At Nantes, a new airport to replace the existing one, is planned at Notre Dame des Landes. It has now been announced by the Prefecture Loire-Atlantique that the building permits filed in April 2013 have now been suspended pending appeals on environmental decrees. Two appeals were filed against the project by environmental groups and community opposing the project: one against the prefectural decree regarding the directive on water; the other against the decree on the transfer of protected species. The instruction “will resume on the basis of a record that will reflect the changing conditions of implementation of the project (date of commissioning, development of traffic).” It was recently revealed by Canard Enchaîné, the weekly satirical French newspaper, that the new airport buildings and facilities will actually be considerably smaller than those of the current airport. They might even be below the necessary standards, and the distance passengers would need to walk would be longer. The authorities admit it will be “more compact” but say it is scalable from 4 million passengers per year up to even 9 million eventually.
Aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes: L’instruction du permis de construire est suspendue
17.10.2014 (20 minutes, france)
“The instruction of building permits filed in April 2013, was suspended pending appeals on environmental decrees.” That’s what the Prefecture Loire-Atlantique has just announced in a statement. The instruction “will resume on the basis of a record that will reflect the changing conditions of implementation of the project (date of commissioning, development of traffic),” she says.
Smaller than expected surfaces?
The building permit for the proposed airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes has been the subject of considerable controversy since the revelation last week by the Canard Enchaîné , of the areas planned for the future platform . Most of the rooms, spaces and facilities at the terminal equipment would in effect be smaller or fewer than those found in the existing Nantes Atlantique airport, which will be announced to soon be at capacity. They would also be below the recommendation levels of civil aviation.
A more “compact” airport because it’s optimized
The elected group that doubts the appropriateness of the proposed airport (CEDPA), confirm the figures put forward by le Canard enchaîné, claims to have also discovered that the “fire station would lose 20% of its area”, that “the building used for the maintenance of aircraft would lose almost half of its area “, that” the distance passengers need to travel to catch their plane would be two to three times longer.” “The future airport, because it is an innovative design optimizes airport functions and will, therefore, be more compact,” the Prefecture assures, from his point of view. It is also designed to be scalable, from 4 million passengers up to 5, 7 and 9 million passengers.”
«L’instruction du permis de construire déposé en avril 2013 a été suspendue dans l’attente des recours sur les arrêtés environnementaux». C’est ce que vient d’annoncer la préfecture de Loire-Atlantique dans un communiqué. L’instruction «reprendra sur la base d’un dossier qui tiendra compte de l’évolution des conditions de mise en œuvre du projet (date de mise en service, développement du trafic)», précise-t-elle.
Le collectif des élus doutant de la pertinence du projet d’aéroport (CéDpa), qui confirme les chiffres avancés par leCanard enchaîné, affirme avoir également découvert que la «caserne des pompiers perdrait 20% de sa superficie», que «le bâtiment servant à la maintenance des avions perdrait presque la moitié de sa superficie», que «la distance parcourue par les passagers pour aller prendre leur avion serait deux trois à fois plus longue». «Le futur aéroport, parce qu’il est d’une conception innovante, optimise les fonctions aéroportuaires et sera, de ce fait, plus compact» assure de son côté la préfecture. Il est également prévu pour être évolutif, de 4 millions de passagers jusqu’à 5, 7 et 9 millions de passagers.»
The decision of the administrative tribunal of Nantes on appeals against the prefectural ordinances authorizing the kick-off of the work of the new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes is expected in 2015, according to the president of the Regional Council of Pays de la Loire , Jacques Auxiette, and ACIPA, leading association opposed to the project. The deadline of October was previously regularly mentioned in rendering decisions.
By March 2015
“The available evidence suggests that the decision would now rather be for the end of the year or early next year,” Jacques Auxiette reported this Monday.
“The court has informed us that the current decision would fall in the first half of 2015″, says Julien Durand, one of the spokesmen of the ACIPA.
Two appeals were filed against the project by environmental groups and community opposing the project: one against the prefectural decree regarding the Water Law, the other against the decree on the transfer of protected species.
A political agreement between the state, the PS and opponents provides suspension of work until exhaustion of the appeals. “If we had the misfortune to lose, it would still be possible to appeal and enter the State Council,” warns Julien Durand of ACIPA.
La décision du tribunal administratif de Nantes concernant les récours déposés contre les arrêtés préfectoraux autorisant le coup d’envoi des travaux du nouvel aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes serait attendue pour 2015, selon le président du conseil régional des Pays de la Loire, Jacques Auxiette, et l’Acipa, principale association opposée au projet. L’échéance du mois d’octobre était jusque-là régulièrement évoquée pour le rendu de ces décisions.
D’ici mars 2015
«Les éléments dont on dispose laissent à penser que la décision serait désormais plutôt pour la fin d’année ou le début d’année prochaine», a rapporté ce lundi midi Jacques Auxiette.
«Le tribunal nous a informés que la décision tomberait courant premier semestre 2015», indique de son côté Julien Durand, l’un des porte-parole de l’Acipa.
Deux recours déposés
Deux recours ont été déposés par les collectifs opposés au projet et des associations environnementales: l’un contre l’arrêté préfectoral relatif à la loi sur l’eau, l’autre contre l’arrêté relatif au transfert des espèces protégées.
Un accord politique entre l’Etat, le PS et les opposants prévoit la suspension des travaux jusqu’à l’épuisement des recours. «Si on avait la malchance de perdre, il y aurait encore la possibilité de faire appel, puis de saisir le Conseil d’Etat», prévient Julien Durand de l’Acipa.
A project still valid, but for 2019 … 2020
The suspension of the project until the exhaustion of appeals is still relevant. Particularly the further appeal against the expropriation order of March 2012, subject to an appeal to the State Council to quash the order of assignment/transferability. These two actions should find their epilogue in 2015.
At the Administrative Court their remains an appeal against the viaire program, which should be considered in the first quarter 2015 Covering respect for Water Law and respect of protected species. Then all claims related to the promise of Francois Hollande during his election campaign have been taken to completion. Which does not mean that work can start immediately. In any case, due to the presence of protected species, trees and ponds transfer of such things can only take place in autumn or early winter. In the fall of 2015 at the earliest, more likely 2016 years during which will also be placed regional and cantonal elections could be pushed back from March 2015 to December 2015, and that could still come interfere in the decision to launch site movement of species … This will be followed by three years of construction …
Un projet toujours d’actualité, mais pour 2019… 2020
La suspension du projet à l’épuisement des recours reste toujours d’actualité. Notamment le pourvoit en cassation contre l’ordonnance d’expropriation de mars 2012, subordonné à un recours en Conseil d’État pour annulation de l’arrêté de cessibilité. Ces deux recours devraient trouver leur épilogue en 2015.
Reste également au Tribunal administratif un recours contre le programme viaire, qui devrait être jugé au premier trimestre 2015. Portant sur le respect de la Loi sur l’eau et le respect des espèces protégées. Ensuite tous les recours liés à la promesse de François Hollande durant sa campagne électorale auront été conduits à leur terme.
Ce qui ne veut pas dire que les travaux pourront commencer aussitôt. Dans tous les cas, du fait de la présence des espèces protégées, coupes d’arbres et transfert des mares par exemple ne pourront avoir lieu qu’en automne ou début d’hiver. Dans l’absolu à l’automne 2015 au plus tôt, et plus probablement en 2016. Années durant lesquelles se situeront également les élections régionales et cantonales qui pourraient reculer de mars 2015 à décembre 2015, et qui pourraient encore venir interférer sur la décision de lancer le chantier de déplacement des espèces… Suivront alors 3 années de chantier…
More and older news about the proposed Nantes airport at
A new local action group, “Plane Wrong”, opposing changes of Gatwick flight paths, and the sudden increase in plane noise for some areas, has been formed. The flight path is now making a wider turn. Changes to a flight path, heading west and north of Gatwick are affecting – and causing annoyance and distress to – thousands of people across parts of Surrey. Plane Wrong has been established by people in Beare Green, Betchworth, Blackbrook, Brockham, Capel, Coldharbour, the Holmwoods, Leigh, Leith Hill, Redhill and Reigate. The group argues that there have been insufficient trials and consultations about the changes. The increased noise is damaging the environment, especially the AONB surrounding Leith Hill. Plane Wrong has organised two public meetings, on 22nd and 23rd October, to which the CAA was invited to explain its flight path changes. Plane Wrong has a petition to the CAA, asking it to stop the new route. Plane Wrong say that “If this flight path is not reversed, it sets a precedent for airspace changes to be made without proper consideration for the impact it has on the local surrounding areas and population.”
New action group fights Gatwick Airport flight path changes
Oct 13, 2014 (Get Surrey)
By Andre Langlois
New group Plane Wrong is holding two upcoming public meetings to discuss its plans
An action group has been formed to campaign against changes at Gatwick Airport that have affected thousands of people across the county.
Flight paths were recently changed, affecting people to the south and east of Dorking, who were previously unaffected by aircraft noise.
