Candidates in Uxbridge & South Ruislip pledge to oppose Heathrow runway, though Labour candidate doubtful

Prospective parliamentary candidates for Uxbridge and South Ruislip made promises – if they got in to parliament  – about how they would vote on HS2 and Heathrow Airport at a hustings debate.  Candidates from 4 of the 5 main political parties took part – but not the Conservative candidate, Boris Johnson.  All four candidates said they would vote against any bill seeking to approve a Heathrow runway. However, there were doubts about the position of the Labour candidate, Chris Summers (a councillor in Ealing).  Mr Summers suggested that any future government should follow whatever recommendation is published in June by the Airports Commission. He said: “I think it is right we have this Davies Commission that’s looking into the issue, and I think there is something to be argued that they are the experts, and if they recommend a certain way, then it does seem that it will be a basic political decision if whichever government rejects that…”  The constituency contains much of Hillingdon, which is one of the councils most deeply opposed to a new runway. In a Hillingdon borough referendum in May 2013 66% were against a third runway. The ballot also showed the same number (66.3 per cent) do not want see any more flights in and out of the airport. The extent to which Mr Summers is listening to his residents, or just following Labour party policy, is questioned.

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MP candidates for Uxbridge and South Ruislip make HS2 and Heathrow vows

By Will Ackermann (Get West London)
20.3.2015

Prospective parliamentary candidates for Uxbridge and South Ruislip made promises about how they would vote on HS2 and Heathrow Airport at a hustings debate this week.

Candidates from four of the five main political parties addressed an audience and answered questions at Brunel University on Thursday (March 19). They made promises about how they would vote if elected to parliament

Conservative candidate Boris Johnson skipped the session – the first of three planned for the borough – as it clashed with a People’s Question Time he was legally obligated to attend as London mayor.

Those who did take part discussed national policies, ranging from immigration to women’s shortlists, as well as local issues, including HS2 and Heathrow Airport’s proposed expansion.

Labour’s Chris Summers, the Green Party’s Graham Lee and UKIP’s Jack Duffin all vowed to vote against HS2 outright if elected to parliament in May’s General Election, while Liberal Democrat Mike Cox said he supported the project.

Speaking after the meeting, however, Mr Cox clarified that, if elected, he would seek to propose amending the HS2 bill such that the rail line would have to bypass the Hillingdon borough completely.

During the 90-minute session, all four candidates said they would vote against any bill seeking to expand Heathrow Airport.

Addressing this topic earlier in the meeting, however, Mr Summers suggested that any future government should follow whatever recommendation is published in June by the Airports Commission, which has been tasked with deciding whether it would be better to expand Heathrow Airport or Gatwick Airport.

Mr Summers, who during the course of the evening also said MPs who failed to vote as they promised to should have to resign, said: “I think it is right we have this Davies Commission that’s looking into the issue, and I think there is something to be argued that they are the experts, and if they recommend a certain way, then it does seem that it will be a basic political decision if whichever government rejects that, but it will be interesting to see what happens in that report in June.”

Mr Johnson, who was ’empty-chaired’ at the debate and came under fire from all sides, has previously said he would “oppose” HS2 unless certain conditions are met.

These, he has said, would include ensuring the track follows a tunnel underneath Ruislip and Harefield, as well as creating a “suitable” link to the existing HS1 line, which joins London to the Channel Tunnel.

The London mayor has said building a third runway at Heathrow Airport would be a “disaster”, but has never explicitly promised to vote against it, or the alternative Heathrow Hub option, given the opportunity.

Previously he had suggested demolishing the airport completely, before his hopes for building a ‘Boris Island’ hub on the Thames Estuary were dashed.

Mr Johnson is booked to attend the next hustings, taking place at St Margaret’s Church, in Windsor Street, Uxbridge, on April 10.

However, Mr Johnson, who rival candidates have accused of taking voters for granted, will not attend the third and final debate, to be held at Yiewsley Baptist Church, in Colham Avenue, on April 26.

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/mp-candidates-uxbridge-south-ruislip-8880041

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The constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip contains a large part of Hillingdon Borough.

Hillingdon has been vociferous in its opposition to a new Heathrow runway.  Its residents voted definitively against a new runway, in 2013. See below.

 

Heathrow referendum: Hillingdon votes against expansion

The residents of Hillingdon have voted overwhelmingly against expansion of Heathrow airport.

21 May 2013  (Hillingdon Borough Council)

In the first referendum held by Hillingdon Council, 66 per cent of those who voted were against a third runway. The ballot also showed the same number (66.3 per cent) do not want see any more flights in and out of the airport.

The Leader of Hillingdon Council, Cllr Ray Puddifoot, said the emphatic ‘no’ vote should be respected by the government and airport lobby.

In a huge exercise in local democracy, over 81,000 Hillingdon residents took part in the poll.

They had the option to vote online, by post or at their nearest library or council building over a four week period using their polling card and unique reference number. Voting closed last Thursday (16 May) with the results announced today alongside those of  neighbouring Richmond upon Thames Council which held the same ballot.

Cllr Puddifoot said:  “The council has always been clear about our opposition to expansion at Heathrow and this emphatic result shows that the majority of our residents agree with us.

“Today the people of Hillingdon have sent a clear message to the Prime Minister and the Government.

“At the last general election we were promised by David Cameron that there would be no third  runway at Heathrow, as it was unsuitable for expansion and that an alternative solution had to be found.

“I believed him, and so did many of the residents of Hillingdon. The strength of this vote is an indication that they now expect him to be as good as his word.”

Two questions were asked:

  1. Should a third runway be built at Heathrow? Yes/no
  2. Are you in favour of more flights into and out of Heathrow? Yes/no

The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames’ referendum asked the same questions. In  total, 140,516 residents across the two boroughs responded with more than 100,000 saying  no to both questions.

Full results table:

Borough Number of ballots distributed Overall turnout Question one Question two
Hillingdon 205,634 39.41%  (81,050) Yes: 34%      (27,377)No: 66%        (53,235) Yes: 33.7%    (27,115)No: 66.3%      (53,342)
Richmond upon Thames 136,880 43%      (59,466) Yes: 20%      (12,055)No: 80%        (47,031) Yes: 18%        (10,853)No: 82%         (48,100)
Combined Total 342,514 40.75% (140,516) Yes: 28.2%    (39,432)No: 71.8%    (100,266) Yes: 27.2%     (37,968)No: 72.8%      (101,442)

 

 

http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/26825/Heathrow-referendum-Hillingdon-votes-against-expansion

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And

Hollow promises of Heathrow expansion revealed

Serious flaws in proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport have been laid bare by Hillingdon Council in its detailed response to the Airports Commission consultation on expanding airport capacity in London.

27 January 2015  (By Hillingdon Borough Council)

Last week (Thursday 22 January) the council’s Cabinet approved the response, which included a specially commissioned report on the impact of Heathrow expansion on the health and quality of life of people living nearby. It will now be sent to the Airports Commission.

The Airports Commission is currently considering three airport expansion options, one at Gatwick Airport and two at Heathrow.

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said:

“Despite spending considerable time and resources on publicity demonstrating the benefits of building a third runway, Heathrow Airport’s proposals are full of hollow promises and gaping holes, lacking any realistic assessment of the impact Heathrow expansion would have on our community.

“It beggars belief that increased noise levels, heightened flood risk, public transport pressures, reduction of air quality, not to mention the trauma of uprooting families who have lived locally for decades, are being glossed over by Heathrow. We are also concerned that the so-called economic benefits of expanding this airport do not stand up to closer scrutiny and ultimately would not benefit Hillingdon residents.

“The recent activities of Heathrow and its PR machine have demonstrated that neither they nor their incredibly dubious survey results can be believed or taken seriously. Our detailed response to the Airport Commission’s consultation lays bare these vitally important concerns, which demand to be taken seriously.”

The consultation period ends on 3 February 2015. After this, the Airports Commission will look at all responses and publish its final recommendations in summer 2015.

For more information, visit  www.hillingdon.gov.uk/heathrow.

http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/29537/Hollow-promises-of-Heathrow-expansion-revealed

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Gatwick claims support for 2nd runway – but does not reveal necessary methodological detail about its polls

Gatwick Airport has had two surveys done, to try to show there is support for their runway. One is of councils in London. Gatwick knows almost every council, except East Sussex, in its area has voted to oppose a 2nd runway. So Gatwick has been  asking London councils instead, in the hope of better results. Many London councils know the highly negative impacts Heathrow, and its flight noise, cause for their residents, and therefore are opposed to any more. Some have said they back a Gatwick runway (believing, questionably, that there must be a new runway somewhere) in order to save their residents more problems. Some London councils hope Gatwick could provide jobs for their workers. The second survey is of residents in Kent and in West Sussex, and again, Gatwick claims significant support for their runway, compared to Heathrow.  However,Gatwick does not publicise any of the actual data of their surveys. That is very significant, because without knowing the questions asked, the script leading up to the questions, and the options given, the results are almost meaningless. Their earlier consultation, in spring 2014, contained (till forced to add another option) no means of saying “No” to either options, but just various shades of “Yes.”  Who knows whether these surveys contained the appropriate alternative response options?
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This is the Gatwick press release.  Read critically – testing the logic of each statement !

[AirportWatch comments in red].

TWICE AS MANY LONDON COUNCILLORS BACK GATWICK EXPANSION OVER EITHER HEATHROW OPTION – NEW POLLING

17th March 2015  (Gatwick airport press release)

  • Gatwick CEO: “From the public to politicians, businesses to borough councils, it is clear the capital backs Gatwick”  [Not a justifiable statement]
  • New poll shows political support for Gatwick while further research shows no London council has backed Heathrow expansion 
  • Key London politicians and business groups outline their support for Gatwick [Some do, but not all – groups like London First

New polling released today [but it is not released – it is not available to the public] shows that twice as many London councillors back a new runway at Gatwick over either option for Heathrow expansion. [Note – Gatwick does not dare to ask local councils, as they know their opinion is so strongly against a Gatwick runway] 

The new YouGov polling and other new details released today show the wide range of business and political audiences across the capital that back Gatwick expansion. [Just as an equally large range do not ….]

