Sadiq Khan, as well as being Labour Mayor of London, is the MP for Tooting. He has backed a new runway at Gatwick since June 2015. Before that he backed Heathrow, but realised the negative impacts of it would be too great (and his support of it would make him unelectable). He now says Theresa May should allow Gatwick a runway, as soon as possible. In November 2015, Sadiq announced that a second runway at Gatwick would create 20,000 extra jobs in Croydon and the surrounding area, (Tooting is next door to Croydon). So that would all be very convenient, to get some local popularity. That would be especially as nobody in London would be in any way inconvenienced (or have their quality of life reduced) by the 200,000 or more annual flights overhead per year – and the increased local air pollution. Other south London boroughs have been enthusiastic, in a frighteningly NIMBY manner, about a Gatwick runway, for the prospects of jobs, and avoiding any more noise from Heathrow flights. Sadiq appears not to appreciate that Gatwick does not help show the “UK is open for business”; it is primarily a leisure airport. It is in entirely the wrong place to help the whole of the UK, and its expansion will merely serve to facilitate the tourism deficit, as Londoners and those in the south east spend more abroad.
London mayor Sadiq Khan joins Gatwick bosses in call for new runway
Key political figure shares stage with airport executives and calls for Theresa May to rule out controversial Heathrow expansion
Gatwick’s campaign to win approval for a second runway has been boosted as the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, joined executives at the airport calling on the new prime minister to back expansion at Heathrow’s rival.
Khan said Gatwick had “put together a formidable plan that is a fantastic display of their confidence in London”. [Odd words ?]
While Khan had already made his support for Gatwick known, the event marks the first time since the Airports Commission was established in 2012 that a key political figure has shared a stage with executives at the contending airports to declare their partisan support.
Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “As Gatwick rapidly approaches full capacity, this increased investment paves the way for our second runway project. It is now clear that only Gatwick can deliver the runway Britain needs to boost international competitiveness and trading links at a time when it is most needed, and we can do that before 2025.”
The debate over where to build a new runway around densely populated Londonhas been raging for more than 25 years, with environmental opposition to expansion at Heathrow preventing earlier proposals being developed there.
David Cameron had promised to make a decision by the end of last year on whether a new runway should be built at Britain’s largest airport, Heathrow, or Gatwick, but then backed away from a controversial issue that divided the Conservatives.
The Airports Commission recommended in July last year that a third runway at Heathrow should be built, but in December the Department forTransport (DfT) announced that further investigation into noise, pollution and compensation was needed.
Last month the DfT said the decision had been deferred until “at least October” following Cameron’s resignation as prime minister.
A Heathrow spokesman said the Airports Commission had disagreed with Khan, adding that Brexit loaded the dice further in favour of the west London location.
“Following an independent, £20m, two-and-a-half-year deep dive into the issue of airport capacity, they confirmed that Heathrow expansion could provide the capacity the UK needs more easily and quickly than any other option.
“Brexit makes the commission’s conclusion that, with Heathrow expansion, ‘the benefits are significantly greater for business passengers, freight operators and the broader economy’ even more persuasive.”
However, campaigners believe that the tide has turned against Heathrow. The campaign group Hacan republished archive material which showed that the new prime minister fiercely opposed the third runway in 2009, telling constituents: “We need a better Heathrow, not a bigger Heathrow.”
The chancellor, Philip Hammond, declared his support for Gatwick in an article in his local constituency newspaper in 2013, while the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the education secretary, Justine Greening, have long opposed Heathrow expansion.
Hacan’s chair, John Stewart, said: “There must now be a real question mark over a third runway. Heathrow will argue that its proposals now offer more to residents than the 2009 plan, but these archives make very clear that we have a prime minister who has expressed strong opposition to Heathrow expansion.”
Sadiq Khan: Second Gatwick runway could create 20,000 extra jobs in Croydon
25 Nov 2015
A second runway at Gatwick would create 20,000 extra jobs in Croydon and the surrounding area, Sadiq Khan has claimed. Sadiq Khan is Tooting Labour MP and London mayoral candidate. [If all those people want to get down to Gatwick to work, they will have to endure the crowded trains and traffic congestion on the roads, along with the extra passengers. The transport infrastructure at Gatwick is not up to that pressure of numbers].
Labour’s London mayoral candidate used a visit to the airport on Friday to reaffirm his support for expanding Gatwick, rather than building a third runway at Heathrow.
Mr Khan said: “Not only is expansion at Gatwick crucial for our future prosperity as a global city, it will be a major catalyst for job and growth in Croydon and south London. 20,000 jobs would be created in Croydon and the surrounding area – there’s no excuse for not getting on with expansion as soon as possible.”
Gatwick has fewer frequent, long-haul routes flying from its runways today than it did in 2010, leading rival Heathrow to claim that allowing the Sussex airport to build a new runway would be a “high-risk gamble”.
Heathrow’s claims were immediately dismissed by Gatwick as “increasingly desperate”. But the new figures from Frontier Economics, commissioned by Heathrow, show that in the past six years Gatwick has lost 12 long-haul routes that airlines were flying at least twice weekly on average, seven of which connected the UK to emerging markets such as Mexico City, Beijing and Jakarta.
In that time it has only gained eight new frequent long-haul routes, meaning a net loss of four, despite its runway having spare capacity.
Not to be outdone by the hopes of Heathrow and Gatwick to get another runway, Stansted is getting in on the act, and saying they will be wanting a runway in due course too. Stansted was not assessed by the Airports Commission, as Stansted had no need of a new runway, being far below capacity. The Airports Commission partly understood that, to even try to keep within the carbon cap for aviation of 37.5MtCO2 by 2050, the addition of one runway would be difficult [it risks UK carbon targets] but it still suggested that by 2040, even if building a runway by 2030, another would be “needed.” Stansted has said in the past that it would like a 2nd runway some time after 2035. Its owners, MAG, are now saying that it will “need” another runway earlier than that. Though they appreciate that there is likely to be a dip in demand for air travel for several years, due to Brexit, they are still keen on adding a runway. MAG’s CEO Charlie Cornish has told the Times: “We will be at capacity some time between 2025 and 2030, so in the next two to three years we will need to start having the appropriate dialogue with the government over the need for a second runway [at Stansted].” MAG repeatedly says the existing runway capacity at Stansted must be fully utilised, including improving its rail links.
Stansted has sights on second runway
By Robert Lea, Industrial Editor (The Times)
July 14 2016
Two of Britain’s busiest airports [Manchester and Stansted] expect to suffer a Brexit-related slowdown in growth over the next couple of years, but their owner argues that one of them will still be so congested by 2030 that it will need a new runway. [Manchester already has a 2nd runway, which is scarcely used as there is not enough demand for it at present].
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, the owner of Manchester and Stansted airports, said that the post-EU referendum devaluation of the pound and the expected slump in GDP growth would hit operations.
“Airlines tend to grow in step with GDP,” Mr Cornish said. “Sterling versus dollar will have an impact on passenger numbers because the money you have will not go as far and that will translate into an impact on demand.”
He said that a British withdrawal from the European Union would not in itself affect the group, but the impact on the exchange rate and the slowing economy would. “We will see a blip for between 12 and 24 months,” he said. “We’ll continue to grow but behind where we had expected to be.”
Stansted, London’s third airport, has rapidly accelerated out of the global financial crisis, during which it lost a third of its passenger numbers. Its mixture of sunseeking and short-break holidaymakers and its attraction to business people for flights to continental capitals means that it is particularly exposed to economic vacillations.
During the recession its woes were exacerbated by Ryanair, its main airline tenant, being in dispute with its former owner, Heathrow Airport Holdings, formerly BAA. Manchester Airports Group bought Stansted for £1.5 billion in 2013. In the 12 months to the end of MAG’s March financial year, Stansted passenger numbers grew 11 per cent to 23 million. That puts Stansted on course this year to overtake Manchester as Britain’s third largest airport.
“We will be at capacity some time between 2025 and 2030, so in the next two to three years we will need to start having the appropriate dialogue with the government over the need for a second runway [at Stansted],” Mr Cornish said.
He was speaking as MAG reported a 21 per cent surge in underlying operating profits to £186 million on revenues of £778 million, 5 per cent higher, much of that due to Stansted’s recovery.
• Luton airport said that 1.4 million passengers went through its terminal in June, up 17 per cent. Birmingham reported a record-breaking 1.1 million passengers during the month.
MAG’s full year results, 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016
said (no mention of another runway)
Stansted is now handling 5.7m more passengers per year than when MAG acquired the airport in early 2013, an increase of 32.6%. The airport still has spare runway capacity and is well-placed to meet future growth in London’s aviation demand, prior to any new runway being built.
