Academic research funded by NERC looking at better scientific data on Heathrow area NO2 pollution

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The BBC jumped the gun on this story – reporting that the study implies there would be no problem with air pollution from a Heathrow runway.  That is not a conclusion that can be justified from the study, as yet.  Below:

Heathrow runway ‘within EU pollution laws’

The study measured poisonous nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels using 40 sensors in and around the airport.

It then used modelling to predict what would happen in the future.

Ministers will decide within weeks whether to enlarge Heathrow or rival Gatwick and the environmental impact will play a big part in that decision.

The work was led by the University of Cambridge and has no formal links to any airport or the government.

Prof Rod Jones from the University of Cambridge told the BBC: “If there is the development of a third runway, we expect there to be a marginal increase in NO2 coming from the airport itself, but that would be against the background of reduced NO2 from other traffic, because of Euro 6 engines and electrification of the traffic fleet.”

In other words, it comes down to traffic on the roads, rather than planes in the air, because that is where the bulk of the poisonous nitrogen dioxide gases come from.

As new, cleaner car, lorry and bus engines become more common, pollution levels should decline, wiping out any increase from a bigger Heathrow.

Sensor network

Prof Jones said using lots of smaller sensors, dotted in hard to reach places, gave them a clearer picture of what was going on.

“By deploying a network of sensors we can tell directly from the measurements, what’s been emitted locally from Heathrow airport and what’s been blown in, mostly from central London. That’s the real strength of the sensor network,” he said.

“The major result from this study is that we have tested the models far more critically than you can from a single measurement site.”

Currently, the air has climbed above European health limits at several sites near Heathrow. This work suggests that as cleaner engines kick in levels will fall again.

It is a conclusion that tallies broadly with previous research for the government, but that research relied on estimates, whereas this latest work used more accurate, real-world measurements.

Graphic showing the proposed Heathrow expansion.

Opponents think air quality is the Achilles heel for Heathrow expansion and could be where it is challenged in the courts. That is what happened the last time they wanted to build a third runway.

[….. more general stuff  on May etc ….. ]

This latest, million-pound research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and alongside Cambridge, experts from the universities of Manchester and Hertfordshire, Imperial College London, CERC Limited and the National Physics lab where involved.

Heathrow helped them put the sensors up and British Airways provided some flight data, but neither handed over any money or were involved in the actual work.

Government silence

Last December, the government told the BBC it had to go away and double-check a few things before making a decision, claiming it was “subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures”.

I have asked, but they won’t tell me what they’ve been checking for nigh on a year. And I’m not the only one.

 

….. and there is more on other topics ….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37566361  and this version was slightly updated later in the day.

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NERC funding:

NERC say “We are supported mainly by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)”.  Its CEO is Professor Duncan Wingham.

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See also:

New research on Heathrow air pollution not convincing

6 October 2016  (Client Earth)

Reports on new research have today suggested that Heathrow airport could build a new runway without breaking European pollution laws.

Reacting to the report ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said:

“When making the decision on Heathrow the government has a moral and legal duty to protect people’s health and ensure they have the right to breathe clean air.

“It shouldn’t base its decision on optimistic modelling at best and a naive view of the car industry that has proven time and time again it can’t be trusted to bring levels of air pollution down.

Heathrow air pollution must be cut drastically

“The government’s own report recently showed that diesel cars are emitting on average six times the legal limits when tested on the roads. They have even admitted one of the reasons we have toxic air is because car makers have failed to meet legal emissions limits.”

“Last year the UK Supreme Court ordered the government to draw up new plans that would bring air pollution in London within legal limits as soon as possible.

“Even without expansion, the area around Heathrow will continue to be in breach of legal pollution limits until 2025. Air pollution around the airport needs to be cut drastically before we can think about expansion.”

http://www.clientearth.org/new-research-heathrow-air-pollution-not-convincing/


See earlier:

 

Updated air quality plan insufficient to address Heathrow challenge

Air pollution around Heathrow has been in breach of legal limits for many years and could prove a significant barrier to expansion. At the time of the Airports Commission’s recommendation this summer, the Government’s modelling indicated that breaches of the NO2 limit in London would continue until and perhaps beyond 2030. Under the Airports Commission’s plan a new runway could be operational by 2025, and would be likely to further worsen air quality in the Heathrow area.

Defra has, however, now published an updated air quality ‘plan’, drawn up in response to the Supreme Court ruling in April that the Government’s strategy would fail to achieve EU legal limits in the ‘shortest time possible’ and must be improved. Under the revised plan, NO2 would be within legal limits by 2025 throughout London.

But the difference compared with the earlier plan appears to relate almost entirely to new, more optimistic assumptions being made about emissions from diesel vehicles rather than to any new policies or strategies at a national level. The only significant new proposal relates to the formation by local authorities of Clean Air Zones, similar to the London Ultra Low Emission Zone, in which access to the most polluting vehicles could be restricted.

AEF considers both that the plan fails to demonstrate convincingly that the UK is taking sufficient action to meet legal limits, and that they will in any case need to be redrawn to take account of the emissions associated with Heathrow expansion, should Government give the project a green light. A decision on this is expected by the end of the year. We recently signed a joint letter to the Government about Heathrow expansion and air pollution.

We have submitted comments (some by way of the online form and some, given the limitations of this format, directly to the Environment Minister) arguing that Defra should:

  • Set out in detail why its previous forecasts for emissions from diesel vans were wrong and what gives it confidence that the new, much more optimistic, figures are accurate
  • Commit to redrawing the air quality plan to take account of the impact of Heathrow expansion should the Government give the project its approval.
  • Make clear that planning consent should not be granted to a project (a) that will worsen air quality in an area where breaches to either current or likely future air quality limits are already anticipated or (b) where there is a significant risk of it causing breaches to either current or likely future limits.

Download: AEF comments on Defra’s “consultation on draft plans to improve air quality: tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities” 

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http://www.aef.org.uk/2015/11/12/updated-air-quality-plan-insufficient-to-address-heathrow-challenge/

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AEF said: 

From “Comments from the Aviation Environment Federation on Defra’s “consultation on draft plans to improve air quality: tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities”, September 2015

6.11.2015

The relevance of this work for potential expansion at Heathrow

Our interest as an organisation is limited to the environmental effects of aviation, which includes the air pollution associated with both aircraft and airports (including surface access for both people and freight).

While emissions even at lower levels than those currently legislated for by the EU can harm health, and we support measures to improve air quality around all UK airports, it is only on the roads around Heathrow that emissions are known to consistently breach legal limits.

The Government is nevertheless currently considering whether or not to accept the advice of the Airports Commission (AC) to expand the airport – a development that would, the AC admits, worsen air quality compared with baseline forecasts.

At the time of the AC’s final publication, such breaches were anticipated to continue beyond the opening date of a new runway, with emissions very significantly over the annual mean NO2 limit of 40μg/m3 .

The unmitigated forecast for 2030 at Bath Road is, based on Defra modelling, 47.4 µg/m3 without expansion or 48.7 µg/m3 if a North West runway was to be built1 . (Table 9.4, Airports Commission Final Report, July 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440316/airports-commissionfinal-report.pdf#page=196 )

An effective package of mitigation measures beyond those currently anticipated, the Commission says, could collectively reduce NO2 by 2.4 to 3.6 µg/m3 .

But this would clearly still leave the Bath Road site significantly in breach of the legal limit. The new figures published with the Defra consultation closing today now anticipate emissions being below 40 µg/m3 at all receptor sites by 2025 – a very marked difference from the previous estimate.

Our concerns about this in relation to the possibility of an expansion of Heathrow airport are follows.

1. We cannot, for the reasons set out above, feel confident in the re-forecast of emissions from diesel vans (which are responsible for a significant proportion of emissions around Heathrow), that are now expected to bring about this dramatic improvement, without further evidence. Our concern is compounded by the fact that significant improvements in air quality around Heathrow have been forecast in the past, and have failed to materialise.

Defra should, in our view, to set out in detail

(i) why its previous forecasts were so significantly wrong

(ii) what now gives it confidence in the new forecasts, and

(iii) what policy measures, such as appropriate planning controls, will be put in place if the new forecasts turn out to be optimistic.

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2. The work presented by Defra for consultation does not include modelling of the impact of a third Heathrow runway on NO2 levels. Even if the new forecasts prove correct and emissions at Bath Road are below 40µg/m3 by 2025, a year before a new runway could be operational the AC estimates, it is clearly very possible that a new Heathrow runway could push them back over the limit. Should the Government announce in December  [it did not] that it supports Heathrow expansion, we suggest that this plan and consultation will need to be redrawn to consider the impact of that decision, modelling emissions associated with construction and use of the runway and any associated increase in road traffic. The modelling will need to extend beyond 2030, as the runway is predicted to be operating below its maximum capacity at that point. [so air pollution levels are likely to get worse as the use of the runway increases].

3. The Airports Commission has argued that the new runway should go ahead even if emissions remain in breach of health-based legal limits and even if expansion would compound the problem, as long as there is at least one other site in London where air quality is worse still, such that the Heathrow project did not strictly ‘delay compliance’. It cites advice from the Highways Agency as following a similar approach in relation to road building. This suggests a potential approach whereby instead of regarding the limit values as an absolute requirement across all areas of a zone, planning decisions could be taken on the basis of a cynical reading of the EU law that allows an increase in harm to public health. The legality of this approach has meanwhile been challenged by Robert McCracken QC in advice to Clean Air in London 2 ( http://cleanair.london/legal/clean-air-in-london-obtains-qc-opinion-on-air-quality-law-including-at-heathrow/ ).

We very much hope that Defra will make clear that planning consent should not be granted to a project (a) that will worsen air quality in an area where breaches to either current or likely future air quality limits are already anticipated or (b) where there is a significant risk of it causing breaches to either current or likely future limits.   

http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/AEF-comments-on-Defra-draft-air-quality-action-plan.pdf

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AEF also said:

Are Heathrow’s concessions enough to address the impacts of a third runway?

In this article, we look at the key commitments, reflecting what impact they would have on the environmental impacts of a third runway, which the Airports Commission described as ranging from adverse to significantly adverse. We highlighted in our blog following the Airports Commission’s final report that many of the proposed concessions failed to adequately deal with the environmental challenges of a new runway.

[Only the section on air pollution is copied here …] 

…….

