Protesters blast aircraft noise outside hotel of Conservative Party conference at 4.30am

Though not permitted into the Conservative Party conference, Plane Stupid campaigners have held a number of eye-catching (or ear blasting) protests outside. They played full volume sound of landing aircraft outside the Midland Hotel, where conference delegates were staying, at 4.30am – which is the time when the first flight arrives into Heathrow. The sound system was concealed in a wheelie bin. Plane Stupid campaigners wanted to give politicians a taste of daily life for those living under Heathrow’s (or other) flight paths. They also show that a decision for a 3rd runway will be met with fierce resistance to save the future of homes and communities in the Heathrow villages. As well as the 4.30am noise, protesters from Plane Stupid and the Heathrow villages paraded a giant model plane outside the conference, emblazoned with the words: “No third runway. No ifs, no buts” – a reminder of David Cameron’s pledge before the 2010 election. They also hung up a giant banner from a building opposite, saying “2015. No ifs, no buts. No new runways.”  To rub salt into the wounds for the Heathrow villages residents, Heathrow has also revealed new images of their dreamed of new NW runway, showing how it erases hundreds of homes and makes other communities too noisy and polluted to realistically be habitable.
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Conservative MPs get early wake-up call from Heathrow Airport protesters

6.10.2015 (Get West London)

BY ROBERT CUMBER

Plane Stupid campaigners blast recorded aircraft noise outside hotel where Conservative Party conference delegates are staying

Neil Keveren and the noise outside hotels
Plane Stupid protester – and resident of Harmondsworth – Neil Keveren with the sound system hidden in a wheelie bin

Heathrow 4.30am noise protest Tories

Tory MPs got a rude awakening when Heathrow protesters blasted recorded aircraft noise outside their hotel at 4.30am.

Campaigners from Plane Stupid, who oppose expansion at Heathrow, said they wanted to give politicians a taste of daily life for those living under the airport’s flight paths.

Neil Keveren, who lives near the airport, used a sound system hidden in a wheelie bin to disrupt the sleep of Conservative Party conference delegates staying at The Midland Hotel in Manchester.

Sandra Davis, who also lives close to Heathrow, said: “We want to send a clear message to Tory MPs, staying just over the road, that a decision before Christmas to give the green light to Heathrow’s third runway will be met with fierce resistance to save the future of our homes, communities and environment.

“The air my family are breathing is already over the legal pollution limit with two runways. A third runway would mean an extra 250,000 flights a year using Heathrow, only exacerbating lung and heart-related diseases linked to flights.”

The stunt on Tuesday morning (October 6) followed another anti-third runway demonstration on Monday (October 5) outside the hotel, where protesters unveiled a giant model plane emblazoned with the words: ‘No third runway, no ifs, no buts’ – a reminder of David Cameron’s pledge before the 2010 election.

PS plane at party conference

Heathrow protesters unveil a giant model plane in Manchester, where the Conservative Party conference is being held

No runway plane outside Conservative party conference

The Airports Commission earlier this year recommended a third runway at Heathrow, subject to a number of conditions, and the Government is expected to announce its plans for aviation expansion before Christmas.

Lord Andrew Adonis’s decision to resign the Labour whip and lead a National Infrastructure Commission set up by chancellor George Osborne will fuel speculation the Government intends to give Heathrow expansion the go-ahead.

Lord Adonis was transport secretary for the Labour government from 2009 to 2010 and is a prominent supporter of a third runway at Heathrow.

This week, Heathrow bosses revealed what a third runway at the west London airport could look like by publishing a series of new computer generated images of the proposed expansion.

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/conservative-mps-early-wake-up-10203904

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Banner Drop

Plane Stupid also dropped a vast banner from a building across from the Conservative party conference.   Saying:   “No ifs, No buts, No new runways.”

6.10.2015PS banner drop at Conservative conference

 

Banner drop at Conservative conference no ifs no buts

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‘Clean Air in London’ obtains QC Opinion on Air Quality Law (including at Heathrow)

The group, Clean Air in London (CAL), is very aware of the problems of air quality in London. Its founder and director, Simon Birkett, says the law about air pollution is not being properly applied.  So they have asked their environmental solicitors, Harrison Grant, to obtain advice from a QC on the approach which planning authorities across the UK should take to Air Quality Law. CAL wants to ensure that tough decisions to reduce air pollution and protect public health are taken by the Government, the Mayor and other planning authorities. In particular CAL wanted to clarify the extent to which planning decisions should take into account breaches, or potential breaches, of air pollution limits. This applies particularly to a Heathrow runway, among other projects. CAL now have advice from Robert McCracken QC. It says: “Where a development would in the locality either make significantly worse an existing breach or significantly delay the achievement of compliance with limit values it must be refused.”  And “Any action which significantly increases risk to the health of the present generation, especially the poor who are often those most directly affected by poor air quality, would not be compatible with the concept as health is plainly a need for every generation.”
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‘Clean Air in London’ obtains QC Opinion on Air Quality Law (including at Heathrow)

by  (Clean Air in London)

Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London, said:

“The law about air pollution is not being properly applied.  So ‘Clean Air in London’ (CAL) asked Harrison Grant, its environmental solicitors, to obtain advice from Queen’s Counsel on the approach which planning authorities across the UK should take to Air Quality Law (see notes).

“In particular CAL wanted to clarify the extent to which planning decisions should take into account breaches, or potential breaches, of air pollution limits.

“CAL received that advice today from Robert McCracken QC and is publishing it immediately.  The opinion has relevance: for everyone interested in planning including the Government and Mayor of London; and to planning-related decisions about infrastructure, possible airport expansion or east London river crossings.

“In seeking the advice, CAL has sought to clarify key legal protections that exist for the general public in relation to ambient or outdoor air pollution.  CAL’s aim is not to discourage sustainable development but rather to ensure that tough decisions to reduce air pollution and protect public health are taken by the Government, the Mayor and other planning authorities.  In CAL’s view, such action must include the urgent banning of diesel exhaust from the most polluted places – just as the UK banned coal burning, so successfully, nearly 60 years ago.

“CAL intends to issue a more detailed statement in due course.”

ENDS

Notes

1. Robert Mc Cracken QC Opinion for ‘Clean Air in London’

CAL 322 Robert McCracken QC opinion for CAL_Air Quality Directive and Planning_Published 051015

5.10.2015   (Michaelmas means end of September.)

 

This states: 

“Worsening of Air in an Area Already in Breach such as London:

50. Unless there are already measures in place which will lead to compliance with the Directive before the development is undertaken then any permission for new development which would significantly increase non compliance with a limit value would in my view be in breach of the obligation to refrain measures which jeopardize the attainment of the EU objectives.”

and in the conclusion, it states:

“66. Where a development [see 50. above] would cause a breach in the locality of the development they [local authorities] must refuse permission.

“67. Where a development would in the locality either make significantly worse an existing breach or significantly delay the achievement of compliance with limit values it must be refused.

“68. Where limit values are not exceeded in the locality planning authorities must try to prevent developments from worsening air quality and to achieve best air quality, only permitting the former if the development can be justified by the principle of sustainable development as understood in a European Union (not English) sense. Project related mitigation included in the scheme may be material to this assessment. Any action which significantly increases risk to the health of the present generation, especially the poor who are often those most directly affected by poor air quality, would not be compatible with the concept as health is plainly a need for every generation.”

Robert McCracken QC


Clean Air in London’s media statement:

http://cleanair.london/legal/clean-air-in-london-obtains-qc-opinion-on-air-quality-law-including-at-heathrow/

Robert McCracken QC’s Opinion for Clean Air in London:

http://cleanair.london/wp-content/uploads/CAL-322-Robert-McCracken-QC-opinion-for-CAL_Air-Quality-Directive-and-Planning_Published-051015.pdf


 

 

Community groups record ‘illegal levels of air pollution’ in London

5 October 2015 (BBC)

Community groups recording air pollution in London found eight out of nine areas surveyed breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air.

The University College London (UCL) project found the highest level of NO2 in the areas was in Marylebone in central London.
Diesel vehicles are a key source of NO2, which is linked to a range of respiratory illnesses. London’s deputy mayor for environment and energy said NO2 was a “problem”.

The results are part of the social enterprise Mapping for Change’s Air Quality Monitoring project. Community groups were given kits to measure the amount of NO2 in July in areas including Marylebone, Soho, Walthamstow, Brentford, Haringey and Ham.

The highest reading was on Marylebone Road, in central London, measuring 145 micrograms of NO2 per cubic meter air (µg/m3), which is nearly four times the EU legal limit of 40µg/m3. This was followed by Shaftesbury Avenue, in Soho, at 119µg/m3.

Public Health England suggests about 3,000 people each year are estimated to die from polluted air in the capital

Tests in suburban areas like Walthamstow and Brentford also showed nearly double the EU limit.

Louise Francis, from UCL and co-founder of Mapping for Change, said the results were a snapshot of the level of pollution in the capital but the actual levels of NO2 could be higher as holiday levels were often lower than other times of the year. She said that the public could make changes to reduce their intake of NO2 by walking down side roads instead of major routes.

Matthew Pencharz, deputy mayor for environment and energy, said: “NO2 remains a problem. We have now seen a 12% reduction in measured NO2 across London showing we are making real progress.”

He added that the introduction of taxi age limits and cleaner buses had also improved air quality, as would the introduction in 2020 of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which will only allow zero and low-emission vehicles in central London.

Public Health England suggests about 3,000 people each year are estimated to die from polluted air in the capital, making it London’s second highest cause of death after smoking.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-34439468

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Heathrow air quality issue raised in QC’s legal advice

Questions have been raised about how planning law is applied regarding developments which potentially impact on local air quality by campaign group Clean Air in London.

On the other hand, many campaigners – as well as rival for expansion Gatwick Airport – disagree, arguing that a third Heathrow runway will adversely impact on local air quality and impede the surrounding area from meeting legal NO2 limits which are currently in breach (see AirQualityNews.com story).Heathrow insists that air quality limits can be met at the Airport even with a third runway and has outlined a number of measures aimed at mitigating the impact of additional flight capacity – a position the Davies Commission appears to agree on having recommended the airport for expansion earlier this year.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin was reported this week as saying that air quality will be a “major consideration” in the government’s decision over expanding UK airport capacity. A decision has been promised before the end of the year.

