Heathrow’s north west runway plan would destroy historic village of Harmondsworth

Heathrow’s plan for a north west runway would mean the devastation of the medieval village of Harmondsworth. The airport boundary would come almost to the centre of the village, with everything south of that line demolished. It would level the ivy-covered brick walls of the Harmondsworth Hall guest house and two-thirds of the village’s homes. A village that traces its history to the 6th century would be damaged so badly that even what is left would be uninhabitable. People don’t want financial compensation, they just don’t want their village destroyed or the bulldozing of a historic village with buildings that go back 600 years which cannot be replaced. Heathrow’s Nigel Milton said he understands that “some people are very upset.”  Even though St. Mary’s Church, which traces its history to the mid-11th century and the 15th century Great Barn (dubbed the “Cathedral of Middlesex” by John Betjeman) would not be pulled down, they would be so close to the airport fence that the church would have no congregation, and the barn would be pounded by noise (not to mention kerosene fumes). Neil Keveren, chairman of local campaign, SHE,said: “This is my home and if I am forced to leave here, who will it be for? Foreign investors. …The message I would give to the world is that the British government can be bought.”
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UK airport expansion threatens to take out entire villages

By DANICA KIRKA  (BigStory)
May. 25, 2015

LONDON (AP) — With its classic red phone booth, pub, and medieval church, Harmondsworth’s center looks quintessentially British. But the search for a twee English village isn’t what brings millions of people within a stone’s throw of its boundaries.

The attraction is neighboring Heathrow Airport, which served 73 million travelers last year. Now Europe’s busiest airport is proposing to build a runway roughly through the center of town, leveling the ivy-covered brick walls of the Harmondsworth Hall guest house and two-thirds of its homes. A village that traces its history to the 6th century would be forever altered, and some argue even what’s left would be uninhabitable.

“There’s no compensation package that would interest me,” said Neil Keveren, who chairs a local community group opposed to the expansion. “We have a historic village with buildings that go back 600 years. You cannot replace that. You cannot buy memories.”

Harmondsworth is under threat because London and southeastern England need more airport capacity to meet the growing demands of business travelers and tourists. Heathrow and rival Gatwick, 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of central London, have offered competing projects that will cost as much as 18.6 billion pounds ($29.1 billion). Whichever proposal is selected, homes will be destroyed and surviving neighborhoods will have to cope with increased noise, pollution and traffic.

The issue is so toxic that politicians created an independent commission to weigh the options. Government officials then postponed a decision until after the May 7 election, effectively taking the matter off the political agenda, if but briefly.

The commission is set to make its recommendation as soon as next month. It will then be up to political leaders to make the final decision. A furious public relations battle has raged in advance, with placards all over London’s subway system, for example, extolling the virtues of Heathrow or Gatwick. The commission has already rejected other options, including Mayor Boris Johnson’s proposal for a new airport in the Thames Estuary.

According to the commission, all three remaining proposals, including two different plans to expand Heathrow, would meet the region’s needs, though the costs and potential benefits would vary. Gatwick, for instance, would cost an estimated 9.3 billion pounds and boost Britain’s gross domestic product by as much as 127 billion pounds. The most expensive Heathrow project would cost twice as much and boost GDP by up to 211 billion pounds, the commission estimates.

Making the right decision is crucial as London seeks to retain a competitive edge.

In a globalized world, airports offer the opportunity for investment bankers, lawyers, consultants and engineers to make face-to-face connections in major markets where deals are made, said John Kasarda, director of the center for air commerce at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. [He is the proponent of the hugely damaging “aerotropolis” – airport city – concept, that is creating mega airports across the world].

“This is contact sport, particularly at the global level,” Kasarda said. “This isn’t done over the net.”

And the ability to move — and connect — faster makes a country and its economy more competitive. Opting not to expand is a tacit acknowledgement that the government is willing to have some of those jobs go to a competitor, such as Paris, Amsterdam or Dubai.

“It’s the survival of the fastest,” Kasarda said. “It’s no longer the big eating the small. It is the fast eating the slow.”

But there is a human cost, as communities like Harmondsworth and others that might be affected know all too well.

Heathrow external relations director Nigel Milton said he understands that some people are very upset, though he claims there are residents in Harmondsworth who support the project but might not want to come forward to support the idea. He acknowledges the local impact, but said the company would offer compensation packages — even to those whose homes would not need to be leveled but who would find themselves living next to a runway.

“We believe we are being fair,” he said.

Countries like Britain have struggled with the notion of balancing national gain with local pain. Harmondsworth and the nearby village of Sipson are “stylized examples of the challenge all big societies face: progress meets obstacles,” said Tony Travers, a professor of government at the London School of Economics.

Britain has sought to strike a balance between growth and safeguarding its heritage, and grassroots conservation movements have grown up to protect cultural landmarks. Unlike communities such as Venice in Italy, Britain hasn’t allowed beauty to hamper progress — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t taken into account.

“If Harmondsworth were not this beautiful village, this decision would be that much easier to make,” Travers said.

Local campaigners say they’ve been told the latest proposal would avoid landmarks like St. Mary’s Church, which traces its history to the mid-11th century and the Great Barn, a 15th century oak-framed behemoth — 192 feet long, 37 feet wide and 39 feet high — dubbed the “Cathedral of Middlesex” by the late poet laureate John Betjeman.

But opponents say the proposed runway would be so close to what’s left of the village that no one would be able to stand to live there because of the noise and the bad air. In other words, there’d be a church but no congregation, said archaeological scientist Justine Bayley.

“They have no concern that they are screwing up the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for their shareholders,” she said of her village and others along the flightpath and in west London who are affected by the noise.

Keveren nods. His fury is evident as he waves a 2010 election leaflet in which Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party pledged to fight Heathrow expansion. Keveren says he feels deceived.

“My grandparents worked this land. I have war dead in the cemetery of the church. This is my home and if I am forced to leave here, who will it be for? Foreign investors,” he said spinning with outrage. “The message I would give to the world is that the British government can be bought.”

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/1cdcfc50f39f44db8a780b5f981cc6d5/uk-airport-expansion-threatens-take-out-entire-villages

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See also

Harmondsworth Open Day shows the extent of the threat of a Heathrow runway, and what it would destroy

Edit this entry.

On Sunday 12th April the village of Harmondsworth hosted an open day, to show off the village – and inform visitor about what plans for a Heathrow north-west runway would mean for the area.  The Heathrow Villages are fighting for their survival.  If Heathrow is allowed to build its north west runway, Harmondsworth will be destroyed.  Much of it would be built over, with the airport’s northern boundary slicing off around half of the village. Longford would disappear altogether. During the open day, held on the village green, there were tours of the magnificent early 15th Century Great Barn, and walking tours of the village and of Harmondsworth Moor. A huge canvas had been created, showing a plane and a wire boundary fence – which would be where the airport would come to within a few yards of the current village centre. Though the Great Barn and the Church of St Mary the Virgin would not be demolished, their proximity to the airport boundary would mean the level of noise and air pollution would be intolerable. In an effective short video, Neil Keveren explains how people in the area have been living through hell, unable to plan for their future – or even make decisions about whether to do improvement work on their homes – because of the Sword of Damocles threat hanging over them. And Christine Taylor shows on a map what would be destroyed.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/harmondsworth-day/


 

Film on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvJmG4M1soU&feature=youtu.be
While the village communities of Harmondsworth and Sipson will be torn apart by a third runway,
The village of Longford will be erased from the map
With it hundreds of years of English heritage will be buried beneath the tarmac.

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Map shows the area (red line) that would be compulsorily purchased (750homes), for a Heathrow north west runway, and the area (purple line) which Heathrow will now also offer to buy (total 3,750 homes). Details here


 

See also

Lowfield Heath remembered – the ‘ghost village’ destroyed to build Gatwick airport

Memories of a village that was demolished as Gatwick Airport grew have resurfaced as campaigners fight plans for a 2nd Gatwick runway. Lowfield Heath disappeared in the 1970s after the then Gatwick aerodrome expanded into an international airport from the 1950s onwards. Today the only buildings that remain of the village are its windmill and Grade II* listed church.  The windmill was moved but the church still stands – surrounded by industrial estates. In the church is a plaque commemorates a reunion in 1989 of “those who formed the village community at the outbreak of the second world war in 1939 and whose homes and village were subsequently displaced by Gatwick international airport”.  The sad fate of Lowfield Heath is a “salutary reminder” of what can happen to a village next to an airport determined to expand. It was once a nice little community with a cricket club, a school and a WI. After the present Gatwick runway was built in 1958, people remained in Lowfield Heath because of a lack of compensation, but life became intolerable by the 1970s because of the noise of airport jets.  But then in 1973 the area became an industrial development zone, so residents could sell their homes at “a large price” for warehousing and hangars. So they moved away. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/02/lowfield-heath-remembered-the-ghost-village-destroyed-to-build-gatwick-airport/

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Retired Gatwick GP warns of health impact of Gatwick runway, especially on those vulnerable to asthma and respiratory illness

A retired GP, who worked in Langley Green for nearly 40 years, believes a 2nd Gatwick runway would lead to a ‘disastrous’ increase in Crawley’s air pollution. He feels that increased pollution from planes and vehicle traffic would worsen high levels of respiratory illnesses in neighbourhoods near the airport.  He says this would lead to ‘considerable’ increases in air pollution and noise in Crawley, a decrease in the standard of living and a fall in townspeople’s health within 15 years of the runway and associated infrastructure being built. People living in Langley Green, Ifield and Crawley’s new neighbourhood, Forge Wood, would be worst affected. Over this time as a GP he had seen quite a substantial rise in the number of respiratory illnesses, particularly asthma, particularly in children. He said “the last thing you would want to do is make that worse” and that the airport’s effect on the increasing rate of lung-related conditions across the area played on his mind during his medical career. He said in Crawley almost 10% of his patients were from South Asian origin, a group that is known to have a higher than average incidence of asthma and greater than average need for emergency admission to hospital for asthma. But little thought seems to have been given to their welfare. He also questions the provision of extra medical facilities that would be needed if there was a new runway. Facilities are already stretched – and Gatwick will not pay for more.