The polling follow comments made last week by two prominent London MPs and Cabinet Ministers (Justine Greening and Vince Cable) as well as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, all opposing a Heathrow third runway and appearing to open the door to Gatwick expansion.  [The Lib Dem official position is no new runway at Gatwick either. See link]

The latest support also follows five new guarantees the Gatwick Board have made to Government and the Airports Commission on the airport’s expansion plans. [These guarantees are paper thin – like depending on a non-existent contract with the governent that no other runways can be built for 30 years.  They are also likely to be difficult to enforce on new airport owners. See link

The London political and business audiences that back Gatwick include:

LONDON COUNCILLORS – THE MAJORITY OF LONDON COUNCILLORS BACK GATWICK

  • In new YouGov polling*, [the poll is not published so details cannot be seen] a representative sample of 206 London councillors gave their views on airport expansion.  [What was the question? How was it worded? What script led up to it? What were the options? All vital in interpreting the data. Not given here]
  • 40% picked Gatwick expansion which is twice the amount that picked the option of a Heathrow third runway (21%) or a Heathrow extended northern runway (13%)
  • Even when figures for both Heathrow options are combined, the YouGov polling shows London councillor support for Gatwick outstrips Heathrow by 40% to 34%

[The reason is that London councillors for any borough affected by Heathrow know just how deeply unpopular Heathrow aircraft noise is with residents. They do not want any more of it. Boroughs close to Heathrow also know just how great the impacts are, on surface access, air quality etc etc, as well as noise.  Local London councils know their residents – except those who depend on Heathrow economically – are strongly opposed to worseining local conditions. And a 2nd Gatwick runway would make the airport comparable to Heathrow today].

LONDON BOROUGH COUNCILS – NO LONDON COUNCIL BACKS HEATHROW EXPANSION

  • Gatwick has carried out separate research into which Borough Councils have formally responded to the Airports Commission or taken a public position on airport expansion
  • The research has shown that of the 32 London borough councils, not a single one has formally or publically [sic] backed Heathrow expansion (see Notes to Editors for further details)   [See above for reason]

LONDON BUSINESSES & ENTREPRENEURS – KEY BUSINESS GROUPS BACK GATWICK

  • A series of Business Improvement Districts (business-led groups in key parts of the Capital) have backed Gatwick including Victoria BID, Streatham BID and Croydon BID  [These areas hope Gatwick will provide jobs for their residents. That means yet more journeys to and from the airport, on already highly stretched surface access – road and rail.  Many of the jobs would be low-paid, non-career jobs.].
  • 19 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs, including key London-based entrepreneurs, have supported Gatwick in an open letter to the Airports Commission (see Notes to Editors)

LONDON POLITICIANS – KEY POLITICIANS IN THE CAPITAL BACK GATWICK

Key figures at different levels of London politics have outlined their support for Gatwick:

  • Mary Macleod MP: “There are fundamental points in this debate that have not and will not change. Heathrow expansion is as politically undeliverable as it has always been and there is certainly no change in the views of west London residents who say they don’t want more noise or traffic. The game changer in this debate is Gatwick – we now have an alternative option that will introduce greater competition and is cheaper, simpler and politically deliverable. We need to expand our aviation capacity and it is clear that Gatwick is best placed to deliver the UK’s new runway.”
  • Southwark Council leader Peter John: “Other parts of the capital have benefited in recent years from huge investment – now it is South London’s turn. Gatwick expansion would be a huge boost to the massive regeneration already underway across the borough, bringing in new jobs, new infrastructure and world-class transport links. Gatwick is the capital’s best and only chance to capture the huge benefits of airport expansion without the noise and disruption of thousands more planes over London.”
  • London Assembly Member Steve O’Connell: “London and the UK desperately need new airport capacity and it is becoming clear that Gatwick is the best placed to deliver what is needed. Gatwick can deliver a new runway more quickly, with huge economic benefits but less environmental impacts than the other plans put forward. Crucially an expanded Gatwick can be delivered without taxpayers’ money so everyday passengers would see the benefits of a new runway without being hit in the pocket.”

[A lot of NIMBY statements, from people who understand that expanding Heathrow is politically difficult, as it is so very unpopular with residents affected by its environmental impacts.  These politicians appear oblivious of the negative impacts a Gatwick runway would have on thousands of other people – just as long as their own residents are not affected.  Socially not responsible].

GATWICK CEO STEWART WINGATE SAID:

“From the public to politicians, businesses to borough councils, it is clear the capital backs Gatwick over Heathrow in the expansion debate.  [A highly dubious claim … very flimsy].

“Airport expansion is a huge opportunity to boost the economy and global connectivity of London but also presents a clear threat of more noise and pollution above the capital. Striking a balance is crucial and that is why London is throwing its support behind Gatwick.

“Where Heathrow expansion means 130,000 more planes over Central London and further breaches of air quality, Gatwick would have a fraction of the impact, delivering the economic benefits the UK needs at an environmental cost it can afford.”

[Gatwick’s runway would largely be for more, ever cheaper, leisure flights – of more people taking their holiday money to spend abroad.  And an environmental cost that WHO can afford? Very odd statement] 

Notes to Editors:

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. [not publicised] Total sample size was 206 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th and 23rd February 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted [weighting is always a dodgy process, especially when the details are not published] and are representative of London Councillors by political party, council control, region and gender.

Further notes on London borough councils:

  • Gatwick’s research has shown that 8 London borough councils have submitted responses to the Airports Commission either [odd wording] opposing Heathrow expansion or backing Gatwick expansion (Croydon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea, Richmond, Southwark, Wandsworth)
  • More than 15 London boroughs have also previously stated their opposition to Heathrow through membership of The 2M Group who oppose Heathrow expansion

Further notes Businesses and entrepreneurs

  • Click here for the letter to the Airports Commission from 19 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs backing Gatwick expansion
  • Signatories include the key London-based entrepreneurs John Stapleton (Co-founder New Covent Garden Soup); Emma Jones MBE (founder of Enterprise Nation); and Duncan Cheatle (founder of The Supper Club, a London based club for entrepreneurs)  [Other business people want a Heathrow runway. See link]

http://www.gatwickobviously.com/news/twice-many-london-councillors-back-gatwick-expansion-over-either-heathrow-option-%E2%80%93-new-polling

 


 

Majority of Kent residents support the expansion of Gatwick airport, a recent study suggests

 12 March 2015 (Kent Online)
by Mike Thompsett
A recent study shows that the majority of Kent residents are for the expansion of Gatwick airport, despite a number of past reports suggesting they oppose the idea.
The addition of another runway to the international airport has been subject to ongoing disputes, with KCC and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council being among a number authorities who oppose the idea.

Residents from West Kent had previously raised their concerns about living underneath busy airspace, as the introduction of another runway could see changes to flight paths.

However, the results of a study carried out by Gatwick airport shows that the majority of residents in the county support the development.

It shows there is a larger number of residents backing the new runway in all 13 districts, and all 17 parliamentary constituencies.

Those in districts in West Kent which previously raised their concerns, including Tonbridge and Malling, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells are said to have also voted for the idea of an expansion to the airport.

Over 2.5 million of Gatwick’s passengers each year live in the county – more than any area outside London.

The majority of residents surveyed also said Gatwick was the best choice for:
– How quickly a new runway could be delivered
– Negative impact on quality of life for local communities
– Lowest cost to the taxpayer
– Encouraging more competition between airport and airlines
– The certainty that new runway can be delivered
– Additional number of people affected by noise

Results showed that six out of ten people felt that a bigger Gatwick airport would be beneficial for local economy and the YouGov poll displayed that 47% of residents preferred the idea of an expansion, compared to 25% of votes going to Heathrow.

The results indicate that Gatwick was favoured in every district, with twice as many choosing Gatwick in Medway, Swale, Ashford, Shepway and Dartford – the fastest growing district in the borough.

CEO for Gatwick Airport, Stewart Wingate said:

“Today’s results show that the majority of residents in all 13 districts of Kent, both young and old, think Gatwick should be expanded.

“We are also seeing increasing public, business and political support throughout the UK as momentum gathers behind Gatwick’s credible and compelling case for expansion.”

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/tonbridge/news/study-shows-most-residents-of-33288/

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And another Gatwick poll – read critically, checking facts and logic !

Gatwick Airport says:

“MOST KENT & WEST SUSSEX RESIDENTS SAY GATWICK SHOULD BE EXPANDED”

12.3.2015 (Gatwick website)

  • New polling shows majority of residents in all districts and all parliamentary constituencies in both counties say Gatwick should build a new runway

A majority of residents across both Kent and West Sussex say Gatwick should build a new runway rather than Heathrow, according to two separate YouGov polls released today.  [They may be “released” but they are not published, so the public cannot check them]

Residents [unjustifably sweeping statement – they mean “some residents”]  in all 20 local authority districts, and all-parliamentary constituencies across the two counties said a new runway should be built at Gatwick.

[Without know the questions, the script, the options given etc, the figures are pretty much meaningless].

The majority of people polled in Kent and West Sussex also felt that a bigger Gatwick is best for the local economy. The polling for the two counties is as follows:

KENT:

  • Almost twice as many Kent residents (47%) think Gatwick Airport should be expanded rather than Heathrow (25%)  [But what was the wording of the question, and the lead up to it??] 
  • Gatwick was favoured in every district, with twice as many choosing Gatwick in Medway (52% vs 24%), Swale (53% vs 19%), Ashford (50% vs 19%), Shepway (52% vs 25%) and Dartford (53% vs 26%) – the fastest growing district in the borough
  • Residents also supported Gatwick expansion in all 17 parliamentary constituencies in the county
  • 2.5 million of Gatwick’s passengers each year live in Kent – more than any area outside London
  • A majority in every age group said they supported Gatwick expansion, as did 49% of men and 45% of women living in Kent
  • More than six out of ten (62%) residents said expanding Gatwick was important for the local economy.  [But what was the wording of the question?] 