However, according to Mr McCracken QC, if the Davies Commission is suggesting that the only relevant requirement is that additional runway capacity should not delay in time the average compliance throughout the London zone “then it has misdirected itself on the law”.

He also explains that, if expansion would lead to higher air pollution, no additional runway can be constructed until a robust air quality plan has been put in place which demonstrably ensures compliance after additional capacity comes into operation.

In his statement, Mr McCracken argues that EU limit values for NO2 must be met throughout each UK air quality zone, and, crucially, that air quality “must not be made even less compliant [by a development] in areas where it is already in breach”.

Applications must be refused by a planning authority, he says, where a development would cause a breach of air pollution limits in the locality. And, they must also be refused “where a development would in the locality ether make significantly worse and existing breach or significantly delay the achievement of compliance with limits values”.

Where limit values are not exceeded in the locality, planning authorities “must try to prevent developments from worsening air quality and to achieve best air quality”, only permitting the former if the development can be justified as a ‘sustainable development’ – i.e. not preventing the meeting of the needs of future generations.

However, the QC states that “project mitigation included in the scheme may be material” to the assessment over whether an application can be considered a ‘sustainable development’ – and Heathrow has included a number of air pollution mitigation measures in its proposals for

heathrow_ map

expansion.

Clean Air in London

Clean Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett said QC’s advisory statement showed that “the law about air pollution is not being properly applied”.

It was Mr Birkett who initially sought the QC’s advice on the approach which planning authorities across the UK should take to air quality law more than a year ago, and he believes that the statement has relevance “for everyone interested in planning including the government and Mayor of London; and to planning-related decisions about infrastructure, possible airport expansion or east London river crossings.”

Mr Birkett said: “In seeking the advice, CAL has sought to clarify key legal protections that exist for the general public in relation to ambient or outdoor air pollution. CAL’s aim is not to discourage sustainable development but rather to ensure that tough decisions to reduce air pollution and protect public health are taken by the government, the Mayor and other planning authorities. In CAL’s view, such action must include the urgent banning of diesel exhaust from the most polluted places – just as the UK banned coal burning, so successfully, nearly 60 years ago.

“CAL intends to issue a more detailed statement in due course.”

Heathrow

The QC’s statement comes after Heathrow Airport last month issued a graphic map based on independent data showing that areas immediately around the airport are currently meeting air quality limits, while many areas of central London do not.

The map does also show two air quality monitors in the vicinity of Heathrow which are currently in breach of air quality limits, but the airport argues that these breaches are due to traffic pollution on the M4 and another busy junction on which the monitors are situated.

However, Heathrow states that “the Commission has confirmed a third runway at Heathrow can go ahead without breaching air quality legal limits, as long as the airport continues to implement its mitigation plans”.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s director of environment and sustainability, said: “Heathrow understands air quality is a real concern for local communities and it’s an issue London needs to tackle urgently. We have made it clear that Heathrow airport has and will continue to play its part. But this data shows that the real culprit of pollution in London is road traffic, so we need other partners to play their role.”

http://www.airqualitynews.com/2015/10/09/heathrow-air-quality-issue-raised-in-qcs-legal-advice/

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More links from Clean Air in London:

Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (the Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC).  The Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC applies across Europe to protect public health and has been transposed into UK law.  It provides important protections beyond those already in the Clean Air Act 1956 and the Environment Act 1995.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32008L0050&from=en

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Related attachments

air-quality-planning-guidance v1.1

CAL 304 Letter of clarification from the Commission 190214_Redacted

CAL 304 Letter to Greenwich re Enderby Wharf 130515_Scanned

APPEAL DECISION Hassocks

Planning appeal_Richborough Estates_100615

uksc-2012-0179-judgment

CAL 297 Defra guidance for EA on LVs etc_February 2013 (2)

CAL 322 Letter to DG ENV_Letter from Michele Dix TfL – 020512

CAL 322 EPUK aq_guidance 2010

CAL 318 Submission to EAC re LHR 020915

– See more at: http://cleanair.london/legal/clean-air-in-london-obtains-qc-opinion-on-air-quality-law-including-at-heathrow/#sthash.eckTqy6c.dpuf

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Evening Standard believes Ministers likely to make runway decision by end of year

The Evening Standard reports that Ministers are determined to make a firm decision on building a new runway by the end of the year, and Heathrow is considered to be the most likely location. Runway proponents fear the Government would put off a runway rather than risk a huge battle against environmentalists and local residents blighted by more flights. There has also been talk of a delay on the airports announcement until after the London mayoral election in May 2016, due to Zac Goldsmith. Though Patrick McLoughlin has intimated that the decision could be postponed, the Standard understands that ministers are determined to make a firm decision by the end of the year. A special Cabinet committee on airport expansion, chaired by David Cameron, is to meet for the first time within weeks (its first meeting is meant to have happened already). George Osborne is setting up a new National Infrastructure Commission, and wants to be seen to be getting things built fast – a runway would be a key project. The government knows it has to get the Heathrow plan done correctly, to avoid judicial reviews causing delays.It would be easier for the government to choose a Heathrow runway, because if they choose Gatwick they would need strong arguments and fresh evidence, to override the Commission’s conclusions.
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Ministers ‘set to back another runway in the South East within 11 weeks’

EXCLUSIVE: Ministers are determined to make a firm decision by the end of the year, the Standard has learned 

By NICHOLAS CECIL (Evening Standard)

5.10.2015

 

Ministers are set to back another runway in the South East within 11 weeks, with Heathrow on the brink of victory.

Aviation experts feared the Government would put off a decision on airport expansion, as has happened for decades, rather than risk a huge battle against environmentalists and local residents blighted by more flights.

Heathrow bosses have publicly put their chances of getting Government approval for a third runway at 70 to 80 per cent, with a 20 to 30 per cent likelihood of ministers kicking the issue into the long grass.

There has also been talk of a delay on the airports announcement until after the London mayoral election next May as Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith has vowed to resign as MP for Richmond Park, which would spark a by-election, if the Government backs a third runway at Heathrow.

But the Standard understands that ministers are determined to make a firm decision by the end of the year to go ahead with another runway in the South East, with Heathrow expansion the clear favourite.

If the west London airport is allowed to expand, the Government is expected to demand a ban on a fourth runway and for stricter night flight limits than currently operate.

The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, overwhelmingly backed another runway at Heathrow in July.

A special Cabinet committee on airport expansion, chaired by David Cameron, is to meet for the first time within weeks.

While no decision has yet been made, George Osborne today hailed the airports panel as a “good example” of what needs to happen to build the infrastructure that Britain requires.

Championing a new National Infrastructure Commission, the Chancellor said: “We have been talking about building a runway in the South East for 50 or 60 years.

“We now have an independent report that has forced the choice on the Government.”

He added that the Government had to follow proper procedure for its decision to avoid judicial reviews delaying expansion but he added: “Britain has really got to raise its game in getting these big projects underway.”

The timing of the announcement by December will further fuel speculation that the Government will opt for the west London airport.

If the Government were to instead choose a second runway at Gatwick, it would need strong arguments, and almost certainly fresh evidence to support them, to override the Airports Commission’s conclusions.

It would be vulnerable to legal challenges, according to some aviation insiders, if it relied on the Davies Report to support the case for a second runway at the Sussex airport.

Going for Gatwick would also deal a blow to the reputation of Sir Howard who was appointed as chairman of the largely State-owned Royal Bank of Scotland with the approval of the Chancellor.

Department for Transport officials are currently analysing the Commission’s findings on the three options shortlisted by Sir Howard, a third runway to the north west of Heathrow, extending its northern runway to in effect turn it into two, or a second runway at Gatwick.

Gatwick is still in the running, however, John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion group HACAN, said: “It’s all pointing for the green light to be given to a third runway at Heathrow.

“But the government may well say it’s got to be satisfied that noise and air pollution will be properly dealt with.”

Stringent air quality and noise conditions could be placed on a third runway, with aviation minister Robert Goodwill stressing last night that “some people might put more emphasis on the environmental considerations than the commercial considerations which Sir Howard very clearly understood”.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/ministers-set-to-back-another-runway-in-the-south-east-within-11-weeks-a3082771.html

 


 

Labour peer Lord Adonis to head Osborne infrastructure body – to get things like a new runway built fast

A new body to plan infrastructure projects, the “independent” National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will be chaired by the former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis. The government is expected to announce it will pledge an extra £5 billion in this Parliament for major schemes, which he hopes will boost the UK economy. Osborne says he plans to “shake Britain out of its inertia” and Lord Adonis thinks that without “big improvements” in transport and energy “Britain will grind to a halt”. The NIC will initially focus on London’s transport system, connections between cities in the north of England, and updating the energy network – funded by selling off land, buildings and other government assets. Lord Adonis has resigned the Labour whip and will sit as a crossbencher in the Lords as he starts work in his new role immediately. The NIC will produce a report at the start of each five-year Parliament containing recommendations of infrastructure building over the next 20 to 30 years. Osborne: “I’m not prepared to turn round to my children – or indeed anyone else’s child – and say ‘I’m sorry, we didn’t build for you.’ John Cridland, director-general of the CBI business lobby said: ” ….we must not duck the important infrastructure decisions that need taking now, particularly on expanding aviation capacity in the South East.”

Click here to view full story…

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Guardian reports Patrick McLoughlin saying Government statement on runway likely to be delayed – even past May 2016

An article in the Guardian, interviewing Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, says that because of the well known “deep and unresolved cabinet splits over whether to expand Heathrow to provide more airport capacity for the south-east, the statement by the government about the runway issue may be delayed. It has been expected that some sort of statement would be made, before Christmas. This might be in favour of Heathrow, or it might be a holding response to give government more time. The Guardian states: “McLoughlin said an announcement would “hopefully” be made [before Christmas], but he could not promise it would, or indeed that it would be made before next May’s London and council elections. It was simply the firm intention, but that was as much as he could say.” At least five cabinet ministers, as well as Boris Johnson, a likely candidate to succeed Cameron after he steps down in 2020, are against, while Osborne, probably now the favourite to step into Cameron’s shoes, is in favour. Zac Goldsmith, Conservative Mayoral candidate, deeply opposed to the runway, is a huge complication for the government on the issue.

