Easter Saturday: Neil makes it to 200 miles – halfway to Scotland – with support from Rachael Maskell

Day 12 saw Neil cross the halfway point on his 400-mile walk from Harmondsworth, the main village that would be demolished with a 3rd Runway, to Edinburgh. He is seeking to raise awareness of the campaign and speak with Scottish politicians, as the SNP is intending to vote as a block in favour of the runway. He wants to ask they why they are prepared to destroy his home, community and the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, for vague pledges of help for Scotland and more air freighted salmon and whisky. In York, Neil was met by Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central,at the iconic York Minster, Rachael offered her support to Neil and the campaign, commenting: “It’s great to be here today with Neil … to raise awareness of the impact that a third runway at Heathrow would have. It’s fantastic he’s made it so far on this journey about what’s going to happen to housing, air pollution issues, noise pollution and of course the cost of the project. I’ll be taking his message out into the city, do a public meeting and ensure that people understand the real impact on the local community on a third runway…. Whilst we hear so many jobs will be created, what’s really important is the community voice is also part of the consultation and people understand the consequences of what will happen if a third runway actually goes ahead.”
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Neil makes it to York – halfway to Scotland!

15.4.2017  (Stop Heathrow Expansion – SHE)

Day 12 saw Neil cross the halfway point on his 400-mile walk from Harmondsworth, the villages that would be demolished with a 3rd Runway, to Scotland, as he seeks to raise awareness of the campaign and speak with Scottish politicians about why they are prepared to destroy his home, community and the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.


Neil with Rachael Maskell MP at York Minster
Neil was met by Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central as he reached the halfway point of the walk. Meet at the iconic York Minster in the City Centre, Rachael offered her support to Neil and the campaign, commenting: “It’s great to be here today with Neil who’s now walked 195 miles to raise awareness of the impact that a third runway at Heathrow would have. It’s fantastic he’s made it so far on this journey about what’s going to happen to housing, air pollution issues, noise pollution and of course the cost of the project. I’ll be taking his message out into the city, do a public meeting and ensure that people understand the real impact on the local community on a third runway.”

Video clip here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7SCWPuvzi0 

Rachael added: “Whilst we hear so many jobs will be created, what’s really important is the community voice is also part of the consultation and people understand the consequences of what will happen if a third runway actually goes ahead.”

Later in the day Neil met two York City Councillors, who offered their strong support to the campaign. Green group leader Andy D’Agorne and Cllr Denise Craghill who were collecting signatures for a local petition about air pollution. Neil explained that Hillingdon, the borough that includes Heathrow Airport, breaches nitrogen dioxide limits more than any other local authority in the United Kingdom. The legal limits are 40 micrograms per cubic metre, Hillingdon has readings of 68mcg. Both councillors agreed that this needs addressing now, and air pollution must be brought into legal limits, before any talk of runway expansion could ever begin.


Nitrogen Dioxide readings around Heathrow are reaching 68 microgrames per cubic metre. The legal maximum limit is 40.


York City Councillors Andy D’Agorne and Denise Craghill meet Neil as he passes the halfway mark on Saturday afternoon
With half the walk complete, Neil is feeling optimistic about the rest of his journey, commenting “Walking this far is challenging, but I’m feeling good and looking forward to the second half. It is vitally important that politicians in the north of the UK and in Scotland hear the reality of Heathrow expansion – it will not deliver on its fanciful projects they have promised places such as York.

Tomorrow Neil will be taking a break from walking, but will be visiting an anti-Fracking camp in Kirby Misperton which is slightly off-route. More updates from us on here on Easter Monday. In the meantime, check our Twitter page for the very latest updates @StopHeathrowExp.

On behalf of all of Neil, and all of us at Stop Heathrow Expansion, we wish you a peaceful Easter.

http://stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/scotlandwalk/april2017/2017/4/15/neil-makes-it-halfway-to-scotland

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Michael Gove criticised after turning down public meeting on Heathrow 3rd runway plans with constituents

The DfT held 20 public consultation events on the draft National Policy Statement about plans for a 3rd Heathrow at places near, of affected by, the airport.  A 21st is now to be held, which Greg Hands MP will chair, for Chelsea and Fulham. But though seriously overflown by Heathrow planes, Surrey Heath was not given a DfT event. On March 17th, Surrey County Council publicly challenged the DfT’s refusal to hold an information event in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge – but there will still not be one. The local campaign group, Aircraft Noise 3 Villages (AN3V) is highly critical of their MP, Michael Gove, who has not got a public meeting arranged, and declined to either hold one himself or even attend one. Rosalie James, from AN3V (representing Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot, said to Michael Gove: “The public meeting was requested by many people keen to understand what your position and that of the council is in terms not only of existing noise, but how residents will be protected from yet more noise IF expansion is finally approved.” Had Mr Gove bothered to attend a public meeting on the Heathrow runway proposals, it would have been an important opportunity for constituents to find out the position being taken by the MP, and their local council – and find out how their representatives are intending to protect their area from increased aircraft noise.
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Heathrow expansion: Michael Gove under the spotlight after turning down public meeting with constituents

The Surrey Heath MP has been criticised for turning down a public meeting with campaigners “yet again”

BY   (Get Surrey)

12.4.2017

The battle for representation in the Heathrow Airport consultation continues for Surrey Heath, despite efforts by Surrey County Council (SCC) to include the borough in the expansion talks.

On March 17, SCC publicly challenged the government’s refusal to hold Heathrow Airport expansion meetings in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge .

However, such attempts have not satisfied campaign group, Aircraft Noise 3 Villages (AN3V) who demand action over increased aircraft noise in Lightwater , Windlesham and Bagshot .

While Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) and SCC continue to be prodded, campaigners are now putting local MP Michael Gove under the spotlight for refusing to take part in a public meeting with constituents.

  • Council challenges consultation process
    Representing AN3V, Rosalie James told Get Surrey : “Michael Gove has yet again turned down the offer of a public meeting at which constituents could question those responsible for representing our best interests.

“He has, however, confirmed the Department of Transport (DfT) will not leaflet or hold consultation events in this area.”

In an email to Mr Gove, Mrs James stated: “The public meeting was requested by many people keen to understand what your position and that of the council is in terms not only of existing noise, but how residents will be protected from yet more noise IF expansion is finally approved.

“It would have presented an opportunity for you and those who will be directly involved in taking that final decision by way of House of Common vote, to reassure constituents that concerns are being adequately addressed and outline how this area will be protected from further aircraft noise.”

