs encouraging people to get active and fight the flight paths, or else “kiss your property values goodbye.”  They plan to hand out door hangers to 50,000 homes. They also have “yard signs” (placards to stick in the front garden) for the campaign, selling these to raise campaign funds. Just as in London and near other UK airports, people are devastated by the new noise pollution. One commented that even with noise insulation, it was impossible to avoid the noise in the neighbourhood, even by going shopping, going swimming, going to the park. It cannot be avoided.

 

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Caroline Pidgeon: “No, London doesn’t need another runway – and the only people who’d benefit own airports”

Caroline Pidgeon is the Liberal Democrat candidate for mayor of London. Writing in City Metric, she explains why there is no need for a new runway, and recommends people read the short paper by AEF, “The Great British Runway Myth – Why there is no need for any new runway in the south east” which clearly sets out the arguments. A key fact is that while the number of UK air passengers has grown by 32% since 2000, the number of actual flights has grown by just 0.6% due to use of larger planes, and getting higher load factors. At Gatwick, 12% of runway slots are not being used; Stansted and Luton have over 40% of slots not used, so there is no shortage of London runway capacity. Caroline says: “In the whole aviation debate, it is strange that the views of ordinary passengers in the rest of the UK are rarely given a fair hearing” …. but we “need to improve train links to Stansted, to ensure that this airport is able to make proper use of its spare capacity.” … “Heathrow Airports Holdings quite understandably wants to create a dominant position in the UK, ideally at the expense of other airports. More landing rights means more profits for them. The closer to a monopoly on international flights they have, the happier they are. But the idea that this company speaks up on behalf of “UK Plc”, or the needs of passengers across the UK, is a joke.”
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No, London doesn’t need another runway – and the only people who’d benefit own airports

By Caroline Pidgeon

January 12, 2016 (in CityMetric, which is part of the New Statesman)

Caroline Pidgeon is the Liberal Democrat candidate for mayor of London. She doesn’t think much of the aviation industry’s enthusiasm for airport expansion…
“Myths which are believed in,” George Orwell once declared, “tend to become true.” We cannot allow that to happen on the issue of aviation.

To challenge the immense commercial lobbying claims of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, I suggest taking a look at the excellent publication by the Aviation Environment Network, The Great British Runway Myth – Why there is no need for any new runway in the south east.

The report highlights many key facts that are often overlooked – for example that, while the number of UK air passengers has grown by 32 per cent since 2000, the number of actual flights has been almost static, growing by just 0.6 per cent.

This point is hardly rocket science, but it is the number of planes that pass through an airport that define whether there is a lack of capacity, not the number of passengers. And in 2014 the average number of passengers per flight at Heathrow and Gatwick was just under 150 people. This is still a relatively low figure.

In fact, when the London Assembly Transport Committee carried out its own investigation into airport capacity three years ago, we heard evidence that – despite all the claims that Heathrow has no spare capacity – it could easily serve 20m more passengers per year, if bigger aircraft were used. Heathrow needs to be a better, not a bigger airport.

What’s more, London and the South East have a surprising number of underused runways. Even at Gatwick, 12% of runway slots are not being used. And in the summer of 2012, 47% of runway slots at Stansted were not used; at Luton it was a staggering 51%.

There’s another issue: not everyone wants to fly from London and the South East. That region accounts for about a third of the UK’s population, but almost two-thirds of its flights.

In the whole aviation debate, it is strange that the views of ordinary passengers in the rest of the UK are rarely given a fair hearing.

The conclusion is clear: London and the South East do not need a further runway.

However, we do need to improve train links to Stansted, to ensure that this airport is able to make proper use of its spare capacity. High Speed 2 will also have a dramatic impact. In effect, it will enable Birmingham to become a further runway serving London and much of the South East.

And yes, we do also need to address issues about how we reduce certain types of flights altogether. Some internal flights should be made redundant by HS2. Business travel can also be substituted in many cases, by intelligent use of technology, especially video conferencing.

But the ultimate argument against expanding Heathrow or Gatwick is to challenge the aviation industry’s claim that creating an international hub airport is the way forward.

Heathrow is not a UK owned company. It’s owned by Heathrow Airports Holdings. That in turn is owned by FGP Topco Limited, a consortium owned and led by the Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial S.A. (25 per cent); and co-owned by Qatar Holding LLC (20 per cent), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (13.3 per cent), the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (11.9 per cent), Alinda Capital Partners (11.2 per cent), China Investment Corporation (10 per cent) and Universities Superannuation Scheme (8.7 per cent).

Heathrow Airports Holdings quite understandably wants to create a dominant position in the UK, ideally at the expense of other airports. More landing rights means more profits for them. The closer to a monopoly on international flights they have, the happier they are.

But the idea that this company speaks up on behalf of “UK Plc”, or the needs of passengers across the UK, is a joke. The reality is it speaks solely for its own commercial self-interest.

As revealed in this week’s Sunday Times, Heathrow handed its largely overseas owners £2.1b in dividends over the past four years – but has paid only £24m in corporation tax in almost a decade.

This island can remain connected, especially to new growing markets around the world, without a new airport in London or the South East. The huge number of tourists to London can also be maintained without a further runway. We can achieve all this without having to accept the demands of Heathrow or Gatwick.

There are strong environmental and economic arguments for a whole different approach to managing aviation demand. But we must start listening to the real facts – not the commercial interests of the owners of Heathrow and Gatwick.

