The Heathrow Community Noise Forum was set up earlier this year, by Heathrow, in an attempt to improve “engagement” with people affected by the airport’s noise. It aims to build trust, provide information, improve understanding of Heathrow’s operations, and seek communities’ input. The first phase of its work has been to employ consultants to verify how accurate Webtrak is, and to see whether flight paths now are much different to before the “trials” in 2014. However, there has been some dissatisfaction from many of those attending that the Forum has not been working adequately. Eight of the groups that attend presented a statement to the meeting on 5th November, declaring their concerns. One particular matter raised was that Heathrow appears to have taken advantage of the Forum, without the consent of participants, in pressing its case for a 3rd runway. The airport has cited the existence of the Forum as evidence that it can be relied upon to engage with neighbouring communities. There have been instances where HAL has opted to publish its interpretation of analysis in the public domain, without consulting the Forum beforehand, leading some to question whether the HCNF is being used to benefit HAL’s commercial ambitions. The statement requires 4 changes to how the HCNF is conducted, without which “the community groups will need to consider the value of the CNF as a mechanism to achieve their objectives”.
Group of Heathrow Community Noise Forum members express concerns about the airport’s treatment of the Forum
At the Heathrow Community Noise Forum (HCNF) meeting of 5 November 2015, eight of the participating community groups issued a statement expressing concern at Heathrow’s treatment of the Forum: not only for failing to seriously engage with the community groups; but – particularly in light of this failure – for continually citing the Forum’s very existence as evidence in advancing its case for expansion, that it can be relied upon to engage with its neighbouring communities.
The statement requires that Heathrow make four changes to the way in which it conducts the HCNF, without which “the community groups will need to consider the value of the CNF as a mechanism to achieve their objectives”.
At the Heathrow Community Noise Forum (HCNF) meeting on 5 November the Statement [copied below] was presented on behalf of 8 of the community groups on the forum expressing concern about the rate of progress achieved to date and that the creation of the HCNF had been used directly and indirectly by Heathrow in support of its case for a third runway.
The HCNF was set up by Heathrow and attended by the community groups on the understanding it would address concerns about the airport ‘as it is’ and explicitly not in the context of expansion.
Community representatives come to the HCNF because of very real distress and harm that has been caused to significant areas around the airport by both the changed use of airspace over recent years, as well as the ongoing load of up to 766 flights a day over 17.5 hours on Easterly ops to which communities are subjected (based on published maximum figures). NATS’ website confirms that over 300 changes have been promoted in 5 years. The cumulative impact is that many communities are facing severe and unprecedented levels of noise.
The groups fear this is leading to significant impacts on physical and mental health of people (particularly families with children) living under Heathrow’s flight paths. They have written recently to the chief executive of the airport, Mr Holland-Kaye, demanding that Heathrow commissions an airport specific health impact assessment. This is particularly important as it is known that noise pollution from Heathrow alone already affects around one third of all people in Europe (before expansion) impacted by noise from aviation. (Data source: CAA Figure 2 55 Lden 2006 figures).
The attached statement to Heathrow’s Sustainability and Environment Director, Matt Gorman, calls for significant changes to the HCNF to help the forum work more effectively going forwards, achieving a better balance between the airport, the aviation industry and the communities living within the Heathrow hinterland (which covers large parts of London and the south east).
The community groups’ proposals include;
- A time bound action plan to alleviate aviation noise impacts, restoring conditions as far as possible to conditions two to three years ago, since when many of the major changes have been introduced.
- A review of the HCNF’s terms of reference going forwards into 2016 to ensure that the emphasis is switched to addressing excessive noise rather than analysing it. The communities appreciate the analysis and verification work that has been undertaken in this regard by the airport’s consultants but now the time has come to act on it.
- Resulting from the rapid rise in the number of community groups (reflecting a huge rise in complaints received by the airport), a review of the composition of the HCNF to ensure all relevant areas are covered.
- The statement is copied below.
On behalf of:
Aircraft Noise 3 Villages (Lightwater, Bagshot & Windlesham)
Englefield Green Action Group
Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents Association
Plane Daft – Ascot
Richings Park Residents Association
Richmond Heathrow Campaign
Steve Bax, Councillor – Molesey East
Teddington Action Group
For further information, please contact Paul McGuinness on 07958 589894 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Heathrow Community Noise Forum
Details about it on the Heathrow website for the Community Noise Forum
including Terms of Reference , meeting dates. Meeting notes and presentations from each of the previous meetings can be found here
Heathrow Community Noise Forum; 5 November 2015.
Statement by community groups
I would like to make a statement on behalf of the community groups who were signatories to
the letter to Mr Holland-Kaye dated 19 October. These groups have been involved with the
HCNF since its inception but are now expressing growing dissatisfaction relating to the rate
of progress of the CNF in particular and the lack of practical steps by the Aviation Industry,
represented here today to remedy the situation.
You are all aware of the very significant effect that aircraft noise, often up to 18 hours a day
is having on the physical and mental health of the many communities represented at this
forum. We wrote to John Holland-Kaye and called for a Heathrow airport specific health
impact study. Although we received a response from Mr Gorman yesterday afternoon this
does not address the health impact issues we have raised nor our other concerns that the
CNF has been used by Heathrow in various contexts to support its case for expansion.
Whilst we signed up to this forum in the belief it would be both collaborative and transparent, we now feel this not be the case.
Specifically we object to:
the fact that whilst a full representation of the aviation industry is present, including
the airport operator, air traffic control, the CAA (which is supposed to be responsible
for protection the public from excessive aviation noise) as well as the airport’s largest
Customer airline BA, to date none of these bodies is capable of stating what has
changed, nor accept that material changes have occurred despite data now revealing
such changes. In fact no one is accepting accountability for the distress caused by
changes that have been permitted over the past two years.
the fact that the industry in addition to not accepting responsibility is not disclosing
information in an open or timely manner. The Compton Route change is a case in
point. Were it not for continued pressure from this forum and affected communities,
would NATS ever have revealed the change? If we complain about lack of
transparency, or we lack confidence in this process, consider this. How were HAL
and NATS able to continue to issue data supporting that no changes had taken place,
when in fact changes HAD taken place but data did not reflect that change?
the fact that there have been instances recently where, without consultation or
notification, HAL has opted to publish its interpretation of analysis in the public
domain. This behaviour is unacceptable and rightly leads members to question
whether the HCNF is being used for the benefit of HAL’s commercial ambitions.
the selective use of information by HAL. One such example being the public
statement by HAL that PA Consulting stated that larger planes are flying 300 feet
lower than before when in fact PA Consulting stated that the AVERAGE of ALL
planes is some 300 feet lower. HALs interpretation is that things are in fact
improving when that is not the case.
We now know that planes are being flown from Heathrow deliberately using a
stepped form of climb (although this is something nearer a plateau). We believe this is
a practice contrary to the CAA ERCD statement of 1999 and also contrary to the
Industry Code of Practice of 2012 that Heathrow have signed up to. The deliberate
low flying is one of the major causes of suffering amongst communities and in our
view represents a wholly irresponsible use of airspace.
the fact that we have to resort to FOI requests for information on how noisy the new
generation A380s are. Had HAL been truly pro-active in seeking to protect
residents, this information should have been volunteered at this forum.
These are just a few examples of concerns being expressed amongst the groups.
If HAL and those representatives of the aviation industry here today are truly committed to
engaging with communities then we require that:
The Terms of Reference are revisited and amended to better meet the needs of the
Communities (details to be forwarded to you).
HAL works with communities to formulate an action plan which would result in a
return of conditions to an acceptable level at the earliest possible date.
HAL and Industry representatives report accurately to Government that
concentration, stepped take offs and other measures taken designed to improve
performance is not working.
If HAL is genuinely concerned about the well-being of its neighbours, then it will call
for a delay on a decision for further expansion until it has received the local health
impact investigation called for in our letter to Mr Holland-Kaye. Without this it is not
possible to understand noise effects, either of the current operation or resulting from
any intensification or expansion.
We want to work collaboratively but we need transparency and urgency injected into
remedying the unacceptable noise conditions to which communities are now subjected. If
we cannot agree on a workable way forward, then community groups will need to consider
the value of the CNF as a mechanism to achieve their objectives.
