5 arrested for blocking Heathrow tunnel – traffic chaos with tunnel closed 2 hrs 30 mins

Protesters from the Rising Up group caused tailbacks on the M4 heading towards Heathrow airport, in their latest action against plans to build a third runway. A video posted by the group shortly before 8.30am shows a car blocking the Heathrow Tunnel that accesses Terminals 2 and 3. They draped a sign reading ‘No new runways’ over the car,  and there was an activist lying next to the vehicle, locked to it, on the road. The Met police said officers attended the scene at 8.25am and arrested two people for obstructing a highway. The police said five people were arrested. Three protesters were locked to one of the vehicles and two were drivers of two cars. The tunnel was closed for over two hours, and the M4 spur road was also temporarily closed, while police worked with Heathrow Airport staff to remove the people locked to the third car. A contra-flow was put in place in the outbound tunnel to facilitate the movement of traffic around the blocked tunnel. There were delays in surrounding roads.  Transport for London said just after 11am the tunnel re-opened. The protest follows a flashmob the group held at Heathrow on the weekend.  
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Protesters arrested after Heathrow Airport tunnel blocked

21.2.2017  (BBC)

Protest at Heathrow AirportImage copyrightRISING UPThe tunnel approach to Terminals 2 and 3 and the M4 spur road was closed

The main approach tunnel to Heathrow Airport was blocked by protesters objecting to plans for a third runway.

Three cars were parked across the road, with protesters chaining themselves to one of the vehicles at about 08:30 GMT.

The tunnel, which accesses Terminals 2 and 3, was shut for more than two hours while the M4 spur road was also temporarily closed.

Five people have been arrested on suspicion of obstructing a highway, the Metropolitan Police said.

One of the protesters who was chained to the vehicle was taken to hospital as a precaution.

The disruption caused widespread delays, as traffic was diverted to the outbound tunnel at the airport.

A spokesman for the Rising Up campaign group said it was protesting against the impact a proposed third runway could have on climate change and the local area.

Heathrow Airport said: “Heathrow supports the right to peaceful protest within the law, but the safety and security of our passengers, aircraft and colleagues together with the smooth running of the operation is paramount.”

Campaign group Back Heathrow said the actions of the protesters were “selfish, short-sighted and counter-productive”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-39038128

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and from the Guardian report on this: 

A four-month public consultation into the decision to build a third runway at Heathrow is under way. Rising Up, which staged a similar protest last November, says if the runway goes ahead it will allow an extra 250,000 flights a year, causing carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to the whole of Kenya’s.

Simon Bramwell, one of the activists involved in Tuesday’s action, said in a statement released by Rising Up that he also participated in the previous protest.

“I am breaking conditions imposed on me by the courts, following road blockades in November, but the government is not listening to the science or to our concerns,” he said. “They have left us with no alternative but to keep taking action. We will not stop until plans to build another runway are fully and finally shut down.”

A Rising Up spokesman told the Guardian: “History has shown that unless we can disrupt the status quo, the powers that be will say the right thing and kick doing the right thing down the road for as long as they can.”

He added: “The inconvenience of some people missing their flights is absolutely nothing compared to the inconvenience of your country being flattened by a typhoon.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/21/heathrow-protest-climate-activists-closes-m4-motorway

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See earlier, other protests blocking the tunnels

 

5 arrests after Plane Stupid block Heathrow tunnel for 3 hours using a van + activists locked onto it

The main road entrance tunnel to Heathrow’s Terminals 1 and 2 was blocked by climate change activists from Plane Stupid, for about 3 hours, from 7.40 this morning. Three activists parked a vehicle across both lanes of the entrance tunnel and locked themselves to it, unfurling a banner quoting David Cameron’s election promise in 2010: “No Ifs, No Buts: No Third Runway”. Five people were arrested, and the tunnel was finally cleared and the road re-opened by 1.30pm Some travellers may have been delayed or could have missed flights. Local resident Neil Keveren, a builder from Harmondsworth, whose house would be bulldozed for the 3rd runway, was fined after blocking the same tunnel with his van for half an hour on 2nd July, the day after the Airports Commission announcement. Neil said: “No one wants to do this. They feel they have to. People feel they have no choice. After we campaigned for years, David Cameron was elected promising ‘no ifs, no buts: no third runway’. …. We have tried every other option. We have been forced to be disobedient just to be heard. To save our homes and our planet.” There is already airport capacity for families taking a couple of trips per year, or wealthy foreign visitors to the UK, but a new runway would be for the most wealthy to take multiple leisure trips each year. Plane Stupid apologised for causing inconvenience, but believe the strong arguments against a Heathrow runway must be heard.

Click here to view full story…

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Protester whose Harmondsworth home would be destroyed by 3rd runway, blocks Heathrow tunnel for half an hour

A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for more than half an hour at 12.45pm today. The protest follows yesterday’s announcement that  the Airports Commission report recommends the building of 3rd runway at Heathrow.  This would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson with a further 3,000 homes made uninhabitable due to excessive noise and pollution. Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”.  The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election. His entirely peaceful protest was only ever intended to last 20 minutes, to avoid disruption to the airport. His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic.  Neil Keveren made it clear his action was a personal protest, and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group. However, his action were supported by many local residents and the local MP, John McDonnell.

Heathrow tunnel blocked 2.7.2015

Full story at  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/26823/

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With Dublin airport (state-owned) 2nd runway work to start, a 3rd terminal (privately owned) to be considered

A new review of airport capacity will look at the potential of establishing a third, privately-operated, terminal at Dublin Airport, according to the Minister for Transport. A forthcoming review, in the next few weeks, will examine the longer-term capacity needs of Ireland’s 3 State airports will include an option for a 3rd terminal. However, the chief executive of DAA, the State-owned company that owns Dublin and Cork airports, said the idea of an independent terminal was theoretical, costly and inflexible. It had been tried in only two major airports in Europe and North America, and had failed and been reversed at both. The DAA said the delivery of the new 2nd parallel runway and other infrastructure to support growth at Dublin airport should be a priority as a third terminal was a long way down the line. The industry is hoping the number of passengers would double in the next 20 years, and this could be helped by Brexit. However, Brexit could cause problems with the liberalisation of the air transport market – so Ireland wants the market to remain fully liberalised and deregulated. Opponents of the runway (and terminal) say there is no consideration of carbon emissions, and much of the public see the airport’s expansion as a “no brainer.”
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After a delay of several years due to the global financial crisis and predictions of falling consumer demand, it was announced in April 2016 that the new runway would start construction in 2017 and to be completed by 2020.


Option of third terminal at Dublin Airport to be examined

Shane Ross says review of capacity will consider privately-operated terminal

20.2.2017

By Martin Wall (Irish Times)

A new review of airport capacity will look at the potential of establishing a third, privately-operated, terminal at Dublin Airport.

A new review of airport capacity will look at the potential of establishing a third, privately-operated, terminal at Dublin Airport, the Minister for Transport Shane Ross has said.

Speaking at a civil aviation conference in Dublin on Monday he said: “Is a State monopoly at Irish airports in the interest of the users, the tax-payer or the travelling public? I think I know the answer.”

The Minister said a forthcoming review which will examine the longer- term capacity needs of the country’s three State airports “will include an option for a third, independent terminal at Dublin airport.”

He said the review would get underway within weeks.

Meanwhile, DAA chief executive Kevin Toland said the idea of an independent terminal was a theoretical model which was costly and inflexible.

He said it had been tried and had failed and been reversed in only two major airports in Europe and North America.

Mr Toland, who was speaking in a subsequent panel discussion at the aviation conference, said the delivery of the second new runway and other infrastructure to support growth at Dublin airport should be a priority as a third terminal was a long way down the line.

Mr Ross welcomed the decision by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to proceed with the development of a second parallel runway at Dublin airport.

He said the demand for air travel was forecast to double over the next 20 years.

“With that growth, there should be opportunities for airlines, new routes and services as well as in aviation recruitment and software development for the industry.”

The Minister said Brexit “was the most significant development with likely negative impacts on the liberalisation of the air transport market”.

“The only solution for Ireland is that the market should remain fully liberalised and deregulated, and that existing traffic rights should be preserved.”

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/transport-and-tourism/option-of-third-terminal-at-dublin-airport-to-be-examined-1.2982113

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Dublin ranked as fastest-growing airport in Europe

Airport records an 11.5 per cent rise in passengers numbers to almost 28 million

Europe’s airports welcomed a record-breaking 2 billon passengers last year with Dublin ranked the fastest-growing major one following an impressive 11.5 per cent rise in passenger numbers in 2016.

New figures released by ACI Europe, the trade association for European airports, ranked Dublin airport first in the major airport category, followed by Barcelona’s El Prat and Amsterdam’s Schiphol with growth of 11.2 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively.