Click here to view full story…

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Guardian reports Patrick McLoughlin saying Government statement on runway likely to be delayed – even past May 2016

An article in the Guardian, interviewing Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, says that because of the well known “deep and unresolved cabinet splits over whether to expand Heathrow to provide more airport capacity for the south-east, the statement by the government about the runway issue may be delayed. It has been expected that some sort of statement would be made, before Christmas. This might be in favour of Heathrow, or it might be a holding response to give government more time.  The Guardian states: “McLoughlin said an announcement would “hopefully” be made [before Christmas], but he could not promise it would, or indeed that it would be made before next May’s London and council elections. It was simply the firm intention, but that was as much as he could say.”  At least five cabinet ministers, as well as Boris Johnson, a likely candidate to succeed Cameron after he steps down in 2020, are against, while Osborne, probably now the favourite to step into Cameron’s shoes, is in favour.  Zac Goldsmith, Conservative Mayoral candidate, deeply opposed to the runway, is a huge complication for the government on the issue.
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From Guardian article  at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/oct/04/tory-party-labour

…..”There are also deep and unresolved cabinet splits over whether to expand Heathrow to provide more airport capacity for the south-east. At least five cabinet ministers, as well as Boris Johnson, a likely candidate to succeed Cameron after he steps down in 2020, are against, while Osborne, probably now the favourite to step into Cameron’s shoes, is in favour.

Jostling over the succession is already beginning. A decision on Heathrow was expected by Christmas but now that appears to be in some doubt. McLoughlin said an announcement would “hopefully” be made by then, but he could not promise it would, or indeed that it would be made before next May’s London and council elections.

It was simply the firm intention, but that was as much as he could say.”

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/oct/04/tory-party-labour

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Leaked documents reveal secret plans for West Midlands Combined Authority to have control over APD at Birmingham airport

The Draft West Midlands Agreement, which was set to be used as a negotiation tool with Government, details what powers the new authority (the West Midlands Combined Authority, WMCA) – formed of Solihull, Coventry, Birmingham and Black Country local authorities – would seek to wrestle from Westminster. There would also be an elected metro mayor in order to qualify for the ‘full suite of powers’ offered by George Osborne. The mayor would chair the WMCA and have the ability to affect local council taxes and grant tax exemptions and discounts in order to support development. The mayor would also be granted powers to levy a Supplementary Business Rate on businesses – without the requirement for a referendum. And among other powers the WMCA could be given control over Birmingham Airport’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the ability to invest in growth of the local economy, and air connections with overseas markets.  The WMCA will campaign for the Government to devolve more powers to the country’s regions in its upcoming Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill. In return for these devolved powers, the CA would look to form an £8 billion West Midlands Investment Programme to deliver specific housing and business funds.
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LEAKED documents reveal secret plans for Solihull’s future in the West Midlands Combined Authority

By Lauren Clarke  (Solihull Observer)

CONFIDENTIAL plans for the future of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) have been leaked.

The Draft West Midlands Agreement, which was set to be used as a negotiation tool with Government, details what powers the new authority – formed of Solihull, Coventry, Birmingham and Black Country local authorities – would seek to wrestle from Westminster.

But, the plans also reveal the Authority Shadow Board, which drew up the document, is envisioning the WMCA to be run by an elected metro mayor in order to qualify for the ‘full suite of powers’ offered by Chancellor George Osborne.

The revelation has caused uproar in Coventry, whose residents voted against an elected mayor in a 2012 referendum and now feel ‘railroaded’ into accepting one.

The draft also states that this elected mayor – who would most-likely be from Birmingham or Solihull given their strength and position in the proposed new authority – would have the ability to affect local council taxes by imposing precepts to raise money for services in the new region, and be able to grant tax exemptions and discounts in order to support millions of pounds worth of development.

The mayor would also be granted powers to levy a Supplementary Business Rate on businesses – without the requirement for a referendum.

Talks would table plans for smart ticketing and technology, akin to London’s Oyster Cards, across the region, and would grant the Combined Authority (CA) control over Birmingham Airport’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the ability to invest it in growth of local economy and connections with overseas markets.

The document also reveals the WMCA will campaign for the Government to devolve more powers to the country’s regions in its upcoming Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill – proposing amendments to grant greater ‘fiscal flexibility to individual councils’.

Other plans which could be up for consideration include scrapping the M6 toll and establishing a new employment service to improve the skills of local people and support them into local jobs.

In return for these devolved powers from Westminster, the CA would look to form an £8 billion West Midlands Investment Programme to deliver specific housing and business funds.

The document also details plans for a new National Innovation Centre and potential for the National Art Collection to be relocated to the region.

There is also the suggestion that the Government could support a city in the region’s bid to host the World Expo 2015 – which could attract 25 million visitors spending and estimated £5.6 billion to local communities.

Unable to discuss the leaked confidential plans in detail, Leader of Solihull Council and Chair of the WMCA Shadow Board, Coun Bob Sleigh, said they followed on from the plans for the CA which were laid out in July’s Statement of Intent.

He added: “Our leaked devolution submission bid reflects those ambitions as a starting point for negotiations with government.

“We are working collaboratively and across the three LEP geography to draw down powers from Whitehall to the West Midlands, so that we can get the best deal that will see an increase in income and productivity for the region and benefit businesses and households throughout the CA area.”

 

Below is a list of powers which the WMCA and its potential future metro mayor will seek to wrestle from Government.

Powers to be devolved directly to the elected mayor:

  • To be chair of the WMCA
  • Powers over a ten year Transport Investment Fund to control strategy and investment in the area’s transport – including highways, rail and bus networks and smart ticketing.
  • To be able to set a precepts and discounts on local residents’ council tax bills
  • The ability to set a Supplementary Business Rate levy on local businesses.

Powers devolved to the WMCA with elected mayor as chair:

  • Freedom to control Youth Offending Services.
  • Access to national data to develop ‘Troubled Individuals’ programme.
  • Control of Air Passenger Duty (APD) at Birmingham Airport.

Powers devolved to the WMCA without elected mayor, but exercised with Joint Committee of district councils:

  • Control over HS2 Growth Strategy.
  • Power to retain all business rate growth to distribute locally.
  • Ability to control land development funding, create local enterprise zones, and prioritise business rate investment.
  • Control over £500 million housing fund.
  • Devolved Adult Skills and Careers budgets
  • Control over business support and inward investment.
  • Ability to commission support to arts, culture and visitor economy.

Extra topics the WMCA will discuss with Government:

  • A World Expo bid for 2025.
  • Establishment of a National Innovation Centre.
  • Relocating National Art Collections to the region.
  • Control over police, fire and rescue services.
  • Reforms to criminal justice and offender management systems.
  • Amendments to the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill – allowing greater flexibility in setting council tax.
  • Potential for EU funding.
http://solihullobserver.co.uk/news/leaked-documents-reveal-secret-plans-for-solihulls-future-in-the-west-midlands-combined-authority-7058/
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Berlin Brandenburg airport problem of terminal ceiling being too heavy ….. already years late, hugely over budget

Berlin’s long-delayed Brandenburg airport has suffered another setback after structural flaws were found in the terminal roof.  It appears that the ceiling in the terminal building is too heavy. The airport, which was originally due to open in 2010, is still under construction and has run billions of Euros over budget. It was expected to open in 2017 but that could be postponed even further. The local building authority said it had told the construction firm to “immediately stop building works for the area underneath the entire terminal roof of the BER airport” until security checks could be carried out by engineers. The airport’s CEO has left the company. Earlier this year Air Berlin, which is currently running at a loss, reached a settlement with the airport over the delays as it had planned on making BER its main hub airport. The first problems noted were to do with the smoke and fire detection problem. The proposed solution, (which was not surprisingly rejected) was (paraphrased) for 800 low-paid workers armed with cell phones, sitting on camping stools, armed with thermos flasks, who would take up positions throughout the terminal. If anyone smelled smoke or saw a fire, they would alert the airport fire station and direct passengers toward the exits” The airport’s cost, borne by taxpayers, has tripled to €5.4 billion.
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Berlin Brandenburg airport suffers further setback

By Alex McWhirter (Buying Business Travel)

28 Sep 2015

Berlin’s long-delayed Brandenburg airport has suffered another setback after structural flaws were found in the terminal roof.

According to franceinfo.fr the ceiling within the terminal building has been found to be too heavy.

The airport, which was originally due to open in 2010, is still under construction and has run billions of Euros over budget. It was expected to open in 2017 but that could be postponed even further.

The building authority for the Dahme-Spreewald locality said it had told the construction firm to “immediately stop building works for the area underneath the entire terminal roof of the BER airport” until security checks could be carried out by engineers.

German aviation magazine, airportzentrale.de reports that the latest problem has led to Brandenburg’s CEO Karsten Muhlenfeld leaving the company.

In a statement, the airport authority said, “There is no question we are currently in a difficult phase of the project. However we will proceed without compromise.”

Earlier this year Air Berlin, which is currently running at a loss, reached a settlement with the airport over the delays as it had planned on making BER its main hub airport.

http://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news/2824754-berlin-brandenburg-airport-suffers-more-setbacks

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Air Berlin reaches settlement over airport delay

By Tom Newcombe  (Buying Business Travel)
4th Jun 2014

German carrier Air Berlin has agreed an out-of-court settlement with airport operators in its dispute over the delayed opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg airport (BER).

The airport, which was originally due to open in 2010, is still under construction and has run billions of Euros over budget.

Originally planned to be opened in 2010, BER has encountered a series of delays due to poor construction planning, management, execution and corruption

Air Berlin, which is currently running at a loss, had planned on making BER its main hub airport.

“Air Berlin and Berlin Brandenburg GmbH airport operators have agreed an out-of-court settlement in the compensation claim based on the postponement of the opening of Berlin Brandenburg airport BER in 2012,” the airline said in a statement.

“Air Berlin has therefore withdrawn its claim before the regional court of Potsdam. Both parties have agreed not to disclose details of the settlement.”

The planned June 3, 2012 inauguration of the new hub was to replace two smaller airports, Tegel and Schoenefeld.

http://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news/0422584-air-berlin-reaches-settlement-over-airport-delay

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How Berlin’s Futuristic Airport Became a $6 Billion Embarrassment

Inside Germany’s profligate (Greek-like!) fiasco called Berlin Brandenburg
July 23, 2015 (Bloomberg)

by Joshua Hammer

Full article contains lots of pictures too   – see link

The inspectors could hardly believe what they were seeing. Summoned from their headquarters near Munich, the team of logistics, safety, and aviation experts had arrived at newly constructed Berlin Brandenburg International Willy Brandt Airport in the fall of 2011 to begin a lengthy series of checks and approvals for the €600 million ($656 million) terminal on the outskirts of the German capital. Expected to open the following June, the airport, billed as Europe’s “most modern,” was intended to handle 27 million passengers a year and crown Berlin as the continent’s 21st century crossroads.