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GP fears airport bid will increase town pollution

CRAWLEY OBSERVER

8th April 2015

A retired GP believes a second runway at Gatwick Airport would lead to a ‘disastrous’ increase in Crawley’s air pollution.

Dr Paul Stillman, a former senior partner at Leacroft Medical Practice claimed increased pollution from planes and vehicle traffic would worsen high levels of respiratory illnesses in neighbourhoods near the airport.

A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said studies on the effect the second runway would have on roads showed the GP’s fears about increased road traffic were inaccurate.

The spokesman added it had not breached EU and UK annual air quality limits. The airport would maintain its ‘100 per cent’ record should the runway be built.

Dr Stillman, 68, of Pound Hill, who worked in Langley Green for nearly 40 years, believed Gatwick expansion would lead to ‘considerable’ increases in air pollution and noise in Crawley, a similar decrease in the standard of living and a fall in townspeople’s health within 15 years of the runway and associated infrastructure being built.

He said: “I think that’s disastrous because living in an area is not simply about the prosperity, it’s about the quality of life that you have.

“I cannot really see this is going to benefit the community and it certainly would have a poor effect on the people who live in that part of the world.”

He said people living in Langley Green, Ifield and Crawley’s new neighbourhood, Forge Wood, would be worst affected.

Dr Stillman said: “Throughout my professional time in general practice in that part of the town [Langley Green] certainly we saw a quite substantial rise in the number of respiratory illnesses – we saw particularly asthma, particularly in children.

“You’ve got a lot of people for whatever reason are suffering of something, of which some of it certainly is reversible – the last thing you want to do is make that worse.”

Dr Stillman said pollution was triggering asthma and other lung-related attacks across the neighbourhood.

He said the airport’s effect on the increasing rate of lung-related conditions across the area played on his mind during his medical career.

A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: “Neither our modelling or that of the Airports Commission, or comments by West Sussex County Council suggest that this is an accurate picture of the impact of a second runway on local roads.

“Gatwick Airport has never breached EU and UK annual air quality limits and would maintain this 100 per cent air quality record with a second runway.

“We have also committed to a range of measures that would improve journey times for local road users and manage all traffic better if the airport expands.

“In addition, Gatwick would create a £10 million Local Highway Development Fund to meet any additional work required to improve local roads.”

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/gp-fears-airport-bid-will-increase-town-pollution-1-6677759

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“Asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood illnesses in the UK. South Asian children are more likely to suffer from their asthma and be admitted to hospital.”  UCL

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ich/research/population-policy-practice/research/studies/asthma-the-management-and-intervention-in-asthma-study-mia

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AirportWatch note:
The Airports Commission has not specifically looked at health, other than some mentions under other sections. It has not been required to carry out a full health impact assessment of the runway proposals (and has been criticised by Hillingdon Borough Council for not doing so).  It has therefore not looked at the impact of a runway on respiratory disease like asthma, and has not looked at different impacts on different sections of the population.


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The two letters are below:

Letter sent to local GPs.

Dear Dr

The proposed expansion of Gatwick Airport

The decision whether to build a second runway and its associated additional passenger terminal at Gatwick Airport presents the most important decision affecting anybody living in or near Crawley in living memory. It is vital that any of us involved in their welfare make an informed choice and share this in any way we can, through local patient groups, public pressure groups and parliamentary representatives.

Recent surveys by the regional media suggest most residents are in favour of this expansion, although only a small proportion have followed the discussion or read the arguments for and against. And this is easy to understand. The huge publicity machine for Gatwick Airport promises more jobs and new businesses bringing wealth to the area and to those who live in it. The integrity of a company already under scrutiny for the UK taxes they pay may raise doubts, and in reality of course we enjoy one of the lowest rates of unemployment anywhere at just 1.2%. It has been estimated a second runway would create at least 22,000 new jobs by 2050 so these posts would have to be filled largely by commuters from south London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent, and by massive new building programmes around Crawley. This in turn will compound our current rail and road problems and the 95 million people travelling through the extended airport each year must result in a profound impact on noise, air quality and consequent stress levels of all the residents, new and old.

In Langley Green, where I practiced, houses will be compulsorily demolished and many of the remainder left adjacent to perimeter fencing and a very large earth mound. This population already suffers from an unusually high incidence of respiratory conditions. In Crawley we have almost 10% of our patients from Asian origin, 50% higher than the national average. The incidence of asthma amongst them is well known, although little thought seems to have been given to their welfare. The need for emergency admission is three times greater for Asian asthmatics than for the white population. There has been much talk of the 7-8 billion pounds needed to improve the infrastructure in travel, housing, schools and even the old chestnut, a new hospital. Almost all of this – if it actually happens – will come from the private sector and taxation. On a more immediate level we have already seen the loss of a GP practice in West Green with no plans to replace it.

Promise of a new practice to support the housing development off Haslett Avenue never materialised, and a new surgery at Forge Wood has been described as ‘financially difficult’. I understand the Clinical Commissioning Group believe it is unlikely they will be able to support any new practice buildings, despite the current proposals for at least 4000 new houses east and west of the town, including Kilnwood Vale, Forgewood and Copthorne. What chance for a new hospital?

The loss of part of the Manor Royal estate will forcibly remove some of the businesses our current prosperity depends on. How many new ones will be attracted remains to be seen, although our current businesses are spread across a diverse range of companies, surely more healthy than having all our eggs in one basket when approaching an uncertain long term future for the air travel industry.

Crawley Borough Council, West Sussex and Kent County Councils have all withdrawn their support for this development and voted against it. The final decision rests now with central government, guided by a report from the independent Airports Commission. If they decide to enlarge Heathrow anybody who has the ear of their community needs to be able to reassure them this is in their best interests. If they agree with Gatwick Airport Ltd we must be prepared to express our concerns and objections in any way we can.

Thank you for reading this letter. More information can be found at the One’s Enough Crawley Facebook page www.facebook.com/onesenoughgatwick or the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign,www.gacc.org.uk. If you have any comments please email them to me via gatwickonesenough@gmail.com and they will be forwarded.

Yours sincerely

Dr Paul Stillman
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Letter to MP (and parliamentary candidate at the election)

Dear Henry Smith and Chris Oxlade

I am writing to express my opposition to the expansion of Gatwick Airport. I have worked as a general practitioner in Langley Green, adjacent to the existing airport, for over 30 years. A major clinical problem throughout that time has been the high levels of respiratory disorders, including asthma in children and young adults. Stress related illnesses, including high blood pressure with all its consequences, have also been apparent in this community more than elsewhere. I do not believe this is related to social deprivation or employment issues, simply because we don’t have them. It is however certainly in part the result of poor air quality from both aero fuels and road vehicles, and traffic congestion with the loss of open spaces for us to enjoy. Perhaps saddest of all is that Asians of all ages have an incidence of asthma 50% above the white population, in Langley Green and Ifield represent 10% of the resident population. They already live near the boundary of the airfield but will be much closer to these hazards should this proposed expansion take place. The recent Crawley Borough Council consultation on air quality highlights the existing high levels of pollution on Crawley Avenue, which will be disastrously increased and spread to all arterial roads across and around the town, should a second runway be approved.