Plane Wrong, which has been established by people in Beare Green, Betchworth, Blackbrook, Brockham, Capel, Coldharbour, the Holmwoods, Leigh, Leith Hill, Redhill and Reigate, argues that there have been insufficient trials and consultations about the changes.
Its chairman, Mike Ward, said: “This unnecessary change is causing great distress to thousands of people over a wide area and damage to the environment, especially the area of outstanding natural beauty surrounding Leith Hill. The change must be reversed.
“We urge everyone to write to the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Transport during the next few days.
“If this flight path is not reversed, it sets a precedent for airspace changes to be made without proper consideration for the impact it has on the local surrounding areas and population.
“We invite you to join us.”
The Plane Wrong group is working with other community groups that are campaigning on similar issues including the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign.
Two public meetings have been organised by the group to discuss its plans.
The district’s MP, Sir Paul Beresford, will be the speaker during a meeting at Beare Green Village Hall on Wednesday October 22 at 7.30pm.
A second meeting will take place at Meadvale Parish Hall, in Redhill, on Thursday October 23 at 7.30pm and will be attended by MP Crispin Blunt MP.
PlaneWrong says their petition “Stop the change to flight paths north of Gatwick Airport”, is doing really well. It is now not short of 2,000 signatories. Please help spread the word by forwarding the link to the petition, below, to your friends?
STOP THE CHANGE TO FLIGHT PATHS NORTH OF GATWICK AIRPORT
TO DIRECTOR OF AIRSPACE POLICY, CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY
Stop the change to flight paths north of Gatwick Airport
We, the undersigned, call on the Civil Aviation Authority to reverse the decision of the Director of Airspace Policy which enables Gatwick Airport Limited to fly departures outside of the existing Noise Preferential Route (NPR) for RWY26 DVR/BIG/CLN/LAM Why Important
There has been an increase in disturbance in areas to the North of Gatwick Airport, mostly caused by a change to departure routes when the airport is operating with take-offs to the west (70-80% of the time). Aircraft now make wider turns than before and therefore go further west and north before heading off to their destination to the north or east of Gatwick (planes going south or west generally take a different route).
Part of the revised route lies outside the quite wide permitted corridor (known as Noise Preferential Route –NPR) that has existed for many years. Gatwick wants the NPR boundary changed so that this can continue. The impact is that many people are now affected who were not before. The CAA is reviewing these changes now. We must stop them becoming permanent. (NB Gatwick is deferring certain flight path changes. This does not apply to this route.)
Gatwick has introduced new flight paths that concentrate the flights into a much narrower corridor. So if you are near that narrow corridor you will be getting significantly more flights overhead. Previously, the wider corridor allowed a spread of flights.
The concentrated flight paths are also causing problems for those who live under the easterly departure route. This now also operates in a narrow band. Many people now suffer from both routes.
What’s the advantage for Gatwick?
It seems that the wider turn allows the aircraft to fly faster. This may mean that Gatwick can squeeze in a few more take-offs. So the motive may be extra profit.
What’s the disadvantage for us?
But the wider turn is what pushes flights out over the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and closer to Leith Hill. It is also the cause of annoyance to people who were not troubled before. It affects Capel, Beare Green, Coldharbour, Holmwood, Brockham, Betchworth, Leigh, Reigate and Redhill.
Sir Paul Beresford, the MP for Mole Valley, has joined the battle against aircraft noise due to Gatwick airport, over the south of the district. Documents for the recent airspace consultation by Gatwick (closed on 15th August) show that one of Gatwick’s departure routes was changed in November 2013. This flight path had too tight a turn for modern aircraft (though they can climb faster than older planes) and planes were increasingly straying further north. As a result, the official route, the NPR (noise preferential route) was changed at the end of last year to allow for a wider turn, meaning 7,200 people who were previously unaffected are now under the flight path – including communities in Leigh, the Holmwoods, Brockham, Capel, Betchworth and Beare Green. Sir Paul said: “It’s quite a disaster. People who bought houses under the previous flight path knew what they were buying. People who have bought under the new flight path did not know. ….. the whole thing is totally unacceptable.” He is deeply opposed to a 2nd runway, partly due to the thousands of houses that would have to be built, on green field land, to accommodate workers. “They are actually bussing people in from the South Coast to do jobs” already.
Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford joins the battle over aircraft noise
August 17, 2014 (Dorking & Leatherhead Advertiser)
Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford joins the battle over aircraft noise
MOLE VALLEY’S MP has joined the battle against aircraft noise over the south of the district.Sir Paul Beresford is working with Reigate’s MP Crispin Blunt to fight against changes made to the routes planes use to fly from Gatwick.As reported in the Advertiser last week, documents released as part of the airport’s ongoing airspace consultation reveal one of the departure routes was changed in November last year.According to the document, the route had too tight a turn for modern aircraft and planes were increasingly straying further north.[When Gatwick refers to RWY26 – meaning runway 26 – they mean the single runway used for take-offs towards the west. ie. 280 degrees from north. When they refer to RWY08 they mean the runway used for take offs to the east. ie. 80 degrees from north. AW note].
As a result, the official route was changed at the end of last year to allow for a wider turn, meaning 7,200 people who were previously unaffected are now under the flight path – including communities in Leigh, the Holmwoods, Brockham, Capel, Betchworth and Beare Green.
Sir Paul told the Advertiser: “It’s quite a disaster.
“People who bought houses under the previous flight path knew what they were buying. People who have bought under the new flight path did not know.
“The value of their properties will go down and the whole thing is totally unacceptable.
“I have looked with an expert at the proposed changes.
“It is incredibly difficult to understand and the nature of the consultation is such that most people will not respond because they don’t understand.”
He added: “There is a horrible suspicion in my mind which is that it could be related to the prospect of Gatwick having a second runway, which I am absolutely opposed to.
“They say they’re going to create thousands more jobs but the other weekend they couldn’t get people to move baggage.
“They are actually bussing people in from the South Coast to do jobs, so what this would really mean is more houses between Gatwick and Dorking.
“The end result will be a half-hub at Gatwick and a half-hub at Heathrow with a parking lot in between called the M25.”
Brockham resident Caroline Horn said: “We moved to Brockham two years ago and enjoyed a very peaceful existence until earlier this year.
“We used to live very close to Heathrow Airport, so not hearing planes all the time in our new home was a blessing and one of the reasons we moved.
“Now, however, I hear planes overhead at 3am, 4am, 5am and onwards.
“It’s particularly busy during the mornings and evenings, but even during the day they fly over every five to ten minutes.”
A consultation on changing flight paths for planes in and out of the airport, ended yesterday (Saturday, August 16).
Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports have been sold by Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) in a £1 billion deal. All three will now be owned by a consortium formed by Spanish firm Ferrovial and Australia-based Macquarie, and managed locally. The sale is expected to be completed in January 2015. Ferrovial already part-owns Heathrow, and holds a 25% stake in HAH, which was previously known as BAA. So from January 2015, HAH will only operate Heathrow, while some years back it owned and ran seven airports. Heathrow itself is 25% owned by Ferrovial with other stakes controlled by investment vehicles from Qatar, Quebec, Singapore, the US, and China. (Nothing English). By passenger number in the UK, Glasgow ranks 8th, Aberdeen 14th and Southampton 18th. The airports are not anticipating any particular changes due to the sale. The uncertainty over ownership has not been helpful for the airports, but the investors will be wanting a return on their billion pounds.
Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports sold in £1bn deal
Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports have been sold by owners Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) in a £1bn deal.
The three airports will now be owned by a consortium formed by two companies – Spanish firm Ferrovial and Australia-based Macquarie.
The sale is expected to be completed in January of next year.
The three airports will be managed locally but supported by Ferrovial’s and Macquarie’s shared ownership.
Ferrovial already part-owns Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, and holds a 25% stake in HAH, which was previously known as BAA.
The deal means HAH will now operate only its flagship London hub.
The company had previously operated seven airports but an inquiry by the Competition Commission ordered it to be broken up.
By the time of the ruling it had already sold Gatwick, before later disposing of Edinburgh and announcing the sale of Stansted last year.
Heathrow itself is 25% owned by Ferrovial with other stakes controlled by investment vehicles from Qatar, Quebec, Singapore, the US, and China.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “This sale enables us to focus on improving Heathrow for passengers and winning support for Heathrow expansion.
“Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport, connecting the whole of the UK to the world and bringing economic benefits locally and nationally.”
Edward Beckley, Macquarie’s European head, said the firm had a “long and successful track record of investing in and developing airports around the world”.
He added: “We look forward to working with these airports over the long term to support route growth and enhance the passenger experience for the communities they serve.”
Ferrovial chief executive Inigo Meiras said: “We are committed to improve these facilities and their services looking to a better passenger experience and in order to grant access to further domestic and international destinations.”
Glasgow is the eighth busiest of the UK’s airports, with 7.4m passengers and 104,000 aircraft movements in 2013.
Aberdeen is 14th busiest, with 3.4m passengers and 73,000 aircraft movements.
Southampton is 18th busiest with 1.7m passengers and 36,000 movements.
Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “Clearly this is a landmark day for Glasgow Airport and whilst we will be sorry to leave the Heathrow group, we do so knowing we’re in an extremely strong position.