The team of inspectors, known as ORAT, for Operations Readiness and Airport Transfer, brought in a dummy plane and volunteers as test passengers. They examined everything from baggage carousels and security gates to the fire protection system. The last was an especially high priority: None could forget the 1996 fire that roared through Düsseldorf Airport’s passenger terminal, killing 17.

When they simulated a fire, though, the system went haywire. Some alarms failed to activate. Others indicated a fire, but in the wrong part of the terminal. The explanation was buried in the 55-mile tangle of wiring that had been laid, hastily, beneath the floors of the building where ORAT technicians soon discovered high-voltage power lines alongside data and heating cables—a fire hazard in its own right.

That wasn’t all. Smoke evacuation canals designed to suck out smoke and replace it with fresh air failed to do either. In an actual fire, the inspectors determined, the main smoke vent might well implode.

Confronted with the fire system fiasco, Rainer Schwarz, chief executive officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB), the airport company owned by the city of Berlin, the state of Brandenburg, and the federal government, downplayed it. Schwarz and his staff told the airport’s board of oversight, as well as Stephan Loge, the commissioner of Dahme-Spreewald County, who had the final authority to issue the airport an operating license, that they were working through some issues, but that the situation was under control.

Schwarz also appointed an emergency task force to propose solutions that would allow the airport to open on time. In March 2012 the group submitted its stopgap: Eight hundred low-paid workers armed with cell phones would take up positions throughout the terminal. If anyone smelled smoke or saw a fire, he would alert the airport fire station and direct passengers toward the exits. Never mind that the region’s cell phone networks were notoriously unreliable, or that some students would be stationed near the smoke evacuation channels, where in a fire temperatures could reach 1,000F.

It was, says Martin Delius, “an idiotic plan.” Delius is a physicist and member of Berlin’s parliament who has conducted an extensive investigation of the airport’s troubled infrastructure. “They thought that this would at least eliminate the need for wiring,” he says, “because [the spotters] could see with their own eyes if there is a mass of smoke lower than 6 feet above the ground.”

Schwarz continued to prepare for the opening, and the German public remained oblivious. By April 2012, airport fever was consuming Berlin. Mayor Klaus Wowereit sent out 3,000 invitations for the Hoffest, the annual mayoral ball at the 19th century City Hall, printing the entry tickets on mock boarding cards. Billboards went up, showing a photomontage of the airport’s namesake and famous Cold War leader embracing passengers, with the legend, “Willy Brandt greets the world!”

Preparations continued for an extravagant inaugural. Angela Merkel, the chancellor, was to disembark from a government jet and stroll down a red carpet to the glass-walled terminal, which would have been filled with expensive food and drink. On the night of June 2, in a stunt-like mobilization, thousands of workers would shuttle 600 truckloads of equipment and a fleet of 60-ton aircraft tugs 19 miles down a sealed-off expressway from Berlin-Tegel, Berlin’s main airport, in the northwest corner of the city, and Tegel would shut down forever the same day the new airport came online.

But in the town of Lübben, in what used to be East Germany, Commissioner Loge had his doubts. He and his own staff of building inspectors had spent many hours examining the fire protection system at the Tropical Islands Resort, an indoor paradise set in a former airship hangar in Brandenburg. One of the world’s largest freestanding structures, it draws up to 6,000 warmth-and-beach-deprived Germans a day. “It was far more complicated than the one at Berlin Brandenburg airport, and it worked,” Loge says.On May 7, less than four weeks before the scheduled opening, Loge met with Schwarz for the first time. The airport, Schwarz conceded, would have to open using the army of human fire detectors.

“Professor, let me understand this,” Loge said. “You are talking about having 800 people wearing orange vests, sitting on camping stools, holding thermoses filled with coffee, and shouting into their cell phones, ‘Open the fire door’?” Loge refused the airport an operating license. Schwarz stood up and walked out without another word.The next day, in a hall packed with government officials and journalists, Schwarz sat grimly behind a table with four other officials, including Mayor Wowereit, and announced the unthinkable: The airport wouldn’t open as scheduled. The inaugural bash and overnight move from Tegel were scuttled.

It was merely a prelude to a debacle that is still unfolding. Three years later, Berlin Brandenburg has wrecked careers and joined two other bloated projects—Stuttgart 21, a years-late railway station €2 billion over budget, and an €865 million concert hall in Hamburg—in tarnishing Germany’s reputation for order, efficiency, and engineering mastery.

At the very moment Merkel and her allies are hectoring the Greeks about their profligacy, the airport’s cost, borne by taxpayers, has tripled to €5.4 billion. Two airport company directors (including Schwarz), three technical chiefs, the architects, and dozens if not hundreds of others have been fired or forced to quit, or have left in disgust.

The government spends €16 million per month just to prevent the huge facility from falling into disrepair. According to the most optimistic scenarios, it won’t check in its first passengers until 2017, and sunny pronouncements have long since given way to “catastrophe,” “farce,” and “the building site of horror.” There is a noted German word for the delight some took in the mess, too. [schadenfreude].

In the beginning, Berlin Brandenburg airport was at best an economically unnecessary symbol of unity and growth. In October 1990, when politicians and planners began a search for ways of bridging the city’s long East-West divide, Berlin had three modest-size airports: Tempelhof, famed as the site of the 1948 Berlin Airlift; Schönefeld, opened in 1946, which later became the main airport serving Communist East Germany; and Tegel, a gem of efficiency that opened in 1948. By 1995 about 12 million people flew in and out of the city each year. After years of languishing as a Cold War backwater, Berlin was on the rise. By 2020, passenger totals were projected to reach 22 million.

In 2001, Wowereit sensed an opportunity. A gray-haired extrovert who bears a certain resemblance to the actor Alec Baldwin, “Wowi,” as he’s known, had earned a reputation as both a party animal and a rainmaker. He attracted free-spirited events to the city, such as an international S&M fetish street party, and proudly proclaimed, “I’m gay, and that’s a good thing.” “Is Germany Ready for a Gay Chancellor?” Der Spiegel asked after the Social Democrat’s landslide reelection in 2006. The Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport was to be his legacy in the city, while possibly paving the way for national office. (Wowereit declined to be interviewed for this article.)

To design the airport, FBB landed Meinhard von Gerkan, Germany’s most famous architect, a septuagenarian with a mane of white hair who’d made his name at age 30 with the Tegel Airport. The founding partner of Hamburg-based firm von Gerkan, Marg, & Partners, he’s known to squabble publicly with project managers when he feels that his artistic vision has been compromised.

The third key player was Schwarz, who was appointed CEO of the airport management company in 2006. A U.S.-trained economist who’d run Düsseldorf Airport, Schwarz had a reputation as a cost-cutting technocrat—just the man for the job. After considering a half-dozen sites, including a former Russian army base, the airport management team from FBB broke ground in 2006 on a vast plot just a couple of miles from the existing runways at Schönefeld.

The project’s first complications stemmed from Schwarz and Wowereit’s ever-changing ambitions. With construction under way, Schwarz, seizing on increasing forecasts for air traffic (up to 27 million passengers at that point), had von Gerkan add north and south “piers” to the main terminal, turning it from a rectangle into a “U” and dramatically enlarging the floor space. Schwarz also dreamed of making the airport a Dubai-like luxury mall. Airports earn significant money from nonaviation businesses, the FBB boss noted, so why not insert a second level, jammed with shops, boutiques, and food courts? Von Gerkan derided what he called the Vermallung of the airport—its “mallification”—but he capitulated to Schwarz’s demands.

According to Boris Hermel, a TV and radio correspondent who has covered the airport saga from the beginning, and other sources, Wowereit and Schwarz fell hard for an airplane: the Airbus A380, the double-decker, widebody, four-engine jetliner capable of seating 853 people. While no airline indicated it wanted to fly this monstrosity to Berlin, the men called for the walls at one end of the terminal to be ripped out so that an extra-wide gate could be built to accommodate it. “The clients were tripping over each other with requests for changes,” von Gerkan later said.

In his investigation, Delius examined tens of thousands of internal FBB e-mails. “The people responsible for technical oversight were saying, ‘We cannot do this within this amount of time,’ and Schwarz would answer, ‘I don’t care,’ ” he says.

The architecture and engineering teams fought to keep up. As the terminal ballooned from 200,000 to 340,000 square meters (dwarfing Frankfurt’s 240,000 and just shy of Heathrow Terminal 5’s 353,000), they parcelled out the work to seven contractors. That soon grew to 35, and they brought in hundreds of subcontractors, says Delius. Several engineering and electronics companies, led by the German giants Siemens and Bosch, struggled to retain control over the complex fire protection system that included 3,000 fire doors, 65,000 sprinklers, thousands of smoke detectors, a labyrinth of smoke evacuation ducts, and the equivalent of 55 miles of cables.

“Our part, the detection of hot air or smoke … is functioning,” says Thilo Resenhoeft, a Bosch spokesman. “The responsibility for the dysfunction lies with somebody else.” Siemens spokesman Oliver Santen confirms that the company was originally responsible for building the “automated fire protection facility” and “the control unit for fresh-air circulation.” Testing in 2013 “showed the need for reworking part of the system,” he says. Santen declines to attribute responsibility other than to say that Siemens is “responsible for the reconstruction of the fresh-air circulation system.”

Each addition ordered up by Schwarz required shifting passenger flows through the terminal. That meant rebuilding walls, exits, emergency lights, ventilation systems, windows, elevators, and staircases. At one point, in 2009, outside controllers urged Schwarz and his engineering chief to shut down construction for half a year to give the architects and contractors time to coordinate efforts.

Schwarz, Delius says, ignored them. Just months before the scheduled June 2012 opening, the terminal was a mess. Careless workers stepped on and shattered glass being installed by other companies. Heavy equipment rolled across the terminal floor, scratching expensive tiles. Tempers flared; small contractors complained they weren’t getting paid and threatened to walk off the job.