On behalf of
Aircraft Noise 3 Villages (Lightwater, Bagshot & Windlesham)
Ealing Aircraft Noise Action Group
Englefield Green Action Group
Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents Association
Plane Daft – Ascot
Richings Park Residents Association
Richmond Heathrow Campaign
Steve Bax, Elmbridge (signed in personal capacity)
Teddington Action Group
Read more »
A new community group has been formed in Elmbridge. RAGE (Residents Action Group Elmbridge) is opposing changed Heathrow flight paths & a 3rd Heathrow runway, believing there is quite enough noise pollution and air pollution already, from the airport. Elmbridge is affected by Heathrow flights. RAGE campaigners have demanded that their MP (Dominic Raab, Conservative – Esher and Walton) and Elmbridge Council take a stance on the issue – as a government decision on a new runway is anticipated before Christmas. Neither has reached an official view on a Heathrow runway. Dominic Raab is sitting on the fence, and not committing to oppose a Heathrow runway, presumably not keen to fall out with Tory leaders. He has said he is “scrutinising the Davies Report carefully, including testing the economic and environmental assumptions.” Mr Raab appears to be hoping there could, magically, be less noise for Elmbridge with a 3rd runway than currently. “I want to check the facts and evidence very carefully before coming to a firm view….” RAGE were shocked that Elmbridge Council had only just formed a task force on the issue. RAGE spokeswoman Katy Glassborow said Heathrow expansion would bring more noise and pollution, and Dominic Raab should find out what local people think and work to prevent the negative impacts on his constituents.
The new group in Elmbridge is RAGE (Residents Action Group Elmbridge)
Email: RAGEinElmbridge@gmail.com Twitter: @RAGEinElmbridge
RAGE! Against changed Heathrow flight paths & Heathrow expansion. No 3rd runway! Enough air & noise pollution already.
Map shows how close the northern part of Elmbridge is to Heathrow (Elmbridge shaded in pink)
Elmbridge anger as MP and council ‘lack Heathrow stance’
Campaigners fighting Heathrow expansion have demanded their MP and council take a stance on the issue – as a government decision looms by the end of the year.
The newly-formed group in Elmbridge, Surrey, called Rage, is opposing flight path changes and expansion.
Campaigners said Dominic Raab MP had not set out his views and were shocked that Elmbridge council had only just formed a task force.
Both the council and MP said they had not yet reached an official view.
The Esher and Walton Conservative MP said on his blog he was scrutinising the report by the Airports Commission, looking at the economic and environmental assumptions, testing assumptions on noise levels, and checking facts and evidence before reaching a firm view.
In a statement, Elmbridge council said it agreed in September to set up a group to explore the impact of Heathrow expansion and the outcome would inform its view.
Rage spokeswoman Katy Glassborow said expansion would bring more noise and pollution.
She said: “It’s about time he [Dominic Raab MP] found out what local people think and showed his colours on their behalf.
“We are calling on him and also Elmbridge Borough Council to move quickly to represent our views and oppose expansion plans.
“Otherwise, hundreds of thousands more planes could be flying over our homes and schools.”
Heathrow has said it is reducing its noise footprint and insisted that its air quality is better than the rest of London.
In July, the Airports Commission backed plans to build a new third runway at Heathrow, after nearly three years of deliberation.
The government has said it expects to make a decision by the end of the year.
Katy Glassborrow commented:
“Make you mind up time was a very, very long time ago. People living in surrounding constituencies have long been defended by MPs willing to take a strong stand against Heathrow expansion, and protect the basic rights of the people they represent. Like breathing air that doesn’t breach legal levels of toxicity, and the ability to get an adequate night’s sleep uninterrupted by aircraft noise. Dominic Raab’s inertia is utterly baffling and we call on him to act immediately to quash plans for more runways, thus safeguarding our health, sanity and climate against the greed of the aviation industry. No more runways Mr Raab!” said Katy Glassborow.
Dominic Raab’s blog states:
This week, I met up with Nigel Milton (Heathrow’s Director for External Affairs) and Cheryl Monk (Heathrow’s Head of Community Relations), along with Molesey Councillor Steve Bax (who sits on Heathrow’s local Noise Community Forum).
The meeting was part of an ongoing dialogue since last year’s highly disruptive flight trial paths over Molesey (and Walton). I live under the path, so I hear the noise first hand.
Two interesting points emerged from the meeting in that regard. First, no further flight path trials are (at least currently) planned across the same areas. Second, Heathrow have sought independent verification of the noise levels, using a Dutch firm, given the discrepancy between what some residents are reporting and Heathrow’s data. My strong sense is that noise levels have reduced significantly, but there have also been a lot of ‘Easterly Operations’ lately, which increase noise levels, dictated by weather conditions.
Of course, there is a much bigger issue looming, namely the decision on expansion of airport capacity, following the Davies Report.
I have made clear that I am scrutinising the Davies Report carefully, including testing the economic and environmental assumptions – both pros and cons – with business groups, local authorities, and other groups.
As part of that process, I particularly want to test the assumption that a 3rd runway could be developed in a way that reduces noise levels (affecting Elmbridge and more generally). I want to check the facts and evidence very carefully before coming to a firm view, and I will feed my views, our community’s interests and concerns into government, before a decision is taken.
Read more »
Changes to Gatwick flight paths, using satellite precision-area navigation (PR-Nav) technology, have meant an increase of noise for those under flight paths that are now narrower, or those under new routes. This has led to a huge number of noise complaints, as well as anger and upset for those affected. Reigate MP, Crispin Blunt leads the Gatwick Co-ordination Group of MPs in Parliament, opposed to the changed flight paths and to plans for a 2nd runway. Crispin has been trying to ascertain, from Aviation Minister, Robert Goodwill, that the new technology would be used in a way that allowed aircraft to be spread out as widely as possible, rather than being concentrated. In a recent letter to Robert Goodwill, Crispin asked for stronger policy guidance from the Government to ensure “noise ghettos” are not created, by reducing aircraft concentration, maximising dispersal and by permitting multiple arrival and departure routes to give respite to communities affected. In his response, Mr Goodwill said “it is extremely important that we listen to the concerns of communities on these matters”, before giving an assurance that the Government will consider the issues raised and the need for appropriate guidance to achieve “solutions which are locally suitable when airspace changes must be made”. He said “we must think about this carefully.”
MP promises to listen to ‘noise ghetto’ worries over Gatwick
November 16th, 2015 (Dorking Advertiser)
CONCERNS: Noise issues at Gatwick will be “carefully” considered according to a minister
THE Government is listening to the concerns of residents blighted by Gatwick aircraft noise, according to the Aviation Minister.
Following the controversial introduction of satellite precision-area navigation (PR-Nav) technologyon Gatwick departures in 2013, which led to an increase in flights over the south of Mole Valley, Robert Goodwill has moved to reassure those disturbed by the change.
Responding to a letter from MP Crispin Blunt, who had called for the technology to be used in a way that allowed aircraft to be spread as widely as possible, Mr Goodwill said the matter needed to be considered “carefully”.
Mr Blunt is part of a group of MPs, including Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford, who have battled against issues with aircraft noise around Gatwick.
In his letter to Mr Goodwill last month, Crispin Blunt asked for stronger policy guidance from the Government to ensure “noise ghettos” are not created, by reducing aircraft concentration, maximising dispersal and by permitting multiple arrival and departure routes to give respite to communities affected.
In his response, Mr Goodwill said “it is extremely important that we listen to the concerns of communities on these matters”, before giving an assurance that the Government will consider the issues raised and the need for appropriate guidance to achieve “solutions which are locally suitable when airspace changes must be made”.
His response follows the Civil Aviation Authority’s review of the introduction of PR-Nav technology. It recommended shifting the point at which aircraft turn, making them fly a different path over Mol Valleyl and reverting them to a route previously used.
After receiving Mr Goodwill’s reply, Mr Blunt said: “I am pleased that ministers have recognised that poor implementation of this flight technology can have a hugely negative impact on local communities affected by concentrated and persistent aircraft noise.
“The Government’s willingness to consider new guidance opens up the possibility of sharing the burden of noise through greater dispersal and use of respites. I stand ready to engage with Government to ensure we get fit-for-purpose guidance.”
William Boyack, spokesman for the airport, said: “Where possible Gatwick involves local communities in the design of any solutions to reduce the impact of noise. Following concerns from the local community, we are working towards implementing a redesign of the westerly departure flight path that currently takes aircraft close to [the area].”
Aviation Minister reveals official review of concentrated flight paths policy
Friday, 6 November, 2015
(Crispin Blunt’s website)
The Aviation Minister has written to Crispin Blunt MP about concentrated flight paths, giving an assurance that the Government are considering ways to increase dispersal of flights to mitigate noise pollution.