“We have benefited from considerable investment in recent years and have achieved a great deal of success in securing new routes and growing passenger numbers. Together with my team, I am looking forward to working with Ferrovial and Macquarie to further develop our airport and ensure it continues to deliver for Glasgow and Scotland.”
Carol Benzie, managing director of Aberdeen Airport work on the deal had been taking place behind the scenes for several months.
She added: “Locally things remain very much business as usual. Our passenger numbers continue to grow, and we will continue to operate as we have been with a focus on the safety and security of our customers, as well as on delivering an excellent standard of customer service.
“No changes to the way we operate are planned and we will keep striving to deliver on all our commitments in the run up to a formal handover by the end of the year.”
The deal was welcomed by local authorities, with Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson saying: “Glasgow Airport is of huge strategic importance for the city and the west of Scotland with over 5,000 jobs dependant on its continued success.
“Its success is vital to ensure that Glasgow and our city region continues to be an attractive location for investment and for local businesses to expand overseas.
“I’m encouraged to see that this deal is backed with a wealth of experience in both the air industry and public infrastructure – and my council will continue to work in close partnership with our airport to ensure it meets the needs of local business and leisure travellers.”
Mark Macmillan, the leader of neighbouring Renfrewshire Council, said the deal would give Glasgow Airport “security of ownership and more certainty for the future”.
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick said: “The existing management team has done an excellent job in promoting the airport’s assets and attracting in new flights over what have been rough times. There is still huge potential for growth and route development, and that has obviously influenced the attractiveness of Glasgow as an investment.”
The sale of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports has been some time coming. Since the competition regulator took aim at the formerly nationalised British Airports Authority, later BAA plc, the break-up of that empire has looked likely.
Gatwick was sold five years ago for £1.5bn, and is now fighting hard to get the planning nod for a new runway, instead of letting Heathrow expand.
Either Edinburgh or Glasgow had to be sold, BAA was told, so the capital’s airport went to the same infrastructure investors who own Gatwick for a whopping £807m.
Renaming itself Heathrow Airport Holdings plc, the parent company then had to shed Stansted, going for £1.5bn to council-controlled Manchester Airport. And that left the three smaller parts of the company awaiting their fate.
The uncertainty over ownership has not been helpful for them. New owners may be willing to invest in upgrading Aberdeen’s facilities, while helping Glasgow compete more effectively with both Edinburgh, its new rival, as well as the beleaguered Prestwick. But then, those investors will also want a return on their billion pounds.
Ferrovial buys – and sells – three UK airports for $1.7bn
17 October 2014 | By Joe Quirke
A joint venture between Ferrovial Aeropuertos of Spain and Australian investment bank Macquarie is to buy Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports at a cost of $1.7bn.
The consortium will purchase the airports from Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH), a company in which Ferrovial has a 25% stake.
Ferrovial bought HAH in 2006, at which time it was known as BAA and operated seven airports across Britain. Four of its facilities were sold off after a Competition Commission inquiry found that passengers were suffering as a result of BAA’s dominant position.
After the completion of this transaction, HAH will own only Heathrow airport, but the Spanish contractor will have increased its share of the UK airport sector.
Iñigo Meirás, the chief executive of Ferrovial, said: “We’re aware of the importance of these airports for the population in their surrounding areas. The transaction proves how valuable these assets are for Ferrovial.
“We’re committed to improving these facilities and their services looking to a better passenger experience and in order to grant access to further domestic and international destinations.”
He said the three airports would continue to be managed locally, but would have the additional support of Ferrovial and Macquarie.
Sir Peter Mason Chairman of Thames Water, will be appointed as chairman of the group on completion of the deal.
Macquarie’s half of the 50:50 joint venture is made up of its European Infrastructure Fund 4. Edward Beckley, the manager of the fund, said: “We look forward to working with these airports over the long term to support route growth and enhance the passenger experience for the communities they serve.”
Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton were repectively the eighth, 14th and 18th busiest airports in the UK in 2013.
The transaction is expected to completed no later than January next year.
Glasgow, Aberdeen & Southamptom Airports put up for sale by owners Heathrow Airport Holdings by end of 2014
July 31, 2014
Heathrow Airport Holdings want to complete the sale of the three airports by the end of the year. Key staff at Glasgow Airport were given the news at a briefing this afternoon. Spanish-owned BAA later issued a statement through Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. “Over recent months Heathrow Airport Holdings group shareholders and management have been considering their strategic position in relation to our three airports, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton. As a result the group is now formally entering a sale process. Whilst there is currently no certainty that a sale will be concluded, the group intends to work towards completing a transaction by the end of the year.” BAA’s sold Edinburgh airport for £807 million in May 2012 to Global Infrastructure Partners. A Glasgow Airport source said: “The feeling here is that BAA need to raise cash to invest in Heathrow, but they are carrying too much debt.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/glasgow-aberdeen-airports-put-up-3944332
An article by Bloomberg, put out as part of Heathrow’s attempts to lobby for a new runway, says (I kid you not) that we need a new runway because people have to be able to export Scottish langoustines more easily to Spain and the rest of the world. The claim the Scottish fishermen, who can make plenty of money out of the crustaceans, can’t get the flight connections from Heathrow for their exports. They claim this high value product is vital for the UK economy, however unsustainable it is to air freight shell fish half way around the globe. However, the Scottish langoustine exporters have managed quite adequately to use connections via Schiphol – from Inverness – rather than Heathrow. Heathrow cut many of its flights to regional airports, as more profit can be made from long haul flights elsewhere. The Bloomberg article is largely written for them by Heathrow, so trots out a lot of half truths and spin. Not impressive for the local people who have recently had their peace destroyed by a concentrated flight path trial – one symptom of which was the meeting attended by 1,000 + people in Ascot, leaving Heathrow in no doubt at all about their opposition to a new runway.
London’s Runway Crisis Puts Pinch on Langoustine Export
By Kari Lundgren (Bloomberg)
Oct 16, 2014
Restaurants from Spain to Hong Kong clamor for mini-lobsters caught off northern Scotland.
For the fishermen who sell the langoustines live for almost $30 a pound, there’s one problem: London’s overstretched airports don’t offer the flight connections needed to get the crustaceans fresh to the markets where demand is surging.
“It’s a logistical nightmare,” said Ben Murray, managing director at Keltic Seafare, Scotland’s biggest shellfish supplier. “If there was a secure network to the Asias and Dubais of this world from the Highlands it would open up all sorts of options.”
His travails encapsulate the economic stakes for Britain as Prime Minister David Cameron pushes for increased exports and less reliance on the financial industry. Few assets are more important in meeting those goals than a state-of-the-art airport, and London’s Heathrow hub falls short, adding urgency to officials’ expansion plans.
“Low-weight and high-value products like lobster or computer chips have become the modern incarnation of the 17th-century tulip,” said Adie Tomer, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington, D.C. “There is a lot at stake in attracting that freight and making sure it doesn’t rot on the tarmac.”
The problem for exporters is that Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, is already at its limits. Increasing capacity by adding a third runway is controversial because it’s enveloped by urban sprawl. Growing Gatwick, London’s No. 2 airport, could dilute benefits of a single hub that make more routes viable, the Confederation of British Industry says.
Now Keltic Seafare delivers 35,000 kilos (77,162 pounds) of fresh langoustines a year to Spain, Europe’s biggest seafood market, via Amsterdam. There are no flights from the local Inverness airport to Heathrow.
Murray said Asian exports would become possible with the restoration of Heathrow services, which ended in 2008 when the former British Midland pulled out of the Scottish route.
Heathrow has flights to just seven other U.K. airports, down from 12 a decade ago as carriers led by British Airways (IAG) assign scarce operating slots to more profitable inter-continental services. Amsterdam’s Schiphol, by contrast, serves 27 U.K. cities including Exeter in southwestEngland and Durham in the north, as well as Inverness, where KLM passenger planes collect Murray’s cargo.
Heathrow is struggling to keep up outside the U.K. too. A sample of 15 fast-growing emerging markets by the CBI shows Frankfurt’s airport serves 45 cities and Amsterdam 31; Heathrow has links to 22.
Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. founder Richard Branson last week complained that a lack of capacity at Heathrow forced the carrier to cut some flights to Asia and Africa when it wanted to add more services to the U.S.
“It’s impossible for us to get slots at Heathrow,” Branson said in an interview in Dallas. “In order to start a new route we have to close a current route.”
The hub’s cargo volumes are also trailing rivals. Frankfurt and Paris were the only European airports to make the global top 10 by air freight in 2013. Both handled more than 2 million metric tons of goods and mail, versus 1.6 million tons at Schiphol and barely 1.5 million at Heathrow.
“With our current hub capacity full, we are slipping behind,” said Mark Dittmer-Odell, the CBI’s head of infrastructure said in an interview. “If we’ve got a hub airport in the U.K., that’s a national resource that people should be able to draw into.”
Heathrow’s chief rival in the contest for expansion is London Gatwick, the world’s busiest single-runway airport; the two were shortlisted by a government-appointed commission as leading contenders for a new landing strip.
