Farmer at Stansted still awaiting compensation, due to airport loophole of not completing all work – to avoid paying

A farm owner who won £1 million from Stansted, because planes flying over his £2 million home slashed its value in half,  is still waiting for the pay-out 17 years later. Patrick Streeter, whose home is about 1.5 km from the end of the runway, was awarded the sum in 1999 but claims Stansted are using a wily “legal loophole”, which says the money needs to be paid only once all work is finished on the airport.  Because white lines have not been painted on a strip of airport apron, (presumably deliberately …) and a fuel pump has not been installed, Stansted has told Mr Streeter that he is not entitled to his pay-out yet.  He says the constant din of planes makes the place unbearable to live in, and he believes it would be almost impossible to sell.  Mr Streeter’s family home, a 13th century seven-bedroom farmhouse in Great Hallingbury, shakes so badly when planes take off that roof tiles are dislodged. “When we are sitting in the garden your coffee cup will wobble. The cargo planes are the worst.”   The airport is legally obliged to pay people living around it compensation because of the detrimental impact of the noise. Mr Streeter is now considering suing the airport .  A Stansted spokesman said: “We are aware of Mr Streeter’s application and the matter is being consulted by MAG (the airport’s owner).” 
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Farmer awarded £1m noise compensation from Stansted airport still waiting for pay-out 17 years later… as white lines haven’t been finished

By Lexi Finnigan  (Telegraph)

10 MAY 2016

A farm owner who won £1 million from Stansted because planes flying over his £2 million home slashed its value in half is still waiting for the pay-out 17 years later.

Patrick Streeter was awarded the sum in 1999 but claims airport bosses are using a “legal loophole”, which says the money needs to be paid only once all work is finished on the airport.

Mr Streeter claims airport chiefs have told him that because white lines have not been painted on a strip of airport apron, and a fuel pump has not been installed, he is not entitled to his pay-out yet.

Mr Streeter claims the constant buzz of planes makes the place unbearable to live in, and believes it would be almost impossible to sell

Since 1999, the number of passengers visiting the airport has increased from just over nine million to 26 million expected this year.

Patrick, 69, said: “One of their clever lawyers saw a loophole and realised that if the work isn’t finished they don’t have to pay out.

“They’ve got round it by not quite completing an area where the aeroplanes are parked.

“It’s 95% completed but they haven’t painted white lines and installed a petrol pump so they won’t pay out.

“Originally they agreed to pay my family £1 million because of the impact the planes have.

“It’s a big house and if it was in an area where there are no planes it would be worth £2 million.

“But because of the noise and fumes it has halved in value.

“They owe us this money but they’re evasive actions have meant we haven’t had a penny.”

Mr Streeter’s family home, a 13th century seven-bedroom farmhouse in Great Hallingbury, Essex, is just 1,500m from the end of a Stansted runway and shakes so badly when planes take off that roof tiles are dislodged.

He claims the constant buzz of planes makes the place unbearable to live in, and believes it would be almost impossible to sell.

The working farm is operated by Mr Streeter’s twin nephews Tom and Will, both 41, who mainly farm rape seed and corn over its 1,000 acres.

“When we are sitting in the garden your coffee cup will wobble. The cargo planes are the worst” Patrick Streeter

Stansted white lines

Tom is the farm’s manager and lives in the historic building with his wife Emma and their two daughters, while Mr Streeter lives 15 minutes away.

He said: “It is frustrating. When we are sitting in the garden your coffee cup will wobble. The cargo planes are the worst.

“They wake up my kids at 1am sometimes.

The airport is legally obliged to pay people living around it compensation because of the detrimental impact the planes have on their lives.

And Mr Streeter is now considering suing the airport for his compensation and has prepared a plan of the airport with incomplete work labelled and a graph showing passenger movements.

A Stansted Airport spokesman said: “We are aware of Mr Streeter’s application and the matter is being consulted by MAG (the airport’s owner).”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/10/farmer-awarded-1m-noise-compensation-from-stansted-airport-still/

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See MUCH earlier – in 2004:

From SSE (Stop Stansted Expansion)

BAA SLASHES HOMEOWNER COMPENSATION BUDGET

24.5.2004  (SSE press release)

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has written to BAA to seek a full explanation for the airport operator’s decision to dramatically reduce the estimated compensation costs for its airport expansion proposals.

The cut was announced last week when Mike Clasper, BAA Chief Executive, presented the company’s annual results, showing profits increasing to £539 million.  At the same time, Mike Clasper also announced that BAA was putting aside “up to £100 million” to compensate people who would lose their homes or have their value eroded by plans to build a second runway at Stansted. [Note 1]

BAA had previously told the Government in May last year that Stansted compensation costs would total £250 million. [Note 2]

“BAA is becoming increasingly desperate in its attempt to cut costs,” said Norman Mead, Chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, who continued:  “We all know that BAA has a fundamental problem with the commercial viability of a second Stansted runway and this problem has been compounded by the Civil Aviation Authority’s ruling that there must be no cross-subsidy from Heathrow or Gatwick.”

Mr Mead added:  “This attempt by BAA to reduce its compensation fund from £250 million to £100 million is not surprising and we expect further cost cutting attempts in future.  However, if BAA thinks it would be able to expand Stansted ‘on the cheap’ and at the expense of local homeowners, then yet again it has misjudged this local community.  The people of this area are not a soft touch.”

Earlier this month, SSE published a special report, which showed that local homeowners had already lost an average of £28,000 as a result of BAA’s expansion proposals for Stansted.  The report slated BAA for seeking to limit compensation to only 500 homeowners whereas the official Land Registry statistics clearly indicated that at least 12,000 properties had been devalued. [Note 3]

BAA is under intense pressure from its investors and from its biggest Stansted customer Ryanair (which accounts for almost 70% of Stansted’s business) to minimise the cost of expanding Stansted and the airport operator is concerned that the low cost carriers may refuse to pay the higher charges that would be needed to fund major expansion of the airport. [Note 4]

Although BAA profits increased to £539 million last year, profits at Stansted fell by 9.3% to £39 million while Heathrow’s profits increased to £364 million.  Once again, Stansted was the least profitable, per passenger, of BAA’s seven UK airports.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Note 1:
BAA annual results were announced on 18 May 2004 and reported in the financial press on 19 May 2004, including Clasper’s comment on Stansted compensation costs – for example, article in Daily Telegraph Business Section: “BAA offers £100m as homes face bulldozer”.  Full article is available athttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fmoney%2F2004%2F05%2F19%2F cnbaa19.xml

Note 2:
The original estimate of £250 million is set out in Table 18.1, page 132, of  ‘Responsible Growth’ – BAA’s formal response to the Government on the SERAS Airports Consultation, 12 May 2003. BAA based this estimate on the assumption that the measures, identified by the Department for Transport at the end of Chapter 16 of the SERAS Consultation, were implemented.  The more detailed assumptions made in arriving at this cost estimate, based on the addition of one extra runway, were stated by BAA to be as follows:

*  Purchase of households subject to noise levels greater than 69 dB(A) at market value, together with additional payments for home loss and disturbance (10% and 2.5% respectively).
*  Noise insulation for households subject to noise levels of 63 dB(A) daytime or more, at a cost of £8,000 per house.
*  Cash compensation for households subject to noise levels greater than 57 dB(A) but less  than 63 dB(A), at a cost of £2,000 per house.
*  Noise insulation for hospitals and schools at an average of £200,000 per property.
*  For the purposes of the calculations, BAA assumed an average property value of £210,000 around Stansted.
*  The values of cash compensation of £2,000 and noise insulation of £8,000 are notional, as is the average cost of £200,000 for hospitals and schools.
*  The number of hospitals and schools affected at Stansted was assumed by BAA to be a total of 15 buildings.  This means that £3m of the £250m related to schools and hospitals.