Air quality

  • Airports Commission recommendation: Additional operations at an expanded Heathrow must be contingent on acceptable performance on air quality. New capacity will be released when it is clear that air quality at sites around the airport will not delay compliance with EU limits.
  • Heathrow: Agree to this recommendation and state that the airport is taking further steps through an ultra-low emissions zone for airport vehicles, developing plans for an emissions charging scheme, and support the Environment Agency scrutinising their plans

AEF has argued that the Airports Commission’s recommendation that expansion should not be allowed to “delay compliance” with the legislation was as a result of an inability to demonstrate that the Heathrow area – which has exceeded air quality limits for many years – could in fact be brought into compliance with legal air quality law if a third runway was built.

Rather than accepting the condition proposed by the Airports Commission, AEF believes permission for a new runway should only be given if it can be proven that this is compatible with bringing air pollution in the Heathrow area within legal limits. The issue of whether other locations in London are forecast to breach legal limits should not be used as an excuse for failing to bring the Heathrow area into compliance with the law.

 

… full AEF statement here

http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/05/11/are-heathrows-concessions-enough-to-address-the-impacts-of-a-third-runway/

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Read more »

Zac Goldsmith likely to quit politics, rather than stand again as Richmond MP, if May approves Heathrow runway

The Evening Standard reports that Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park, has said he would resign as an MP if Theresa May decides to approve a Heathrow 3rd runway. He has said for a long time that he would resign, and perhaps stand again as an independent.  Zac’s constituency is heavily over-flown by Heathrow, and with a 3rd runway, people would lose a large part of the time they currently have “respite” from the noise, due to the current runway alternation. Heathrow has admitted that people would probably only get perhaps 4 hours per day without planes, rather than about 8 hours at present.  But now Zac is understood to feel it would be wasting his constituents’ time to stand again at a by-election, and he would instead step down.  His current majority is 23,000 (with about 43,000 votes out of around 58,000). The Liberal Democrats have held the seat in the past. The departure of Zac could be a worry for Theresa May as the Conservative party’s working majority is only 16.  (The Conservatives have 329 MPs, out of 650).  They cannot comfortably afford to lose any.  Though Boris Johnson and Justine Greening are both deeply opposed to the runway, they have both said they would not resign, and give up their Cabinet positions, on the issue.
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zac

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Though Boris Johnson and Justine Greening have been forcefully opposed to a 3rd Heathrow runway, neither are thought likely to feel sufficiently strongly about it to resign from their important Cabinet positions.  See below:

 

Boris Johnson says Heathrow’s 3rd runway should be ‘consigned to the dustbin’

In his first comments on the issue of Heathrow since becoming Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson has said the 3rd runway is a “fantasy” and should be “consigned to the dustbin.”  Commenting on a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Heathrow, chaired by Tania Mathias, sets out 16 serious risks that could stop or delay Heathrow expansion, Boris Johnson said: “The study exposes in glaring detail the weaknesses and omissions in the Howard Davies Airports Commission report. As I’ve advocated for many years Heathrow expansion is the wrong choice, and if it is chosen it simply won’t get built.”… “The massive costs and enormous risks mean it’s undeliverable, and the taxpayer will be saddled with the bill for failure. While we are finding this out our international competitors will be further extending their competitive advantage over us. We need to consign this Heathrow fantasy to the dustbin. We need a better solution.”  Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, and Boris are expected to campaign robustly against it. Neither Boris nor Zac believes Heathrow’s plans will never actually get built.  Zac said: “In the 21st century no developed economy is looking to fly more planes directly over its capital city. If Heathrow expansion is given the green light, it will never take off.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/09/boris-johnson-says-heathrows-3rd-runway-should-be-consigned-to-the-dustbin/

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Read more »

ASA uphold Teddington Action Group’s complaint about 4th misleading Heathrow advert

The Teddington Action Group complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) back in July about misleading information put out by Heathrow, implying that “A majority of MPs support expansion”.  Heathrow got a Comres poll done, of 150 MPs, and said that of these 65% supported a 3rd Heathrow runway. Heathrow then generalised this result to claim the same support across all 650 MPs. The ASA has upheld TAG’s complaint against the Heathrow claim “A majority of MPs support Heathrow expansion” was misleading as it was based on a survey of only 150 MPs and the geographical make-up of the MPs surveyed meant a bias in the result; and The advert did not provide sufficient clarity on where the claim that “Expanding Heathrow will deliver up to £211bn of economic growth and up to 180,000 jobs across Britain” was sourced. The only evidence for the claims in the ads is a link to the Airports Commission, in tiny print – and no indication of the caveats on those figures – or that the economic benefits are over 60 years). The ASA agreed the advert had breached the Advertising Codes. To avoid negative publicity, Heathrow agreed to make the required changes to the advert and the case was informally resolved by the ASA. This is the fourth such ruling in 18 months against adverts claiming support for Heathrow expansion.
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heathrow-4-banned-ads

Advertising Standards Authority uphold Teddington Action Group’s complaint about 4th misleading Heathrow advert

WEDNESDAY 5 OCTOBER 2016 (TAG)

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints made by members of Teddington Action Group about a Heathrow Airport Ltd advert from July 2016 (copy of the claim image below) claiming that “A majority of MPs support Heathrow expansion”.

The decision follows three previous rulings:

1.  April 2016 in relation to an advert from Heathrow Airport Ltd’s lobby group Back Heathrow which claimed “Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion”;

2.  September 2015 banning a pro-expansion advert from Heathrow Airport Ltd which claimed “Those around us are behind us”;

3. February 2015 in response to Heathrow Airport Ltd’s claims that “UK business trade 20 times as much with countries where there are daily flights than with those with less frequent or no direct service”.

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In all four cases, the ASA concluded that the claims were misleading and could not be substantiated.

In terms of the latest ruling, the ASA upheld TAG’s complaint that:

The claim that “A majority of MPs support Heathrow expansion” was misleading as it was based on a survey of only 150 MPs and the geographical make-up of the MPs surveyed meant a bias in the result; and

The advert did not provide sufficient clarity on where the claim that “Expanding Heathrow will deliver up to £211bn of economic growth and up to 180,000 jobs across Britain” was sourced.

The ASA found that the advert had breached the Advertising Codes. On this occasion – no doubt in an attempt to avoid negative publicity – Heathrow agreed to make the required changes to the advert and the case was informally resolved by the ASA.

Paul McGuinness, spokesman for Teddington Action Group said:

“This latest ruling is yet another demonstration of Heathrow’s manipulation of data and false claims as it tries to persuade government to succumb to its laboured pitch for a third runway. Leaving aside what it says about Heathrow’s case, that they feel it can only be made by manipulating the facts, we are simply disappointed that this latest breach of the advertising standards – the fourth within 18 months – did not result in a stronger punishment. How many more times will Heathrow make false claims of support for expansion and be allowed to get away with it? And what is the point of the ASA if it allows advertising rules to be repeatedly flouted by a known serial offender?”

For further information, contact Paul McGuinness on 07958 589894.

heathrow-mps-support-claim

Copy of July 2016 Heathrow Airport Ltd advert 

Notes:

  1. The ASA’s rulings can be found at www.asa.org.uk.
  2. The ASA’s 5 October 2016 ruling on the July 2016 Heathrow Airport Ltd advert can be found athttps://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications.aspx#2
  3. The ASA’s ruling on the April 2016 Back Heathrow advert can be found athttps://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2016/4/Back-Heathrow/SHP_ADJ_315946.aspx#.V_LSfjbSlMs
  4. The ASA’s ruling on the September 2015 Heathrow Airport Ltd advert can be found athttps://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2015/9/Heathrow-Airport-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_293164.aspx#.Vxax-8ohOZI.email
  5. The ASA’s ruling on the February 2015 Heathrow Airport Ltd advert can be found athttps://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2015/2/Heathrow-Airport-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_278727.aspx#.V_LTyTbSlMs
  6. Teddington Action Group is a genuine community group representing residents living in Teddington and the surrounding areas including Twickenham, Strawberry Hill and Hampton Hill. www.teddingtonactiongroup.com


See earlier:

Advertising Standards Authority rules against misleading “Back Heathrow” ad claiming 60% support for runway

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert from “Back Heathrow” claiming that most local people back Heathrow expansion. “Back Heathrow” is a lobby group, funded through Heathrow with the aim of pushing for the 3rd runway. Back Heathrow ran a regional press ad headlined “Rallying for the runway” with the line “Don’t believe the hype. Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion.” They claimed from polls there was 60% support. The ASA says the claim was misleading, and the 60% figure had only been massaged up from 50% to that level by omitting the 15% who did not express an opinion. The ASA considered most consumers were likely to understand it to mean that a clear majority of those surveyed in the poll (the original sample) were in support of expansion. They ruled that removing the 15% was “not a suitable methodology by which to draw such a conclusion, and was misleading. The ad must not appear again in its current form, and “Back Heathrow” must not repeat these claims ” unless it held robust substantiation for them.” This is a blow to “Back Heathrow,” the strategy of which has been to try to convince decision-makers that a majority of local people back a 3rd runway. That claim looks flimsy.

Click here to view full story…

Advertising Standards Authority finds Heathrow advert about increased trade breaches their code and is ‘misleading’

February 4, 2015

In October 2014 about 13 people send in official complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, on claims being made by Heathrow in its adverts. The ASA looked at 7 different complaints, and considered that 6 passed their standards. However, on the claim by Heathrow in its ads headed:”Expand Heathrow and its’s the economy that takes off” the statement “Direct flights to long-haul destinations build twenty times more trade with them than indirect flights” was found to breach the ASA code. The ASA say the claim was not adequately substantiated and that the ad therefore breached the Code, both by being misleading and by not having proper substantiation. The ASA say the advert “must not appear again in its current form.” They have told Heathrow “to ensure that they held robust substantiation for absolute claims made in their future advertising.”  The ASA ruling also says the claim was presented as objective facts rather than an educated assumption and that Heathrow’s own report “One Hub or None”itself cautioned that direct flights would not automatically lead to more trade and that multiple factors could influence the amount of bilateral trade.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/02/advertising-standards-authority-finds-heathrow-advert-about-increased-trade-breaches-their-code-and-is-misleading/

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and

Advertising Standards Agency rules Heathrow ads claiming “Those living around us are behind us” are misleading

Edit this entry.

Heathrow Airport has been told by the ASA that its adverts claiming that “Those living around us are behind us”.  Eight people had challenged whether the adverts were misleading and if they could be substantiated.  The ASA concluded that the claim exaggerated the level of support for expansion, had not been substantiated and was misleading. They noted that the claims “Those living around us are behind us” and “Locals support it” were not qualified.  The ASA considered that most readers would interpret the claims to mean that a clear majority of those living in close proximity to Heathrow Airport supported expansion. The evidence provided, however, showed that only 50% of those surveyed from ten constituencies close to the airport supported expansion. The ASA say the ads must not appear in their current form again. They told Heathrow Airport Ltd to ensure they held sufficient evidence to substantiate their objective marketing claims in future, and to ensure their claims were adequately qualified, without contradiction. John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said: “This judgement is not good news for Heathrow. It undermines a key plank of their campaign that they have strong local support for a third runway.” The ASA ruled against other Heathrow ads in February 2015.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/09/advertising-standards-agency-rules-heathrow-ads-claiming-those-living-around-us-are-behind-us-are-misleading/

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And another set of adverts was considered by the ASA,but they did not rule against them:

Does Heathrow advert implying a small girl needs a 3rd runway, for her future, meet Advertising Standards?