Mrs James continued: ” I urge you to reconsider your position on a meeting or at least provide some detail on how you are proposing to defend the interests of Surrey Heath residents already considerably affected by noise.”

In February, Mrs James accused SCC and SHBC for ignoring complaints and having their “heads in the sand ” over plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

A month later, the group said the consultation process was “flawed” and “biased ” after the three villages were missed during the distribution of one and-a-half million leaflets inviting people to free public consultations.

Since, AN3V has filed two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, demanding to see evidence of the information reported back by the SHBC’s two representatives at the Heathrow Community Noise Forum (HCNF).

Another request was issued to see the correspondence passed between SHBC and DfT regarding the leafleting for the public consultation events Surrey Heath was excluded from.

When approached for comment, Mr Gove said: “I believe it is important for my constituents to be consulted regarding the draft Airports National Policy Statement, and that is why I joined forces with two other Surrey MPs to argue for Consultation Information Events to take place in our constituencies.”

He added: “I am pleased that the Department for Transport has now agreed to send representatives to such a meeting and I will work to ensure our meeting takes place shortly.”

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/heathrow-expansion-michael-gove-under-12873665#ICID=ios_GetSurreyNewsApp_AppShare_Click_MailShare

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See earlier:

Heathrow expansion: Council brands decision to exclude Surrey Heath and Elmbridge boroughs from third runway consultation ‘utterly perverse’

Surrey County Council has called for Surrey Heath and Elmbridge boroughs to be included in the public consultation on expanding the airport

BY ISABEL DOBINSON (Get Surrey)
20 MAR 2017

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Surrey County Council (SCC) has publicly challenged the government’s refusal to hold Heathrow Airport expansion meetings in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge boroughs.

SCC says the two areas should be included in the consultation on Heathrow’s proposed third runway

 

The council states while public consultation events were being held in Runnymede and Spelthorne, “no meetings are planned for Surrey Heath and Elmbridge, even though the two areas have been affected by changes to flight paths around the airport and flight path trials”.

Councillor Mike Goodman, SCC’s cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Residents in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge must be given a proper opportunity to make their views known on proposals for a third runway at Heathrow and it seems utterly perverse to deny these areas public events.”

He continued: “There is already concern in the two boroughs about levels of aircraft noise and no one yet knows the exact impact of expanding Heathrow which is why we are urging the Government to make sure the consultation on this momentous decision is full and fair to everyone who could be affected.”

However, this demand for action is perhaps a little too late for campaigners who have spent months struggling to make their voices heard.

Aircraft Noise 3 Villages, a campaign group representing residents of Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot, has previously raised concerns over exclusion from the consultation process.

On March 8, the group said the consultation process was ‘flawed’ and ‘biased’ after the three villages were missed during the distribution of one and-a-half million leaflets inviting people to free public consultations.

This has increased friction between campaigners and both SCC and Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) initially caused by objections over increased aircraft noise over the area.

In February, Rosalie James from Aircraft Noise 3 Villages accused representatives from both councils for ignoring complaints and having their ‘heads in the sand’ over Heathrow’s third runway.

In an email to the villages’ councillors, including Cllr Goodman, she said: “Where is the representation from SHBC and SCC to protect the rights of, and engage with affected residents?

“It is your collective responsibility to ensure ALL residents’ views are dealt with equally and impartially, regardless of personal opinions.”

Since then, Ms James has criticised Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove over his lack of action on the issue.
http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/heathrow-expansion-council-brands-decision-12755760

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See earlier:

“Aircraft Noise 3 Villages” says DfT’s Heathrow consultation is ‘flawed’ as Surrey Heath left in the dark

The Aircraft Noise 3 Villages group, that represents residents in Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot, is angry that local councils are not doing anything to get the amount of aircraft noise from Heathrow reduced. They want action by Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) and Surrey County Council  to tackle the issue of increased aircraft noise. They are also concerned that their areas were excluded from the distribution of 1.5 million leaflets by the DfT, inviting members of the public to a series of public events on the Heathrow National Policy Statement (NPS) consultation. The DfT is holding 20 events in areas affected by Heathrow, but this has not covered many of the places that either already get, or will  get, intense levels of plane noise if there was a 3rd runway. Rosalie James, from the Aircraft Noise 3 Villages group, has written to the DfT, Surrey Heath MP, Michael Gove and Surrey County Councillor, Mike Goodman, to say their areas should have had a DfT info event. The absence of DfT events is yet another way in which the NPS consultation is widely regarded as deeply flawed. Even if people can attend a DfT event, they will find no information on future flight paths, though it is known that almost 50% more Heathrow flights, using more concentrated flight paths, would cause severe noise problems for those overflown.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/03/aircraft-noise-3-villages-says-dfts-heathrow-consultation-is-flawed-as-surrey-heath-left-in-the-dark/

 

 

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Extra DfT consultation date added for Chelsea & Fulham constituents on draft NPS plans

The DfT originally planned 20 of its consultation information events in areas relatively near, and affected by, Heathrow.  There was outrage that some areas badly impacted by the airport did not get one.  One such area was Chelsea and Fulham. Now its MP, Greg Hands, has persuaded the DfT to add a session for his constituency, which he will chair. This will be at Fulham Library on 19th April from 6.30 – 8pm. This is the day before the final event, at the O2 arena, on 20th April. The arrival route from the east, onto the proposed 3rd runway, would be directly over parts of Chelsea and Fulham, with planes at about 3,000 feet. There could be an aircraft overhead every 90 seconds or less, for large parts of most days (depending on the wind). At that level of noise, it is difficult to hold a conversation outdoors at normal speech volume, when a plane goes overhead.  Greg Hands said he opposes a Heathrow 3rd runway, (though believes the UK needs more airport capacity) and he also wants a ban on night flights- for seven hours – from 11pm to 6am (Heathrow wants flights to start by 5.30am). 
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Heathrow third runway: Extra consultation date added for Chelsea and Fulham constituents to view plans

The event take place at Fulham Library after the Department for Transport had originally omitted the information roadshow from the constituency altogether

BY GOOLISTAN COOPER (Get West London)
11 APR 2017

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An extra date has been added by the Department for Transport to its Heathrow public consultation schedule following intervention from MP Greg Hands.

Mr Hands had been left disappointed when the government omitted his Chelsea and Fulham constituency from its original list of consultation event venues .