Caroline Pidgeon is a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, and the party’s candidate for mayor.

http://www.citymetric.com/politics/no-london-doesnt-need-another-runway-and-only-people-whod-benefit-own-airports-1734

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AEF report finds UK’s out-of-date aircraft noise policies putting the health of over one million people at risk

A new report by the AEF has identified that the Government’s aircraft noise policies are risking the health of over one million people and an urgent policy rethink is needed ahead of runway decisions in 2016. Aircraft noise is associated with increased risk of increased blood pressure, and higher risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke. Health is also detrimentally affected through sleep disturbance and annoyance. Aircraft noise impedes the memory and learning ability of school children. The UK’s aircraft noise policy has not been updated in line with this mounting evidence base, with some noise policies based on studies dating back to the early 1980s. The Government’s lack of response to emerging evidence on noise may be costing the UK £540 million each year.The noise problem is particularly acute at Heathrow, including many affected schools, but there are serious problems at many other airports too. The health burden is not just experienced close to airports, with high levels of noise miles from the runway. The current policy on flight paths does not consider the impact of sudden changes, or the health impacts of newly affected communities. The report calls for the Government to act now to reduce the health burden from aircraft noise. Long-term noise targets are needed to protect health, and all noise policies should be reviewed in the light of these targets. A new runway should only be permitted if the noise burdens are reduced.
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New report finds out-of-date aircraft noise policies are putting the health of over one million people at risk

A new report by the environmental group Aviation Environment Federation has identified that the Government’s aircraft noise policies are risking the health of over one million people and an urgent policy rethink is needed ahead of upcoming decisions in 2016. The report is being launched in Parliament today (12th January).

The report: !Aircraft Noise and Public Health: the evidence is loud and clear”

AEF noise report 12.1.2016

The report identifies that aircraft noise is associated with increased risk of heart and circulatory problems including increased blood pressure, and higher risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke. Health is also detrimentally affected through sleep disturbance and annoyance and aircraft noise impedes the memory and learning ability of school children.

Aircraft noise policy has not, however, been updated in line with this mounting evidence base, with some noise policies based on studies dating back to the early 1980s. The Government’s lack of response to emerging evidence is putting the health of over one million people at continued risk estimating to cost £540 million each year.

Around 460 schools are exposed to aircraft noise at levels around Heathrow that can impede memory and learning in children while around 600,000 people in the UK are exposed to average aircraft noise levels that risk regular sleep disturbance.

The health burden is not just experienced close to airports. The current policy on flightpaths, for example, does not consider the evidence that sudden changes to aircraft noise exposure are likely to lead to much greater disruption for communities which has implications for health.

The report calls for the Government to act now to reduce the health burden from aircraft noise, by drawing up long-term noise targets to protect health and reviewing all noise policies in light of these targets. The report also calls for any future flightpath changes, new night noise regulations and a new runway in the South East to be permitted only if the decision helps to reduce the noise burden on communities.

Key aviation policy decisions upcoming in 2016 include, importantly, the decision on a new runway in the South East, which has already been pushed back due to environmental concerns, the principles and process of flightpath change decisions, the new night flights regulation (limiting the numbers of night flights) at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and New WHO guidelines are also likely to be published, which will provide further incentive for Government to update its policy.

James Lees, author of the report, said:

“The lack of response from the Government in face of a growing evidence base of the health effects of aircraft noise is putting the health of over one million people in the UK at risk.

“For too long aircraft noise has been seen as only an inconvenience. In fact, aircraft noise is increasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke among people overflown and preventing children from achieving their potential in schools exposed to high levels of aircraft noise.

“Failure to address this problem could make aircraft noise the next public health crisis waiting to happen. Government should end its inaction and start putting the health of its citizens first.”

 

 


The report summary

is at:http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/AEF_aircraft-noise-and-health_FINAL_Web-1.pdf .

The full report

is at:http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/Aircraft-Noise-and-Public-Health-the-evidence-is-loud-and-clear-final-reportONLINE.pdf

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) is the only national NGO campaigning exclusively on the environmental impacts of aviation including noise, air pollution and climate change. Supported by individuals and community groups affected by the UK’s airports and airfields or concerned about aviation and climate change, we promote a sustainable future for aviation which fully recognises and takes account of all its environmental and social impacts.

[3] The report is being launched in the House of Commons on Tuesday 12th January 2016 at an event organised by the Heathrow campaign group HACAN and hosted by Twickenham MP, Dr Tania Mathias.

Professor Stephen Stansfeld will be speaking about the latest evidence of health effects at the report launch.

AEF Director Tim Johnson will be summarising the report’s key findings.

Contact James Lees for more details: 079 8177 2962 / james@aef.org.uk  020 3102 1509

http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/01/12/new-report-finds-out-of-date-aircraft-noise-policies-are-putting-the-health-of-over-one-million-people-at-risk/

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There are links to many earlier publications on the issue of aircraft noise and health at

Noise, Flight paths and Health

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Site of possible 172 acre business park near Horley, on flood plain, over 2ft deep in water

Plans were announced in October for a huge, 172 acre, business park to be built just south of Horley. Reigate and Banstead Borough Council agreed in principle to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) for a business park on the land off Balcombe Road. There is a lively local opposition group. Now a local teacher, Joanna Barnett, has posted a video of herself standing in 2 feet of water, and then in a small rowing boat, on the flooded land.  The land regularly floods, being part of a flood plain, helping to protect Horley. The teacher asks where that water would go, if the are is covered in concrete and tarmac. There are serious concerns that building in a necessary flood plain would make flooding in surrounding areas worse. The water can only drain away slowly into the Burstow Stream and the Gatwick stream, ultimately ending up in the river Mole. Mrs Barnett asks: “Why do you think its OK to spend public money, £540,000, preparing this land for the business park? That is our money and it should not be spent trying to pave over a flood plain.”  More than 3,200 people have now signed a petition railing against plans to create the huge business park. The local group,”Keep Horley Green” are campaigning against the development, which is on land categorised as a public open space. A consultation is due in 2016.
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Horley teacher ROWS across flooded site of proposed business park

11 JAN 2016

 (Get Surrey)

Horley teacher boat

Joanna Barnett has branded plans for the 172-acre development on a flood plain ‘outrageous’

A video of a woman rowing across the site of a proposed 172-acre business park in Horleyhas raised questions of “where will the water go?” if the development goes ahead.