The ASA now say:

“….the investigation had been delayed due to some new points being raised by additional complainants.  Since then another couple of issues have been added to the investigation, meaning that we have had to again engage in further discussion with the advertiser.

“However, we have now received Heathrow’s response on all points, including the newest ones.  We are currently in the process of drawing up the documents for the next stage of the case, and hope that we may be able to send these out [to those who submitted complaints] by the end of the month.”

…. and they say “… the issues around advertising claims of this nature are complex and our investigation will necessarily take some time”   …. and they are working to address the concerns of the many people who complained as promptly as they are able.

The Heathrow advert

22.9.2014

Earlier this week, Heathrow put out full page advertisements for their 3rd runway. This is part of an on-going, and expensive media campaign. However, they may have mis-judged the tone of this one. It features a small girl, aged about 5, with her hand up – and the text makes out that her future well being will depend upon ….. guess what?? …. a new Heathrow runway. The advert says the 3rd runway will deliver “… at least£100 billion of economic benefits [no timescale given] the length and breadth of the country.  …. So, even if our little girl never leaves home, she’ll still feel the benefit.”  People may have been inspired to write to the Advertising Standards Authority, to complain about this rather dubious text, with unsubstantiated claims, making use of a small child, to try to make a PR point. One such letter to the ASA has been copied to AirportWatch, in which the writer clearly puts the case that what this child needs is a stable climate for her future, not accelerating carbon emissions. The writer believes the advert to be misleading, and asks the ASA to have it withdrawn. There is now anAvaaz petition to the ASA on this ad.

Read more »

Gatwick signs up Bechtel to build its (dreamed of) runway

In March Heathrow announced 4 winning contractors – Arup, CH2M, MACE and Turner & Townsend – for the construction work on the 3rd runway that it hopes to build.  Heathrow hoped this would imply to government that it would be ready to start building as soon as it got consent.  Gatwick was a bit slower off the mark, only putting out its offers to tender in February.  Gatwick has now announced a “strategic partnership” with Bechtel to deliver a 2nd runway, by 2025.  Gatwick says Bechtel has been working with them for the past two years, developing a delivery programme and plan of how to build the runway and the terminal.  Bechtel project managed the Channel Tunnel and HS1 and is currently providing programme management services for Crossrail. Gatwick are claiming their expansion plan is “low risk” and is, of course, easier than the problem Heathrow has with having to tunnel the M25. Architect Sir Terry Farrell has been working on Gatwick’s  expansion plans, for a number of years – and would work with Bechtel. Gatwick has little support for its expansion, and it would be unlikely to achieve the backing at a vote in Parliament, which is expected some time not long after a runway location announcement by the Government, maybe in October.

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Gatwick and Bechtel partner to deliver second runway by 2025

02/10/2016

Gatwick Airport has today announced a strategic partnership with Bechtel – the firm that project managed the Channel Tunnel, HS1 and which is currently providing programme management services for the on-time, on-budget completion of Crossrail – to deliver a second runway at Gatwick by 2025.

For the past two years Bechtel has been working with Gatwick Airport on developing a robust delivery programme, execution plan and logistics strategy to support the on-time delivery of a second runway and midfield terminal. As part of this planning work, Bechtel has confirmed that expansion at Gatwick Airport is low risk and benefits from minimal critical interfaces with existing infrastructure  – making it deliverable by 2025, with a government decision this year to expand Gatwick.

Bechtel is one of the world’s most respected engineering, construction and project management companiesand has delivered nearly 100 major airport projects over the last 50 years.  The new partnership will see Bechtel project manage Gatwick’s second runway programme should the Government give it the green light.

Renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell has also been working on shaping Gatwick’s vision of a new runway and terminal facility for a number of years – and will work with Bechtel to bring the project to fruition.  Farrell led the design team for Incheon airport, which has been voted best airport in the world.

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said:

“Bechtel is a global leader with a strong track record in delivering significant infrastructure projects and we look forward to working together to deliver the UK’s next runway.

“Gatwick expansion can happen quickly because it is simple and low risk with a dramatically lower environmental impact.

“A bigger Gatwick would generate the new long haul routes and the economic boost that Britain needs. It’s time for Gatwick to deliver the certainty and growth the UK needs.”

Bechtel’s General Manager for Infrastructure – EAM, Amjad Bangash said:

“We are delighted to be confirmed as Gatwick Airport’s partner for the second runway programme.

“We have provided Gatwick with robust plans for a second runway and are confident that this low risk project can be built to the highest quality, safely and sustainably – and that it can be operational by 2025.”

About Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 220 destinations in 80 countries for 42 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the South East region, generating around 21,000 on-airport jobs and a further 10,000 jobs through related activities. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

A Government decision on whether Gatwick airport should be expanded is expected this year. Gatwick’s second runway will deliver the UK the same number of passengers, the same number of long haul routes, better UK and regional connections, and the economic boost the UK needs, all at a dramatically lower environmental impact, at less than half the cost of Heathrow, and with no public subsidy.

For further information on Gatwick Airport see www.gatwickairport.com or follow us on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/Gatwick_Airport

http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/press-releases/2016/16-1002-bechtel-partnership.aspx

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Earlier: 

Gatwick begins search for contractors for £75m planning work for its (pipe dream) 2nd runway project

Heathrow and Gatwick continue to slug it out, in their runway battle. With neither willing to accept reality, both are bigging up their confidence in their imminent expansion, and runway success. Gatwick has now announced it is searching for bidders to carry out £75 million worth of design and planning work in preparation for a 2nd runway. The work is separated into three frameworks: airport planning services (especially for infrastructure associated with the runway); architectural, structural and building services projects, and multi-discipline design and engineering for projects greater than £5 million.  Gatwick says the work is part of £2.5 billion worth of transformation spending that it aims to have completed by 2021. Gatwick’s Development Director hopes this will impress the construction industry, and make them eager to get lucrative work. The runway works in total are expected to cost perhaps £9 billion. But Heathrow is apparently close to choosing preferred bidders for its four pre-collaboration packages on its 3rd runway.  It is thought the firms include Arup, Atkins, Jacobs and Mace. Recently a number of the UK’s biggest construction firms wrote a letter to chancellor George Osborne urging him to approve a Heathrow runway. Gatwick says the contractors were ”misguided” in writing the letter, as Heathrow’s runway bid is “destined to fail.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/gatwick-begins-search-for-contractors-for-75m-planning-work-for-its-pipe-dream-2nd-runway-project/

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Construction firms – wanting the lucrative work – urge George Osborne to support third Heathrow runway

Thirteen of Britain’s largest construction and development firms (including the bosses of Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall, Laing O’Rourke, Mace,Atkins UK,  and BAM Nuttall), have written to George Osborne, urging him to live up to his declaration that “we are the builders” by supporting the building of a third runway at Heathrow. As one comment under the article puts it: “Construction companies advocating a big construction project. Whatever next?…..”  The letter to the Chancellor says Heathrow has provided a “steady base of work” during the economic downturn and expansion would bring “a £15.6 billion order book to the UK supply chain”. They also try to encourage the Chancellor by saying the OECD considers the UK has historically underspent on infrastructure, partially due to “long decision-making processes”. The construction companies, which of course stand to gain massively from the building project, say: “We are writing to encourage your support for Heathrow expansion.” It has been pointed out that you only have permanent jobs in construction if there is a new project to move on to, once one is complete.. Hence the construction firms are lobbying hard; they have expected work out of Heathrow, and may not have contingency should Heathrow not get the go head. The firms appear – conveniently  –  unaware of the very considerable economic and environmental problems that building a runway would create.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/construction-firms-wanting-the-lucrative-work-urge-george-osborne-to-support-third-heathrow-runway/

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Heathrow hopes prematurely announcing “client partners” to build its hoped-for runway will boost its chances

Heathrow does not have any sort of (public) consent from the Government to build a third runway. It had hoped to be given the “nod” for its runway in December 2015. But the government realised there were too many environmental and economic problems that the Airports Commission had not dealt with adequately, and no decision could be made. The government is how hoping to make some sort of statement – probably in mid July.  There is a likely major legal challenge from 4 local councils to the airport’s plans. Nevertheless, in an act of bravado (desperation?) Heathrow has announced that following “a competitive process Arup, CH2M, MACE and Turner & Townsend have been chosen to work alongside Heathrow Airport Limited to deliver Heathrow’s expansion as partners in the Programme Client….With the programme’s client partners now on board Heathrow is ready to begin the process of expansion as soon as Government gives the green light.” … “The client partners have been tasked with ensuring the programme is delivered to the highest industry standards in planning, innovation and quality.” Quite what the contract is between Heathrow and these firms is not specified. Critics say Heathrow is jumping the gun, and “counting some very expensive chickens before they are hatched”. Gatwick is also trying the same sort of thing.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/03/heathrow-hopes-prematurely-announcing-client-partners-to-build-its-hoped-for-runway-will-boost-its-chances/

 


Heathrow appoints firms to help with controversial third runway

Heathrow’s plans for a third runway have met with vocal opposition

By Ben Martin  (Telegraph)

15 MARCH 2016

Heathrow is pushing ahead with its controversial proposal for a third runway by appointing four contractors to help with its expansion, even though the Government is yet to decide whether to give the airport’s plan the green-light.

Construction and consultancy firms Arup, CH2M, MACE and Turner & Townsend have won contracts to work with Heathrow on its runway proposal. They are the first companies to be appointed by the west London airport since it submitted its plans to the Airports Commission. They will help the hub devise the tendering process for construction work on the mooted landing strip and assist with project management.

“I’m delighted that our client partners are now on board and I look forward to working with them to give the UK a truly world-class, sustainable hub airport,” said Ian Ballentine, Heathrow’s director of procurement.

However, the appointments are likely to anger the many opponents of Heathrow’s £17.6bn expansion plans because ministers have not yet approved the project.

Building a third runway in west London is highly contentious, with previous attempts to expand Heathrow failing amid worries it would increase air pollution and aircraft noise, blighting local communities.