Copenhagen and Madrid’s Barajas airports round out the top five fastest-growing major airports last year after recording 9.1 per cent and 7.7 per cent rises in passenger numbers.

Major airports are defined as those attracting more than 25 million passengers a year. Dublin airport recorded almost 28 million passengers in 2016, up 2.8 million on the previous year.

Passenger growth

The passenger growth at Dublin airport was aided by the launch of 19 new routes last year, while additional capacity was added on 31 existing services.

“Almost all our airline customers increased their operations at Dublin in 2016 and we’d like to thank them for their business during the year,” said Dublin airport managing director Vincent Harrison.

Passenger traffic across the European airport network showed strong momentum last year, posting an average growth of 5.1 per cent with airports in the euro zone seeing passenger volumes increasing by 6.7 per cent despite the impact of terrorist attacks in mainland Europe.

Traffic at non-EU airports posted an average 0.9 per cent decrease, primarily due to a 6.6 per cent decline in passenger numbers at Turkish airports caused by terrorism and political instability.

Biggest airport

Europe’s biggest airport overall last year was London Heathrow with 75.7 million passengers. It was followed by Paris Charles de Gaulle with 65.9 million passengers, Amsterdam Schiphol (63.6 million), Frankfurt (60.7 million) and Istanbul Ataturk (60 million).

In December, passenger traffic grew by 10.9 per cent ,with Europe surpassing Asia-Pacific to become the fastest-growing world region.

Dublin was ranked the fourth fastest-growing major airport for the month, with passenger volumes up 13.3 per cent year-on-year, placing it behind Moscow SVO, Barcelona and London Gatwick but ahead of Paris Orly.

Freight traffic grew across Europe’s airports by 4.1 per cent, the best performance since 2010.

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/transport-and-tourism/dublin-ranked-as-fastest-growing-airport-in-europe-1.2979117

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Beaconsfield MP Dominic Grieve says constituents should respond to NPS consultation, as parts of borough negatively impacted

Beaconsfield MP Dominic Grieve has written in the local Bucks paper to advise his constituents of respond to the DfT consultation on the Heathrow NPS.  He says that because of the proximity of the airport, communities in the constituency will be directly affected by the proposals.  He toes the government line about the runway being [allegedly] good for the UK economy and the Buckinghamshire economy, with more local jobs.  But communities like the Richings Park area around Iver will face direct, adverse environmental impact from noise. Burnham has also been pinpointed as an area likely to have increased aircraft noise. He also mentions concerns about air pollution because limits “have been exceeded at the current levels of activity, prior to the expansion which is proposed.”  There is a DfT public consultation event on Saturday, March 11th in Gerrards Cross. Dominic Grieve says residents will be able to go through the consultation documents (not that easy a job) and make their own minds up. Deadline for responses is 25th May 2017.  In October 2016 he said there were problems with vehicle movements, and air pollution, and quality of life of residents is being adversely affected in an unacceptable fashion. He said “the government and developers must demonstrate that they can address these issues fully.”
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The main DfT consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement (for a 3rd Heathrow runway) is at 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/589082/consultation-on-draft-airports-nps.pdf

and the supporting documents etc are at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/heathrow-airport-expansion

 

Dominic Grieve: Have your say on harmful proposals for Heathrow

17.2.2017
Bucks Free Press
Beaconsfield MP Dominic Grieve writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers:

Heathrow Airport borders onto the Beaconsfield constituency. In fact, it is within walking distance, although the number of travellers making their way there on foot must be a very tiny number out of the tens of thousands who arrive by road, rail or air.

The proximity of the airport means that communities in my constituency will be directly affected by the proposals for expansion.

When the government announced, last October, that the third runway at Heathrow was the preferred option, I said at the time that there would be mixed feelings about this.

It has the potential to bring increased prosperity to Buckinghamshire’s economy, as well as that of the United Kingdom.

The Secretary of State for Transport said that there could be tens of thousands of additional local jobs, of which South Buckinghamshire would have its share.

Increasing capacity and choice for passengers and for shipping freight could bear dividends and make more companies decide to make their headquarters in the area.

But, in my constituency, communities like the Richings Park area around Iver will face direct, adverse environmental impact.

Burnham has also been pinpointed on maps of areas where there could be increased aircraft noise. I have concerns about pollution limits because these have been exceeded at the current levels of activity, prior to the expansion which is proposed.

On February 2, the government announced a 16-week public consultation, which runs until May 25. One of the public events, open to people from across the South Buckinghamshire area, will be held on Saturday, March 11 at the Colston Hall, in Gerrards Cross.

Call 0800 689 4968 for details.

The Heathrow Airport consultation gives the opportunity to residents to make their views known on all the implications of this plan.

Those who want to go through the consultation documents and weigh up the arguments for themselves can do so by visiting the consultations page at gov.uk.

I’m sure that many local people want to go through the consultation documents – which can be found via the consultations page on gov.uk – can weigh up the arguments for themselves and to contribute to the debate.

http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/15100945.MP__Have_your_say_on_HARMFUL_proposals_for_Heathrow/

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On 25th October 2016, when the government announced it backed the north west runway option at Heathrow, Dominic Grieve said:

25.10.2016

“Beaconsfield MP Dominic Grieve’s reaction is mixed”

He said: “The announcement that the Government intends to support a third runway at Heathrow, will be met with very mixed feelings in the Beaconsfield Constituency.

“Many will welcome the economic advantages which it can bring. But it also has the capacity to create a profound adverse environmental impact on parts of my constituency and in particular in the Iver and Richings Park area.

“This is already under great strain from pollution and excessive vehicle movements linked to poorly or unplanned developments over past decades.

The lack of adequate infrastructure and planning strategy has created conditions in which the quality of life of residents is being adversely affected in an unacceptable fashion.

“If the Heathrow Third Runway goes ahead it can only be on the basis that the government can meet the pollution limits in the area, which are currently being exceeded.

“No scheme will be acceptable that does not include the proper infrastructure investment that is required to reconcile growing economic activity with the needs of local residents.

“I will do what I can to support the local community on these issues.

“My attitude to the proposal will entirely depend on whether or not the government and the developers can demonstrate that they can address these issues fully.”

http://www.getbucks.co.uk/news/local-news/heathrow-expansion-welcomed-local-government-12076115

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See also

 

DfT hold 20 consultation events in areas near Heathrow, plus 13 around the UK promoting Heathrow 3rd runway

The DfT is holding a large number of consultation events in the coming two months, both in areas affected by Heathrow, and after that, across the UK. The first event locally was on 13th February and the final one is 20th April in London. The DfT backs the runway, and so the information given out is very much in support of the runway. The DfT has sent out 1.5 million leaflets about the consultations, with simplified text backing the runway (and ignoring any negative impacts) – which look like Heathrow’s own PR about their expansion plans. The events locally are from 11am to 8pm on weekdays (10 – 5pm on Saturdays). People have to register to attend events outside London. Due to the very short notice between the announcement of the NPS consultation (2nd February) and the first event on 13th February, it is difficult for local campaigners against the runway to attend all of them. The DfT has paid staff to man them all. People are encouraged to attend the events, and ask the DfT staff questions. Some suggested questions are shown below. People are also advised not to make their responses in the consultation events, but do them in a considered manner, from home, when they have had time to assess all the information, both for and against the 3rd runway.

Click here to view full story…

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Opponents in Austria delighted by court decision to ban Vienna 3rd runway due to CO2, but airport may appeal

Austria’s Federal Administrative Court has blocked Vienna airport’s plans for a 3rd runway because of the extra greenhouse gas emissions it would have caused, and unacceptable loss of agricultural land.  The airport and its allies are furious and have sworn to break this ruling. Legally they should not be able to because ordinary appeal was excluded. They must overcome the very high hurdles of an extraordinary appeal, but opponents fear they will try to get this. The appeal would have to make transparent what is at stake:  is Austria going to take climate change seriously or not? In the UK we have the same problem, but our courts are clearly not mandated in the same way in relation to climate change (air quality is separate). Calculations show the 3rd runway, with its traffic projections, would have been by far the most polluting project in terms of GHG-emissions, and would have destroyed several hundred hectares of agricultural land – needed to grow food. Some of the Austrian media are taking the line that such a decision is not to be made by the court but by politicians, and that the Austrian economy should be more important than the climate. So the airport and Vienna city (20% shareholder of the Vienna airport stock corporation) want to appeal. Opponents are worried.
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Opponents of the runway say:

[The comments may not be fully accurate, as there are complex legal arguments, but this is the understanding of the local group].

 

They are nervous that all the pressure could finally lead to an approval of the runway.

The court sentence is only in German so far, but trying to summarise it – it says

The decision is based on § 71 Luftfahrtgesetz (aviation law), which says that an airport approval shall be given if:  “… d) it is not in conflict with other public interests.“

This gives the judges the mandate to balance interests – something which wasn’t done in the first round of the environmental impact assessment at the court of lower Austria (which also has a 20% share of the airport).