Note 3:
“Airport Impact on Local House Prices”, Special Report by SSE, May 2004.  Available athttp://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/documents/STANSTED_SPECIAL_REPORT.pdf

Note 4:
For example, see letter from Michael O’Leary, Ryanair Chief Executive to the Daily Telegraph, 19.12.03 “Time for some competition” and Questor, Daily Telegraph.  These sources are available at:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fopinion%2F2003%2F12%2F19%2Fdt1901.xml
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fmoney%2F2004%2F05%2F19%2Fcxquest19.xml

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After just a few days as Mayor, Sadiq Khan drops GLA objection to compulsory purchase of land for London City Airport expansion

 

Decision on London City Airport expansion does not rest with Sadiq Khan, but with the Planning Inspector and Secretaries of State

Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, in one of his very first acts, has instructed the Greater London Assembly’s GLA Land to withdraw its objection to London City Airport’s Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of Royal Docks Land, following ‘new’ evidence supplied by the Airport. However, a final decision on the airport’s expansion is not in the Mayor’s hands. The decision rests with the Planning Inspector, who will make a recommendation to both Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Communities Secretary Greg Clark, following the main planning inquiry into expansion of City Airport that concluded on 5th April. A decision is not expected till the summer. The airport wants to CPO 26.4 hectares of GLA land to facilitate their CADP1 expansion programme which includes parts of the London Plan protected Blue Ribbon Network. of waterways and bodies of water. GLA Land was one of four remaining objectors to the expansion plans. However, its change of heart is not critical. The current Inquiry into the CPO has been adjourned until Tuesday 17 May as negotiations between the airport and the DLR continue, with agreement considered likely. The previous Mayor, Boris Johnson, refused permission for expansion on noise grounds.

Click here to view full story…

Within the first few days as London Mayor, Sadiq Khan has re-opened the possibility of expansion at London City Airport. He has dropped the GLA objection to a compulsory purchase order of 26.4 hectares in the Docklands, owned by City Hall.  The airport will get the result of its recent appeal against refusal of expansion plans, by Boris Johnson, later this year.  The GLA said: “The Mayor continues to support the case for improved noise mitigation measures that will be considered by the Secretary of State when he decides on the planning appeal in due course.” Khan had said in November 2015, during his election campaign, that he would look again at the prospect of the airport expanding. Boris had rejected it, on noise grounds.  Meanwhile the owners of London City Airport paid themselves a £27.7m dividend payout last year after the airport attracted its highest ever number of passengers, increasing profits by almost 20%. The airport, while being considered to have the largest proportion of business passengers, in increasingly for leisure trips.  London City’s higher customer numbers last year were in part driven by its new travel routes including Berne, Hamburg, Mykonos and Santorini (all just holiday destinations) and extra flights to Edinburgh, Luxembourg, Geneva and Guernsey.
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Sadiq Khan drops GLA objection to London City Airport land purchase

10 May 2016

By Mark Shales (London 24)

The newly-elected Mayor of London has re-opened the door for a possible expansion of City Airport.

Sadiq Khan dropped a Greater London Authority (GLA) objection to a compulsory purchase order of 26.4 hectares in the Docklands following an inquiry earlier today.  Although the decision only relates to the specific purchase order, the firm will learn if its appeal against previous Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to block its expansion was successful later this year.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor has decided to withdraw the objection to this proposed compulsory purchase of land owned by City Hall following new evidence recently submitted by London City Airport and ongoing negotiations.

“The Mayor continues to support the case for improved noise mitigation measures that will be considered by the Secretary of State when he decides on the planning appeal in due course.”

Activists Hacan East oppose the expansion on various grounds, including noise pollution.

http://www.london24.com/news/sadiq_khan_drops_gla_objection_to_london_city_airport_land_purchase_1_4529860

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Sadiq Khan claimed, wanting to get elected as Mayor, that he wanted a “greener, cleaner” London.

He said: “I want to be the Mayor who makes London one of the world’s greenest cities. Environmental checks are not simply a side concern to be weighed up against economic and social benefits.”

“A greener future is central to my vision for London, to the kind of city I want my children to live in. I want, for all of our children, a city in which the air is clean, green space is accessible, and the energy we consume is increasingly drawn from renewable and local sources. And I want them to work in an economy which leads the world in the new low-carbon technologies and industries that represent the jobs and businesses of the future.”

Cleaning our air

Our most pressing environmental challenge is cleaning up London’s air. I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health, as I suffer from adult-onset asthma. So many pollution hotspots in the city are around schools, exposing our children to dangerously polluted air, and putting them at greater risk of respiratory conditions like mine.”

………. and so it goes on.

Seems he could very quickly forget that, once into the job.  Hypocrisy?

http://www.sadiq.london/a_greener_cleaner_london

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See also:

Decision on London City Airport expansion does not rest with Sadiq Khan, but with the Planning Inspector and Secretaries of State

Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, in one of his very first acts, has instructed the Greater London Assembly’s GLA Land to withdraw its objection to London City Airport’s Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of Royal Docks Land, following ‘new’ evidence supplied by the Airport. However, a final decision on the airport’s expansion is not in the Mayor’s hands. The decision rests with the Planning Inspector, who will make a recommendation to both Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Communities Secretary Greg Clark, following the main planning inquiry into expansion of City Airport that concluded on 5th April. A decision is not expected till the summer. The airport wants to CPO 26.4 hectares of GLA land to facilitate their CADP1 expansion programme which includes parts of the London Plan protected Blue Ribbon Network. of waterways and bodies of water. GLA Land was one of four remaining objectors to the expansion plans. However, its change of heart is not critical. The current Inquiry into the CPO has been adjourned until Tuesday 17 May as negotiations between the airport and the DLR continue, with agreement considered likely. The previous Mayor, Boris Johnson, refused permission for expansion on noise grounds.

Click here to view full story…

 

See earlier: 

London City Airport considering a Compulsory Purchase of Royal Docks Waterway and land

London City Airport have notified the GLA and the Planning Inspectorate they are considering Compulsory Purchase Order against the Mayor of London to own the nearly 20 hectares of land and Royal Docks Waterway, which it needs for its huge expansion plans. The airport has discussed these plans with the DfT with a view that any CPO be considered at the Planning Inspectorates Public Inquiry into the Mayor’s expansion refusal. That inquiry is due to be heard in the first quarter of 2016. The enquiry could be extended to consider the CPO. The publicly owned land is the responsibility of the London Mayor.  The Docks are part of the Blue Ribbon Network protected by the London Plan. A 3-week consultation into the purchase would also have to be carried out. An attempted land grab by London City Airport’s hedge fund owners, GIP, would be unprecedented – if approved  -and could see all the Mayor’s Public land assets under attack from private developers. GIP is understood to be keen to sell London City Airport soon, but want planning consent for expansion first, to increase the price to perhaps £1.25 billion. [It actually sold for £2 billion]. GIP also want a 2nd Gatwick runway. Both would raise the price at sale.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/06/london-city-airport-considering-a-compulsory-purchase-of-royal-docks-waterway-and-land/


Also

London City airport sold to Canadian Pension funds, for £2 billion (bought by GIP in 2006 for £760 million)

A Canadian-led consortium of pension funds has beaten rivals to buy London City airport, from GIP, which paid £760 million for it. So that is a hefty profit. The valuation has proved controversial because the largest airline at City airport, BA, threatened to pull most of its aircraft out of the airport if the new owner raised airline charges to cover the high sale price. Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s owner IAG, considers £2 billion a foolish price. GIP owns 75% of the airport, and Oaktree Capital own 25%. The consortium that has bought the airport is led by the Ontario Teachers’ pension fund. It includes Borealis Infrastructure, which manages funds for one of Canada’s largest pension funds, and also Japanese pension funds. The consortium also includes AimCo and Kuwait’s Wren House Infrastructure Management, which is an investment vehicle owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority. The Canadian Teachers’ pension fund has $160bn in assets, and already owns 4 airports (share of Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels and Copenhagen). HS1 Ltd is jointly owned by Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, both Canadian pension funds. GIP bought the airport for an estimated £750m in 2006 from Dermot Desmond, the Irish financier, who paid just £23.5m for it in 1995 from Mowlem.

Click here to view full story…


London City Airport pays directors £28m as profits soar 20%

London City Airport’s 2015 profits soared in line with rising passenger numbers

By Jillian Ambrose  (Telegraph)
8 MAY 2016

The owners of London City Airport paid themselves a £27.7m dividend payout last year after the airport attracted its highest ever number of passengers, increasing profits by almost 20%.