While the Government-appointed Airports Commission concluded last July that another Heathrow runway was the best solution to Britain’s looming aviation capacity crisis, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has so far failed to back its recommendation.

Mr Cameron broke his earlier promise to make a decision on Heathrow expansion by last Christmas, with an announcement now planned for the summer. A rival plan to build a second Gatwick runway and an independent proposal to extend one of Heathrow’s existing landing strips are still being considered by the Government.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/03/15/heathrow-appoints-firms-to-help-with-controversial-third-runway/

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In December 2015:

Heathrow “revealed in October that it planned to award contracts, worth as much as £5m, to designers, architects and other suppliers in January, to help it with the work required to secure planning consent for expansion. Big engineering firms are in the running to be appointed by Heathrow.”

Read more »

Stop Heathrow Expansion casts doubt on Heathrow’s 3rd Runway jobs claims, from past experience

Local group, Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) has unearthed figures which throw into question the claims Heathrow is making about the number of jobs a third runway will create.  Stop Heathrow Expansion, which represents people in the Heathrow villages, some of whom work at the airport, says Heathrow are hiding behind a wall of secrecy over exactly how many jobs Terminal Five, the last major development at the airport, actually created. The report of the public inquiry inspector which gave the green light to the 5th terminal in March 1999 concluded that by 2016 the terminal would provide an additional 16,000 on-airport jobs. Heathrow has told SHE that it cannot confirm the actual number of jobs which have been created because “finding out would be a substantial piece of work in its own right.” Heathrow annual reports indicate there were 6,714 staff  employed in UK Continuing operations in year ended 31.12.2015 and 7,354 staff in year ended 31.12 2013 (ie. 9% lower) and 7,406 in year ended 31.12.2012.  Heathrow said that in July 2013, 76,600 were directly employed on the Heathrow site. The Airports Commission’s Final Report said the Heathrow NW runway would generate around 75,000-78,000 in 2050.”(and an additional 59-77,000 jobs in 2030).
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Campaign group unearths figures which cast doubt on Heathrow’s 3rd Runway jobs claims

2 October 2016 (Stop Heathrow Expansion press release)

Local group, Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) has unearthed figures which throw into question the claims Heathrow Airport is making about the number of jobs a third runway will create.  Stop Heathrow Expansion, which represents people in the Heathrow villages, some of whom work at the airport, has released information which reveals that Heathrow are hiding behind a wall of secrecy over exactly how many jobs Terminal Five, the last major development at the airport, actually created.

The report of the public inquiry inspector which gave the green light to the 5th terminal concluded that by 2016 the terminal would provide an additional 16,000 on-airport jobs. Heathrow has told the campaign group that it cannot confirm the actual number of jobs which have been created because “finding out would be a substantial piece of work in its own right.”

At the Conservative Party Conference which starts today in Birmingham, Heathrow released details of its “Brexit Boost Plan”, which it argues will create tens of thousands of new jobs across the UK if permission for a third runway is granted. Yet these unearthed figures by Stop Heathrow Expansion suggest Heathrow’s predictions are to be treated with extreme caution.

Robert Barnstone, Campaign Co-Ordinator of Stop Heathrow Expansion, said: “Heathrow’s refusal to say how many jobs were created at Terminal Five shows that serious questions need to be asked about the employment claims they are making in relation to the third runway.”

This comes just months after it emerged Heathrow aimed to have a third of its employees on salary packages about 30% lower than the existing terms and condition by the end of 2018 (2).

ENDS

The number employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd in 2012 was 5,278 (compared to 5,265 in 2011 and 5,148 in 2010).  Heathrow said that in July 2013, 76,600 were directly employed on the Heathrow site.  (The source of those numbers has been removed from Heathrow’s website, so cannot be checked).

Heathrow says “Up to 40,000 jobs in the local area are expected to be created in the area with expansion and double the apprenticeships at Heathrow, to a total of 10,000 by 2030.” (but gives no date for the 40,000 to happen). Link 

Total direct on-airport employment at Heathrow was 76,640 in 2009 which supported a passenger throughput of 65.9 million passengers per annum (mppa). Link 

 

(1)  Stop Heathrow Expansion gives a voice to the people in the five Heathrow villages that would be most impacted by a third runway.  If the third runway went ahead almost 4,000 homes would be rendered unliveable. A number of the residents work at the airport.

(2)  https://www.ft.com/content/327541f4-7d6d-11e5-a1fe-567b37f80b64

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Heathrow’s Annual reports give these employee figures, showing falling numbers at the airport:

6,714 staff in UK Continuing operations in year ended 31.12.2015 Link 

7,354 staff in UK Continuing operations in year ended 31.12 2013  Link

7,406 staff in UK Continuing operations in year ended 31.12 2012


The Airports Commission Final Report said:

“Heathrow Airport is situated in an area of West London in which unemployment is relatively high. Expansion at Heathrow would drive a substantial increase in employment at and around the airport, generating an additional 59-77,000 jobs in 2030 for local people and for the fast-growing wider population in London and the South East, including for black and minority ethnic communities for whom Heathrow is an important employer.”  (P 25)

and

“Adding runway capacity at Heathrow is forecast to deliver significant growth in local employment through additional direct, indirect and induced jobs, totalling around 64,000-66,000 (Extended Northern Runway scheme) or 75,000-78,000 (Northwest Runway scheme) in 2050.”  (P 127)

and the Commission says:

Footnote to explain direct, indirect and induced jobs:

“The pilot of a new flight enabled by airport expansion is working in a direct job; the delivery driver for the expanded catering company that supplies the food to the new flight is in an indirect job; and the barista in the coffee shop that opens to cater for the increased numbers of people around the airport is in an induced job. These jobs are likely to be additional in the local area, but not necessarily additional at national level as they may be generated by activity displaced from another area of the country.”

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The Financial Times story of  28.10.2015   says

……

[John Holland-Kaye’s] comments came as Heathrow announced a 4.1 % rise in turnover to £2.07bn for the nine months to September 30. The number of travellers passing through its terminals rose 2.3 per cent to a record 56.9m on the back of a good summer.

Heathrow said it continued to make progress in reducing its overheads. It has agreed a plan with the UK’s aviation regulator to remove £600m of costs during the five years between 2014 and 2018. It has already secured £400m of cost efficiencies.

Mr Holland-Kaye said the renegotiation of its defined benefit pension plan, which came into effect from October 1, would further improve costs. The changes include the introduction of an annual cap of 2% on future increases to pensionable pay for active members, resulting in a one-off reduction of £236m in the scheme’s liabilities.

It is also looking to make more savings on employee costs. By the end of 2018, Heathrow aims to have about a third of its employees on salary packages that are about 30% lower than existing terms and conditions.

https://www.ft.com/content/327541f4-7d6d-11e5-a1fe-567b37f80b64

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Protest picnic at Gatwick against 2nd runway, in solidarity with Reclaim the Power #staygrounded protests at Heathrow

In solidarity with the two protests organised by Reclaim the Power at Heathrow on the same day – the Critical Mass cycle ride and the flashmob “die-in” in Terminal 2, there was another colourful and creative protest at Gatwick.  On cue from a tartan clad bagpipe player, people spread out a picnic in the arrivals area of the South terminal with leaflets and speech bubbles explaining why they were there. The 25 or so protestors were there for about an hour and a half, handing out leaflets explaining that there is no need for new runway either at Heathrow or at Gatwick, though Gatwick has been putting its (weak) case for a 2nd runway as hard as money and PR spin will permit.  The protest picnic – in common with the Heathrow protest – stressed that the majority of flights at UK airports are taken by a small minority.  In any one year, around 70% of the flights are taken by around 15% of the population. These frequent fliers, taking increasing numbers of low cost leisure flights are driving the demand for another runway.  A declining number of flights, already less than a quarter, are for business purposes.  At a time when we urgently need to curb our CO2 emissions to mitigate the effects of climate change, increasing these extra CO2 emissions by increasing the amount we British fly will only contribute to climate injustice, and lead to many thousands of deaths worldwide.
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Photos (by Rob Basto) of the #staygrounded Gatwick protest

Gatwick picnic group

Elegant picnic, even with vase of flowers and proper crockery

The Gatwick picnic

The Gatwick picnic – and not forgetting the struggle at Nantes, in western France, where a new airport is planned (and fiercely opposed) at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Aeroport – NON !

More Bakes offs

More bake-offs and Fewer take-offs
Frequent fliers climate deniers
Frequent Fliers?  Climate Deniers!   and More Trains – Fewer Planes
Gatwick group
Group photo before the picnic
Gatwick is your journey really necessary 
Wartime memories?   “Is Your Journey Really Necessary?”
The protesters, from a range of groups in the South East and the Gatwick area, in conjunction with Reclaim the Power  said: 
On cue from a tartan clad bagpipe player, people spread out a picnic in the arrivals area of the South terminal with leaflets and speech bubbles explaining why they were there. The 25 or so protestors were there for about an hour and a half, handing out leaflets explaining that there is no need for airport expansion.
The majority of flights (70%) are taken by a small minority of frequent fliers. A declining number of flights, already less than a quarter, are for business purposes. We also urgently need to curb our emissions of carbon dioxide in order to mitigate the effects of climate change, which is already responsible for many thousands of deaths worldwide.
The protest is to bring this to the attention of the airport operators who are lobbying for expansion, to the government which is due to make a decision on an additional London runway, and to the public to remind them of the urgent need for decisive action on climate change.
Police and airport security looked on but did not interfere with the protest.
The protest was in solidarity with the simultaneous and much larger action at Heathrow by Reclaim the Power.
It was also in solidarity with struggles in other countries to prevent airport expansion, and coincided with a protest against a proposed airport in France.

 

Photos here:  Dropbox
If you use any could you credit them to Rob Basto.

See also

Reclaim the Power #staygrounded die-in flashmob at Heathrow against runway, and Critical Mass cycle ride

Two spectacular “Stay Grounded” protests took place at Heathrow, against a possible third runway. Both were organised by Reclaim the Power, which is a grassroots organisation taking action with local communities on environmental, economic and social justice issues. The protests at Heathrow were against aviation expansion, partly due to its carbon emissions and also local air pollution, and to highlight the social injustice of climate change impacts around the world. Hundreds of activists staged a “die-in” flashmob in Heathrow’s Terminal 2, and there was a Critical Mass bike ride of about 150 risers wearing red, which circled the area, visiting Harmondsworth Detention Centre and Longford village, and briefly obstructing traffic by circling the main roundabout on Bath Road. The “die-in” involved over 100 people, many of whom wore masks to symbolise the pollution from aviation. Testimonies from communities already affected by climate change were read out, including from Pacific islands that are suffering from sea level rise. Street theatre at the protest showed high income frequent fliers, checking in and drinking champagne (being critical of the “irresponsible” environmental protesters ….) There was also a flashmob action at Gatwick, and others as part of a global wave of actions opposing airport expansion (including Austria, France, Mexico, Turkey), timed to coincide with the major ICAO conference aiming to address the emissions impact of aviation.