The court ruled that the interest of climate mitigation and preservation of agricultural land was more important than the one of economic growth and jobs.

It lists in its argumentation the political decisions around this: the signature of Kyoto and Paris, regulations from federal and state constitutions, the Austrian climate mitigation strategy (2012) which demands to “take into account possible effects of climate change in all relevant planning and decision making processes on the national until the local level“.

Austria’s climate mitigation law sets yearly targets for GHG-emissions, also by sector. The court decision says: “In the transport sector GHG emissions should decrease from 22,2 to 21.7%, which would be a decrease of 2,25%. The construction and operation of the third runway would cause an increase of 1.79% or rather [bzw.] 2,02 % of the whole GHG-emissions in Austria.“

This means that the runway would attack Austria’s own climate strategy, which is the reason for not accepting the construction. Especially, since the airport itself cannot compensate for the emissions itself (which may be interpreted to mean that if the airport used more offsetting, the verdict could have been different …).

Regarding the agricultural land and forest aspect: The verdict says there is no possibility of compensation (biodiversity offsetting) of areas nearby – and compensation of forest would lead to even less agricultural land.  State regulations demand a restriction of the destruction of arable land, but the runway would lead to a destruction of an area of land which in the recent rate takes 2 months (11.5 ha of arable land are consumed for transport and construction projects in Austria daily).

Opponents of the runway hope that this court case can be an example for other high carbon emission projects – and that it doesn’t get over-ruled .]

If you want to support the Austrian campaigners,  use Twitter (hashtags #HeißeLuft and #DrittePiste) and like/share/comment their Facebook page .

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Court in Austria blocks 3rd runway at Vienna airport, as climate harm outweighs a few more jobs

A court in Austria has ruled that Vienna Schwechat Airport cannot be expanded with a 3rd runway, on climate change grounds. It said the increased greenhouse gas emissions for Austria would cause harm and climate protection is more important than creating other jobs. The court said the ability of the airport to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by its own measures were not sufficient, and emissions would rise too much. It also said it was important to conserve valuable arable land for future generations to provide food supplies. The airport will appeal. It is using the same false arguments that the DfT and Heathrow are using here – that building a 3rd runway would (allegedly) reduce the amount of carbon emissions and noise because they claim (against common logic) that “fuel consumption and the noise are reduced, because the waiting times of the aircraft would be avoided at peak times.” The airport hopes the runway would bring more tourists into Austria to spend their money, and would be needed by 2025. The airport had 22.8 million passengers in 2015.  It is a mystery how such a low number of passengers could require 3 runways, when there is barely enough to fill one, let alone two, runway.

Click here to view full story…

Climate change worries halt Vienna airport’s third runway

(The Local – Austria)

10 February 2017

A court has blocked Vienna airport’s plans for a third runway saying it would have resulted in greater greenhouse gas emissions, in a verdict described by lawyers as a first.

Austria’s Federal Administrative Court said in a ruling published late on Thursday that the “positive aspects of the project cannot justify the high extra carbon dioxide pollution.”

A third runway would result in a “significant” rise in greenhouse gas output, contravening the country’s domestic and international undertakings to reduce emissions, a statement said.

“The airport’s possibilities to reduce CO2 emissions through its own measures (such as the installation of solar panels and changing its vehicles to electric cars) were insufficient,” it added.

“As far as I know this is unique that climate protection is used as an argument to block a concrete plan,” Christian Schmelz, a lawyer for the airport, told the newspaper Die Presse.

Erika Wagner, head of the Environmental Law Institute at Linz University, called it a “landmark ruling”.

http://www.thelocal.at/20170210/climate-change-worries-halt-vienna-airports-third-runway

 

 

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Richmond criticises the 1.5 million DfT leaflets promoting 3rd runway as inadequate on noise problems

Lord True, the leader of Richmond Council, has complained (as have thousands of other people) that the information being put out in the DfT consultation on the Heathrow NPS is inadequate.  He said: “The leaflet that was sent out last week it propaganda in its finest. And, the more we read into the full consultation material the more concerned we are at the Government’s selective presentation of the third runway’s impacts. They should be proactively informing flight path communities about major changes like the loss of daytime respite periods but that’s not been their approach.  In the next few weeks there will be a number of resident consultation events, coordinated by the Department of Transport. I urge all concerned people to go and have their say and let the government know if they are not giving the information we need.”   The DfT is not making it clear that areas like Richmond would be overflown for around 75% of the day, rather than around 50% of the time now. The leaflet makes no mention of noise, other than a carefully worded offer of 6.5 hours with no SCHEDULED flights at night.  It is not made easy for members of the public to find data on noise changes, with a 3rd runway. There will be no details of flight paths for several years – so the whole NPS consultation is being done, deliberately by the DfT, in the absence of noise information needed by residents.
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Government accused of hiding facts in Heathrow third runway consultation booklet

Richmond Council has said it is concerned the negative impact of a third runway is not being communicated to residents

Richmond Council has said it is concerned the negative impact of a third runway is not being communicated to residents

16.2.2017 

By Ben Weich (Local Guardian)

The Government has been accused of hiding the fact that respite time of flights over homes in the borough will be dramatically cut if a third Heathrow runway is built.

Examination of Heathrow expansion consultation documents shows communities under flight paths would be flown over for about 75% of the day if the airport is expanded.  Currently planes fly over these areas about 50% of the time.

Richmond Council criticised the Department for Transport (DfT) for failing to mention this in its consultation leaflet, recently delivered to more than a million homes.

It said it feared the negative impacts of a third runway will not be communicated effectively with residents.
Lord True, the leader of Richmond Council, said: “The leaflet that was sent out last week it propaganda in its finest. And, the more we read into the full consultation material the more concerned we are at the Government’s selective presentation of the third runway’s impacts.
“They should be proactively informing flight path communities about major changes like the loss of daytime respite periods but that’s not been their approach.
 

“In the next few weeks there will be a number of resident consultation events, coordinated by the Department of Transport. I urge all concerned people to go and have their say and let the government know if they are not giving the information we need.”

A spokesman for the DfT said the Government is considering a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights, and repeated its commitment to providing a “world class” compensation for affected communities.

He said: “We are acutely aware of the impact that aircraft noise has on people living close to flightpaths.“(The compensation package) will include noise insulation for homes and schools and improvements to public facilities.”Richmond Council, along with Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead councils, are still examining the consultation material in detail.

http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/richmondnews/15100672.Government_accused_of_hiding_facts_in_Heathrow_third_runway_consultation_booklet/

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What the draft NPS says

The section on noise in the draft National Policy Statement document is at (Pp 50 – 54)
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/588764/draft-airports-nps-web-version.pdf
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It is very vague, and effectively says nothing that would limit the 3rd runway. There are no specific standards, no thresholds above which noise would not be acceptable etc.
The DfT says:  “… the Government expects the applicant to make particular efforts to avoid significant adverse noise impacts and mitigate other adverse noise impacts as a result of the Northwest Runway scheme and Heathrow Airport as a whole.” 
and 
“The applicant should put forward plans for a noise envelope. Such an envelope should be tailored to local priorities and include clear noise performance targets. ” [A noise envelope is just a way of describing what is happening on noise, and does not attempt to restrict growth by the industry. AW comment].
and 
“The applicant should put forward plans for a runway alternation scheme that provides communities affected with predictable periods of respite (though the Government acknowledges that the duration of periods of respite that currently apply will be reduced). Predictability should be afforded to the extent that this is within the applicant’s control. “
and so on.
There is nothing to control noise in any meaningful way, for those to be newly overflown, or overflown more than they are now.
and more worryingly:
“…the Airports NPS must be used as the primary policy on noise when considering the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme, and has primacy over other wider noise policy sources.”
That means over-riding any other UK noise legislation or controls.
See
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/588764/draft-airports-nps-web-version.pdf

Other supporting documents from the DfT to the NPS consultation

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/heathrow-airport-expansion

One of these is the draft Sustainability Appraisal 

There is mention of noise in the Sustainability Appraisal document  Pages 75 –  79 at
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/588754/aos-draft-airports-nps-main-report.pdf

That just looks at numbers within 57 dB noise contours, and the theoretical reductions over time as planes are expected to become very slightly less noisy.


Below is the comment by the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) on what the government’s NPS says on noise:

What the National Policy Statement says about noise

The Government makes a big deal about its various proposed measures for noise mitigation. But aside from the fact that none will bring noise levels down to anywhere near the level recommended by the World Health Organisation, many are problematic and misleading.

Key measures include:

  • A six and a half hour night flight ban for scheduled flights.

For those communities who have been suffering from night noise for decades and who have campaigned relentlessly for a night flight ban this will feel like a step forward. But 6 and a half hours is a long way short of the 8 recommended by WHO, and a proposed curfew for ‘scheduled’ flights doesn’t prevent late-running flights from being pushed into the night period, or from being scheduled in the late evening and early morning, times when some people find their sleep is most likely to be disrupted.