London City Airport recorded pre-tax profit of £33.2m for 2015 compared to £27.7m the previous period after passenger numbers climbed 18.4% to 4.3m, up sharply from 3.6m in 2014 and 3.3m in 2013.

The bumper year just weeks after a consortium of Canadian pension funds and the Kuwait Investment Authority snapped up the airport from equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in a deal said to be worth around £2bn.

The airport’s growth outstripped all other major London airports last year, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

London Luton’s passenger numbers grew by 16.8% in 2015 compared to the year before while passengers using Stanstead increased by 12.9pc, Gatwick increased numbers by 4.6% and Heathrow passenger numbers grew by 2.1%.

City’s higher customer numbers were in part driven by its new travel routes including Berne, Hamburg, Mykonos and Santorini; and extra flights to Edinburgh, Luxenbourg, Geneva and Guernsey.

City said it has extended its contracts with CityJet, Swiss, Lufthansa, Flybe, Alitalia and Sunair.

But the airport’s future growth could be hampered by the decision by former London mayor Boris Johnson to block City’s plans for expansion which would see the airport’s capacity rise to 6m by 2023. City is appealing his decision.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/08/london-city-airport-pays-directors-28m-as-profits-soar-20pc/

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Earlier: 

London mayoral election 2016: Labour candidate Sadiq Khan says he would reconsider City Airport

4.11.2015
City AM

Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has suggested that he would reverse Boris Johnson’s decision to block expansion at London City Airport, saying today that as mayor he would “reconsider” plans to enlarge the East London airport.

Khan, a former transport minister, said that if elected he would “look again” at the decision “in detail”.

“City Airport is very small in comparison to major airports like Heathrow and Gatwick, with a fraction of the number of flights, and would remain so even after this expansion,” Khan said. “We need to make sure that key environmental and noise tests are met, but the proposals would provide the City with a capacity boost and I’m willing to look again at this.”

“London needs more airport capacity to support business to create the growth and jobs of the future. Without more flights, there is a real risk London will be left behind,” he added.

In an interview with City A.M. last month, Khan’s Conservative opponent, Zac Goldsmith, said that he would “be very strongly inclined to support Boris” in opposing City Airport expansion.

“I think that the idea of increasing traffic over that part of London, over a very densely-populated part of London, when it doesn’t seem to me to offer a solution to our capacity issues, I think goes against the grain,” Goldsmith said, adding, “I don’t see it as part of a solution to London’s aviation capacity problem.”

While City Airport is significantly smaller than the likes of Heathrow and Gatwick, its passenger numbers have been grown rapidly in recent years, from 2.8m in 2010 to 4.1m this year.

There are currently around 70,000 take-offs and landings each year, but in 2009 the airport’s owners were granted permission to increase capacity to 120,000 flights.

But the airport’s growth prospects depend largely on its £200m exp­ansion plans, which hit a wall earlier this year when Johnson ordered Newham council to veto the application over fears it would create a “noise ghetto” for people living under the flight path. The council had initially approved the plans, which include extending the terminal, creating extra parking spaces for larger planes and building a new parallel taxi lane to make more efficient use of the existing runway.

http://www.cityam.com/227930/london-mayoral-contest-labour-candidate-sadiq-khan-says-he-would-reconsider-city-airport

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Recent opponent of Heathrow runway, Sadiq Khan, appoints pro-Heathrow runway, Lord Adonis on transport

Until June 2015, Sadiq Khan (now London Mayor) backed a 3rd Heathrow runway.  He was Transport Minister under Gordon Brown, pushing for it. He then appreciated that he could not be elected Mayor if he backed the runway as it is so unpopular with millions of Londoners, who are adversely affected by it.  Ministers are saying his election, and his opposition to a 3rd runway, will not influence their runway decision.  The Mayor’s opinion on a runway carries some weight, though they cannot make the decision.  Worryingly, Sadiq will appoint former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, who strongly backs a Heathrow runway,  to run transport in London.  The Labour peer also heads the government’s National Infrastructure Commission.  Sadiq backs a 2nd runway at Gatwick to increase airport capacity, as people in areas adversely affected by Gatwick did not get to vote in the Mayoral election.  He also backs improved rail links to Stansted.  It would be easier for a Conservative government to resist the opposition of a Labour mayor, than a Tory one, to a Heathrow expansion. Transport Professor, David Metz, said: “There is a respectable case for deferring this difficult political decision, to see how a very competitive aviation sector copes with the growth of demand for air travel” … seeing how market forces displace leisure travellers from Heathrow to Stansted in future.
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Sadiq Khan’s election ‘will not sway decision on Heathrow’

By Joe Murphy (Evening Standard)

9.5.2016

Ministers today indicated that a decision on Heathrow expansion will not be swayed by the election of opponent Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London.

In a blow to anti-runway campaigners, they said his victory cannot be seen as a mandate from voters against the West London airport because both of the frontrunners were opposed.

“Bearing in mind that both the candidates had the same policy on Heathrow, I don’t think that is going to alter our thinking very much,” said a senior Government figure.

“I don’t think we can read anything into airport expansion from the election. It is always controversial and would have been whoever was elected as mayor.”

At the same time, Mr Khan shocked environmental campaigners after his victory by signalling that he plans to appoint former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis to run transport in the capital. The Labour peer, who heads the government’s National Infrastructure Commission, was a leading champion of a third runway.

Green peeress Jenny Jones, who gave her second preference vote to Mr Khan, told the Standard: “I am really alarmed by the appointment of Andrew Adonis.

“He is a very backward person when it comes to dealing with traffic congestion – he is a man who thinks building more roads is the answer. In my view he would add to London’s problems, not cure them.”

Mr Khan originally backed a third runway when he was a transport minister and changed sides when he ran for mayor.

However, he supports a second runway at Gatwick to increase capacity.

David Cameron last year postponed the long-delayed decision on Heathrow until July, partly to avoid a clash between the Government and Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith.

Mr Goldsmith, the Richmond Park MP, has repeatedly made clear he will carry out his 2008 pledge to resign his seat and force a by-election if Mr Cameron gives the go-ahead to an extra runway, which he says would breach a “no ifs, no buts” pledge given by the Tory leader to voters in the area.

However, No 10 does not think it should be influenced by a by-election threat when it comes to a major national infrastructure decision.

Whitehall insiders think the decision on Heathrow faces yet another delay because of a “logjam” caused by the EU referendum.

There is only a one-month window between the vote on June 23 and the summer parliamentary recess, meaning it could slip back to September or later.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/sadiq-khans-election-will-not-sway-decision-on-heathrow-a3243291.html

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Mr Khan was a Transport Minister under Gordon Brown when the third Heathrow runway was Labour policy. In June 2015  he said things had moved on with the recent Supreme Court ruling that the UK was breaching air quality limits.

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See also

Sadiq Khan’s City Hall team takes shape … with transport guru tipped as the first big signing

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/sadiq-khans-city-hall-team-takes-shape-with-transport-guru-tipped-as-the-first-big-signing-a3243531.html


See also – written before the election (extracts)

 

London elects: What will a new mayor mean for Heathrow Airport?

2.5.2016 (City Metric)
By David Metz (Honorary professor of transport studies at UCL)

With Heathrow already operating at 98% capacity, airport expansion will be one of the biggest issues facing the next mayor of London.

Whoever is elected to the position won’t have the final say – that power lies with the UK government – but their opinion carries the weight of the largest electoral mandate of any UK politician.

Given that neither of the two main contenders – Labour’s Sadiq Khan and the Conservatives’ Zac Goldsmith – support the expansion of Heathrow airport, both will need to think carefully about how they’d like to address the problem.

Airport capacity has been an issue in London at least since the government initiated a consultation in 2000. In 2012, the government set up the Airports Commission to evaluate the evidence on the matter and propose a way forward. The commission rejected outgoing mayor Boris Johnson’s proposal for a whole new airport in the Thames Estuary as too costly.

……..

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee later argued that the government should not approve Heathrow expansion unless the project can be reconciled with legal air pollution limits, and would be less noisy than a two-runway airport.

……..