Gatwick, owned by U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners and located south of the city’s sprawl, says it could add a new runway for as little as 5 billion pounds ($8 billion), compared with a bill of at least 14 billion pounds for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow.
A new 2.2-mile runway west of existing terminals would boost Heathrow’s long-haul connections by almost 50 percent to 122, with capacity for 740,000 flights annually, 90,000 more than at Schiphol. Domestic destinations that could be added include Liverpool in northwest England, Newquay in the southwest and Cardiff, Wales, said John Holland-Kaye, who took over as the airport’s chief executive officer in July.
“The choice between a flight to Inverness and a flight to China is a false economy,” he said. “We should have both. The airlines are having to choose and that’s one of the things we want to correct.”
The CEO has traveled the globe to press the case for Heathrow, which accounts for 65 percent of the U.K. international air freight by volume and a quarter of all exports by value, led by high-worth items such as pharmaceuticals.
He’s also courting U.K. media, seeking to win public support with the promise of 123,000 jobs that would result directly and indirectly from the expansion. And he’s lobbying London Mayor Boris Johnson to abandon his plans for a new hub in the River Thames estuary that were dismissed by a government committee last month as too costly and complex.
Johnson plans to seek a parliament seat next year, positioning himself as a possible successor to Cameron. He says he’s completely opposed to any growth at Heathrow because of the resulting aircraft noise over built-up areas.
The mayor aside, the political landscape is changing to Heathrow’s benefit, according to Holland-Kaye. An Ipsos MORI survey released Sept. 7 found that 58 percent of U.K. lawmakers favor a third runway there, based on a survey of 38 MPs from Cameron’s Conservatives and 46 from theLabour Party.
The prime minister himself also opposed the hub’s expansion while in opposition five years ago, before softening his position in ordering a neutral assessment by the aviation commission underHoward Davies, a former head of the Financial Services Authority and London School of Economics.
“The two larger parties are sitting behind the Davies Commission,” Holland-Kaye said. “They understand this is a complex issue. If it was easy it would have been done a long time ago.”
Gatwick has been accused of “hypocrisy” for avoiding corporation tax while campaigning to build a new runway, allegedly for the benefit of the UK economy. Margaret Hodge, head of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, said the airport should pay its “fair share” if it wants its runway campaign to be credible. She also criticised Heathrow which has not paid corporation tax for several years. But she particularly criticised Gatwick. Its Guernsey-based parent company Ivy Mid Co LP has invested in a £437 million “Eurobond” which charges the airport 12% interest, thus avoiding tax. Gatwick says this sort of bond is often used by other infrastructure companies. Companies in the UK should pay 21% corporation tax on profits, but by spending £1 billion on upgrading the airport, Gatwick has made no profit recently. Despite pre-tax loses in recent years, it has paid dividends to its overseas shareholders of £436 million. Heathrow has also avoided profits by investing in new buildings etc. Mrs Hodge said the companies “made a fortune” from their UK activities, which relied on public services, adding: “For them to pretend they are only in it for the benefit of the UK economy is a touch hypocritical.”
Gatwick runway appeal ‘is hypocritical when it avoids corporation tax’
Margaret Hodge, head of the powerful Public Accounts Committee, said Gatwick should pay its “fair share” of corporation tax
Gatwick bosses were today accused of “hypocrisy” for avoiding corporation tax while campaigning to build a new runway for the benefit of the UK economy.
Margaret Hodge, head of the powerful Public Accounts Committee, said the airport should pay its “fair share” if it wants its campaign to be credible.
She also criticised Heathrow airport which has not paid corporation tax, levied at 21 per cent on company profits, for several years.
But it is the tax affairs of the Sussex airport that have caused the most controversy following an investigation by the Standard. Gatwick’s Guernsey-based parent company Ivy Mid Co LP has invested in a £437 million “Eurobond” which charges the airport 12 per cent interest and which critics say is designed to avoid tax.
Gatwick said tax authorities were “wholly aware” of their funding structure, and the Eurobond was commonly used by other infrastructure companies. The scheme had not helped the airport avoid tax as it was not in a profitable situation due to the cost of a £1 billion upgrade to the airport under its new owners, Gatwick said.
Accounts for the past four years for Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) show pre-tax losses of £322 million and a tax credit of £192 million, but despite these losses it has paid dividends to its overseas shareholders of £436 million.
The Standard has also learnt that Heathrow has not paid corporation tax for several years, offsetting the cost of a new terminal to build a tax credit of £234 million despite pre-tax profits of £429 million.
But the airport, which says it is key to the UK’s economic growth, said it “looked forward to” paying corporation tax later this year and did not “route funds through tax havens”.
Ms Hodge, a potential London mayoral candidate, said that ministers should put airports under pressure to pay corporation tax as the bidding process for airport expansion reaches its conclusion next spring.
She said the companies “made a fortune” from their UK activities, which relied on public services, adding: “For them to pretend they are only in it for the benefit of the UK economy is a touch hypocritical.”
A Gatwick spokesman said: “Gatwick Airport is fully compliant with UK tax law and HMRC are wholly aware of our funding structure.”
A Heathrow spokesman said it complies with all tax rules, does not operate tax avoidance measures, and is “entirely UK based for tax purposes”.
Gatwick airport announces first profits for years and returns for its investors … UK tax?
26.6.2014Gatwick airport has announced its results for the year to 31st March 2014. It has made a profit, for the first time in 4 years. Gatwick says its passenger numbers reached 35.9 million in 2013/14 (4.8% up on 2012/13). Their turnover is up 10.2% to £593.7 million and EBITDA is up 14.2% to £259.4 million, with a resulting profit of £57.5 million. This compared to a loss in the financial year ending 31 March 2013 of £29.1 million. The airport has spent a great deal improving the airport, and so made losses – and paid no tax to the UK government for years. Gatwick says their investments and more marketing is being effective in attracting more passengers. It now has more aircraft movements at peak times (a cause of the noise nuisance being caused from new flight paths). Gatwick now claims 20% are travelling on business, largely on EasyJet. The figure was 17.5% in 2012. Gatwick says it will now be paying dividends to its investors, though it has not in recent years. It expects to pay £125m to investors in the current financial year, £65m return in the 2015/16 financial year and £60m in 2016/17. [Maybe also pay some UK tax? http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/gatwick-airport-announces-first-profits-for-years-and-returns-for-its-investors-uk-tax/
Gatwick Airport paid no Corporation Tax in three years
25.6.2013Gatwick Airport has a £1.2 billion capital investment programme to improve its infrastructure and facilities. But it paid no corporation tax for three consecutive years despite making £638m in profit before tax. Gatwick tried to defend this position, saying: “Whilst year on year we have lessened our financial losses we have yet to make a profit after tax. As a result the airport has not paid corporation tax …Our current £1.2bn capital investment programme and existing asset base, together with the associated debt structure, result in depreciation and interest costs which reduce our operating profits to a loss before tax.” In the 2012/13 year, Gatwick Airport made £227.1m profit before tax, a 2.5% increase, as it benefited from flights to new destinations in China, Russia, Indonesia, and Turkey. Despite this, it reported a net financial loss of £29.1m, citing asset depreciation and £226.7m of capital investment in the year. Corporation tax is only levied on a company’s net profit. In the UK the corporation tax rate is 23%. Under UK tax law, corporations can claim tax allowances on certain purchases or investments made on business assets. Campaign group UK Uncut estimates that clever accounting rules and complex tax avoidance schemes cost Britain £12bn annually. Details at http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=23002
IAG is to pay its first ever dividend and British Airways is due to return to profit
27.9.2014The parent group that owns British Airways, IAG, have said that they are now making profits and will give their first dividend, probably in November. This is their first dividend since they were created in 2011 through the merger of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia. IAG has also bought bmi and Spanish budget carrier Vueling since its formation. Analysts believe shareholders will receive their first payment at the end of IAG’s 2015 financial year at the latest, as the controversial turnaround at Iberia, which required the loss of some 4,500 jobs and sparked strikes and political outcry in Spain, has stemmed the losses. IAG posted a €96m pre-tax profit for the six months to June 30 this year, up from a €503m loss at the same time in 2013. IAG says it is on track to improve operating profit this year by “at least” €500m, from €770m in 2013. British Airways’ CEO, Willie Walsh said in August that BA had now returned to profit for the first time since 2007, the start of the financial crisis. BA has barely paid any UK corporation tax for years – it may pay round £61 million for the 2013 financial year.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/iag-is-to-pay-its-first-ever-dividend-and-british-airways-is-due-to-return-to-profit/
Irish clampdown on tax avoidance will be followed by the UK
By Kamal Ahmed (BBC)
oday the Irish government announced something very significant. The closure of the notorious “Double Irish” tax loophole.
The reason it’s important is not because it is changing Ireland’s tax regime, which it is.
It is important because the double Irish is the method by which global companies reduce taxes on the businesses they run around the world.
And the Treasury is following developments closely and is poised to launch its own crackdown on “diverted profits”, which is what the double Irish allows companies to do.
Google and Facebook have both been fingered for using the scheme – as have a number of pharmaceutical firms.