Crispin Blunt wrote to Robert Goodwill MP last month about concerns with the implementation of “performance-based navigation” (PBN) on departure routes from Gatwick Airport. PBN is being rolled out across the world. This is based on a policy of concentrating flight paths rather than dispersing them.
Local MPs have secured a promise to change PBN on the westerly departure, which has overflown Holmwood and southern Reigate and Redhill, to bring the route further south of population centres. However, the satellite-based technology will still mean flights being concentrated on a precise route, with unrelenting disturbance for those underneath it. This is also having an impact on easterly departures from Gatwick.
Crispin Blunt asked for stronger policy guidance from Government to ensure PBN is implemented in more intelligent ways than seen so far at Gatwick, to avoid the creation of “noise ghettos” by reducing concentration and maximising dispersal and by permitting multiple arrival and departure routes to give respite to local communities affected.
In his response, the Minister agreed that “It is extremely important that we listen to the concerns of communities on these matter” and that there is a perception that current guidance “disincentivises respite in all but exceptional cases”. Mr Goodwill gave an assurance that the Government will consider the issues raised and the need for appropriate guidance to achieve “solutions which are locally suitable when airspace changes must be made”.
Crispin Blunt said:
“I am pleased that Ministers have recognised that poor implementation of this flight technology can have a hugely negative impact on local communities affected by concentrated and persistent aircraft noise. The Government’s willingness to consider new guidance opens up the possibility of sharing the burden of noise through greater dispersal and use of respites. I stand ready to engage with Government to ensure we get fit-for-purpose guidance.”
Letter sent to Robert Goodwill MP from Crispin Blunt and the Gatwick Coordination Group of MPs
To Robert Goodwill,
Under Secretary of State for Transport
at the Department for Transport
Dear Under Secretary of State
I am writing to you on behalf of Members of the Gatwick Coordination Group* representing constituencies impacted by aviaitn noise out of Gatwick Airprot.
As you will be aware, in the last two years several UK airports, together with NATS, have undertaken trials of new, more concentrated, flight paths and procedures. In some cases these changes have been earmarked as permanent changes. In most cases they were not the subject to any consultation or liaison with affected communities.
The results of these trials and changes have been strikingly similar: a massive rise in complaints and deep concern anger amongst our constituents for the noise, emissions, health, financial and other impacts they are exposed to. Communities who have lived alongside their airport neighbours in reasonable harmony for many years are incensed.
These changes have frequently been justified on the basis that they supporting Government policy to “limit and, when possible, reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise”. The aviation industry asserts that this supports the concentration of aircraft.
We cannot believe this is what the government wants. It is clearly inequitable and unethical to concentrate the debilitating impacts of aviation on a minority of the population. It is similarly not responsible of the industry to seek to do so when the effects of intense noise, emissions and other impacts have not been adequatelyresearched and are not fully understood. And in some cases it is clear that the indust ry’s changes have increased the number of people significantly affeced by arcraft iouosewheihis is wholly frustrating your policy.
We hope you will make clear to the industry and those responsible for regulating it that, other than in very limited circumstances (for example routes over the sea), the government does not support the concentration of flight paths. We would welcome a clear statement from you that the impacts of aviation should, wherever possible, be dispersed on a fair and equitable basis, using the modern navigational technology now becoming available, consistent of course at all times with safety.
MP memebers of the Gatwick Coordination Group
Crispin Blunt MP – MP for Reigate (Chairman)
Sir Paul Beresford MP – MP for Mole Valley
Nusrat Ghani MP – MP for Wealden
Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP – MP for Arundel and South Downs
Jeremy Quin Mp – MP for Horsham
Tom Tugendhat MBE MP – MP for Tonbridge and Malling
Henry Smith MP – MP for Crawley
Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP – MP for Mid Sussex
See also earlier scanned:
Crispin Blunt’s letter of 1.10.2015 to Robert Goodwill, the Aviation Minister
Aviation Minister’s reply to Crispin Blunt, on 30.10.2015
Read more »
Stewart Wingate says Gatwick will continue to push for a 2nd runway even if Heathrow gets Government backing for a runway, when (if?) the announcement is made in December. The Prime Minister has said there will be a formal response to the Airports Commission’s findings by the end of the year, though it may be by George Osborne or Patrick McLoughlin, to save Cameron having to admit his “no ifs, no buts, no 3rd runway” promise. Gatwick has spent the past four months attempting to pick holes in Sir Howard Davies’ work, trying – not very successfully – convince the Government to back Gatwick instead of Heathrow. Stewart Wingate has said he thinks a Heathrow runway is undeliverable, and he will not lose his appetite to get his runway. “This is going to be a multi-year event.” He refuses to rule out legal action to block Heathrow expansion if it gets government backing. Gatwick has already examined the legality of the air quality issue, but Wingate adds: “I think there’d be other people in the queue well ahead of us” who would challenge the Goverment in the courts. Wingate also insists that he will “absolutely not” resign if the Government supports Heathrow, because he believes Heathrow will ultimately be refused on environmental grounds. He continues to deny the environmental problems of a Gatwick runway, which are nearly as bad as one at Heathrow.
Gatwick will keep on with second runway bid even when Authorities backs Heathrow
November 15, 2015 (Salem Standard)
Gatwick will continue to push for a second runway even if Heathrow wins Government backing for its expansion plans next month, according to Stewart Wingate, the chief executive of Britain’s second-biggest airport.
The West Sussex airport is vying with its bigger west London rival for David Cameron’s blessing to expand.
Mr Wingate’s ambitions were dealt a blow at the start of July, when the Government-appointed Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, recommended that Heathrow should be allowed to grow, to solve the country’s impending runway capacity crisis.
The Prime Minister has pledged to give a formal response to the commission’s findings by the end of the year. Gatwick has spent the past four months attempting to pick holes in Sir Howard’s work, to convince the Government to reject the commission’s recommendation and support its expansion instead.
“I don’t think it can possibly be the end of it,” he said. “I think the Government decision is an important milestone, but are we going to lose our appetite and build a second runway? Our belief is, Heathrow is undeliverable. This is going to be a multi-year event.”
“Our belief is, Heathrow is undeliverable”, says the head of Gatwick Photo: David Rose/Telegraph
Mr Wingate was speaking as Gatwick reached a milestone today despite this morning’s evacuation, with 40m passengers passing through the airport in the past year,. The commission’s forecasts had assumed the airport would not be this busy until 2024.
Mr Wingate said that previous plans to expand Heathrow had failed on environmental grounds and the same would happen again if the Government backs another runway in west London. Gatwick, which has already invested more than £25m on its runway bid, would “stand ready” to deliver its landing strip if Heathrow’s plan unravelled, he said.
He refused to rule out launching a legal challenge if the Government throws its weight behind his rival. Gatwick believes that a third runway at Heathrow would be illegal on the grounds that it would breach European Union limits on air pollution. Heathrow insists it can expand within EU rules.
Mr Wingate also batted away any suggestion that he would resign if the Government did not give Gatwick the green light.
Also from the Telegraph.
About Stewart Wingate:
The airport’s chief executive is the public face of Gatwick’s vocal and often aggressive campaign to convince ministers to allow it to grow. An electrician by training, he has the air of a practical man willing to build the runway with his bare hands if given half a chance. His experience with power tools would certainly be handy.
Wingate switched into the aviation industry after 16 years working for Black & Decker. He was born in Bishop Auckland, a market town in County Durham, and left school at 16 to pursue a career in industry at the American power tools manufacturer.
While at Black & Decker, he was offered the chance to study at university, graduating from Northumbria with a degree in electrical and electronic engineering, and subsequently from Newcastle with an MBA.
He then progressed rapidly at the company and was soon sent abroad. He lived in Frankfurt for 18 months, and spent two years in Prague setting up a manufacturing plant. In 2004, he decided it was time for a change.
“A former colleague from Black & Decker who was the MD of Glasgow Airport, knew that I was leaving so he put a call in and said ‘do you want to come and have a look at the airport?’ ”
A brief spell as operations director at Glasgow was followed by a posting as chief executive of Budapest airport. In 2007, he was appointed managing director of Stansted before taking the helm at Gatwick in 2009, joining on the same day that private equity giant Global Infrastructure Partners took control from BAA.
“It had been under-invested in, it hadn’t been marketed properly and there were certain elements of the service proposition, particularly the likes of security, which just weren’t good from a passenger perspective,” he says.