“The number of defects that they’ve found has grown to 150,000”

Following the humiliating announcement in May 2012 that the grand opening was off, the theater of the absurd escalated as executives, board members, and contractors turned on one another. Schwarz presented the board with a list of accusations against von Gerkan and his firm, charging that the architects had misled management with overoptimistic reports on their progress. The architects were fired, along with dozens of other key planners, slowing the project further. “Schwarz lost all their know-how,” says Hermel, the radio journalist. “They were back at Square One.”

Von Gerkan shot back. In a 2013 tell-all book, Black Box BER, he accused Schwarz of resisting all attempts at dialogue. Schwarz “had no concept, only insatiable demands,” von Gerkan wrote, and lived inside “a fairy tale.” That same year, after it became clear that Wowereit’s repeated predictions of an imminent opening were unrealistic, the mayor stepped down as chairman of the board of oversight. (He later resigned as mayor.)

Schwarz was fired days after Wowereit left the board of oversight. He sued for wrongful termination, and in late 2014 a Berlin court ordered the airport owners to pay Schwarz €1.14 million in damages for his dismissal, saying the board of oversight shared responsibility for the fiasco. In an e-mail to Bloomberg Businessweek, Schwarz said he felt vindicated by the court’s decision, concluding, “There is nothing to add.”

In the two years since Schwarz and Wowereit’s dual exit, the owners of the airport have reshuffled the board of oversight and burned through another management team. Schwarz’s successor, a short, stocky official named Hartmut Mehdorn, 72, is a close friend of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. While head of Deutsche Bahn, the German national railway, Mehdorn supervised the construction of Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof, the central train station, in a contentious collaboration with von Gerkan. Hauptbahnhof is considered a German triumph: “If all Americans could compare Berlin’s luxurious central train station today with the grimy, decrepit Penn Station in New York City,” Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times in 2008, “they would swear we were the ones who lost World War II.”

Mehdorn came into the Berlin Brandenburg job determined to turn it around. “He is a whirlwind,” says Axel Vogel of the Green Party. After a year of paralysis on the building site, one of Mehdorn’s early moves was to turn on the fountain in front of the deserted terminal to signal that he would get things done. But almost as a mocking counterpoint, the lights in the terminal couldn’t be turned off because of a computer glitch no one could fix, and the electricity bill soared.

Mehdorn squabbled with his engineering chief and antagonized the board of oversight with his ill-conceived schemes to get the airport up and running. At one point he proposed opening just the northern pier. A terrible idea, says Delius: “It was never meant to be opened separately from the rest of the terminal. There were no luggage carousels, no check-in counters, and the only way to reach it would have been to walk across the runway.”

By December 2014 relations between Mehdorn and the board had gotten so bad that the board considered hiring a headhunter to find his replacement, according to Delius and others. Hearing about the plan, Mehdorn quit. After his exit, nobody wanted the job. Mehdorn could not be reached for comment.

In February 2015 the board managed to lure Karsten Mühlenfeld, the well-regarded 51-year-old former chief of engineering at Rolls-Royce Germany. It also hired a former Siemens manager as his technical director. One of the first moves the two made was to yank out and reinstall the miles of cables. Then they turned to the fire prevention system. Smoke now channels upward through chimneys, in accordance with the laws of physics.

The board says construction should be completed by the middle of 2016, to be followed by fresh rounds of testing by ORAT crews. If all goes according to plan, says Mühlenfeld, the airport should begin operations in 2017. Berliners are trying to remain patient as tourism is booming and growth is limited by a lack of flights. “The number of defects that they’ve found has grown to 150,000, including 85,000 serious ones,” says Vogel.

On a Saturday afternoon in July, I board a bus in the Schönefeld parking lot for a two-hour public tour of the deserted airport. The tour leader seems almost to revel in the airport’s cursed history. The project had been a disaster, he says. Still, the terminal building is impressive. We enter the giant structure and walk across floors of light-gray tile, past check-in counters made of artificial walnut. The infamous second level looms above, filled with restaurants and duty-free shops, all done in the same tasteful faux wood. Twin pairs of stainless-steel chimneys rise out of the ceiling. An express train rumbles into the station directly beneath the terminal. Eventually, four trains an hour will whisk passengers to and from central Berlin in 20 minutes. The terminal has a light, spacious feeling, with panoramic sightlines reminiscent of the aesthetics at Berlin Hauptbahnhof.

“You have to say that it is a really cool airport,” Delius says. “The architecture is good. The concept is good. It is very easygoing, easy to navigate. It should please a lot of people—if it ever gets finished.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-07-23/how-berlin-s-futuristic-airport-became-a-6-billion-embarrassment

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Earlier:

Troubled Berlin Brandenburg Airport, due to open in June 2012, Could be shut down in late summer unless € 1.1 billion is raised

Berlin Brandenburg (BER) Airport What Intended to be a huge new airport for Berlin, as Berlin-Schönefeld and Tegel airports Could close. The BER what INITIALLY due to open in June 2012. It had a catalog of problems with fire safety, smoke extraction system, and fresh air supply in the event of fire. The launch has been delayed and delayed …. Last year it photoshoped what it might open this year. Now the airport’s CEO has announced it is Possible That the construction of the airport may need to be shut down this summer, if A Further € 1.1 billion can not be raised. Some € 4.3 trillion has already been spent, but did only lasts till this summer. Extra costs incurred due to the havebeen late opening, as well as the extra construction costs. A decision on how € 1.1 billion can be raised is needed urgently, Perhaps through bank loans, government grants or from Investor. The money has to not only be agreed by Berlin, Brandenburg and the federal government, so but needs approval from the EU Commission. Current total costs amount to € 5.4 billion.  Additional plans suggest additional costs amounting to € 2.19 billion at Extra. Although the airport has yet to open, Officials are planning a possible third runway for Approximately € 1 trillion and other new projects: such as on additional terminal, expanded baggage system and another freight facility.The total additional spending would amount to € 3.2 billion.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/03/troubled-berlin-brandenburg-airport-due-to-open-in-june-2012-could-be-shut-down-in-late-summer-unless-e1-1-billion-is-raised/

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Berlin’s Schönefeld airport ‘to stay open’ as Brandenburg airport (at huge expense) not ready till 2015 at the earliest

Berlin’s old Schönefeld airport is likely to remain open as a destination for budget airlines despite a multi-billion airport being built next to it, at Berlin Brandenburg (BER), as the new international hub is too small.  It is the latest in a long line of setbacks to hit the BER, which is over budget and behind time. It will have two runways.  It is expected to open in 2015 at the earliest.  Officially the cost of the airport is €4.3 billion, though initial cost estimates were €1.2 and it could cost up to €6 billion. Despite the huge cost, the airport will only have a capacity of 27 million passengers a year, so its ageing neighbour, Schönefeld, will need to stay open.  The original plan had been for Schönefeld, which caters for budget airlines, to merge with BER.  Keeping Schönefeld in operation would increase capacity by 7.5 million passengers a year and avoid further costs of building a new terminal. Earlier it had been expected that BER  could be partly in use in 2014, with 10 planes per day, but that will not happen.  The airport was initially intended to open in 2010 but the multiple delays have been due to difficulties concerning fire safety, the smoke exhaust systems and construction errors.  Air Berlin is suing BER for damages due to the much delayed opening.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/02/berlins-schonefeld-airport-to-stay-open-as-brandenburg-airport-at-huge-expense-not-ready-till-2015-at-the-earliest/

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Further fire safety problems at Berlin Brandenburg Airport mean it cannot open in October, so delayed till unknown date in 2014

January 8, 2013

Berlin’s Brandenburg airport was initially due to open in June 2012. It has problems with fire safety, smoke extraction system, and fresh air supply in the event of fire. Therefore the opening was put off till October 2013. It has now been announced that the airport will now open on an unknown date in 2014. Based on the previous timetable, construction work was due to be completed by May 2013 to allow a 5-month period for trial operations before the official opening. There may be other technical problems as well, such as on baggage handling. When completed, the airport will take over from the ageing Tegel and Schoenefeld airports. It is expected to be able to eventually handle up to 27 million passengers a year, but this figure has been reduced from the initial figure of 45 million. The cost of the project has risen, from an estimated £1.6 billion to more than £3.2 billion and the latest delays are likely to increase the costs further. A growing chorus of critics is calling for the city’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, to step down over the matter.

Click here to view full story…

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Catalogue of delays and problems for the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (Willy-Brandt)

Brandenburg (Willy Brandt) airport has become a symbol of how, even for the remarkably technologically successful Germans, things can go horribly wrong. There is currently no opening date set. It has a range of problems, many caused by such complicated and advanced computer systems and technologies, that engineers cannot work out how to fix them. Thousands of light bulbs illuminate the gigantic main terminal and the car park 24 hours per day, which is a massive cost and waste of energy; officials cannot work out how to turn them off as the computer system that’s so sophisticated it’s almost impossible to operate. Every day, an empty commuter train rolls to the unfinished airport over an 8 km stretch to keep the newly-laid tracks from getting rusty – more waste. Several escalators need to be rebuilt because they were too short; and dozen of tiles were already broken before a single airport passenger ever stepped on them. Then there are the fire system problems – with some technology that is so advanced that technicians can’t work out what’s wrong with it.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/04/berlin-brandenburg-problems/

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Berlin Brandenburg Airport opening date postponed – till March 2013

The new Berlin Brandenburg (Willie Brandt) airport will not now open till March 2013.  It had been due to open in June 2012, and was postponed recently until August 2012.  The problem appears be the fire safety system. The airport can only commence operations with a fully automated fire safety and control system as originally planned, and the interim solution of a partly automated system will not be allowed. This will take until December 2012. In addition, the risk would be too high to move the airport in winter due to adverse weather leading to operational restrictions.  The Managing Director Operations, responsible for the construction of the airport, will have to leave the company. Keeping open the two older Berlin airports that this one will replace will cost about €15 million a month.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/05/berlin-airport-opening-postponed/

 

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Residents around Frankfurt hold their 150th huge Monday evening protest against aircraft noise

On Monday 28th September, the 150th Monday evening protest against aircraft noise, due to the new runway, took place at Frankfurt airport.  The new 4th runway was opened in October 2011, to the north west of the airport, and caused not only new flight paths but changes to existing flight paths. People had not been expecting the noise problem to be so bad. As soon as the runway opened, residents starting protesting against the noise – that was stopping them sleeping, reducing their quality of life, preventing them enjoying relaxing outside under flight paths, and reducing the prices of their homes. They started protests in the airport Terminal 1 (almost) every Monday evening. These are attended by between about 600 and 3,000 people. That is an astonishing achievement, and manifestation of real anger and determination by the thousands affected by plane noise. They are concerned now that the protests are seen to be becoming routine, and there is some appetite for more radical action, especially now that work is due to start very soon on a deeply opposed 3rd airport terminal. The style of protesting may perhaps now change. In German airport buildings are public property, so protesters are entitled to congregate in the terminal.
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Lots of great photos of the 150th Monday protest here

Fluglarm macht krank 28.9.2015

Fluglarm macht krank  – means aircraft noise makes you ill.