  • The introduction of a “legally binding” noise envelope

While this may sound powerful, the detail of how it will work is left for Heathrow itself to work out, with the danger being that the airport only commits to noise limits that are easy to achieve. Defining limits in a way that actually benefits local communities, while adding 260,000 more aircraft to the local skies, will be a challenge. While the 57 Leq noise ‘footprint’ of the airport has, for example, been reducing over time as a result of the introduction of quieter aircraft, there is no evidence that there has been a commensurate fall in noise annoyance. In fact annoyance from aircraft noise at a national level has been increasing.

  • The provision of predictable periods of respite from noise.

Providing more reliable respite periods had been cited by the Airports Commission, without much explanation, as a possible benefit to communities from expansion. But the Government specifies that predictability should be afforded only “to the extent that this is within the applicant’s control”, and noise respite will in fact be less on average with an expanded airport than is the case today.   

http://www.aef.org.uk/2017/02/15/the-nps-for-heathrow-expansion-a-brief-tour/


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See also

Critique of 11 claims by DfT, in its 1.5 million pro-Heathrow runway leaflets, for NPS consultation

The DfT has sent out 1.5 million leaflets to households in areas not too far from Heathrow. The leaflets make no attempt whatsoever of balance, and are merely advertising the runway plans and promoting them. Many of the claims are misleading, or so abbreviated as to be unclear. Below there is a critique of the claims, point by point, and links to evidence backing up the criticisms. If anyone has received a leaflet, and wonders about the facts, this webpage may give some useful information. Just a few examples of the dubious statements in the leaflet: the figure of £61 billion economic benefit is given, leaving out the proviso that this is over 60 years. There is much made of the generosity of the compensation to be given for compulsory purchase, but in reality anything much below 125% would be derisory, and way below world standards. The claim about six and a half hours of no scheduled night flights omits to mention how many flights, scheduled before 11pm, often take off almost to midnight. And though there may be 6 more domestic links from Heathrow, these are likely to be unprofitable and may not last for long. The loss of long haul routes from other UK airports, due to a larger Heathrow, is conveniently ignored.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Ice block (presumably off plane approaching Heathrow) damages roof just west of Windsor

There have been a number of incidents, at many airports, of lumps of ice falling off planes overhead, coming in to land. Ice can form naturally on aircraft flying at high altitudes, and this can break away and fall off when the plane comes down through warmer air. There is another recent incident of this, to someone under the approach path into Heathrow, just west of Windsor.  On 10th February (some time between 7 am and 8.30am) some ice crashed through the roof of a house in Oakley Green Road near Windsor. The owners of the house were not hurt, though there is substantial damage to the roof. This is another incident where it is fortunate the ice fell onto a roof, and not onto people. Such a large object falling onto someone would kill or seriously injure them.  Builders secured the property before the weekend and repairs were set to begin the next week. The CAA says this sort of incident is “‘relatively rare” and the CAA website says: “As the safety regulator for UK civil aviation, the CAA requires UK aircraft operators to minimise the risk of ice falls by performing regular maintenance to prevent leaks and take prompt corrective action if a defect is found. The CAA is unable to investigate the potential origin of an ice fall, but does record reports of this nature.”
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Kew ice block fall – 7th February 2018.

Block of ice from a plane smashes onto a road in Kew, captured by a taxi firm camera. No more than 25 feet from a street cleaner and a pedestrian, and perhaps 18 seconds before a car goes past.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-london-43006699/block-of-ice-crashes-to-earth-near-kew-gardens

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Oakley Green man ‘lucky to be alive’ after ice block smashes through roof

By Will Taylor (Maidenhead Advertiser)

16 February 2017

See link for photos  

A business owner from Oakley Green has been left feeling lucky to be alive after a block of ice fell from the sky and smashed a hole into the roof of his house.

Wahram Manoukian, 69, left his home at 7am on Friday morning to use the gym at Oakley Court in Windsor Road, but returned at about 8.30am to find a hole in his roof with tiles and bits of ice strewn around his grounds.

Mr Manoukian, who lives in Oakley Green Road, and his wife, 66-year-old Beverley, have stored the chunks of ice in a freezer in anticipation of an investigation.

He believed it could have fallen from a plane, though this has not been confirmed.

Mr Manoukian, who works in the property industry, said he worried about what could have happened if it had fallen when he had been leaving the house an hour earlier.

“I could have been killed,” he said. “It could have been anyone.

“It must have been a big chunk that has hit the roof.”

He was concerned that, if it had fallen at a different time, his grandchildren could have been harmed.

“They come around after school and during the weekends they come around to us,” he said. “I was fuming.”

Builders secured the property before the weekend and repairs were set to begin this week.

Mr Manoukian has contacted the Civil Aviation Authority, which says ice can form on aeroplanes at high altitudes and fall off when it descends to a warmer height, but is ‘relatively rare’.

A spokesman for the CAA directed the Advertiser to its website, which states: “As the safety regulator for UK civil aviation, the CAA requires UK aircraft operators to minimise the risk of ice falls by performing regular maintenance to prevent leaks and take prompt corrective action if a defect is found.

“The CAA is unable to investigate the potential origin of an ice fall, but does record reports of this nature.

[The location of the ice fall, directly under the Heathrow approach path, makes it look very unlikely the source is anything other than a plane. The CAA seems keen to suggest the ice might have come from somewhere else …..?  where …?  And it is not clear whether Heathrow pays for the damage, or if householders have to get their insurance company to pay. Can they reclaim from the airport?  AW comment]

“Falling ice which is clear and uncontaminated may not have originated from aviation activity.

“Indeed there have been reports of falling chunks of ice which date back to before the existence of aircraft.

“Research into the phenomena is ongoing by scientists across the world but is controversial.”

http://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/gallery/maidenhead/111295/oakley-green-man-lucky-to-be-alive-after-ice-block-smashes-through-roof.html
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See a year earlier:

Block of ice from a passing plane crashes through roof of home in Twyford

An elderly couple, in Twyford, Berkshire (under a Heathrow flight path) had the unpleasant experience of a block of ice, which appeared to have fallen from a passing plane, crash through their roof.  The two foot long block cracked the ceiling. Luckily it hit the roof in a different part of the house from where the couple were. They said they were lucky not to have been injured. There have been many other incidents over the years of blocks of ice falling – associated with frozen water from aircraft lavatories.  Had the ice block fallen onto the road, it could have hit a car or a passer-by.  Had it fallen onto a busy road like a motorway, it could have caused a serious accident.  The elderly couple had to be assisted by their son in sorting out insurance, and getting the roof repaired. As the insurance company was slow, being a Sunday morning, the local fire brigade helped to patch up the damage and confirm the water and electricity supplies to their house were undamaged. Water (from a lavatory?) from the ice block was dripping through the (now sagging) damaged ceiling. The couple have kept a sample of water, so it can be tested, to identify if it is from a lavatory.  Other reports of earlier incidents of items falling from planes can be seen here.  Twyford is about 30 km west of Heathrow, on the landing flight path during easterly operations.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/01/block-of-ice-from-a-passing-plane-crashes-through-roof-of-home-in-twyford/

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and

Block of ice (from plane?) crashes through edge of roof of family home in Chelmsford

People living under flight paths not infrequently suffer from objects that fall from planes, the most common of which appears to be lumps of ice. Now (on 4th March) there has been yet another incident where a block of ice has landed on a house, narrowly missing people.  The house is under a Stansted flight path, in Chelmsford, Essex and is the home of a couple and their two teenage children. The ice block, described as perhaps football size, crashed through the overhang of their roof, missing going through the bedroom ceiling by just a few feet. That part of the bedroom is where the couple sleep.  The ice block left a gaping hole in the roof. Members of the family were asleep at the time, and were woken by a noise they thought was a bomb going off.  The couple now face a repair bill of thousands of pounds.  Had the block been only a few inches closer to the window, the couple fear it would have impacted the window, which would have shattered it – with the bed just feet away. The CAA have been contacted, to ascertain if the ice is indeed from a plane. Ice can form naturally on aircraft flying at high altitudes which falls when the plane descends into warmer air and the ice breaks away. The CAA says it is not liable for damage due to an ice fall.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/03/block-of-ice-from-plane-crashes-through-edge-of-roof-of-family-home-in-chelmsford/

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and

Other incidents of objects, including ice, falling from planes.