It enables businesses – via a complex system of royalty payments – to move revenues to locations which are described as “tax efficient” – such as low-tax Ireland and no-tax the Bahamas.
Campaigners argue that tax efficient should be more suitably described as tax avoiding.
The companies say that they are simply following the rules.
It wasn’t Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, who decided that Ireland would allow a system to develop where corporations were effectively “stateless” for tax purposes, and could therefore move payments to tax havens like the Bahamas whilst still creating huge revenues in Europe via a company based in Dublin.
The use of the double Irish has had the effect of reducing the available taxes paid to countries where Google and Facebook operate, including the UK.
George Osborne raised the issue in his Conservative Party conference speech last month.
“While we offer some of the lowest business taxes in the world, we expect those taxes to be paid – not avoided,” he said.
“Some technology companies go to extraordinary lengths to pay little or no tax here. If you abuse our tax system, you abuse the trust of the British people.
“And my message to those companies is clear – we will put a stop to it.”
I am told that Treasury officials are now busy constructing new rules that will stop the diverting of profits made in the UK via intellectual property payments to company subsidiaries.
One source told me that profits made in Britain would be taxed in Britain.
This could make a significant difference to companies like Google and Facebook, which generate large amounts of revenue in the UK but do not pay significant amounts of tax.
The chancellor wants to make the move part of his “fairer markets” agenda.
He will need to convince campaigners that this is not just window dressing.
And his message on not avoiding taxes can become confused given that Mr Osborne also trumpets policies like the patent box. This makes it tax efficient to complete research and development in technology and pharmaceuticals in Britain.
Interestingly, whilst abolishing the “double Irish”, the finance minister, Michael Noonan, did announce the creation of Ireland’s equivalent of the patent box – the knowledge development box.
Tax competition will always exist. Governments want to encourage investment in certain sectors in their own countries and jealously guard their right to do so.
The most egregious might be limited. But don’t imagine that companies searching the globe for the best, most tax efficient, place to do business is going to end any time soon.
About 200 Windlesham, Lightwater and Bagshot residents attended a meeting in Bagshot on 10th October to get answers on flightpath trials at Heathrow. They heard from their MP, Michael Gove and Heathrow staff (Matt Gorman, Mark Burgess) and Ian Jopson from NATS. The flightpath trials are to end on November 12, two and a half months earlier than first planned, because Heathrow bosses say they have collected enough data – and there has been an unprecedented level of public opposition. Further trials due to begin this month have been postponed until autumn 2015. Matt Gorman admitted there was insufficient notice given to villagers, and not enough information shared about what was happening and why. He said: “There is a concentration of flights over areas that have had fewer in the past. That has caused some concern.” Such statements do very little to defuse the anger. He also said the practices during the trials would not become permanent, but needed to be tested to assess noise levels and how the planes turn. It is likely that the level of trust in the airport and the aviation authorities was not increased, following their performance at the meeting.
A comment about the meeting from someone who attended:
“On a number of occasions, the main speaker tried to reassure the audience by saying that they should not worry about flight path changes since if ever they were proposed there would be public consultations; and that any following decision would be made by the government, not by Heathrow itself. Does he not realise that the public has little confidence in so-called consultations and that the audience would consider the reassurance laughable?”
Villagers quiz Heathrow Airport officials over flightpath trials Oct 16, 2014 11:33 By Amani Hughes (Get Surrey)
Airport bosses admit not enough information was given to affected Windlesham, Lightwater and Bagshot residents
Windlesham, Lightwater and Bagshot residents attend a meeting in Bagshot to get answers on flightpath trials at Heathrow Airport
Residents of Windlesham, Lightwater and Bagshot have quizzed Heathrow Airport representatives and Michael Gove MP over flightpath trials.
A meeting on Friday (October 10) at Bagshot Playing Fields Association pavilion was attended by about 200 people concerned about the noise generated from the ongoing trials.
Heathrow sustainability and environment director Matt Gorman, head of air traffic management and flight performance Mark Burgess and Ian Jopson of NATS (National Air Traffic Services) attended the meeting, which was chaired by Surrey Heath MP Mr Gove.
The flightpath trials are to end on November 12, two and a half months earlier than first planned, because Heathrow bosses say they have collected enough data.
Further trials due to begin this month have been postponed until autumn 2015.
The trial flightpaths are being used to test different techniques to allow aircraft to be more efficient, more punctual, climb at a steeper angle when they leave Heathrow and to share the noise around the airport.
The trials have taken planes over houses in Windlesham, Lightwater and Bagshot.
Mr Gorman admitted there was insufficient notice given to villagers, and not enough information shared about what was happening and why.
He explained the trials were part of a larger European programme led by the Civil Aviation Authority to modernise airspace, affecting not just Heathrow but all airports in the UK and across Europe.
Heathrow Airport’s sustainability and environment director Matt Gorman admits there was insufficient notice of flightpath trials given to residents of Windlesham, Lightwater and Bagshot
Mr Gove, who left the meeting about 15 minutes before the end, told residents that a final decision on how airspace is shared will be made by the government.
He promised to take their comments from the meeting back to Westminster.
Mr Gove said: “If there is a decision made about future trials, a public meeting will be held so that there is an opportunity for us to explain what will happen.”
Residents were keen to address the subject of the altitude of planes.
Many said they had assessed the height of planes using computer applications and suggested planes above Bagshot were flying at less than 3,000ft.
There were murmurs from the crowd when Mr Jopson said planes would fly between 5,000ft and 7,000ft. He was urged to look into this matter further.
Mr Gorman said: “There is a concentration of flights over areas that have had fewer in the past.
“That has caused some concern. We are sorry to those who have experienced more noise than normal during these trials.”
Residents were also concerned at the direction of the flights over Heathrow.
Images shown at the meeting demonstrated that the vast majority converged over Bagshot during the trials, rather than being spread out as they were beforehand.
Mr Gorman assured residents that the practices during the trials would not become permanent, but needed to be tested to assess noise levels and how the planes turn.
Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove, who chaired the public meeting in Bagshot about flightpath trials at Heathrow Airport, promised to take residents’ views to Westminster
Lightwater resident Rosalie James, who helped organise the meeting and who has set up a petition signed by more than 1,000 residents, said she was not completely satisfied with the answers given on the night.
She said: “My next step is to start to lobby government to bring this to political engagement.
“We want a similar pledge from (Prime Minister) David Cameron to the one he made at the last election, that these trials do not lead to airport expansion.”
(in the presence – and for much of the time with the participation – of our MP, Mr Gove).
It was towards the end of the meeting that I really wanted to make these comments because only by then had I decided what I wanted to say, my comments being related mostly to the way the airport representatives had expressed themselves; what this revealed about their attitudes and intentions at the time; and the discrepancy between their way of seeing things and that of most, if not all, of the people attending. My comments (technically, questions were all that were allowed) can be made into questions just by adding ‘Did they not realise this?’ at the end of each comment; but there were so many people present I was unable to get a chance; and, as you will see, there wouldn’t have been time anyway!
How those attending gradually learnt, at the meeting, to distrust the speakers:
The meeting was about the flight trials which had given rise to very many complaints about noise. And, since the complaints about noise were often from people complaining they were suffering from noise when, before the trials, they had not, there was obviously a change of flight paths in connection with the trials. This change was admitted by the Heathrow representatives but they said it was not connected with, nor testing for the suitability of, surreptitious plans to change flight paths. You would have thought that they would have realised that they needed to give the meeting a simple, plausible explanation why testing the features of a new satellite airspace control system which did not involve flight path changes demanded, or would have benefit from, changes from established to new paths, thus affecting people previously unaffected. The fact that they gave no such convincing reasons does not mean there weren’t such reasons, but it is the sort of thing that makes juries mistrust a witness.
The speakers said several times that the impression and subsequent alarm that flight paths were going to be changed was misplaced because the trials were not at all indicative of future flight-path intentions. The first speaker made this point and then added to it [all quotes are paraphrases]: ‘Although there are no plans to change flight paths, we might be able, given the control the new satellite system allows us, to vary the route of a flight so that it doesn’t always pass over the same territory – a little bit to one side on one day and a little bit to the other the next, allowing a bit of respite’. Did they not realise that, for the public, the words ‘there are no plans to…’ has echoes of hundreds of past occasions in public life when there have been ‘no plans to do…’, certainly no apparent plans, yet a decision is apparently suddenly made? It was to me disappointing that such a seemingly open and sincere a spokesman should have referred to ‘respite’ and how it might be enabled, which in itself indicated that Heathrow has had thoughts of, and conversations and meetings about, flight-path changes, while trying to protect the airport authority from protest on that aspect of the matter by hiding behind what, to residents, is an equivocation – namely that what has been going on regarding flight-path changes does not officially constitute the formal procedure the airport calls ‘planning’. We are beginning to mistrust the speakers.
When the next speaker mentioned the matter he said: ‘It is not really about flight paths.Actually it is not about flight paths at all’. It was the fact that he himself noticed that he had uttered the word ‘really’ that made him add the next bit beginning ‘Actually’. To the audience, that Freudian slip indicated an unconscious conflict between what he knew and what he was meant to be confining his remarks to. Confirms that suspicion and mistrust is advisable. Not everyone would have been aware of the beginning of their scepticism but this was it for me.