Now a date has now been added on April 19 at Fulham Library, in Fulham Road, running from 6.30pm to 8pm.
A series of public consultation events have been held around west London following the government’s Heathrow third runway decision last year.

The Conservative MP was left upset upon learning that none were due to take place in his constituency, in spite of the current and expected future impact that Heathrow Airport might have on residents.

He said: “I know that the announcement on the proposed Heathrow expansion came as a disappointment to many of my constituents in Chelsea and Fulham, as well as to those I campaigned with when I represented Hammersmith as their MP.

“I fully acknowledge the need to increase airport capacity in the South East of England, but I remain opposed to the prospect of a third runway at Heathrow .”

He spoke of his calls for a ban on night flights before adding: “I look forward to hosting this Heathrow consultation event on 19 April, and I should like to thank the Department for agreeing to host an event in Chelsea and Fulham.

“I shall make my own submission to this consultation in due course, and I urge all of my constituents to get their opinions heard , by responding to the Department for Transport.”

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/heathrow-third-runway-extra-consultation-12877159

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See earlier:

Greg Hands (MP for Chelsea & Fulham) urges DfT to ban Heathrow night flights from 11pm to 6am

Chelsea and Fulham MP (Cons) Greg Hands has urged DfT ministers to impose a ban on all night flights at Heathrow. Greg renewed calls for all planes to be grounded between 11pm and 6am, a period of 7 hours, and says he is frequently woken up at night by noise from aircraft passing over west London.  In a letter to Lord Ahmed, the parliamentary under secretary of state for transport, Mr Hands argued that there should be a “comprehensive” ban on night flights at Heathrow. He said the lives of local people are being unfairly disrupted by the noise, and research from international health bodies, including the WHO and the BMJ, highlights the damaging impacts of sustained sleep deprivation on people’s wellbeing. “These Londoners have jobs to do and families to look after, for which they require a good night’s sleep.”  A ban of flights for a 7 hour night period would “lessen the detrimental impact on hundreds of thousands of Londoners living beneath the flight path”.  … “I find it unacceptable that the convenience, quality of sleep, and the health of millions of residents in London and the wider South East under the flight path is sacrificed for the sake of a few thousand inbound passengers per night”.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/03/greg-hands-mp-for-chelsea-fulham-urges-dft-to-ban-heathrow-night-flights-from-11pm-to-6am/

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Greg Hands MP: Why do we fly 1,000 planes a day over London?

Greg Hands, MP for Fulham & Hammersmith, asks why Heathrow is one of the very few cities which have so many planes flying over hundreds of thousands of people, on their way to the country’s largest airports.  There was a recent interview, in the BA in-flight magazine, in which a pilot said:  ‘I always enjoy flying over London, because there are so few approaches over cities’. Greg Hands questions not only the noise implications, but also safety – everyone was recently reminded of the problem when the BA jet with one of its engines in flames was routed directly over London – including Chelsea, Fulham and Hammersmith. Greg says: “Thankfully, it made it back to the airport and nobody was hurt, but it again begs the question: why do we fly more than 1,000 planes a day over London?”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/06/greg-hands-heathrow/

 

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Freight train to China leaves UK – carrying whisky, pharmaceuticals etc – not needing air freight

The first rail freight train from China to the UK arrived three months ago, carrying imports. Now the first return trip is being made, on 10th April, leaving Essex, on the 7,500 mile trip. Thirty containers contain British produced goods including whisky, soft drinks, vitamins, baby products and pharmaceuticals. The DB Cargo locomotive leaves the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Stanford-le-Hope for the city of Yiwu in Zhejiang province, eastern China. After going through the Channel Tunnel the train will pass through France, Belgium, Duisburg in Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, arriving at Yiwu on 27th April. The operators say it is cheaper to send goods by train than by air and faster than by sea. The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West. The train link means products can be both imported and exported from the UK, as well as by ship – with both being far lower carbon modes of transport than air. Heathrow claims it is vital to the UK economy because of its exports of items like pharmaceuticals and whisky. But it makes better sense to ship these by rail, rather than use so much fuel getting them up to 38,000 feet …. Items that are non-perishable do not need to be air freighted. Frozen fish (Scottish salmon) can be carried by rail.
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First UK rail freight service to China to depart

9.4.2017

The first rail freight train from China to the UK arrived three months ago

The first rail freight service from the UK to China will depart on a 7,500-mile journey from Essex on Monday.

Thirty containers filled with British produced goods were setting off on the 7,500-mile journey from Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. They include whisky, soft drinks, vitamins, baby products and pharmaceuticals.

A DB Cargo locomotive will leave the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Stanford-le-Hope for the city of Yiwu in Zhejiang province, eastern China.

After going through the Channel Tunnel the train will pass through seven other countries before arriving on 27 April.

These are France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.

After passing through the Channel Tunnel into France and on to Belgium, the train will call in Duisburg, Germany before InterRail pull the cargo through Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazahkstan and arrive at Yiwu, eastern China on April 27.

‘Significant occasion’

The operators say it is cheaper to send goods by train than by air and faster than by sea.

The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West dating back more than 2,000 years.

DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said it was a “significant trade occasion”.

“DP World London Gateway, one of the UK’s largest logistics hubs, is designed and developed to ensure products can be both imported and exported from the UK via ship or train in a faster, safer and more reliable way than ever before,” he added.

“We look forward to enabling and facilitating more trade between the UK, China and the whole world.”

The first rail freight service in the opposite direction, from China to the UK, arrived three months ago.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39549077

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The journey is cheaper than air freight and faster than sea freight.

The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West, initially created more than 2,000 years ago.

International trade minister Greg Hands said: “This new rail link with China is another boost for global Britain, following the ancient Silk Road trade route to carry British products around the world.

“It shows the huge global demand for quality UK goods and is a great step for DP World’s £1.5 billion London Gateway port as it also welcomes its first regular container ships from Asia.”

DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said the first freight service from the UK to China is a “significant trade occasion”.

He went on: “DP World London Gateway, one of the UK’s largest logistics hubs, is designed and developed to ensure products can be both imported and exported from the UK via ship or train in a faster, safer and more reliable way than ever before.