WEST SUSSEX:

  • More than half (52%) of West Sussex residents think that Gatwick Airport should be expanded, rather than Heathrow (31%)
  • Gatwick was favoured in every district, with twice as many choosing Gatwick over Heathrow in Worthing (51% vs 23%), Arun (52% vs 26%), Adur (56% vs 28%) and Crawley (58% vs 30%) – the district closest to the airport
  • Residents also supported Gatwick expansion in all seven parliamentary constituencies in the county
  • 1.8 million of Gatwick’s passengers each year live in West Sussex – seven per cent of the airport’s total
  • A majority in every age group asked also said they supported Gatwick expansion, as did 55% of men and 49% of women living in the county
  • Seven out of ten (68%) residents said expanding Gatwick was important for the local economy with more than half (55%) saying it would be the best choice in terms of regenerating the local area

[In the earlier consultation that Gatwick carried out in spring of 2014, the wording was biased so there was no option to say “NO” – only different flavours of “Yes.”  Without seeing the details of the survey, it is impossible to know the answer options, and hence to judge what the figures Gatwick has given actually mean.  It is deeply unprofessional not to reveal details of the survey, if Gatwick wants people to believe its findings. The fact the survey has not been publicised presumably means it is not as glowing as Gatwick would like to make out.  Even the dubious surveys done by Populus for Heathrow publish at least some of the actual result data]. 

STEWART WINGATE, GATWICK’S CEO SAID:

“Today’s results show that the majority of residents in all districts of Kent and West Sussex, both young and old, think Gatwick should be expanded. 

“We are also seeing increasing public, business and political support throughout the UK as momentum gathers behind Gatwick’s credible and compelling case for expansion.

“This growing support demonstrates the recognition that a new runway at Gatwick would boost the UK economy at a fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow today.

“Expanding Gatwick can also be delivered at no cost to the taxpayer, whereas Heathrow would cost the public purse at least £6 billion at a time when public money is scarce.”

Notes

  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. [Details not publicly available].
  • West Sussex survey: Total sample size was 1,012 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th and 25th February 2015.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults (18+) living in West Sussex by local authority population, age, gender and social grade.
  • Kent survey: Total sample size was 1,013 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th and 25th February 2015.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults (18+) living in Kent by local authority population, age, gender and social grade.

http://www.gatwickobviously.com/news/most-kent-west-sussex-residents-say-gatwick-should-be-expanded

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By contrast:

Councils around Gatwick opposed to a 2nd runway

Almost all the county, borough, district, town and parish councils around Gatwick have decided to oppose a second runway.

  • Kent County Council has reversed its position, from support for a second Gatwick runway to opposition.
  • After a long and passionate debate, West Sussex County Council councillors voted 37:26 to cancel their support in principle and to oppose a 2nd runway.
  • Surrey County Council is sticking to its policy, agreed a few years ago, to oppose a second runway unless sufficient infrastructure improvements are made first.
  • Crawley Borough Council, the planning authority for Gatwick, has voted 25:11 to oppose a second runway.
  • Horsham District Council has voted 23:1 against.
  • Mole Valley District Council has voted unanimously against.
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has voted 39:1 against.
  • Tandridge District Council has sent in a response drawing attention to its core strategy to oppose any expansion of the airport which would adversely affect their residents.
  • Mid Sussex District Council has strongly opposed a 2nd runway
  • Wealden District Council has opposed a 2nd runway
  • Reigate and Banstead Council is still making up its mind.
  • Horley Town Council and virtually all the fifty or so parish councils around Gatwick have voted No to a runway
  • The only odd one out is East Sussex County Council which voted 27:19 to support a 2nd runway. Most of the votes in favour came from councillors in seaside areas such as Hastings or Eastbourne who were enticed by the prospect of more jobs.
  • None of the Members of Parliament around Gatwick support a 2nd runway. Eight out of nine MPs have declared their opposition. One (Henry Smith) says that Gatwick have not yet made a case for a new runway.

 

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Windsor MP, Adam Afriye, says on NATS/flightpath fiasco, Heathrow has either been wilfully misleading or incompetent

Following sustained pressure from Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, Heathrow finally admitted changes to flight paths that have inflicted more flights and greater noise on residents in Ascot, Binfield, Bracknell Forest, Cheapside, Sunninghill, Warfield and other nearby areas. John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, wrote in a letter to Mr Afriyie: “I recognise that as an airport community we have let you down in this instance. We need to do better to be a good neighbour and I would like to unequivocally apologise to you and your constituents.”  Commenting on the letter, Mr Afriyie said: “I am deeply concerned on behalf of the residents who have suffered from extra aircraft noise without so much as a warning…What beggars belief is Heathrow’s insulting accusation that residents were imagining the extra noise! … Heathrow must take the blame for misleading residents and being dismissive of their concerns. And I now call on Heathrow and NATS to release all flightpath data on arrivals, which Heathrow is yet to disclose to me….Heathrow has either been wilfully misleading or rather incompetent. Heathrow and NATS have serious questions to answer and must be held to account in Parliament. 
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Windsor MP, Adam Afriye, extracts apology from Heathrow for “letting down” residents

Following sustained pressure from Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, Heathrow finally admitted changes to flight paths that have inflicted more flights and greater noise on residents in Ascot, Binfield, Bracknell Forest, Cheapside, Sunninghill, Warfield and other nearby areas.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow wrote in a letter to Mr Afriyie “I recognise that as an airport community we have let you down in this instance. We need to do better to be a good neighbour and I would like to unequivocally apologise to you and your constituents.”

Commenting on the letter from Heathrow, Mr Afriyie said:

“I am deeply concerned on behalf of the residents who have suffered from extra aircraft noise without so much as a warning.

“What beggars belief is Heathrow’s insulting accusation that residents were imagining the extra noise!

“So I’d like to thank residents and councillors, especially Councillor David Hilton, whose letters and complaints have helped to force Heathrow into an apology.

“Heathrow must take the blame for misleading residents and being dismissive of their concerns. And I now call on Heathrow and NATS to release all flightpath data on arrivals, which Heathrow is yet to disclose to me.

“Heathrow has either been wilfully misleading or rather incompetent. Heathrow and NATS have serious questions to answer and must be held to account in Parliament. I am writing now to the Transport Secretary so he can look into this worrying development.

“This is just a glimpse of the huge disruption that will be faced if a third runway is given the go-ahead. I am not surprised that residents do not trust what Heathrow say.”

http://adamafriyie.org/index.php/2015/03/20/windsor-mp-extracts-apology-from-heathrow-for-letting-down-residents-2/#.VQx-8Y6sXCt

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See also

Heathrow says it did not know flight path changes were continuing – blames NATS for not telling them

Heathrow and NATS had flight path trials during summer 2014, which ended on 12th November, due to intense opposition. See details. But complaints have continued and people have been adamant that the trials have not ended. Heathrow has given assurance after assurance that the trials have ceased, implying people are imagining the noise – or have become over-sensitive to it. Now Heathrow and NATS have had to apologise. Heathrow says it did not know the trial affecting the “Compton” route to the south west and west of Heathrow had not ended, as NATS had not informed them. As NATS and Heathrow work closely together, that is very hard to believe. Even if it could be credible, it reveals a markedly dismissive attitude to the thousands of upset residents, who have complained week after week. The airport had made no apparent effort to establish the facts, for many months. The areas particularly affected by this change are Virginia Water, Ascot, Binfield and some parts of Bracknell, which are experiencing a concentrated flight path. John Holland-Kaye said: “Because of the assurances we received [from NATS], we in turn told residents in good faith that no changes had occurred. That is unacceptable and I unequivocally apologise to local residents.” However, NATS say they changed the route to improve the safe and efficient management of traffic departing from Heathrow and they are not planning to revert to previous procedures.

Click here to view full story…

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Dr Phillip Lee, MP for Bracknell, says Heathrow and NATS claims on flight paths “outrageous and unacceptable”

The MP for Bracknell, Dr Phillip Lee called staff from NATS and the airport to a meeting at the House of Commons on Wednesday 18th March, to answer questions about flight path changes affecting his constituency. He asked Jane Johnston, head of corporate affairs at NATS, and Heathrow senior staff to explain the situation of increased aircraft noise, and Heathrow’s claim that they did not know there had been a change. Since the start of the “procedural change” to flights on the Compton route, there has been a huge degree of protest by affected residents, with thousands of complaints made. Heathrow repeatedly told people who complained about noise that “trials” ended on 12th November. Only now, four months later, has it emerged that these procedural changes continued, and NATS has no intention of reverting to the previous system, before June 2014. Dr Lee was told that NATS “didn’t make the connection” between the changes, and the increased complaints. The staff told Dr Lee they were simply following procedure. Dr Lee said: “This is a wholly outrageous and unacceptable situation. Given all the publicity that surrounded the additional noise caused by the flight path trials, I find it completely unbelievable that these changes in the procedures were simply overlooked by NATS as a possible cause for increased activity over residents’ homes.”