Later, when the continual reference to flight paths was getting more troublesome to the presentation team, the first speaker several times repeated the ‘respite’ prospect suggestion but, each time, this hinted-at extra benefit of the new system got more and more something we could expect as a spin off – almost, but not quite, to the point of a commitment, but to the point of its being a serious intention to examine the feasibility. Was he unaware that this undermined the audience’s trust in his earlier statement? that his willingness to keep going further, beyond his original official line, showed that, in response to the emphasis the audience had been placing on reducing or on spreading out the inconvenience of plane noise, he was quite prepared to pacify the restlessness and animosity by making utterances he hoped the audience would find acceptable and reassuring? that it was, in short, spin not policy?
On a number of occasions, the main speaker tried to reassure the audience by saying that they should not worry about flight path changes since if ever they were proposed there would be public consultations; and that any following decision would be made by the government, not by Heathrow itself. Does he not realise that the public has little confidence in so-called consultations and that the audience would consider the reassurance laughable?
The speakers were quite prepared to tell a number of people – including some airport workers and some ex-pilots, present only in their capacity as suffering residents – who, at the meeting, had asserted that some planes were flying lower than officially approved minimum heights, that they were ‘mistaken’. And even that the team could ‘assure’ the residents that they ‘had misinterpreted their experience’. Did they realise that, when such complaints began to be made repeatedly after the trials were started, Heathrow’s response, if it had been genuinely concerned about minimising avoidable noise, should have been to deploy observers to the relevant areas with adequate techniques for detecting aeroplane height to establish the facts?
On a number of occasions when the audience seemed resistant to the responses of the speakers to its questions, the main speaker fell back on referring to the ‘fact that Heathrow was a leading airport in exploring this new technology’; and also ‘that a well-known gadfly who could hardly be called a friend of Heathrow had said complimentary things about their approach to the technology and to public communication about it’. Did he not realise that these references would be taken by the audience as irrelevant to what they made of their own experience and to how they decided what to think – not only of the noise but also of the conduct and utterances of the Heathrow representatives at the meeting?
The above paragraphs are an attempt to indicate the causes of the gradually increasing dissatisfaction of the audience. That there was such a dissatisfaction and that these paragraphs reveal the reasons, or some of them, is, of course, not knowledge but opinion. To me, the writer whose opinions these are, it would be gratifying if you forwarded this email to anyone else you think should read it. I have copied people who I saw were there on the night or I knew would be interested.
The difference between ‘respite’ and ‘fairness’.
Imagine a circle drawn around a map of the southeast with its centre at Heathrow and with radius, say, 25 miles. Let this wheel have as many spokes as possible, all starting at the dot which is Heathrow. These are all possible routes directly out of Heathrow and usable as flight paths. And the radius is meant to be the distance from Heathrow at which the height of a plane ceases to be a noise problem for the people on the ground (which will vary with the height above sea level from place to place). As planes get quieter, the radius can be reduced. Some way out from the airport the spokes are far enough apart for there to be space for branchings to right and left from each spoke. And, yet further out, branchings from branchings. This is a crude model, especially in not representing the vertical dimension, and in ignoring that runways don’t point in every conceivable direction as spokes do. It will serve my purpose.
The concept of ‘respite’ as used by the speakers at the meeting was of a shift of route for a given flight in the morning as against the afternoon i.e. every half day (so as to mean the intolerable noise would last half a day every day, not all day every day); or possibly every other day (so as to mean the intolerable noise would affect people all day every other day instead of all day every day). There is a complete misunderstanding by the Heathrow people about what the complaint really is and of what the complainers would consider an equitable solution. And the complainers are partly to blame and ought to consolidate their position. The demand of most objectors is that, if air traffic noise is inevitable, it should be inflicted fairly. To the objectors this does not mean that they want to be pacified by Heathrow with piddling adjustments to routes still leaving wedges of land not involved at all. It means that the flight path routes should be arranged so that every spoke of the possible radiating routes should have, as near as dam it, an equal share of noise coming from aeroplanes. This means taking off in one direction and travelling some distance before turning to aim for your destination. They do that already but only because the runway direction is fixed; we just need to make the points of turning subject to the fair distribution of noise nuisance at ground level.
My general impression grew as the evening progressed. It was that the speakers revealed themselves as salesmen more than educators (as do many educators, too). Everyone makes utterance for a purpose, the purpose being to control the effect what they say (or write) has on the hearer (reader). This applies to conversation, lecturing, preaching, teaching, prosecuting, defending, converting, selling, writing novels, and everything else. But the mark of someone who wants you to change your mind for reasons, as opposed to someone who wants you to change your mind by indoctrination, is to what degree they concentrate on getting you to think about how to think, about anything and about the topic, rather than on what conclusion they think you should come to. The Heathrow team, by their reaction under pressure, behaved as indoctrinators (they may not be so in their manner of thinking, by intention, by temperament, by conviction, but only by lack of skill in showing who you are by the way you behave). So they appeared to us as salesmen whose slogan was ‘Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it’. So important is sincerity that if you can fake it you are made. They put things to us in a form we might most readily find congenial, might accept; not in the form we might most easily understand, detect any hidden meaning in, detect the implications of, and quarrel with.
I do not say they were insincere. I got the impression they meant what they said. But the sincerity they portrayed was that of someone who really believes what he is saying i.e. he is himself taken in by his own propaganda. I wanted to say to them, especially to the main speaker (with apologies to Dick Emery): ‘I really liked you. But you were awful’.
A hostile audience grilled Heathrow officials over trial flight paths at a public meeting in Ascot on 13th October. It was standing room only in the Pavilion at Ascot Racecourse as well over 1,000 people gathered to question the airport about the trials which have affected residents across Bracknell, Ascot and the surrounding villages. The airport has received a deluge of complaints from residents about the ‘intolerable’ and unacceptable noise caused by aircraft flying over their homes since the trials began in August. Angry residents asked about the level of noise, impact of air pollution and about the data the airport are collecting. They want the trial to stop, and for these flight path plans to be abandoned. Following the protests, Heathrow agreed to shorten the trials. Instead of ending in January, they will now end on November 12. Heathrow officials were stunned by the turnout, and are now in no doubt that they will have to radically reassess the extent of noise misery that people living in the areas affected by Heathrow are prepared to put up with in future.
Over 1,000 attend packed Ascot protest meeting against Heathrow flight path trials
The meeting clearly demonstrated to Heathrow just how angry and upset residents in the Ascot area at being subjected to a flight path trial, of a concentrated route. It seems Heathrow were left in no doubt whatsoever about the strength of the determination not to suffer the misery that a 3rd runway would bring. John Stewart tweeted: “@ascotflightpath sometimes the anger of the audience overcame coherency of argument but the meeting could turn out to be a game-changer.” When the audience were asked ”Does this community want a 3rd runway” the residents shouted back ”NO!’
Audience grill Heathrow bosses at public meeting
14 Oct 2014 (Bracknell News)
A hostile audience grilled Heathrow officials over trial flight paths at a public meeting last night (Monday Oct 13).
It was standing room only in the Pavilion at Ascot Racecourse as more than 1.000 people gathered to question the airport about the trials which have affected residents across Bracknell, Ascot and the surrounding villages.
The airport has received a deluge of complaints from residents about the ‘intolerable’ noise caused by aircraft flying over their homes since the trials began in August.
Cllr David Hilton, who represents Ascot and Cheapside, chaired the meeting and said: “I think the key thing we have heard is that the aircraft noise that we are experiencing now is unacceptable and should stop, stop now and not restart.”
Angry residents asked about the level of noise, impact of pollution and about the data the airport are collecting.
The trials form part of the Government’s Future Airspace Strategy which requires all airports to modernise how they use airspace by 2020.
A petition against the flightpath trials over Ascot has so far gathered more than 6,000 signatures.
Following the protests, Heathrow agreed to shorten the trials. Instead of ending in January, they will now end on November 12.
See this week’s Bracknell News for full coverage of the meeting, plus reaction and pictures – on sale tomorrow (Wednesday, October 15).
More than 1,000 people turn out to meeting over Heathrow flight path noise
Oct 17, 2014
By Jennie Slevin
Thousands of people have been losing sleep due to the trials being carried out by the airport
More than 1,000 people plagued by aircraft noise over their homes put their complaints to Heathrow Airport representatives at a public meeting on Monday.
Families who claim to have lost sleep due to the increase in air traffic above the north of Bracknell Forest attended the Airspace Modernisation Trials event at Ascot Racecourse.
The meeting was organised by campaigners and Bracknell Forest and The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead councils, along with bosses from the airport, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services (NATS), after Heathrow launched air corridor trials in July.
Councillor Tony Virgo, who represents Ascot on Bracknell Forest, said: “Heathrow wanted to test this system and didn’t seem to think it would affect the thousands of people who aren’t used to any noise.
“They were somewhat surprised by the fact that so many people had complained.