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Read more »

Critique of 11 claims by DfT, in its 1.5 million pro-Heathrow runway leaflets, for NPS consultation

The DfT has sent out 1.5 million leaflets to households in areas not too far from Heathrow. The leaflets make no attempt whatsoever of balance, and are merely advertising the runway plans and promoting them. Many of the claims are misleading, or so abbreviated as to be unclear. Below there is a critique of the claims, point by point, and links to evidence backing up the criticisms. If anyone has received a leaflet, and wonders about the facts, this webpage may give some useful information. Just a few examples of the dubious statements in the leaflet:  the figure of £61 billion economic benefit is given, leaving out the proviso that this is over 60 years.  There is much made of the generosity of the compensation to be given for compulsory purchase, but in reality anything much below 125% would be derisory, and way below world standards. The claim about six and a half hours of no scheduled night flights omits to mention how many flights, scheduled before 11pm, often take off almost to midnight. And though there may be 6 more domestic links from Heathrow, these are likely to be unprofitable and may not last for long. The loss of long haul routes from other UK airports, due to a larger Heathrow, is conveniently ignored.
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The information below may be useful in interpreting, and reading critically, the DfT promotional leaflet for the 3rd Heathrow runway

 

The DfT leaflet that has been sent out to 1.5 million households, especially those in areas where there is a consultation event.

See larger version of the leaflet here 

 

Below are the claims made in the leaflet, and some explanation about why these are incomplete or misleading:

DfT Claim 1. 

The government has been clear that a world-class package of measures should be put in place to support local communities (meaning those whose homes are compulsory purchased, or otherwise have to move).

The rates of compensation are not especially generous. They will have been set at 125% because anything lower would cause uproar. See the comment below:

[The article talks first of the inadequacy of an offer of just 110% for HS2.]

“In the US, the government forcibly taking someone’s home is seen as the most fundamental violation by the state of an individual’s rights, and the non-stop subject of emotional national debate (they call it “eminent domain”). In France, the government takes a practical view and offers such generous compensation that people are glad to move. The UK government’s meanness on compulsory purchase compensation is not just an insult to thousands of homeowners, but it is also ultimately self-defeating. By failing to recognise the real cost of being forced to move home, it ensures that homeowners along the HS2 route will feel they have no option but to do everything they can to block the new train line. The government is more likely to realise it plans if it does what the French do, and just buy off the opposition of those most directly affected. And that means compensation of at least 25%.”   Link 

 

DfT Claim 2.

Expansion can be delivered within existing air quality requirements, and this will be a condition of planning approval.

All Heathrow has offered to do is try to get 55% of passengers to travel to the airport by public transport.  (Public transport includes buses …. currently many powered by diesel).  See link

They hope to get more staff to travel to work by public transport.   See link

They hope society will change, and overall there will be fewer diesel vehicles. That is not under Heathrow’s control.   For example, see link

They plan to use more electric vehicles on the airport, and make some changes to slightly cut NO2 emissions by planes, airport vehicles etc.   See link    These changes are not likely to make a huge difference, and electric vehicles are not a “silver bullet”.  See link

The government hoped they would not be breaching EU law if there was somewhere else in the London area that had even worse air quality than Heathrow. That argument is not acceptable legally.  See link

Heathrow has no control over the vehicle use by businesses that may choose to locate near Heathrow, and which would use local roads.

There are plans to get more staff (and some passengers ….!) to cycle to the airport.  Realistically that is not going to make a big dent in air pollution.   See link


DfT Claim 3. 

The government prefers the NW Heathrow runway because of tens of thousands of additional local jobs by 2030.

The Airports Commission said there might be up to 77,000 jobs around Heathrow. Their final report said:

“Expansion at Heathrow would drive a substantial increase in employment at and around the airport, generating an additional 59 – 77,000 jobs [ie. additional direct, indirect and induced jobs] in 2030 for local people and for the fast-growing wider population in London and the South East, ….”  See link

However, by October 2016 the DfT had reduced this number. They had been using Heathrow’s estimates, but decided in 2016 to use assessments by others. The new figure was given as up to 37,700.   See link 

However, the DfT continues to use the “up to 77,000” claim.   Note: “Up to” is vague; it could be as low as almost none.  However, the DfT depends on lazy journalists omitting the “up to” part of the statement, so the 77,000 figure becomes the accepted wisdom.  Unjustifiably.

It is likely that some jobs might relocate to the Heathrow area from elsewhere. So they are not a net gain in jobs for the UK, just shifting them around.


DfT Claim 4. 

The government prefers the NW Heathrow runway because expected economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61 billion.

The leaflet craftily omits to say that this is to all the UK, over 60 years. Yes, over 60 years. That means up to around 2085, when a lot of us will no longer be around.

The original figure by the Airports Commission was for a maximum of £147 billion over 60 years.  That was found to be using very dodgy methodology.  The government was warned about this repeatedly but continued to use it.

Heathrow used to use the claim of £221 billion for the UK over 60 years.

In October 2016, the DfT admitted the more likely figure would be £61 billion (not £147 billion).

Other estimates, using conventional ways to assess large projects, puts the benefit to the UK (taking all the costs into account, and not only adding up the benefits – as the DfT has done) of almost nothing.

The Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee in Parliament has repeatedly (at least 4 times over the past year or so) asked for explanations of the figures. He has not yet received an adequate reply.  See link (Dec 2016) and link (Sept 2016)


DfT Claim 5. 

The government prefers the NW Heathrow runway because £114 billion value of freight to non-EU countries in 2015. This was more than all other UK airports combined.

Bearing in mind that Heathrow has the vast majority of all the flights from the UK to non-EU destinations, and many airports hardly do any air freight, that is scarcely a surprising fact. Most flights to leisure destinations from airports other than Heathrow probably do not deal with a lot of freight, and most of those only go to holiday spots in the US, or Thailand etc.

There are few flights to the Far East, other than from Heathrow. Manchester is the only other airport with flights to China.


DfT Claim 6. 

The government prefers the NW Heathrow runway because Heathrow Airport Limited pledge to create 5,000 new apprenticeships by 2030.

It is nice that they plan to create some apprenticeships.  What is now known is how many of those are for genuinely unemployed young people, and how many are just retraining existing employees.  That is not quite so good.  See link 


DfT Claim 7. 

The government prefers the NW Heathrow runway because Heathrow proposes 6 new domestic routes.

It is remarkable that with so many airports in the UK, Heathrow will only be adding links to 6 more of them. These links have been cut in the past, as they are less profitable than longer haul routes.  They generally make a loss, like Virgin’s Little Red.  See link

The new routes would only be viable for airlines if they are subsidised in some way. If they are not viable, there is no guarantee they will be kept.  See link

BA has said it is not interested. See link

What the DfT is careful not to say is that the Heathrow runway will have the effect (as they know and as the Airports Commission knew well) of making long haul flights to many destinations from UK regional airports less successful. There is likely to be a reduction in the long haul routes from non-Heathrow airports, which will not be popular with them.  See link


DfT Claim 8. 

The government prefers the NW Heathrow runway because a package of measures to support people near the airport has been proposed, including total compensation package for the local communities most affected by expansion worth up to £2.6 billion.

They already mentioned the world class compensation, so are having to repeat themselves.

What this actually means is that Heathrow has to buy up 783 homes, and demolish them for the runway.  And pay 125% of the price, plus stamp duty and costs.

The other 3,500 or so homes may also be bought, on the same terms. However, these do not need to be demolished.

Heathrow is likely therefore to do them up, maybe knock some down and build more flats on the site, etc.  If they can make back nearly as much as they paid, by improving the properties, their overall loss may be very small.

It may take a few years to get this money back, but overall Heathrow is not likely to lose much money, if it is clever with its property portfolio.   Some calculations here


DfT Claim 9.

The government prefers the NW Heathrow runway because a package of measures to support people near the airport has been proposed, including a 6 and a half hour of scheduled night flights.

This is very disingenuous.

The key word is “scheduled”.

It does not mean there would be no flights between 11pm and 5.30am.  It merely means there will be late planes taking off, well past 11pm, and none scheduled before 5.30am.

There are currently no flights scheduled to leave Heathrow after 11pm. But night after night, many do. On some days, if there have been delays for some reason, they continue to take off till midnight. It is not known if that will be stopped. It is highly unlikely.

Only a real ban of no planes taking off or landing after 11pm would really qualify as a real night ban. But can anyone imagine Heathrow saying to a plane, with passengers boarding at 10.45pm, that they are sorry, but they will all have to go back to the terminal and find hotel bedrooms for the night – before taking off in the morning?  It is not, realistically, going to happen.

The Airports Commission said there should be a ban from 11.30pm to 6am.   Heathrow would not accept this, and will only consider 5.30am.  See link

For good health, adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night.  Those older and younger need even more.  A short break with no noise for perhaps 6 hours, (taking account of the late departures) is not enough for health.  See link

It is likely that there would be a large number of flights in the “shoulder period” from 5.30am to 7am or so. This is when people are still trying to sleep, and people tend to then be sleeping less deeply – and have more trouble getting back to sleep, if woken.


DfT Claim 10. 