London Stansted remains the UK’s fastest growing airport in terms of passenger volumes and has played a key role in providing runway capacity in the South East as other airports fill up. Manchester Airport, meanwhile, has seen a record breaking year. August was the busiest month in the airport’s 77 year history and its success has driven up aviation income across the Group by 2.3% to £387.4m.
MAG notes another year of delay in deciding where a new runway should be built in the South East. MAG believes that this decision should be dictated by competitive market forces rather than Government, and that it is vital that existing runway capacity at Manchester and London Stansted is fully utilised, including improving rail links to Stansted and encouraging new long haul connectivity across the country.
The case to expand London Stansted has been strengthened after the business behind the Essex airport posted a surge in revenues and profits, according to the company’s chief executive.
A 5.7pc rise in passenger numbers across its airports to a record 29.7m helped to send first-half revenues at Manchester Airports Group (MAG) by the same proportion to £445.5m and operating profits 16.5pc higher to £137m. The strongest growth at the company, which also owns Bournemouth and East Midlands airports, was at Stansted, where passengers swelled by 10.6pc to 12.5m in the six months to the end of September.
The debate over how best to avert the impending aviation capacity crisis in the south east has so far centred on the choice between new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick. The Prime Minister is expected to announce within days whether Heathrow is allowed to build a third landing-strip, after the Government-appointed Airports Commission recommended in July that the west London hub should be expanded.
However, Charlie Cornish, the boss of MAG, said that expanding Stansted, including the possibility of a second runway, will also become a more pressing issue if the Essex airport keeps up its current growth rate.
“The Airports Commission did say Stansted could be an option for a second runway around about 2040,” Mr Cornish said. “We think it’s probably 15 to 20 years earlier than that, given our forecasts relative to the Commission’s forecasts.”
A planning cap limits Stansted to 35m passengers a year, which Mr Cornish said would “easily” be reached in the next decade.
If the limit were to be lifted, Stansted could carry up to 45m passengers per annum on a single runway, but further growth would require a second landing strip. The MAG boss conceded that Stansted still needed to make the economic case for another runway first, however.
“Stansted’s got a way to go in terms of demonstrating that it can cater for not just very strong low-cost airlines but equally legacy, full-service carriers,” he said. “Over the next five years we’re expecting to bring a richer mix of airlines.”
The introduction of 31 new routes have driven growth at MAG during the first-half, including flights from Manchester to Boston and Stansted to Los Angeles. At Manchester, passengers were up 4.5pc to 13.8m. They were flat at 500,000 at Bournemouth and fell 6.5pc to 2.9m at East Midlands after troubled airline Monarch scrapped its flights from the airport.
A 3rd Heathrow runway appears increasingly unlikely after Theresa May appointed to her Cabinet a series of opponents to it. Justine Greening, the new Education Secretary, has said building another runway at Heathrow is not a “smart decision” while Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson have also been opposed. Chris Grayling, who is now the Transport Secretary, replacing Patrick McLoughlin,has voiced few public opinions on airport expansion in recent years – though probably privately backed Heathrow in 2009. He will now help oversee the decision on whether Heathrow or Gatwick is chosen for expansion. Whether the option of not choosing either, which would be the sensible decision, is also being reconsidered is not known. Both David Cameron and George Osborne were keen on a Heathrow runway – indeed it was likely that a decision to approve it would have been taken days after a “Remain” vote in the EU Referendum – are now both just backbenchers. Boris Johnson, who has said he would “lie down in front of the bulldozers” if Heathrow built a runway, would face calls to resign if he remained in a Cabinet that backed the project. Philip Hammond, the new Chancellor, said last year: “London’s role as an international air transport hub can be maintained without additional runways at Heathrow. A second runway at Gatwick, plus enhanced transport links between the airports and better transport links to London will create a ‘virtual’ hub airport, maintaining Heathrow’s role in the local economy without expanding it.”
Heathrow Airport expansion in doubt after Theresa May promotes critics to top cabinet posts
By Ben Riley-Smith, political correspondent (Telegraph)
14 JULY 2016
Expansion of Heathrow Airport appears increasingly unlikely after Theresa May appointed to her Cabinet a series of opponents to a third runway.
Justine Greening, the new Education Secretary, has said building another runway at Heathrow is not a “smart decision” while Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson have also been opposed.
Chris Grayling, who was named Transport Secretary, has voiced few public opinions on airport expansion in recent years – though was reported to have privately backed Heathrow in 2009.
He will now help oversee the decision on whether Heathrow or Gatwick is chosen for expansion after years of delay under David Cameron.
Mr Grayling, who was Commons Leader before the promotion, will also have to ensure High Speed Two (HS2) is rolled out over the coming years, despite criticism in some Tory heartlands.
Mr Cameron had said a decision on airport expansions in the South East would be taken this summer after a series of delays, but the timetable is now unclear after a change in leadership.
The former prime minister and George Osborne, the former chancellor, were said to be supportive of the Heathrow bid but have now returned to the backbenches.
However critics of Heathrow have now been handed some of the most senior roles in government by Mrs May, raising questions about whether the airport will be chosen.
Boris Johnson, the new Foreign Secretary, repeatedly campaigned against expansion during his eight years as London Mayor and would face calls to resign if he remained in a cabinet that backed the project.
When asked about a third Heathrow runway last year, Mr Hammond, the new Chancellor, said: “London’s role as an international air transport hub can be maintained without additional runways at Heathrow.
“A second runway at Gatwick, plus enhanced transport links between the airports and better transport links to London will create a ‘virtual’ hub airport, maintaining Heathrow’s role in the local economy without expanding it.”
John Stewart, the chair of the campaign against Heathrow expansion, also claimed Mrs May had attended a meeting and criticised the project in 2008.
“I will continue to put pressure on the Government over the third runway at Heathrow as an extra 222,0000 flights a year would undermine our national targets and seriously damage the health of the local community,” she said at the time, according to Mr Stewart.
Ms Greening spoke out against Heathrow as recently as March, when she told The Telegraph: “I don’t believe that this government will proceed with a third runway decision. I just don’t think it is a smart decision.
“Trying to expand Heathrow is like trying to build an eight bedroom mansion on the site of a terraced house. It is a hub airport that is just simply in the wrong place.”
She added: “The sooner that we can move onto working out a long term airport strategy for Britain the better.”
Theresa May has been urged to quickly rule out a third runway at Heathrow by the leader of Hounslow Council ‘s Conservative opposition group. She has already made radical changes to her Cabinet, and had demands to show her hand over airport expansion. Councillor Peter Thompson, leader of Hounslow Conservative Group, said: “I hope that the new PM will quickly rule out a third Heathrow runway. As a local MP she knows only too well that Heathrow expansion would be noisy, polluting and damaging to local communities.” Ms May’s Maidenhead constituency is close to Heathrow and she has previously raised concerns about noise, night flights and pollution. But she recently told the Evening Standard she would not declare her preference ahead of a formal Cabinet decision on the matter. Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin [replaced on 14th July by Chris Grayling] said following the EU referendum that a decision on airport expansion would now have to wait until October. The arrival in the Cabinet of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, as well as the movement of Philip Hammond to Chancellor, and Justine Greening to Education, may make approval of a Heathrow runway more difficult. The likely abolition of the DfT and the inclusion of transport in a future infrastructure department instead mean uncertain times ahead.
Theresa May urged to ‘quickly rule out’ Heathrow expansion by Hounslow Conservatives
13 JUL 2016 (Get West London)
BY ROBERT CUMBER
The new Prime Minister’s role as a local MP means she knows all about the ‘noise and pollution’ expansion would bring, councillors argue
Theresa May has been urged to quickly rule out a third runway at Heathrow by the leader of Hounslow Council ‘s Conservative opposition group.
The new prime minister was barely given time to get her foot in the door of Number 10 before she faced demands to show her hand over airport expansion.
Councillor Peter Thompson, leader of Hounslow Conservative Group, said: “I hope that the new PM will quickly rule out a third Heathrow runway.
“As a local MP she knows only too well that Heathrow expansion would be noisy, polluting and damaging to local communities.”
Ms May’s Maidenhead constituency is close to Heathrow and she has previously raised concerns about noise, night flights and pollution.
But she recently told the Evening Standard she would not declare her preference ahead of a formal Cabinet decision on the matter.
Her views on the matter are certainly more equivocal than those of Boris Johnson, the initial bookies’ favourite for the top job, who supported closing Heathrow and building a new Thames Estuary airport.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin [replaced on 14th July by Chris Grayling] said following the EU referendum that a decision on airport expansion would now have to wait until October.
Although Mr Thompson wasted no time in pressing the new prime minister over Heathrow, he didn’t dispense with the niceties altogether.