Joanna Barnett is seen standing in two feet of water and, at the deeper points, is in a boat as she questions how a development can go ahead on a natural flood plain.

The 33-year-old school teacher has lived in the Horley area for 24 years and believes the development will transfer flooding issues to the surrounding area.

Standing with water almost at the top of her boots and addressing Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, Mrs Barnett said: “I would love to know where this water is going to go, on this known flood plain which floods every year.

“At the moment there are ducks swimming over there on this known pond, this known flood plain.

“Why do you think its OK to spend public money, £540,000, preparing this land for the business park? That is our money and it should not be spent trying to pave over a flood plain.

“This water will need to go somewhere, its not going to disappear, the only places its going to go is in people’s homes.

“This nonsense needs to stop, they need to cancel the plans and move on. This is a flood plain, 172 acres of flood plain.”

Google Maps
The proposed location for a new 172-acre business park in Horley

The Burstow Stream, into which the water would eventually drain, runs along the eastern edge of the site, along the red line boundary. See link to River Levels UK website that shows nearby rivers and streams

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More than 3,200 people have now signed a petition railing against plans to create the 70 hectare business park.

Equivalent to 85 football pitches in size, it will be situated north of the M23 – close toGatwick Airport – and would be delivered over a 10-year period.

The petition was launched in October but since the video was uploaded signatures have increased by a few hundred.

Mrs Barnett has become a campaigner with the group “Keep Horley Green” who are against the development on Fishers Farm, featured in the video, which is currently categorised as a public open space.

‘Outrageous’

She said: “I have become one of the campaigners because I live in the area and see this field and the whole area flood every year. The proposals are just so outrageous.

“The council are completely contradicting their own policies they have spent years developing by allowing this to go ahead.

“We have a lack of public open space in Horley and we will lose more if this goes ahead.

“If they go ahead and build my guess is if the water doesnt go to the surrounding area it will just go down stream and have a huge affect somewhere else.”

A spokesman from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council said: We understand that residents are sensitive to flood risks, given record rainfall in recent weeks, but that is not a reason to dismiss the potential for a best-in-class business park in this location.

“We have the chance to deliver thousands of well-paid jobs for local people, opportunity for local businesses and regeneration for the town centre.

“It was only in October that we announced we were starting to consider a business park in this location and we are still at an early stage.

“Once the planning process begins, we will appoint specialists to look beyond what is already visible to us and to residents.

“They will carry out surveys to understand how drainage works across the site and the risk of flooding in specific areas.”

A public consultation into the business park development is due to be launched this year.

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/horley-teacher-rows-across-flooded-10694569

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A member of GACC commented: 

It’ll be wet there for ages although possibly not as deep as in the video (which was taken about 10 days ago).  The water flows to the Burstow Stream and the Gatwick Stream and eventually to the River Mole at a point NW of the airport. Current levels on all the watercourses are high but normal for this time of the year.

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Horley business park splashing about

These amazing campaigners have been splashing around in the temporary lake, on the site where there is a planned 172 acre business park, just south of Horley. That is just north of Gatwick airport.

Horley business park sign the petition

Great video (one and a half minutes) of them splashing round in the water. Making the serious point – where would all this water go, if the land was covered in concrete and tarmac?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-qP8PbXGS0 and another video athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC5LuYr9HY0

The water on the lake has nowhere to go because there is a high water table and Horley is built on clay. People are asking “why is Reigate & Banstead” building on a Flood Plain?

The petition against the business park being built there is athttps://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-horley-green


The Keep Horley Green campaign is against the plans for the industrial estate:

They say:

Help us to #KeepHorleyGreen and help us petition against these plans!

Find us on Facebook @ Keep Horley Green.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-horley-green?time=1445420089

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Earlier:

Massive 172 acre business park planned outside Horley to produce a Gatwick airport city

Residents and businesses are shocked and appalled at news that Reigate and Banstead Borough Council  has agreed in principle to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) for a business park on 172 acres of land off Balcombe Road, in Horley. That’s equivalent to 85 football pitches. The council says major international businesses want to move to the area. Residents who would be affected say they knew nothing about the plan in advance. Green Party Surrey County Councillor Jonathan Essex said the development would use up green space, which separated homes in Horley, from nearby Gatwick airporta and “Horley should be a separate town, not just part of the urban sprawl of Gatwick.” A local Conservative councillor said information about the plans could not be made public previously because it was “commercially confidential” andt that “Now we have made the decision we will be talking to and consulting with residents, employers and landowners who could potentially be affected.” There is now a campaign called Keep Horley Green, to oppose the plans. They have a Facebook page and a petition to local MP Sam Giymah. People want green countryside preserved, rather then being covered in concrete. One of the properties under threat of compulsory purchase is Bayhorne Farm, 72 acres.  172 acres is a vast area for a business park – far larger than average.  It would become an “aerotropolis” project.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/massive-170-acre-business-park-planned-outside-horley-to-produce-a-gatwick-airport-city/

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Heathrow passengers up 2.2% last year compared to 2014; ATMs up 0.3%; air cargo down 0.2%