The new mayor would make his views felt ahead of the government’s announcement. If the go-ahead is given for Heathrow, the new mayor may also intervene in the public inquiry to address local impacts that would precede the granting of detailed planning consent.

Both the main mayoral candidates are against more runway capacity at Heathrow. Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmth is MP for Richmond and North Kingston – a constituency under Heathrow’s flightpath. As such, he has long campaigned against expansion. Labour’s Sadiq Khan opposes a third runway at Heathrow too. Instead, Khan advocates a second runway at Gatwick, and he has also pledged to improve rail links to Stansted airport.

It would be easier for a Conservative government to resist the opposition of a Labour mayor to a Heathrow expansion. But Conservative MPs for West London constituencies affected by noise and air pollution would put up a vocal challenge to the plans, too.

Alternatively, there is a respectable case for deferring this difficult political decision, to see how a very competitive aviation sector copes with the growth of demand for air travel.

As I have suggested previously, market forces could mean that priority would be given to business travellers at Heathrow, displacing leisure travellers to other airports – such as Stansted – which have plenty of spare capacity.The Conversation

David Metz is honorary professor of Transport Studies at UCL.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

http://www.citymetric.com/politics/london-elects-what-will-new-mayor-mean-heathrow-airport-2043

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Willie Walsh says”Heathrow Hub” runway option should be considered again, as cheaper

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ owner IAG, says ministers should not be bound to the Heathrow third north-west runway proposal. He wants the Heathrow Hub option (extending the northern runway to the west) given proper consideration, as it would be cheaper. BA operates the majority of flights (just over 50%) at Heathrow, but Walsh has repeatedly said he is not prepared to pay exorbitant costs – in order to pay for a “gold plated” runway scheme, with all the add-ons.   The Heathrow Hub scheme is understood to still be considered by the DFT, as is the Gatwick runway.  (All have very serious environmental and economic problems, which is why the government has not been able to come to a rapid decision – largely knowing it would face well informed legal challenges).  Walsh believes the Heathrow Hub option would be cheaper, though the costs of surface transport etc to fall on the taxpayer, would be similar.  Willie Walsh  contrasted Heathrow’s costs with a similar scheme in Dublin, the base of one of BA’s sister airlines in IAG, Aer Lingus. “The airport is talking about building a second runway at a tiny fraction of the cost of the Heathrow third – £350m against £23bn.”  He has considered moving more BA planes to Dublin, if and when its 2nd runway is built.
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Cheaper Heathrow expansion plan ‘should be put back on table’

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ owner, says ministers should not be bound to third runway proposal

By Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent (Guardian)
Thursday 5 May 2016

The alternative, cheaper scheme to expand Heathrow airport should be put back on the table if the government gives the go-ahead for a new runway, according to the boss of British Airways’ owner.

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, whose airlines, including BA, operate the majority of services at Heathrow, said he did not expect a decision soon – but the “prohibitive costs” meant ministers should not be bound to the airport’s own proposals for a third, north-west runway.

The Airports Commission gave a clear recommendation in 2015 to go ahead with Heathrow’s official scheme rather than the independent hub proposal, which would double the length of the existing northern runway to allow landing and takeoff on the same strip.

However, the Heathrow hub was shortlisted as a viable proposition in the commission’s interim report alongside a second runway at Gatwick, an option that the government said it is still considering.

Walsh said that it was an “interesting concept”, adding: “If you look at Heathrow you’ve got to open your mind … If it gets the nod you’ve got to look seriously at both of the options.”

He said the hub proposal, developed by the former Concorde pilot Jock Lowe, would cost a “hell of a lot less” than the £23bn price – including new roads – that the commission estimated Heathrow’s third runway plan would cost.

Walsh said: “I honestly can’t see how you can spend that much money on an airport and not discourage people from flying there.”

Landing charges for airlines would go up significantly to finance the construction, according to the commission. Walsh added: “We have to look not only at whether the demand exists – which I believe it does – but whether you can match that demand with something that’s affordable.”

He contrasted Heathrow’s costs with a similar scheme in Dublin, the base of one of BA’s sister airlines in IAG, Aer Lingus. “The airport is talking about building a second runway at a tiny fraction of the cost of the Heathrow third – £350m against £23bn.

“It gives us an attractive option to continue to grow on the transatlantic and serve cities in Britain and Europe that we won’t be able to connect through Heathrow.”

The frontrunners in Thursday’s London mayoral election, Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Conservative Zac Goldsmith, both oppose Heathrow expansion and back Gatwick.

Walsh warned bluntly on Gatwick: “I don’t think the business case exists.” He said most airlines only chose to operate at Gatwick if they could not get in to Heathrow, particularly on business routes.

The IAG chief executive was speaking aboard British Airways’ inaugural flight from Heathrow to San Jose in California – the first direct link from Europe to the airport closest to the Silicon Valley HQs of Apple, eBay, Google and other tech companies.

‘I’m not leaving IAG. This is my last job’

Walsh insisted he will not be retiring imminently, despite previously having said he would be stepping down at 55 – an age he will reach in October. He said he was fitter than ever after a dramatic recent weight loss that he ascribed to kicking a 12-a-day cappuccino habit and turning to salads in the IAG office.

Walsh said: “As a pilot, retirement age was 55. I was getting used to the idea. Now that I’m approaching that age, I’m realising that 55 is very, very young.

“I foolishly made those comments some time ago and I’m never afraid to admit when I got it wrong. There’s a lot more [to do]. I’m not leaving IAG. As far as I’m concerned, this is my last job.”

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/may/05/cheaper-heathrow-expansion-plan-willie-walsh-third-runway

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Earlier:

2nd runway at Dublin airport threatens Heathrow’s position as main IAG hub

Heathrow may face more competition for hub traffic from Dublin, if there is a 2nd runway in 2020 – and airlines prefer using Dublin rather than Heathrow.  This might mean Heathrow being partly sidelined.  In May 2015 Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier, was bought by IAG (International Airlines Group) – which owns British Airways.  As part of IAG’s takeover there was the benefit of new routes and more long-haul flights from Dublin, where Aer Lingus is one of the two main airline customers, along with Ryanair. Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO, said in 2015 that owning Aer Lingus would allow IAG “to develop our network using Dublin as a hub between the UK, continental Europe and North America, generating additional financial value for our shareholders”. Willie Walsh believed that buying Aer Lingus was a wise move, as it was “inevitable” that Dublin would get a 2nd runway in the next few years.  IAG believes that it can expand the group’s flights via Dublin or Madrid – especially if there is no new runway at Heathrow.  It could have the impact of removing business from Heathrow – British Airways is the largest airline there with around 50% of the slots.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/04/2nd-runway-at-dublin-airport-threatens-heathrows-position-as-main-iag-hub/

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Dublin Airport may buy 40 homes, already badly affected by noise, in bid to step up 2nd runway plans

Dublin airport was given consent for a 2nd runway in 2007, but due to the recession it was not started. There are now plans to start work in 2017, for completion in 2020, though as much has changed in the years since 2007 on the aviation market, questions are asked about whether the original consent should still be valid. Due to the inevitably increased noise from the 2nd runway, it is likely that around 40 houses (mainly in the St Margaret’s area 2-3km from the airport) would be bought by the airport, and negotiations are planned. Triple glazed window insulation will probably also be suggested for hundreds of other properties including schools. A spokeswoman for the St Margaret’s Concerned Residents Group said the affected 30 home owners in her association are devastated but have no choice. The airport has assessed the level of noise necessitating house purchase based on 90 days of the airport’s busiest months from June to September. Residents, some of whom have been in the area for three generations, fear that a 2nd runway, with increasing frequency, growth in long haul services and more larger aircraft Dublin would compound the noise problem. The 40 homes are those affected now.  (There would be a whole lot more with a 2nd runway).