The government prefers the NW Heathrow runway because a package of measures to support people near the airport has been proposed, including a package of over £700 million on noise insulation for homes.

The figure of £700 million is very low indeed, when the number of people who would be affected by high levels of intrusive plane noise is considered.

The estimate is that160,000 homes might be within the 55 decibel Lden noise contour, with the worst affected homes getting the full cost of noise insulation paid and others getting up to £3,000 to pay for the work.

People who live in noisy areas have said that even with all that is provided by the airport, there is still noise. And if windows are opened at night in summer, the insulation is of no use.

Huge numbers of people suffering from plane noise would be excluded.  HACAN estimated the cost of really doing proper insulation for everyone needing it might be more like £1.8 billion.  And the insulation is not all going to be done quickly – some could take years.  See link.


DfT Claim 11. 

The government prefers the NW Heathrow runway because a package of measures to support people near the airport has been proposed, including £40 million to insulate and ventilate schools and other community buildings.

That would be nice.  However, the airport’s track record of getting school insulation  done is lamentable.  It took 10 years for them to just £4.8 million of work – and that was only done in a rush (April 2015), to try to impress the Airports Commission before they published their (pro Heathrow) decision in July 2015.  See link

Heathrow has put adobe buildings, to give the illusion that children are playing “outside” in some of the worst affected schools, to try to alleviate the massive problem. This is a true sticking plaster sort of solution. See link

 

 Claim 12 ???

– there is no claim on carbon, or noise, or spending on roads or rail …..  see below …



What is NOT mentioned in the leaflet

1. Heathrow’s carbon emissions

The inquisitive may wonder why there is no mention in the DfT leaflet about Heathrow and how it will meet carbon targets.

This is because the DfT has given up on this one.

Statements from the DfT and Chris Grayling now either make no mention of carbon emissions, or say they will ignore the advise from the (Government advisors) the Committee on Climate Change, about them.

The government knows it cannot expand Heathrow without breaching the recommended cap on carbon from UK aviation. That means it is unlikely the UK could meet its legally binding 2050 carbon target.  See link


2. Hugely increased noise

There is no mention of noise, which is rather surprising as the consultation events – and the leaflet target areas – are those that suffer from aircraft noise associated with Heathrow.

Having said earlier that Heathrow can increase the number of flights by 50% and there would be no increase in noise, (see link) perhaps the government realises that this statement is not credible. The only way this could be true is by clever manipulation of flight paths to keep the area and the number of people within the 57dB average noise contour constant. This is NOT a true measure of noise, or the number of people affected.

The DfT no longer seems to be trying to persuade people there will be no more noise, and is giving the public the credit for not being gullible idiots.

There are no soothing statements in the leaflet on noise, because it is inevitable there will be hugely more noise, and it will affect tens or hundred of thousands of new people.  It will also affect many of those currently overflown worse, because of the way flight paths with 3 runways will have to alter. For example, while people currently living under the approach flight paths from the east now get a break from noise for half a day, this would reduce to about a quarter of a day with the 3rd runway.


3. Heathrow paying for surface transport infrastructure

The government does not want the cost of flying to rise, as that might cut demand (and Heathrow might not be able to repay the immense £17 billion or so cost of its expansion).

So the DfT is not mentioning the massive cost of improving road and rail links to Heathrow, that would be needed for the expansion.  These links are struggling to cope already, with a 2 runway airport and the huge, growing population in the area.

With an extra 50% of total Heathrow passengers (maybe a third of them would be transfer passengers, never leaving the airport) there will be more pressure on public transport. That is especially the case as Heathrow says 55% of its passengers will use public transport, and more of its staff.

While the Airports Commission assessed the cost of surface infrastructure at about £5 billion for Heathrow to pay, Transport for London estimated up to about £18 billion.  (See link)  That would be to try to keep the quality of the service for all passengers (not just Heathrow passengers) at a decent level, where there are enough seats etc.

But Heathrow has only said it would spend £1.1 billion on surface access.  (See link) No more. The rest of the cost would be borne by the UK taxpayer. That means taxpayers across the country, many of whom would derive absolutely no benefit from Heathrow.

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DfT hold 20 consultation events in areas near Heathrow, plus 13 around the UK promoting Heathrow 3rd runway

The DfT is holding a large number of consultation events in the coming two months, both in areas affected by Heathrow, and after that, across the UK. The first event locally was on 13th February and the final one is 20th April in London. The DfT backs the runway, and so the information given out is very much in support of the runway.  The DfT has sent out 1.5 million leaflets about the consultations, with simplified text backing the runway (and ignoring any negative impacts) – which look like Heathrow’s own PR about their expansion plans.  The events locally are from 11am to 8pm on weekdays (10 – 5pm on Saturdays). People have to register to attend events outside London.  Due to the very short notice between the announcement of the NPS consultation (2nd February) and the first event on 13th February, it is difficult for local campaigners against the runway to attend all of them. The DfT has paid staff to man them all. People are encouraged to attend the events, and ask the DfT staff questions. Some suggested questions are shown below.  People are also advised not to make their responses in the consultation events, but do them in a considered manner, from home, when they have had time to assess all the information, both for and against the 3rd runway.
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The main DfT consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement (for a 3rd Heathrow runway) is at 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/589082/consultation-on-draft-airports-nps.pdf

and the supporting documents etc are at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/heathrow-airport-expansion

 

The deadline for responses is 25th May 2017 – so there is no need to fill in a response very soon. Better to wait, get your thoughts in order, and respond when you have all the information you need.

The questions in the consultation are shown below


Some questions people might like to ask the DfT staff at consultation events

Below are some suggestions, from the four boroughs that are most opposed to the runway, and that will make a legal challenge against the government once the NPS is published.

Some questions to ask: 

  • Will there be new flight paths over my house?
  • What noise levels will I experience with an expanded Heathrow?
  • What air pollution will I experience with an expanded Heathrow?
  • What road congestion will I experience with an expanded Heathrow?
  • How will it impact local transport and roads?
  • How else will my neighbourhood be impacted?

You might also like to ask: 

  •  How will there be less noise with the 3rd runway than without it?
  •  Why are there no details of flight paths in the consultation?
  •  How much will respite for those under the current approach paths from the east be reduced?
  •  How many new areas, and how many new people, will be overflown for the first time – at altitudes below 5,000 feet?. How will Heathrow ensure there are no more Heathrow-associated vehicles on surrounding roads?
  •  How will Heathrow ensure 55% of its passengers travel to or from the airport on public transport?
  •  How much carbon will flights using Heathrow emit per year once the 3rd runway is fully used?
  •  How is the NOx from aircraft using Heathrow measured, and taken account of in assessing air pollution?
  •  What does your ban on night flights mean in practice?  Late running flights? Shoulder periods?
  •  How will Heathrow increase its tonnage of air freight by 50% or more without increasing vehicle movements?
…… and different ones for specific areas, on their specific problems

 

 

Public consultations on Heathrow’s 3rd runway proposals – in Heathrow area and across the UK

 

 

Consultation events in the areas immediately affected by Heathrow

Weekday events are open from 11.00am to 8.00pm.

Saturday events are open 10.00am to 5.00pm.

Date Location Address
Monday 13 February 2017 Southall St George’s Community Centre, 8-12 Lancaster Road, Southall UB1 1NW
Tuesday 14 February 2017 Uxbridge Uxbridge Community Centre, 32b, The Greenway, Uxbridge UB8 2PJ
Wednesday 15 February 2017 Kingston Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2EE
Thursday 16 February 2017 Bracknell Carnation Hall, 29 Chavey Down Road, Winkfield Row, Bracknell RG42 7PU
Friday 17 February 2017 Wimbledon Everyday Church, 30 Queens Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 8LR
Saturday 18 February 2017 Ealing Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, Ealing, London W5 2BY
Monday 20 February 2017 Staines-upon-Thames The Hythe Centre, Thorpe Road, Staines TW18 3HD
Thursday 23 February 2017 Twickenham York House, Richmond Road Twickenham TW1 3AA
Friday 24 February 2017 Putney Putney Leisure Centre, Dryburgh Road, London SW15 1BL
Monday 27 February 2017 Hounslow Hounslow Civic Centre, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow, TW3 4DN
Tuesday 28 February 2017 Stanwell Moor Stanwell Moor Village Hall, Stanwell Moor, Staines TW19 6AQ
Wednesday 1 March 2017 Kensington Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, Kensington, London W8 7NX
Friday 3 March 2017 Windsor Windsor Youth and Community Centre, 65 Alma Road, Windsor SL4 3HD
Saturday 4 March 2017 West Drayton Yiewsley and West Drayton Community Centre, Harmondsworth Road, West Drayton UB7 9JL
Monday 6 March 2017 Hammersmith Assembly Hall, King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9JU
Tuesday 7 March 2017 Maidenhead Sportsable, Braywick Road, Maidenhead SL6 1BN
Friday 10 March 2017 Richmond RACC, Parkshot, London TW9 2RE
Saturday 11 March 2017 Gerrards Cross Colston Hall, 8 East Common, Gerrards Cross SL9 7AD
Monday 13 March 2017 Slough The Curve, William Street, Slough SL1 1XY
Wednesday 15 March 2017 Isleworth Isleworth Public Hall, South Street, Isleworth TW7 7BG

 


 

There are 13 events outside the Heathrow area

The DfT says:  “We are also running regional consultation information events for invited stakeholders. If you think you should have been invited, please contact us on 0800 689 4968”.