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Crispin Blunt MP: Too many unanswered questions make Gatwick obviously NOT the right choice

Crispin Blunt is the MP for Reigate and Chair of the group of MPs against a new Gatwick runway, the Gatwick Coordination Group. In an article, he sets out why there must not be a 2nd Gatwick runway. He writes that Gatwick wrongly puts about the view that one runway will solve our (alleged) “aviation crisis” and that it doesn’t matter where it’s put.  He says the local impacts of a Gatwick runway cannot be justified and would not provide the sort of airport capacity needed. “Gatwick talk about the importance of trust. Yet, they have eroded trust by refusing countless times to speak to the local public about the impact of expansion on surrounding communities, while this week senior representatives found time to attend political events organised by local politicians around Heathrow.” Some of the many reasons not to allow Gatwick a runway are insufficient workforce, severe housing and infrastructure pressures, lack of transport resilience,  and doubts about Gatwick’s business calculations – which are kept secret. Unfortunately, Crisipin Blunt is now advocating a runway at Heathrow – apparently oblivious of the equally horrendous consequences for the areas to be badly affected there. 
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Crispin Blunt MP: Too many unanswered questions make Gatwick obviously not the right choice

19.3.2015 (Politics Home)

Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate & Chair of the Gatwick Coordination Group raises some clear objections to the Gatwick bid.

[Also unfortunately ….]  He states that the rival Heathrow bid will offer more new jobs and be a better option for the UK economy

While Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission deliberates, the public debate about where Britain’s extra runway capacity should be built goes on.

Missing from the debate has been a sense of what is really at stake in the decision. A view has been taken, cultivated by Gatwick, that the choice is about how one runway will solve our aviation crisis and that it doesn’t matter where it’s put.

That’s wrong: the Airports Commission has already analysed that the economic benefit to the UK economy of developing Gatwick could be up to £100bn less than the Heathrow options – no small change when taking a national decision for the national economy.

The Airports Commission’s brief is about how best to serve the national interest. The numbers speak volumes: Heathrow offering four times the jobs, spread across the UK, and twice the GDP.

Whilst the national interest favours Heathrow hands down, locally, the impact of a new runway at Gatwick cannot be justified either. So, another runway at Gatwick would not solve the country’s capacity crisis, nor generate the scale of benefits locally or nationally compared to other options.

In the debate, Gatwick talk about the importance of trust. Yet, they have eroded trust by refusing countless times to speak to the local public about the impact of expansion on surrounding communities, while this week senior representatives found time to attend political events organised by local politicians around Heathrow.

The campaign being waged by Gatwick suggests that it would be easier to expand Gatwick, but in reality there are huge question marks hanging over the Gatwick plans, such as:

– How can the airport hope to find a sufficient workforce, both on-site and the related jobs, of over 120,000 more jobs (the population of Cambridge) centred on or located at Gatwick when there are only 23,000 jobseekers in a very wide travel to work region around Gatwick today? Tens of thousands of workers would have to move from outside the region, adding to the already severe housing and infrastructure pressures. Regional housing forecasts are already undeliverable without loss of Greenbelt.

– What possible resilience could there be in the transport links to Gatwick when there is only one rail link, the Brighton Mainline, already the busiest commuter line in the country, no new track, and the roads (A23/M23/M25) from London are already beyond capacity?

– What guarantee is there that Gatwick’s overseas owners would ever invest in their project when their commercial objectives would be well-served simply by stopping Heathrow?

– What faith can we have that this investment would be made when their business calculations are kept secret from the public? Even Gatwick’s biggest customer, Easyjet, isn’t convinced and favours Heathrow.

Gatwick obviously cannot answer these major questions around infrastructure and transport links, environmental impact, economic case and deliverability.

With questions unanswered, the scale of opposition growing and a decision in the best interests of the whole nation demanded, we are urging Sir Howard and his Commission to ground, and bury, the Gatwick bid.

 

Crispin Blunt is MP for Reigate & Chair of the Gatwick Coordination Group – set up to bring together Members of Parliament neighbouring Gatwick Airport as well as other elected representatives and civil society.

https://www.politicshome.com/transport/articles/opinion/house-commons/crispin-blunt-mp-too-many-unanswered-questions-make-gatwick

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Gatwick area MPs hope to have CAA assurance that aircraft noise misery from PR-NAV will soon be addressed

MPs Paul Beresford, Crispin Blunt and Sam Gyimah, representing the people being overflown by the new departure routes from Gatwick have had a meeting with Mark Swan, the Director for Safety and Airspace Regulation for the CAA. They needed to discuss the CAA’s implementation of PR-NAV use of flight paths and its impact on local residents.  The CAA asked for the public to comment on the implementation (named PIR) and that ended on 5th January. People in south Reigate, Redhill and Holmwood have been badly affected by aircraft noise pollution, for the first time, as they are outside the NPR (Noise Preferential Route) which were adhered to in the past. The  CAA has the authority to require Gatwick to alter these flight paths following their PIR review. Mark Swan told the MPs that “We will not allow the status quo to be sustained”. The MPs want the routes to be returned as soon as possible to the pre-PRNAV pattern.  Mr Swan also stated that the CAA had sufficient authority to approve appropriate technical solutions that return paths towards the previous pattern. Gatwick Airport management have avoided attending meetings with angry and upset local residents, and have been slow to acknowledge there was a serious problems caused by flight paths. The MPs said: “We will sustain the pressure to try and deliver a summer less blighted than last year.”
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MPs secure assurance from the CAA that aircraft noise misery from PR-NAV will be addressed

19.3.2015 (Crispin Blunt MP’s website)

Today Sir Paul Beresford, Crispin Blunt and Sam Gyimah, the Members of Parliament representing the people being overflown by the new departure routes out of Gatwick, [these are RW26-CLN/BIG/LAM/DVR taking off to the west, and RW08-SAM/KENET taking off tot he east.  AW note] met Mark Swan, the Director for Safety and Airspace Regulation for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to discuss the CAA’s review of the implementation (PIR) of PR-NAV (Precision Area Navigation) from Gatwick since November 2013 and the consequences of its full implementation from May 2014.

The CAA gave an update on the process, which was unprecedented in including a call for submissions from the public, which ended on 5th January 2015.They received 15,500 public representations which are now being analysed.

The CAA’s preliminary analysis was that there were “discrepancies beyond what was anticipated” on the two key routes which have led to a concentration of aircraft tracks, both westerly and easterly over south Reigate and Redhill and on westerly take-off over Holmwood. These tracks are outside the original Noise Preferential Routes (NPR) and have led to intense anger from constituents who now find themselves suffering constant aircraft noise pollution.

The CAA, as the regulator, have the authority to require Gatwick to alter these flight paths following their review. Mark Swan was able to assure the MPs, that on the basis of their work so far, “We will not allow the status quo to be sustained”.

The MPs were anxious that the critical path towards rectifying the routes should be as short as possible. They also made clear that the solution needed to return routes as close as possible to the pre-PRNAV pattern.

Mark Swan made clear that his officials would consider any new proposals from Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) whilst they finished their formal review process. He also stated that the CAA had sufficient authority to approve appropriate technical solutions that return paths towards the previous pattern.

The MPs were accompanied by a BA pilot and local resident, Simon Lees, who is also advising Plane Wrong who are in discussion with GAL about technical solutions, having retained their own expert advisers, To70.

GAL, having not attended protest meetings last year, in contrast to the CAA, and having been slow to acknowledge there was a serious problem for local residents, have now undertaken to address the issue.

The MPs said:

“We are grateful for the explicit assurances given us today by the CAA. The status quo is going to change and the CAA will assist GAL in delivering this relief as fast as possible. We welcome the fact that GAL are now engaged with Plane Wrong and their advisers and have put resources towards working out their own new proposals to the CAA. This will avoid the delay that would arise if GAL did nothing before the CAA completed their formal review process. It is now up to GAL to progress new proposals as fast as possible and the CAA have undertaken to help guide them so that safety and technical compliance issues can be resolved as fast as possible.

“All parties now appear to be working towards giving our constituents underneath the new concentrated flight paths the earliest possible relief from the unacceptable new noise nuisance imposed last year. We will sustain the pressure to try and deliver a summer less blighted than last year.”

http://www.blunt4reigate.com/news/mps-secure-assurance-from-the-caa-that-aircraft/991

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Map showing the 9 different Gatwick departure flight paths

Taking off towards the west:

RWY26-CLN/BIG/LAM/DVR

RW26-TIGER/WIZARD

RW26-SFD

RW26-SAM/KENET/BOGNA/HARDY  (2 parts)

and

Taking off towards the east:

RW08-LAM

RW08-SAM/KENET

RW08-SFD

RW08-CLN/BIG/LAM/DVR

Gatwick flight paths

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Map from Gatwick airspace consultation at

http://www.gatwickairport.com/PublicationFiles/business_and_community/all_public_publications/aircraft_noise/Airspace%20consultation/Map_16-22.pdf

Gatwick map showing Reigate area flight paths 2014


 

Comment from a resident affected by the increased aircraft noise:

Clearly a sign of progress, but we recognise that there is a long way to go still.

This comes in the same week as Tom Denton has claimed that the Surrey Mirror completely misunderstood him and mixed up arrivals comments with departures. The Mirror papers this week are carrying a story where Tom Denton says that he was misquoted and misunderstood and reaffirms that changes to our departure route are under consideration.

It is not yet clear to what extent this progress can be helpful to other problematic departure routes out of Gatwick. Both GAL and the CAA are saying that only 3 of the 9 routes are a problem and there are not significant complaints about the other 6.

We are sceptical about this. Presumably the three routes GAL consider to be the problems are the 2 north of the airport and the Slinfold route.