“We look forward to enabling and facilitating more trade between the UK, China and the whole world.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/first-train-from-uk-to-china-set-to-depart-from-essex-a3511281.html

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Whisky is also a key export for the UK, with Scotch whisky accounting for a quarter of UK food and drink exports, generating £4 billion for the economy. –

http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Brand-News-22/6203 

 

New data has revealed over £7 billion worth of British exports travelled to China via Heathrow between August 2014 and July 2015, representing a 117% increase on the previous 12 months and over 15% of total UK export goods via Heathrow by value.

http://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/UK-exports-via-Heathrow-rise-9.7/64745.htm#.WOtbyVPyvBI


See earlier:

China starts rail cargo link from Shanghai to London (Barking) – cheaper than air freight, faster than sea

China has launched its first freight train to London, travelling from Yiwu West Railway Station in Zhejiang Province, Eastern China (near Shanghai) to Barking. The trip will take around 18 days to travel over 7,400 miles  (about 6,200 miles, as the crow flies).  The route runs through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, on the way to London. The UK is the eighth country to be added to the China-Europe service, and London is the 15th city. There are hopes that it will strengthen China- UK ties.  The railway is a major strategic development to assist Xi Jinping’s multi-billion dollar ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy. The plan is to create a trade network connecting Asia with Africa and Europe along old Silk Road trading routes. There are currently 39 routes linking 16 Chinese cities to 12 European cities. The train to London carried a cargo of clothes, bags and other household items. In October a train arrived in Hamburg from China after a 13 day trip.  Its 45 containers carried consumer goods, furniture, clothes, lamps and electronics, which were then transported to various European cities. The trains returning to China have carried items such as German meat products, Russian woods and French wines. Transporting goods by rail is a much cheaper and lower carbon method than air freight via Heathrow, and faster than sea cargo.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/01/china-starts-rail-cargo-link-from-shanghai-to-london-barking-cheaper-than-air-freight-faster-than-sea/

 

 

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Grayling tells the Welsh that Heathrow 3rd runway will be of huge benefit to them

On Friday 7th April the DfT held one of its regional events, promoting the 3rd Heathrow runway – as part of its draft NPS consultation (ends 25th May). Chris Grayling must have felt the need to try to encourage attendance (which has been woefully low at other regional events) so he had a piece in the local paper, Wales Online. He pushes the potential benefits of the runway for Wales as hard as he can, with comments like how it will “boost jobs” and “promote our innovative industries on the world stage” and “the new runway could provide better links to more destinations around the world, a wider choice of airlines ….”   He said: “According to Heathrow, it currently handles £2.8 bn of Welsh exports each year. The new runway could double the airport’s freight capacity, linking Welsh businesses with fast growing global markets.”  And so on.   Heathrow signed up to a deal with the Welsh government in January, in which the airport gave some very dubious figures of how much Wales would benefit. These figures are based on Heathrow’s own assumptions, based on assumptions, based on an out of date, highly exaggerated figure of economic benefit of the runway, of £147 billion (that is, over all the UK, over 60 years). Even the DfT no longer believes that figure.
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How the Welsh economy will benefit from a third runway at Heathrow, says Chris Grayling

The UK Government’s Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling on how Welsh exporters will benefit

Aviation expansion is hugely important for Wales, and the whole of the UK, to boost jobs and promote our innovative industries on the world stage.

We recently published the draft Airports National Policy Statement, setting out the planning criteria that should be met before a proposed new runway at Heathrow Airport could gain consent.

For the people and businesses of Cardiff, the new runway could provide better links to more destinations around the world, a wider choice of airlines, and lower fares through increased competition at Heathrow.

The expansion will have a direct impact on the economy of Wales too. According to Heathrow, it currently handles £2.8 bn of Welsh exports each year. The new runway could double the airport’s freight capacity, linking Welsh businesses with fast growing global markets.

Access to London and Heathrow from Wales will be improved by the upgrade to the Great Western rail line. Cardiff Airport is seeing growing passenger numbers, reaching over 1.3 million in 2016.

We expect it to continue attracting new airlines and growing its network of destinations, and expansion at Heathrow could provide passengers with even more choice and opportunity.

With a new runway, Heathrow plans to double its freight capacity. It already handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined, accounting for 31% of non-EU trade. The expansion would create even more opportunities for exporters in Wales and other nations.

For instance, I hear that Newport firm SPTS Technologies exports more than 95% of its products, all of which are shipped from Heathrow. The company says that Heathrow’s extra capacity for shipping freight could potentially open up new trading routes and lower costs, while new routes could help improve connections for international customers visiting its facilities.

The UK Government wants people and businesses in the area to put their views forward. Today we’ll be listening to Cardiff’s businesses, community groups, manufacturers, freight operators, passenger organisations, local authorities and any interested parties and encouraging them to respond to the consultation.

This Government is not only making the big decisions that previous Governments didn’t, but getting on with delivering them too. It’s all part of our Plan for Britain – to build a stronger, fairer UK with proper investment in skills and sectors, to spread prosperity and opportunity here in South Wales and around the country.

We believe the case for the new runway is compelling. Between 2009 and 2015, Heathrow slipped from being the world’s second busiest airport to the sixth busiest. Heathrow’s two runways are full. By comparison, its main competitors – Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam – have ample spare runway capacity into which to grow.

We have explained why we consider the proposed runway would best meet the pressing need for new airport capacity in the South East in the draft Airports National Policy Statement, which also sets out strict planning obligations Heathrow would have to meet to get approval for the new runway.

It is out for public consultation and will be scrutinised by MPs before a final National Policy Statement could be laid in Parliament next winter.

The draft Airports National Policy Statement is a big step forward for what would be one of Britain’s most important infrastructure projects. Now it is vital that Cardiff is engaged in the consultation process, so it can ensure its interests are represented.

So please join the debate and make your voice heard.”

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/how-welsh-economy-benefit-third-12860434

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See also

 

A new partnership (Welsh Government and Heathrow) could see a flight from Wales to Heathrow Airport

Airport chairman says it could boost economy in Wales by £6.2bn

By Chris Pike (Wales online)

6.3.2017

A new partnership between the Welsh Government and Heathrow Airport could help deliver 8,400 new skilled jobs and £6.2bn in economic growth for Wales.

An agreement is set to be signed today signalling the start of what aims to be a close working relationship between the two.

It will look at mutually beneficial commercial opportunities to support economic growth and the delivery of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

‘Broaden supply chain’

This partnership opens up new business opportunities in Wales as Heathrow, which invests more than £1bn a year at its site, wants to broaden its supply chain to support demand.

The partnership will mean airlines wanting to operate a route from Wales to Heathrow would be eligible to bid for the £10m route development fund.

The first ever Heathrow Business Summit Wales will take place on July 5 providing Welsh businesses with the opportunity of winning new business with the airport’s biggest suppliers.