‘If we keep doing what we have been doing, sure as eggs are eggs that decision will come round to Gatwick because it’s the obvious choice”
He set about improving the airport, putting in new security facilities and attracting more airlines such as WestJet. Since then, passenger numbers have grown rapidly from the 32m annually who used Gatwick when he started. A second runway is crucial if it is to keep growing so swiftly in the years to come.
But winning government support for expansion looks an uphill struggle. In July, the government-appointed Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, recommended that Heathrow, rather than Gatwick, should be allowed to build another runway. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has pledged to make a decision by the end of the year on whether to follow Sir Howard’s conclusions.
Wingate firmly believes the Commission, which spent three years examining how best to solve Britain’s aviation capacity crisis, made the wrong decision, and is hoping to convince ministers to back Gatwick expansion instead.
Since the Commission’s final report, Gatwick has not been shy about its position, launching a series of attacks on Sir Howard and his team. They have drawn a stinging response from Sir Howard, who has branded the airport’s criticisms as “nonsense” and “entirely misguided”.
“We’ve been quite forthright, we think they got it wrong, in terms of the conclusions they’ve drawn from the evidence that sits within their report,” says Wingate. Chief among Gatwick’s complaints is that the Commission used estimates that suggest Gatwick will only hit 40m passenger in 2024.
“Traffic forecasts will never ever be accurate, but we do expect a better result than the forecasts that have been used.”
Furthermore, Gatwick is concerned that the Commission put too much emphasis on a PwC assessment of the economic impact of Heathrow and Gatwick, which favoured the former, rather than a Treasury analysis, which the airport insists shows little difference between the two.
Gatwick also points out that the Commission’s own estimates indicate that its second runway, at £7.1bn, would be much cheaper than a third at Heathrow, which would cost £17.6bn.
Expanding Heathrow would need at least £5bn for road and rail works, some of which would probably come from taxpayers, while Gatwick would only require an extra £800m, all of which the airport has pledged to pay. Then there is the issue of air pollution. [That is total, absolute nonsense. There would be huge costs to the taxpayer for the necessary public transport, if Gatwick got a runway. AW note].
“We’ve looked at the legal case particularly around air quality because we do see this as a significant hurdle for any government decision,” says Wingate. Gatwick argues that the Commission’s Heathrow recommendation is flawed because expanding the West London airport would be illegal on the grounds that it would violate European Union restrictions on air pollution.
Two air monitoring stations around Heathrow already exceed EU levels. Heathrow stresses the stations are on the M4 and not in the airport itself, and insists its runway plan will comply with the law. Gatwick, meanwhile, argues that it meets the rules now, and would do if it expanded.
“The air quality will deteriorate somewhat, but it’ll not violate the targets that have been set down,” Wingate says of Gatwick’s plan. “Heathrow, they violate today, and how on earth are they going to pass the tests” with a third runway.
“History tells us, every time Heathrow gets an approval it doesn’t take long before it falls over”. Stewart Wingate
Opponents of both Heathrow and Gatwick expansion are also concerned about the blight of increased aviation noise for local residents. Wingate, who lives in Surrey, has planes flying over his home, although he does not live under the arrivals flight path.
“It certainly makes you very aware of the noise impacts,” he says. But as a businessman who has worked abroad, he believes the disruption is outweighed by the benefits of good transport links. “If I want to have the connectivity then what I need to do is to accept that there will be some level of impact that I’ll have to tolerate.” [Being paid as much as Stewart Wingate, it is barely surprising he finds the noise of the planes that generate his income acceptable! What a surprise. AW note]
Perhaps unusually for a company chief executive, Wingate spends as much time talking about his main rival – Heathrow – as he does his own business.
Whenever he makes the case for Gatwick’s runway, he invariably follows it up with a critical comparison to Heathrow. [Gatwick has done constant negative campaigning about Heathrow for years. Endlessly. Like the parable of the mote and the beam – Gatwick loves go ignore its own problems, hoping they will seem acceptable in comparison with those of Heathrows. Wrong. AW note].
Given the intense rivalry between the two airports, does he like John Holland-Kaye, his opposite number at Heathrow? “We get on reasonably well,” says Wingate. “There’s probably a healthy respect but also a significant competitive edge to our relationship.”
He refuses to rule out legal action to block Heathrow expansion if Cameron backs his rival. Gatwick has already examined the legality of the air quality issue, but Wingate adds: “I think there’d be other people in the queue well ahead of us” who would challenge the Goverment in the courts.
Wingate also insists that he will “absolutely not” resign if the Government supports Heathrow, because he believes that even if the West London airport receives the green light for a third runway it will not be built, leaving the door open for Gatwick. Expanding Heathrow has been recommended three times in the past 12 years, but has always failed amid environmental concerns.
“History tells us, every time Heathrow gets an approval it doesn’t take long before it falls over,” says Wingate.
Whatever Cameron decides next month, it will not resolve the battle between Heathrow and Gatwick once and for all, Wingate believes.
“I don’t think it can possibly be the end of it,” he says. “It may be as early as the end of this year, it may be we have to be patient, but I think if we keep doing what we have been doing, sure as eggs are eggs that decision will come round to Gatwick because it is the obvious choice.”
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Heathrow Hub, dreamt up by former British Airways pilot Jock Lowe, is the plan to extend the Heathrow northern runway, to the east. It is one of the 3 runway plans short listed by the Airports Commission. Heathrow Hub is backed by Ian Hannam, a former JP Morgan Cazenove banker. They hope to sell their scheme to Heathrow airport, potentially for tens of millions of pounds. Heathrow Hub submitted a patent application in October 2012, but British regulators alerted it to an existing patent. A retired American airline captain, Daniel Gellert, says the Hub infringes a patent first lodged in America in 2008. Gellert’s “safe runway aircraft arrival and departure system using split runway design” was granted a European patent in October 2011. He said he hopes to “negotiate an agreement” with Heathrow Hub if its plan is chosen. Heathrow Hub has sought a declaration of non-infringement. They say a ruling from the Intellectual Property Office has stated that Heathrow Hub’s proposal would not infringe Mr Gellert’s patent. Separately Heathrow Hub has received commitments of additional financial backing from a consortium of City investors in recent days. The government is understood to have had discussions with all three of the short listed plans, on the deliverability and possible mitigations of their schemes. Some form of government announcement is expected before Christmas.
Heathrow Hub wins decisive legal victory and secures new financial backing
11.11.2015 (Heathrow Hub press release)
Heathrow Hub, the independent proposal to expand Heathrow by extending the northern
runway, has received a significant double boost in its campaign to be selected by the UK
government as the best solution to the UK’s aviation capacity challenge.
In the last two weeks Heathrow Hub scored a decisive legal victory regarding a patent first
lodged in the US by Daniel Gellert.
Mr Gellert, a retired American airline captain, alleged that the UK patent originating from his
US patent would be infringed by Heathrow Hub’s proposal. Heathrow Hub sought a
declaration of non-infringement.
A ruling from the Intellectual Property Office has stated that Heathrow Hub’s proposal would
not infringe Mr Gellert’s patent.
Separately Heathrow Hub has received commitments of additional financial backing from a
consortium of City investors in recent days.
Jock Lowe, Director of Heathrow Hub, commented:
“Heathrow Hub is my concept, based on decades of aviation experience. We are very pleased that the Intellectual Property Office has recognised the originality of our proposal over Mr Gellert’s patent. Separately we welcome the clear vote of confidence that this additional investment indicates in our proposal and our prospects of success.
“We are still very much involved in the process: The UK Government has yet to complete its
assessment and it will deliver its own verdict by the end of this year. We continue to liaise with ministers and civil servants to ensure our proposal is properly understood as the superior and more politically deliverable option.”
Of the three concepts shortlisted by the Airports Commission, the northern runway extension is the only one which has been designed from the beginning to be a pragmatic and politically realistic solution. It was awarded a “silver medal” by Sir Howard Davies when he announced the Commission’s findings in July.
Our proposal has five key advantages over the 3rd runway: […durr… theirs is a 3rd runway …]
Quicker, and easier to construct. The first phase, costing £4.8bn and providing
approximately 70,000 additional movements, could actually be completed as soon as
Cheaper. We estimate our entire scheme costs £6bn less and the Commission
estimates £3bn less. This leaves financial headroom to pay for surface access
upgrades, potentially saving the taxpayer some £5bn.