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Naming of routes

Gatwick has the SAM/KENET route and the SFD/BOGNA/HARDY route and SFD – the names are derived from Bognor Regis for BOGNA, Seaford for SFD,  Dover for DVR, Clacton for CLN, etc

RWY26-DVR/CLN/BIG/LAM

That means Westerly departures on that route

RWY08-SAM/KENET

That means Easterly departures on that route


 

 

 

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Manchester Airport says it is the main airport for the north – Heathrow expansion is not needed for the regions

Charlie Cornish, the CEO of Manchester airport and MAG, says “it is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth.”  His comments were in response to a report by a body called the National Connectivity Task Force NCTF), that is pushing for a 3rd Heathrow runway, in the belief it would be the best option for regional airports like Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley, if they get more Heathrow slots for their flights. The NCTF are submitting their report to the Airports Commission, hoping to influence them. Mr Cornish said Manchester Airport, the only UK airport other than Heathrow to have 2 runways, was thriving as an international hub in its own right.  He said: “It is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth, or that businesses in the UK’s regions need to fly through Heathrow to reach these markets….“Manchester Airport is truly the international gateway for the North, demonstrated by the fact that it serves over 4 million long haul passengers a year, up by 20% over the last 5 years….The north does not need another runway at Heathrow to connect to global markets….The biggest economic benefit will come from new services direct from the regions, with passengers not having to fly through a London airport to reach their final destination.”
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Manchester Airport hits out at report claiming Heathrow expansion is good for the regions

17 March 2015 (Manchester Evening News)

By Charlotte Cox

Charlie Cornish says “it is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth”

The boss of Manchester Airport has slammed a new report which recommends a new runway at Heathrow as the best option for the country’s future aviation needs.

The report, penned by a panel of experts dubbed the National Connectivity Task Force (NCTF), says there should be a central international hub in London – with more flights connecting regional airports. [Link to NCTF press release on report ]

It will be submitted to the Davies Commission – tasked with advising on how to fulfil the country’s future aviation needs.

Options on the table are a £7.8bn second runway at Gatwick, a £17bn third runway at Heathrow, or an extension to one of the existing Heathrow runways.

It says the status quo and too many government restrictions on air travel, means the country is over-reliant on overseas airports for global links.

But Charlie Cornish, chief executive of airport operator MAG, said Manchester Airport was thriving as an international hub in its own right.

He said: “It is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth, or that businesses in the UK’s regions need to fly through Heathrow to reach these markets.

“Manchester Airport is truly the international gateway for the North, demonstrated by the fact that it serves over four million long haul passengers a year, up by 20 per cent over the last five years.

“The north does not need another runway at Heathrow to connect to global markets.

“Manchester has two runways and the existing capacity to support the needs of the 22 million people that live within two hours of the airport, a number which will increase significantly as planned investments in road and rail connectivity are delivered.

“The biggest economic benefit will come from new services direct from the regions, with passengers not having to fly through a London airport to reach their final destination.”

The report’s authors praise Heathrow as a ‘fundamentally important national infrastructure asset.”

They add: “Although Manchester aspires to take on such a role, and Edinburgh and Birmingham Airports are endeavouring to develop substantial directly served networks of their own – including to some long haul destinations, none of them come close to Heathrow or Gatwick; nor according to the Commission’s own forecasts are they likely to do so.

“It is for this reason that the UK’s regions, nations and Crown Dependencies must have guaranteed connections to London’s hub and/or major gateway airport once a new runway is open.”

Mr Cornish has spoken previously about the London options and the potential cost to the taxpayer.

He has written to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin arguing for a model in which the country’s transport needs are served by Manchester and Heathrow – which already have two runways – along with Gatwick and MAG-owned Stansted, which wish to build second runways, combined with high-speed rail links.

He said he disagreed with the Heathrow operator’s argument that a third runway is necessary to allow British businesses to open new routes to fast-growing markets in the developing world..

Sir Howard Davies is due to make a final recommendation to the government this summer.

The regional task force report was suggested by Heathrow but the task force stresses it is independent.

Manchester Airport’s international CV:
Manchester serves over 4 million long haul passengers annually

Since 2010, its long haul volumes have grown from 3.4 million to just over 4 million

In 2014, Manchester’s long haul volumes grew by 7.5 per cent.

Combined passenger volumes to the Middle East hubs have grown by 60 per cent since 2010 (from 900,000 to 1.4 million)

Emirates/Etihad/Qatar make up 30 per cent of all long haul traffic, having grown from a 10 per cent share in 2005. They have grown by 1 million passengers over the decade

Emirates is the airport’s number one long haul airline accounting for 17 per cent of long haul traffic and Manchester is one of only a few UK airports able to accommodate an A380.


 

New routes:

Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, which makes Manchester the only airport outside of London to offer a direct route to China

Saudia to Jeddah

Iraqi Airways launching two flights a week to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah

Miami starting this May

Emirates has just started a double daily A380 to Dubai

Turkish Airlines has announced going triple daily

Qatar Airways has gone double daily

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/business-news/manchester-airport-hits-out-report-8858985?

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Heathrow says it did not know flight path changes were continuing – blames NATS for not telling them

Heathrow and NATS had flight path trials during summer 2014, which ended on 12th November, due to intense opposition. See details. But complaints have continued and people have been adamant that the trials have not ended. Heathrow has given assurance after assurance that the trials have ceased, implying people are imagining the noise – or have become over-sensitive to it.  Now Heathrow and NATS have had to apologise. Heathrow says it did not know the trial affecting the “Compton” route to the south west and west of Heathrow had not ended, as NATS had not informed them.  As NATS and Heathrow work closely together, that is very hard to believe. Even if it could be credible, it reveals a markedly dismissive attitude to the thousands of upset residents, who have complained week after week. The airport had made no apparent effort to establish the facts, for many months. The areas particularly affected by this change are Virginia Water, Ascot, Binfield and some parts of Bracknell, which are experiencing a concentrated flight path. John Holland-Kaye said: “Because of the assurances we received [from NATS], we in turn told residents in good faith that no changes had occurred. That is unacceptable and I unequivocally apologise to local residents.”  However, NATS say they changed the route to improve the safe and efficient management of traffic departing from Heathrow and they are not planning to revert to previous procedures.
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Easterly departures:

Heathrow document says:

 Trial route 3: Compton (CPT) departure route (delayed until further notice)

Change to  Compton route on easterly departures 


Easterly departure trial 2
28 July 2014 – it was due to last until 26 January 2015 http://www.heathrowairport.com/static/Heathrow_Noise/Downloads/PDF/Easterly_departure_trial_2.pdf


Westerly departures

Heathrow document says: 

Trial route 2: Compton (CPT) departure route   (no mention of it being delayed till further notice )

Change to Compton route on westerly departures

http://www.heathrowairport.com/static/Heathrow_Noise/Downloads/PDF/Westerly_departure_trial_2.pdf

Westerly departure trial 2
25 August 2014 – and it was due to last till 26 January 2015 

People living in the Ascot area say the noise has continued over them, during westerly operations – and not only for easterly operations. 

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What NATS has to say:

This is the NATS page, with its apology to Heathrow, and its self-justifications

http://www.nats.aero/news/statement-nats-takes-steps-improve-information-airports-changes-air-traffic-control/


 

What Heathrow has to say:

Heathrow secures NATS agreement to improve communications about operational changes to air traffic control

17.3.2015 (Heathrow airport press release)

Following a change made by NATS last year to the way aircraft are directed within the airspace southwest of the airport, NATS has agreed to Heathrow’s request to urgently review the way they share information with the airport about changes which may alter the pattern of aircraft over communities living around Heathrow.

On 27 June 2014 NATS made a procedural change affecting the Compton route, [names CPT] one of the six departure routes used at Heathrow during periods of easterly winds. Heathrow was unaware of this change. The Compton route is used by 16% of departing aircraft turning west when the airport is on easterly operations, equating to around 6% of total departures. Other departure routes are not affected.

Prior to the change, aircraft using this departure route were directed across a wide swathe of airspace before moving into the next sector of airspace anywhere within a 13-mile “gateway” near Compton (hence its name) at approximately 8,000ft.

Since NATS made the procedural change, this gateway for departures has been narrowed to around 7 miles which means that aircraft are now climbing through a narrower area of the existing airspace in order to be in the correct location to go through the gateway. This has resulted in more concentration of departure aircraft activity over some areas and a reduction in others. It has also altered the position of some flights before they reach 7,000 feet, but not below 4,000 feet.

Areas affected by this concentration include Virginia Water, Ascot, Binfield and some parts of Bracknell.

For other areas, including Windlesham, Lightwater and Bagshot, the number of departing aircraft over them has reduced. This change does not affect areas to the east of the airport such as Teddington, East Molesey and Twickenham, and it also does not result in aircraft flying over new areas. It applies to one departure route only, so arrivals are not affected.

While the change to procedures made by NATS is unrelated to the airspace trials that took place last summer and finished on 12th November 2014, it does affect some of the same residents – specifically in Ascot and Bracknell.

Following the ending of the trials, Heathrow was approached by a number of residents and their elected representatives with concerns that flights were being routed differently. Heathrow asked NATS whether there had been any other relevant changes to airspace and were told that no changes had taken place. However as a result of further investigations by NATS and the CAA, the procedural change was identified, affecting air traffic in areas to the southwest of the airport.

There is no suggestion that NATS had any intention to mislead; however their failure to identify this change to Heathrow resulted in the airport wrongly telling residents in good faith that no changes had occurred following conclusion of the airspace trials in November.

Procedural changes made by to the control of aircraft above 7,000 feet do not involve airports and there is no suggestion that NATS did not follow the current agreed process. Nevertheless where procedural changes occur that may have a discernable effect to the noise experienced by residents, we would expect NATS to make us aware of the changes and their potential impact so that we can answer questions from local residents.

In light of this NATS has agreed to urgently review the way it shares information with Heathrow on any changes which may have a discernable impact for communities living around Heathrow.

The airport asked NATS to consider reverting to the prior operational procedures on Easterly departures. They have advised us that this change was made to improve the safe and efficient management of traffic departing from Heathrow and are not planning to revert.

For its part, Heathrow will continue to push for greater transparency from the aviation industry to promote trust amongst stakeholders and residents.