  • Monday 20 March 2017, Manchester
  • Wednesday 22 March 2017, Birmingham
  • Friday 24 March 2017, Leeds
  • Monday 27 March 2017, Newcastle
  • Wednesday 29 March 2017, Edinburgh
  • Friday 31 March 2017, Glasgow
  • Monday 3 April 2017, Belfast
  • Wednesday 5 April 2017, Liverpool
  • Friday 7 April 2017, Cardiff
  • Monday 10 April 2017, Newquay
  • Wednesday 12 April 2017, Reading
  • Tuesday 18 April 2017, Brighton
  • Thursday 20 April 2017, London

Registering for the events outside the Heathrow area

You can register to attend these outside London events, but they may be by ticket only.  People can just turn up to the earlier events in areas affected by Heathrow.

To register go to http://www.aviationconsultations.com/  and sign in.

If the system will not allow you to attend one of these events, you can inform the Independent Consultation Advisor, Sir Jeremy Sullivan here  https://www.gov.uk/government/people/jeremy-sullivan

The email address is   independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk


The DfT leaflet

The DfT leaflet that has been sent out to 1.5 million households, especially those in areas where there is a consultation event.

Critique of 11 claims by DfT, in its 1.5 million pro-Heathrow runway leaflets, for NPS consultation

The DfT has sent out 1.5 million leaflets to households in areas not too far from Heathrow. The leaflets make no attempt whatsoever of balance, and are merely advertising the runway plans and promoting them. Many of the claims are misleading, or so abbreviated as to be unclear. Below there is a critique of the claims, point by point, and links to evidence backing up the criticisms. If anyone has received a leaflet, and wonders about the facts, this webpage may give some useful information. Just a few examples of the dubious statements in the leaflet: the figure of £61 billion economic benefit is given, leaving out the proviso that this is over 60 years. There is much made of the generosity of the compensation to be given for compulsory purchase, but in reality anything much below 125% would be derisory, and way below world standards. The claim about six and a half hours of no scheduled night flights omits to mention how many flights, scheduled before 11pm, often take off almost to midnight. And though there may be 6 more domestic links from Heathrow, these are likely to be unprofitable and may not last for long. The loss of long haul routes from other UK airports, due to a larger Heathrow, is conveniently ignored.

See full critique here:

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/02/critique-of-the-12-claims-by-dft-in-its-1-5-million-pro-heathrow-leaflets-for-the-nps-consultation/

See larger version of the leaflet here 

 


The questions in the consultation:

Draft NPS consultation

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/s1css/main.asp?d=1

 

Question 1:

The need for additional airport capacity

The Government believes there is the need for additional airport capacity in the South East of England by 2030. Please tell us your views.

Chapter 3 of the consultation document (opens in a new tab/window)

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/docs/Draft_Airports_National_Policy_Statement_consultation_document.pdf – page=14


Question 2:

Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme

Please give us your views on how best to address the issue of airport capacity in the South East of England by 2030. This could be through the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme (the Government’s preferred scheme), the Gatwick Second Runway scheme, the Heathrow Extended Northern Runway scheme, or any other scheme.

Chapter 4 of the consultation document (opens in a new tab/window)

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/docs/Draft_Airports_National_Policy_Statement_consultation_document.pdf – page=18


Question 3:

Assessment principles

The Secretary of State will use a range of assessment principles when considering any application for a Northwest Runway at Heathrow Airport. Please tell us your views.

Chapter 5 of the consultation document (opens in a new tab/window)

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/docs/Draft_Airports_National_Policy_Statement_consultation_document.pdf – page=30


Question 4:

Impacts and requirements

The Government has set out its approach to surface access for a Heathrow Northwest runway scheme. Please tell us your views.

Chapter 6 of the consultation document (opens in a new tab/window)

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/docs/Draft_Airports_National_Policy_Statement_consultation_document.pdf – page=31


 

Question 5:

The draft Airports National Policy Statement sets out a package of supporting measures to mitigate negative impacts of a Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme. Please tell us your views. Are there any other supporting measures that should be set out? In particular, please tell us your views on:

Chapter 6 of the consultation document (opens in a new tab/window)

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/docs/Draft_Airports_National_Policy_Statement_consultation_document.pdf – page=31

 

5.1. Air quality supporting measures

 

5.2. Noise supporting measures

 

5.3. Carbon emissions supporting measures

 

5.4. Compensation for local communities


Question 6:

The Government has set out a number of planning requirements that a Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme must meet in order to operate. Please tell us your views. Are there any other requirements the Government should set out?

Chapter 6 of the consultation document (opens in a new tab/window)

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/docs/Draft_Airports_National_Policy_Statement_consultation_document.pdf – page=31


Question 7:

Appraisal of Sustainability

The Appraisal of Sustainability sets out the Government’s assessment of the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme, and considers alternatives. Please tell us your views.

Chapter 8 of the consultation document (opens in a new tab/window)

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/docs/Draft_Airports_National_Policy_Statement_consultation_document.pdf – page=39


Question 8:

General questions

Do you have any additional comments on the draft Airports National Policy Statement or other supporting documents?

Consultation document (opens in a new tab/window)

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/docs/Draft_Airports_National_Policy_Statement_consultation_document.pdf


 

Question 9:

The Government has a public sector equality duty to ensure protected groups have the opportunity to respond to consultations. Please tell us your views on how this consultation has achieved this.

Consultation document (opens in a new tab/window)

https://runwayconsultation.dialoguebydesign.com/docs/Draft_Airports_National_Policy_Statement_consultation_document.pdf

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Rise in complaints in St Albans district about Luton plane noise – residents are angry

Three campaign groups, representing St Albans, Harpenden and wider-Hertfordshire have banded together to call upon local politicians to do more on the problem of increasing aircraft noise, than merely call for a review or consultation on the problem. Campaigners from the alliance of HarpendenSky, Save our Skies (SoS) and Herts-based LADACAN say St Albans is at risk of ‘turning into Heathrow’ unless the rise in noise pollution is stopped.  Luton had more passengers than ever in 2016, at about 14.5 million. But there was also a 150% increase in complaints about noise.  Residents in Hertfordshire want Bedfordshire, which owns the airport, to suffer more of its noise. Luton airport is owned by Luton council, and people in Hertfordshire say as Bedfordshire gets the profit, they should take more of the pain.  Planes are getting bigger, heavier and noisier, and are flying even earlier in the morning and later at night. There is more noise affecting Flamstead, Redbourn, Harpenden, St Albans, and on to Sandridge and Stevenage.  People overflown by increasingly narrow flight paths want politicians to do something and challenge the airport. However, politicians are always nervous of saying anything that might do perceived damage to economic growth, such as demand a ban on night flights.
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Huge hike in complaints in St Albans district about plane noise from Luton Airport

9 February 2017

By Debbie White  (Herts Advertiser)

St Albans is at risk of ‘turning into Heathrow’ if noise pollution from Luton Airport is not tackled immediately, residents have warned.

While the airport has recently boasted that 2016 was a record breaking year, with 14.5 million passengers travelling through Luton, that figure coincides with a 150% increase in complaints about noise.

 

Three campaign groups, representing St Albans, Harpenden and wider-Hertfordshire have banded together to call upon local politicians to do more than merely call for a review or consultation on the problem.

They want Bedfordshire-based Luton to fly its planes – which cross above dense residential areas every few minutes, including on Sundays – over its own area, and away from Hertfordshire.

A spokesperson for the alliance of HarpendenSky, Save our Skies (SoS) and Herts-based LADACAN said: “Luton Airport is growing rapidly, with millions of extra passengers and thousands of additional flights per year.

“Planes are getting bigger, heavier and noisier, and are flying even earlier in the morning and later at night.

“Aircraft noise is now prevalent across Hertfordshire, affecting Flamstead, Redbourn, Harpenden, St Albans, and on to Sandridge and Stevenage. Complaints have recently increased by over 150%, with a record number of new complainants.”

The campaign groups asked: “What are our local politicians doing about it? They appear unable to actually do anything.

“Fearful of affecting ‘the economy’, politicians are not unambiguously demanding a ban on night flights from Luton, or tighter caps on the number of flights or the routing of planes away from Herts altogether.”

This paper has continued to receive complaints from locals, fed up with the din.