Nearly 75 million passengers travelled through Heathrow in 2015, an increase of 2.2% on 2014 and the airport’s highest ever number of annual passengers.The number of flights (air transport movements) was up 0.3% on 2014. The number of seats per aircraft increased by 2.1% to 209, and passengers per aircraft rose to 1.9% to 160. But the average load factor remained constant at 76.5%. (For 2013, Heathrow said its average load factor was 76.4%, and average number of passengers per aircraft was 154.8).  At the end of 2015, over 20 daily A380 departures and arrivals were operated by eight airlines  “Heathrow continued to play a leading role in helping Britain’s exports reach global markets, with the UK’s largest port by value recording cargo volumes of 1.5 million metric tonnes for the year.”  That is Heathrow’s way of saying the cargo tonnage fell by 0.2% in 2015 compared with 2014. Heathrow says “emerging markets continued to be a driver of traffic growth at Heathrow”, with passenger volumes up 8% to Latin America and 6% to the Middle East. They also say passenger volumes during 2015 were up 14% to China. That’s confusing, as the increase in passengers to the “Asia/Pacific” area, which includes China, only rose by 0.3% for the year. Heathrow itself admits it has terminal capacity for 90 million passengers, so at 75 million, it is not “full”. The Airports Commission said that would not happen till 2030.
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Heathrow’s press release with its 2015 figures is at 

http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Corporate-operational-24/5492


 

`Full’ Heathrow Adds 1.6 Million Passengers Aided by Bigger Jets

By Kari Lundgren (Bloomberg Business)
January 11, 2016

– Europe’s biggest hub boosts tally 2.2% to almost 75 million
– Planes using crowded London airport now average 209 seats

London’s Heathrow Airport, which has operated close to the capacity of its two runways since the start of the decade, boosted passenger numbers to just short of 75 million last year as airlines deployed bigger jets to beat the cap on flights.

Europe’s busiest hub added 1.6 million passengers, a 2.2 percent gain, even as plane movements increased just 0.3 percent, it said in a statement Monday. By the year’s end, more than 20 Airbus Group SE A380 superjumbos were landing every day, helping to lift the average number of seats per flight to 209.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has delayed a decision on whether to allow the construction of a third runway at Heathrow until after London’s mayoral election later this year. The airport says it needs a new strip to lift passenger numbers above 135 million by 2050, while opponents say the 18 billion-pound ($26 billion) plan is too costly and will increase noise in a heavily urban area.

Flights to the Persian Gulf states — home to some of the world’s largest international carriers — as well as emerging markets were among the main drivers of growth in 2015, Heathrow said. Passenger volumes rose 14 percent on routes to China and 8 percent to Latin America. The airport handled 1.5 million metric tons of cargo.

Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said in the statement that Heathrow’s expansion plan will make Britain “the best connected country in the world.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-11/-full-heathrow-adds-1-6-million-passengers-aided-by-bigger-jets

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The Airports Commission said:

“The current terminals have capacity for 90 million passengers per annum, which will thus be constrained by 2030, although there are long-term investment plans in place to increase this to provide sufficient capacity to support up to 95 million passengers.”

page 24 of Business Case and Sustainability Assessment – Heathrow Airport Northwest Runway https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440315/business-case-and-sustainability-assessment.pdf   in July 2015

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The opening of Terminal 5 in 2008 has relieved some pressure on terminal facilities, increasing the airport’s terminal capacity to 90 million passengers per year.


See earlier

Heathrow claims “larger, fuller, quieter” planes – but load factor still just 70 – 76%

Heathrow says it had its busiest ever January with 5.45 million passengers travelling through the airport’s terminals. But the figures mask a decline in the number of flight movements and planes are still flying on average one third empty. There were about 37,130 air transport movements (commercial flights) using Heathrow in January, compared to 4 earlier years when there were over 39,000 flights. The reason why Heathrow can increase its number of passengers, with fewer flights is having more passengers per flight.  Heathrow’s own figures show a lower number of flights at the airport contrasts with its claims that lack of hub capacity is “a ticking time bomb”.  While the central premise of the airport’s drive for expansion has been its claim that it is 98% full, aircraft movements actually fell by 0.8% last month compared to January 2014. Details of Passengers by Market show growth in numbers of passengers to and from emerging economies. However, overall the load factor (the % of the seats in the plane are used) are far lower at Heathrow than many other UK airports, with 70.1% in January. Over recent months, the load factor was 71.3% in November, and about 76% in October and December 2014.  It was 76.4% for the full year 2013 and 75% in 2012.  Heathrow will say, if there is a fall in numbers, that this means it is losing ground to other hubs, and if they rise, it reinforces their case for new hub capacity.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/02/heathrow-claims-larger-fuller-quieter-planes-but-load-factor-still-just-70-76/

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Data from Heathrow statistics at

http://www.heathrowairport.com/about-us/investor-centre/results-and-performance/traffic-statistics