It will also look at the possibility of locating off site manufacturing logistic hubs in Wales to support delivery for the third runway.

This new strategic partnership will be signed in Cardiff by First Minister Carwyn Jones and Heathrow’s chairman Lord Paul Deighton today.

Lord Deighton said: “I want to ensure that every corner of Britain benefits from Heathrow expansion. This strategic partnership will bring us closer to Wales and help us to deliver an expanded Heathrow.

We want to make it a success’

A new Heathrow runway will unlock up to 8,400 new skilled jobs and underpin up to £6.4bn in growth from construction through to increased tourism and exports for Wales.  [These figures are based on a study, done for Quod, that does some manipulation of out of date predictions, coming up with numbers of jobs and benefits. They are based on a figure of £147 billion of economic benefit.  That is actually the benefit, without taking off the costs. The DfT in October 2016 said the £147 figure should be replaced by £61 billion. Even that is before costs are taken off. It is shameful that the Welsh government is being this badly misled by Heathrow, and given numbers that they are unclear how to interpret.  AW note] This new partnership is a sign of our commitment to ensuring Heathrow expansion delivers tangible benefits for every corner of Britain and we are looking forward to working closely with the Welsh Government and Welsh businesses to make it a success.”

[See the article below, for how Scotland has also been taken for a ride by Heathrow – as have all the regions – based on really dodgy figures, from the Quod study.]

The First Minister said the partnership “opens the door” for Wales to explore new opportunities particularly for Wales’ existing supply chain companies that have the experience and expertise to support infrastructure projects at Heathrow.

He said: “I would certainly like to see a far higher percentage spend in Wales and the Welsh Government will do all it can to support companies in Wales to bid and win more business at Heathrow.

“I am also pleased to announce that plans are already underway to host the first Heathrow Business Summit in Wales, where our supply chain companies will have the chance to meet and discuss opportunities with Heathrow’s procurement team.

“It certainly marks a great start for this new relationship and there are very many other areas we are keen to explore with Heathrow Airport.”

The UK Government confirmed its backing of the expansion of the west London airport in October last year.

At the time, the First Minister welcomed the announcement but said he wanted to see Wales get a fair allocation of landing slots and a spur rail link to Heathrow from the mainline allowing direct rail travel from South Wales.

The planned spur would enable travellers to avoid going into and out of Paddington to get to Heathrow. Trains would deviate from the line towards London after Slough, between the stations Langley and Iver, and go into a tunnel that would take them to Terminal 5.

The rail journey between Reading and Heathrow would be reduced by around 35 minutes. The project has been out for public consultation and feedback is currently being reviewed before another round of consultation.

If given the go-ahead, work could begin in 2019 and be completed by 2024.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/new-partnership-between-welsh-government-12695511

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See earlier, to understand how Heathrow is producing these disingenuous figures:

 

SNP misled by Heathrow inflated claims of number of jobs for Scotland due to a 3rd runway

The SNP decided to give its backing to a Heathrow runway, rather than one at Gatwick – having been led to believe that the only choice on offer was between these two. They were led, by Heathrow PR, to believe there would be greater benefits for Scotland. The SNP hoped to get exports from Scotland (salmon and razor clams) shipped through Heathrow. The Airports Commission came up with a figure of economic benefit from a Heathrow runway of UP TO £147 billion to all the UK over 60 years. Heathrow got a consultancy called Quod to work out the number of jobs. They came up with the figure of 16,100 jobs for Scotland (over 60 years) from the runway. The DfT has now downgraded the £147 billion figure, as it included various speculative elements, and double counted benefits. The new figure (also still far higher than the reality) from the DfT is UP TO £61 billion for the UK over 60 years. That, pro rata, would mean up to about 9,300 jobs for Scotland – not 16,100. It is unfortunate that the SNP were misinformed, as were other MPs, Chambers of Commerce etc across the regions.  Heathrow also pledged benefits for Scotland such as using its steel for construction, and using Prestwick as a base. The Scottish Green party see the SNP backing of a Heathrow runway as a betrayal of those badly affected by it, and of Scotland’s climate commitments.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/11/snp-misled-by-heathrow-inflated-claims-of-number-of-jobs-for-scotland-due-to-a-3rd-runway/

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Ferrovial (owns 25% of Heathrow) halts future UK investment over Brexit – but will keep on with Heathrow

The Spanish company that owns 25% of Heathrow has said that uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU has put a halt on future UK investment deals.  It is not investing more, but it is not divesting either. Ferrovial’s Chairman Rafael del Pino said that though investment in Heathrow is not in doubt, he saw “no opportunities” in the UK in terms future merger and acquisition deals.  However, Ferrovial hopes Brexit would have “positive side effects”, including “a more favourable view of Heathrow expansion” – in fact the current government is so panicked by Brexit that it is desperate to try to show the world Britain is “open for business” by building a new runway, largely as a symbolic gesture.  As well as a 25% stake in Heathrow, Ferrovial also owns stakes in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports. Those help make the UK one of Ferrovial’s most important markets, with about 30% of its revenue generated here.  Del Pino said Ferrovial viewed the Brexit process “prudently”, not just because of its effect on the UK “but also throughout Europe”, as nobody knows what the consequences will be.  Last month, Heathrow’s investors said they would invest £650 million in Heathrow. Not a lot seeing they have taken £2.1 billion in dividends since 2012, and paid hardly any corporation tax.
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Heathrow owner halts future UK investment over Brexit

6.4.2017 (BBC)

The Spanish owner of Heathrow airport has said that uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU has put a halt on future UK investment deals.

Although investment in Heathrow is not in doubt, Ferrovial chairman Rafael del Pino said he saw “no opportunities” in the UK, Spain’s ABC newspaper reported.

Brexit may even have “positive side effects”, including a more favourable view of Heathrow expansion, he added.

The comments referred to future merger and acquisition deals, Ferrovial said.

A public consultation on a third runway at Heathrow ends on 25 May.

Later this year or early next year, MPs are expected to be asked to vote on the runway. It would end decades of debate over how to expand airport capacity in south-eastern England.

Ferrovial also owns stakes in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports.

Those businesses help make the UK one of Ferrovial’s most important markets, with about 30% of its revenue generated in the country.

However, Mr del Pino is taking a “prudent” attitude to the UK.

“Nobody, not even the UK, knows how the process and consequences will be carried out,” he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39512027

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“We do not invest more in the UK, but we do not divest either,” he said at the group’s general meeting of shareholders.