“I congratulate Theresa May MP on becoming Prime Minister today. She will provide us with the strong leadership we need to negotiate the best deal for Britain as we leave the European Union and to make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every single one of us,” he said.
“Theresa May started her political life as a local councillor, serving on the London Borough of Merton for eight years – so she knows the vital role that councillors play in building a better Britain.
“It will be wonderful to have a strong advocate for local government at the highest level of government.”
A London Assembly Member recently became embroiled in a row when he was accused of “betraying” Hillingdon residents by attending a Heathrow event.
[And here is the pitch by Back Heathrow:
‘Out of touch’ However, Back Heathrow campaign director Rob Gray responded to Cllr Thompson’s comments by saying: “Sadly, I fear Mr Thompson is out of touch with many Hounslow residents on this issue. I hope that the new Prime Minister will quickly endorse Heathrow expansion.
“As a local MP, Mrs May knows only too well that a new runway at Heathrow would be an enormously valuable asset to local communities who would benefit from more jobs, investment, skills, training and transport links.
“Unlike Mr Thompson, she should appreciate the significant commitments the airport has made to reduce noise and pollution.
“For too long the government has dithered and delayed making a decision on aviation capacity in the south east.
“Mrs May should now make that decision in both the national and local interest, based on the independent Airports Commission’s unanimous recommendation for a bigger and better Heathrow.”
Chris Graying has been appointed Transport Secretary.
EU Referendum: Supported Leave
Grayling made a principled case for Brexit while avoiding personal attacks on colleagues.
Constituency: Epsom and Ewell since 2001
Education: Royal Grammar School, followed by a degree in history from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
Worked in media, joining BBC News in 1985 as a trainee, becoming a producer in 1986. He subsequently worked at Channel 4 before moving back to the BBC, and later ran several television production companies
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons (2005)
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport (2005-2007)
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2007-2009)
Shadow Home Secretary (2009-2010)
Minister of State for Employment (2010-2012)
Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice (2012-2015)
Leader of the House of Commons (2015-2016)
Transport secretary (2016)
AN: Do you agree with the Prime Minister that what he now calls climate change – used to call global warming – is one of the most serious threats facing mankind?
CG: Well, there’s no doubt that the whole issue of energy, carbon emissions… I mean the truth is what Ed Miliband was trying to do today was to drive wedges between those who believe strongly in climate change and those who are less sure.
AN: I didn’t ask you about Mr Miliband; I asked you did you agree with the Prime Minister that climate change is one of the most serious threats facing mankind?
CG: Climate is clearly a very real issue for us and it’s something where we need to take steps…
AN: Is it one of the most serious threats facing mankind?
CG: Well, around the world climate is clearly having a major impact upon different societies and therefore investment in this country in things like flood defences, but also the use of the foreign aid budget…
AN: Do you believe that manmade climate change is one of the most serious threats facing mankind?
CG: There’s no doubt that climate change is an issue around the world.
AN: An issue?
CG: Well, it’s a very serious issue around the world.
AN: Lots of things are issues: Ukraine’s an issue; price of bread’s an issue.
Theresa May is carrying out a whole scale reconstruction of the Government by axing three departments, The Telegraph understands.
The changes – if they come to pass – appear to be the biggest since 2007 when Gordon Brown became Labour Prime Minister.
Multiple sources have told me that the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Transport are set to be shut down. They could be replaced with two new departments – one for Infrastructure and one for Industry.
One minister told me: “This is not a reshuffle, this is a reconstruction. This is a new Government. It is complicated and it will take time.”
Already civil servants from other departments are at the Business department ahead of the carve up.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change would see its briefs split between the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the new Infrastructure department.
A source at the Department for Transport said the changes would “make sense”.
Patrick McLoughlin has said Theresa May must get on and make a runway decision quickly, if the timetable to get the runway built – by 2030 – is not to slip. He said: “So long as we can get a decision as quickly as we can in October, we can still stick to the timetable that was set out in Davies.” He said the decision was for the Prime Minister, and “Parliament rises next week so in all honesty I still think we’re probably looking at around about the October period. I don’t think this is a decision that could be made when Parliament is not sitting.” Parliament does sit from 5th to 15th September. On 30th June he had said: ‘Clearly any announcement on airports capacity would have to be made with the House in session and, being realistic given recent events, I cannot now foresee an announcement until at least October.’ He said in February: “Basically, there are 6 months for the planning inquiry and examination in public; 3 months for the planning inspector to report to the Secretary of State; 3 months for the Secretary of State to consider, report and announce a decision; a 6-week period for any potential judicial reviews; and within that period there are also parliamentary occasions when Parliament can take a vote on the issues.” The timetable the government is working to is a runway by 2030, though Heathrow and Gatwick would prefer it to be by 2025.
Transport Secretary urges quick decision on South East runway
13.7.2016 (Press Association)
The expansion timetable set out by the Airports Commission might be met only if incoming prime minister Theresa May makes a decision on which project to back by October, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has warned.
The commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, published its final report in July last year stating that a new runway was needed in south-east England by 2030 and recommending that Heathrow’s plan should go ahead.
But in December the Department for Transport announced that further investigation into noise, pollution and compensation was needed and last month Mr McLoughlin said the decision had been deferred until “at least October” following David Cameron’s resignation.
In an interview with the Press Association, the Transport Secretary stressed the importance of the decision being made as soon as possible.
Mr McLoughlin said: “So long as we can get a decision as quickly as we can in October, we can still stick to the timetable that was set out in Davies.”
The timing of the decision was “a case for the Prime Minister”, he said, adding: “Parliament rises next week so in all honesty I still think we’re probably looking at around about the October period.
“I don’t think this is a decision that could be made when Parliament is not sitting.”
Mr Cameron was expected to confirm whether projects at Heathrow or Gatwick would be supported shortly after the EU referendum, but the victory for the Leave campaign means the decision has been left for successor Mrs May. [It was expected that a decision, favouring Heathrow, would be made on 7th or 8th July, after a Leave victory in the Brexit Referendum. But the result in favour of Leave changed all that. AW note].
Business leaders have criticised the delay, with the British Chambers of Commerce claiming the Government was “missing a golden opportunity to stimulate business confidence”.
Patrick McLoughlin evidence to Transport Cttee – he “very much hoped” to give runway location decision by July
February 11, 2016
The Commons Transport Committee held an oral evidence session on 8th February, inviting Transport Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin, to comment on the decision by the government to delay a statement on the location of a possible new runway. The tone of the session was that the Committee was eager for a decision to be made rapidly, with concern that undue time was being taken. Mr McLoughlin explained that even an EU referendum in June would not rule out a decision before Parliament’s summer recess. He said though there has been a delay, partly due to air pollution problems and the VW “defeat” scandal, he hoped the government was ensuring all necessary research had been done, to minimise the chance of legal challenges causing yet further delays. The timetable the government is working to is a runway by 2030, though Heathrow and Gatwick would prefer it to be by 2025. Mr McLoughlin said he “very much hoped” there would be a statement to Parliament at least several days before summer recess (starts 21st July) to allow time for MPs to comment etc. He stressed how the 2008 Planning Act would make pushing a runway through fast, and gave the various timings, with only 6 months for a planning inquiry and examination in public.
Transport Select Committee wants rapid decision on runway location – then sort out the problems later …..
May 4, 2016
The Commons Transport Select Committee, chaired by Louise Ellman (for years a strong advocate of a larger Heathrow) has published a report that wants the government to make a rapid decision on the location of a new south east runway. Ms Ellman says Patrick Mcloughlin should set out a clear timetable of the decision making process. He should also set out what research the government has already done and what remains to be done. The Committee wants a decision in order to, in its view, remove uncertainty for business so companies can be planning and investing. The report is entirely of the view that a runway is needed for links to emerging markets. It ignores the reality that most journeys are for leisure, and it ignores the huge costs to the taxpayer, of either scheme. The Committee wants a location decision, and somehow believes that all other environmental and infrastructure problems will then (magically?) be sorted out. They say: “… we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access.” So decide first – with what is likely to be a bad decision – and work out how to deal with the intractable, and inevitable, problems later. Is that a sensible course of action for a responsible government?
The Scottish Government bought the loss-making airport for £1 in 2013, and is trying to find ways for it to make money. Prestwick now has hopes of becoming a “space hub” delivering small satellites and tourists into low-level orbit. The Scottish Government will provide a funding package, for 2 years, of £240,000 from South Ayrshire Council and Scottish Enterprise. This will cover “infrastructure, business development, energy reduction and supply chain development.” The Queen’s Speech in May confirmed aims to drive through the complex legislation needed to certify the safe operation of space vehicles through the Modern Transport Bill. The DfT is setting up a regulatory framework to license individual sites, with Prestwick and two other Scottish locations – Campbeltown on the west coast and Stornoway in the Western Isles – among those short-listed last year. There are hopes of jobs, if the project goes ahead. Prestwick has now signed a memorandum of understanding with California-based space launch vehicle designer XCOR Aerospace, and space plane design and operating company Orbital Access Limited, setting out an action plan. This would be a competitor to the Virgin Galactic sub-orbital passenger flights, taking 2 passengers at a time into an orbit of 350,000 feet for a short time, at immense cost.