Less disruption. We take less land, would destroy fewer buildings (242 homes as
opposed to 783 for the 3rd runway) and do not need to move the Lakeside Waste to
Noise mitigation. Our proposed enhanced operating techniques and flight paths
would reduce the noise footprint and so remove 130,000 people from the current
Phasing and conditionality. A unique opportunity of our scheme is that it can be
constructed in phases, so new capacity need only be released when noise and air
quality targets are met, thereby reducing environmental and financial risks.
We have also submitted a significantly revised surface access and roads plan to the
Department for Transport, quite different to our original submission. We are confident this
allows air quality targets to be met. The Airports Commission assessed our runways plan with a surface access plan of their own devising, rather than one proposed by us. That has now been corrected.
Heathrow Hub has other news stories, about its attempt to make a lot of money, through its runway plan at http://www.heathrowhub.com/press-media.aspx
Heathrow plan flies into patent battle
Heathrow Hub plans to stretch the runway have hit turbulence
A PLAN by a former Concorde pilot to stretch and split a Heathrow runway to increase flights has become entangled in a patent row.
Heathrow Hub, dreamt up by former British Airways pilot Jock Lowe, is one of three proposals being considered by Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission to boost runway capacity in southeast England. Davies surprised the aviation industry when he shortlisted the little-known scheme, alongside a third Heathrow runway and a second at Gatwick.
Heathrow Hub’s £12bn plan proposes stretching the northern runway to 6,800 metres and dividing it with a 650 metre buffer zone to allow simultaneous take-off and landing on both stretches. It hopes to sell its blueprint to Heathrow airport, potentially for tens of millions of pounds.
However, Heathrow Hub’s scheme is being challenged by a retired American airline captain, Daniel Gellert, who claims it infringes a patent first lodged in America in 2008.
Gellert’s “safe runway aircraft arrival and departure system using split runway design” was granted a European patent in October 2011. He said he hopes to “negotiate an agreement” with Heathrow Hub if its plan is chosen. “I’m not trying to dislodge the use of this process. But nobody in their right mind is going to pour concrete for a £12bn project when there’s a patent that says you can stop them.”
Lowe says he dreamt up the concept more than 25 years ago in a Dubai restaurant, when he sketched it on a napkin.
Heathrow Hub is backed by Ian Hannam, a former JP Morgan Cazenove banker and SAS soldier. It submitted a patent application in October 2012, but British regulators alerted it to Gellert’s and two even older patent applications. It has submitted a fresh application, which has yet to be granted.
Heathrow Hub claims to have been unaware of Gellert’s plan before submitting its patent. Lowe insisted its plans, which would increase capacity at the congested airport to 700,000 flights a year, are original.
The Airports Commission said: “We are currently evaluating more than 50,000 responses to our consultation process. Our remit is to identify the most viable option.”
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An economics professor has assessed the claims by the Airports Commission, of huge benefits to the UK from a Heathrow runway – and found them to be very dubious indeed. He has written to members of the Cabinet, to express his concerns. Professor Len Skerratt (Brunel) believes the Commission has presumed unreliable indirect benefits to the UK national economy. He says there would not be an economic case for the 3rd runway without the supposed indirect benefits to the national economy. These wider economic benefits are said by the Commission to amount to some £131-£147 billion, between 0.65% and 0.75% of GDP by 2050. However, these predictions are not believable. There are only small predicted direct benefits, which could be as low as £11.8 billion (carbon traded model) or just £1.4 billion (carbon capped at the level suggested by the CCC). As the Commission’s own expert economic advisors (Mackie and Pearce) point out these appraisals rely on assumptions which are excessively optimistic. The Commission has gone to great lengths to quantify all the uncertain benefits, particularly the wider and often intangible economic and social benefits. Yet scant attention has been given to the certain tangible and intangible costs of serious damage to health, and quality of life in the very long term, and also the productivity loss, delays and annoyance caused by ten years of construction.
Summary of the report by Professor Skerratt:
Up to now discussion about the 3rd runway/airport capacity has focussed on the issue of whether the environmental and social costs are sufficiently small t to outweigh the economic benefits to air travellers and the wider UK economy.
We challenge this focus and argue that the 3rd runway is no great elixir which is needed for the UK economy. The economic case for the 3rd runway is weak, according to professional economists, including the Airport Commission’s own advisers.
The case is weak because:
- The modelling is untried
- The climate change aspects are far more serious than previously thought.
- The noise and pollution impact on those newly under the flight path are largely ignored
- The economic assumptions are excessively optimistic
- Workers would not gain much, since the predictions that assume that unemployment will be greater without the expansion are excessively pessimistic.
- Air travellers will not gain much, as they would face increased costs to pay for the runway
The only party to gain much is the shareholders of Heathrow Airport.
The full report is
Letter from Professor Skerratt to Members of the Cabinet
From Professor Len Skerratt (who works with Brunel University)
Acton, W4 LenSkerratt@yahoo.com
To: Members of the Cabinet of the UK Government
9 November 2015
The uneconomic case for a 3rd runway at Heathrow
Based on the views of leading and respected professional economists, I enclose a review , which you should find useful in your deliberations.
the Airport Commission’s own expert economic advisors Professor Mackie and Mr Brian Pearce conclude that “Overall, therefore, we counsel caution in attaching significant weight either to the absolute or relative results of the GDP/GVA S-CGE approach [of the] PwC report within the Economic Case. “
Professor John Kay, founder and former Director of the Institute of Fiscal studies concludes that “The commission relied heavily on an elaborate modelling exercise that calculated costs and benefits for the next 50 years. Little weight should be attached to these calculations.” and “You can safely disregard most of this convoluted analysis.”
1. Unreliable predicted indirect benefits to the UK national economy
The Airports Commission’s case for a 3 rd runway rests primarily on the supposed indirect economic benefits to the UK economy as a whole, calculated to be £131-147 billion. Mackie and Pearce advise that the model is one of the most ambitious attempts to predict economic impact and has not been well tested. Kay goes further and concludes that it includes an excess of detail, and above all suffers from a mechanical projection of the present into what is in reality a highly uncertain future – in 10 years let alone 60.
2. Excessive optimism, yet small predicted direct benefits
Optimism pervades the Commission’s report. UK annual growth is assumed to be 2.75% significantly more than the latest maximum 2% forecast of the OECD. Project overruns and surface transportation costs are seriously underestimated. The direct benefits just to the aviation sector, are forecast at £11.8 billion (if carbon emissions produced by Heathrow are mitigated) and £1.4 billion if carbon emissions are restricted to the levels suggested by the International Climate Change Committee. These are very small, especially in the context of the permanent environmental damage, and the 10-15 years of construction upheaval. Moreover, they appear not to be risk adjusted. Gatwick’s figures are £10.8 billion and £5.5 billion respectively.
3. Insufficient concern for carbon emission risks
Since the report was published in July 2015, there have been fresh stark warnings of the severe financial risks of climate change by both the IMF Chief Lagarde and UK Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney.
4. Major omitted costs
The Commission has gone to great lengths to quantify all the uncertain benefits, particularly the wider and often intangible economic and social benefits. Yet scant attention has been given to the certain tangible and intangible costs of serious damage to health, and quality of life in the very long term, and also the productivity loss, delays and annoyance caused by ten years of construction. Compensation for these is woeful, even if it is possible.
A decision is required that reflects “Not pounds and pence, plans and policies, but people.” (David Cameron, 2015).
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Responding to the publication of the PIR (Post Implementation Review of Gatwick flight path changes since 2013, Sally Pavey (Chair of CAGNE) commented that it was “extremely disappointing”. It concluded that only the departure route taking off to the west, and heading north, had to change. Local group, Plane Wrong, welcomed that admission, but are dismayed by the CAA’s conclusion that the easterly departure route does not need to be changed. The PIR said a route towards the south-coast and another heading east were acceptable but should be reviewed by Gatwick; the remaining six routes did not need to change. Sally said the PIR now needed to be reviewed by the Aviation Minister, Robert Goodwill: “For a Government, in this day and age, to implement and subject residents to such an airspace concentrated system without any research into the noise readings or emissions from concentrated routes is beyond belief.” She added: “The noise shadow is far grater from a concentrated route than a dispersed route. It’s like having a country lane next to your home, which might see a few cars throughout the day and night, and changing it to the M1 overnight. The noise is relentless. Until the aviation industry recognise that concentrated routes create noise shadows these reports are pointless as they serve only the aviation industry and not the taxpayers.” The report offers little for people affected in West Sussex.
Gatwick required to change westerly departure route
12.11.2015 (Plane Wrong)
Plane Wrong welcomes the decision of the CAA to require Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) to change the westerly departure route that affects people in many villages to the South of Dorking and across to Reigate and Redhill.