The benefits of expansion appear minimal, but the losses frightening. Recreational spaces such as that at Cherry Lane, and north of Stafford Road, will be lost or at best rendered unusable. Cars and delivery vehicles already use roads through this area to attempt to bypass queues on major arteries. The most polluting vehicles are those going slowly, or at a standstill. It is unfortunate although common that schools have been sited on these main roads, often near junctions.
Elsewhere in the town many people, who perhaps see themselves as geographically separated from the worst of the development, are largely in favour of the scheme, although they also admit to little knowledge of the magnitude of the proposals and implications. Yet the size of the potential expansion, together with increased urbanisation, road congestion and pollution will affect those living in Broadfield, Bewbush, and Gossops Green and other neighbourhoods across the town in a similar way. The first residents of Forge Wood which was not included in Gatwick’s consultation plans may be surprised to find themselves perilously close to the new airport.
Crawley was built on a network of communities, each small enough to have its own identity, large enough to boast shops, schools, churches, doctors’ surgeries. I fought and failed to maintain the latter in West Green. At the same time it emerged the housing development at Haslett Avenue on the old sports centre site had been promised a practice but that this never happened. I now learn that Forge Wood may suffer the same fate.
Traditionally people vote on ‘gut’ reaction, without a deep understanding of the issues. That is I hope why they turn to their elected representatives to guide them. The right way forward is not always the most obvious and it is chilling to wonder how history will remember the choices of those of us who ought to have known better.
Yours sincerely
Dr Paul Stillman
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Fears Cameron may opt for Gatwick runway, just to avoid Cabinet rift on Heathrow

The Airports Commission is due to make its runway recommendation by the end of June, and since its recent consultation on air quality, speculation on the runway issue has become ever more feverish. The issue of air quality, in reality, prevents either runway being built – at Heathrow air quality is already too poor; at Gatwick, it would be illegal to worsen tolerable air quality for thousands of people. Speculation grows that perhaps, on some measures, the extent of the environmental damage at Gatwick might be lower than at Heathrow. It is still too high to enable a runway to be built. Now a large number of senior Tories and those in the Cabinet are personally opposed to a Heathrow runway, due to the location of their constituencies. Their constituents would not tolerate a new Heathrow runway, due to noise and pollution.  So there are fears the Conservative government might try to go for Gatwick, in order to avoid internal splits within the Cabinet. Surely not a sufficient justification for devastating damage to a huge area of Sussex and Surrey, air pollution, intolerable pressure on surface transport, intolerable pressure on social infrastructure, intolerable noise burden over a wide area, huge cost to the taxpayer (not to mention raised CO2 emissions – from a government claiming to be “green”) – just to suit Cabinet members and avoid a party rift? 
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David Cameron ‘warming’ to Gatwick expansion plan

PM keen to boost green record as fears over Heathrow pollution grow, say sources
By Toby Helm (Observer)

24.5.2015

David Cameron is warming to the idea of backing a second runway at Gatwick amid growing worries within government that expansion of Heathrow would cause excessive pollution and noise and would split the Tory party, according to informed sources.

A final report on how best to increase airport capacity in the south-east will be published by Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, next month or in July, and will contain a firm recommendation on which of the two airports should be developed to handle increasing demand.

The government will not be bound by the Davies recommendation, however, and with Cameron keen to re-emphasise his commitment to green issues in his second term as prime minister, there is pressure on ministers to find a solution that is both politically acceptable and which best meets legal air quality and other environmental requirements.

Davies has surprised Gatwick and Heathrow lobbyists by ordering a new consultation on implications for air quality, which will conclude this Friday and inform his final decision.

The appointment last week of green enthusiast Camilla Cavendish as head of the Downing Street policy unit has also raised the hopes of those opposing Heathrow, who argue that air quality around the airport already exceeds legal limits and would breach EU regulations if further expansion was allowed, while adding that air and noise pollution problems would be far less if Gatwick were chosen.

A source involved in the debate said Cameron was now more enthusiastic about the Gatwick option. Another key figure in the debate said he was aware that if ministers opted for Heathrow then at least two of his potential successors as Tory leader – Boris Johnson and Theresa May, who both have seats affected by the Heathrow flight path – would publicly oppose the move and could reverse the decision if they ever became PM.

Davies has already rejected Johnson’s idea of a new airport in the Thames estuary but the mayor of London, who is also now the Tory MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, has vowed to fight any expansion of Heathrow, which he says will blight the lives of millions of people in the west of the capital. While he believes a new second runway at Gatwick will not answer the capacity needs, he has focused his fire mainly on Heathrow.
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May, the home secretary, Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, and Justine Greening, the international development secretary, are also on record as opposing Heathrow.

Both the Tories and Labour said before the election that they would “wait for Davies” before deciding where expansion should take place. Heathrow insists that it can add capacity while meeting air pollution limits.

In a policy paper it states: “New public transport options will provide an alternative to travelling to the airport by road. A congestion charge would provide a new mechanism for managing demand and ensuring there will be no more Heathrow-related vehicles on the roads than today. Those vehicles that are travelling to the airport will be cleaner. Combined with new aircraft technology, this means that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) would be within EU limits.”

Gatwick maintains, on the other hand, that while Heathrow expansion would mean 320,000 more households being affected by noise, a second runway at Gatwick would affect far fewer and could be delivered at lower cost. Ministers are refusing to comment publicly before Davies reports. But another source close to the argument said: “The judgment will be made on what is politically deliverable which is partly about what is acceptable environmentally. It was issues around air pollution that prevented Heathrow expansion in 2003 and the concerns have not been answered.”

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Some of the comments below the article:

It would appear that the country’s future infrastructure decisions are to be made almost entirely on what suits the Conservative Party’s various factions then. It’s the tory way.
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That’s a bit rich coming from Mr “Cut the Green Crap”.
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Party first people last
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I can tell you three reasons why he doesn’t want LHR expansion. Gove, Hammond and May have constituencies all affected by its expansion. Gove has been given a pasting by his constituency over LHR flight trials for the last 12 months.

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“…worries within government that expansion of Heathrow would cause excessive pollution and noise and would split the Tory party, according to informed sources.”

And which of these worries does David Cameron consider most important I wonder?

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The Gatwick option is the most environmentally damaging.

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All expansion options are highly environmentally damaging. The false choice between Heathrow and Gatwick is simply which locality to dump the additional pollution and which people to torment with the noise.

With both May and Johnson openly against Heathrow, Gatwick is more likely to get it. Boris island is patently unworkable and even more environmentally damaging.

The only sustainable option is to end expansion.

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A whole five years to go. I bet he will be warming to lots
of London based projects. Boris will have lots of ideas on
how to spend the country’s revenue and David will always
think they are good ideas. Why waste it up north.

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All the extra commerce revenue and jobs?

This will mean more transit business – which is what being a “hub” is all about – no reason it should boost “commerce”. Most of then extra jobs will be minimum wage – catering and cleaning. The extra revenue will go the 1% as it always does.

If don’t know if you are familiar with Hounslow, the London borough that it home to Heathrow, but it is not an attractive place. Dirty, noisy, and for the most part quite poor. It wouldn’t be improved by more planes and more minimum wage jobs. Crawley, home to Gatwick, is a dump for similar reasons.

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Has anyone ever said I could not go on holiday this year because there is not enough airport capacity in the south east.

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Surely a major contributor to the “Heathrow vs Gatwick” problem is the fragmentation caused by the cut-throat competition between the privately owned airports.

With each airport competing to take as much traffic as it can from the other, they work together like Tesco and Sainsbury on opposite sides of the street, each trying to put the other out of business. From economic, social and environmental viewpoints this is insane!

A collaborative, collective system would have less need for additional runway space. With decent rail connections between airports, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stanstead could collaborate and utilise the over-capacity in the midlands and north.

In common with the destructive nature of competitive ‘markets’ in rail transport, the NHS, education, local authority welfare and planning services, power generation, water, sewage and many other areas of ESSENTIAL national infrastructure, these vital components of our economy and society should be operated in the national interest rather than for private profit. They would be more efficient and less damaging to society and the environment.

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See also

Zac Goldsmith says Heathrow expansion would split the Cabinet with opposition from the very top

Zac Goldsmith was re-elected to his Richmond Park seat with a majority of about 23,000 – up from a 4,000 majority in 2010. He has always been very firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway. Zac believes that if Heathrow is “chosen” for approval by the Airports Commission, it would cause a split at the very top of government, and a real problem for David Cameron: “If you look at the cabinet today, there are at least 3 heavyweight people there, Philip Hammond, Justine Greening and Boris Johnson and others, in fact, who are implacably opposed to Heathrow expansion … He’d face a split at the highest level and I don’t think a fragile government with a small majority wants to do that.” Zac also says giving the go-ahead to Heathrow would be “an off-the-scale betrayal” from David Cameron, who came to west London before the 2010 election and promised locals, “No ifs, no buts, no 3rd runway” – and that there wouldn’t be a new runway under the Conservatives. Zac has repeated his threat of resigning if the government backs a Heathrow runway. His resignation would trigger a by-election in which he could stand as an independent on that one issue. It would offer him the opportunity to get a lot of publicity for the anti- runway case

Click here to view full story…


A few statements by David Cameron on the importance of avoiding increasing carbon emissions, thus increasing the risk of climate change:

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Cameron went to New York for a UN climate summit where he told delegates, “We cannot put this off any longer. To achieve the deal, we need all countries to make commitments to reduce emissions.”
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David Cameron has issued his strongest declaration that climate change is man-made when he said it was one of the most serious threats facing Britain and the rest of the world.

The prime minister, who appeared to be wary in recent weeks of drawing a direct link between the effects of industrialisation and climate change, issued his unequivocal statement after Ed Miliband suggested he was unwilling to take tough action.

Cameron replied: “I believe man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that this country and this world faces.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/26/climate-change-serious-threat-david-cameron-prime-ministers-questions

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David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have signed a joint pledge to tackle climate change, which they say will protect the UK’s national security and economic prosperity.

The agreement of the three party leaders is highly unusual and comes amid a general election campaign that is becoming increasingly bitter.

…. the joint declaration states: “Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today. It is not just a threat to the environment, but also to our national and global security, to poverty eradication and economic prosperity.”