Del Pino said the company viewed the process “prudently”, not just because of its effect on the UK “but also throughout Europe”, as nobody knows how Brexit will unfold and the consequences it will have.

Ferrovial, which also owns stakes in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports, makes around 30% of its revenue in the country.

He did though, add that Britain leaving the European Union may have “positive side effects”, including the “most favourable attitude” of the government to expand London Heathrow Airport.

Last month, the London airport announced its shareholders, including Ferrovial, Qatar Investment Authority, GIC and the China Investment Corporation, were pressing ahead with plans to invest an additional £650m into the airport over the course of 2019.

http://www.cityam.com/262492/heathrow-owner-ferrovial-puts-brakes-uk-investment-because

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Heathrow’s ownership:

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is in turn owned by FGP Topco Limited, a consortium owned and led by the infrastructure specialist Ferrovial S.A. (25.00%), Qatar Investment Authority (20.00%), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) (12.62%), GIC (11.20%), Alinda Capital Partners of the United States (11.18%), China Investment Corporation (10.00%) and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) (10.00%).


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In its annual report, Ferrovial said the situation “remains difficult” in the UK for its services division due to budget cuts at some of its clients – predominantly local governments – and because of the uncertainty generated by Brexit.

“In this sense Amey launched in 2016 a restructuring plan [Fit 4 Future], to adapt the company to the new environment,” Mr del Pino said.

Mr del Pino also noted that while initial estimates for the performance of the UK economy made following the referendum predicted a “considerable GDP easing” with a possible short-term slowdown, these estimates had “been tweaked toward a more optimistic outlook”.

Heathrow is Ferrovial’s largest asset in the UK but Mr del Pino believed forecasts for a potential slowdown in the British economy were “not expected to significantly affect its activity” given its size and importance, and the fact it is already running at full capacity.

The UK makes up roughly 30pc of Ferrovial’s turnover, rising to 38pc if dividends are counted. Besides Heathrow, Ferrovial has a 50pc stake in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports, and owns infrastructure company Amey and construction firm Ferrovial Agroman UK.

In spite of Mr del Pino’s comments on further investments, in fact Heathrow’s overseas backers recently pledged £650m in investments for major projects likely to include the expansion of Terminal 2 and a new southern access tunnel for road traffic to the airport.

The Government is currently consulting on the proposed expansion of Heathrow, a process that should end on May 25. After September, the Transport Select Committee is expected to conclude its separate inquiry and the Department for Transport will finalise its national policy statement. This will be presented to Parliament and voted on.

It is expected legal challenges to the expansion of the airport could be launched at this point.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/04/06/heathrows-largest-shareholder-sees-positive-side-effects-brexit/

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Sunday Times reports how Heathrow has paid its owners dividends of £2.1 billion since 2012 – but just £24 million in Corporation Tax

The Sunday Times reports that Heathrow has paid its owners back £2.1 billion in dividends, starting in 2012. But it has only paid a total of £24 million in corporation tax since 2006, with that payment being last year. Heathrow’s owners are rewarded whenever the value of the airport increases. If new airport infrastructure is built, the passengers pay for it through the £20 cost on their ticket (and other spending), and the owners benefit.. The CAA calculates how much is spent on investment, and allows Heathrow’s investors to earn a return on the total. The more Heathrow spends, the more its backers can earn. If Heathrow was to spend £17.6 billion on its expansion, the value of the airport would be considered to have increased that much. Due to the huge debts Heathrow has (£12.5 billion out of the £16 billion Ferrovial paid in 2006) the airport’s banks prevented dividends to owners, until 2012. They got £240 million in 2012, which has risen to £2.1 billion. Some of the proceeds of the sale of Gatwick, Edinburgh etc has been used for dividends. The Sunday Times says: …”with a debt-to-assets ratio of about 85% is one of the most heavily indebted airports in the world.” Heathrow will have to recoup the money by high passenger charges, years before the runway is built and open, as otherwise Heathrow’s massive investors are not prepared to take the financial risk. Heathrow is no longer a company quoted on the stock exchange, but that could happen in future.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/01/sunday-times-reports-how-heathrow-has-paid-its-owners-dividends-of-2-1-billion-since-2012-but-just-241-million-in-corporation-tax/

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BA introducing biometric boarding gates at Heathrow, further reducing numbers of airport jobs

Airports always promise huge numbers of jobs if they expand. The reality is that airports and airlines are cutting jobs as fast as they can, and having everything mechanised. It is cheaper not to have many employees. Now British Airways (BA) is introducing automated biometric technology to create self-service boarding gates at Heathrow. Passengers passing through the security channel will have a digital scan of their face recorded. When they arrive at the gate and scan their own boarding pass, their face is matched with the previously recorded data. If the two digital images match, the passenger is allowed to board.  The system was trialled in June 2016, and is now being rolled out, with 3 of these gates (for domestic flights only) at Terminal 5. BA plans to open 3 more of these self-boarding gates every week until mid-June.  It will finally be extended to international flights.  BA has also opened self-service bag drops at both Heathrow and Gatwick – doing away with more jobs.  Back in 1999 when Heathrow got consent for its 5th Terminal, the airport said there would be 16,000 more jobs by 2016.  When probed, Heathrow is unable to even give a number for the jobs at T5, let along prove there has been much of a rise in employment. All they will say is that in July 2013, 76,600 were directly employed on the Heathrow site.
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British Airways introduces biometric boarding gates

Apr 7, 2017

By Alan Dron (ATW)

Biometric self-boarding gates—Domestic stands at Heathrow Airport T5

British Airways (BA) is introducing automated biometric technology to create self-service boarding gates at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Passengers passing through the security channel will have a digital scan of their face recorded. When they arrive at the gate and scan their own boarding pass, their face is matched with the previously recorded data. If the two digital images match, the passenger is allowed to board.

BA said the system, which was trialled in June 2016, is now being rolled out, with the first three boarding gates for UK domestic flights at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 now fitted with the necessary equipment.

The carrier plans to open three more self-boarding gates for domestic services every week until mid-June, with the aim of extending it to international flights at a yet-to-be-determined date.

BA said the Heathrow equipment is more advanced than alternative systems used by other airlines and airports.

The UK flag carrier has also opened self-service bag drops at both Heathrow and London Gatwick and, later in 2017, will open an improved connections area at Heathrow Terminal 5 for passengers switching flights.

“Our customers have told us that they want the ability to simplify and speed up their journeys through the airport,” BA director of customer experience Troy Warfield said.

http://atwonline.com/it-distribution/british-airways-introduces-biometric-boarding-gates?