Month and year  Total Passengers Air Transport Movements – Passenger and Cargo Cargo Volume (Metric Tonnes)
January 2005 – December 2015 January 2005 – December  2015
Month Heathrow Heathrow Heathrow
January 2005 5,141,123 39,139 98,781
February 2005 4,753,591 35,723 99,555
March 2005 5,708,627 39,634 109,388
April 2005 5,573,022 39,096 108,058
May 2005 5,636,621 40,432 110,613
June 2005 6,000,208 39,640 109,861
July 2005 6,456,943 41,049 110,844
August 2005 6,120,139 40,260 103,194
September 2005 6,042,020 39,928 109,000
October 2005 5,713,074 40,597 124,648
November 2005 5,208,222 38,468 111,801
December 2005 5,332,860 38,020 110,233
January 2006 5,112,718 39,431 101,573
February 2006 4,734,688 36,109 100,281
March 2006 5,491,143 39,924 115,062
April 2006 5,811,931 38,705 102,026
May 2006 5,716,741 40,617 105,445
June 2006 6,122,230 39,801 107,263
July 2006 6,533,091 40,996 107,589
August 2006 5,987,755 39,611 101,564
September 2006 5,896,743 39,781 106,925
October 2006 5,630,492 40,429 111,120
November 2006 5,099,094 38,556 109,453
December 2006 5,206,233 36,826 96,112
All 2006 1,263,129
January 2007 5,013,163 39,136 95,644
February 2007 4,641,466 36,063 98,403
March 2007 5,646,977 40,181 112,257
April 2007 5,667,573 39,219 104,441
May 2007 5,610,629 40,621 111,613
June 2007 6,014,542 39,959 111,857
July 2007 6,419,432 41,065 111,874
August 2007 6,378,156 41,525 109,516
September 2007 6,022,156 40,108 114,624
October 2007 5,844,064 40,890 114,662
November 2007 5,221,947 38,983 116,456
December 2007 5,374,953 37,963 112,298
All of 2007 1,310,987
January 2008 4,957,887 38,739 105,475
February 2008 4,828,048 37,310 110,919
March 2008 5,612,269 39,313 119,265
April 2008 5,467,910 39,312 120,950
May 2008 5,645,161 40,824 123,862
June 2008 5,958,635 40,195 120,964
July 2008 6,417,660 41,515 123,996
August 2008 6,365,717 40,858 120,285
September 2008 5,802,706 39,846 117,521
October 2008 5,630,399 40,409 119,501
November 2008 4,971,829 37,737 117,621
December 2008 5,251,674 37,081 100,210
All of 2008 1,397,054
January 2009 4,853,191 37,928 92,580
February 2009 4,370,846 34,356 91,046
March 2009 5,193,571 39,968 102,963
April 2009 5,612,596 38,728 93,171
May 2009 5,424,789 39,646 100,045
June 2009 5,775,828 39,230 103,403
July 2009 6,477,476 40,262 109,254
August 2009 6,383,692 39,621 111,324
September 2009 5,783,611 37,869 110,244
October 2009 5,687,438 38,452 120,618
November 2009 5,028,739 37,045 123,439
December 2009 5,316,129 36,921 120,209
All of 2009 1,277,650
January 2010 4,830,092 36,128 106,299
February 2010 4,600,406 35,061 113,021
March 2010 5,211,877 37,363 133,399
April 2010 4,446,530 31,098 100,477
May 2010 5,255,772 37,899 136,165
June 2010 5,783,051 37,989 127,574
July 2010 6,705,882 41,438 130,094
August 2010 6,542,496 41,016 127,200
September 2010 6,221,219 40,002 123,680
October 2010 6,097,490 40,741 138,301
November 2010 5,243,163 38,004 127,961
December 2010 4,809,195 32,481 108,913
All 2010  65,745,250 449,271  1,472,988
January 2011 5,052,726 39,349 116,176
February 2011 4,621,717 36,243 118,325
March 2011 5,331,451 40,159 130,909
April 2011 5,848,560 39,399 121,689
May 2011 5,865,558 40,768 128,083
June 2011 6,146,986 39,963 125,718
July 2011 6,872,514 41,596 128,103
August 2011 6,585,442 41,168 120,942
September 2011 6,310,903 40,528 119,097
October 2011 6,019,465 40,955 128,305
November 2011 5,218,862 37,943 122,769
December 2011 5,517,264 38,126 124,371
All 2011 69,390,628  476,304 1,484,351
January 2012 5,169,518 39,073 112,324
February 2012 4,798,785 36,834 115,920
March 2012 5,697,132 39,890 130,860
April 2012 5,849,171 38,948 118,686
May 2012 5,831,840 40,734 123,172
June 2012 6,245,553 39,685 125,013
July 2012 6,569,647 41,127 126,512
August 2012 6,459,119 41,046 121,469
September 2012 6,345,935 39,616 121,135
October 2012 6,011,761 39,638 125,367
November 2012 5,381,138 37,305 124,057
December 2012 5,625,269 37,445 120,035
All 2012  69,983,174  471,382 1,464,390
January 2013 5,184,924 36,872 106,425
February 2013 4,848,548 35,281 110,948
March 2013 5,921,068 39,413 127,862
April 2013 5,806,681 38,677 115,175
May 2013 6,105,232 40,460 117,849
June 2013 6,531,933 40,013 119,786
July 2013 6,930,334 41,323 118,962
August 2013 6,959,544 41,413 114,225
September 2013 6,559,112 40,308 115,547
October 2013 6,289,291 40,884 124,099
November 2013 5,411,354 38,330 133,376
December 2013 5,784,898 36,578 118,759
All 2013 72,332,160  469,578 1,422,939
January 2014 5,383,877 37,443 112,093
February 2014 4,898,467 35,256 109,803
March 2014 5,753,321 39,470 132,989
April 2014 6,193,738 38,684 120,194
May 2014 6,236,718 41,211 125,982
June 2014 6,600,652 40,320 125,407
July 2014 6,965,356 41,499 128,206
August 2014 7,051,073 41,223 122,831
September 2014 6,577,692 39,837 124,570
October 2014 6,315,187 40,684 134,453
November 2014 5,473,031 37,771 136,419
December 2014 5,925,713 37,297 126,134
All 2014 73,371,106 470,710 1,498,906
Month and year  Total Passengers Air Transport Movements – Passenger and Cargo Cargo Volume (Metric Tonnes)

Murad Qureshi on how Heathrow is expanding passenger numbers, but BAA don’t want Londoners to know it

In his blog, Murad Qureshi (Chair of the Environment Committee, of the London Assembly) writes that after a week of BAA propaganda last week in the pages of the Evening Standard you would be forgiven for thinking that Heathrow is not expanding – but it is!  It may not be by the number of flights coming in and out of Heathrow but it certainly is by passenger numbers.  The A380s have around 500 passengers each. At present Heathrow turns over 69 million passengers annually and once the redevelopment and construction of the five terminals are complete,  it will be able to cope with 90 million passengers a year.  This capacity is not something we hear about often but the fact is that Heathrow will be able to deal an extra  20 million  passengers annually!  This point is made well by AirportWatch yesterday in a letter to the Financial Times. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/05/murad-heathrow/