“Acting on climate change is also an opportunity for the UK to grow a stronger economy, which is more efficient and more resilient to the risks ahead ….It is in our national interest to act and ensure others act with us.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/14/cameron-clegg-and-miliband-sign-joint-climate-pledge

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Clean Air in London respond to Commission consultation – Heathrow or Gatwick runway would breach air pollution laws

Clean Air in London (CAL) – which has huge expertise on all issues relating to air quality – has made its response to the Airports Commission’s air pollution consultation (ends 29th May). They make 2 key points – that either runway at Heathrow would cause aggravated breaches of the NO2 annual limit value, in 2030 (and perhaps other timescales) and therefore be unlawful; and that a runway at Gatwick would not be consistent with sustainable development, as it would worsen air quality.  The Airports Commission expects the Heathrow north west runway scheme would mean worse air quality, (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties, and 39,000 for the Hub ENR runway scheme; and at about 21,000 properties for the Gatwick runway. For Gatwick to do this would not be consistent with the duty on Member States under Directive 2008/50/EC to maintain the levels below the limit values.  Under Directive 2008/50/EC NO2 limit values must not be exceeded once attained; and where air quality is ‘good’, Article 12 of the directive applies i.e. Member States shall not only maintain the levels below the limit values but also “endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality compatible with sustainable development”.
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Airport expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick would breach air pollution laws

23.5.2015 (Clean Air in London – CAL)

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Clean Air in London has made its submission to the Airports Commission’s consultation on air quality.

Airports Commission: Consultation on Air Quality Assessment

The two main points they make are:

– Airport expansion at Heathrow would cause aggravated breaches of nitrogen dioxide limit values and be unlawful

– Airport expansion at Gatwick would not be consistent with sustainable development


 

Dear Sir Howard

Clean Air in London (CAL) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Airports Commission’s new evidence relating to air quality assessment of the three short-listed options for additional airport capacity.

The Consultation can be seen here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/airports-commission-air-quality-assessment

CAL is a voluntary organisation which campaigns to achieve urgently and sustainably full compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for air quality throughout London and elsewhere.  Further information about CAL can be found at http://cleanair.london/.

CAL is independent of any government funding, has cross party support and a large number of supporters, both individuals in London and organisations.  CAL provides a channel for both public concern and expert opinion on air pollution in London.  This document provides both general and expert comments in response to the Consultation.

Airport related traffic is a major cause of air pollution in London, which in turn causes thousands of premature deaths per year, and many thousands more illnesses, chronic illness and disability.  For this reason, airport expansion impacts on air pollution.

Background

We refer to the recent judgments of the Supreme Court in ClientEarth versus Defra and the Court of Justice of the European Union:

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2012-0179.html

Separately, it is open to the European Commission to pursue infraction proceedings against the UK for exceedances of NO2 limit values since 2010, including in the Greater London zone, and it commenced this process in February 2014.  You will understand that this is wholly separate to the Government’s responsibilities to the Supreme Court.  For details:

http://cleanair.london/hot-topics/europe-at-its-best-takes-legal-action-against-uk-at-its-worst-on-air-pollution/

You may be aware of guidance published by Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) in 2010.  That guidance has been updated by EPUK and the Institute of Air Quality Management[1].  However, neither EPUK’s 2010 guidance nor the updated guidance takes account of or correctly states the significance of the very recent legal developments which have clarified to the law.  For that reason inter alia it is our view that the guidance is flawed in important respects.

The legal judgments, letter of clarification previously from the European Commission to CAL (attached), Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe and prospect of escalating infraction action make clear inter alia that: NO2 limit values must be achieved urgently and ‘as soon as possible’ to protect public health; limit values are absolute obligations that must be attained irrespective of cost; limit values apply everywhere with three exceptions; limit values must not be exceeded once attained; and where air quality is ‘good’, Article 12 of the directive applies i.e. Member States shall not only maintain the levels below the limit values but also “endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality compatible with sustainable development”.

You will be aware that Defra identified the roads around Heathrow airport as having among the highest illegal levels of NO2 in the UK still by 2030 even without airport expansion:

http://www.howpollutedismyroad.org.uk/hotspots.php

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/50-highest-modelled-nitrogen-dioxide-no2-concentrations

CAL also brings to your attention its analysis and complaint to the European Commission about breaches of air quality laws arising from the suspension of the M4 bus lane:

http://cleanair.london/legal/government-treats-limit-values-with-contempt-by-m4-bus-lane/

Airports Commission options

We have seen Jacobs report titled ‘Module 6: Air Quality Local Assessment Detailed Emissions Inventory and Dispersion Modelling’ prepared for the Airports Commission and dated May 2015:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/426241/air-quality-local-assessment-report.pdf

This report states that: “The assessment has considered changes within a “Principal AIRPORTS COMMISSION AIR QUALITY: Executive Summary ASSESSMENT ii Study Area”, which encompasses a 2km radius around each Scheme boundary, and a “Wider Study Area”, which includes all roads for which a significant change in traffic has been forecast” (Executive summary pages i and ii).

In CAL’s view, this is not sufficient to assess impacts of air pollution since even very slight worsening of air pollution may be unlawful where limit values are exceeded.

[The response quotes the sections from the Commission’s consultation, on each of the runway schemes – see end of the letter] .

CAL’s response

It is apparent from the documents published by the Airports Commission that:

  • both Schemes for airport expansion at Heathrow would cause aggravated breaches of the NO2 annual mean limit value in 2030 and perhaps other timescales i.e. the worsening of NO2 levels where limit values will already be exceeded; and
  • the Gatwick scheme is predicted to worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 21,000 properties. This would not be consistent with the duty on Member States under Directive 2008/50/EC to maintain the levels below the limit values and also “endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality compatible with sustainable development”.

The report for the Airports Commission also misunderstands important obligations under Directive 2008/50/EC.  In particular, it wrongly assumes that the worsening of air pollution above limit values (i.e. aggravated breaches) has less significance where an air quality zone or agglomeration has worse air pollution elsewhere e.g. in Marylebone Road.  This is not correct.  Limit values apply everywhere with three exceptions (see Annex III of Directive 2008/50/EC and the letter of clarification referred to earlier).

In CAL’s opinion development proposals that worsen air pollution, where limit values are exceeded or likely to be exceeded, must ensure that their genuine net impact would be to improve air quality during demolition, construction and operation and not worsen it.  Mitigation measures cannot be relied upon to reduce their impact.  Limit values must be attained quickly and cannot thereafter be exceeded.

It is apparent from the documents that the two Schemes for Heathrow, if approved, would worsen already illegal concentrations of NO2 in 2030 (and perhaps also in other time frames).  The Scheme for Gatwick would not be consistent with sustainable development.  To worsen air quality contradicts the duty under Directive 2008/50/EC and would be unlawful.  None of the exceptions to attaining limit values applies.  Please therefore reject all three Schemes.

Aviation emissions

CAL is concerned about aviation emissions as well as ground traffic movements.  Please see recent research:

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/270790911_Total_and_size-resolved_particle_number_and_black_carbon_concentrations_in_urban_areas_near_Schiphol_airport_%28the_Netherlands%29

CAL understands that computer modelling assumes no impact of aviation emissions on ground-level air quality when aircraft are flying above 1,000 metres i.e. outside the landing and take-off cycle.

CAL considers it highly unlikely that aircraft flying over Greater London would have no direct impact on ground level air quality or contribute only to background concentrations.

Further CAL understands that Terminal 5 at Heathrow could not have been built if proper consideration had been given to the effect of limit values.  Please do not make this mistake again.

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like more information on any of the points raised in this letter.

I would be pleased to discuss this submission with you.

Yours sincerely

Simon Birkett

Founder and Director

[1] http://cleanair.london/wp-content/uploads/CAL-304-EPUK-IAQM-air-quality-planning-guidance_Final-130515.pdf

CAL 307 Keuken et al PNC near Schiphol airport AE2015

CAL 307 Defra RFI_7162_Copy_of_Highest_50_modelledroads_NO2_amended_by_BH

CAL 307 Defra RFI_7162_-_20150217_NO2_Concentrations_Redacted__2__amended

CAL 307 Airports_air-quality-consultation-cover-note 190515

CAL 307 Airports_air-quality-local-assessment-report 190515

CAL 307 Airports_air-quality-local-assessment-airports-backing-data 190515

 

http://cleanair.london/legal/airport-expansion-at-heathrow-or-gatwick-would-breach-air-pollution-laws/

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Gatwick Airport Second Runway Scheme (Gatwick 2R)

The Conclusions on page 56 of the report are:

“The principal conclusions of this assessment with respect to the Gatwick 2R Scheme are:

  • The Scheme would not affect compliance with the current NECD and Gothenburg Protocol obligations. If the NECD obligation is tightened in line with current proposals, the UK would exceed the obligation with or without Gatwick 2R. The incremental emissions associated with Gatwick 2R represent a very small fraction of the proposed obligations;
  • The Scheme would not cause any exceedences of the Limit Value or air quality objective for NO2, and would not delay Defra achieving compliance with the Limit Value in the relevant zone. The proposals for the Gatwick 2R Scheme include realignment of the A23 to the east, but it is not possible to replicate Defra’s PCM predictions at this realigned link, nor is it possible to confirm whether this new link would be included in the PCM model (due to lack of public exposure) and no further assessment can be provided;
  • The Scheme would not cause any new exceedences of the Critical Level (for NOx) or the lower band of the Critical Load (for nitrogen deposition), at any designated habitat. The Scheme would increase NOx concentrations in locations where the Critical Level is already exceeded (but as noted in Chapter 2, Defra’s interpretation of the Directive is that the Critical Level does not strictly apply at these sites;
  • The Scheme would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 21,000 properties; and
  • The total costs of the increases in NOx and PM10 emissions over the 60 year appraisal period, based on the unmitigated change in mass emissions with the Gatwick 2R Scheme in place, are £73.6m and £246.9m respectively.” CAL emphasis