Prestwick’s spaceport ambitions boosted by deal with US spaceplane designer
13.7.2016 (Herald Scotland)
By Helen McArdle
Space tourism from Prestwick is a step closer after a US firm at the cutting edge of spaceflight design struck a deal with the Ayrshire base to bring manned launch services to Scotland.
The spaceport has signed a memorandum of understanding with California-based space launch vehicle designer XCOR Aerospace and space plane design and operating company Orbital Access Limited, setting out an action plan for operations at Prestwick.
The move takes it closer to launching manned flights using XCOR’s Lynx, a two-seater supersonic spacecraft which is vying with Virgin Galactic to become the first firm to launch sub-orbital passenger flights.
XCOR has already sold more than 200 tickets at $95,000 (£72,000) each for the inaugural flights, which promise give passengers a view of Earth from a gravity-defying altitude of 350,000ft.
The tie-up between XCOR and Glasgow Prestwick comes as the taxpayer-owned airport ramps up its efforts to become the UK’s first spaceport, a venture that would also allow it to become a major base for scientific research and satellite launches.
Mike Stewart, business development director at Glasgow Prestwick, said: “We already have the vast majority of the infrastructure in place and with as little as £1million investment we could be up and running.
“Having a pipeline of partners, customers and suppliers in place will be hugely helpful in pulling together the business case for the investment required to get up and running.
“The progress that we are making now that the UK Government has decided to make this a licensing regime rather than a bidding process demonstrates that this was the right decision for the industry and the UK economy.
“This has allowed the market to accelerate the process and decide where it feels that launches can be best delivered. We are delighted that Orbital Access and XCOR have decided that the best place for them is Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport and that they are establishing operational bases onsite.”
XCOR president and CEO, Jay Gibson, added: “Strategic aerospace industrial partnerships and strong routes to market characterise our approach to bringing this ground breaking system to fruition.
“Our unique reusable rocket motor technology is at the core of the Lynx and we are looking forward to working with partners in the Scottish aerospace and space sector.”
The collaboration, which is supported by Scottish Enterprise, was unveiled yesterday at Farnborough International Airshow.
Stuart McIntyre, the chief executive of Orbital Access, said: “The Lynx represents a highly versatile manned spacecraft to service space research missions in zero gravity, and provide academics and industry with a unique and responsive research environment. It can also support leisure sub-orbital flights.
“This will complement our satellite launch systems, which are in development, and complete the suite of launch services Orbital Access will be offering at spaceports globally.”
The development comes after doubts over the future of the Lynx project when XCOR began laying off US staff involved in designing the spaceplane, which was first announced in 2008.
In March, there were also reports that XCOR might divert resources into other research after it signed a deal with United Launch Alliance, the Boeing-Lockheed partnership that launches lots of military satellites, to develop a new rocket engine powered by liquid hydrogen.
The prospects for space tourism generally suffered a blow when Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight over the Mojave desert in 2014, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury.
Officials say a spaceport at Prestwick could deliver 1,450 jobs.
Plans to create a space hub around Government-owned Prestwick Airport have received a fresh funding package of £240,000 from local government and economic development authorities.
The money, supplied equally by South Ayrshire Council and Scottish Enterprise, will fund a two-year support package covering infrastructure, business development, energy reduction and supply chain development.
It includes the appointment of a new “programme manager” to be based out of the airport’s administrative offices. The move comes as the struggling operation competes to become one of the UK’s first “spaceports” delivering small satellites and tourists into low-level orbit.
Last month’s Queen’s Speech confirmed aims to drive through the complex legislation needed to certify the safe operation of space vehicles through the Modern Transport Bill.
The Department for Transport is setting up a regulatory framework to license individual sites, with Prestwick and two other Scottish locations – Campbeltown on the west coast and Stornoway in the Western Isles – among those short-listed last year.
Should Prestwick get a licence, officials say the project could deliver as many as 1,450 jobs within ten years, with £320 million of additional economic activity. The new programme manager will work alongside a variety of organisations through the Prestwick Aerospace partnership.
Eileen Howat, chief executive of South Ayrshire Council, said it is now the right time to push forward ambitious plans for Prestwick. The Scottish Government bought the loss-making airport for £1 in 2013, and is seeking to re-build its fortunes under newly-appointed chief executive Ron Smith.
Scotland leading race to host UK’s first spaceport
4 January 2016 (Scotsman)
Campbeltown, Stornoway and Prestwick among Scottish contenders Scottish spaceport ‘could be operational by 2019’ Cornwall and Gwynedd also in running SCOTLAND is leading the race to host the UK’s first space port, with a new report suggesting it could be operational by 2019.
All of the potential Scottish space sites are in step with a government checklist of base requirements – with their remote nature helping allay safety and noise pollution fears over bids south of the Border.
Spaceports have previously only been seen in films like Star Wars, but the government is keen to establish one in the UK to allow regular space tourism flights and to send satellites into orbit.
With firms like Space X and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic expressing an interest in launching flights from the UK as soon as 2018, the reality of space tourists and commercial rocket launches is tantalisingly close.
The Department of Transport published a list of criteria for any site bidding last week.
Key among them was a clear flight path north, over the sea, into a polar orbit.
The government also made it clear it preferred a coastal site with low population density.
The demands put the Scottish contenders, Campbeltown, Stornoway and Prestwick, ahead of competitors in England and Wales.
Newquay in Cornwall and Llanbedr airport in Wales are also being considered, but Tom Millar, director of the Campbeltown-based Discover Space UK bid, said he was ‘confident’ of a Scottish victory.
He said: “I’d be surprised if our bid doesn’t finish top of the league. The more detail we get of what the government wants, the more convinced I am that our bid is the best.
“The driver from our point of view is that we are suffering depopulation and unemployment. This could be a game-changer.”
Howie Firth of the Spaceport Scotland group added: “Economically, a spaceport is not a luxury – it’s a vital investment.
“It would be a tremendous prize to come to Scotland. It would attract industries, create jobs and it would be the most incredible inspiration. The potential is huge.”
The UK’s space industry is still relatively small, with firms looking to launch satellites having to wait for a slot on rockets launching from South America or Kazakhstan.
Mr Firth added: “The current situation is like having a shipbuilding industry thousands of miles from the sea.
“If instead of having to package up a satellite and send it miles away you could simply put it in a van and drive to a spaceport it would make a tremendous difference.”
A final list of technical specifications for the spaceport will be published next year before the official bidding process opens.
At another of the massive protests organised by the campaigners against the new airport, there were some 25,000 people, from across France. They came again, in huge numbers, from the 200 or so support committees across France and Belgium, who work to block the new airport. John Stewart attended and his blog about the event explains just how pointless the plan is to move the airport to this new site, closing down the existing Nantes airport, which is not even full. The new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes has become the most controversial environmental project in France. It is causing the Government of Francois Hollande a major headache. The (non-binding) referendum held on 26th June voted by a small majority for the new airport, but much of the pro vote was from areas some distance to the north, perhaps hoping for jobs or easier trips to the airport on holidays. The new airport is not being built to cope with high demand, or to avoid flights over Nantes. The economic case is very weak. Opponents feel the new airport is largely an ego project for local politicians. Work has to start before February 2017, when the planning consent runs out. There are fears there will be violent scenes – perhaps this autumn – when the army is likely to be called in to evict those defending the ZAD area. And all for such a pointless, seriously environmentally harmful, project with little real justification.
Even if you are a big fan of aviation, you’d be hard-pushed to back the proposed new airport outside Nantes in west France.
The huge numbers (possibly as many as 25,000) that turned up last weekend (9th and 10th July) to two days of protest highlighted once again why the plan to build the airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes has become the most controversial environmental project in France.
It is causing the Government of Francois Hollande a major headache. There are over 200 groups across Belgium and France which back the opponents of the airport and which carry out demonstrations in their own areas in support of them. There were violent scenes a few years ago when the French Police tried to evict some of the thousands of young activists who are camped in Le Zad on the site of the proposed new airport.
Hollande tried to get round his problem by calling a (non-binding) regional referendum this summer. People were asked to decide whether they wanted to retain the existing one-runway airport close to the city or back the new two-runway airport over 17 kilometres outside Nantes. Hundreds of thousands of people voted. The vote went 55% to 45% in favour of the new airport.