“They told us they had done these trials for 18 months in other places and hadn’t had a response like this. It was like they didn’t think it would matter.”
Last month Bracknell Forest Council – which was not warned the trials would be taking place – contacted Heathrow after a motion was put to ensure residents’ views were considered by the airport.
Cancer patient claims Heathrow Airport flight path trials have made her garden like a ‘runway’
The trial, which has seen an increase in the number and frequency of planes flying above homes in the area due to new take-off and landing corridors being tested, was expected to end on January, but has now been cut short to end on Wednesday, November 12.
Andrew Jones, of St George’s Lane, Ascot, is a member of campaign group Stop the Flightpath Trial around Ascot – which got 6,294 people to sign a petition against the trials.
Heathrow Airport flight path trials branded an "omnishambles"
He said: “I think it’s fair to say NATS, CAA and Heathrow were walking into the lion’s den.
“People were very angry, but I think we got our points across despite not really getting answers about why they didn’t tell us what was happening.
“Hopefully, the trials will now be brought to an end sooner than November.”
However, not all neighbours felt the meeting went well.
Gill Jackson, of Forest Park, said people spoke over the panellists and “chose not to hear” their answers.
Adam Afriyie: Great to secure another small victory in the battle over aircraft noise
She added: “They were angry and not prepared to listen. It was such a shame that heckling, shouting and making rude comments deteriorated the evening.
“I agree these trials have been intrusive and very loud and low at times, but there are many stages before any kind of decision can be made.
“Everything else has gone in leaps and bounds with technology, why wouldn’t Heathrow?
“Perhaps I am being dense but, having lived in Langley and now Bracknell for over 55 years, the airport was always going to get bigger, as were the aircraft, and it was always going to have a knock-on effect to the surrounding areas. It is what it is.”
Birmingham Airport has had a Vortex Protection Scheme in place for many years. As with many other airports, the problem of damage to roofs by vortices created by over-flying planes is well known. In some air conditions, swirling masses of air descend from planes, like a very small tornado, and can rip off loose tiles. So far nobody has been badly injured by this. Airports are keen to get the damage fixed as fast as possible, to avoid danger and bad publicity. Predicting where vortex damage is likely is difficult. Now in Birmingham a resident has had a number of tiles (around 12 perhaps) dislodged from the roof of her council house, falling onto the patio below. She commented that it was lucky that she was not sitting outside, nor that any children were playing there. An airport spokeswoman said officials were “looking into the incident” after being informed. There have been many such incidents, with cases in Germany near Frankfurt airport early in 2013, a case in March 2013 in Old Windsor, and several incidents at Belfast City Airport in 2010.
More information about the problem of vortices, caused by over-flying planes at
The airport confirmed it was looking into the incident.
Sharon, 51, said: “It’s absolute carnage.
“It looks like a bomb site as about 20 tiles came off and smashed in my garden and onto the furniture outside.
“I’m lucky I wasn’t sunbathing as I am usually outside if there’s a spot of sunshine.
“The tiles could have fallen onto me. The neighbour’s children had been playing outside ten minutes earlier. They could have been seriously hurt. It’s so dangerous and something needs to be done about this.
“Another neighbour was in his garden at the time and said he saw a plane flying low over my house.
“I tried calling the airport but I was told to call back on Monday.”
Council tenant Sharon, of Moodys Croft, Kitts Green, said she heard a huge crashing sound after an aircraft approached at 2pm on Saturday.
An airport spokeswoman said officials were “looking into the incident” after being informed by the Mail.
An earlier article from 2009 about vortex damage in Birmingham:
Hundreds of houses near Birmingham Airport re-roofed after freak winds from planes
HUNDREDS of properties near Birmingham Airport have been re-roofed in the last six years due to freak vortex winds produced by landing aircraft.
HUNDREDS of properties near Birmingham Airport have been re-roofed in the last six years due to freak vortex winds produced by landing aircraft.
The majority of strikes have occurred around the Kitts Green area, affecting roads lying at the end of the runway, directly under the flight path.
Vortex strikes are unpredictable. Ben Hanley, working for the Environment Team at Birmingham Airport said: “Locating risk areas is very difficult, it can be the case that one side of the street has strikes and the other hasn’t, it is very difficult to predict.”
Birmingham Airport conducted a study on the nature of vortex strikes with Kinetic, a company who have worked with the Ministry of Defence. The findings have been inconclusive though it has been confirmed that less than 0.01 per cent of flights cause vortex damage.
George Megarry of Tile Cross Road is the most recent homeowner to be affected by a vortex when a strike dislodged tiles on his garage roof last Sunday, leaving a visible hole.
The airport is aware of the concerns of those living in areas at risk of vortex strikes. Ben Hanley said: “We have a strong commitment to the local community, we’ve spent over a million pounds so far on the roofing project. If we get a call about a property hit by a vortex we will make immediate repairs, and then go back at a later date to re-roof the property.” The new roofing will be “extremely robust”.
Mr Megarry is concerned by the incident, “This was the worst vortex I have ever heard, it was dangerous. If my grandchildren were here, they could have been killed.”
This is not a problem unique to Birmingham Airport and other major airports support similar schemes. Heathrow Airport is funding a £15 million voluntary Vortex Protection Scheme in which every house, school, church or hospital affected by a Heathrow vortex strike is eligible for vortex protection.
Luton airport held a consultation on changing some of its flight paths, between March and June. The changes involve using precision navigation, RNAV, enabling aircraft to fly more precise routes. In effect this means the flight paths are concentrated, and the the aircraft are all channelled down a specific track. The trial departure route is the one which heads out to the west and then turns left to navigate between Markyate and Flamstead, and left again to navigate between Hemel and St Albans to the south, and Redbourn and Harpenden to the north. Previously, its planes had not made this second turn at all accurately. For people who do not live very close to that track, it’s probably a better way to control wayward flights. But those who live underneath it may get all the flights thundering overhead. Luton has now submitted its proposals to the CAA for approval. The Safety and Airspace Regulation Group (SARG) will analyse the consultation feedback and technical merits behind the proposal against the requirements. Assuming all the necessary information has been provided, the SARG aim to provide a decision within 16 weeks.
Luton Airport planning to change flight paths for departing aircraft
The new technology will help planes stay in the Noise Preferential Route (NPR) corridor
The aircraft are currently flying outside the Noise Preferential Route corridor (purple section)
LUTON Airport has submitted proposals for a new flight path for departing planes to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for approval.
The airport recently finished a consultation (started in March and ended in June, with a report on it published in August) on its plans to introduce new navigation technology to enable planes to follow routes more precisely on departure.
Currently, flights leaving the airport to the west follow the same path and are supposed to stay within a Noise Preferential Route corridor designed to minimise noise for those below.
However, the airport said this did not always happen as planes sometimes stray outside this corridor and go over densely populated northern parts of Hemel Hempstead and St Albans.
It is hoped the new navigation technology will solve this by helping aircraft follow the route’s centreline more closely and take them away from densely populated areas.
The new flight path passes between Markyate and Flamstead, Redbourn and Hemel Hempstead, as well as St Albans and Harpenden.
A Luton Airport spokeswoman said it had worked on the changes in ‘close consultation with affected communities’ and that it would ‘avoid as many communities as possible with a 75 per cent reduction in the population overflown by the current route’.
Following the positive feedback received during the consultation process from the majority of
stakeholders and other interested parties, London Luton Airport Operations Ltd. has decided to progress the proposals for the RNAV1 route design with an initial speed restriction of 220 knots and submit an ACP to the CAA for review.
Once submitted, the Safety and Airspace Regulation Group (SARG) will analyse the consultation feedback and technical merits behind the proposal against the requirements. Assuming all the necessary information has been provided, the SARG aim to provide a decision within 16 weeks.
by LADACAN (Luton and District Assn for the Control of Aircraft Noise)
RNAV stands for Area Navigation, and is a system for aircraft navigation based on using software-assistance to navigate using a network of beacons to follow a designated route. It is potentially more accurate than conventional navigation.
One big caveat about RNAV navigation is that it is designed to channel all the aircraft down a specific track. If you don’t live very close to that track, it’s probably a better way to control wayward flights. But if you happen to live underneath it, you get all the flights thundering overhead.
Luton Airport trialled RNAV on one of its departure routes – the one which heads out to the west and then turns left to navigate between Markyate and Flamstead, and left again to navigate between Hemel and St Albans to the south, and Redbourn and Harpenden to the north. Previously, its planes had not made this second turn at all accurately, and had ended up overflying north Hemel and north St Albans.
The trial was hampered by the weather – the winds changed to the east, so the westerly departure route could not be used for much of the intended trial period – and significant amounts of the planned noise data collection simply did not happen.
The results can be found on the Airport’s website, and essentially show that there was an unexpected increase in noise in South Luton, an as-expected noise reduction in North Hemel, a slight increase in Redbourn, and no clear evidence of much change elsewhere.
The trials also showed that the accuracy of the new system was not as good as expected, especially on a route consisting of a turn followed by a straight portion followed by another turn: the computers tended to smooth all this out (the airport blamed the wind).