We understand that GAL is currently working on a new design that will take the route roughly back to where it used to be before it was moved nearly 2 years ago. However, we are waiting to see whether the new route will continue to be concentrated so that some people are badly affected, as now, or more dispersed as previously. We believe the latter would be much fairer and will be pressing for that.
We are dismayed by the CAA’s conclusion that the easterly departure route does not need to be changed and we reaffirm our commitment to continue to campaign for the change made in 2014 to be reversed.
Chair, Mike Ward, said, “We are naturally pleased that our stance on the westerly route has been entirely vindicated. It was never fair to impose a new route on people who had not previously been affected and with minimal consultation. However, there is a long way to go before the change will be implemented and we will be continuing to monitor both the design and the speed of implementation through regular contact with GAL and the CAA.
“The decision on the easterly route is clearly very disappointing, especially for residents in the south part of Reigate and Redhill and villages further east and the campaign to reverse this will go on. We will be studying the lengthy report and consulting with our professional advisers before reaching further conclusions.”
CAA’s Gatwick review ‘ignored’ human cost of changed flight paths
12.11.2015 (Mid Sussex Times)
A campaign group has said a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) review on changes to Gatwick flightpaths was ‘extremely disappointing’.
The CAA’s report on the departure routes which it approved in August 2013 concluded a path which takes off to the west and turns north had to be changed; a route towards the south-coast and another heading east were acceptable but should be reviewed by Gatwick; the remaining six routes did not need to change.
Sally Pavey, chairman of Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE), said: “For a Government, in this day and age, to implement and subject residents to such an airspace concentrated system without any research into the noise readings or emissions from concentrated routes is beyond belief.”
She criticised the reports and said they should be reviewed by the aviation minister Robert Goodwill.
She added: “The noise shadow is far grater from a concentrated route than a dispersed route. It’s like having a country lane next to your home, which might see a few cars throughout the day and night, and changing it to the M1 overnight. The noise is relentless.
“Until the aviation industry recognise that concentrated routes create noise shadows these reports are pointless as they serve only the aviation industry and not the taxpayers.”
A CAGNE statement said the report gave ‘no consideration’ to the impact concentrated routes have on residents’ lives.
The report was ‘particularly disappointing’ for the residents of Slinfold and Southwater.
“Copthorne may find the route SEAFORD tweaked to help with the concentration of flights but none of the other routes, that West Sussex are blighted by, are to be improved for residents,” said CAGNE.
“The report expects residents to tolerate a three per cent increase in noise and is done with no compensation or mitigation proposals by Gatwick Airport.
“Dispersal is mentioned in the report but is dismissed without any evidence to the impact that concentration are having on the environment ie people.
“Concentrated flight paths were introduced with very little consultation in May 2014 on all departure routes out of Gatwick. The Government having undertaken no research to the health impacts that they would have on people’s lives nor mental state. These factors have cost implication, which are simply ignored by this CAA report.”
The CAA’s disappointing PIR finally published, showing only one Gatwick route to be slightly changed
Since autumn 2013 there have been changes to flight paths for Gatwick airport, given provisional approval by the CAA. Routes have been altered, and flight paths have been more concentrated. This has been done without consultation of affected communities. The CAA has done a PIR (Post Implementation Review) that ended in January. It has finally, after delays, published its findings. These are regarded as very disappointing, as almost no concessions have been made and though hundreds of complaints were sent in, there are few changes to routes. GACC says: “In a 198 page report they devote only 2 pages to the possibility of dispersal – spreading the aircraft over a wider area – and to the possibility of respite – giving people a break from constant noise. And then reject both. We will now need to take the case to the Government and indeed will raise this when we meet the Minister for Aviation, Robert Goodwill MP …on 18 November.” The more concentrated noise has caused great distress for the people unlucky enough to live directly under the flight paths. The only change to a route is one which takes off to the west, and flies over Holmwood, Brockham and Reigate – Gatwick will be consulting on a revised route in the next few months. People are angry that the CAA, yet again, ignores input from the public.
Click here to view full story…
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Billy Bishop waterfront airport is a small airport in Toronto, on the lake edge close to central Toronto. It has a small number of passengers and its one runway is only about 1,200 metres. For several years there have been plans to expand the airport, extend its runway, and get jets instead of the turboprops at present. These plans have been strenuously opposed by people who did not want the much loved water front to have loud planes only perhaps 600 feet overhead. There is already a large airport, Pearson, outside Toronto. Now the local group, “NOJets .O” are delighted that the new Transport Minister Marc Garneau has confirmed that the expansion will not go ahead. The minister’s clarification means the expansion proposal has been stopped, and the threat of jets over the city’s water front has been removed. This is a credit to the two and a half years of very active campaigning by Toronto citizens, wanting to preserve the quality of their area, and the public amenity of the lakeside. The decision is seen as a blow to Porter Airlines Inc. expansion plans and a potential aircraft order topping $2-billion for Bombardier Inc.
Minister Garneau Makes Right Decision for Toronto’s Waterfront
End of Island Airport expansion scheme is a win for all of Toronto.
NoJetsTO applauds Transport Minister Garneau’s comments that the Island Airport expansion will not go ahead. The minister’s clarification means the expansion proposal has been stopped.
“Today Toronto residents woke up to the good news that the threat of jets on our waterfront is removed,” NoJetsTO Chair Norman Di Pasquale said. “Minister Garneau’s comments reaffirming the Liberal position remove any doubt – the Island Airport expansion scheme is dead.”
The new Transport Minister took to Twitter late Thursday night to clarify the government’s anti-airport expansion stance.
“The federal government was elected on the promise of stopping the jets on our waterfront and we are happy they stand by their word,” Di Pasquale added. “It’s a pivotal moment for the future of our waterfront that is the result of 2.5 years of citizen-led action.”
“With countless residents from Scarborough to Etobicoke coming together to protect our waterfront this is a win for all of Toronto,” the NoJetsTO chair explained. “City Council and the Port Authority need to acknowledge the new realities and pull the plug on the expansion study.”
“The federal government is making a prudent decision by safeguarding its large investment in waterfront revitalization,” Di Pasquale added. “We look forward to seeing continued federal support for Waterfront Toronto and a reform of the Toronto Port Authority.”
NoJetsTO is the largest group dedicated to preserving Toronto’s mixed-use waterfront and a regional Island Airport. As a citywide residents organization, NoJetsTO opposes the expansion of the Island Airport through jet aircraft and extended runways.
Local Group is NO.Jets.TO
On Twitter at
Why No Jets?
Toronto’s Waterfront is our heart. It’s where Toronto goes to relax and play. For many others its where we run, picnic, work, sail, and live. What many people might not know, is that the Waterfront is undergoing a revitalization, and as a city we’ve invested money, time, and passion into making it the Waterfront we deserve. The Island Airport expansion threatens all of that. See the points below and share the images to let your friends and family know that you’re standing up for your Waterfront.
Your cottage in the heart of the city
Public space is important to Torontonians. It’s why we’ve invested in making the Waterfront a place for residents and families to gather and spend their time. In the winter we skate, in the summer we attend festivals and sample delicious food. Waterfront activities attract 17 million visits per year. An expanded Island Airport will change all this, turning the Waterfront into Pearson-by-the-Lake. [Pearson is the main Toronto airport].
Protect our public investments
As Torontonians, we prioritized investing in our Waterfront. The revitalization has paid off and produced 40,000 jobs and over 3.2 billion dollars in economic benefits. Ongoing and planned projects will create another 6.4 billion dollars in economic impacts and an additional 5,000 jobs. Why would we put all this in jeopardy? The Airport Expansion will cost us $300 million in tax dollars and, with jets flying as low as 600 ft., will devalue the land and damage future development.
Our health, our environment, our safety
The extended runway of the Island Airport will take away roughly the equivalent of 23 football fields! The expansion will more than double the number of people using the airport from 2.4 million to more than 4 million. Jets at the Island Airport will threaten wildlife, with extensive bird culling required. The expansion will cause gridlock, noise, and cancer causing pollution. Jets are not worth the cost to our health, and to our environment!
Canada’s Transport Minister confirmed the Liberal government will not allow passenger jets to fly out of Toronto’s Island airport, dealing a blow to Porter Airlines Inc. expansion plans and a potential aircraft order topping $2-billion for Bombardier Inc.
Marc Garneau took to Twitter Thursday night to say that the government will not reopen an agreement necessary to expand operations at Toronto’s Billy Bishop City Centre Airport.