But, far from settling the issue as Holland had hoped, the breakdown of the result has highlighted the pointlessness of the new airport. The city of Nantes split 50/50 but the communities in the city close to the existing airport plus those under its flight path voted to keep it. They wanted to keep the jobs it provides and signalled that the flights to the half-empty airport are not a problem. The vote in favour of the new airport was swung by communities 20 – 50 kilometres north of Nantes, some of whom felt the new airport might provide them with jobs and others who believed it would be easier for them to get to than the exiting airport on the other side of the city.
So this is a major new airport, ‘Nantes International’, being proposed on prime farmland not to relieve congestion at the existing airport, nor in response to demands for noise relief for those under existing flight paths, nor even because Nantes is in the middle of nowhere; it is just two hours by train to Paris. And not because a convincing economic case has been made for it.
The justification for the new airport seems to be that it will act as a catalyst for economic growth in the west of France. Plonked in the middle of nowhere, the idea is will serve the surrounding towns, Nantes, Angers and Rennes, each of them many kilometres from the airport. But there are real doubts whether there are sufficient people in these medium-sized towns to sustain such a project.
Almost certainly, any realistic assessment of the market would rule out the airport. And the links to these towns from the new airport are unplanned. There may or may not be a rail link to Nantes. Rennes and Angers would be served by coaches! The campaigners claim that the airport has more to do with the egos of the local politicians than the needs of the local area.
The Government needs to start building the airport by February 2017 or the planning permission it got five years ago falls. That means it would need to start evicting the environmental activists in Le Zad (the Zone a Defendre) and the local farmers in the autumn. It recognizes that, given the scale of the opposition across France and beyond, it will require the army rather than the police to do so. It may be a battle it cannot win.
You don’t need to be an anti-aviation activist to be against this new airport.
No works. No expulsions. It is always NO to the airport. (Don’t touch my tree)
No expulsions. No works. No airport.
One tiny part of the crowd.
Speakers. Gaspillage means Waste.
Inside the main tent, listening to speeches
Sowing the seeds of democracy.
Hundreds of lanterns against the NDDL airport, and in memory of Rémi Fraisse, who died recently while opposing the building of a dam at Sivens, in the Garonne. Link
The “Free Ride” stall at the gathering. Leo Murray set up the campaign, to show how in the UK 70% of the flights are taken by only 15% of people. More airport capacity is generally to serve these very frequent fliers. They can fly so much because flying is artificially cheap, paying no fuel duty and no VAT.
AirportWatch Europe is a network of aviation and airport activists from across Europe concerned about the expansion of aviation.
Joint statement by the Nantes anti-airport movement at Notre-Dame-des-Landes
June 28, 2016
This is the joint statement of the anti-airport movement on Sunday night following the results of the consultation. “As was shown the various components of the movement, the setting, the process and the content of this consultation were fundamentally biased . This was based on a series of government lies and was radically unfair. There was no question for us that this is just one step in the long struggle for a future without an airport at Notre Dame des Landes. This struggle continues tonight. We know that the attacks of the government and pro-airport side will be strengthened. On our side, we will not cease to live, grow and protect this farmland. It will continue to be defended with great energy because it carries the ineradicable hopes today against the destruction of the living and the commodification of the world. We call on all supporters and committees throughout France and beyond to mobilize and be vigilant in the weeks and months ahead. There will not be an airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. We call in this sense, and in the first instance, for a massive convergence at Notre-Dame-des-Landes for a summer anti-airport gathering, on 9th and 10th July.”
Notre-Dame-des-Landes referendum: 55% majority in favour of new airport – ACIPA fights on
June 27, 2016
There was a referendum in the Loire-Atlantique département on 26th June, with the question whether people backed the moving of the current Nantes-Atlantique airport south of Nantes, to a site north of Nantes, at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Finally the voting was 55% in favour of the move. The area to be destroyed for the new airport is good farm land and valuable wetland habitat, and there has been fierce, determined opposition to the project for years. The local opposition, focused through ACIPA, was deeply critical of the way the referendum was organised. They believe areas other than just those in Loire-Atlantique should have been consulted. Some of these areas would be opposed to the move, and some have to contribute public funds towards it. The government wanted the poll as early as possible, as there is a “declaration of public utility” lasting till October, so work has to start by then. The prime minister, Manual Valls, made a statement as soon as the referendum result was known, that “the government will implement the verdict.” Those backing the new airport want to clear the protesters living illegally on the ZAD, some of the land on which the airport would be built, moved away soon, so clearing work can start. ACIPA said this result was just one step in their long struggle against the airport, and their struggle now continues.
English translations of some videos explaining arguments against a new Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport
June 20, 2016
The local opposition around Nantes, to the building a new airport north of Nantes, have produced a series of short videos, setting out some of the issues. There will be a referendum on 26th June, for people in the area, on whether the existing airport, Nantes-Atlantique, should be closed and a new airport constructed at Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL). The opponents of the NDDL airport say, among other things: – The number of flights at Nantes has hardly grown in 10 years. – It is possible to slightly grow the current Nantes-Atlantique airport (just south of Nantes) and slightly extend the runway by 60 metres. – It is possible to take measures to slightly reduce the noise at the Nantes-Atlantique airport. – The new NDDL airpot would cost the taxpayer about €280 million. – There would be no more destinations from the new NDDL airport than from the Nantes-Atlantique airport. Germany has 45 airports, and France has 156 airports. – The NDDL airport would mean the destruction of 700 hectares of wetland and about 900 hectares of farmland. – Many protected species would be lost. – About 200 agriculture-associated jobs would be lost, and most of the alleged new jobs would just move from the old airport. – The costs to passengers will be higher at the NDDL airport. And there is a lot more. With English translations here.
Local referendum on whether to move Nantes-Atlantique airport to Notre-Dame-des-Landes – 26th June
June 3, 2016
On 26th June there will be a consultation/referendum on the issue of whether the existing airport, Nantes-Atlantique, just south of Nantes should be moved to a site north of the town at Notre-Dame-des- Landes (NDDL). The government announced this referendum back in March.The question that will be asked is: “Do you support the proposed transfer of Nantes-Atlantique airport to the municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Landes?” The referendum is open to voters of the municipalities of Loire-Atlantique. Opponents are running an active campaign, to provide information to every potential voter and attending public meetings, with their spirit of quiet determination. Opponents, including local campaign ACIPA, say nobody asked for this referendum, and it does not in any way legitimize the airport project at NDDL, which they consider to be illegal, ruinous and destructive. They say the conditions for real democratic debate are not met; the area chosen for the referendum excludes some important local communities; the question is biased; and there is no guarantee of fair treatment of the opposition. They are not impressed that the Prime Minister has announced the start of work in the autumn, despite the referendum. They say the airport cannot proceed until various legal matters have been sorted out. There will be another huge anti-NDDL gathering on 9th and 10th July. “On a tous une bonne raison de voter NON.” (We all have a reason to vote NO.)
Following the publication by Stansted Airport of the process it will adopt to deal with long overdue compensation payments for local residents, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has accused it of unreasonably seeking to deter thousands of local residents who may well have a valid compensation claim, from even submitting one. As part of its ‘Guide to Residents’ on submitting compensation claims, Stansted has published a map which shows an incredibly small ‘eligibility area’ – with no explanation as to the basis for this. SSE says there is absolutely no legal basis for eligibility for compensation to be thus restricted. The law only requires claimants to demonstrate that the value of their property has been reduced by physical factors (noise, air pollution etc.) arising from the airport expansion. This came about because of infrastructure that enabled the airport’s passenger throughput to triple in the space of the 8 years leading up to 2007. The limited area includes just a few hundred homes, but the full area includes many thousands of homes that have lost a significant amount of value. Stansted residents have only received any compensation for expansion much earlier, in the 1990s. SSE is advising people not to be deterred, and it will be asking Stansted for a lot more clarification of the legal basis for its attempt to limit claims.
SSE TELLS STANSTED AIRPORT TO PUBLISH ITS EVIDENCE
Accuses airport of seeking to evade its responsibility to compensate local residents.
Following the publication by Stansted Airport Ltd (STAL) last week of the process it will adopt to deal with long overdue compensation payments for local residents, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has accused STAL of unreasonably seeking to deter thousands of local residents who may well have a valid compensation claim, from even submitting a claim.
There is absolutely no legal basis for STAL to restrict eligibility for compensation to a shaded area on a map. The law only requires claimants to demonstrate that the value of their property has been reduced by physical factors (noise, air pollution etc.) arising from the expansion of Stansted Airport which was enabled by the infrastructure added between 2001 and 2007 – the so-called Phase 2 development of Stansted.