Click here to view full story…    and lots of photographs

Read more »

Reclaim the Power #staygrounded die-in flashmob at Heathrow against runway, and Critical Mass cycle ride

Two spectacular “Stay Grounded” protests took place at Heathrow, against a possible third runway. Both were organised by Reclaim the Power, which is a grassroots organisation taking action with local communities on environmental, economic and social justice issues. The protests at Heathrow were against aviation expansion, partly due to its carbon emissions and also local air pollution, and to highlight the social injustice of climate change impacts around the world.  Hundreds of activists staged a “die-in” flashmob in Heathrow’s Terminal 2, and there was a Critical Mass bike ride of about 150 risers wearing red, which circled the area, visiting Harmondsworth Detention Centre and Longford village, and briefly obstructing traffic by circling the main roundabout on Bath Road.  The “die-in” involved over 100 people, many of whom wore masks to symbolise the pollution from aviation. Testimonies from communities already affected by climate change were read out, including from Pacific islands that are suffering from sea level rise. Street theatre at the protest showed high income frequent fliers, checking in and drinking champagne (being critical of the “irresponsible” environmental protesters ….) There was also a flashmob action at Gatwick, and others as part of a global wave of actions opposing airport expansion (including Austria, France, Mexico, Turkey), timed to coincide with the major ICAO conference aiming to address the emissions impact of aviation. 
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Hundreds at Heathrow ‘die-in’ protest against airport expansion

1.10.2016  (Reclaim the Power press release)

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 20.12.46

Die in group 1

Hundreds of activists stage ‘die-in’ and disruptive ‘critical mass’ bike ride at Heathrow to protest aviation expansion and highlight injustice of climate change impacts.

This afternoon, over 100 people took part in a ‘die-in’ flashmob inside Heathrow terminal 2. Protesters wearing gas masks lay on the floor, as testimonies from communities already affected by climate change were read [1].

Die in Heathrow T2 1

 

Frequent Fliers check-in
The protesters also set up a ‘Frequent-fliers-high-polluters club’ stand with champagne in the airport:  RECLAIM THE POWER  The ‘VIP check in’

Stepping over the die-in

One of the “frequent fliers” stepping over the “dead” to get to the check-in and his champagne. The actors were so realistic, in their loud and disparaging comments about the protesters, and their dismissal of their climate claims, that allegedly, some of the staff presumed they were real passengers, and agreed with them ….

Simultaneously, a ‘critical mass’ bike ride with 150 riders wearing red [2] circled the area, visiting Harmondsworth Detention Centre to highlight the link between climate impacts and migration, and obstructing traffic by circling the main roundabout on Bath Road and dropping banners.

The action was part of a global wave of actions opposing airport expansion (including Austria, France, Mexico, Turkey), timed to coincide with a major UN conference aiming to address the emissions impact of aviation. The process has received criticism for not attempting to reduce emissions, instead focussing on controversial ‘carbon offsets’.

A ‘flash-mob’ picnic protest also happened at Gatwick this morning.

Gatwick picnic

The decision on airport expansion is expected on the 11th or 18th October; with recent reports suggesting there is parliamentary support for Heathrow.

Critical Mass cycle group

The Critical Mass cycle ride sets off

Critical Mass cycle Longford

Critical Mass cycle ride block

 

Maya Adams, a spokesperson for Reclaim the Power, said:

‘Expanding airports is completely irresponsible and will bring us out of reach of our own targets to stop climate change. This problem isn’t be caused by business or normal families taking a holiday, but a wealthy elite ‘binge flying’, often to second homes. Yet it’s poorer countries that are the hardest hit by climate change, even though they have done the least to cause the problem. Expanding Heathrow is incompatible with creating a fairer and more equal world.When governments fail us, when international UN bodies that are meant to be dealing with these problems fail us, it’s time for normal people to take a stand.People power has defeated this runway before, and it’ll defeat it again. The Tory election pledge in 2010 was ‘no ifs, no buts, no third runway’, and we intend to hold them to that.We can build new runways, or we can honour our legally binding climate commitments. We can’t do both.’

James Gibson, a spokesperson for Reclaim the Power outside Harmondsworth Detention Centre said:

‘Increasing droughts, floods and natural disasters caused by climate change destroy homes and livelihoods forcing people to migrate – the very same people that the UK government is targeting with racist anti-migrant policies and draconian detention centres.Instead of demonising and scapegoating migrants and refugees, the UK government should be cracking down on the big polluters, like airports, who are forcing people to move in the first place.’

Maggie Thorburn, a local resident, said:

“Heathrow expansion plans put forward to increase flights will bring more traffic and hence  more pollution. We are fighting to convince Theresa May to remain opposed to Heathrow expansion, which she has been since 2008. I will press on campaigning for the climate and no new runways anywhere.”

 

Aviation facts:

  • Flying is the most emissions-intensive form of transport and the fastest growing cause of climate change.
  • Globally, aviation emissions are forecast to balloon by 300% by 2050.
  • This growth is incompatible with UK climate targets as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.
  • The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), assembled right now in Montreal, has not proposed any plans so far to limit or reduce the CO2 emissions from aviation.
  • Globally, flying benefits a privileged few – only 3-7% of people have flown – and even in the UK a 15% minority of the population take 70% of flights. In contrast, the damaging impacts of aviation are experienced by everyone – climate change will affect the entire world population but is hitting some of the poorest, most vulnerable areas (where people do not fly) first and worst.
  • The aviation industry enjoys a number of tax breaks: most substantially there is no duty on aircraft fuel or VAT on tickets, a ‘major anomaly’ according to the World Bank and IMF. This money could be invested in sustainable transport, in improving rail connections around the UK and internationally.
  • A large proportion of Heathrow flights are short haul, these routes could be better, and more sustainably, serviced by improved rail infrastructure. Past experience shows this: since the Eurostar has been running the number of flights from London to Paris and Brussels has fallen dramatically (by nearly half and a third, respectively).
  • If Heathrow expands, it would be responsible for more emissions than any other single site in the UK, including Drax the UK’s largest power station.

Timing

  • In July 2015 the Davies Report recommended building a third runway at Heathrow airport.
  • In July 2016 London City airport was given the go-ahead for expansion to accommodate larger aircraft and more traffic.
  • The decision on a new runway at a London airport is expected in October; Theresa May announced 29/09 that there was cabinet support for Heathrow.
  • The UN body for the aviation industry is meeting between 26th Sept – 7th Oct for the World Aviation Forum, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly. They will be pushing for Carbon Offsets to be used as a market mechanism to make aviation ‘sustainable’.
  • Around the world, international anti-aviation expansion movements will be taking action around the same time: https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/aviation-flashmob-critical-mass/global-actions/

Notes to editor:

  1. Testimonies were read from people in the Pacific Islands and Horn of Africa. Full text found here.
  2. The red represents the red lines for climate change that aviation expansion crosses, and a meme used in previous demonstrations, including at the Paris climate summit
  3. The #StayGrounded protest was organised by Reclaim the Power, a grassroots direct action network taking action for social and environmental justice. Previous actions include high profile anti-fracking camp in Balcombe in 2013 and mass occupation of the UK’s largest open-cast coal mine, Ffos-y-fran earlier in 2016.

 

press@reclaimthepower.org.uk

Reclaim the Power is a grassroots organising network for taking direct action on environmental, economic and social justice issues, working in solidarity with affected communities.

https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/news/press-release-hundreds-at-heathrow-die-in-protest-against-airport-expansion/


Heathrow Airport ‘Mass Die-In’ Protests Against Climate Impact Of Expansion Plans

‘Hundreds’ also rode in the campaign’s ‘cycling blockade’.

01/10/2016  (Huffington Post)
By Louise Ridley  – Assistant news editor

Hundreds of people have ‘dropped dead’ at London’s Heathrow airport in a series of mass demonstrations against climate change and airport expansion.

The protest on Saturday afternoon saw a mass bicycle ‘blockade’ as well as hundreds of activists wearing gas masks lying in a terminal to protest against airport expansion.

The campaigners from the global group Reclaim The Power covered the floor of a section of the terminal, wearing masks “to highlight the climate and pollution impacts of aviation”.

The ‘Stay Grounded’ action is calling for no new runways or expansion of aviation capacity anywhere in the UK, and for the industry to be bound by climate change regulations.

Reclaim the Power is calling for a tax on frequent flyers to fund greater investment in ‘climate-friendly’ transport.

Some spoke to passengers about the effects of climate change and air travel, while a simultaneous ‘critical mass’ bike ride took place around the airport.

The group is sharing its protest using the hashtags #StayGrounded and #StopAviationExpansion, ahead of the Government’s decision on growing London’s airport capacity this month.
Reclaim the Power said ‘hundreds’ of riders took part in a ride wearing jumpsuits outside the airport to raise awareness of their cause.

The bike ride includes a stop at the nearby Harmondsworth Detention Centre “to highlight the impact of climate change and forced migration,” the demonstrators said.

It told HuffPost UK it would also make use of the ‘red lines’ motif used in other demonstrations to signal that “a livable climate is a red line we’re prepared to defend.”

The action is part of a series of anti-aviation demonstration around the world during the UN’s ICAO conference looking at the emissions impact of air travel.

On Friday morning Theresa May announced that she has enough cabinet support to press ahead with expanding Heathrow airport.

 

 

Protesters hold ‘die-in’ at Heathrow against airport expansion

Reuters
1 October 2016

Photos by REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) – More than a hundred people demonstrated at London’s Heathrow Airport on Saturday, including dozens who took part in a “die-in” at one terminal, just weeks before Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is due to decide where to build a new runway.

After a decade of reviews and U-turns, the government is expected to rule in mid-October on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, or at its smaller London rival Gatwick. Expansion plans have been opposed by residents and some lawmakers at both locations.

Protesters lay on the floor of Heathrow’s Terminal 2, with many wearing white masks in a so-called die-in to highlight the impact of air travel on climate change and pollution levels.

One woman wearing a mask lay next to a banner which read: “Stay Grounded. No New Runways.” Others took part in a cycle ride nearby, wearing red T-shirts with the message: “No 3rd runway”, according to images posted on Twitter.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said the airport continued to operate as normal during the demonstration.

Heathrow has said it will comply with an extended ban on night flights and meet European air quality rules if the project gets the green light.