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See also

 

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

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

The report of the public inquiry inspector which gave the green light to the 5th terminal in March 1999 concluded that by 2016 the terminal would provide an additional 16,000 on-airport jobs.

Heathrow has told SHE that it cannot confirm the actual number of jobs which have been created because “finding out would be a substantial piece of work in its own right.” Heathrow annual reports indicate there were 6,714 staff  employed in UK Continuing operations in year ended 31.12.2015 and 7,354 staff in year ended 31.12 2013 (ie. 9% lower) and 7,406 in year ended 31.12.2012.

Heathrow said that in July 2013, 76,600 were directly employed on the Heathrow site. The Airports Commission’s Final Report said the Heathrow NW runway would generate around 75,000-78,000 in 2050.”(and an additional 59-77,000 jobs in 2030).   These numbers were later reduced by the DfT in October 2016 to more like up to about 37,000 – and many of those would be people moving from jobs elsewhere, or moving to better jobs. That is not the same as “new” jobs.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/10/stop-heathrow-expansion-casts-doubt-on-heathrows-3rd-runway-jobs-claims-from-past-experience/
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Heathrow NO2 air pollution worsens as Government presses ahead with 3rd runway plan

A report published on the Heathrow Airwatch website, shows tha air pollution around Heathrow is getting worse – as the Government presses ahead with plans for a 3rd runway. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels rose at 9 out of 12 monitors in west London within two kilometres (1.24 miles) of the airport between 2015 and 2016, according to provisional data. At two sites in Hillingdon and Hayes it remained in breach of EU limits. At another, Oxford Avenue in Hillingdon, the average NO2 level rose from 32 micrograms per cubic metre of air to almost the legal limit of 40. Opponents of the 3rd runway fear this confirms that air pollution around Heathrow is getting worse, and would be at very unhealthy levels with a new runway added.  John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said: “The key fact that Heathrow cannot hide is that air quality around the airport is going in the wrong direction. It is going to be harder than ever for Heathrow to build a third runway and stay within legal air pollution limits.”  The Heathrow Airwatch report said NO2 levels had increased at many of the monitoring sites between 2015 and 2016, and across the South-East so “indicated” the specific rises were not only the result of changes in local activities. NO2 levels are below, or just below, the EU limit of 40 micrograms at 9 out of the 11 local monitoring sites outside Heathrow’s boundary within 2km of the airport.
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Heathrow air pollution worsens as Government presses ahead with third runway plan

By NICHOLAS CECIL (Evening standard)

6.4.2017

Air pollution around Heathrow is getting worse as the Government presses ahead with plans for a third runway, it has been revealed.

Nitrogen dioxide levels rose at nine out of 12 monitors in west London within two kilometres (1.24 miles) of the airport between 2015 and 2016, according to provisional data.

At two sites in Hillingdon and Hayes it remained in breach of EU limits. At another, Oxford Avenue in Hillingdon, the average NO2 level spiralled from 32 micrograms per cubic metre of air to almost hitting the legal limit of 40.

Campaigners against a third runway seized on the revelations to cast further doubt on whether the airport can expand within EU air quality rules.

John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said: “The key fact that Heathrow cannot hide is that air quality around the airport is going in the wrong direction. It is going to be harder than ever for Heathrow to build a third runway and stay within legal air pollution limits.”

A report, published on the Heathrow Airwatch website, admitted that NO2 concentrations increased at many of the monitoring sites between 2015 and 2016 but stressed that this had happened across the South-East so “indicated” the specific rises were not the result of changes in local activities.

It emphasised that the annual average NO2 concentration remained below the EU limit at nine of the 11 monitoring sites outside the airport boundary within 2km of Heathrow.

It added that at the Hillingdon and Hayes monitoring stations, north of the M4, which were above the legal level, airport emissions from all sources contributed 16% and 6% of total nitrogen oxides respectively.

Another monitor near the northern runway recorded a reading of 47 micrograms per cubic metre, up three on 2015, but the report stressed that the EU limits did not apply as the public do not have access to this area.

The report stressed that the number of aircraft movements made by the newest, cleanest aircraft had increased to more than 20% in 2016 and continued to rise.

Particulate PM10 pollution at the monitoring sites were within the EU limits.

The Government has backed another runway at Heathrow, rather than expanding Gatwick.

Heathrow stressed that it took its “environmental obligations seriously” and that new public transport would transform access to Heathrow to cut road traffic emissions.

However, Councillor Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon council, said: “Local residents are well aware of the air quality issue and that Heathrow are doing insufficient work to mitigate it.”

Heathrow Airwatch is funded by a joint working partnership of Heathrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Slough and Spelthorne councils and British Airways.

A DfT spokesman said: “Delivering new runway capacity in the south east is vital to the future of the UK, both in terms of boosting our economy and our position on the world stage.

“The consultation currently underway clearly sets out the benefits and potential impacts of expansion, and we want to hear everyone’s views as part of this process.

“This is accompanied by a world-class package of compensation and mitigation measures to support local communities.

“We take our environmental obligations extremely seriously and have been very clear that the new runway will not get the go-ahead unless air quality requirements can be met.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/heathrow-air-pollution-worsens-as-government-presses-ahead-with-third-runway-plan-a3508816.html

Related stories:

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Stansted Airport announces new £130m arrivals terminal to be completed by end of 2021

Planning permission has been granted for a 34,000 sq m arrivals terminal at Stansted Airport,  (owned by Manchester Airports Group) costing about £130 million.  It will include larger immigration and baggage reclaim areas.  Work is expected to take up to three years to complete, and will begin in late 2018 – so finished by end of 2021. The new building was granted planning permission by Uttlesford District Council. The airport’s Chief Executive Andrew Cowan said: “At a time when airport capacity in the country is at a premium, Stansted is playing a vital role in supporting both the regional and national economy. This project will strengthen our ability to do this by enabling us to make the most efficient use of our single runway.” Once the site is complete, Stansted will be the only airport in the UK operating dedicated arrivals and departures terminals.

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Stansted Airport announces new £130m arrivals terminal

5.4.2017  (BBC)

Planning permission has been granted for a 34,000 sq m arrivals terminal at Stansted Airport in Essex

A new £130m arrivals terminal is to be built at London Stansted Airport.

The 34,000 sq m (365,972 sq ft), three-level building has been designed by architects Pascall+Watson and will be built next to the current terminal.