Only a few hundred homes are within STAL’s eligibility area whereas evidence gathered by SSE in 2007 clearly indicates that many thousands of local homes lost a significant amount of their value (compared to the general movement in house prices) between 2001 and 2007 – i.e. at the time of the Phase 2 development of Stansted. This expansion of Stansted’s taxiways, aircraft stands and runway infrastructure enabled the airport’s passenger throughput to triple in the space of the eight years leading up to 2007. To date, local residents have received no compensation for this.
Local residents have only ever received compensation for Stansted Airport’s expansion to 8 million passengers per annum (8mppa) in the 1990s – the so-called Phase 1 development of Stansted. At that time, compensation payments ranging from 2% to 20% of the value of their houses were paid to residents in Broxted, Burton End, Great and Little Hallingbury, and parts of Birchanger, Bishop’s Stortford, Elsenham, Hatfield Broad Oak, Hatfield Heath, Spellbrook, Takeley and Thaxted.
Stansted’s Phase 2 development from 2001 to 2007 enabled the airport to triple its throughput to 24mppa and STAL believes that the airport can achieve a throughput of 35mppa (possibly more) without any additional taxiways, aircraft stands or runway infrastructure. This throughput would be more than four times the 8mppa throughput for which compensation has been paid to date.
SSE’s evidence – based on the official Land Registry statistics – shows significant house price depreciation in areas far beyond the shaded eligibility area on STAL’s map. There is evidence of house price depreciation in postcode sectors CM6 1, CM6 2, CM6 3, CM22 6, CM22 7, CM24 8 and CM23 5. That is not to say that all the properties in all of these postcode sectors experienced a loss in their relative value due to Stansted’s Phase 2 development. Nor is it to say that no property outside these postcode sectors was devalued by Stansted’s Phase 2 development.
SSE strongly recommends that individuals who believe they may have an entitlement to claim should not be deterred by STAL’s attempts to minimise the number of claimants, and they should take professional advice. It is not SSE’s role to advise which individual homes may be eligible for compensation and which may not. It is however very clear to SSE that STAL is seeking to be unreasonably restrictive with the eligibility area it has drawn on its map. STAL does not explain how it has arrived at this area and, as we have said, it has no legal basis.
SSE has written to STAL asking for the evidence it relied upon to define its eligibility area. The letter also asks STAL to explain and clarify a number of other restrictions attached to STAL’s compensation process with no apparent justification in law or otherwise.
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “It took the threat of legal action to force the airport to make a commitment to start dealing with these long overdue compensation payments for local residents. However, it’s already beginning to look like the airport’s management will need to be dragged every inch of the way to make these compensation arrangements fair and reasonable – and accessible – to all those local families who have a legitimate right to compensation.”
Peter Sanders concluded: “This has already gone on far too long. It’s time the airport stopped trying to evade its responsibilities and started behaving with some decency and integrity.”
Stop Stansted Expansion prepares to launch legal proceedings against Stansted airport, over compensation delays
June 14, 2016
Stansted Airport faces legal action on behalf of thousands of local residents denied compensation over devaluation of their property caused by airport expansion. The cost to the airport could run to hundreds of millions of pounds. Stansted failed to meet a deadline (31st May) to make a public statement agreeing to introduce a compensation scheme for local residents after years of prevarication. Since 2002, Stansted has used the excuse that it has no legal obligation to pay compensation until it has completed everything listed in its 1999 Phase 2 planning consent. Completion of a small part of these works, the Echo Cul-de-Sac, has been repeatedly postponed – most recently until the mid-2020s – and has thus been branded the ‘golden rivet’ loophole. Stansted lawyers finally accepted this, but then immediately put forward a new excuse for rejecting compensation claims – that claims were now time-barred under the Limitation Act. This gave rise to withering criticism from the judge who remarked: “So, after years of telling people you can’t claim until the works are complete, you’re now saying Tee-Hee – you’re too late.” Due to Stansted stalling, SSE are now taking legal action, to safeguard the interests of local residents. SSE’s preparations for a legal challenge ,on the airport’s use of the Limitation Act, are underway. They have appointed and briefed its legal team, which includes two expert barristers and one of the country’s foremost planning solicitors. SSE presentation with prevarication details
Stop Stansted Expansion sets out details of Stansted’s devious attempts to avoid compensation payments from 2000
June 14, 2016
Stop Stansted Expansion have catalogued the appalling deceit and prevarication used by Stansted Airport, in its attempts to avoid making compensation payments to people affected by airport’s expansion. Work on Phase 2 was started in 1999, to take the airport up to 15 million passengers per year, and claims should then have been possible. But Stansted insisted that no claims could be made until one of the taxiway piers, Echo, was completed. Each year, from 2004 to 2011 the date when the Echo stand’s completion date was pushed further and further back (partly as Stansted had a dramatic fall in passenger numbers in the recession). Finally this April Stansted’s lawyers said ” …1 March 2007 is a relevant date at least in respect of some of the works in paragraph 1.8..” In other words Stansted finally concedes that it had been wrong to use the ‘golden rivet’ ploy to avoid paying compensation. But now Stansted has a new ploy to avoid paying compensation, saying any claim had to be brought within 6 years. The Deputy President of the Lands Tribunal remarked: “So, after years of telling people you can’t claim until the works are complete, you’re now saying Tee-Hee – you’re too late?” Stop Stansted Expansion gave the airport until 31st May to make a public statement reversing this stance – or face a legal challenge. No satisfadtory response was received in time from owners, MAG.
At an event held on 4th July in Parliament, the issue of the noise impact of Heathrow flights on mental health was considered. This is perhaps the first time this has been discussed, and the links made. Heathrow’s Matt Gorman spoke at the meeting, and said Heathrow creates jobs and those employed have better mental health because of their financial security. This spurred Murray Barter, a member of one of the groups that emerged in the past 2 years, due to changes to Heathrow flight paths, to write a blog about the widespread dissatisfaction there is with Heathrow and the way it is dealing with communities. In his impassioned blog, Murray says: “Employment at Heathrow for a minority is not, and cannot be, an antidote to the known adverse impacts on health, well being and quality of life that are caused by the airport’s operations. These affect hundreds of thousands, indeed millions, of people living as much as thirty miles from Heathrow.” And “The adverse effects of plane noise on vast numbers of people – including increased incidence of mental stress and depression – cannot, and must not, be swept under the carpet merely because Heathrow provides employment. The good does not outweigh the bad, and attempting to blur the two does Heathrow no credit.” And Heathrow expansion cannot be used as a social experiment in noise torture for the unfortunate minority who find themselves under a “noise canyon” (the CAA’s term). Read the full blog.
Heathrow’s truly negative health impacts on millions of people are not ameliorated by the airport providing local employment
6th July 2016
By Murray Barter (RAAN)
At the event in Parliament on Monday 4th July, looking at the links between exposure to aircraft noise and negative mental health impacts, Matt Gorman (Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability and Environment) was invited to speak.
Matt made the somewhat unrelated point, but one that Heathrow is always keen to promote, that having a job at Heathrow, or associated with it, increases physical and mental well-being. True enough, having a job and financial security is much better for mental stability than the stresses of being unemployed – and having financial problems. But it somewhat misses the point.
What the meeting was about was the impact of aircraft noise, so this employment argument was seen by some as a cheap point and dismissive of the real problems that Heathrow creates for those its planes overfly. Employment at Heathrow for a minority is not, and cannot be, an antidote to the known adverse impacts on health, well being and quality of life that are caused by the airport’s operations. These affect hundreds of thousands, indeed millions, of people living as much as thirty miles from Heathrow.
Matt’s attempt to excuse Heathrow’s noise impacts, by job claims, was a stark reminder of how the aviation industry continues to seek to spin every ounce of information/data into a positive – for their own benefit.
The adverse effects of plane noise on vast numbers of people – including increased incidence of mental stress and depression – cannot, and must not, be swept under the carpet merely because Heathrow provides employment. The good does not outweigh the bad, and attempting to blur the two does Heathrow no credit.
There are few bounds to Heathrow’s publicity, propaganda & their deliberate warping of information, data, and science. The incessant advertising shows this, with several adverts and claims found wanting by the Advertising Standards Authority.
One of Heathrow’s most insidious forms of distorting reality is their use of the outmoded and discredited 57dB “average noise contour” measurement, and also how PBN-based flight concentration is deliberately used to gerrymander the apparent reductions in the size of noise contours. (They recently state a range of noise metrics ought to be considered, though their publicity & speeches always stick to the averaged noise contours, as it shows them in the most favourable light. What would be more appropriate are contours showing individual noise events > 50dB, e.g. grouped into > 25, > 50, > 75, > 100 etc. All studies show significant increases in community annoyance at much lower levels than 57 dB. See the ANASE study )
Given this, with aircraft landing and taking off every 90 seconds for 13+ hrs/day, it has become increasing clear that raised risk of mental illness for sections of the population is being wilfully – if unintentionally – delivered by Heathrow.