Heathrow Airport Northwest Runway Scheme (Heathrow NWR)

The Conclusions on page 79 of the report are:

“The principal conclusions of this assessment with respect to the NWR Scheme are:

  • The Scheme would not affect compliance with the current NECD and Gothenburg Protocol obligations. If the NECD obligation is tightened in line with current proposals, the UK would exceed the obligation with or without Heathrow NWR. The incremental emissions associated with Heathrow NWR represent a very small fraction of the proposed obligations;
  • The Scheme would not cause any new exceedences of the Limit Value or air quality objective for NO2. However, the incremental change associated with Heathrow NWR would cause the Bath Road (A4) sector PCM road links to have a marginally higher concentration in 2030 (48.7 µg/m3) than the Maximum PCM Predicted Concentration in the Greater London Agglomeration (which is 48.6 µg/m3 and occurs at Marylebone Road). The unmitigated Heathrow NWR Scheme would thus delay Defra’s predicted date for achieving compliance with the Limit Value. The proposals for the A4 Bath Road in the Heathrow NWR scenario are to realign the road northwards and then to the east around the boundary of the airport, but it is not possible to replicate Defra’s PCM predictions at these realigned links, nor is it possible to confirm whether these new links would be included in the PCM model (due to lack of public exposure) and no further assessment can be provided.
  • The Scheme would cause a new exceedence of the Critical Level at the South West London Waterbodies RAMSAR/SPA and Wraysbury Reservoir SSSI. However, the UK Government’s interpretation is that the Critical Level does not strictly apply at this location. The Scheme would not cause any exceedences of the lower band of the Critical Load (for nitrogen deposition) at any designated habitat;
  • The Scheme would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties; and
  • The total costs of NOx and PM10 over the 60 year appraisal period, based on the unmitigated change in mass emissions with the Heathrow NWR Scheme in place, are £94.2m and £863.5m respectively.” CAL emphasis

Heathrow Airport Extended Northern Runway Scheme (Heathrow ENR)

The Conclusions on page 103 of the report are:

“The principal conclusions of this assessment with respect to the ENR Scheme are:

  • The Scheme would not affect compliance with the current NECD and Gothenburg Protocol obligations. If the NECD obligation is tightened in line with current proposals, the UK would exceed the obligation with or without Heathrow ENR. The incremental emissions associated with Heathrow ENR represent a very small fraction of the proposed obligations;
  • The Scheme would not cause any new exceedences of the concentration at which the Limit Value is set, or any exceedences of the air quality objective for NO2. However, the incremental change associated with the unmitigated Heathrow ENR would cause the Bath Road (A4) sector PCM road links to have a higher concentration in 2030 (55.8 µg/m3) than the Maximum PCM Predicted Concentration in the Greater London Agglomeration (which is 48.6 µg/m3). The unmitigated Heathrow ENR Scheme would thus delay Defra in achieving compliance with the Limit Value;
  • The Scheme would cause a new exceedence of the Critical Level at the South West London Waterbodies RAMSAR/SPA and Wraysbury Reservoir SSSI. However, the UK Government’s interpretation is that the Critical Level does not strictly apply at this location. The Scheme would not cause any exceedences of the lower band of the Critical Load (for nitrogen deposition) at any designated habitat;
  • The Scheme would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 39,000 properties, but would improve air quality at about 6,600 properties; and
  • The total costs of NOx and PM10 over the 60 year appraisal period, based on the unmitigated change in mass emissions with the Heathrow ENR Scheme in place, are £69.6m and £618.7m respectively.” CAL emphasis

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DIRECTIVE 2008/50/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 21 May 2008    on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe

……

Article 12

Requirements where levels are lower than the limit values

In zones and agglomerations where the levels of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, PM10, PM2,5, lead, benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air are below the respective limit values specified in Annexes XI and XIV, Member States shall maintain the levels of those pollutants below the limit values and shall endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality, compatible with sustainable development.

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Read more »

Council leaders, representing the 2M group, say Airports Commission air quality consultation is “not credible or realistic”

The Airports Commission has published a highly technical consultation on air quality, with only 14 working days for responses (3 weeks). It is presented in a way to make it very hard indeed for non-experts to understand. Now speaking on behalf of the cross-party 2M Group, which represents 20 Councils, the leader of Hillingdon Council (Ray Puddifoot), the leader of Richmond Council (Lord True) and cabinet member for environmental services at Windsor & Maidenhead (Carwyn Cox) have complained to the Commission about their consultation. They say it is “not credible or realistic”. Ray Puddifoot said it is not credible or realistic to imagine Heathrow could vastly increase flights, passenger numbers and its freight operation, but with no extra traffic on local roads, or more pollution. He said a 3rd runway would increase pollution levels for roughly 47,000 homes and break EU NO2 limits. Lord True asked why the Commission is estimating pollution levels in 2030, long before the expanded airport is at full capacity, and road traffic is at its peak. Carwyn Cox said the Commission is “gambling” on road vehicles producing fewer emissions in future, and on a congestion charge zone which “are not going to happen”. Many of the same arguments apply to Gatwick too.
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Heathrow pollution report ‘not credible’

22.5.2015 (Evening Standard)
By Nicholas Cecil

Tory town hall chiefs today launched a scathing attack on the Airports Commission, accusing it of underplaying the impact of a third runway at Heathrow.

They claimed an air quality study published by the commission, headed by former LSE boss Sir Howard Davies, was “not credible or realistic”.

Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon council, said: “Davies is telling us that Heathrow can vastly increase flights, passenger numbers and its freight operation, but that there will be no extra traffic on local roads. This is not credible or realistic.”

He said a third runway would increase pollution levels for roughly 47,000 homes and break EU nitrogen dioxide limits. Lord True, leader of Richmond council, added: “Why is Davies estimating pollution levels in 2030, long before the expanded airport is at full capacity? People want to know the full and true impacts on their health once the runways are fully utilised and road traffic is at its peak.”

Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environmental services at Windsor and Maidenhead council, said the commission was “gambling” on cleaner vehicles and a Heathrow congestion charge zone which “are not going to happen”.

The council leaders were speaking on behalf of the cross-party 2M Group, which represents 20 town halls.

Campaigners against a bigger Heathrow believe the report suggests the commission is on the brink of concluding Heathrow could expand within pollution rules. It reports this summer on whether a runway should be built at Gatwick or Heathrow and Boris Johnson has vowed to lie “in front of bulldozers” if Heathrow gets the go-ahead.

The airport said the commission’s report “does not yet fully account for all of Heathrow’s air quality mitigation proposals” but “confirms that Heathrow expansion can be delivered without exceeding air quality levels”.

“Heathrow has already reduced its emissions by 16 per cent over five years, and we recently announced plans to lower them further,” it added.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/heathrow-pollution-report-not-credible-10269647.html

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Even just considering air pollution in 2030, when the runway would not be used intensively, the Airports Commission expects the Heathrow North West runway Scheme “would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties.”

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Airports Commission rushes out new technical consultation (for just 3 weeks) on air quality

The Airports Commission has, at the last minute, produced a very short (only 3 weeks) consultation on air quality. It says this was not done earlier due to the pre-election “purdah” period when there are restrictions on activities such as consultations by government. The timing, shortly after the ruling by the Supreme Court, that more has to be done by the UK on air quality may, or may not, be coincidental. The consultation ends on 29th May. The Commission aims to make its runway recommendation in June, before Sir Howard starts work at RBS (joining its board at the end of June). The consultation outline is given in a cover note, with one main document, an appendix document, 10 pages of maps, and databases of backing data – over 280 pages. All to be checked through in 21 days, including a Bank Holiday. The November 2014 consultation stated that dispersion modelling still needed to be done. That was not included in time for the main consultation. The Commission has now found some differences between the two Heathrow options. It has looked at a range of “mitigation measures” to reduce the level of NO2, and considers whether these would be enough to keep within legal limits. It is a technical consultation, very difficult for lay people – who are not expert in the area of air quality – to understand.

Click here to view full story…

Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes

The Airports Commission has opened a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

Click here to view full story…

West Kent parish councils complain that the Airports Commission air quality consultation period is too short

The Airports Commission was aware, when it put out its main consultation in November 2014, that it had still to produce work on air quality. They finally publicised their consultation the day after the election – 8th May – saying they could not put it out during the pre-election “purdah” period. That left just 14 working days for respondents to reply. The consultation is highly technical, and not something it is easy for a non-expert to read. Another document was added on Monday 18th, leaving only 8 working days till the consultation ends. Now four West Kent parishes have called for more time to put together a “correct and democratic answer”. Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst authorities, said they would be asking Sir Howard to extend the consultation by nine weeks. A number of new High Weald councillors had just been elected, and they need more time to get understand the issues and gather a lot of information before they can agree on it. The Commission is in a rush, as Sir Howard joins the board of RBS at the end of June, and becomes its chairman on 1st September. The Commission therefore wants to make its announcement in June, but the undesirable rush for this consultation means the democratic process is being subverted.