It has also said it will meet 11 conditions set out by Britain’s Airports Commission, including a requirement on air quality which states that new flights will only be permitted if air quality does not breach EU limits.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas and Neil Hall; editing by David Clarke)

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/protesters-hold-die-heathrow-against-airport-expansion-145825024–finance.html


Protestors stage ‘die-in’ at Heathrow against airport expansion

October 1, 2016 (ITN)

Campaigning group Reclaim the Power, which organised the protest, says that plans for a new runway are “devastating for local air quality and for climate change.”

Cyclists dressed in red stood in a line to mark “a red line – airport expansion is a line that must not be crossed to stop climate change”.

Additionally, protesters staged a ‘die in’ inside the airport, where they lay on the floor as busy travelers moved around them.

#staygrounded bike block looking beautiful! #reclaimthepower https://t.co/9MzZVD1SXw

“Independent analysis by the Airports Commission has found that building and operating an additional runway at Heathrow is compatible with the UK meeting its long-term climate change reduction targets.”

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Manchester Airport MD says UK needs a national aviation policy to address north-south economic divide

Ken O’Toole, who is the Managing Director of Manchester airport, (and on the board of Manchester Airports Group), says government ‘paranoia’ over Heathrow expansion harms efforts to close the north-south economic divide – and this means the “northern powerhouse” risks being derailed.  He says there is an “over-emphasis on the south-east at the expense of everywhere else”.  Ministers needed to draw up a national aviation policy to address the north-south economic divide. Though he was confident that Theresa May’s government was supportive of ex-chancellor George Osborne’s “northern powerhouse” agenda, there was a lack of a national aviation policy behind the strategy.  Manchester airport is part of the northern powerhouse agenda, in part because it deals with much of the business travel into the north of England. The MAG owns Manchester and Stansted airports, the 3rd and 4th largest by passenger numbers in the UK. With the over-emphasis on the south east, Mr O’Toole believes the south east should not over-shadow the north or the rest of the UK. Manchester airport is the only airport other than Heathrow, with two runways. While it has 25 million (or fewer till recently) passengers per year it has capacity for 55 million, and “could overtake Gatwick to become the UK’s second-biggest airport within 15 to 20 years.”
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Northern powerhouse at risk from south-east bias, says airport boss

Manchester airport chief says government ‘paranoia’ over Heathrow expansion harms efforts to close north-south economic divide
By Josh Halliday North of England correspondent (Guardian)

Friday 30 September 2016
The northern powerhouse risks being derailed by the government’s “absolute paranoia” over Heathrow expansion and an “over-emphasis on the south-east at the expense of everywhere else”, the managing director of Manchester airport has said.

In a stark message to Theresa May, who is due to decide this month on the contentious third runway at Heathrow airport, Ken O’Toole said ministers needed to draw up a national aviation policy to address the north-south economic divide.

“We need to be careful that the north and the UK as a whole is not overshadowed again by the south-east,” he said. “If we’re not careful that’s just going to take over.”

Ministers are set to decide later in October where to allow a new runway in the south-east of England after decades of procrastinating. Expansion at Heathrow airport is expected to be given the green light instead of a rival Gatwick airport plan, despite widespread opposition.

In an interview with the Guardian, O’Toole said he was confident May’s government was supportive of ex-chancellor George Osborne’s northern powerhouse agenda – but said there was a lack of a national aviation policy behind the strategy.

“If you really want to drive the northern powerhouse, if you really want to drive the recalibration of north and south, Heathrow ain’t the answer – it’s Manchester airport,” he said.

“I’m not sure I would isolate it to Manchester being overlooked – there seems to be this absolute paranoia or over-emphasis on the south-east to the expense of everywhere else. How can you say you’ve got a national economic strategy if your aviation strategy seems to be over-emphasised on the south-east?”

In the fierce PR battle over the third runway, Heathrow has said that expanding its airport would deliver £12.5bn of growth to the north-west compared to Gatwick’s £8.6bn by 2050. But Manchester airport bosses say it will deliver more than £70bn for the region over the same period, nearly six times the figure put forward by Heathrow.

Pointing out that the £16.8bn Heathrow scheme could take up to 20 years before it is built, O’Toole said there was “a gap in terms of an aviation policy that’s going to make best use of what’s in the UK for those 15 to 20 years while we’re waiting for something to come along”.

Manchester airport is the third-biggest in the UK and the only hub, other than Heathrow, with two runways. Twenty five million passengers travel through Manchester airport every year but it has the capacity to carry 55 million, meaning it could overtake Gatwick to become the UK’s second-biggest airport within 15 to 20 years.

The airport was at the heart of former Osborne’s northern powerhouse agenda, in part because it funnels as much as 60% of the business travel into the north of England. In October last year it hosted the Chinese president Xi Jinping on his state visit to the UK, when he launched a new direct flight from Manchester to Beijing – the first outside London.

O’Toole said the vote to leave the European Union would slow the airport’s growth because airlines and passengers “don’t like uncertainty”. “Airlines are deciding where to put planes and routes 12 to 18 months in advance,” he said. “The longer the uncertainty goes on the more likely that the UK misses out.”

He urged Brexit minister David Davis to urgently clarify whether Britain will seek to remain part of the historic EU open skies deal, which lets airlines fly from anywhere in the US to anywhere in the EU. Withdrawing from the deal would potentially mean airlines such as easyJet or Jet2 having to negotiate individual deals for each country they fly to.

O’Toole, who is on the board of Manchester Airports Group, which owns London Stansted, east Midlands and Bournemouth airports, described the government’s aviation policy to date as “some progress, but a lot more to do”.

He said: “Do we have integrated road, rail and airports? No. Do we have a taxation regime that supports and encourages airlines to bring capacity into the UK? No.

“Do we have an immigration service that while protecting the border, which is critical, actually makes it easy and appealing for people to visit the UK? I contend we don’t.

“Is it easy, cheap, quick and convenient to gain a visa to the UK? Again, it’s improved. I’m not saying there isn’t progress being made but there is a lot more that could be done.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/30/northern-powerhouse-at-risk-from-south-east-bias-says-airport-boss?CMP=share_btn_tw

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See earlier:

 

Manchester Airport rubbishes claims Heathrow expansion is crucial for Northern Powerhouse to succeed

The boss of Manchester Airport, Ken O’Toole, has rubbished Heathrow’s claims that a new London runway is crucial to the Northern Powerhouse. He argues that Manchester is an international airport in its own right with many direct long-haul routes. He says Manchester airport could make up any long haul capacity gap over the next 15 years and beyond “if the country adopts a culture of healthy competition.” Manchester started a direct service to Beijing last week, giving the North its first ever non-stop flight to mainland China. But Heathrow continually tries to persuade that, without a third Heathrow runway, northern businesses would lose “up to £710m” per year. Manchester airport believes it can have a range of long haul flights, not only to tourist destinations – mentioning important markets like “Singapore, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and, from next March, San Francisco.” If people can get flights to these destinations direct from Manchester, they do not need to – inconveniently – travel via Heathrow. Ken O’Toole says some 22 million people live within two hours’ drive of Manchester Airport. They have a huge amount of spare capacity on their two runways. Heathrow is very nervous of losing the transfer traffic it cannot manage without, to either other hubs like Schiphol or Dubai – or the growth of airports like Manchester.

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Owner of Manchester and Stansted airports, MAG, unsurprisingly wants airport growth outside the south-east

The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which owns/runs Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports) says a new strategy is needed to promote local airports rather than investing in a megahub in the south-east. MAG wants a nationwide network of competing airports rather than investing all energies — and taxpayer funding — in an even larger airport in the south-east. While Heathrow claims it would provide a significant net benefit to northern England, allegedly “with the creation of up to 26,400 manufacturing jobs”, the Airports Commission’s own figures show negative impacts of a 3rd Heathrow runway on the UK’s regional airports. MAG believes that the expansion of local airports would provide a greater boost to the nation, and provide “an important catalyst for rebalancing UK plc.” So unsurprisingly Heathrow and MAG are both speaking from a position of self interest. While the Airports Commission ended up, misguidedly, just looking at whether they should be a runway at Heathrow or Gatwick, the main question of whether there should be a new runway in the south east at all still needs a convincing answer. MAG believes there is more likelihood of a successful “Northern Powerhouse” if northern airports get successful long haul routes, rather than Heathrow.

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MAG hopes to invest in airport upgrade to be hub for “Northern Powerhouse”

26.7.2015

Manchester Airports Group could raise up to £400 million from the bond market next year as part of a £1 billion upgrade programme for its flagship airport. MAG’s chief financial officer Neil Thompson said that raising finance from bond or debt investors was one option the firm would explore over 12 to 18 months. It is looking to spend £1 billion at Manchester so that it can act as the hub airport for the “Northern Powerhouse” that the Government wants to develop to counter London’s dominance. MAG, which also owns Stansted in Essex, is the largest UK-owned airport operator. Thompson said that it is in talks with Middle Eastern carriers and BA owner IAG about offering long-haul services out of Stansted.
Last week MAG said that pre-tax profits had risen by 11.8 per cent to £90.3million and revenues by 10 per cent to £738.4 million. MAG is deeply opposed to a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick, and the huge sums of public money needed to be spent on either, for infrastructure.

http://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/593862/Invest-in-airport-upgrade


Stansted plans to start discussions with government in a couple of years about a 2nd runway

Not to be outdone by the hopes of Heathrow and Gatwick to get another runway, Stansted is getting in on the act, and saying they will be wanting a runway in due course too. Stansted was not assessed by the Airports Commission, as Stansted had no need of a new runway, being far below capacity. The Airports Commission partly understood that, to even try to keep within the carbon cap for aviation of 37.5MtCO2 by 2050, the addition of one runway would be difficult [it risks UK carbon targets] but it still suggested that by 2040, even if building a runway by 2030, another would be “needed.” Stansted has said in the past that it would like a 2nd runway some time after 2035. Its owners, MAG, are now saying that it will “need” another runway earlier than that. Though they appreciate that there is likely to be a dip in demand for air travel for several years, due to Brexit, they are still keen on adding a runway. MAG’s CEO Charlie Cornish has told the Times: “We will be at capacity some time between 2025 and 2030, so in the next two to three years we will need to start having the appropriate dialogue with the government over the need for a second runway [at Stansted].” MAG repeatedly says the existing runway capacity at Stansted must be fully utilised, including improving its rail links.