Frankfurt 150th runway what is it good for

Landebahn means runway.

Stop terminal 3


 

Home Rhein-Main Aircraft noise opponents 150th at Frankfurt Airport

Original article in German here.

Approximate translation into English below (apologies for quality of translation !)

The aircraft noise opponents have gathered for the 150th protest evening at Frankfurt Airport. Everything went off peacefully, although there have been furious speeches. And many demonstrators tried it with irony.

by HELMUT SWAN, RHEIN-MAIN

29.9.2015
The 150th Monday demonstrations: Some of them have already more than a hundred evening protests there when we pulled in the airport Monday clamouring against this.

Four years after the commissioning of the north-west runway (October 2011) and a few days before the first sod is dug for the third passenger terminal, the opponents of the expansion of Frankfurt airport do not want to give up. They ensured this during their 150th “Monday demonstration”. Several times the protesters called for their old, unrealistic slogan “the runway has to go” (Die Landebahn muss weg).

Present were members of more than 80 citizens’ initiatives and noise-plagued residents from the wide area around the airport.

Consequences:
An estimated 1800 participants gathered at their regular place under the scoreboard in Hall B of Terminal 1; for the hundredth protest in May 2014. 3,000 came. In the overall balance which calls the police the number 157,000, according to the organizers since November 2011 met a total of about twice as many people to loudly proclaim their displeasure against the airport operator and the governments of varying persuasions.

Many protesters attempts irony
The speaker of the evening, the doctor, author and environmental activist Michael Wilk, called the Greens in the state government “Conversion By Winker”. He spoke angrily interrupted by applause, over profiteering and growth ideology that leave be “fatal injury” flight operations into one. But the airport was damaging not only to health, environment and climate, but is also the main hub for the deportation of refugees.

Expanded to eight cities: Frankfurt Aircraft Noise Commission grows

The Lord Mayor of Mainz, Michael Ebling (SPD) proposed, on the edge of a more moderate tone. They would not rest unless the airport operator Fraport brings peace, he said. Once again the delegation was comparatively large from his city. Some had made a large banner (“Stop the noise-terrorism”) displayed in front of the lectern, another of the Lerchenberg district tried to add irony to their protest; alluding to the controversial computation of aircraft noise after continuous sound had the flier “averaged over the year so silent as a fish. ” There were also shorter and simpler messages: A woman from Offenbach was wearing a red T-shirt with the word “peace”, a man from the district of Frankfurt Oberrad had the abbreviation for the new terminal building, T3, verballhornt with the sign of an impasse. Citizens in Nauheim see because of aircraft noise in caging, a man from Eddersheim called simply a “good night”.

Ordered new aircraft noise Commission
How long the Monday protests will continue at the airport remained an open question. By the end of the demonstrations are logged, but the organizers also want to go on when the support stops. In a song that was sung to set the mood, perhaps a clue was hidden: “Is the lid on it finally, we listen together to”, it says. Angespielt is a project of the Hessian Minister of Transport Tarek Al-Wazir (The Greens), to limit aircraft noise exposure. However, it is too early to predict how and when that can be enforced.

The Ministry reported at least one further pragmatic step: The Noise Abatement Commission has reorganized. In future, only those municipalities will belong to the body, which are in the noise protection area or  have at least a hundred over flights per day at an altitude of less than 6,000 feet (1,800 meters)..

According to these criteria, some areas are added are (eg Gross-Zimmern, Ginsheim, Pfungstadt or Riedstadt.)  Heusenstamm and the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis remain in the Commission, because they may be affected due to the further development around the airport of measures of sound insulation. Minister Al-Wazir noted that the work of the Commission have gained over the past few years.

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/rhein-main/fluglaermgegner-zum-150-mal-am-frankfurter-flughafen-13829059.html


 

Frankfurt 150th

More civil disobedience called for: 150th Monday demonstration at the airport: protest, which is a routine

29.9.2015

BY MICHELLE SPILLNER  (Frankfurter Neue Presse) 

the 150th anniversary have demonstrated opponents of the airport expansion in Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport on Monday evening.

The large influx of “Jubilee” provided an opportunity to renew the protest will. The Wiesbaden doctor Michael Wilk even demanded an intensification of protest.

Frankfurt 150th protest 28.9.2015

Photo: Christian Christes1,300 people, the police last night counted against aircraft noise in the 150th Monday demonstrations of the Union of citizens’ initiatives. With Transparent they moved through the terminal. 1

Frankfurt. Once only has Volker Hartmann, Chairman of the Citizens’ Initiative Oberrad, failed to attend the Monday demonstration in the past four years. “Since I was on vacation – at the Baltic Sea,” said the 66-year-old.Otherwise the date is fixed in his calendar. 150th demonstration he has tinkered a red-hot plate: a dead end sign bearing the words “T3” for the terminal 3. It stands out from hundreds of signs that stretch in Hall B gene ceiling, between “stop the aircraft noise terror when You’re a Mainz “,” That stinks to high heaven – construction of Terminal 3 “, [“Das stinkt zum Himmel – Bau des Terminals 3″],  ” Shame on the rule of law “,” Terminal 3 – necessary as an ass-wart “[ “Terminal 3 – nötig wie eine Arsch-Warze”] and the many other expressions of displeasure.Demonstrators express their signs emphatically with a lot of noise. On drums and cookie jars, cooking pots and lids, with whistling, chattering, clattering and speakers protesters produce a noise reminiscent of the of an airplane. Even the three ladies make noise with that, running around on behalf of the Alliance of the Citizens’ Initiative, which organized the demonstrations with the collection boxes in the lot. Shake the coins into the bushes.But Hartmann remains silent. He pointed silently triumphant on his shield when he meets someone he knows, or welcomes him. And Hartmann knows many. They know each other, as you would  if you come together on a regular basis once a week in the same place – for four years – with the same objective. But there are not always as many as last night, according to police more than 1300,

With 600 it has begun, it was sometimes even 3,000 demonstrators, the number then decreased again. “Whether there are 500 or 1000, is not so important. More importantly, we are here every Monday, “relativized Thomas Schäffler, a spokesman for the alliance. This continuity must be preserved so that we continue to be the spanner in the works for the airport.

For the man to take note of, who has laid the foundation for the Monday demonstration. He now enters the podium to once again to pump energy, willpower, perseverance and courage in the mass. “It all ultimately started with Michael Wilk. He then talked to people and asked in Wiesbaden about a demo: Who is going to the terminal?  And so it all started, “recalls Dietrich Elsner from Mainz, who has missed the Monday protests only three times. For him, the Monday night deadline is now routine.

More creativity

And therein Wilk sees the problem: “Our protest here at Frankfurt Airport is in danger of becoming a tolerated routine.” He wanted more creative resistance, he requested and the amount hailed the “If we do not do more than that. Monday demonstrations, they are the Terminal 3 by pulling more or less smoothly, “said Wilk, followed by boos and catcalls. A week before the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new terminal – the only there is propaganda in his opinion, because the construction work had already begun – he says: “Well did more civil disobedience, more confidence in their own strength.” Ignite his words, the protesters seem more motivated than ever, even if Wilk glossed over nothing: “Let’s make no mistake about it: The Northern Railway is in operation, the terminal 3, we will hardly prevent. “But it was not about winning or losing, but about the dynamic process, so that” we have a political function and are an important part of the political climate. Without us protesting, the concrete would flow faster. ”

Volume on the move

The airport do not only create noise, but it also pollutes the air, causes loss of woodland,and is bad for the environment as well as being a deportation airport, says Wilk. He cries out: “The runway must go –  the western runway.”

Then the crowd starts moving, and it felt like 2,500 people drumming through the terminal. Forming before shopping Avenue an arena singing with Jochen Krauss song against the noise and clapping to the music of Dixieland Brass Band Frankfurt. A man pushes his loudspeaker system on a luggage trolley in front of him and sings about reinforced with. Airline passengers can hardly see. They take other routes.

Fascinated Asian tourists take pictures – even from the dead end sign Hartmanns. But they do not understand what is at stake.  “Your welcome,” the tour guide stammers incoherently and escorts his group to airport check-in.

http://www.fnp.de/rhein-main/150-Montagsdemo-am-Flughafen-Protest-der-zur-Routine-wird;art801,1615562

 


 

 

28.9.2015  (Op – online.de)

Frankfurt – The Monday demonstrations in Frankfurt Airport have become a permanent appointment. Today drag noise opponents 150th by the terminal 1, and you want to continue.

“We have yet to achieve some goals,” says Ina Hauck, spokeswoman for the expansion opponents: “We will continue to fight and are still going strong,” the anniversary demonstration around 1,000 participants were expected from throughout the region. Since 14 November 2011, Monday protestors gather at the airport and pull singing and whistling through the central departure terminal. A few weeks earlier, the new northwest runway was opened in spite of the protests in the region. Now stands before the construction of the controversial third terminal, and also on the other hand want the demonstrators protesting loudly. As the biggest successes the alliance of citizens’ groups sees the ban on night flights at Germany’s largest airport and the delay in the expansion plans

https://www.op-online.de/region/frankfurt/laermgegner-wollen-weitermachen-5570259.html

 

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Careful analysis by Richmond campaign shows up weaknesses in Airports Commission economic arguments

The Airports Commission, in recommending Heathrow as the location for a new runway, has given the impression that it would benefit the regions and create more connectivity for regional airports. An analysis of the Commission’s many papers, by the Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC), has unearthed very different data.  These indicate that the Heathrow north west runway would mean an extra 41 million annual passengers at Heathrow, but a loss of 58 million passengers per year from other UK airports, including Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. The RHC does not consider this to be compatible with the “Northern Powerhouse.” They also believe that over 50% of the new runway capacity would be used for an extra 22 million International to International transfers, providing little economic value to the UK as these passengers don’t step outside the airport. The RHC comments that the Commission’s data shows the investment of £17.6 billion to build the runway would result in a net benefit of £1.4 billion (present value over 60 years) when other costs are taken into account. This is negligible in macro-economic terms. The RHC says the Commission’s own reports show “there is no need for this costly new investment in one airport at the expense of others. Allowing the market to grow where it is needed is the right answer – no new runways.”
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Let’s Face the Facts on Heathrow

27th September 2015

Worried about escalating house prices and rents in the south-east?