The site will include larger immigration and baggage reclaim areas, Stansted’s owner Manchester Airports Group (MAG) said in a statement.

Work is expected to take up to three years to complete, and will begin in late 2018.

The departures building will be reconfigured to provide more space at check-in and in security.

The increased size of the immigration area in the arrivals terminal was “purely down to the size of the building” rather than as a result of possible future changes to the immigration procedure, an airport spokesman said.

The new building was granted planning permission by Uttlesford District Council.

The airport’s Chief Executive Andrew Cowan said the site would “transform our infrastructure and facilities to give our passengers the best possible experience”.

“Stansted is a national asset and our investment will continue to boost competition and support economic growth, jobs and international connectivity for London and the East of England,” he said.

 

“At a time when airport capacity in the country is at a premium, Stansted is playing a vital role in supporting both the regional and national economy. This project will strengthen our ability to do this by enabling us to make the most efficient use of our single runway.”

Construction of the new building will take place away from the existing terminal to minimise disruption to passengers, MAG said.

Once the site is complete, Stansted will be the only airport in the UK operating dedicated arrivals and departures terminals.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-39507329#

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Jeremy Corbyn backs further expansion (2nd runway?) for Birmingham Airport – as well connected to transport

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says Birmingham Airport should have a 2nd runway, as it “is uniquely well connected to transport” which may be better than any other UK airport.  Jeremy made these remarks while backing the Labour candidate, Sion Simon, in the West Midlands Mayoral Election in May.  Candidates in the battle to become West Midlands mayor have clashed over whether Birmingham Airport in Solihull should have a 2nd runway. Sion Simon says it should, while Conservative candidate Andy Street says there is no need for one. Jeremy Corbyn said Birmingham airport has “mainline rail within seconds of the airport terminal. And of course a huge motorway network around it. … Improving airport facilities in the Midlands and the North helps to increase usage of those airports and therefore reduces pressure on airports in the south east.”  Mr Street  argues there is no need for a 2nd runway and the airport can handle twice as many passengers even without a new runway (Birmingham had about 11.6 million passengers in 2016, while Gatwick managed 43 million, with one runway).  More could be done with Birmingham airport to improve the quality of the routes and redevelop the airport to integrate it with HS2. Birmingham is better located geographically to be a major airport for the UK than London, which is too far south. A 3rd Heathrow runway would badly damage Birmingham airport, which is why they oppose it.
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Jeremy Corbyn backs a second runway for Birmingham Airport

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says Birmingham Airport should have a second runway

BY JONATHAN WALKER
5 APR 2017

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has backed calls for a second runway at Birmingham Airport .

Candidates in the battle to become West Midlands mayor have clashed over whether Birmingham Airport in Solihull should have a second runway.

Labour candidate Sion Simon says it should, while Conservative candidate Andy Street says there is no need for one.

And Mr Corbyn, who is to visit the West Midlands to campaign for Mr Simon next week, has backed his candidate.

Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, he said: “What Sion’s doing is right.

“Birmingham Airport is uniquely well connected to transport, better than any other airport I think.

“It’s got mainline rail within seconds of the airport terminal. And of course a huge motorway network around it. And I think Sion is making a good point there.

“Improving airport facilities in the Midlands and the North helps to increase usage of those airports and therefore reduces pressure on airports in the south east.

“And I will be speaking to Sion about it when I meet him next week.”

Labour accuses Mr Street of failing to back the West Midlands, because he argues there is no need for a second runway at Birmingham Airport.

But Mr Street argues that the airport can handle twice as many passengers even without a new runway.

In an earlier statement, Mr Street said: “The issue of how best to support the growth of Birmingham Airport brings into focus the difference between the Mayoral candidates and their understanding of what is a really important issue.

“Whilst I will always continue to support the expansion of Birmingham Airport, there is absolutely no case for a second runway at this time.

“The current runway isn’t even at 50 per cent capacity.

“Make no mistake, we need to do more with the airport. We need to make much more of the capacity we have, improve the quality of the routes and redevelop the airport to integrate it with HS2.

“I am fully supportive of Solihull Council’s vision for the wider area and the thousands of jobs we can create if we get this right.

“That should be our focus, not spending tens of millions of pounds and wasting land necessary for employment and housing while putting residents through major disruption.

“This position is based on real facts and avoids the costly vanity project favoured by my opponents.”

Mr Simon argues that the new HS2 high speed rail line due to open in 2026 is an opportunity to ensure the West Midlands gets even more benefit from Birmingham Airport.

He said in a statement on his website: “High speed trains will run from Birmingham Airport putting it ‘closer to London’ in travel time than the ‘London airports’ of Stanstead and Luton.

“The West Midlands has the opportunity to host the first UK airport that is directly connected to high speed rail as well as traditional rail, road and tram networks. The resulting jobs and investment could be a real game-changer for us.”

And Mr Simon said: “Let me be clear: if I am elected West Midlands Mayor, I won’t accept no for an answer on expanding our airport. And that means nothing short of a commitment to a second runway.”
http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/jeremy-corbyn-backs-second-runway-12851154

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The position of the Labour party on Heathrow has been mixed.  John McDonnell, in whose constituency Heathrow is located, and whose constituents would be evicted from their homes to make way for it, is totally opposed. Jeremy Corbyn has himself been opposed to the runway.

 

An article from October 2016:

 

Labour adds to growing demands for urgent Heathrow expansion decision

Shadow minister says case for third runway is overwhelming as politicians from UK’s devolved assemblies say airport is their ‘gateway to world’

16.10.2016

by Gwyn Topham (Guardian)

The swell of voices demanding an urgent decision on Heathrow’s third runway has been intensified by the Labour party, a cross-party group of politicians and Britain’s biggest trade union, as the pressure grows on Theresa May to approve the airport’s expansion.

Labour sources said the party would back a third runway, despite the reluctance of Jeremy Corbyn and the opposition of shadow chancellor John McDonnell, whose constituency borders the airport. In an article for the Guardian, the shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said the “imperative was overwhelming” for more capacity and that “there would have to be overwhelming evidence that the Airport Commission’s report and conclusions were fundamentally flawed for parliament to depart from it”.

A Labour source said McDonald’s words were intended to back Heathrow’s expansion. “Until we see the detail we can’t commit unequivocally but on the assumption that they meet the tests we’ve been clear on, we will look to support.”

 

……….. and it continues.  Full article at

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/oct/16/heathrow-airport-expansion-third-runway-labour-decision

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