Consultation has now closed, but the detailed Airport consultation document can be uploaded by clicking here:RNAV1 Consultation Document,
Further information will be available in due course once the consultation has been processed.
As a post-script: while trialling RNAV, the airport operators made another beneficial change, which could have been made separately but hadn’t been – perhaps a cynical motive? Essentially they asked the air traffic controllers not to “tactically vector” (air jargon for “give them a specific heading to their next waypoint”) aircraft below 4000ft or before they had crossed the railway line between Harpenden and St Albans. This change alone had the beneficial effect of reducing “corner-cutting” which had plagued villages such as Flamstead and Redbourn, as well as South Harpenden.
London City Airport is proposing to concentrate flight paths, in the same way that other airports have been doing recently. This is how air traffic controllers, NATS and the CAA want airspace to be used in future, in order to fit more aircraft into our already very crowded skies. However, London City Airport decided not go give any prior notice to anyone about the changes, except their Consultative Committee, or any warning about the substantial increase in aircraft noise for those unlucky enough to be under one of the new concentrated routes. It seems even local councils were not notified. Local community group, HACAN East, have now written an open letter to the airport, to complain. HACAN East says the flight path proposals will have a profound effect – for the worse – on the lives of tens of thousands of Londoners. This is deeply inequitable. While the airport makes out that the proposed changes are not significant as the planned flight paths are not noticeably different from the current routes. That is incorrect. There is now a concentrated line. Thousands living in Bow, Leytonstone, Wansted, Catford, Brixton and Vauxhall are very well aware there is a significant change. And that these are seen as unfair.
Open letter to London City Airport
11th October 2014 (HACAN East)
Dear London City,
Your flight path proposals will have a profound effect – for the worse – on the lives of tens of thousands of Londoners…..and you are simply not telling them. You are planning to concentrate the planes using the airport on narrow corridors, meaning that the unlucky communities will suffer all the noise.
It is deeply inequitable. It reminds me what has happened on the roads. These days traffic noise these is largely a main road problem. This is because, over the years, it has been diverted from ‘residential’ roads on to main roads. It has been concentrated on these main roads.
I wrote in my book Why Noise Matters, published by Earthscan in 2011, “The policy in the UK, and in many other European countries, has been to direct through-traffic away from so-called ‘residential’ roads on to ‘main’ roads. I would suggest this is deeply inequitable, made more so by the fact that it is the people living on main roads who are less likely to own and drive cars or be able to move away. They are victims of other people’s noise.”
And now you are proposing to do the same with your planes. I know you are arguing that the changes are not significant because the planned flight paths are not noticeably different from the current routes. Tell that to Bow, Leytonstone, Wansted, Catford, Brixton and Vauxhall! And the other areas that will be under the concentrated flight paths.
Of course, we know you are not going to tell them anything. You’ve said to us you will not be holding public meetings, or even leafleting the areas. Your current consultation brings a whole new meaning to the word ‘minimalist’. You have informed your consultative committee (which you must know is widely seen as one of the weakest and least responsive in the country). And have put your plans on your website: http://www.londoncityairport.com/content/pdf/LCY-LAMP-Consultation-Document.pdf. But is thought they you may not even have informed some of the local authorities affected about the proposals.
Now I suspect I know what you are thinking: HACAN is ‘anti-airport’ and is simply jumping on these proposed flight path changes to have a go at the airport. But that is to miss the point: the issue here is much deeper than what anybody thinks about the airport. It is about fairness, equity, treating people properly; concepts that existed long before you began your short life just over 25 years ago.
You are badly failing the fairness test. You may also be acting contrary to government policy which suggests airports seek to give respite to communities which are overflown.
I suspect you will argue that your minimalist consultation is doing all that the Civil Aviation Authority, which is overseeing the process, requires you to do. We’ve already raised this with the CAA and will do so again unless you start informing people what’s in store for them. I urge you to do so.
HACAN East suggested letter of objection to London City Airport re: its plans to concentrate flight paths
October 12, 2014
London City Airport are conducting a consultation on airspace changes, which started on 4th September. It ends on 27th November. It aims to concentrate flight paths, in line with the intentions of UK air traffic control service, NATS. Concentrating flights along narrow corridors is more efficient for air traffic control. Instead of a swathe of perhaps 2 miles wide along which planes are directed, they can now follow a 100 metre track. This means fewer people in total are overflown; but for those unlucky enough to live under the new concentrated route, the noise can be deeply unpleasant. London City airport chose not to give any warning about the changes to local councils or local residents. It is not leafleting any areas, nor holding public meetings to explain the proposals. The areas particularly affected are Bow, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Colliers Row, Dagenham, Hornchurch, Catford, Dulwich, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall. It is deeply inequitable. Local campaign group, HACAN East, will be holding a public meeting. They also have a simple template letter people can send in, to express their views. The lengthy consultation document is hard for laypeople to clearly understand.
London City Airport has refused to hold public meetings to inform people of the changes it is proposing to its flight paths in its current consultation. It confirmed to the campaign group HACAN East that it did not intend to hold any meetings.
The Airport is proposing to concentrate aircraft using the airport into much narrower corridors than they use at present (1). Residents in those areas have not been informed of what is planned. There has been no door-to-door leafleting. Areas in the firing line include Bow, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Dagenham and Hornchurch north of the river. In South London Catford, Dulwich, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall look like being the worst affected.
John Stewart, who chairs HACAN East, said, “There have been big protests recently in villages around Gatwick and in the Home County towns of Ascot and Sunningdale about new flight paths that Gatwick and Heathrow airports have been trialling. But at least they were only experiments and, in their final plans, both airports are committed to give their residents some respite from the noise. City Airport, by contrast, is concentrating all its flights over particular areas. And, to rub salt into the wounds, are not telling residents what’s in store for them. London City wouldn’t get away with this in Ascot.”
Stewart added, “London City is being disingenuous when it argues that the routes are not changes significantly. They most certainly are for the people who will get all the planes.”
The consultation started on the 4th September and end on the 27th November.
Page 22. which shows how places like Bow, Leytonstone, Wansted and Colliers Row would be impacted by take-offs on the days the west wind blows (about 75% of the time in a typical year)
Ilustration from Page 22 to show the sort of concentration being planned.
Page 23 which shows how places like Dagenham and Hornchurch would be affected by take-offs when an east wind is blowing
Illustration from Page 26 to show the sort of concentration being planned.
Page 33 which shows how places like Catford, Dulwich, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall will be affected by landings during an east wind
For further information:
John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650
A letter of objection that people can email to City Airport re: its plans to concentrate flight paths
London City Airport is planning to concentrate its flight paths over certain areas. But it is not telling anybody. The areas particularly in the line of fire are Bow, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Colliers Row, Dagenham, Hornchurch, Catford, Dulwich, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall. It is deeply inequitable.
Feel free to adapt it as you wish and to encourage others to also email in.
“I strongly object to the way you intend to concentrate the flight paths in and out of London City Airport over particular areas. It is creating noise ghettos and is deeply unfair.
“I also object to the fact that you are refusing to tell directly the communities that will be affected what is in store for them. You are holding no public meeting and are doing no leafleting. Most people don’t even know what is on your website.”
Campaigners call on CAA to suspend consultation on City Airport flight paths
Date added: September 8, 2014
Campaign group HACAN East has written to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to ask it to suspend the current consultation being carried out by London City Airport into flight path changes in East London. HACAN East argues that the tens of thousands of residents who are in line to get more planes over-head if the flight path changes go ahead are not being told about them. London City is proposing to concentrate the flights taking off from the airport in a narrow corridor, but its location is not being made clear enough. Areas directly under the favoured flight path will be Bow, Hackney Wick, Leyton Midland Road, Leytonstone, Barkingside and Colliers Row – but the airport is not leafleting these areas. People will just not realise the full impact till it is too late. New computer technology can now guide aircraft much more accurately [like satnav for planes, enabling an aircraft to fly a very exact route] when landing and taking off. It gives airports the option of varying the routes the planes use in order to give all residents some respite from the noise or of concentrating all the planes on one route. London City has chosen to concentrate the aircraft.
London City Airport accused of creating a “noise ghetto” with proposed concentrated flight paths
September 8, 2014
London City Airport have started a consultation on airspace changes (4th September to 27th November) as it wishes to alter flight paths. The change will be because instead of less accurate navigation by aircraft, they now can fly using a very accurate form of satnav for planes. This is referred to as RNAV, meaning precision navigation, by which aircraft can all fly a course accurate to within a few hundred metres. The effect is concentration of flight paths, so most fly the exact same route, and anyone living under that route gets all the planes, and all the noise. Campaign group HACAN East has accused London City Airport of failing to spell out to tens of thousands of residents in East London that they are in line to get many more planes overhead if proposed flight path changes go ahead. The consultation does not make this clear. Areas directly under the favored flight path – and the concentration -will be Bow, Hackney Wick, Leyton Midland Road, Leytonstone, Barkingside and Colliers Row. The effect will be to create a noise ghetto. Air traffic controllers like concentration of flight paths. However, it is often better – less unfair – to share out the noise burden, so many people get some flights, rather than a few getting them all.