These negative effects are being glossed over and ignored by the airport and those who back its expansion, who are chiefly :
1). A predominance of MP’s from constituencies north of Bedford & west of Swindon who are simply unaware of the serious issues of noise anguish, and the detrimental impacts of airborne pollution & associated surface access movements. The MPs appear uncaring towards those affected.
2). Businesses salivating at the anticipated honeypot of potential profits, from prospects dangled before them of rising GDP and more exports, or airport construction work. They conveniently ignore the likely disproportionate increase in imports, and the capital & jobs outflows, as do Heathrow – which only considers exports and inbound tourists, and not the reverse.
3). The highly conflicted and aviation-centric DfT & CAA – and the Treasury. (By contrast, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), DEFRA, DCLG, DoH need to deal with the consequences of aviation expansion, with its environmental and social costs).
4). The conflicted Airports Commission, with its Economist-centric staffing bias, coupled with its Chairman who has Prudential board membership . The Commission was given misdirected Terms of Reference (‘to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub’), resulting in only one feasible outcome, given the status quo
Against all this, the tax-paying, law-abiding communities are at the butt end, and in the vast majority of cases, derive no benefit from Heathrow’s operations. The airport has paid lip service to its responsibility to them for decades, never making serious attempts to be a good neighbour. The current Community Noise Forum is the latest in a long line of headline-grabbing, perfunctory talking-shop smokescreens with zero achievement made, after two years and counting.
The Airports Commission didn’t include any economic modelling based upon Brexit, and therefore the discredited, exaggerated and double-counted 60-year economic forecasts need serious and immediate remodelling. That would immediately downgrade Heathrow’s already patently absurd claims of expected GDP growth.
Incidentally, the Airports Commission didn’t seem to take into account the disproportionate increase in imports that would inevitably happen at the same time as any growth in exports, further adding to our net trade deficit, nor the net capital and jobs outflows. It would therefore appear the £24 million Airports Commission report started out as being misdirected, finished as incomplete upon publication, then became obsolete in under 12 months.
Heathrow expansion cannot be used as a social experiment in noise torture for the unfortunate 20% underneath a proposed “noise canyon” (source: the CAA). Those unluckly enough to live in these “canyons” are being subjected to inhuman and/degrading suffering and treatment, through the noise burden inflicted on them. And this excess noise is merely the result of Heathrow, NATS and the CAA attempting to “squeeze a quart into a pint pot” in terms of south east airspace – and enabling Heathrow to meet its allotted (outdated, outmoded, discredited) noise measurement criteria, as set by the government.
What future, 21st century vision do we have for our children and their children in Britain? Are we genuinely serious about schools with adobe huts, as an illusion of outdoor play spaces? Or the desecration of huge areas where instead of homes being places of calm and quiet, they are becoming mental-torture chambers of repetitive noise, where “respite” can shrink to as little as just 4 hours per day without the din? This is not a modern progressive society, which cares for the well-being of all its members, including the most vulnerable.
Heathrow accounts for 28% of people affected by aircraft noise in the whole of Europe. It talks of an £18.7 billion ‘privately funded’ infrastructure project as a boost for the UK economy at this time,. However it, and its business backers, conveniently chooses to omit the ‘elephant in the room’ – the taxpayer requirement of up to £20 billion (Transport for London figure) for regional infrastructure spending needed to support it. Without these improvements in surface transport, the new runway means gridlock and illegal air pollution for miles around the airport.
I’m sure the government has other rather more pressing priorities than this runway, in terms of time & resource allocation, at this present time where most economists are forecasting downturns of economic activity & travel.
If the appropriate question is posed, Heathrow expansion is most certainly NOT the answer
And are Heathrow’s multi million £ media and lobbying campaigns, glossing over its insuperable problems that are an inevitable consequence of its operations, a satisfactory and sufficient basis for its expansion?
by Murray Barter, Residents Against Aircraft Noise (RAAN)
RAAN is one of the groups set up in 2014 due to the worsening noise from Heathrow airport, affecting new areas in Berkshire, Surrey and North Hampshire. RAAN is involved with the Heathrow Community Noise Forum.
After the Brexit vote, there are very real uncertainties about the demand for air travel in future decades. Agreements need to be worked out between the UK and Europe, and this includes the Open Skies agreement between the UK and the US. These could take several years to work out. The Airports Commission gave absolutely no consideration to the possibility of Brexit. However, instead of sensibly deciding to delay a runway decision, Sir Howard Davies (as ever appearing oblivious of the many and serious deficiencies of his Commission’s report) is pushing hard, in the media, for a Heathrow runway. These claims are dangerous. Howard Davies says the economic case for a 3rd runway has been strengthened by the Brexit vote; “there are already signs of a slowdown in inward investment, which the project would help to offset.” .. The UK “needs some forward-looking decisions to create a sense of momentum, and the construction industry….will soon need the work.” Some businesses see not building the runway as “a symbol of a lack of interest in Britain’s links with the wider world.” He says a Brexit choice is “presented by our competitors as an insular move. An early runway decision would do a lot to offset that impression. I hope the cabinet can be brought to see that argument as soon as possible… ” … “If you say your strategy is to be a global trading nation reaching out to China and India, but actually you aren’t prepared to provide any airport capacity for people to land here, then that’s a joke.”
London airport expansion: Britain risks becoming ‘a joke if we keep dithering’ over Heathrow and Gatwick
By JOE MURPHY (Evening Standard)
Friday 1 July 2016
Airports Commission chief Sir Howard Davies today warned that Britain risks becoming “a joke” if it fails to push ahead with extra runway capacity for London and the South East. [Might be a laughing stock if it makes a really bad, unsound decision that ends up needlessly costing the taxpayer a great deal of money, and makes large areas of West London unpleasant to live in. AW comment]
In an Evening Standard interview, he said it was more important than ever following the Brexit referendum to show that Britain was open to business with growing markets like China and India.[Might that be because the Brexit vote means the Airports Commission’s report is no longer of much use, as it failed completely to consider Brexit? And Howard Davies is keen that his work is not shelved – thus reducing his reputation? AW note]
He warned: “If you say your strategy is to be a global trading nation reaching out to China and India, but actually you aren’t prepared to provide any airport capacity for people to land here, then that’s a joke. [There is plenty of UK airport capacity for links to the far east etc. If fewer flights from Heathrow were going to European destinations, there is ample space at Heathrow for as many long haul business destinations as there is demand for. Brexit may mean – nobody knows yet – fewer flights to and from some European airports. AW note]
“Internationally there’s a risk that the Brexit decision is seen as a kind of inward-looking choice. It’s crucial, I think, that we try as a country to offset that – and here is a good way of doing that. So I think it has much more significance now that it had before.” [There is also the case to be made that links to distant parts of the world can easily be organised, without building a new Heathrow runway. That is just the option that suits Heathrow, and its shareholders, best. Howard Davies, till September 2012, advised the GIC (Singapore), which owns 11.2% of Heathrow. He is still a board member of Prudential, details, an insurance group which invested in property near Heathrow, just months before the Commission recommended a 3rd runway. Also involved in Chinese banking.Details. AW note].
Urging David Cameron’s successor to “be bold” he said the country’s governance would look “threadbare” and “daft” if there was further indecision. [No, it would not. Making a very wrong decision, for very bad reasons, would look “daft.” AW note ]
The interview marks exactly a year since the commission headed by Sir Howard recommended Heathrow expansion after three years of research and studies.
He expressed frustration at the repeated delays announced by Mr Cameron and said: “They needed to be bold. Just waiting for something to turn up in a Mr Micawber-like way, hoping that suddenly everybody will agree, it isn’t going to happen, actually.
“The French say ‘gouverner c’est choisir’ – to govern is to choose. But it has just been put off further and further.”
The senior businessman urged the next Prime Minister to “screw his courage to the sticking point” and endorse Heathrow’s third runway. “Heathrow have made the concessions we asked for, more or less,” he said. [More of less pretty much sums it up. Heathrow has not given proper assurances about a real ban on night flights. The aspirations about making less noise with 50% more flights are largely wishful thinking. The promises on air quality are not for Heathrow to achieve, so are largely meaningless. And they are not prepared to pay the costs of surface infrastructure. Let alone on carbon emissions. If anyone believes that means meeting the conditions, their perspective seems to be very biased – or their understanding incomplete. AW note ].
He also revealed that he did not think Tory frontrunner Theresa May was a diehard Heathrow opponent, contrary to the view of some MPs.