Click here to view full story…

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BA warns London City Airport not to raise landing charges, or it might pull out

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, owner of British Airways has issued a further warning to the new owners (a Canadian consortium) of London City that moves to raise landing charges for the airlines operating form the airport will be resisted. He said: “The airport is good, there’s good demand for it, but the off peak demand is very price sensitive and there’s no way you can serve that sort of demand if it’s very expensive to operate from there.” BA currently has about 40% of the flights at London City airport. Walsh said: “They paid a high price. It’s a good airport, but it’s as expensive as Heathrow in terms of passenger charges. The reason it has grown so strongly is because of us. We are the number one operator from there. We have 18 aircraft there. It’s principally a leisure airport, but there’s only so much you can do for leisure flights. We’d have no problem moving away from London City. There’s no way we’re going to be held hostage there and if the charges go up we’ll move the aircraft. That’s the great thing about aircraft – they’re portable, you can take them somewhere else.”  Walsh said earlier that the £2 billion price would mean a multiple of 44 times London City’s earnings (EBITDA), though the airport said it was a multiple of 28. 
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BA issues further warning to London City Airport

5.5.2016 (Business Traveller)

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, owner of British Airways has issued a further warning to the new owners of London City that moves to raise landing charges for the airlines operating form the airport will be resisted.

“We like the airport and we like operating out of it but not at any cost. The airport is good, there’s good demand for it, but the off peak demand is very pricesensitive, and there’s no way you can serve that sort of demand if it’s very expensive to operate from there.”

London City airport (LCY) was sold to a Canadian consortium for a reported £2bn (see news February 26).

At the time of the deal, Declan Collier, CEO, London City Airport said:

“London City Airport is a successful business with huge opportunities for growth – opportunities that will create jobs, generate more benefit for the UK economy and build new connections to and from London to commercial centres around the world.”

Global Infrastructure Partners bought LCY in 2006 for around £750 million, and a record 4.3 million passengers used the airport last year.

Speaking on the inaugural flight to San Jose today (see review here) Walsh said:

“They paid a high price. It’s a good airport, but it’s as expensive as Heathrow in terms of passenger charges. The reason it has grown so strongly is because of us. We are the number one operator from there. We have 18 aircraft there. It’s principally a leisure airport, but there’s only so much you can do for leisure flights.”

“We’d have no problem moving away from London City. There’s no way we’re going to be held hostage there and if the charges go up we’ll move the aircraft. That’s the great thing about aircraft – they’re portable, you can take them somewhere else.”

http://www.businesstraveller.com/news/ba-issues-further-warning-to-london-city-airport

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Earlier

 

London City airport sold to Canadian Pension funds, for £2 billion (bought by GIP in 2006 for £760 million)

A Canadian-led consortium of pension funds has beaten rivals to buy London City airport, from GIP, which paid £760 million for it. So that is a hefty profit. The valuation has proved controversial because the largest airline at City airport, BA, threatened to pull most of its aircraft out of the airport if the new owner raised airline charges to cover the high sale price. Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s owner IAG, considers £2 billion a foolish price. GIP owns 75% of the airport, and Oaktree Capital own 25%. The consortium that has bought the airport is led by the Ontario Teachers’ pension fund. It includes Borealis Infrastructure, which manages funds for one of Canada’s largest pension funds, and also Japanese pension funds. The consortium also includes AimCo and Kuwait’s Wren House Infrastructure Management, which is an investment vehicle owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority. The Canadian Teachers’ pension fund has $160bn in assets, and already owns 4 airports (share of Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels and Copenhagen). HS1 Ltd is jointly owned by Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, both Canadian pension funds. GIP bought the airport for an estimated £750m in 2006 from Dermot Desmond, the Irish financier, who paid just £23.5m for it in 1995 from Mowlem.

Click here to view full story…

London City Airport’s price tag under scrutiny after BA threatens to pull out most flights

The sale of London City Airport could be in jeopardy after British Airways, the largest airline based there (40% of the flights), threatened to pull out most of its aircraft. The second largest airline there has about 20% of the flights. The airport was put up for sale by GIP in in August 2015. BA fears that the high price of £2 billion could force its new owners to raise landing fees, and BA says it is not prepared to pay. Willie Walsh said the £2 billion price would mean a multiple of 44 times London City’s earnings (EBITDA), though the airport said it was a multiple of 28. Walsh said the airport had “very high” airport charges of £19 per passenger, one of the most expensive after Heathrow, and with higher charges he would not make enough profit. The number of passengers at London City airport has grown from 2m in 2005 to an estimated 4.3m in 2015. The airport’s value could also be limited by its battle to get planning permission for a £200m development that would increase the number of passengers to 6m by 2023. The plans were blocked last year by Boris, over aircraft noise concerns. London City is appealing against this. The introduction of Crossrail in 2018, which will cut down the journey time from Canary Wharf to Heathrow, could be a real threat to the airport.

Click here to view full story…

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Proposal at Chicago O’Hare airport to share night flights, on a weekly rota, between runways

Chicago O’Hare airport is huge, with 8 runways. Some are parallel east-west, and some are diagonal and as new runways were built, older ones were closed. This has meant extra plane noise for thousands of residents in various parts of the Chicago area, and there have been huge protests.  Night noise has been a particular problem, and residents have been fighting for less noise over them at night, for several years. Now the airport has a revised night runway plan, that means sharing the noise around. There will now be a rota, using different runways at night (considered to be 10.50pm to 5.25am) for week-long periods, with the whole schedule repeated after 12 weeks. That would create a some guarantee of weeks with no noise for most areas, and a fairly predictable calendar of when certain runways would absorb what city experts estimated would be 45 arrivals and 35 departures each night.  There will be some winners, and some losers in this process.  “Everyone gets some benefit … Everyone gets some pain.’’ It is estimated that perhaps almost 68,000 Chicago area residents might get less noise.  There will be a vote (7th May) on whether to forward the plan to the FAA for final sign-off on a six-month test.
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O’Hare plan could reduce night noise for 68,000 residents: study

By Rosalind Rossi

5.5.2016  (Chicago Sun Times)

A revised O’Hare Airport night runway plan could reduce jet noise for nearly 68,000 Chicago area residents during the overnight hours, according to a new analysis released in advance of a key vote Friday on the proposal.

Four runways affecting parts of Chicago and Schiller Park would be among six to see fewer night flights under the plan.

But five others — affecting suburbs northwest, northeast and west of O’Hare — would see more operations between 10:50 p.m. and 5:25 a.m., the study by JDA Aviation Technology Solutions estimated.

Although some residents would be hit with more night noise, even more would see less, resulting in an overall reduction to 67,887 residents, according to the JDA study, which was bankrolled by the Suburban O’Hare Commission.

“It’s the fairest plan,’’ said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson, president of the commission.

“Everyone gets some benefit,” he said. “Everyone gets some pain.’’

At least nine members of the commission have endorsed a six-month test of the idea. The Fair Allocation in Runways citizen coalition supports the “concept” of the plan, albeit with some reservations.

The proposal would rotate night runways every week for 12 weeks, so every area around O’Hare would be assured at least some weeks of night peace. And it would establish a fairly predictable calendar of when certain runways would absorb what city experts estimated would be 45 arrivals and 35 departures each night.

Portions of Chicago’s 45th Ward, Elk Grove Village, Schiller Park, Itasca and Wood Dale could experience night jets in six of the 12 weeks in the rotation — the most of 45 communities within 5 miles of O’Hare, according to an analysis by the Chicago Department of Aviation released Thursday.

The plan would alternate between diagonal runways affecting only suburban areas, and east-west parallel runways that currently shoulder most flights. Those parallel runways affect areas east of O’Hare, such as Chicago and Schiller Park, and west of O’Hare, including Bensenville, Wood Dale and Itasca.

The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission is set to vote Friday on whether to forward the plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for final signoff on a six-month test.

Another version of the proposal drew a rocky reception in March, when it failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to advance it to the FAA.

Some suburbs were still balking at the idea this week.

Des Plaines already is being bombarded with daytime noise from O’Hare’s northernmost runway, Des Plaines Ald.  Malcolm Chester said Thursday. The rotation plan would bring more night flights from diagonal runway 22R, which would be used during three of the plan’s 12 weeks.

Des Plaines is so close to O’Hare that night flights are “a big problem,” Chester said.

“You not only have noise, you have [landing] lights light up homes like Christmas trees,’’ Chester said. “The intensity is quite extraordinary.’’

Plus, Chester fears that by late 2018 or early 2019, when another diagonal runway is due to be closed, 22R will see even more traffic as one of only two diagonals remaining in the rotation.