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Heathrow more likely to get MPs’ backing as Jeremy Corbyn suggests Labour MPs could have free, unwhipped, vote

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested it would not be easy to whip Labour MPs to vote against a 3rd runway at Heathrow, despite his personal opposition to it, largely on environmental grounds. He has not yet decided whether to hold a free vote, but it could be difficult to get his MPs to agree that the runway and expansion would cause harmful air pollution and noise impacts.  A vote in favour of Heathrow expansion is more likely to go through if Labour MPs are allowed to vote with their conscience. This matters as the Conservative majority is small, and there are dozens of Conservatives MPs who are against it. The decision on whether to build a runway, and if so, at Heathrow or Gatwick, is set to be put to a free vote of Conservative MPs in the coming weeks, to allow Cabinet ministers to vote against Heathrow, without having to resign – avoiding the need for collective responsibility.  Mr Corbyn told The Guardian that there was a “huge debate in the party about it” and that his shadow cabinet would have to “have a discussion and debate” to work out a way forward. He said, of his rebellious MPs:  “What I’ve discovered is whipping Labour when Labour doesn’t want to be whipped is not an easy thing to do.” Heathrow has worked hard to persuade MPs in the regions that its new runway would mean more domestic flights and more economic prosperity for them – however uncertain that is in reality. MPs whose constituencies are not affected across the country hope for local benefits.
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Corbyn doubtful he can make his MPs oppose Heathrow expansion

Labour leader says he has not decided whether to hold free vote, with many of his MPs likely to back plans for third runway

By Rowena Mason and Jessica Elgot (Guardian)

Thursday 29 September 2016

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested it would not be easy to whip Labour MPs to vote against a third runway at Heathrow, despite his personal opposition to the infrastructure project.

The Labour leader said he has not yet decided whether to hold a free vote, but it could be difficult to get his MPs to fall into line with his view that the proposed project would cause harmful pollution and noise.

A vote on Heathrow is more likely to go through if Labour MPs are allowed to vote with their conscience, as there are dozens of Conservatives who are opposed to expansion at the airport in west London.

Theresa May is expected to announce a decision within weeks about whether to proceed with expanding airport capacity at Heathrow, which was recommended by the Davies commission.

It was reported in the FT on Thursday that government whips believe they have the numbers to push it through the House of Commons if there is a decision in favour.

However, the numbers are particularly uncertain because the prime minister is likely to give her own MPs a free vote to stop the resignations of a number of cabinet ministers who have constituencies that would be affected.

It is thought a majority of Labour MPs would support the scheme if given freedom to vote how they like, even though Corbyn and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, are against the plan. The Scottish National party has hinted it could be in favour if given assurances about routes to Scotland.

Speaking to the Guardian, Corbyn said he had never been a supporter “because of the issues of noise and pollution across west London”. He acknowledged there was a “huge debate in the party about it” and his shadow cabinet would have to “have a discussion and debate and try and work out a way forward but also improve rail links so we reduce the number of internal flights”.

Asked whether he would ask his MPs to vote against the plan, Corbyn said: “What I’ve discovered is whipping Labour when Labour doesn’t want to be whipped is not an easy thing to do.”

Corbyn has already held free votes on Trident and Syria as Labour was so split on the issues, with many MPs taking a different view to their leader.

It is still not certain that May, whose Maidenhead constituency is near the airport, will opt for Heathrow expansion over Gatwick or another option.

There is huge pressure on the prime minister to make a decision after years of procrastination by David Cameron, who was reluctant to break a pre-2010 promise he made about opposing Heathrow expansion with “no ifs, no buts”.

A shadow cabinet reshuffle, including replacing Andy Burnham so the shadow home secretary can concentrate on the Greater Manchester mayoral race, is expected within weeks.

Allies of Corbyn have insisted he is able to fill a shadow cabinet without elections from the PLP, but critics including the deputy leader, Tom Watson, have called for a return to elections by MPs.

The Unite union’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, said he believed there would be at least partial elections, as long as the leader had the power to sack MPs from their positions. “I can envisage in a fairly short space of time, a matter of a few weeks, that he will have put together a shadow cabinet to deal with the election element of the PLP,” he told the Telegraph.

McCluskey said there would be no need to change the party rulebook or have it approved by the NEC, but elections could be at the discretion of the leader. “Jeremy can offer X number of seats – it doesn’t need to be a rule – it is in his gift. And I think he may well do that.”

McCluskey also repeated his challenge to Watson, his former flatmate, to “test his mandate” as the party’s elected deputy leader. “I fear for him what the result would be,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/29/jeremy-corbyn-doubtful-whip-mps-oppose-heathrow-expansion-third-runway-labour?CMP=share_btn_tw

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Boost for third runway at Heathrow as Jeremy Corbyn suggests Labour MPs could have free vote

Jeremy Corbyn said it could be difficult to get his MPs to fall into line with his view against expansion

By Christopher Hope, chief political correspondent  (Telegraph)
29 SEPTEMBER 2016

A new third runway at Heathrow airport has received a boost after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hinted his MPs could have a free vote on the issue.

The decision is set to be put to a free vote of Conservative MPs in the coming weeks, to allow Government ministers to vote against a Heathrow third runway without having to resign.

Mr Corbyn – who opposes expansion on environmental grounds – said it could be difficult to get his MPs to fall into line with his view against expansion.

Animation shows what third Heathrow runway would look likePlay! 01:21
This could lead to Labour MPs also being allowed a free vote. It is thought a majority of Labour MPs would support the scheme if given freedom to vote how they like.

Mr Corbyn told The Guardian that there was a “huge debate in the party about it” and that his shadow cabinet would have to “have a discussion and debate” to work out a way forward.

Asked whether he would ask his MPs to vote against the plan, Mr Corbyn said: “What I’ve discovered is whipping Labour when Labour doesn’t want to be whipped is not an easy thing to do.” Mr Corbyn has already held free votes on Trident and Syria as Labour was split on the issues, with many MPs taking a different view to their leader.

Separately, Heathrow airport said it wanted to be able to fly scores of extra flights every day in the four years before a new third runway opens in a move which it says would give a £1.5billion boost to the economy.

The airport said it wanted to add 25,000 more flights to the existing annual limit of 480,000 between 2021 and the opening of a third runway in 2025.

The news is likely further to increase opposition to the plans among Cabinet ministers like Boris Johnson and Justine Greening, who are against a third runway at Heathrow.

A new third runway at Heathrow will increase annual flights from 480,000 a year to 740,000 per year, allowing it to compete with European hubs in Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt for routes to emerging markets.

Plans could mean new routes to UK destinations such as Dundee, Newquay and Liverpool, and to growing international markets including the Japanese port city of Osaka, Ecuadorian capital Quito and central Chinese city Wuhan.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/29/boost-for-third-runway-at-heathrow-as-jeremy-corbyn-suggests-lab/

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See earlier:

 

Heathrow proposals for pre-runway flight increase, to try and win Government backing for runway

Heathrow will be putting forward some proposals at the Conservative party conference, to be allowed to start increasing the annual number of flights from 2021 by 25,000 per year (about 68 more per day). “New technology and better use of existing runways will achieve this.” (ie. largely loss of runway alternation part of the day, and narrow flight paths?). Heathrow is selling this as a way to start to give a quick “Brexit boost”, even before its hoped for 3rd runway is operational. Heathrow is claiming that the “environmental constraints” will all be met (it is unclear how this will be done) with no more noise problems, no more air pollution problems etc. All that is proposed is more money for home noise insulation, (£60 million – it has already said it will spend £700 million) and a congestion charge – no details – for vehicles travelling to and from Heathrow. The plans will be subject to consultation and Government approval. There is a mention of talks with government in future to perhaps delay the start of scheduled flights to 5.30am from the current 4.30am. The main thrust of Heathrow’s plans is to say the extra flights will be vital for the economy, with slots set aside for domestic flights. There would be a £10 domestic passenger discount to support “small and large exporters, boosting competition.” There are claims of 5,000 more local jobs over 5 years by this pre-runway expansion, and extensive economic benefits for all the UK …. £1.5 billion in the period 2021 – 2015.

Click here to view full story…

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Anti-Corbyn Labour backbenchers plan party vote – to back Heathrow runway

The Parliamentary Labour Party has various committees, one of which is on Transport. This is chaired by the young MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker. The membership of this backbench committee does not appear to be publicly available. There is nothing online about the committee or its work. Mr Shuker says his committee has now produced (or is about to produce) a report that proposes Labour should back a Heathrow runway. They plan to present this report to a meeting of Labour MPs and peers, when Parliament returns after the party conferences. Mr Shuker has been critical of Jeremy Corbyn for the past year or more, and he now wants to get the Labour party to reverse his opposition to a Heathrow runway by getting a vote on the issue within the party. Gavin Shuker said the vote could be the day after the Labour meeting. As well as Jeremy Corbyn, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, is deeply opposed to a Heathrow runway as his constituency would be badly affected by it. Mr Shuker wants the party to challenge Jeremy Corbyn on a number of policy issues. Heathrow is just one of many, and is a symptom of party disunity. On the same day, it was revealed that the Heathrow-funded and sponsored group, Back Heathrow, had asked for John McDonnell’s constituency boundary to be redrawn, to exclude Heathrow – to help their case. Amazing.

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FT reports Tories feel they have enough backing in Parliament to push through Heathrow runway

The Financial Times says the Conservative Party Chairman, Patrick McLoughlin, has done a vote assessment, and found that there would be enough support in Parliament for a Heathrow 3rd runway. It is considered possible that the Cabinet’s runway sub-committee -chaired by Theresa May – will come to a runway location decision on the 11th or the 18th October. The Cabinet would need to agree to the decision by the sub-Committee, and it would then be announced in Parliament, by Chris Grayling. There could be a Parliamentary vote soon afterwards, perhaps only be a week later. The government would not want to risk a vote on this, unless they knew they would get a majority. The FT understands that Heathrow would easily win enough votes, but there is not enough backing for a Gatwick runway. Though there is massive opposition to a Heathrow runway due to its widespread and seriously negative impacts, and therefore it is likely Theresa May would allow a free vote. It is not clear the Labour leadership would try to whip hostile MPs on the runway issue, at a time of wider party disunity, though Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are against the Heathrow runway. The FT reports that one insider cautioned it is “not a foregone conclusion” that Mrs May will back the Heathrow runway — or even that there would be a vote. An aviation executive said the prime minister “is like a sphinx on this”. ie. inscrutable.