“I confirm that [the government of Canada’s] position is the same as [the Liberal Party’s commitment during the election campaign]: We will not reopen” the agreement, Mr. Garneau tweeted.
The Minister’s definitiveness on Twitter contrasts with his fuzziness earlier in the day Thursday when he suggested the matter was still under review. “What I’m doing at the moment is examining all of the factors that are involved in this. It’s a complex issue,” he said.
Porter has put in a conditional purchase agreement for as many as 30 Bombardier C Series jets as part of a planned expansion. The order is for 12 CS100 planes and options for another 18 of the same jets, worth $2.15-billion (U.S.) at 2015 list prices if it exercises all purchase rights and options. Porter said the airliner in a 107-seat configuration would be ideal for its planned operations.
Porter said it would place the order only if the runway at the Island airport is extended to accommodate jets. Authorization for such a runway extension would require opening and renegotiating a three-party agreement between Ottawa, Ports Toronto and the City of Toronto.
Bombardier had not counted the order as firm on its order book so isn’t losing a customer as such. The company has 243 firm orders for its C Series jets but hasn’t signed a new deal in more than a year. The jet development program is more than two years and $2-billion over budget.
Porter declined immediate comment. Company spokesman Brad Cicero said by e-mail that the airline is “not in a position to do interviews or provide a statement at the moment.”
Officials with Bombardier were not immediately available to comment Friday.
Ottawa’s decision puts the Trudeau government in a tough spot. Quebec had requested that the federal government deliver financial aid to Bombardier in the wake of Quebec’s own $1-billion investment in the company announced last month. At first glance, it would appear hypocritical for Ottawa to dash Bombardier’s hopes for a C Series order of that magnitude while also helping the plane maker with a sizable level of funding.
Porter is seeking changes that would lengthen the runway at Billy Bishop by 200 metres in each direction to allow the C Series jets to take off and land. The airline currently flies a fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes from the airport. Having the C Series would allow the carrier to offer longer flights, from Toronto to Western Canada, for example.
Opponents of expanding Billy Bishop lakeside airport in Toronto say they will not compromise in fighting the damaging plans
The fight by Toronto citizens against permission for much noisier jets to use Billy Bishop lakeside airport continues. There has been the suggestion that there could be “compromise” to resolve the dispute. Opponents do not accept this, as the impact of effectively doubling the size of the lakeside airport – with jets not turboprops; with greatly lengthened runway and rows of light approach towers extending up to 700 metres beyond the runways; and planes landing and taking off every two minutes. There would also need to be high and obtrusive walls lining the runways to shield small boats using the lake from jet thrust. And on the land side, doubled volumes of traffic carrying passengers, jet fuel, services and etc creating bad road congestion. That is on top of noise concerns, impacts on air quality and habitat. Concerned residents fear the expansion means not a change in degree, but a different kind of airport. The justifications for the rush to judgement to approve this massive shift are convenience for some business travellers and a purported economic advantage. Campaigners against say both are specious. Much more important is what would be sacrificed. Toronto people love their waterfront, which has been improved by adding new and improved places for the public to enjoy. The airport would destroy much of that.
In Toronto expansion of lakeside Billy Bishop airport is strenuously opposed by thousands whose lives it would adversely affect
Pearson airport is the main airport for Toronto. It has several long runways, can take large jets, and had around 35 million passengers in the past year. By contrast, Billy Bishop waterfront airport is tiny, lying along the lake edge close to central Toronto. Its one runway, by the water, is only about 1,200 metres and it had 2 million passengers last year. There are plans to greatly expand Billy Bishop airport, with the runway extended by 200 metres at both ends, to take jets rather than the current turboprops. There are plans for greatly increased numbers of passengers. There has been very vocal opposition from the local group, NoJetsTO, who fear having this enlarged airport will have highly negative impacts on the city, creating noise, air pollution, water pollution, disruption to leisure activities that take place on the lake, traffic congestion, interference with childrens’ learning in school, and lowering the quality of life of many living in the area. They say the large jets should stay at Pearson airport, which is well equipped to deal with them. Now the airport’s plans, by Porter Airlines, will not be considered by the city until February. Toronto city’s executive committee voted to defer debate of the controversial proposal till February 4 or to a specially called meeting.
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On 10th November, the GLA Transport Committee had a session looking at the implications for surface access – road, rail and Tube – if there was a 3rd Heathrow runway. There was a presentation by Richard De Cani (Transport for London’s Managing Director – Planning). The meeting was described as a “well mannered mugging” of the Airports Commission’s (AC) analysis of the situation. The AC did not assess the impact of a fully utilised 3rd runway, with 148 mppa; instead they only looked at the situation in 2030 with 125mppa. That might mean 70,000 more trips per day than estimated by the AC.They also did not take into account how recent employment forecasts will increase demand even further, or increased vehicles needed for expanded air freight capacity. TfL estimates it would cost between £15 and £20 billion to improve the transport infrastructure needed to get all passengers to and from Heathrow, with a 3rd runway. Unless this is spent, the road congestion and the rail congestion even by 2030 would be “some of the worst that we currently see in London.” It would “impact quite significantly on the whole performance of the transport network across west and south west London.” If there was a congestion charge, the impact on public transport would be even higher (perhaps 90,000 more trips per day than estimated by the AC).
Heathrow third runway risks grinding London transport to a halt.
10 November 2015 (GLA press release)
Transport for London (TfL) has voiced major concerns around the Airports Commission’s Final Report and its assessment on the impact of a third runway at Heathrow on London’s road, rail and Tube networks.
According to TfL, the Airports Commission has not assessed the impact of a fully utilised third runway at Heathrow Airport or taken into account how recent employment forecasts will increase demand even further.
The London Assembly Transport Committee today heard that it would cost between £15 and £20 billion to improve the transport infrastructure needed to get all passengers to and from Heathrow Airport, if a third runway is built there. [By contrast, Heathrow says only £1 billion would be needed from the taxpayer for public transport].
Richard De Cani, Managing Director – Planning, Transport for London said at the meeting:
“The simple word would be congestion – congestion on the road network, congestion on the rail network of a scale that we havn’t seen. The level of crowding you would have on those rail corridors into central London would be some of the worst that we currently see in London and that’s based on 2030 demand, the year of opening. So it’s a level of crowding and congestion that we believe would start to impact quite significantly on the whole performance of the transport network across west and south west London.”
Valerie Shawcross CBE AM, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee said;
“Today we heard that there are clear discrepancies between the Airports Commission’s assessment of transport demand with TfL’s own analysis. For example, the Airports Commission has only planned for passenger demand up to 2030, and does not take into account transport needs with the airport at full capacity after expansion.
Before the Government makes its decision on airport expansion, there are big questions to be answered around what transport infrastructure is needed and who will pay for it. We can’t allow a bigger Heathrow to clog up London’s roads and public transport network.”
Notes for Editors:
1. Valerie Shawcross CBE AM, Chair of the Transport Committee, is available for interview – see contact details below.
2. Surface Transport Access to Heathrow Airport: Presentation to the Assembly Transport Committee, 10 November 2015 is attached below.
5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
The presentation by Richard De Cani
Three slides from this copied below:
Blue bars are Highway trips. Green bars are Public Transport trips.
This slide shows the huge increase in trips associated with a Heathrow 3rd runway. These are the Airports Commission’s figures, but they only consider Heathrow by 2030 with partial use of the airport. They do not take the figures beyond, to where the airport would be fully utilised, with 148 million passengers per year.
Even with Heathrow only at 125 mppa, there would be 41,000 more car trips per day (an increase of 34% from the level today [or the “Do Minimum” scenario] ) and 110,000 more Public Transport trips per day (an increase of 124% from the level today).
In this slide, blue bars are “highway trips” and green bars are PT (Public Transport)
This shows with a fully utilised 3 runway airport, (148 mppa) the number of highway trips would be 32,000 more per day than the Airports Commission estimated with only 125 mppa.
It also shows that with a fully utilised 3 runway airport, (148 mppa) the number of public transport trips would be 37,000 more per day than the Airports Commission estimated with only 125 mppa.
The total extra number of trips per day, above the Airports Commission estimate, would be almost 70,000.
This slide shows that if, in order to meet air quality targets, Heathrow had to introduce a congestion charge – in order to reduce road traffic – it would have the effect of requiring about 90,000 more public transport trips per day.
This would put yet further strain on public transport, that is already going to be struggling to cope with demand from sources other than the airport, by 2030 – and beyond.