Des Plaines is among suburbs that have experienced O’Hare jet noise for decades — well before the ongoing $3.8 billion O’Hare overhaul that triggered a dramatic 2013 change in flight paths.

Afterward, so many Chicagoans complained about the new onslaught of planes over portions of the 41st, 45th, 38th, 39th and 40th wards from east-west parallel runways that O’Hare jet noise became a 2015 Chicago mayoral campaign issue.

“Finally, someone from the city is exposed to what we have been exposed to for 60 years,’’ Chester said. “Now that the city has an impact, they want a rotation to get it off the city.”

Four O'Hare Airport runways affecting parts of Chicago — 10C, 27L, 28C and 28R — would be among six to see less night flights under a proposed O'Hare runway rotation program. Five runways would see more night activity. Source: JDA Aviation Technology Solutions, Suburban O'Hare Commission, ORD Runway Rotation Plan Analysis and Recommendations

Four O’Hare Airport runways affecting portions of Chicago — 10C, 27L, 28C and 28R — would be among six runways to see fewer night flights between 10:50 p.m. and 5:25 a.m., a new analysis of a proposed O’Hare runway rotation program indicates. Five runways would see more night activity, according to the analysis of a 117-day period by JDA Aviation Technology Solutions. It was funded by the Suburban O’Hare Commission.

However, Schiller Park Mayor Barbara Piltaver noted that all the suburbs around O’Hare will benefit from its expansion, so they all should all share night jet noise.

Schiller Park and portions of Chicago have been especially hard hit by the 2013 flight path changes because the airfield’s two longest runways are aimed right at them.

“It bothers me when people say, `We don’t want planes coming over our towns,’ ” Piltaver said. “You all benefit from O’Hare Airport. I think everyone has to share the burden.”

Elmwood Park, which opposed the last rotation plan, is supporting the new one because it does not call for flight path changes, Elmwood Park trustee Alan Kaminski said.

The latest proposal brings “predictability” to night jet noise, Kaminski said. It would be tested for six months and then die automatically, unless the Noise Commission tweaks or renews it.

“This is not a final proposal. We will all have the opportunity to observe the impact,’’ Kaminski said. “It’s a work in progress.”

O'Hare Airport wants to rotate night runways every week, over 12 weeks, between the hours of roughly 11 p.m . and 5:30 a.m., based on this tentative schedule. Source: Chicago Department of Aviation

O’Hare Airport wants to rotate night runways every week, over 12 weeks, between the hours of roughly 11 p.m . and 5:30 a.m., based on this tentative schedule. Source: Chicago Department of Aviation

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/ohare-plan-reduce-night-noise-study/

See the website of FAiR  (Fair Allocation in  Runways)  http://www.fairchicago.org/

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Chicago O'Hare airport map

Map of the airport


Chicago O’Hare Airport has 8 runways; an east-west runway on the south end of the airfield is set to open in a few weeks and a diagonal runway across the airport was just closed.  With this +1 and -1 the airport stays at 8 runways. There are plans to open more runways, and close another over the next 5 years as part of a major update.

You can see the runways in this document from the City of Chicago:
http://www.oharenoise.org/noise-management/noise-reports/anms/anms-reports/2015/326-july-2015-anms-report/file
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And more on Chicago O’Hare runways  on Wikipedia at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Hare_International_Airport#Runways
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See earlier:

Number of noise complaints around Chicago O’Hare airport rise to over 2.1 million up to end of July 2015

The number of complaints about aircraft noise from O’Hare Airport topped 2 million during the first 7 months of this year — 8 times the number filed in all of 2014. The total number of complaints so far this year hit a record 2,150,258, according to a report the city provided to the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission. Though 35% of the complaints in July came from 10 addresses, the total number of addresses from which complaints came was 44,502, compared with 2,705 in July 2014.  Noise complaints have soared since October 2013 when a 4th east-west parallel runway [O’Hare has 8 runways] opened and the FAA changed O’Hare flight patterns. The majority of flights take off and land westbound and eastbound. A 5th east-west runway is due to open this October. Then a 6th east-west runway in planned. Air traffic activity has been temporarily altered this summer due to the runway construction. Some of the runways are in the “fly-quiet” noise abatement program, on which pilots are asked to follow recommended procedures to reduce noise between 10 pm and 7 am, but it is up to the pilot to decide whether to follow the guidelines. Though it is in a “fly quiet” area, Schiller Park is among the communities where the noise has been worse. Its mayor said: “It’s just distressing. …Our people cannot take it any more. It’s just insane.”   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/09/number-of-noise-complaints-around-chicago-ohare-airport-rise-to-over-2-1-million-up-to-end-of-july-2015/

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Chicago O’Hare airport new runway & flightpaths creating huge opposition by those now over-flown

Edit this entry.

Chicago O’Hare airport currently has many runways but not all can be used simultaneously. The airport has been building more, reducing the lengths of others, to get three parallel runways can be used together. There has been a lot of controversy about the plans over many years, with compulsory purchase of land, from residents who did not want to move.  There is now huge protest against the noise. A group representing city and suburban home-owners, the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition (FAiR), is asking the Chicago Aviation Commissioner to resign or for the Mayor to fire her.  FAiR say there is  “mounting frustration over the lack of response from the Mayor on possible remedies concerning “the ceaseless airplane noise” since air-traffic patterns were changed last autumn.  The Aviation Commissioner has refused to consider altering the use of runways at night to spread out jet noise instead of concentrating it over one or two air corridors. FAiR says she has made up her mind that there will be no change at O’Hare no matter how many citizens demand change, no matter what solutions are proposed and no matter how devastating the impact of her decisions on families, children and seniors, and even entire neighbourhoods.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/05/chicago-ohare-airport-new-runway-flightpaths-creating-huge-opposition-by-those-now-over-flown/

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Edinburgh campaign, SEAT, shows why cutting Scottish APD risks harming people’s health and the environment

The community campaign, SEAT (Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial) has set out why it is opposed to the Scottish Government intention to cut APD by 50%.  Edinburgh airport is delighted that APD might be reduced, so increasing demand for more flights (= more profit). But those badly affected by aircraft noise are very concerned about the increase in the problems they suffer.  Air Passenger Duty is needed, to at least partly make up for the tax breaks the aviation industry benefits from by paying no VAT, and no fuel duty. There is no VAT on purchase or servicing of aircraft. Many airports are owned by off-shore corporations, that pay minimal (or no) UK company taxed.  Flying is already artificially cheap, and even cheaper, if the only tax is halved.  While the Scottish government supports high speed rail links to London, which would cut carbon emissions if rail is used instead of air, they also aim to increase the number of flights, by cutting APD. That means significantly higher Scottish CO2 emissions. SEAT speaks up for people negatively impacted by aviation. The impacts on health from plane noise are now well known, and they are a cost to society. SEAT says cutting APD is unwise, and means putting profit for big business before people’s health, or the environment. Consultation ends on 3rd June.
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Is The Aviation Industry Taking Us All For A Ride?

3rd May 2016

by SEAT (Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial)

SEAT Edinburgh

Edinburgh Airport has announced further expansion in the expectation that Air Passenger Duty (APD) will be reduced and so has guaranteed further noise and pollution misery for people living near the airport.

Today, thousands of people living in the ever-growing noise shadow of Edinburgh Airport were rudely awoken yet again at 6am as a plane roared over their home. The loud and intrusive noise disturbance then continued every few minutes, waking their children, causing stress, upset and disturbed sleep.

There will typically be over 70 planes out of Edinburgh Airport today and every day causing similar disruption to the lives of ordinary people who could have had no idea when they bought their homes that they would wake up one day and find themselves suddenly living with the nightmare of a busy flight path above their heads.

Why? Because, since last summer, Edinburgh Airport has been changing the way it uses the sky above us. They did not tell anybody, there was no consultation, and for months they even denied it was happening, instead they accused residents of being “noise sensitive”.

While the flight trial of the so called TUTUR path caused so much uproar that it had to be halted early, other changes to flight paths continue to be made, with more and more people being adversely affected by the noise and other environmental damage.