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Richmond Heathrow Campaign say Heathrow does not need to be expanded to better service more passengers, and to more destinations

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign have made a submission to the Airports Commission on making best short and medium term use of Heathrow. Increasing the seating capacity of the air fleet using Heathrow would facilitate full use of Heathrow’s terminal capacity of 90 million passengers a year (current use is around 70 million). They say Heathrow can be improved, and the amount of aircraft noise caused by Heathrow flights reduced, if there is a (1). More even distribution of aircraft movements across each hour of the day to avoid disruption and delay in peak hours and to end night flights.   (2). Increase the seating capacity of the Heathrow air fleet (i.e. more larger aircraft and fewer small aircraft), in order to increase the number of passengers per aircraft movement within the 480,000 movements limit operating in unbroken segregated mode.  (3). Reverse the strategy of attracting ever more transfer passengers to Heathrow, in order to free up terminal and aircraft capacity for more terminating passengers within the legal limit of 480,000 movements limit operating in unbroken segregated mode.  The Campaign says reducing 20 million transfers a year would free up runway capacity in whole or in part for around 140,000 flights a year from over-subscribed destinations to new destinations. There is a similar improvement as loads are increased from 149 to 187 passengers per flight.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/06/rhc-heathrow-numbers/

 

 

 

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Anger at disgraceful failure of the CAA or London City Airport to consult properly on flight path changes

In a blog about the disgraceful failure of London City Airport and the CAA to consult properly on changes to flight paths, John Stewart explains just how unjust this is. The CAA allowed London City Airport to concentrate all its flight paths without any meaningful consultation with residents.  In effect, the changes will mean the creation of noise ghettos, from 4th February 2016. The approximately 70% of the time, when the wind is westerly, Bow, Leyton, Leytonstone, etc will get all the departures from the airport, and Thamesmead will get arrivals. The 30% of the time with easterly winds, departures will go over Barking Riverside, Dagenham and Hornchurch, and arrivals will go over Sidcup, New Eltham, etc.  Most of these communities have not been informed about the changes, or the noise to which they will be subjected to. In 2014 London City carried out the most minimalist of consultations and said the changes were not significant. Before Christmas, the CAA agreed with City Airport that the change was not significant. Hacan East believes the changes are very significant. The recent report by Helios seriously criticised the CAA for its inadequate consultations. Hacan East says the CAA has let people affected by London City Airport down badly, and there has been injustice. “As Thomas Jefferson might have said, “When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” “
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“When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty”

January 10, 2016
HACAN Blog – by John Stewart

“When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty”

These words were thought to have first been uttered by the American President Thomas Jefferson. And they have been used by many people since.

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that they apply to London City Airport’s plans, just given the green light by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), to concentrate its flight paths over selected communities across London. To, in effect, create noise ghettos. Beginning 4th February.

HACAN East is speaking with lawyers to find a way of challenging the decision.

Most days Bow, Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Redbridge, Barkingside and Collier Row will get all the departures from the airport. Thamesmead will be badly hit by arrivals. All these areas will be hit about 70% of the time in a typical year: the days a west wind is blowing.

When the wind comes from the east all the departures will go over Barking Riverside, Dagenham and Hornchurch. And all the arrivals will go over Sidcup, New Eltham, Mottingham, Catford, Forest Hill, Dulwich Village, Herne Hill, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall.

Although these changed flight paths are due to come in on February 4th, most of the communities that will be affected have not been told about them.

The information is hidden away:

http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/Module%20B%20final.pdf (page 26 indistinct map for South London and p27 for Thamesmead).

And inhttp://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/B05-LCAL_A_ConsultationDocumentIssue1.0.pdf(page 24 for Dagenham and page 26 for Leyton and Leytonstone).

In 2014 London City carried out the most minimalist of consultations. It put a technical document on its website (telling virtually nobody it was there it was there) and informed its supine Consultative Committee who discussed the matter in closed session and whose website was down during the ‘consultation’ period.

London City argued that it did all it was required to do as set out in the guidelines of the CAA which is charged with overseeing the process. It based its argument on its belief that this was not a significant change.

We beg to differ. Areas in North East London will get 30% more aircraft overhead than they do now. And South London will be transformed. At present planes from London City do not present a big problem to most people in South London (outside Thamesmead). This is partly because they are less noisy than the Heathrow planes but mainly because they are dispersed across a wide area.

All this will dramatically change for South London. All the aircraft will be concentrated over selected areas. These areas will get all the City planes when the east wind blows, the very days they currently enjoy much welcome relief from the continuous stream of Heathrow aircraft they get during westerlies.

And, just before Christmas, the Civil Aviation Authority agreed with London City Airport that this was not a significant change! It published a press release announcing its decision in late November: Link 

but its full reasoning wasn’t made available until the 22nd December:  Link

The CAA was already in deep trouble over the way it oversaw changes at Gatwick and elsewhere. A report (commissioned by the CAA) from the consultants Helios slated it: www.caa.co.uk/CAP1356. The independent report slammed the CAA over the way it had conducted the consultation about flight paths at airports across the UK. It branded the consultation as lacking transparency and criticised the CAA for being judge and jury.

The report came out in early December, just ten days after the CAA announced that it would allow London City Airport to concentrate its flight paths. When I met with the Civil Aviation Authority’s CEO Andrew Haines, a decent and thoughtful man, I asked him why they hadn’t waited until they had seen the Helios Report before deciding on the flight paths for London City and other airports. He believed they might have run into legal difficulties if they had done so.

But the CAA’s endorsement of London City’s flight path plans and the consultation which preceded it shows much its processes need a complete overhaul.