Intriguingly, Sir Howard did not think Theresa May would be influenced against Heathrow on the grounds of local noise nuisance for her Maidenhead constituents. “I’ve met her and talked about it and she asks good questions but she has never said ‘over my dead body’,” he said.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin yesterday told MPs it would now be October at the earliest before a decision could be taken because of Mr Cameron’s resignation. The further delay was strongly criticised by business leaders.
Sir Howard said business would not accept endless delays. “I would be very disappointed if nothing happened – and I would not be the only one. [It is not for “business” (meaning here, some businesses and not by any means all ) to decide on a matter like the devastation of a huge area of West London or of Surrey and Sussex. If the right decision has to be made, then business just has to accept it, like everyone else. The UK should not be run merely for the whims of big business. AW note] .
“They are going to have to do it pretty soon after a new prime minister is appointed because I just think the credibility of the governing process in this country is now rather threadbare on this. Internationally it looks pretty daft.”
By Sir Howard Davies (Chairman of the, now closed, Airports Commission that recommended a 3rd Heathrow runway on 1.7.2015)
1.7.2016 (In the Financial Times)
[ Caution – read this with great caution. It is written from the perspective of someone very keen to have his work taken seriously and acted upon. Its arguments, such as they are, are as full of holes as a Swiss cheese. AW note ]
There are already signs of an inward investment slowdown this would offset, writes Howard Davies
“It is now exactly a year since the Airports Commission, which I chaired, published its final report, recommending a third runway at Heathrow. The government had planned to make an early decision, but announced yesterday that this will not happen until October at the earliest. It is perhaps not surprising, as there are one or two other things going on, but it underlines the unwisdom of a year’s procrastination, in the hope that a more propitious moment would arrive. Since a decision on runway capacity in south-east England has already been put off for several decades, a further delay while the Conservative party elects a new leader seemed an attractive option. But it is arguable that the cost of delay is rising and has escalated since last Thursday’s vote to leave the EU.
Most of the leadership candidates have not been closely involved in the runway debate. The non-appearance of Boris Johnson as a candidate will simplify the choice. He continued to hanker after a new airport in the Thames Estuary. But there is no enthusiasm for that highly costly and environmentally challenged project elsewhere in government. So the options are those we set out last year: two different schemes at Heathrow and one at Gatwick.
In the year since our report was published, the public debate on the merits of the three options has continued. Gatwick has spent a lot of money on advertisements, some of which the Advertising Standards Authority forced it to withdraw, but no material new points have emerged to invalidate the Airports Commission analysis.
The air pollution problem, which is serious for all cities, is becoming more salient, partly as a result of the VW affair. But at the airport it can be resolved and will be alleviated by London-wide measures that are necessary anyway. The noise increase, while obviously unwelcome to those close to the airfield, we believe to be manageable. A three-runway configuration allows respite for affected communities, and aircraft are getting quieter year by year.
Our support for Heathrow expansion was, however, conditional on some important and costly concessions by the airport and the airlines, notably a ban on early morning arrivals, which cause particular concern; a noise levy to fund insulation schemes; and tough actions to reduce car traffic to the airport. In particular, the “kiss and fly” habit of driving right up to the airport to drop off passengers is one we need to break: kissing should be reserved for rail and bus stations, not Heathrow set-down zones.
The airport has now accepted almost all those recommendations, which was an important step forward.
The economic case for the project has in my view been strengthened by the events of the past few days. There are already signs of a slowdown in inward investment, which the project would help to offset. It is likely that the greater part of the nearly £20bn investment would come from overseas investors, who remain keen to participate. The business case for Heathrow expansion remains strong.
The narrative of those arguing for Brexit included the point that the UK should be focusing more attention on fast-growing non-EU markets in the Far East and elsewhere. Stronger air links will be essential if that aspiration is to become a reality. Heathrow already offers far more non-European destinations partly because it has a supporting air freight infrastructure vastly greater than Gatwick. Expanding Gatwick, which is dominated by short-haul European leisure services, does not offer anything like the same advantages. Heathrow benefits from the network effects that come from a huge spread of long and short-haul routes, built up over half a century, which help to incubate new routes and make them viable. That cannot be quickly replicated elsewhere.
More broadly, the country needs some forward-looking decisions to create a sense of momentum, and the construction industry — whose stocks have suffered badly since the referendum — will soon need the work.
So the political case for delay is not as strong as the economic case for a decision. We talked to overseas investors and businesses, many of whom saw the lack of a decision on airport capacity as a symbol of a lack of interest in Britain’s links with the wider world. The Brexit choice is similarly presented by our competitors as an insular move. An early runway decision would do a lot to offset that impression. I hope the cabinet can be brought to see that argument as soon as possible after their bucket and spade break. The waverers could take our compelling report to the beach. It is a page-turner, right up there with The Girl on the Train.”
The writer is a professor at Sciences-Po, Paris and chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland
That then prompted a letter from Sir Roy McNulty, of Gatwick:
[Also with some very dodgy and selfl serving logic].
July 3, 2016
Gatwick expansion is now more important than ever
Howard Davies is wrong to assert that no material new points have emerged in the long period since the publication of his report commissioned by David Cameron (“Heathrow needs its third runway to take off without delay”, July 1).
One reason for that delay was that the report itself failed adequately to address the issue of air quality, a matter of increasing national concern; it is now clear that air quality issues around Heathrow are a much more significant impediment to expansion than Sir Howard recognises.
The report’s conclusions have also shown to be wrong in other respects. In the past year, Gatwick has served more than 40m passengers (a number the report suggested would not be reached until 2024) and has announced 20 new long-haul routes, including routes to second cities in China, giving the lie to the idea that only “hub” airports can open new routes to emerging markets. Indeed, a freedom of information act request has revealed that the commission’s own data show that long haul traffic for the UK will be the same under expansion at Gatwick as at Heathrow.
Further assessment of the risks of the two schemes, an area that the Treasury select committee identified as lacking in the analysis, has shown clearly that Gatwick’s scheme is low risk whereas the risks associated with Heathrow’s scheme are an order of magnitude greater. And a new report by the Competition and Markets Authority has identified the very considerable benefits of competition between airports, an issue largely dismissed by Sir Howard.
In the new environment in which the UK finds itself, our ability to act with agility and efficiency, to deploy our national resources judiciously, is more important than ever to demonstrate that we are open for business. The commission concluded that expansion at Gatwick was credible, financeable and deliverable. Gatwick has recently confirmed its ability to deliver a new runway by 2025, at no expense to the taxpayer and at a cost that will maintain our competitive position in the world market. That would be a better outcome than seeking to perpetuate an old orthodoxy which has so evidently failed time and again.
Airports Commission chairman warns Government over Heathrow delay
By Ben Martin
1 JULY 2016 (Telegraph)
It would be “a joke” if the Government sets out to boost trade with emerging markets following Brexit without building more runway capacity in the south east of England, the City grandee who led the Airports Commission has said.
Sir Howard Davies chaired the Government-appointed Commission that exactly a year ago told ministers the best way to tackle the looming aviation capacity crisis is to build a £17.6bn third runway at Heathrow.
The Government delayed a decision on the Commission’s findings in the 12 months since. Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, then provoked fury among businesses on Thursday when he said the post-Brexit political chaos would result in another delay and a decision should not be expected until “at least October”.
Sir Howard, who is now chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland, said in an interview with the Evening Standard: “If you say your strategy is to be a global trading nation reaching out to China and India, but actually you aren’t prepared to provide any airport capacity for people to land here, then that’s a joke.”
He continued: “Internationally there’s a risk that the Brexit decision is seen as a kind of inward-looking choice. It’s crucial, I think, that we try as a country to offset that – and here is a good way of doing that.”
Expanding Heathrow is controversial because of worries it will increase air and noise pollution.
Instead of backing the Commission, the Government in December said it would carry out more environmental work on a third runway and two rival projects – a second landing strip at Gatwick, and a plan to lengthen an existing Heathrow runway proposed by a group that is independent of the airport. It will now be left to David Cameron’s successor as prime minister to choose which scheme goes ahead.
Heathrow is almost full and Gatwick is also approaching its limits. The commission spent almost three years and £20m examining how to expand capacity before deciding another Heathrow runway would be the best way to solve the problem.
Department for Transport says more airport capacity is needed to cope with doubling in passenger numbers
Government White Paper published on third runway at Heathrow
Government says it backs Heathrow’s third runway
Public consultation launched
Conservatives come out against the plans for third runway
Third runway is approved by the Labour Government
Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition rules out third runway
Coalition asks Airports Commission to review options for air capacity in south east
Commission says it backs third runway at Heathrow
Government delays decision until Summer 2016 – at the earliest
Heathrow offers to ban night flights in a bid to win approval for a third runway. The measure had been a sticking point.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin says the decision will now be made in the autumn when a new prime minister has been chosen.