Heathrow has recently set up the Heathrow Community Noise Forum which brings together local community representatives, councillors, and NATS, the CAA and DfT. This will be an important platform to address matters like this.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“I am very concerned that NATS made this change without informing the airport or affected communities about its potential impact, particularly given its effects on some of the same areas to the west of the airport that were affected by the airspace trials we ran last year. Because of the assurances we received, we in turn told residents in good faith that no changes had occurred. That is unacceptable and I unequivocally apologise to local residents.

At my request, the Chief Executive of NATS has agreed to urgently review his company’s processes to ensure that NATS shares this information with the airport to prevent this happening again in the future.”

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Notes to Editors:
For more information, please see

http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/heathrow-operations/latest-news
Like other airports across the UK, Heathrow carried out airspace trials as part of the government’s plan to modernise UK airspace through the Future Airspace Strategy. The aim of this is the more efficient use of airspace to reduce emissions, improve punctuality and reduce aircraft holding. Heathrow ran the airspace trials in conjunction with NATS to test techniques necessary to inform how airspace can be better managed in the future.
The most recent airspace trials affected aircraft departing from Heathrow to the west (i.e. on Westerly operations) and to the east (on Easterly operations). The trials took place last summer and ended on 12 November 2014. The effect of these trials was to concentrate flights along narrower corridors.

More information about the airspace trials can be found Heathrow.com/noise

http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Corporate-operational-24/4458

 


NATS regrets flight path change noise impact

17.3.2015 (Air Traffic Management)

by Aimee Turner   

ContClimbBlack

NATS has apologised to Heathrow airport chiefs for not highlighting an operational change to air traffic control which has affected some of the same communities that were affected by the airport’s airspace trials which ended last November.

Following further complaints from residents, Heathrow asked NATS if there had been any other airspace changes and the UK air navigation service provider confirmed there had been none, as a result of which Heathrow made public assurances to residents.

Following further investigations, the earlier procedural change was then identified which has led to a change in flight patterns over some communities to the south and southwest of Heathrow.

In June 2014, NATS changed the way air traffic controllers direct aircraft within an area of existing airspace. This change only applies when the airport is on easterly operations, and affects only the Compton route which accounts for around 16 per cent of departures, or 6 per cent of total departures.

It involves directing aircraft through a ‘gate’ approximately seven miles wide in the Compton area at approximately 8,000 ft; this ‘gate’, previously 13 miles wide, allows NATS to improve air traffic management in the area, enhancing safety and efficiency.

This new procedure involves NATS (NERL) in terminal control in Swanwick climbing aircraft more quickly out of Heathrow on the Compton route and more clearly separating them from Heathrow inbound streams that in the past they would have had to transit underneath at low level.

NATS said that there is a net safety benefit of doing this through greater systemisation of the airspace and a clearer separation of inbound and outbound flows of traffic. There is also a net benefit to the public as a whole, as these departures now climb more efficiently, reducing overall ground noise.

Because the area involved is designated as a Radar Manoeuvring Area, NATS said it is authorised to ‘vector’ (direct) aircraft tactically in line with its obligations under its CAA licence to achieve safe, efficient and expeditious air traffic control.

“NATS is not required to consult on operational changes of this type as it is not moving, creating or changing routes or redesigning airways,” said NATS in a statement.

“Our first priority is safety, and we also seek to use existing controlled airspace in the most efficient way to provide expeditious service to users,” explained NATS. “The change is in line with the Government’s Aviation Policy Framework, which states ‘limit and, where possible, reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise’. We have therefore explained to Heathrow that we are not intending to revert to previous procedures.”

“There is no suggestion that NATS did not follow the current agreed process,” it added. “However, we have already taken steps to ensure more robust processes are in place to share relevant information with Heathrow so that they are aware of any changes that may be noticed by local residents.”

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:“I am very concerned that NATS made this change without informing the airport or affected communities about its potential impact, particularly given its effects on some of the same areas to the west of the airport that were affected by the airspace trials we ran last year. Because of the assurances we received, we in turn told residents in good faith that no changes had occurred.  That is unacceptable and I unequivocally apologise to local residents.”

“At my request, the chief executive of NATS has agreed to urgently review his company’s processes to ensure that NATS shares this information with the airport to prevent this happening again in the future.”

http://www.airtrafficmanagement.net/2015/03/nats-apologises-on-flight-path-change-noise-impact/

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Windsor MP, Adam Afriye, says on NATS/flightpath fiasco, Heathrow has either been wilfully misleading or incompetent

Following sustained pressure from Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, Heathrow finally admitted changes to flight paths that have inflicted more flights and greater noise on residents in Ascot, Binfield, Bracknell Forest, Cheapside, Sunninghill, Warfield and other nearby areas. John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, wrote in a letter to Mr Afriyie: “I recognise that as an airport community we have let you down in this instance. We need to do better to be a good neighbour and I would like to unequivocally apologise to you and your constituents.” Commenting on the letter, Mr Afriyie said: “I am deeply concerned on behalf of the residents who have suffered from extra aircraft noise without so much as a warning…What beggars belief is Heathrow’s insulting accusation that residents were imagining the extra noise! … Heathrow must take the blame for misleading residents and being dismissive of their concerns. And I now call on Heathrow and NATS to release all flightpath data on arrivals, which Heathrow is yet to disclose to me….Heathrow has either been wilfully misleading or rather incompetent. Heathrow and NATS have serious questions to answer and must be held to account in Parliament.

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Dr Phillip Lee, MP for Bracknell, says Heathrow and NATS claims on flight paths “outrageous and unacceptable”

The MP for Bracknell, Dr Phillip Lee called staff from NATS and the airport to a meeting at the House of Commons on Wednesday 18th March, to answer questions about flight path changes affecting his constituency. He asked Jane Johnston, head of corporate affairs at NATS, and Heathrow senior staff to explain the situation of increased aircraft noise, and Heathrow’s claim that they did not know there had been a change. Since the start of the “procedural change” to flights on the Compton route, there has been a huge degree of protest by affected residents, with thousands of complaints made. Heathrow repeatedly told people who complained about noise that “trials” ended on 12th November. Only now, four months later, has it emerged that these procedural changes continued, and NATS has no intention of reverting to the previous system, before June 2014. Dr Lee was told that NATS “didn’t make the connection” between the changes, and the increased complaints. The staff told Dr Lee they were simply following procedure. Dr Lee said: “This is a wholly outrageous and unacceptable situation. Given all the publicity that surrounded the additional noise caused by the flight path trials, I find it completely unbelievable that these changes in the procedures were simply overlooked by NATS as a possible cause for increased activity over residents’ homes.”

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Heathrow Airport finally provides an answer for increase in aircraft noise across Ascot and Bracknell

17.3.2015 (Bracknell News)

An increase in aircraft noise that has blighted homes across Ascot and Bracknell was due to a change in departure routes from Heathrow Airport.

Residents in Ascot protested against the increase in noise last year and more than 1,000 people attended a public meeting asking Heathrow for answers.

Frustrated residents have finally been given an answer for the increase in noise from aircraft over their homes, but may not like to learn there are currently no plans to revert routes to their previous set up.

A change was made to one route by the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) in June 2014 and led to a greater concentration of aircraft, and more noise, over areas to the south-west of the airport.

However Heathrow say poor communication from NATS meant they were not aware of the change and have apologised to residents who were repeatedly told that there had been no changes to the routes.

The airport also insists the change is not related to the Future Airspace trials which took place between August and November last year.

Unfortunately, NATS have also confirmed there were no plans for the route, called the Compton route, to be reverted back to it’s former state as the change was made to increase safety and efficiency.

http://www.bracknellnews.co.uk/news/bracknell/articles/2015/03/17/108519-heathrow-airport-finally-provides-an-answer-for-increase-in-aircraft-noise-across-ascot-and-bracknell/
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GACC says Gatwick’s rash promise to cap landing charge at £15 puts its runway plan in doubt

Gatwick airport have made a very rash promise not to raise their landing charges above £15 (plus inflation) for 30 years, if they get a 30 contract from the government (details below).  Brendon Sewill, of GACC said: “The whole runway project is in doubt…. Gatwick’s rash promise not to raise airport charges above £15 per head …. seriously puts in question whether building a new runway at Gatwick is a viable business proposal – either for the present owners or for the new owners if Gatwick is sold.” The Airports Commission calculate that Gatwick charges would need to rise to ‘between £15 and £18, with peak charges of up to £23. GACC points out that Gatwick’s promises are meaningless unless they are put into a legal agreement binding on the present airport owners – and future owners.  If so, the £15 would become a legal maximum – rather than the current £9. Even at £15, some airlines, and passengers might well decide instead to use much cheaper airports such as Stansted or Luton.  GACC has pointed out to the Airports Commission the risk that Gatwick may have fewer passengers than forecast, in which case the cap of £15 may not be sufficient to cover the costs of a new runway and new terminal. Brendon Sewill asks: “What would happen if the money runs out when the new runway is only half built?”
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Rash promise puts Gatwick runway in doubt

16.3.2015  (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

“The whole runway project at Gatwick is in doubt”, says GACC Chairman Brendon Sewill.  “Gatwick’s rash promise not to raise airport charges above £15 per head (plus inflation) for thirty years seriously puts in question whether building a new runway at Gatwick is a viable business proposal – either for the present owners or for the new owners if Gatwick is sold.”

The Airports Commission calculate that Gatwick charges would need to rise to ‘between £15 and £18, with peak charges of up to £23.’[1]   They commented that raising the money to finance the project ‘may be challenging in a context where there is uncertainty around passenger demand forecasts.’  Now, according to GACC, it is even more challenging.

GACC points out that Gatwick’s promises are meaningless unless they are put into a legal agreement binding on the present airport owners – and future owners.  “We have discussed this with the Commission, and are confident that – whether they recommend Heathrow or Gatwick – all the promises made by the airport owners will be made legally binding.  If so, the £15 would become a legal maximum.