The Civil Aviation Authority:

  • Endorsed a 30% increase in flight numbers as not significant
  • Allowed concentration in South London when dispersal was presenting few problems
  • Took no account of the joint impact of London City and Heathrow aircraft, now or in the future
  • Ignored the numbers of people – running into tens of thousands, maybe over 100,000 – affected by the changes
  • Has not informed communities of the changes less than a month before they are due to begin

I’ve known the CAA well over the years and it does do good work – sound research into noise and safety for example. But its supervision of flight path changes is not fit for purpose.

The hope of the local communities had been that it would challenge City Airport. London City has over the years managed to alienate local communities, local authorities, the Mayor of London and many of the area’s councillors and GLA members. Some of my friends in West London may criticise Heathrow. And Heathrow has made mistakes. But, in recent years, Heathrow has poured a lot of money into studies on effective respite, into assessing changes in flight paths and their impacts on communities and into trials of steeper descent approaches.

London City, by contrast, couldn’t even been bothered to tell communities that they will soon be living under concentrated flight paths. We expected nothing more from the airport. We were, though, expecting more from the CAA.

The CAA has let us down badly. It has concurred in a process that is riddled with injustice. It has allowed certain areas to be turned into noise ghettos…when that didn’t need to happen. Where’s the justice in that?

It is inconceivable that tens of thousands of people will accept this. As Thomas Jefferson might have said, “When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.”

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=459

 

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Sunday Times reports how Heathrow has paid its owners dividends of £2.1 billion since 2012 – but just £24 million in Corporation Tax

The Sunday Times reports that Heathrow has paid its owners back £2.1 billion in dividends, starting in 2012. But it has only paid a total of £24 million in corporation tax since 2006, with that payment being last year. Heathrow’s owners are rewarded whenever the value of the airport increases. If new airport infrastructure is built, the passengers pay for it through the £20 cost on their ticket (and other spending), and the owners benefit.. The CAA calculates how much is spent on investment, and allows Heathrow’s investors to earn a return on the total. The more Heathrow spends, the more its backers can earn. If Heathrow was to spend £17.6 billion on its expansion, the value of the airport would be considered to have increased that much. Due to the huge debts Heathrow has (£12.5 billion out of the £16 billion Ferrovial paid in 2006) the airport’s banks prevented dividends to owners, until 2012. They got £240 million in 2012, which has risen to £2.1 billion. Some of the proceeds of the sale of Gatwick, Edinburgh etc has been used for dividends. The Sunday Times says: …”with a debt-to-assets ratio of about 85% is one of the most heavily indebted airports in the world.” Heathrow will have to recoup the money by high passenger charges, years before the runway is built and open, as otherwise Heathrow’s massive investors are not prepared to take the financial risk. Heathrow is no longer a company quoted on the stock exchange, but that could happen in future.
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There is a useful briefing on the subject of how Heathrow would fund its runway, by the Richmond Heathrow Campaign.    “Deliverability” at  http://rhcfacts.org/deliverable/


 

Heathrow’s pot of gold at end of runway

The airport’s owners are happy to spend billions of pounds on a new runway — as long as passengers pay for it up front 
By John Collingridge (The Sunday Times)
10 January 2016
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Full article at
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/Industry/article1654366.ece
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…..[ terminals etc  are upgraded] … through a complex incentive scheme that rewards Heathrow’s backers the more they inflate its assets.
The airport recovers the cost of new terminals and infrastructure from airline charges — about £20 for every passenger who arrives or departs. The Civil Aviation Authority calculates how much is spent on investment, and allows Heathrow’s investors to earn a return on the total. The more Heathrow spends, the more its backers can earn.
Dividend payouts to the investors were initially stifled by the company’s banks. They insisted on lock-up clauses after Spain’s Ferrovial led the debt-fuelled £16bn takeover of Heathrow parent BAA in 2006. But the lock-ups have now gone and the dividends are flowing. In just four years, shareholders have received £2.1bn.
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Burdened by heavy debts and keen to preserve dividends, Heathrow wants the current levy regime to continue. Its case for expansion hinges on passengers helping pay for the new runway, years before it opens, through higher charges.
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Heathrow has suggested it would fund the runway by increasing passenger charges from £20 to £24, yet carriers fear it may be far more — British Airways puts the figure closer to £40 a passenger. “£80 per return trip in airport charges will turn Heathrow into a white elephant,” said Willie Walsh, the boss of International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of BA and Heathrow’s biggest customer.
[See below for more on what Willie Walsh has said about the cost of the runway].
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A pie chart buried in the 342-page Airports Commission report breaks down the cost of expanding Heathrow: £251m for the runway; £799m for car parks; £4bn for land; and £4.8bn for terminal buildings. [£251m for the runway; £799m for car parks; £4bn for land; and £4.8bn for terminal buildings. Airports Commission final report (P 225) ]
 Airports Commission final report cost of Heathrow P 225
……
Heathrow’s investors, which include Qatari, Chinese and Singaporean sovereign wealth funds and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, are not prepared to take on the huge risks that would accompany a third runway without guaranteed returns.
…..
“There must be an ability to make returns commensurate with the risk in the context of a stable regulatory environment,” the operator said in its submission to the commission.
Yet there is no precedent for customers paying up front for a facility of this scale that may not be ready for another 15 years…….“If you’re asking customers to pay for quite a lot of the charges before you complete the asset, you’re passing the completion risk over to them.”
…..
Yet Heathrow has few other options. While the Ferrovial consortium funded the 2006 takeover with £4.3bn of shareholder equity, the rest was loans. Between £500m and £1.2bn of notes will expire every year for the next decade.
Few doubt the company’s ability to pay its dues in its current state.
…..
Yet piling on tens of billions of pounds of extra debt without the hefty upfront charges would leave its investors dangerously exposed.
Then there is the sheer scale of how much it would need to borrow. The consultancy firm PwC reckons Heathrow would have to issue £3bn to £6bn of bonds a year for much of the 2020s, putting its balance sheet on a par with that of Network Rail and far exceeding National Grid’s.
Would the debt markets, or Heathrow’s existing investors, have the stomach for it? “Depending on how this all pans out, it’s quite possible Heathrow floats on the stock market and raises the money over time,” said a City source.
See the whole Sunday Times article at 
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/Industry/article1654366.ece
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Also