Click here to view full story…

 

Read more »

West Sussex council considering congestion charge idea for people travelling to Gatwick

The idea of introducing a congestion charge, if a 2nd runway is built at Gatwick, has been mooted by West Sussex County Council. It is one of several possible mitigation measures mentioned in a draft report produced by the WSCC in response to the Airports Commission’s recent consultation on air quality. If a Gatwick 2nd runway is recommended, West Sussex County Council has called for action to achieve high public transport access and congestion-free road access. Gatwick only has one major road link, and one rail link. If more passengers arrive by rail, there will be serious congestion on the trains. If the passengers arrive by car, there will be road congestion, as well as more air pollution – including more NO2. Gatwick airport has made the rather daft statement that “Gatwick has never breached legal air quality limits and its location means it can guarantee that it never will.”  Gatwick, predictably, hopes air quality would stay within legal limits without the introduction of a deeply unpopular congestion charge. WSCC says though the effectiveness of a congestion charge at Gatwick has not been assessed, it might have an impact on car mode share and overall traffic demand. The matter will be discussed by full council on 23rd May.
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Congestion charge idea mooted for people travelling to Gatwick Airport

Could a Congestion Charge by introduced for people travelling to Gatwick Airport?

20.5.2015 (West Sussex County Times)

By Joshua Powling
The idea of introducing a congestion charge if a second runway is built at Gatwick has been mooted by the county council.

It is one of several possible mitigation measures mentioned in a draft report produced by the authority in response to the Airports Commission’s consultation on air quality.

In the event that a second runway at Gatwick is picked ahead of expansion at Heathrow, West Sussex County Council has called for action to achieve high public transport access and congestion-free road access.

However a spokesperson for Gatwick said that should a second runway be given the go-ahead it has guaranteed that air quality levels will remain within the legal limits in the area close to the airport, something that could be achieved without the introduction of a congestion charge.

But a congestion charge for motorists travelling to the airport is mentioned by the county council as one of the additional mitigation measures that ‘could be implemented’ but have not been specifically highlighted by Gatwick Airport Limited.

The report reads: “It is not clear how effective a congestion charge could be. An assessment on demand management measures in reducing car use at Heathrow Airport was carried out for another module of the Airports Commission’s assessment.

“Whilst the outcome of that assessment cannot be directly transferred to a different airport, the overall conclusions that the imposition of additional charges on car users could have a significant impact on car mode share and overall traffic demand, remain valid.

“Depending on the scale of charge imposed, and the extent of the scheme (that is whether it targets passengers, employees and/or taxis), it is possible that traffic generation with the expanded Gatwick Airport could be reduced to 2013 levels.”

Councillors are due to discuss the proposed response to the Airports Commission on air quality issues at a Full Council meeting on Friday.

Back in January county councillors voted to oppose a second runway at Gatwick, as well as agreeing a response to the Airports Commission’s main consultation.

This reversed the county council’s previous position from 2013, where the majority of members voted to support expansion at Gatwick ‘in principle’.

http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/local/congestion-charge-idea-mooted-for-people-travelling-to-gatwick-airport-1-6752818

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One person comments below the article:

“So to make a second runway at Gatwick “affordable” we are to have little or no additional transport infrastructure, but rely upon reducing travel by local residents and business users by the imposition of a congestion charge (or travel tax).
For many residents of West Sussex travel north always involves travel via Gatwick (M23 or A23), so a trip from Horsham to the “local” hospital at East Surrey will require payment of a travel tax.
If the airport are not prepared to pay for ALL of the necessary infrastructure upgrades the a second runway must be out of the question.”

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The Consultation:

Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes

It is reported that the Airports Commission is now intending to carry out a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

West Kent parish councils complain that the Airports Commission air quality consultation period is too short

The Airports Commission was aware, when it put out its main consultation in November 2014, that it had still to produce work on air quality. They finally publicised their consultation the day after the election – 8th May – saying they could not put it out during the pre-election “purdah” period. That left just 14 working days for respondents to reply. The consultation is highly technical, and not something it is easy for a non-expert to read. Another document was added on Monday 18th, leaving only 8 working days till the consultation ends. Now four West Kent parishes have called for more time to put together a “correct and democratic answer”.  Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst authorities, said they would be asking Sir Howard to extend the consultation by nine weeks. A number of new High Weald councillors had just been elected, and they need more time to get understand the issues and gather a lot of information before they can agree on it.  The Commission is in a rush, as Sir Howard joins the board of RBS at the end of June, and becomes its chairman on 1st September. The Commission therefore wants to make its announcement in June, but the undesirable rush for this consultation means the democratic process is being subverted.

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Gatwick and Heathrow air quality consultation ‘too short’

20.5.2015 (BBC)

Four parish councils in West Kent are against the expansion of Gatwick AirportCampaigners fighting a second runway at Gatwick say they have not been given enough time to respond to a public consultation on air quality.The Airports Commission gave people three weeks to submit further evidence about air pollution on 8 May.Four West Kent parish councils have called for more time to put together a “correct and democratic answer”.

Next month, commission chairman Sir Howard Davies is expected to recommend a new runway for Gatwick or Heathrow.

Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst authorities, said they would be asking Sir Howard to extend the consultation by nine weeks.

‘Very late’

He said a number of new High Weald councillors had just been elected.

“They’ve got to do something potentially they’ve never looked at before and gather lots and lots of information and then agree something,” he explained,” he said.

“We think this consultation should be the same as any other and it should be 12 weeks long.”

Sir Howard’s decision to consult further came after a Supreme Court ruling in April, ordering the UK to do more to improve air quality.

Alastair McDermid, Gatwick’s airports commission director, said although it was “very late in the process” they were pleased the commission had launched the consultation.

“This was a topic that we’d already done some work on so we may have been slightly ahead of the field by choosing to do that work at an earlier stage,” he said.

The Airports Commission is considering three options for airport expansion in the South East – a second runway at Gatwick, a third runway at Heathrow, or an extension to one of the existing Heathrow runways.

It declined to comment on the length of the consultation.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-32810989
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The new document was added on 18th May.  It is

Consultation queries and responses

A consultation should present all the relevant documents at the start of the process. Otherwise people who manage to submit their response early may have missed out on vital information, that might mean their response is not complete.  Unless people are on the Airports Commission’s mailing list, or hear of the new documents through colleagues, many people could remain unaware that they have been added. The Commission added many documents later in the consultation process, for its main consultation that was November 2014 to February 2015.


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See earlier:

Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes

It is reported that the Airports Commission is now intending to carry out a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

Click here to view full story…

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London City Airport challenges Boris’ decision to block its expansion plans, over ‘noise ghetto’ fears

Boris Johnson blocked London City Airport’s expansion plans in late March, as he said it would create a “noise ghetto” for people living under the flight path. Now, as expected, London City Airport has appealed to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, against the decision. On March 26th Boris ordered Newham council to reject the plans on the grounds of noise disturbance and because the airport was intended for business rather than leisure. Under the plans, take-offs and landings were expected to increase from 70,000 a year to 111,000,with passenger numbers doubling to 6 million by 2023. It would also be able to accommodate larger planes, (and be more profitable). This coupled with the airport’s plans to use new PBN technology to create a much narrower and concentrated flight corridor over Wanstead, Leytonstone and Leyton had prompted fears that noise could become an issue.  The airport says it is appealing because of the jobs it creates, and its economic impact. The decision by Greg Clark could take 5 months. 
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London City Airport challenges decison to block £220m expansion plan over ‘noise ghetto’ fears

Boris Johnson blocked a planned £220million expansion of London City Airport earlier this year

19.5.2015 (East London and West Essex Guardian)

 

London City Airport has appealed against a decision by Boris Johnson to block a £220m expansion over fears it would create a “noise ghetto” for people living under the flight path.

The Mayor of London on March 26 ordered Newham council to reject the plans on the grounds of noise disturbance and because the airport was intended for business rather than leisure.

Take-offs and landings were expected to increase from 70,000 a year to 111,000 at the airport in Silvertown with passenger numbers doubling to six million by 2023.

This coupled with the airport’s plans to use new technology to create a much narrower and concentrated flight corridor over Wanstead, Leytonstone and Leyton had prompted fears that noise could become an issue.

But today (May 19), London City Airport confirmed it was going to appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark.

A spokesman said: “We think the Mayor’s direction is wrong and ignores the significant social and economic benefits that the airport’s development will bring, as well as the comprehensive package of measures that the airport has proposed to mitigate and control noise.

“It sends the wrong message about investment in east London and London generally, and seemingly disregards the 2,000 employment opportunities that the development programme will create, as well as the £1.5bn of annual economic impact that an expanded airport will deliver.”

John Stewart, chair of campaign group HACAN East against the expansion, said he expected the decision to be made in five months time.

He said: “It is not surprising London City has appealed because they are very keen to get the space to allow bigger planes to use the airport.