GACC points out that even if charges were pegged at £15, that is a big increase compared to £9 at present. Some airlines, and passengers, might well decide instead to use airports such as Stansted or Luton where there would be no extra costs.  Already easyJet and British Airways have expressed serious concern about a possible rise in charges at Gatwick.

‘When airlines have waged an apoplectic campaign against air passenger duty – £13 on a flight to Europe – they are hardly likely to welcome being charged £15 per passenger to land at Gatwick.’

GACC pointed out to the Airports Commission the risk that there may be fewer passengers than forecast (as has happened with Manchester’s second runway[2]), in which case the cost of the runway would have to be shared among fewer people, so it might be that a £15 charge might not be sufficient to cover the costs of a new runway and new terminal.[3]

Sewill asks: “What would happen if the money runs out when the new runway is only half built?”

 

[1]  Consultation document November 2014 paragraph 3.41

[2]  Opened in 2001.  Forecast 60 million passengers.  2014 only 22 million

[3]  GACC consultation response paragraphs 97-101.  www.gacc.org.uk/the-runway-issue

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The “30 year contract”

Asked what this contact says, or whether it exists, below is what Gatwick senior management have said:

“The exact nature of the thirty year contract has yet to be finalised – its purpose would be to clarify the commercial and regulatory environment in which we would be operating, including the anticipated timing of any new runways beyond that granted to Gatwick. Whilst we understand that one government cannot bind a future government irreversibly, if there was a legal contract in place and the future proved different from that which had been committed to, the contract could also govern what might happen in those circumstances.”

Make of that what you can !

(ie. there is no contract, and it would probably be impossible for a government to enter into…. so this offer to keep landing fees to £15 seems to be little more than a PR puff….)


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See also

Gatwick “promises” to cap landing charges to £15 + inflation for 30 years (if it gets an unspecified 30 year “contract” from Government)

Gatwick airport, in frenetic publicity in the months before the Airports Commission runway recommendation (expected late June) has made various pledges – in the hope of currying favour. It says it will “bear all the main risks” of a new runway. Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of Gatwick, has written to Sir Howard Davies saying – among other things – that the landing charge will be kept at £15 (plus inflation) for 30 years. As long as there is no new Heathrow runway. (It is currently £9). Sir Roy said it is “in return for Government agreeing a 30 year contract” though exactly what that means is not explained. Presumably a contract that there will be no other runway? Gatwick also says it will “bear all the main risks of the expansion programme . . . including long-term risks related to traffic levels, market pricing, construction and operating costs”. How exactly? Gatwick’s main airline, EasyJet, is not happy with charges rising to £15. The Airports Commission consultation documents considered Gatwick’s estimate of £15 to be too low, and instead considered “average charges rising to between £15 and £18, with peak charges of up to £23.” These higher levels were due to lower estimated levels of air passenger demand than Gatwick’s optimistic figures, and higher infrastructure costs. [ Airports Commission’s consultation document Page 47].

Click here to view full story…

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13.3.2015  (Gatwick Airport’s press release)

SIR ROY MCNULTY:

“The debate about airport expansion is entering a crucial phase in the lead-up to the Commission’s recommendation.

“However, after two years of debate with many facts, figures and key arguments put forward, it is easy to lose sight of the overall deal being offered by each option.

“That is why earlier this week, on behalf of the Gatwick Airport Board, we published five guarantees that crystallise the key commitments Gatwick are prepared to make on our second runway plans.

“We believe that airport expansion must provide a fair deal for everyone – to the Government, to airlines and passengers, to the local community, and to the environment.

“Yet these aspects have not been discussed nearly enough and we feel the balance of the discussion needs to change. So what is Gatwick’s offer?

1. FAIR TO TAXPAYERS – A PRIVATELY FUNDED RUNWAY READY FOR TAKE-OFF IN 2025  

  • To ensure airport expansion is fair to the taxpayer, we are strongly of the view that a new runway should be privately funded. We have full confidence that our plans will be privately financed without any Government subsidy meaning that by 2025, London would have a competitive airports system fit for a global city, all at no cost to the taxpayer.

2. FAIR TO PASSENGERS & AIRLINES – AIRPORT CHARGES CAPPED TO KEEP FARES LOW FOR EVERYONE

  • Our second guarantee is that in return for Government agreeing a 30 year contract, passenger charges will be subject to an inflation-linked £15 limit. This means fares would be kept low for all passengers – from cost conscious business travellers to hard pressed families – and would be fair to passengers and airlines.

3. FAIR TO GOVERNMENT – NO PUBLIC SECTOR RISK FOR GOVERNMENT TO CARRY

  • In terms of the delivery of a new runway, our view is that most of the risks should be borne by the airport promoter – not Government, not airlines and not passengers. Our commitment is to bear the long-term risks of the expansion programme which we believe is fair to Government.

4. FAIR TO LOCAL PEOPLE – CASH COMPENSATION FOR THOSE MOST AFFECTED BY NOISE

  • Our expansion plans affect far fewer people than alternative schemes but we still believe higher levels of spending are needed on noise mitigation and compensation. To ensure we are fair to the local community, our ground-breaking proposal (so far unmatched by other promoters) is to provide £1,000 yearly compensation towards the Council Tax of those people most affected by aircraft noise.

5. FAIR TO THE ENVIRONMENT – AIR QUALITY TARGETS ALWAYS MET

  • Our final guarantee is that air quality levels will remain within current legal limits in the area close to the airport and that (unlike Heathrow) this can be achieved without introducing a congestion charge. Gatwick’s location means that expansion is uniquely able to balance the economic growth we need with an environmental cost we can afford. We believe this is fair to the environment.

“Together these guarantees assure any Government that Gatwick expansion will not be a drain on the public finances and would deliver an economic benefit the UK needs at an environmental cost we can afford.

“Above all, our guarantees also show that Gatwick expansion is deliverable. After years of delay something needs to happen – this is the first time we have been seriously considered for expansion, and it is clear only Gatwick can guarantee Britain gets the runway it needs.”

Read more »

Gatwick “promises” to cap landing charges to £15 + inflation for 30 years (if it gets an unspecified 30 year “contract” from Government)

Gatwick airport, in frenetic publicity in the months before the Airports Commission runway recommendation (expected late June) has made various pledges – in the hope of currying favour. It says it will “bear all the main risks” of a new runway. Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of Gatwick, has written to Sir Howard Davies saying – among other things – that the landing charge will be kept at £15 (plus inflation) for 30 years. As long as there is no new Heathrow runway. (It is currently £9). Sir Roy said it is “in return for Government agreeing a 30 year contract” though exactly what that means is not explained.  Presumably a contract that there will be no other runway? Gatwick also says it will “bear all the main risks of the expansion programme . . . including long-term risks related to traffic levels, market pricing, construction and operating costs”. How exactly?  Gatwick’s main airline, EasyJet, is not happy with charges rising to £15.  The Airports Commission consultation documents considered Gatwick’s estimate of £15 to be too low, and instead considered “average charges rising to between £15 and £18, with peak charges of up to £23.” These higher levels were due to lower estimated levels of air passenger demand than Gatwick’s optimistic figures, and higher infrastructure costs. [ Airports Commission’s consultation document Page 47]. 
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Gatwick vows to cap landing fees for 30 years

Gatwick is reportedly promising to cap landing charges for 30 years and cover the main risks of expansion.

Airport chairman Sir Roy McNulty has written to the Airports Commission setting out five promises including a guarantee to keep charges per passenger at £15 plus inflation for 30 years and a pledge to have a new runway operational by 2025.

The guarantees would only hold if Gatwick were the only airport chosen for a new runway.The project does not work economically if both go ahead,” he said. “If part of the incremental traffic is taken by [one airport]…it would be very difficult. The economics do not work for two at a time.”

Sir Roy said the guarantees would make clear the commercial basis of Gatwick’s bid for expansion, the Financial Times reported.“There is a lot of talk about the pros and cons of the schemes,” he said. “In the end . . . this is about what sort of deal this is for passengers, for the government and for those communities around the airport.”

As well as the cap on airport charges, and a firm start date for operation, Gatwick promised that it would “bear all the main risks of the expansion programme . . . including long-term risks related to traffic levels, market pricing, construction and operating costs”.The airport also reiterated its pledge to pay £1,000 a year towards the council tax of local residents affected by significant levels of aircraft noise and to maintain air quality levels within current legal limits.

Sir Roy added: “Choose Gatwick and any government can do so knowing that airport expansion will not be a drain on the public finances – and even more importantly it can actually happen.

“These guarantees give airlines and passengers confidence that they will not have to pay much higher air fares through higher airport charges.

“These guarantees also provide a progressive solution where those most affected by noise are directly compensated and the environment is protected. I believe that increased spending on noise mitigation and direct compensation for local communities must be an essential element of any plan for runway expansion.

“Both Heathrow and Gatwick have support. But after years of delay most people agree on one thing – something needs to happen.

“This is the first time Gatwick has been seriously considered for expansion, and only Gatwick can guarantee that Britain gets the runway it needs.”

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2015/03/11/53430/gatwick+vows+to+cap+landing+fees+for+30+years.html

 

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The “30 year contract”

Asked what this contact says, or whether it exists, below is what Gatwick senior management have said:

“The exact nature of the thirty year contract has yet to be finalised – its purpose would be to clarify the commercial and regulatory environment in which we would be operating, including the anticipated timing of any new runways beyond that granted to Gatwick. Whilst we understand that one government cannot bind a future government irreversibly, if there was a legal contract in place and the future proved different from that which had been committed to, the contract could also govern what might happen in those circumstances.

Make of that what you can !


 

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See also FT article at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1848050c-c6a0-11e4-a13d-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=uk#axzz3U4NCqzK5


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13.3.2015  (Gatwick Airport’s press release)

SIR ROY MCNULTY:

“The debate about airport expansion is entering a crucial phase in the lead-up to the Commission’s recommendation.