Heathrow pays £2bn to owners — and £24m tax

London airport is latest big name to be dragged into row over corporation tax after paying huge dividends to backers
By John Collingridge (Sunday Times)
10 January 2016
HEATHROW has handed its owners £2.1bn in dividends over the past four years — but paid only £24m corporation tax in almost a decade.
The airport was saddled with big debts after the Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial led a £16bn takeover of BAA, Heathrow’s owner, in 2006. Interest payments on the £12.5bn of loans can be set against profits, leaving almost no corporation tax to be paid. [Strange anomaly of the UK system that this is not only allowed, but encouraged. The UK does get a “better” Heathrow, with more modern buildings etc, but instead of the Treasury getting corporation tax, the profit is sucked out to investors abroad.  And Heathrow will not pay corporation tax for decades ahead, it is builds a runway, while it pays back all those loans and bonds and interest … AW comment]
Strip away interest and the airport is a gold mine, with profits of £839m in 2014 on £2.7bn revenues.  [ie. before the interest payments, it made that much profit. ]
Heathrow resumed paying corporation tax only in the second half of last year, with a £24m payment ………… The company began with £240m of dividends in 2012 and by last September had handed over a total of £2.1bn. Sources close to the airport insisted that despite the dividends, investors had barely covered their costs on the 2006 takeover. It has about £1bn of deferred tax on its balance sheet, which it said it plans to pay. [That apparently means theoretical tax that Heathrow may have to pay in future, due to making more money from its improved assets like Terminals – and much of it may in reality never be paid – it is all over many, many years …. AW comment]
………….
Full Sunday Times article at
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/Industry/article1654949.ece
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See earlier,

Willie Walsh tells AOA conference Heathrow’s runway is too expensive, and at that price, would fail

The Airport Operators Association is holding a two day conference on the runway issue, and Willie Walsh (CEO of IAG) was its key speaker. He said Heathrow should not get a 3rd runway, if the Airport Commission’s calculation of the cost of building it is correct. He said: “The Commission got its figures wrong – they are over-inflated. If that is the cost [of a new runway], it won’t be a successful project.” He described the assumption that airlines would pay for the new runway through increases in fares as “outrageous”. British Airways is by far the biggest airline at Heathrow, with 55% of the slots. He said of the Commission’s report: ” … I have concerns about the level of cost associated with the main recommendation and the expectation that the industry can afford to pay for Heathrow’s expansion.” He does not believe the cost is justified, and “If the cost of using an expanded airport significantly exceeds the costs of competitor airports, people won’t use it.” It was not realistic for airlines: “You have to see it in terms of return on capital. ….Either the figures are inflated or you are building inefficient infrastructure. I do not endorse the findings. I definitely don’t support the costs of building a runway. If those costs are real, we should not build it.” On the cost of £8 billion to build a 6th terminal he commented: “How many chandeliers can you have in an airport terminal?

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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.”

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Gatwick Airport paid no Corporation Tax in three years

Gatwick Airport has a £1.2 billion capital investment programme to improve its infrastructure and facilities. But it paid no corporation tax for three consecutive years despite making £638m in profit before tax. Gatwick tried to defend this position, saying: “Whilst year on year we have lessened our financial losses we have yet to make a profit after tax. As a result the airport has not paid corporation tax …Our current £1.2bn capital investment programme and existing asset base, together with the associated debt structure, result in depreciation and interest costs which reduce our operating profits to a loss before tax.”  In the 2012/13 year, Gatwick Airport made £227.1m profit before tax, a 2.5% increase, as it benefited from flights to new destinations in China, Russia, Indonesia, and Turkey. Despite this, it reported a net financial loss of £29.1m, citing asset depreciation and £226.7m of capital investment in the year. Corporation tax is only levied on a company’s net profit. In the UK the corporation tax rate is 23%. Under UK tax law, corporations can claim tax allowances on certain purchases or investments made on business assets. Campaign group UK Uncut estimates that clever accounting rules and complex tax avoidance schemes cost Britain £12bn annually.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/06/gatwick-airport-paid-no-corporation-tax-in-three-years/

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Margaret Hodge: Gatwick runway appeal ‘is hypocritical when it avoids corporation tax’

Gatwick has been accused of “hypocrisy” for avoiding corporation tax while campaigning to build a new runway, allegedly for the benefit of the UK economy. Margaret Hodge, head of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, said the airport should pay its “fair share” if it wants its runway campaign to be credible. She also criticised Heathrow which has not paid corporation tax for several years. But she particularly criticised Gatwick. Its Guernsey-based parent company Ivy Mid Co LP has invested in a £437 million “Eurobond” which charges the airport 12% interest, thus avoiding tax. Gatwick says this sort of bond is often used by other infrastructure companies. Companies in the UK should pay 21% corporation tax on profits, but by spending  £1 billion on upgrading the airport, Gatwick has made no profit recently. Despite pre-tax loses in recent years, it has paid dividends to its overseas shareholders of £436 million. Heathrow has also avoided profits by investing in new buildings etc.  Mrs Hodge said the companies “made a fortune” from their UK activities, which relied on public services,  adding: “For them to pretend they are only in it for the benefit of the UK economy is a touch hypocritical.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/10/margaret-hodge-gatwick-runway-appeal-is-hypocritical-when-it-avoids-corporation-tax/

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