“But we hope the Secretary of State turns down the appeal and backs Boris who stood up for residents whose lives have become blighted by noise from the airport.”

http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/12959331.London_City_Airport_appeals_decison_to_turn_down___220m_expansion_over__noise_ghetto__fears/

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See earlier:

Boris turns down London City Airport expansion plans on noise grounds

Boris Johnstone, the Mayor of London, has refused London City Airport’s plan to expand on noise grounds. In a letter he has instructed Newham Council, who had approved the application, to refuse it. The Mayor says the application does not “adequately mitigate and manage its adverse noise impacts.” Newham’s decision was always dependent on the Mayor’s approval. London City Airport wanted permission to build new taxiways to permit larger planes to use the airport. It also wanted more car parking spaces. The decision will be a bitter blow to the airport as it will now no longer be able to bring in the larger planes it wanted to serve new destinations. John Stewart, chair of HACAN East, which campaigned against the expansion plans, said “The airport is paying the price for being so cavalier about noise. Quite simply, Boris did not believe its claims that it was dealing adequately with noise. We salute his decision”. The decision appears to be final, and it is unclear whether London City Airport can appeal to the Secretary of State. They may do so.

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Brendon Sewill letter in the Times, correcting some claims by “Let Britain Fly”

In a letter to the Times, responding to lobbying by “Let Britain Fly,” Brendon Sewill (Chairman of GACC) corrects some of their inaccuracies. Let Britain Fly put out an open letter, signed by some 100 business people, wanting the government to decide rapidly on building a new runway. They claim that the UK “have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945”. In fact the Gatwick runway was built in 1956-58, and the runway at Stansted was revamped in the late 1980s. They claim that most of London’s airports will be full by 2030, but in fact, if the growth of air travel is constrained within climate change limits, Stansted (now under half full) is not forecast to be full until 2040. The letter also claims that we trade up to 20 times more with countries that we have a direct link to, but this obscures the fact that we develop air links to the countries with which we trade, not the other way round. The claim that Paris has 50% more flights to China than Heathrow is only correct if Hong Kong is excluded. “The truth is that there has been massive resistance from those who value the English countryside, and each time the problem has evaporated because airlines have used larger aircraft, meaning that existing runways have been able to handle more passengers.”
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Airport forecasts

May 19 2015  (letter in the Times)

Sir, The 100-odd signatories of the letter calling for airport expanson (May 15) say that we “have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945”. In fact the Gatwick runway was built in 1956-58, and the old US Air Force runway at Stansted was revamped and given a brand new terminal in the late 1980s.

The claim that most of London’s airports will be full by 2030 is also not accurate. If the growth of air travel is constrained within climate change limits, Stansted (at present less than half full) is not forecast to be full until 2040. The letter also claims that we trade up to 20 times more with countries that we have a direct link to — but no one has yet been able to establish whether the causation is that we have the links to the countries with which we trade. Further, the claim that Paris has 50 per cent more flights to China is only correct if Hong Kong is excluded.

There have been various previous reports proposing new runways: in 1968 a four-runway airport near Aylesbury; in 1970 a government decision to build a four-runway airport at Maplin in the Thames estuary; and in 2003 a white paper announcing that the government had decided to build a new runway at Stansted, to open before 2012.

The signatories describe the non-implementation of these proposals as “political procrastination”. The truth is that there has been massive resistance from those who value the English countryside, and each time the problem has evaporated because airlines have used larger aircraft, meaning that existing runways have been able to handle more passengers.

Brendon Sewill

Chairman, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC)

www.gacc.org.uk

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This letter is in response to the article below [with AirportWatch comments] :

Decide on new Heathrow or Gatwick runway soon, 100 business leaders urge Government

15.5.2015

(By Let Britain Fly – pro aviation lobby group, consisting of the aviation industry, chambers of commerce and businesses)

One hundred business leaders have urged the Government to press ahead with a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick as early as possible.Failure to do so could jeopardise the UK’s growth and competitive within the world economy, the executives add.  [Probably not, as 70% of UK flights are only for leisure purposes. AW comment].
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The Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission is due to make a final recommendation to the Government in the next few weeks on whether Heathrow or Gatwick should get a new runway.One hundred top executives have backed a call by campaign group Let Britain Fly urging ministers to make “a bold and early decision” on the new runway.
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Let Britain Fly director Gavin Hayes said: “With all of London’s airports forecast to be full by 2030, kicking the can down the road is no longer an option. [Air travel demand is only as high as it is because aviation is artificially subsidised; as well as fossil fuels not paying their environmental costs and being unduly cheap, there is no VAT on the cost of air travel, and there is no fuel duty on jet fuel. Even taking account of Air Passenger Duty, the cost of flying is far lower than it should be – if taxation was comparable with, say, car travel.  This causes a high level of demand.  AW comment].
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“This will be one of the first big issues that will test whether the Government is capable of making strategic decisions in the national interest. [Or making inappropriate decisions which bind the  UK into very high carbon infrastructure, and cause serious environmental and other harm to huge areas for miles around any new runway, ignoring the democratic process. Also committing the government and the taxpayer to billions of  ££s in additional costs for extra transport and social infrastructure.  AW comment]. 
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“The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto they would ‘respond to the Airports Commission’s final report’. To maintain the trust and confidence of the business community, it’s essential that response is both positive and timely. [And it should also be democratic, and not be subject to legal challenge on grounds of excessive deterioration to the environment (noise, air pollution, carbon emissions). AW comment].
“After almost three years of debating the issue, a commission decision-day is fast approaching.”
.The business chiefs have put their names to a statement which reads: “Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country.“By value, 40% of our exports go by air. We trade up to 20 times more with countries we have a direct air link to. [Heathrow were pulled up by the Advertising Standards Authority for making a very similar claim, which could not be justified or supported with facts.  Link.  AW comment]. With Heathrow already full, Gatwick full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports full by 2030, the demand for expansion is self-evident.”  [No, see Brendon Sewill comment above]. 

Let Britain Fly said it was concerned that other countries plan on building more than 50 new runways between now and 2036.  [The reason for that is that the UK developed its airports and extensive air travel decades ago. Developing countries are now starting to catch up, so it is axiomatic that they will be building runways – as they did not start as early as the UK. Some of these countries are not required to take the views of local populations, to be negatively impacted by a runway, as seriously as in the UK.  AW comment]. 

It went on: “Decades of inaction mean we are falling behind our competitors.”

If one of two Heathrow runway options on the commission’s shortlist is recommended, the Government would face opposition by some Tory MPs, including London mayor Boris Johnson, who has just been elected for nearby Uxbridge and South Ruislip. [And many others. See Link.  AW comment]. 

Richmond Park Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith is another who is opposed to Heathrow expansion, as is former transport secretary and now International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

http://letbritainfly.com/news/decide-on-new-heathrow-or-gatwick-runway-soon-100-business-leaders-urge-government/

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This is the Let Britain Fly letter: 

Times Letter: Airport Expansion

15.5.2015  (Let Britain Fly)

The new government must make an early decision on airport expansion and end more than half a century of political procrastinationSir, Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring that Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country. By value 40 per cent of our exports go by air; we trade up to 20 times more with countries we have a direct air link to.With Heathrow already full, Gatwick full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports full by 2030, the need for expansion is self-evident.As people who run some of Britain’s leading businesses, it concerns us that other countries plan on building more than 50 new runways between now and 2036. China alone will build 17 in that time, but in this country we have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945.Decades of inaction mean we are falling behind our competitors. Paris has 50 per cent more flights to China, and Dubai International recently overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport.This is why, when the Airports Commission publishes its final report, the new government must make an early decision on airport expansion and end more than half a century of political procrastination.Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management
Dr Eamonn Butler, Director, Adam Smith Institute
Richard Robinson, Chief Executive, Civil Infrastructure EMEA &India, AECOM
David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent LLP
Surinder Arora, Founder/CEO, Arora Holdings
George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods
Heather Lishman, Association Manager, Association of British Professional Conference Organisers
Nick Roberts, Chief Executive Officer UK and Europe, Atkins
Bill Munro, Chairman, Barrhead Travel
Harold Paisner, Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Bob Rothenberg MBE, Senior Partner, Blick Rothenberg LLP
Dale Keller, Chief Executive, Board of Airline Representatives in the UK
Jim McAuslan, General Secretary, British Airline Pilots’ Association
John Longworth, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land
Jeffries Briginshaw, CEO, BritishAmerican Business & British American Business Council
Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, BT Group
Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership
Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan
John Syvret, Chief Executive Officer, Cammell Laird Group
Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group
Richard Howson, Chief Executive, Carillion
Stephen Hubbard, Chairman – UK & EMEA, CBRE
Tim Knox, Director, Centre for Policy Studies
James Rowntree, Managing Director, Transportation, CH2M HILL
Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive, China-Britain Business Council
Iain Anderson, Co-Founder and Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero Group
Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation
Professor Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London
Des Gunewardena, Chairman & CEO, D & D London
Angus Knowles-Cutler, London Senior Partner, Deloitte
John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London
Rick Butterworth, Managing Director, Diamond Recruitment Group
Mathew Riley, Managing Director, Infrastructure & Environment, EC Harris
Chris Rumfitt, Chief Executive, Corporate Reputation Consulting
Inderneel Singh, Group Corporate Development Manager, Edwardian Group London
Olaf Swantee, Managing Director, EE
Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF
Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London
David Wells, Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association
Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, Gatwick Diamond Business
David Cliff, Managing Director, Gedanken
Hugh Bullock, Senior Partner, Gerald Eve LLP
Mike Turner CBE, Chairman, GKN PLC & Babcock International Group
Gordon Clark, Country Manager, Global Blue
Andrew Cunningham, Chief Executive, Grainger
Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, Great Portland Estates
Mark Preston, Chairman and Non-Executive Director, Grosvenor
Paul Wait, Chairman, Guild of Travel Management Companies
Rob Bould, Chief Executive, GVA
Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods
Brian L Dunsby, Chief Executive, Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce
Mr Andrew Formica, Chief Executive, Henderson Group
Nicholas Cheffings, Chair, Hogan Lovells
Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1 Limited
Michael Spencer, CEO, ICAP
John Lehal, Managing Director, Insight Public Affairs
Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors
Richard Solomans, Chief Executive, InterContinental Hotels Group
Andrew Murphy, Retail Director, John Lewis Partnership
George Kessler CBE, Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International
Simon Collins, UK Chairman & Senior Partner, KPMG
Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities Group
John Stewart, Chairman, Legal & General Group
Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly
Jenny Stewart, Chief Executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce
Robert Hough, Chair, Liverpool City Region LEP
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce
Jo Valentine, CEO, London First
John Allan CBE, Chairman, London First
Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace Group
Yoshiki Yamada, Director, CHRO & CCO, Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc
Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company
James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok
James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East Chamber of Commerce
Ann McGregor MBE, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Adrian Shooter CBE, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
Jonathan Fletcher, Director, PG Legal
Richard Foley, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons
Mark Bensted OBE, Managing Director, Powerday
John Rhodes, Director, Quod
Mr Mark Lancaster, Chairman, SDL
David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO
Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges Group
Juergen Maier, Chief Executive, Siemens
David McAlpine, Partner, Sir Robert McAlpine
Sue Rimmer OBE, Principal and Chief Executive, South Thames College
Willie Stewart, Director, Stewart Travel
John Sutcliffe, Managing Director, Sutcliffe
Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O’Rourke
Victor Chavez, Chief Executive Officer, Thales UK
Rebecca Kane, General Manager, The O2
Bill Moore, Chief Executive, The Portman Estate
Ric Lewis, Chief Executive, Tristan Capital Partners
Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner & Townsend
Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, UCL
Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer, UK Power Networks
Frank Wingate, Chief Executive, West London Business
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP

http://letbritainfly.com/news/times-letter-airport-expansion/

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Southend airport wants to build an 8 acre solar farm on part of its land

Southend Airport is planning to build a solar farm on part of its land, which cannot be used for much else as it is in a flood plain area. This is land to the north of the main terminal. The plan is for 12,000 solar panels in 41 rows, spread over almost 8 acres of grassland. – and providing up to 20% of the airport’s electricity on some days. Council planners are recommending approval for the plans, even though councillors rejected an almost identical plan a few months ago. As the panels are on frames, they can be above the flood level, and the transformer building would be sited outside the flood plain. The EA objected to the previous application because it would lay on a flood plain, and has submitted a provisional objection this time on the same grounds. Airport officials say the panels will not interfere with the airport’s operations. The plan is that the panels will not disturb nearby badger setts. Rochford’s planning committee is due to vote on the application – on Thursday 20th May. There are still government subsidies for this sort of solar farm, as it is not taking up valuable agricultural land. Some other airports in sunnier countries have solar farms.
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Southend Airport wants to build huge solar farm

19.5.2015 (Southend Echo)

by Ian Burbridge

THOUSANDS of solar panels could be sited close to Southend Airport to help power its continuing development.

The airport has applied to create a huge solar farm on land to the north of the main terminal.

It would have 12,000 solar panels in 41 rows and be spread over almost eight acres of grassland to the north of the airport which lies in the Rochford district.

Council planners are recommending approval for the plans, even though councillors rejected an almost identical plan a few months ago.

An airport spokesman said: “The land is within the airport boundary, but is non-operational because it is on a flood plain.

“The solar panels would be on frames, lifting them above any flood water and the transformer building would be sited outside the flood plain.”

The Environment Agency objected to the previous application because it would lay on a flood plain, and has submitted a provisional objection this time on the same grounds.

The airport says it commissioned a flood risk specialist to study the impact of the plan on the flood plain and was liaising with the agency to make sure objections over flood risk, water quality and ecological concerns can be overcome.

Airport officials argue it is the only available site for the panels which would not interfere with operations.

The site – previously earmarked for aircraft maintenance hangars – includes protected badger setts, but the airport insist building work would not come within 20m of them The solar farm, which would supply 20 per cent of the airport’s electricity requirements, have been given a “cautious thumbs-up” by one of the airport’s staunchest critics, the Green party.

Jon Fuller, who has campaigned in the past against airport expansion, said: “Where possible, we don’t want solar panels placed on argricultural land. We’d rather see them on buildings and roofs.

“However, the idea of a business deploying renewable energy is a good thing, and if they are going to be elevated from the flood plain, it could be a positive addition to the airport.

“I would give it a cautious thumbs-up.”

Rochford’s planning committee is due to vote on the application – on Thursday.

Rochford Council head of planning Shaun Scrutton said: “There was concern with the first application about technical issues and the fact the site was within a flood plain.

“The new solar farm is to be located within the airport boundary, but not on land which is currently in use, and the applicant has worked with the council to overcome the concerns with the original proposal.

“The application is good news for the airport operating company, as the energy requirements for the airport will now be augmented by clean, solar energy.”

http://www.southendstandard.co.uk/news/echo/12957444.Southend_Airport_wants_to_build_huge_solar_farm/

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Information on the subsidies available to developers of solar farms here 

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2344434/breaking-decc-unveils-shock-changes-to-solar-farm-subsidies

….”However, solar farm projects will still be eligible for support through the new Contract for Difference (CfD) regime, which guarantees energy prices for clean energy generators, while the consultation also promises “grace period” arrangements for solar farms that are already in the pipeline that may allow a handful of projects to still access the RO.” …


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Other solar farms at airports:

World’s largest solar farm complete at Indianapolis airport

The world’s largest airport solar farm is now up and running at Indianapolis International Airport.

With the second phase of an expansion now complete, the solar farm more than doubled in size and boasts 76,000 photovoltaic solar panels, according to a news release. The second phase of the project added 32,100 sun-tracking panels that will produce more than 15.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, the release states.

The 75-acre facility at the airport before the expansion already was the largest airport solar farm in the nation.

“The airport could not be more thrilled to have the largest airport-based solar farm right here in our growing city of Indianapolis,” Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, said in prepared remarks. “The Solar Farm not only enhances our environmentally friendly and energy-efficient terminal campus, but also played a huge role in our recent recognition of being named one of America’s greenest airports.”

The expanded portion of the solar farm creates enough energy to power more than 1,410 average American homes for a year, the release states.

Indianapolis Power & Light Co. buys the solar farm’s power, which costs three to four times the price for which IPL can sell it, officials have said. The utility has subsidized the difference by raising rates to its customers. The increase in electric bills to subsidize the solar farm amounts to several cents a month on the average customer bill. Solar farms also benefit from federal tax credits.

The solar farm has required about a dozen employees to operate. It is owned and operated by a Taiwanese company, General Energy Solutions, which has U.S. offices in California.

“It is an iconic structure that symbolizes how renewable energy in this country is affordable and reliable,” Kurt Schneider, vice president of Johnson Melloh Solutions, said in a statement. “JMS is proud of the teamwork displayed by IND and IPL that made this green project such a great success.

“Our hope is that many visitors from other states and countries fly into IND and realize after passing the solar farm that Indiana is both a great place to live and a progressive community for thriving new businesses.”

http://www.indystar.com/story/money/2014/12/22/indianapolis-airport-solar-farm-expansion-complete/20754083/

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Also

Airport warns over dangers of solar farm

13.9.2015

A proposed solar farm under the northern landing approach to Canberra Airport will temporarily blind pilots of incoming planes, says the airport.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/airport-warns-over-dangers-of-solar-farm-20130912-2tnur.html


 

Solar Farm

Chattanooga Airport’s solar farm is a staple in the airport’s green initiative. The three-phase project launched in 2011, and has reached the second phase of its development. The solar farm was expanded in the summer of 2013, increasing its annual onsite clean power generation from one megawatt to 2.1 megawatts.

The solar farm is located on the southwest corner of the airfield, in an area unusable for aviation purposes. However, it was the perfect location for a solar farm. Phase I, a one megawatt solar farm, consists of 3,948 solar panels with 60 cells each, generating 255 watts per panel.  Phase II, a 1.1 megawatt solar farm, added 3,542 panels with 72 cells each, generating 310 watts per panel. The two phases together produce approximately 85 percent of the airport’s energy needs.

The vision for the solar farm, as developed by the Airport Authority, is to have a three megawatt solar farm on the airfield. Once the Chattanooga Airport reaches this goal, it will be energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral.

The solar farm was funded through a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) Grant. VALE Grants are air quality grants issued to airports that are in non-attainment or maintenance areas. Chattanooga is in a non-attainment area for Particulate Matter 2.5, making it eligible for air quality grant funding.

To learn more about how solar energy works and to see how much energy our solar farm is producing, please go to http://live.deckmonitoring.com/?id=chattanooga_airport.

http://www.chattairport.com/www/docs/157/chattanooga-airport-solar-farm-photos/

 

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Also 22.3.2015

Sacramento airport plans to build on-site solar farm

http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/technology/article16037951.html


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and

Plans revealed for 20-acre solar farm next to Manston airport site

23.2.2015

http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Plans-revealed-20-acre-solar-farm-Manston-airport/story-26069049-detail/story.html

 

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