Agree with the need to re-balance the UK economy through a Northern Powerhouse?

What would you think about a Government decision that increased the over-heating in the southeast and worked against a re-balancing of the economy? You’d think it was nuts, wouldn’t you?

Let’s look at some surprising facts:

1. Heathrow’s third runway would support an extra 41 million passengers a year. But this growth is concentrated at a single airport in the over-heated south-east, and results in a loss of 58 million passengers a year from other UK airports, including Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

Compatible with the Northern Powerhouse? Surely not.

2. Want to increase the UK’s aviation capacity and international competitiveness? The Airports Commission’s own data show a reduction of 17 million passengers for the UK as a whole, including business passengers and domestic passengers, as well as a reduction in flights and connectivity if the Heathrow option is chosen.

3. Want the passengers using the airspace to benefit the UK economy? Over 50% of the new runway capacity would be used for an extra 22 million International to International transfers, providing little economic value to the UK as these passengers don’t step outside the airport.

4. And for those of you who are into macro-economic data, a final astonishing fact: The Commission says the investment of £17.6 billion [runway building costs. Page  271. Point 13.80 of Airports Commission final report ]  would result in a net benefit of £1.4 billion (present value over 60 years).  [This figure is from Page 89  point 3.148 of the commission’s report Business Case and Sustainability Assessment – Heathrow Airport Northwest Runway ]  This sounds a decent sum but it is negligible in macro-economic terms and within the margin for statistical error. And that’s ignoring the fact that the figure may be even smaller if full calculations for noise and air pollution and investment in transport to and from the airport, were to be included.

Don’t believe it? We were astonished too. But let’s face the facts before investing £17 billion on Heathrow Airport plus a further £20 billion required to improve surface transport access: the evidence shows it will not deliver what we and the Government want. And we haven’t even mentioned all the problems of compliance with CO2, air pollution and noise targets.

These facts are all in the Airport’s Commission final report. Good stuff. But the conclusion reached is not supported by the facts.

The fact is that there is already significant spare capacity at almost all UK’s airports including
Heathrow itself, which the Commission says has capacity to add another 34 million terminating passengers without any additional flights by using larger planes. Heathrow is far from full. There is no need for this costly new investment in one airport at the expense of others. Allowing the market to grow where it is needed is the right answer – no new runways.
We challenge the supporters of Heathrow expansion to debate the facts with us before it is too late.

Take a look rhcfacts.org/ukhub/. It’s astonishing.

Contact details: Richmond Heathrow Campaign. www.richmondheathrowcampaign.org

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The report from the Richmond Heathrow Campaign

Heathrow recommendation for Heathrow Expansion The Aviation Market and Economics – Key Facts

 

 

 

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New group, CHATR (Chiswick Against the Third Runway) formed to oppose Heathrow expansion

The first meeting of a new group in Chiswick, opposing Heathrow expansion, took place on 25th September.  The group is CHATR (Chiswick Against the Third Runway), and it covers areas in North and Central Chiswick that would be badly over-flown by arrivals to a new north west runway. Ruth Cadbury MP for Brentford & Isleworth, who has campaigned against expansion at Heathrow for 12 years, spoke at the meeting. John Stewart, HACAN’s Chairman said the meeting was ‘timely indeed’ as the deadline for a Government decision on the runway rapidly approaches. Last time round, back in 2009, there was active opposition to a new runway from the Chiswick area, and there is again determination to see it does not happen.  The area will not only suffer the plane noise, but also considerably increased pollution and noise, from  the increase in road traffic that will inevitably be the consequence of the runway. People were encouraged to attend the anti-runway rally, as CHATR representing Chiswick, in Parliament Square on 10th October (11 am to 12.30pm). It is suggested they come with a placard clearly showing their postcode and stating they are against the third runway. More information or to join CHATR@mail.com
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Chiswick Against The Third Runway Inaugral Meeting A Great Success

By Paul Williams  (Chiswick Herald)

Monday Sep 28th 2015

It was standing room only at Chiswick Against the Third Runway( CHATR’s) inaugural meeting for local residents on Friday evening, 25 September 2015. John Stewart, HACAN’s Chairman, addressed the meeting, calling it ‘timely indeed’ as the deadline for a Government decision on the runway rapidly approaches & ‘Chiswick does seem to be starting to make a noise’.

A third runway will make Heathrow the biggest emitter of CO2 in the country. The lives of people in the surrounding communities, already suffering, will bear the brunt of the considerably increased pollution and noise, not only from aircraft but also the increase in road traffic that will inevitably be the consequence of the proposed third runway.


HACAN’s John Stewart with Ruth Cadbury MP (centre) with three founding members of CHATR

The audience was treated to a guest appearance by Ruth Cadbury MP for Brentford & Isleworth who has campaigned against expansion at Heathrow for 12 years. Ruth pointed out that the frequency of landings is as much of an annoyance as the amount of noise and that studies show that children in schools under flight paths suffer cognitive learning impairment.

Heathrow leads Europe in the number of people affected by noise with well over a million people in London alone.

Noise from the new proposed flight paths directly overhead would be the biggest problem for residents of North and Central Chiswick, followed by air pollution caused by significantly increased road traffic and community disruption. There are pockets around Heathrow that already exceed EU pollution limits.

The ministerial group assessing the Davies Commission Report does not include any cabinet members from areas that would be affected or potentially affected by the third runway and David Cameron will also have to face down significant political opposition even within his own party.
You can support the cause and protest at Parliament Square at 10.30am on Saturday 10 October 2015 (http://hacan.org.uk/category/events/).

Please turn up with a placard prominently displaying your postcode declaring you are against the third runway. CHATR is in the process of organising placards and a group from Chiswick to go to the rally. Please check here for more details.

The organisers would like to thank everyone who attended, supported and assisted at the meeting and for kind offers of help.

CHATR – Chiswick Against the Third Runway would like to hear from other interested groups and residents in Chiswick and surrounding areas to join the campaign against a third runway at Heathrow.

Please email them at CHATR@mail.com

http://chiswickherald.co.uk/chiswick-against-the-third-runway-inaugral-meeting-a-great-success-p4351-203.htm

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Sir Howard Davies writes to Patrick McLoughlin and the GLA to dismiss Gatwick’s claims

The Airports Commission, now almost closed down, has published on its website a letter to the GLA from Sir Howard Davies, setting out why they believe strongly that their analysis is robust to the arguments that Gatwick airport have made (recently repeated). The Commission also published a letter to the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, dated the 7th September, and now copied to the GLA, countering all Gatwick’s arguments why it should be the site for a new runway. The Commission’s letter to Patrick McLoughlin deal with Regional Connectivity, on which they dismiss Gatwick’s claims; Economic Benefits, on which the Commission says the benefits to the UK from a Heathrow runway are substantially greater than a Gatwick runway; on Costs and Charges; Deliverability and Financing; Air Quality; and Noise. The Commission says, quote: “GAL accuse the Airports Commission of having ‘largely ignore[d]’ Gatwick’s lower noise impacts compared to those of Heathrow. That is nonsense.”  Sir Howard Davies’ letter to the GLA covers the issues of capacity and resilience, connectivity, noise mitigation, surface access and finance. Criticising the session at the GLA where Sir Howard was interviewed, he says there was no “serious consideration of the role of aviation, and the benefits of expansion, in supporting the capital’s long term prosperity.”
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There are links to both letters on the Airports Commission website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sir-howard-davies-letters-following-the-airports-commission-final-report


The letter to Jennette Arnold OBE AM, Chair of the London Assembly https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/463767/howard-davies-to-jennette-arnold-280915.pdf


 

The letter to Transport Minister, Patrick McLoughlin

To:
The Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlinMP
Secretary of State
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London SW1P 4DR

From:
Sir Howard Davies
Chair Airports Commission
Sanctuary Buildings
20 Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT

 

Date: 7 September 2015

Dear Secretary of State,

.
I am writing in response to recent media coverage of the criticisms made by Gatwick
Airport Ltd (GAL) of the analysis and recommendations in the Airports Commission’s
Final Report. The majority of the points made by GAL in the media were in reality
also made to the Commission in the course of its work and we considered them
carefully before we reached our conclusions. I thought it may therefore be helpful to
provide an overview of this and to explain why we believe strongly that our work is
robust to these criticisms.

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GAL’s criticisms fall into seven broad categories, with which this letter deals in turn.

Traffic Forecasts

The reliability of the Airports Commission’s forecasts, which were derived using an
enhanced version of the DfT aviation model, wasregularly questioned by GAL
throughout the Commission process and therefore commanded our close attention.
This included commissioning additional advice from the OECD and from a leading
academic expert, Professor Andreas Schaefer,as tothe robustness of both our
forecasting approach and the criticisms and alternative forecasts put forward by
GAL. Their conclusions were unequivocal:

  • In respect of the Commission’s forecasts, the OECD found that: the various
    trends in the Commission’s traffic forecasts … are plausible, and that the
    various points raised by the consultees do not provide persuasive evidence
    that the airport allocation model is biased. The forecasts provide, in our view,
    a valid basis for the Commission to compare the impacts and relative merits
    of different options for investment in additional capacity at London’s airports.
  • In respect of the DfT aviation model, Professor Schaefer found that: “The
    scale, capability, and level of detail of the DfT aviation model system is
    impressive. I am not aware of … any other country having such kind of
    apparatus available … In addition, I found the overall modelling approach to
    be coherent and the model specifications to follow good practice.”
  • In respect of GAL’s forecasting model, Professor Schaefer found that: “it is not
    clear how the results were produced and what specific assumptions they are
    based on. Without more detail … it is not possible to disprove that the ICF
    Model is based on a set of assumptions rather than rigorous quantitative
    relationships. Therefore it is my recommendation that the ICF Report results
    should not be used for decision making.”