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Times reveals, from leaked document, members of Cabinet sub-committee on runway issue – and free vote plan, suspending “collective responsibility”

The Times says it has seen a leaked document showing the membership of the Cabinet sub-committee, the “Economy and Industrial Strategy (Airports)” sub-committee, that would make a decision on a runway. The list omits Ministers most critical of Heathrow’s expansion, Boris Johnson, (Foreign Secretary, and Justine Greening, Education Secretary). But Sajid Javid (Communities Secretary), who is a Heathrow supporter, keeps his place on the sub-committee, as does Patrick McLoughlin, (Conservative Party Chairman) – who as Transport Secretary was a strong supporter of Heathrow. Theresa May herself will chair the sub-committee, (David Cameron chaired it previously). Other Ministers on the sub-committee are Philip Hammond, (Chancellor), Greg Clark, (Business and Energy Secretary), Andrea Leadsom, (Environment Secretary), David Mundell, (Scottish Secretary), and the chief whip Gavin Williamson. [The previous members were: David Cameron, George Osborne, Sajid Javid, Patrick McLoughlin, Liz Truss, David Mundell, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd, Oliver Letwin and Mark Harper.] It is not known if there will be a free vote on the issue, suspending the normal Cabinet “collective responsibility” as was suggested last week, to overcome the problem of so much opposition to Heathrow. The Times believes that the announcement might be on Tuesday18th October.

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Read more »

FT reports Tories feel they have enough backing in Parliament to push through Heathrow runway

The Financial Times says the Conservative Party Chairman, Patrick McLoughlin, has done a vote assessment, and found that there would be enough support in Parliament for a Heathrow 3rd runway.  It is considered possible that the Cabinet’s runway sub-committee -chaired by Theresa May – will come to a runway location decision on the 11th or the 18th October. The Cabinet would need to agree to the decision by the sub-Committee, and it would then be announced in Parliament, by Chris Grayling. There could be a Parliamentary vote soon afterwards, perhaps only be a week later.  The government would not want to risk a vote on this, unless they knew they would get a majority. The FT understands that Heathrow would easily win enough votes, but there is not enough backing for a Gatwick runway. Though there is massive opposition to a Heathrow runway due to its widespread and seriously negative impacts, and therefore it is likely Theresa May would allow a free vote. It is not clear the Labour leadership would try to whip hostile MPs on the runway issue, at a time of wider party disunity, though Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are against the Heathrow runway.  The FT reports that one insider cautioned it is “not a foregone conclusion” that Mrs May will back the Heathrow runway — or even that there would be a vote. An aviation executive said the prime minister “is like a sphinx on this”. ie. inscrutable. 
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May has backing in parliament to push through Heathrow expansion

By Jim Pickard and Robert Wright  (Financial Times)

29.9..2016

Theresa May has sufficient support in parliament to drive through the contentious expansion of Heathrow airport if she decides to put it to a vote next month, according to close allies.
The government will not make a final decision about how to proceed until an aviation subcommittee — chaired by Mrs May — meets on either October 11 or 18.

But according to detailed calculations by ministers, Heathrow would win a vote with a “slam dunk” despite continuing opposition from some senior figures in the Conservative party. Patrick McLoughlin, Tory party chairman and a former transport secretary, is understood to have carried out the vote assessment.

……. Full FT story at  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d84abea2-858b-11e6-a29c-6e7d9515ad15.html?siteedition=uk#axzz4LeUdQiJA

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AirportWatch note:

There is a very real problem of MPs with constituencies far from London or the south east, eagerly supporting the expansion of Heathrow. Their own constituents do not need to suffer the adverse environmental or social impacts of the expansion. They may be unaware of the extent of these.

Heathrow has spent a very large sum of money indeed, providing biased information to Chambers of Commerce, councils and MPs across the country, about the possible financial benefits they might gain from the runway. They have heard a very one-sided case.  It is perhaps questionable whether MPs whose area do not stand to suffer in any way from Heathrow expansion should be at liberty to inflict the adverse effects onto others. Especially if they have been given only partial information.


See earlier

Anti-Corbyn Labour backbenchers plan party vote – to back Heathrow runway

The Parliamentary Labour Party has various committees, one of which is on Transport. This is chaired by the young MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker. The membership of this backbench committee does not appear to be publicly available. There is nothing online about the committee or its work. Mr Shuker says his committee has now produced (or is about to produce) a report that proposes Labour should back a Heathrow runway. They plan to present this report to a meeting of Labour MPs and peers, when Parliament returns after the party conferences. Mr Shuker has been critical of Jeremy Corbyn for the past year or more, and he now wants to get the Labour party to reverse his opposition to a Heathrow runway by getting a vote on the issue within the party. Gavin Shuker said the vote could be the day after the Labour meeting. As well as Jeremy Corbyn, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, is deeply opposed to a Heathrow runway as his constituency would be badly affected by it. Mr Shuker wants the party to challenge Jeremy Corbyn on a number of policy issues. Heathrow is just one of many, and is a symptom of party disunity. On the same day, it was revealed that the Heathrow-funded and sponsored group, Back Heathrow, had asked for John McDonnell’s constituency boundary to be redrawn, to exclude Heathrow – to help their case. Amazing.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow investors snub Chris Grayling’s request for their funding of Heathrow Hub scheme

Some of Heathrow’s leading shareholders have snubbed a request from the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, to back the Heathrow Hub scheme, that involves adding another runway at the western end of the northern runway. Sky News understands that big investors in FGP Topco, Heathrow’s parent company, are refusing to give a written commitment to funding the rival scheme. Heathrow argues that it has not done sufficient due diligence to justify giving its backing to Heathrow Hub. Mr Grayling made the request at a meeting with the two runway promoters last month, since when further talks have been held between executives at Heathrow and Heathrow Hub. While it is understood John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s CEO, would accept the Hub plan if he cannot get his north-west runway, the airport’s leading shareholders are refusing to back it. They believe future financial returns would be lower with the Hub scheme than the NW runway scheme. Sky News has been told that Mr Holland-Kaye had been told by his shareholders that acknowledging any support for the Hub scheme would be a tactical error, at a time they believe is so close to an announcement by the Government. Both Heathrow schemes have offered cut-price versions of their proposals in a bid to convince ministers of their merits. FGP Topco’s shareholders are Ferrovial (25% stake), and sovereign wealth and pension funds from Australia, Canada, China, Qatar and Singapore.

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John Redwood, MP for Wokingham, says Theresa May should drop Heathrow plan

John Redwood, the Conservative MP for Wokingham about 25 km west of Heathrow and under some of its flight paths, has said that the government should drop the three very huge projects they inherited from Gordon Brown and David Cameron. ie. Hinkley, HS2 and Heathrow. Each is expensive, highly contentious, and has been much delayed by indecision, argument and opposition. John Redwood was Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation, from May 2005 to December 2005, and Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, from June 1999 to February 2000. He believes all 3Hs should be scrapped, and there are many other good local projects that should be paid for instead. “I’m all for spending on better trains, power stations and airports, but I don’t want to throw too much money at projects that are so mired in rows and costs.” On Heathrow noise he says: “Unfortunately Heathrow has recently with NATS changed the routes and noise corridors, annoying many more residential areas near it. There was no proper consultation. When you want to expand you need to do better at showing you are a good and considerate neighbour.” …”More capacity can be provided through Northolt, Gatwick and other London area airports. Smaller quicker schemes could alleviate the pressures.”

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Tania Mathias MP calls for Grayling to step in over proposed £3 billion cuts to Heathrow plan – re-consultation necessary?

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been asked by Dr Tania Mathias MP to intervene on Heathrow’s £3 billion cost-cutting proposals it announced last week. In order to cut costs, and perhaps get a runway built faster, Heathrow’s Chairman Lord Deighton suggested that changes to plans would be made – though nothing has been put forward yet, but they might be in the next weeks. The cuts would mean scrapping plans to (expensively) tunnel the 14 lane M25 under the runway, and a transit rail system around the airport. Conservative MP Tania Mathias, whose Twickenham constituency is under Heathrow flight paths, said the new plan had caused local people “considerable anxiety.” She has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to demand the plan goes back out to public consultation and scrutiny by the Airports Commission (though that has been disbanded). Dr Mathias also wants Chris Grayling to make public any official talks on the late changes, between the airport and government departments. Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith also wrote to Lord Deighton that the revised plan would cause Londoners “more environmental misery”. The changes to the roads are not clear, and cutting cost could lead to gridlock on the busiest stretch of the M25. The DfT just said the Government “will continue to consider the commission’s evidence.”

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Times reveals, from leaked document, members of Cabinet sub-committee on runway issue – and likely free vote in Parliament, suspending Cabinet collective responsibility

The Times says it has seen a leaked document showing the membership of the Cabinet sub-committee, the “Economy and Industrial Strategy (Airports)” sub-committee, that would make a decision on a runway. The list omits Ministers most critical of Heathrow’s expansion, Boris Johnson, (Foreign Secretary, and Justine Greening, Education Secretary). But Sajid Javid (Communities Secretary), who is a Heathrow supporter, keeps his place on the sub-committee, as does Patrick McLoughlin, (Conservative Party Chairman) – who as Transport Secretary was a strong supporter of Heathrow. Theresa May herself will chair the sub-committee, (David Cameron chaired it previously). Other Ministers on the sub-committee are Philip Hammond, (Chancellor), Greg Clark, (Business and Energy Secretary), Andrea Leadsom, (Environment Secretary), David Mundell, (Scottish Secretary), and the chief whip Gavin Williamson. [The previous members were: David Cameron, George Osborne, Sajid Javid, Patrick McLoughlin, Liz Truss, David Mundell, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd, Oliver Letwin and Mark Harper.] It is not known if there will be a free vote on the issue, suspending the normal Cabinet “collective responsibility” as was suggested last week, to overcome the problem of so much opposition to Heathrow. The Times believes that the announcement might be on Tuesday18th October.

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Theresa May to personally chair Cabinet sub-committee on possible new runway

The decision by the Cabinet on what to do about a new runway is to be taken by a sub-committee, named the Economic Affairs (Airports) sub-Committee. This was set up in July 2015. Its members then were David Cameron, George Osborne, Sajid Javid, Patrick McLoughlin, Liz Truss, David Mundell, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd, Cabinet Oliver Letwin and Mark Harper. At that time, MPs with possibly compromised positions, or those against a Heathrow runway, were left off it – explained by their departments not being the relevant ones for inclusion. These were Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Justine Greening. Since the arrival of Theresa May, everything has changed. It has been announced that she will personally chair the committee (Cameron chaired it before) and that its new membership will be announced shortly. The constituencies of Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson (PM, Chancellor and Foreign Secretary) are all intensely affected by Heathrow. Theresa May has been very guarded in her comments over the past 6 years. However in May 2010 she welcomed the cancellation of the Heathrow runway and added: “Like many local residents, I strongly welcome the cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow. Expanding Heathrow in this way would have had a detrimental effect on the Maidenhead and Twyford areas by increasing levels of noise and pollution, and today’s announcement is a victory for all those who have campaigned against it.”

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