Heathrow expansion: An unusual well-mannered mugging
By Tom Edwards (Transport correspondent, BBC)
10 November 2015
TfL officials estimated it would cost £15bn to £20bn in investment to build the new rail links required
Not many were listening or watching, but in City Hall Transport for London (TfL) officials piled into the Aviation Commission’s report on Heathrow on Tuesday.
This was an unusual departure for TfL; it doesn’t normally operate like this. This was a methodical mugging.
It told the Transport Committee of the London Assembly the Aviation Commission’s assessment was “substantially underestimating the impact of the third runway”.
The criticism went further. TfL says the Aviation Commission did not use the maximum capacity of the runway in its modelling. So instead of 385,000 extra trips per day on the transport network, there could be 450,000.
It said the modelling didn’t take into account freight and those trucks would have a huge impact on surrounding roads.
Crucially, the officials also estimated it would cost £15bn to £20bn in investment to build the new rail links required.
And the third runway could create “congestion on road and the rail network and overcrowding on a level we haven’t seen”.
The sentiments may not be new from TfL; some have implied the officials there are just doing the mayor’s bidding – but if they’re to be believed. the figures certainly show you the impact a third runway could have on surrounding transport infrastructure.
Update: Heathrow airport has been in touch: “Heathrow’s expansion will come with a step-change in rail access to the airport. With new rail lines to the north, south, east and west, Heathrow can increase the number of passengers taking public transport, and ensure that even with expansion, there is no more airport-related traffic compared to today.
“We are confident in our plans because we already have an outstanding record in increasing the use of public transport to get to the airport and encouraging people to shift out of their cars. Over the last 20 years, our passenger numbers have risen by almost 80% but airport related traffic has remained static.”
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Gatwick airport is hoping to persuade people that there is support for its runway. It has commissioned (yet another) YouGov poll, in the attempt to show people want a Gatwick runway. As there is a high level of opposition in areas near and around Gatwick, the poll had to be of Londoners – who would not get any adverse environmental impacts of a Gatwick runway themselves. The details of the poll have now been publicised, (this only happens several days after its release ….) It was of 1,072 Londoners – details of where they were located not published, nor is the interview script. Several London councils have been supportive of Gatwick for a long time, fearing the noise impact on their residents if there was a Heathrow runway – and knowing the opposition within their boroughs. They hope some of their residents might get jobs at Gatwick. The backing of Southwark, Wandsworth, Kingston and Croydon for Gatwick has been public for a long time. It is hardly surprising, if Londoners are asked about aircraft noise, that they would say the negative impact on quality of life for local residents (meaning noise and pollution?) would be lower at Gatwick than at Heathrow. They also say there would be more regeneration benefits at Gatwick – but the area has minimal unemployment. Yet another example of a dubious survey, being “spun” for even more dubious reasons.
The poll is now here but only the questions and answers. It has no details of the script used when the interview starts. Presumably it was a phone poll ? There are no details of where in London the people came from. No details of whether they had done polls before. YouGov has to publish the results of polls within 2 days of their release, in accordance with the rules of the British Polling Council.
London politicians attack Heathrow expansion plans in favour of new runway at Gatwick
12.11.2015 (Evening Standard)
By JOE MURPHY, NICHOLAS CECIL (Evening Standard)
Council leaders in Wandsworth, Kingston, Southwark and Croydon issued a joint call for David Cameron to ‘get behind Gatwick’
London MPs, council leaders and transport chiefs launched attacks on Heathrow’s third runway plans today as a poll showed people in the capital would prefer Gatwick to expand.
Heathrow opponents stepped up the pressure amid signs that the Cabinet is slipping behind schedule in deciding the best location for a new runway to serve London and the South-East. Eight senior MPs said any attempt to enlarge Heathrow would lead to a “decade-long blight imposed on west London”, claiming that the expansion plan was “unravelling”.
At the same time, the leaders of Wandsworth, Kingston, Southwark and Croydon issued a joint call for David Cameron to “get behind Gatwick” or waste years in courtroom battles.
In another potential obstacle, TfL has told the London Assembly it would need an extra £15-20 billion investment in road, rail and Tube links to prevent gridlock in west London if Heathrow were to be expanded. TfL director of strategy and policy Richard De Cani said the Airports Commission had underestimated traffic demand and pollution levels. [TfL has also, in the past, said there would need to be a lot of transport improvements for Gatwick, in order that the one main road and one railway line could cope with the demand from a new runway. AW note].
Meanwhile, a YouGov poll found that Londoners [the poll was only of Londoners, who naturally would not want the negative impacts of Heathrow noise over a huge area, or air pollution closer to the airport] would prefer Gatwick rather than Heathrow to get an extra runway by 44 per cent to 33. The poll, commissioned by Gatwick, found that the West Sussex airport was seen as cheaper and less harmful in terms of noise and pollution. [Hardly surprising, as if the polls were done in areas near Gatwick, and at risk of its negative impacts, they would show huge opposition. AW note].
The Airports Commission recommended in July that a third runway at Heathrow would deliver the biggest boost to the national economy. But the Cabinet committee making the decision has yet to hold a formal meeting.
The eight MPs, including Tory Bob Neill and Labour’s Steve Reed, the co-chairs of an all-party parliamentary group for the capital, said: “The case for Heathrow is fast unravelling and London is uniting behind Gatwick.”
A letter signed by Wandsworth council leader Ravi Govindia, Kingston’s Kevin Davis, Southwark’s Peter John and Croydon’s Tony Newman urged: “Why waste another decade on a failed Heathrow scheme when there’s an alternative on the table?” [These council leaders have been Gatwick supporters for a long time – their backing for the Gatwick runway is nothing new. They know the impacts of Heathrow noise on their boroughs already, and hope some of their residents might get Gatwick jobs. AW note]
TfL believes the commission’s findings on nitrogen dioxide pollution is “legally flawed” because it states that Heathrow could expand providing merely that it does not create the worst pollution hotspot in London.
The YouGov poll of 1,072 Londoners found that 41 per cent backed Gatwick as the best choice for issues such as noise and air pollution, compared with 24 per cent for Heathrow. Some 38 per cent thought Gatwick would cost less, against 20 for Heathrow.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: “Londoners recognise that [Gatwick] is the best choice to balance economic growth with environmental impact.”
But a Heathrow spokesman hit back. “Far from unravelling, the case to expand Heathrow is stronger than ever,” he said, adding that 26 Labour MPs from the North-East and a group of east London politicians were backing the third runway because of its economic benefits.
“The Airports Commission ended the debate earlier this year when it concluded the most detailed analysis ever undertaken into airport capacity by recommending overwhelmingly the expansion of Heathrow,” he said.
YouGov poll of Londoners finds support for Gatwick expansion
12 November 2015
Londoners have backed Gatwick over Heathrow for expansion, according to a new YouGov poll. [Which is not publicly available – and was paid for by Gatwick. AW note]
Support for a second runway at Gatwick among more than 1,000 people surveyed in the capital is ten points higher (44%) than for rival Heathrow, according to the study.
Eight out of ten (79%) agreed that air quality is important to the airport expansion debate.
Half (49%) of those polled also said that the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal had made them more concerned about air quality.
Gatwick, which commissioned the poll, also scored best on six out of seven key indicators YouGov asked – scoring almost twice as well as Heathrow in many of them.
The indicators were:
- Negative impact on quality of life for local residents – Gatwick 41% / Heathrow 24%
- Built at lowest cost to taxpayers – Gatwick 38% / Heathrow 20%
- Encouraging vigorous competition – Gatwick 43% / Heathrow 22%·
- How quickly a new runway could be delivered – Gatwick 34% / Heathrow 24%·
- Certainty the new runway can be delivered – Gatwick 34% / Heathrow 24%
- Regeneration benefits to local area – Gatwick 41% / Heathrow 23%
- Economic benefits to UK – Gatwick 27% / Heathrow 38%
Two thirds (67%) of respondents said it was important that the expanded airport had strong connection to other UK airports.
Gatwick chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “Support for Gatwick has increased in recent months. The reason is simple. Londoners recognise that it is the best choice to balance economic growth with environmental impact. Most importantly after decades of delay it can actually happen.”
He described air quality as the “defining issue” in the airport expansion debate, as it has been twice before.
“This final decision comes down to which scheme is lawful to build and operate,” said Wingate.
“It would be unlawful to approve Heathrow expansion today with two runways as air quality breaches legal limits, so it’s very difficult to see it any better with a third.”
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