One St Albans man recently warned: “St Albans is turning into Heathrow and the whole city will be much the worse for it if some immediate action isn’t taken. I’m writing on behalf of a local resident who has been laid up at home after hospital treatment to say that the overhead noise from absolutely ridiculous.”

He added: “The constant noise polluting St Albans and Sandridge has now become intolerable. It’s not an occasional plane, it is almost incessant, from dawn to late at night.”

St Albans resident Joanne Pearce-Westrop said there appeared to be more lower-flying planes over the district, with noisier jet engines, including during weekends.

She said that many local schools must also be afflicted by ‘continual noise pollution’ from Luton.

The alliance explained that the recent introduction of a new GPS-based aircraft navigation system, RNAV, has concentrated flights into a ‘wall of noise’ that extends right across the countryside and affects all the communities on either side.  [This has been described by the CAA as a noise canyon, and by someone else in the industry as a noise sewer …. AW comment.]

This was introduced following a low-key ‘consultation’ which claimed that far fewer people would be overflown.

The campaign groups said: “This is a completely misleading claim, since aircraft noise propagates sideways. Yet how many of our politicians have denounced this RNAV ‘consultation’ as fatally flawed?

“The whole point of the Localism Act was to enable local government to tackle issues of importance to local communities.”

The alliance has also hit out at Luton borough council, which owns the airport, and “has pocketed over £95 million in profits” from it.   While “Bedfordshire gets the gain, Hertfordshire gets the pain – noise and air pollution in ever-increasing amounts,” the campaigners said.

They have called upon councillors and politicians throughout Herts to “get off the fence and act in order to protect our communities from blight”.

St Albans MP Anne Main said that, in the near future, she will be meeting with residents, and is currently seeking answers on how the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation will affect this area.

Harpenden MP Peter Lilley has called on the Department for Transport to include Luton Airport in its consultation on night flight restrictions at London airports.

He said: “The noise caused by night flights from Luton is particularly distressing for those affected.  As London grows, air traffic is increasing. There were 4,897 night flights into and out of Luton Airport between July and September 2016 – 12% more than during the same period in 2015.”

The department recently launched a consultation on the night flight restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports – but not Luton.  [Only those 3 airports are “designated” but not Luton] 

• If you are being affected by Luton Airport noise, please lodge a complaint: http://www.london-luton.co.uk/corporate/community/noise/talking-to-lla/making-a-noise-complaint

 

http://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/huge_hike_in_complaints_in_st_albans_district_about_plane_noise_from_luton_airport_1_4882669

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Flight paths of Heathrow 3rd runway travel over, and parallel to, M4. Safety and distraction issue?

The planned north-west runway at Heathrow, that the UK government is very keen to push through, runs close to the M4 motorway. This is a very busy stretch of road, with much of the traffic associated with Heathrow, in one way or another. The arrival flight path from the east, onto the 3rd runway, would run over parts of it, and very close to other parts, for some distance close to the airport. This is where the planes are at their lowest and most noisy. Currently along the boundary roads of the airport there are barriers, to prevent drivers seeing the planes – at ground level – and being distracted. However, with planes flying low overhead or parallel to the road for some distance, no barriers would be able to obscure the view.possible.  It is not clear whether any consideration has been given by the DfT to the problem of driver distraction (or even driver nervousness) to have planes quite so low, flying parallel and in view.  There are around 130,000 vehicles per day on that stretch of the M4 – meaning over 6,000 per hour – it is a very busy section of road, and due to become yet busier with a new runway.  No other major airport has busy motorway with approximately the same alignment as the flight path – there is something comparable for one Tokyo runway. Will the government take into account the safety problems of this motorway / flight path clash?
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The overall length of an A380 is about 238 feet (72 metres) and the wingspan is about 260 feet (79 metres). When one of these planes is 500 feet overhead, that is merely two widths of a plane – which gives an indication of just how huge the plane would look to a person below.

While regular users of the M4 may become used to the distraction of giant planes moving fast, with extreme noise, above them, would drivers who use the road infrequently be as able to ignore them?

Is there a real safety issue here?

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Arrivals from the east (on westerlies)

Indicative map showing approach path, from the east (airport on westerlies) towards the 3rd runway. Note where the M4 is, and the distance where it would be directly under the arriving planes. The red box is approximately where planes would be at 400 feet altitude, with a screenshot of one plane the equivalent distance from the northern runway, from Heathrow Webtrak)

Indicative map showing approach path, from the east (airport on westerlies) towards the 3rd runway. Note where the M4 is, and the distance where it would be directly under the arriving planes. The red box is approximately where planes would be at 800 feet altitude, with a screenshot of one plane the equivalent distance from the northern runway, from Heathrow Webtrak)

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Arrivals from the west (on easterlies)

Indicative map showing approach path, from the west (airport on easterlies) towards the 3rd runway. Note where the M4 is. The red box is approximately where planes would be at 400 feet altitude, with a screenshot of one plane the equivalent distance from the northern runway, from Heathrow Webtrak).   Note how close the flight path is from the M4 when planes are at around 400 feet, and how the flight path crosses the M4 with planes at around 500 feet.

 

Indicative map showing approach path, from the west (airport on easterlies) towards the 3rd runway. Note where the M4 is. The red box is approximately where planes would be at 800 feet altitude, with a screenshot of one plane the equivalent distance from the northern runway, from Heathrow Webtrak).   Note how the flight path crosses the M4 twice  – at heights of around 800 feet the first time, and around 500 feet the second time – as well as running parallel with it for many miles. 

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Details of the numbers of vehicles using the M4 are from the DfT

https://www.dft.gov.uk/traffic-counts/cp.php?la=Hillingdon
Around 150 – 160,000 vehicles per day on the section of the M4 that would be under the flight path to the west of Heathrow. See section 16012 data at http://api.dft.gov.uk/v2/trafficcounts/countpoint/id/16012.csv

https://www.dft.gov.uk/traffic-counts/cp.php?la=Hillingdon#16012
Around 130,000 vehicles per day on the section of the M4 that would be under the flight path. See section 6013 data at http://api.dft.gov.uk/v2/trafficcounts/countpoint/id/6013.csv

https://www.dft.gov.uk/traffic-counts/cp.php?la=Hillingdon#6013


Do other major airports in the world have flight paths over long stretches of busy motorway?

In a word, No.   Except one at Tokyo, Haneda.

Below are links to the world’s busiest airports (a 2 runway Heathrow ranks around 6th globally) by passenger numbers.

Atlanta airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Hartsfield-Jackson+Atlanta+International+Airport+(ATL)/@33.6380653,-84.4597474,12.65z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x4117a3ef1892b048!8m2!3d33.6407282!4d-84.4277001

Beijing airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Beijing+Capital+International+Airport+(PEK)/@40.0637516,116.595359,12.78z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x497cf53a4e23be54!8m2!3d40.0798573!4d116.6031121

Dubai airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Dubai+International+Airport/@25.2387596,55.3032748,12.13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xe695d4007a48eee9!8m2!3d25.2531745!4d55.3656728

Chicago O’Hare airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/O’Hare+International+Airport+(ORD)/@41.9744512,-87.9831139,11.69z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x511747070259ad4b!8m2!3d41.9741625!4d-87.9073214

Tokyo Haneda airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Haneda+Airport+(HND)/@35.5712186,139.7594748,161m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xd32c3a9d146f8df!8m2!3d35.5493932!4d139.7798386  (There is one flight path close to a motorway)

Heathrow airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Heathrow+Airport+(LHR)/@51.4702471,-0.5275392,12.46z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x8fe7535543f64167!8m2!3d51.4700223!4d-0.4542955

Los Angeles airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Los+Angeles+International+Airport/@33.9296711,-118.4221043,13.13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x77a87b57698badf1!8m2!3d33.9415889!4d-118.40853

Hong Kong airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Hong+Kong+International+Airport+(HKG)/@22.3083793,113.9444126,13.1z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xf9f590821892369e!8m2!3d22.308047!4d113.9184808

Paris Charles de Gaulle
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Charles+de+Gaulle+Airport+(CDG)/@49.0089407,2.4491755,11.83z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x42be0982f5ba62c!8m2!3d49.0096906!4d2.5479245

Dallas Fort Worth airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/DFW+International+Airport/@32.8765112,-97.0539128,13.47z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x73323f5e067d201c!8m2!3d32.8998091!4d-97.0403352

Istanbul airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Istanbul+Ataturk+Airport+(IST)/@40.9988125,28.7865908,13.49z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xda51320c46e3abe!8m2!3d40.9829888!4d28.8104425

and

Schiphol airport
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Amsterdam+Airport+Schiphol/@52.3799688,4.7227851,12.33z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xc7d51583f1cef188!8m2!3d52.3105386!4d4.7682744

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Artist’s impression of how the M4 might look, with an A380 some 500 feet overhead 

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