“However, after two years of debate with many facts, figures and key arguments put forward, it is easy to lose sight of the overall deal being offered by each option.

“That is why earlier this week, on behalf of the Gatwick Airport Board, we published five guarantees that crystallise the key commitments Gatwick are prepared to make on our second runway plans.

“We believe that airport expansion must provide a fair deal for everyone – to the Government, to airlines and passengers, to the local community, and to the environment.

“Yet these aspects have not been discussed nearly enough and we feel the balance of the discussion needs to change. So what is Gatwick’s offer?

1. FAIR TO TAXPAYERS – A PRIVATELY FUNDED RUNWAY READY FOR TAKE-OFF IN 2025  

  • To ensure airport expansion is fair to the taxpayer, we are strongly of the view that a new runway should be privately funded. We have full confidence that our plans will be privately financed without any Government subsidy meaning that by 2025, London would have a competitive airports system fit for a global city, all at no cost to the taxpayer.

2. FAIR TO PASSENGERS & AIRLINES – AIRPORT CHARGES CAPPED TO KEEP FARES LOW FOR EVERYONE

  • Our second guarantee is that in return for Government agreeing a 30 year contract, passenger charges will be subject to an inflation-linked £15 limit. This means fares would be kept low for all passengers – from cost conscious business travellers to hard pressed families – and would be fair to passengers and airlines.

3. FAIR TO GOVERNMENT – NO PUBLIC SECTOR RISK FOR GOVERNMENT TO CARRY

  • In terms of the delivery of a new runway, our view is that most of the risks should be borne by the airport promoter – not Government, not airlines and not passengers. Our commitment is to bear the long-term risks of the expansion programme which we believe is fair to Government.

4. FAIR TO LOCAL PEOPLE – CASH COMPENSATION FOR THOSE MOST AFFECTED BY NOISE

  • Our expansion plans affect far fewer people than alternative schemes but we still believe higher levels of spending are needed on noise mitigation and compensation. To ensure we are fair to the local community, our ground-breaking proposal (so far unmatched by other promoters) is to provide £1,000 yearly compensation towards the Council Tax of those people most affected by aircraft noise.

5. FAIR TO THE ENVIRONMENT – AIR QUALITY TARGETS ALWAYS MET

  • Our final guarantee is that air quality levels will remain within current legal limits in the area close to the airport and that (unlike Heathrow) this can be achieved without introducing a congestion charge. Gatwick’s location means that expansion is uniquely able to balance the economic growth we need with an environmental cost we can afford. We believe this is fair to the environment.

“Together these guarantees assure any Government that Gatwick expansion will not be a drain on the public finances and would deliver an economic benefit the UK needs at an environmental cost we can afford.

“Above all, our guarantees also show that Gatwick expansion is deliverable. After years of delay something needs to happen – this is the first time we have been seriously considered for expansion, and it is clear only Gatwick can guarantee Britain gets the runway it needs.”

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See earlier:

 

Gatwick’s main airline, easyJet, questions Gatwick case for 2nd runway and does not want to pay higher landing charges

Carolyn McCall, CEO of  EasyJet, the largest airline at Gatwick, has said passengers want expansion at Heathrow, not at Gatwick.  Ms McCall said easyJet is “quite concerned” at the prospect that Gatwick’s  landing charges would rise to pay for a 2nd runway.  They are having confidential talks with the airports on future charges.  EasyJet makes on average £8 profit per seat.  If Gatwick’s charges doubled from the current £9  to an average of £15 to £18 (or even up to £23) as predicted by the Airports Commission, this would hit EasyJet’s economics.  Ms McCAll said: “This whole issue of capacity should be about where the demand is. Airlines have to want to go into that airport, and the congestion we have is predominantly around the Heathrow hub. Passengers need to really value what this infrastructure brings, and if they don’t see any benefit it’s going to struggle.” A new runway risked emulating unpopular toll roads. “It will be years and years before [passengers] see any positive effect.”  As one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing airlines, EasyJet’s opinion will need to be given careful consideration by the Commission.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/gatwicks-main-airline-easyjet-questions-gatwick-case-for-2nd-runway-and-do-not-want-to-pay-higher-landing-charges/

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The Airports Commission’s consultation document (Page 47) states that:

3.41

“Gatwick Airport Ltd has estimated, for example, that per passenger charges would
rise from £9 currently to £12-15 as a result of expansion. This is lower than the
charges predicted by the Commission’s analysis, which indicate average charges
rising to between £15 and £18, with peak charges of up to £23. As can be seen,
the Commission’s estimates show significant potential variation reflecting the
variation in passenger demand across its scenarios. In the upper end demand
scenarios, charges would be close to Gatwick Airport Ltd’s own estimates,
although still slightly higher, reflecting higher costs and a more conservative view
of how the infrastructure delivery might be phased. Conversely, the higher end of
the Commission’s predicted range of charges reflects lower estimated levels of
demand leading to peak charges above £20 (roughly the current level of charges
at Heathrow). “

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and.

A new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick would mean big increases in passenger fees – New report

10.3.2014   (Aviation Environment Federation)
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The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) has submitted a new report to the Airports Commission. It casts doubt on the feasibility of building a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow.  So far there has been little realistic discussion about who will actually pay for the proposed runways.  The new study, “Who Would Pay for a New Runway” by Brendon Sewill, shows that a new runway at Heathrow would be likely to mean an increase in landing fees and other airport charges from £19 per passenger now, up to £31.  At Gatwick there would be a larger increase, up from £8 now to £33.60.   The study points out that with all the London airports separately owned, unlike in the days of BAA, the cost will have to fall only on the passengers using that airport.  If an expensive runway (and terminal) is built, the options are either that the passengers pay for it – or that it has to have public subsidy. A report for the Airports Commission, by KPMG, concluded that a new Heathrow runway would need a subsidy of around £11 billion, and a new Gatwick runway a subsidy of nearly £18 billion. However, the Government is reluctant to commit public funds, and new EU guidelines ruling out subsidies to major airports.  That leaves landing charges – will passengers put up with that, or vote with their feet by using cheaper airports? 
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Open email to the aviation industry & Government – from people suffering from aircraft noise

Someone living near Heathrow, now experiencing significantly worse noise from more concentrated flight paths, has written an open email to complain about the noise, and the repeated assurances that “nothing has changed.” Thousands living under Heathrow take off routes believe things have indeed changed.  The writer says: “I am gravely concerned at the level of anger which is rising in the blogs, tweets, Facebook and other social media as I am seeing increasing desperation within these groups. People are genuinely suffering noise disturbance, sleep disruption, disruption to concentration, interference with normal activities – and a high degree of stress and depression….. If this matter doesn’t get resolved soon … I can see even the most moderate and respectable members of the community losing the plot and undertaking actions that are out of character with their positions in society….[I] don’t know what to do to resolve the disparity between the lies we are being told and the truth, to calm people down….. And am utterly dismayed by the apparent lack of concern or expedited action by senior politicians and councillors…The people or persons responsible for this noise onslaught need to bow their heads in shame at the mental and physical stress that they are causing.”
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Open email to the aviation industry and Government

13.3.2015  (name of writer supplied)

This email is referenced to the increase in noise and low height of planes experienced over the West of London despite the reassurance by the aviation industry and its “controllers” that it is not!

I am gravely concerned at the level of anger which is rising in the blogs, tweets, Facebook and other social media as I am seeing increasing desperation within these groups. People are genuinely suffering noise disturbance, sleep disruption, disruption to concentration, interference with normal activities – and a high degree of stress and depression. These efffects are not imaginary. They are very real indeed.

If this matter doesn’t get resolved soon with a very good explanation I can see even the most moderate and respectable members of the community losing the plot and undertaking actions that are out of character with their positions in society.

I am really, really concerned and don’t know what to do to resolve the disparity between the lies we are being told and the truth, to calm people down.

Believe it or not I am the voice of moderation, but it has got to the point where people are telling me that writing, emails and passive campaigns aren’t getting anyone anywhere and I have to agree with the sentiment – if not the proposals.

I have increased concerns regarding the effect this action by the aviation industry including, I suspect the CAA, DfT and NATS, is having. And am utterly dismayed by the apparent lack of concern or expedited action by senior politicians and councillors.

The effects of noise are seriously being underestimated by which ever employees / officials are responsible for this trial, its creation and implementation. They need to be held to account.

We. the public. haven’t got a clue and it appears senior politicians, including those at the DfT apparently, are also unaware of what is going on.

We are perpetually being told by Heathrow and the CAA that everything is back to normal which is an obvious, crass and blatant lie.

I am being told that the onslaught of noise caused by plane after plane after plane, following the exact same route into and out of Heathrow, going on over my house at the moment is a return to normality and in my imagination.

Anyone putting out this misinformation in the belief it is true has clearly had something akin to a lobotomy – rendering them suitable only for a career in customer service on a complaints line for a dispassionate corporation.

Heathrow’s operations are having serious side effects of increasing pollution, both in terms of noise and fumes, to an ever widening population of people who want no part of this business in their lives and receive no benefit from their actions.

If this is the future of aviation then God help us all – because it won’t be worth living in much of the south-east of England.

If that is the price of (theoretically) increasing GDP then we will need to use the money to increase the number of doctors and hospitals to deal with the stress,  mental health and respiratory problems arising.  A very negative effect.

The people or persons responsible for this noise onslaught need to bow their heads in shame at the mental and physical stress that they are causing to an ever increasing population.

I hope the salaries they are paid to undertake their individual contributions to this noise justifies in their own minds, the misery and suffering of all those affected by what they are doing.

I couldn’t justify it no matter what salary they offered.

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The writer has spoken for many, many people living near Heathrow and this open email has received support from many people, who fully endorse what it says..

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