 

We strongly disagree with the Gatwick’s view that the Commission’s forecasts underestimate the level of passenger growth that would be seen at an expanded
Gatwick and overestimate growth at an expanded Heathrow. Even so, we have
always acknowledged the risks associated with longterm forecasting. That is why
we developed a scenariobased methodology, which enabled us to understand the
implications for our analysis of different views of the future. In some circumstances
an expanded Gatwick wouldperform more stronglythan in our assessment of need
forecasts, but these required extreme assumptions about economic growth or
industry development. Heathrow expansion saw rapid increases in passenger
numbers and services across the full range of scenarios tested.

In making its case, GAL also focuses on individual figures rather than looking at
longterm trends. For example, it refers to the 2.7 million increase in passenger
numbers seen in 2014 to support its argumentthat an expanded Gatwick would grow
faster than we have forecast. In fact, the 2014 increaseat Gatwick was unusual. The
previous year, for example, passenger numbers increased by just 1.2 million and
average growth between 2004 and 2014, even with spare capacity available, was
less than 0.7 million a year.Similarly, the differences between the Commission’s and
GAL’s shortterm estimates of passenger numbers are of limited relevance, as we
both see the airport’s single runway reaching capacity before 2020.

GAL’s final point is that the difference in forecast growth between an expanded
Gatwick and an expanded Heathrow ( m vs 3 m passengers over the 5 yearsto
2030) is inexplicable.We do not consider that this is the case. As set out above, with
spare capacity available, Gatwick has grown at less than 1m passengers per year
over the past ten years. The provision of significant new capacity, particularly in the
morning and evening peak periods, ould accelerate this, as our forecasts show, but
would not fundamentally alter the underlying demand without broader changes in the
economy or aviation industry. In contrast, Heathrow is one of the world’s most
profitable airports from which to operate and has been capacity constrained for many
years. As a result, it is reasonable to assume a high level of suppressed demand for
runway slots. The willingness of airlines, most recently Vietnam Airways, to switch
from Gatwick to Heathrow as soon as slots become available bears this out. The
construction of a new runway would allow this suppressed demand to be met,
leading to rapid growth in passenger numbers and services.

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Regional connectivity

GAL has argued that an expanded Gatwick Airport would be better for regional
connectivity than expansion at Heathrow, but their argument misunderstands and
misrepresents the Commission’s analysis. They state that Gatwick is preferable
because an expanded Heathrow – according to the Commission’s forecasts – would
serve only fourdomestic routes compared to the seven served currently and
compared to eight at an expanded Gatwick.

There are three flaws in this argument. The first is that, without any additional
measures to safeguard domestic connectivity, an unexpanded Heathrow would see
domestic routes decline even further to just three. In contrast, expansion at Gatwick
makes no difference to the number of domestic routes forecast at the airport, which
would be eight with or without expansion.

The second flaw is that the argument assumes that a link to one London airport is
the same as a link to another. Our discussions with stakeholders in the nations and
regions revealed very clearly the importance that they attach to direct links to
Heathrow because of the access provided to its substantial longhaul route network.
A third runway at Heathrow would allow further expansion in that network as well as
more than trebling the number of domestic passengers able to access it.

The third flaw is that the Commission’s forecasts do not assume any additional
measures are taken to promote domestic connectivity to the expanded airport. A
number of such measures are, however, feasible and are recommended in our Final
report. These include reduced passenger charges on domestic services and the use
of Public Service Obligations to support a broad route network. Therefore, we
believe that the level of domestic connectivity could be greater than that indicated by
our forecastsalone. EasyJet’s submission to our consultation indicated thatitwould
consider serving around seven domestic destinations from an expanded Heathrow.

Economic Benefits

Contrary to GAL’s assertions, the direct economic benefits of expansion at Gatwick
and Heathrow are not ‘virtually the same’. In both the‘carbon traded’ and ‘carbon
capped’ forecasts, the net social benefits of a new north west runway at Heathrow
are roughly two thirds higher than those of a second runway at Gatwick.

The Commission has acknowledged that if the costs of the schemes are
incorporated into the calculation, the gap may be narrowed or reversed. But this is
not primarily a public investment decision, but rather a decision as to which of a
number of private sector schemes, in each case likely to be funded significantly by
international investors, should be facilitated through the planning system. The
Commission’s view is that this should be the scheme which delivers the greatest
benefits for the UK.

We have also been careful in our use of the more innovative modelling of wider
economic impacts carried out by PWC. In particular, we have been clear that these
results are based (for both Gatwick and Heathrow) on an assumption that investment
in aviation capacity is likely to stimulate knockon investment elsewhere in the
economy, and for that reason have considered them as part of the strategic case
and not as part of our cost-benefit analysis.

In doing so, and bearing in mind our expert advisers’ notes of caution, the
Commission considered carefully whether the monetised outputs of this modelling
were consistent with its broader strategic analysis of the schemes’ benefits and
impacts. Our conclusion was that they were. Expansion at Heathrow delivered
greater benefits for the UK’s long haul network, enabled more rapid growth in
inbound and business travel and in the air freight sector and enhanced competition
to a greater degree than expansion at Gatwick. Heathrow expansion also had a
stronger impact on the surrounding local economies, generating more jobs more
quickly than expansion at Gatwick. This overall analysis aligned well with the PWC
results, which showed much stronger impacts across the UK economy from
expansion at Heathrow – more than £140 billion over 60 years compared to c. £90
with a second runway at Gatwick.

Costs and Charges

GAL’s argument that the lower costs of expansion at Gatwick should inevitably mean
lower per passenger charges is entirely misguided. The level of charge is a function
not only of the cost of the scheme, but also of the number of passengers paying for
it. The higher levels of demand seen at Heathrow significantly reduce the charge
required on a per passenger basis. GAL’s proposed ‘contract’ to limit charges to £15
could at best be considered the starting point for a negotiationgiven its significant
reas of omission (including any information on penalties should GAL fail to comply
with the contract’s provisions),and would in any case do nothing toalter the
underlying commercial fundamentals of the project.

Deliverability and Financing

A range of issues, including the need to tunnel and widen the M25 and to deliver
other transport improvements, as well as to relocate an existing EnergytoWaste
plant, are highlighted by GAL as indicating that the Commission must have
underestimated the delivery challenges associated with the north west runway
proposal at Heathrow. In fact, each of these was identified and considered by the
Commission, as was the additional evidence on this topic submitted by GAL to our
consultation,before we reached ourview that itwould be feasible for the scheme to
be delivered by 2026. It is important to note, however, that this is not a prediction;
any scheme of this kind is subject to a range of delivery risks and uncertainties.
While earlier delivery would undoubtedly be of benefit, the Commission’s
assessment of need was for new capacity to be available by 2030. Our deliverability
analysis gives us confidence that this would be the case.

GAL’s comparison of the level of spend required to construct Terminal 5 with that to
deliver a new runway is oversimplistic. Alongside constructing T5, Heathrow Airport
Ltd had to continue to invest in and operate its existing infrastructure. These
additional costs are taken into account in our assessment of commercial
deliverability. Furthermore, GAL provides no evidence for why a higher rate of
expenditure would not be feasible. Heathrow Airport Ltd have significant experience
in managing major development projects on an operational airfield which would be of
direct relevance to the construction of a new runway and it supporting infrastructure.

Air Quality

GAL argue that our analysis of the air quality issues around Heathrow is based on an
incorrect interpretation of the law. We do not agree. We considered carefullythe
legal arguments put forward by GAL in their submissions to our consultations, before
reaching a view that thosearguments were themselves unsoundand, if we had
accepted them, would have left us open to challenge.

Our air quality analysis was carried out by one of the UK’s leading consultants in this
fieldwith oversight and quality control offered by another, and withthe support of
Helen ApSimon, Professor of Air Pollution Studies at Imperial College and a member
of DEFRA’s Air Quality Expert Group. The allegations of incompleteness and
inconsistency made by GAL were dealt with in full in the report on the responses to
our air quality consultation.

In our Final Report, we acknowledge the air quality challenges facing the UK, includingthe requirement on the Government to achieve the EU limit values in London. Our analysis demonstrates, however,that the impacts of expansion at Heathrow would be a manageable part of this broader issue, which we believe the Government can feasibly devise and implement appropriate measures to address. In our view, therefore, limited weight should be placed on the suggestion that air quality represents a significant obstacle to expansion.

Noise

GAL accuse the Airports Commission of having ‘largely ignore[d]’ Gatwick’s lower
noise impacts compared to those ofHeathrow. That is nonsense. We have been
aware from an early stage of our work of Gatwick’s relative advantage in respect of
noise impacts, and this is brought out clearly, for example, in the Executive
Summary of our Final Report:

Although an expanded Gatwick would see more people affected by noise than today,
its overall noise impacts would still be much less significant than those around
Heathrow.In terms of the total number of people affected, an expanded Heathrow
would see more than 550,000 people within the 24hour 55 LDEN contour in 2030
compared to just over 22,000 at Gatwick. That reflects Gatwick’s more rural location,
which presents challenges in respect of the airport’s effects on tranquility, but does
not outweigh its overall noise advantage.

Similarly, GAL has accused us of failing to properly assess the number of people
who might be newly affected by noise as a result of expansion at Heathrow. In fact,
we have carried out such an assessment (and, perversely, it is our own figures that
GAL has quoted in in its advertisements on this point). What is important, however,
is the overall noise impact – including those who experience an improvement in the
noise environment as a result of expansion as well as those who experience a
worsening. For the Heathrow scheme, the population for whom noise levels would
reduce as a result of the redesigned flightpaths made possible by expansion could
be very substantial – well over 200,000 people. Therefore, it is these net figures that
we concentrate on in our analysis and reports.

I hope this is helpful in providing reassurance that our analysis is robust to the
arguments made by GAL in their recent releases to the press.

I am copying this letter to Philip Rutnam and Sir Jeremy Heywood. I would be
grateful if it could be circulated to the membersof the Economic Affairs (Airports)
Subcommittee.

Yours Sincerely
Sir Howard Davies, Chair

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/463769/howard-davies-to-patrick-mcloughlin-070915.pdf

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