These changes include use of the airspace almost indistinguishable from that of the failed TUTUR route.

Aircraft Noise debate at Westminster

Sadly, this is nothing new – anyone who watched the debate at Westminster on 20th April or reviewed the Hansard record
https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-04-20/debates/16042033000001/AircraftNoise
will have heard Tom Tugendhat MP for Tonbridge and Malling comment on his experience in 2013, when changes were made to the airspace around Gatwick, that the first thing the airport did was to deny that anything had changed. As he said about the airport’s behaviour at the time: “….it was that deception that did the most damage.”

It is a chillingly similar story for local residents across West Lothian and beyond, some living more than 10 miles away from Edinburgh Airport’s runway, who until last year had no problem with aircraft noise, and who now find themselves assailed by unbearable and frequent noise on a daily basis. Many of these residents even took the time and trouble to contact their local MPs to ask them to attend the debate and speak up on behalf of their constituents. Curiously, not one of them did.

Instead, a Highland MP was drafted in to speak in the debate, who failed to mention how bad a neighbour Edinburgh Airport is, and who strayed so far from the matter in hand that he had to be reminded by the Chairman of the subject of the debate that day.

When, every day, so many thousands of ordinary people are suffering in their homes, there is no place for petty political points scoring. Why couldn’t our local MPs Martyn Day, Hannah Bardell and Michelle Thomson attend that debate?

Martyn Day MP says he was attending a meeting about fracking – a devolved matter.
Hannah Bardell MP says she was either too unwell or out of the country or both so she also could not attend the debate.

Michelle Thomson MP said that she could not find any communications from her constituents about the debate.

Excuses on a par with “the dog ate my homework”, and it is inexplicable that the Scottish MP who did speak at the debate did not appear to have been briefed about the current difficulties with Edinburgh Airport.

Air Passenger Duty – and why cutting it will be a costly mistake – economically, fiscally and environmentally.

While our Westminster politicians cannot attend important debates on the matter of aviation noise and its effect on Local Communities, the Scottish Government is currently consulting on proposals to reduce Air Passenger Duty, with the express aim of encouraging more people to fly:
http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Government/Finance/scottishapproach/airpassengerduty

When compared to other forms of transport, notably rail, air travel is massively polluting and costly to our economy – no other industrial sector would be able to continue polluting our environment and yet still enjoy tax breaks like these:

 Airlines pay no tax or duty on fuel.
 There is no VAT on aeroplanes or the servicing of aeroplanes.
 Airports enjoy the privilege of duty free shopping.
 Many airports pay no corporation tax, being owned by firms of offshore venture capitalists.

 

How can a Government cut APD to encourage more flying and still meet our carbon emissions targets?

In short, it can’t. And the government knows this. On 21st March, The Government’s own Infrastructure Minister, Keith Brown MSP, said of the planned project to upgrade the high speed rail links between Scotland and London:

“High speed rail will bring billions of pounds worth of benefit to Scotland’s economy …..and benefits for the environment. This plan will bring to life our target of three hours or less Glasgow and Edinburgh -London train journeys, which will lead to a significant move from air to rail, bringing big reductions in carbon emissions.

Completely contradictory to the simultaneous Scottish government proposal to reduce APD by 50% to encourage more passengers to fly, and therefore create more pollution and CO2.
From Edinburgh Airport, every day, there are over 50 return flights to London. Encouraging all these passengers to switch from air to rail would result in an immediate reduction in our carbon emissions.

What is the Scottish Government policy on tax cuts for the wealthy?

The airports will herald a cut in APD as great for their industry, but in reality, cutting this relatively small supplement on domestic air travel from £13 to £6.50 (the equivalent of the cost of a sandwich and a drink at the airport), will not make much of a difference to travellers – particularly the frequent business flyers who fill the seats on domestic flights.

In a period of austerity, when the majority of airline passengers are also among the wealthiest people in our country, it is simply wrong to contemplate cutting APD when that cash is so badly needed elsewhere.

The cost of cutting APD to our economy:

We have a tourism deficit in Scotland that already costs our economy £1.7 billion. The additional cost to our economy of cutting APD is about £400 per passenger – that is the amount of additional tourist spend that will be taken out of Scotland and spent elsewhere.

That is £400 lost to Scotland for every airline passenger in addition to the loss of tax revenue.  Edinburgh Airport likes to trumpet its ever increasing passenger numbers – over 10 million people used the airport last year.

Environmental damage and how keeping, or increasing APD could help:

With the clean up after this Winter’s life-changing floods still continuing, the effects of climate change caused by greenhouse gases have been clear to us all – how many “100 year” weather events will we have to live through before our government finally takes meaningful action to prevent further damage to our environment? APD is one of the few levers available to Government to influence this vital area.

Airports are already using this possible change to APD as justification for more expansion – at Edinburgh Airport, “growth” is used as a euphemism for altering flight paths; and overflying those tens of thousands of people in their homes from 6am and long into the night; most of whom have never been affected by aircraft noise before. These people’s lives and homes are being blighted. Edinburgh Airport can grow without creating new and very damaging flight paths – while their passenger numbers are up, they are operating thousands of fewer flights now than they did in 2007.

The cost to health of exposure to aircraft noise is well documented
http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/01/12/new-report-finds-aircraft-noise-policies-put-the-health-of-overone-million-people-at-risk/

It is unwise of Government to promote unfettered business expansion to the detriment and cost of many. Reducing APD is a tax cut our country cannot afford. It is profit over people regardless of the impact on health or the environment. Further, it is a misguided attempt to woo big business and will surely backfire on any government that chooses to implement it.

A resident of West Lothian said:
“The Scottish Government must do the right thing for Scotland – our health and environment deserve better than this insidious subsidy for big business. Cutting APD is the wrong policy at the wrong time and our new government must think again.”

We call on all our elected representatives to properly represent the interests of their electorate who are suffering every day due to the shabby conduct of Edinburgh Airport.

Frankly, the Scottish people deserve better than this.

 

SEAT on Facebook 


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See earlier:

 

SNP to launch consultation on plan to cut Scottish air passenger duty by 50%, starting April 2018

The Scottish National Party (SNP) say they will cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) by 50% between April 2018 and 2021, if they win the Holyrood election on 5th May 2016. There is now a public consultation on this proposal. Control of APD is due to be devolved to Holyrood when the Scotland Bill becomes law, so it is no longer administered by the UK government. The Scottish Labour party has said a reduction would most benefit wealthier people, and should not go ahead. The majority of flights are taken by more affluent people, who can afford multiple short breaks as well as long haul holidays. Details of the APD consultation were announced by Finance Secretary John Swinney during a visit to Edinburgh Airport. The 50% cut in APD would start in April 2018, and be done in stages till 2021. The industry would like cutting APD to increase the amount of profitable high spending tourists to Scotland. They hope this would boost jobs and bring economic benefits. The amount of Scottish money taken out of the country on even cheaper flights is not counted, nor the jobs lost as Scots spend their holiday money abroad. Climate campaigners fear the net effect will be higher carbon emissions from Scottish aviation, if the ticket price is cut.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/03/snp-to-launch-consultation-on-plan-to-cut-scottish-air-passenger-duty-by-50-starting-april-2018/

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Public Consultation on Air Passenger Duty in Scotland

The Scottish Government published the following two public consultation papers on 14 March 2016:

Both consultations are open for response from the public for a 12 week period, closing on Friday 3 June 2016, and can also be found on the Scottish Government’s Citizen Spaceonline consultation platform.

In addition to responding to both consultations, the Scottish Government encourages respondents with any further ideas or recommendations to join the conversation in its online discussion forum at: https://ideas.scotland.gov.uk/air-passenger-duty.  The discussion forum is open for submissions until Friday 8 April 2016.

More at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Government/Finance/scottishapproach/airpassengerduty

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Residents invite Transport Select Cttee Chair – Louise Ellman – to Heathrow Villages that she wants destroyed for runway

Local resident-led group Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) has issued an open invitation to Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee, to visit Harmondsworth, Sipson, Longford and Harlington – the villages around Heathrow that would be destroyed or largely uninhabitable if a third runway were to be built. The invitation comes as the Committee published a report which repeats previous calls to the Government for a rapid decision on Heathrow expansion, which the committee strongly supports.  The DfT agreed to respond to the report by the end of May. It said: “We are undertaking more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon so we can develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people.””  But the Transport Committee, gung-ho for a runway regardless of the problems (and entirely omitting mention of the vast cost to the taxpayer for surface transport) said “we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access and devising suitable schemes for compensation for residents in affected communities.”
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Residents invite Transport Select Committee Chair – Louise Ellman – to Heathrow Villages

4.5.2016 (SHE – Stop Heathrow Expansion)

Local resident-led group Stop Heathrow Expansion issues an open invitation to Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, to visit Harmondsworth, Sipson, Longford and Harlington – the villages around Heathrow that would be destroyed or largely uninhabitable if a third runway were to be built.

The invitation comes as the Transport Select Committee published a report on Wednesday which repeats previous calls to the Government for a decision on Heathrow expansion, which the committee supports. (1)

Jackie Clark-Basten, Chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion, said: “This report offers nothing new to the debate and seeks to infuriate the process further, when the Government is engaged in carrying out vital work on environmental issues. We would welcome Ms Ellman to our area and would happily show her around the villages that she is so keen to destroy. It’s about time she paid a visit after all these years.”

The Department for Transport have agreed to respond to the report by the end of this month.  The Guardian  reported that:

“The Department for Transport will make a formal response to the committee’s demands later this month, and a spokesman said it anticipated that additional work on environmental impacts would be concluded by the summer. He said: “The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come.

“As well as progressing the package of further work announced in December, the government will continue to consider the commission’s evidence before reaching a view on its preferred scheme.

“We are undertaking more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon so we can develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people.” “
http://www.stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/
For more information:
Robert Barnstone 07806 947050‎; robert.barnstone@outlook.com

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See also

 

Transport Select Committee wants rapid decision on runway location – then sort out the problems later …..

The Commons Transport Select Committee, chaired by Louise Ellman (for years a strong advocate of a larger Heathrow) has published a report that wants the government to make a rapid decision on the location of a new south east runway. Ms Ellman says Patrick Mcloughlin should set out a clear timetable of the decision making process. He should also set out what research the government has already done and what remains to be done. The Committee wants a decision in order to, in its view, remove uncertainty for business so companies can be planning and investing. The report is entirely of the view that a runway is needed for links to emerging markets. It ignores the reality that most journeys are for leisure, and it ignores the huge costs to the taxpayer, of either scheme. The Committee wants a location decision, and somehow believes that all other environmental and infrastructure problems will then (magically?) be sorted out. They say: “… we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access.” So decide first – with what is likely to be a bad decision – and work out how to deal with the intractable, and inevitable, problems later. Is that a sensible course of action for a responsible government?

Click here to view full story…

The Committee’s conclusions and recommendations include this:  

“2. We have reviewed the findings of our predecessors in light of the Government postponing its decision on airport expansion; we have seen no new compelling evidence that would change the balance of the arguments and we endorse their conclusions and recommendations. Expansion at Heathrow offers the greatest economic benefit and would do more to improve connectivity internationally and within the UK. We recognise that local residents and environmental campaigners have raised legitimate concerns; these deserve serious consideration. We do not under-estimate the scale of the challenge but we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access and devising suitable schemes for compensation for residents in affected communities. It is vital that a decision is taken. “http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmtrans/784/784.pdf

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Transport Select Committee wants rapid decision on runway location – then sort out the problems later …..

The Commons Transport Select Committee, chaired by Louise Ellman (for years a strong advocate of a larger Heathrow) has published a report that wants the government to make a rapid decision on the location of a new south east runway. Ms Ellman says Patrick Mcloughlin should set out a clear timetable of the decision making process. He should also set out what research the government has already done and what remains to be done. The Committee wants a decision in order to, in its view, remove uncertainty for business so companies can be planning and investing. The report is entirely of the view that a runway is needed for links to emerging markets.  It ignores the reality that most journeys are for leisure, and it ignores the huge costs to the taxpayer, of either scheme. The Committee wants a location decision, and somehow believes that all other environmental and infrastructure problems will then (magically?) be sorted out. They say: “… we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access.” So decide first – with what is likely to be a bad decision – and work out how to deal with the intractable, and inevitable, problems later.  Is that a sensible course of action for a responsible government?  

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Government urged to set clear timetable for airport expansion

4 May 2016
Transport Select Committee website

The opportunity to end decades of political dithering on airport expansion has been squandered, says the Transport Committee in its report on airport expansion in the South East.

In the report, the Transport Committee urges the Secretary of Stateto set out a clear timetable for expansion, making clear the measures which have been accepted or rejected and the work which needs to be completed.

The report concludes that arguments for and against expansion have changed little in a quarter of a century. The Committee continues to back Heathrow, with the package of accompanying measures recommended by the Airports Commission.

Chair’s comments

Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman MP, [who has been in favour of Heathrow for many years] said:

“The Government must make up its mind. The decision on location is not the end of the process, it is the start of one. Real progress cannot begin until the location is declared. Work on environmental issues can run in parallel with other pre-construction work.Across the world, cities are collectively planning to build more than 50 new runways with capacity to serve one billion additional passenger journeys by 2036. The growth of large hubs in the Middle and Far East and North America threatens our position as a hub of international aviation. The UK’s connectivity with the world’s emerging markets is a major concern.The months ticking by constitute time wasted for the UK’s economic prosperity. UK PLC needs to know that a decision will be taken. Doing nothing means the UK continues to lose out.”

Background

The report documents the progress of the debate on airport expansion from the 1990s to the December 2015 statement in the House. The Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin MP, said the case for expansion was ‘clear’ but further work was needed before a decision could be taken on location. The Government indicated that the work should ‘conclude over the summer’ so that the timetable for delivering additional capacity by 2030 could be met.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2015/airport-expansion-report-published-15-16/

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Government must resolve air quality before going ahead with airport expansion

4 May 2016 (ClientEarth)

The Transport Select Committee have issued a report on airport expansion calling on the government to set out a clear timetable for expansion, making clear the measures which have been accepted or rejected and the work which needs to be completed. In December the Department for Transport confirmed that new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick, or extension of an existing runway at Heathrow – were “viable”.

More work required before Heathrow expansion

It also announced further work on noise, pollution and compensation would be carried out before it made a decision on which project to support. It expects this will be completed by the summer.

The select committee report states that work on environmental issues can run in parallel with other pre-construction work.

ClientEarth Chief Executive James Thornton said:

“Air pollution is a major and unresolved concern for Heathrow and must be dealt with before any decision is made to go ahead. It would be economic madness to begin any construction before resolving the crucial issue of air quality which is damaging the health of people living and working around Heathrow and further afield.”

“Greater London already has illegal levels of air pollution, which the Supreme Court has ordered the Government to bring within legal limits as soon as possible.”

“For once, we are in agreement with the Department for Transport – that more work on the environmental impacts, including air quality, is required before any work on any new runways can begin.”

http://www.dev.clientearth.org/government-must-resolve-air-quality-going-ahead-airport-expansion/


Guardian article:

Heathrow expansion opportunity squandered, MPs say

Transport secretary urged to commit to timetable in light of Airports Commission report backing third runway

By Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

Wednesday 4 May 2016 

Delaying a decision on a third runway has “squandered the opportunity” to act on evidence and expand Heathrow, a cross-party committee of MPs said as it called on the government to commit to a clear timetable.

The Commons transport select committee described ministerial claims of progress in the decision-making process as “illusory” and demanded that the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, make clear what the outstanding areas of contention were.

The Airports Commission, established in 2012 by the coalition to recommend if and where a new runway for London should be built, delivered its final report in July last year backing Heathrow expansion. The government did not respond until December, when it announced it would be conducting more work on air quality, and left open the possibility of a second runway at Gatwick instead.

In the transport committee’s report on airport expansion, published on Wednesday, MPs said: “The arguments for and against expansion have changed little in a quarter of a century … The creation of the Airports Commission briefly held out the hope that an evidence-based decision would end years of political dithering, but the government has largely squandered this opportunity by delaying its decision and calling for further work.”

They added: “The secretary of state needs now to have the courage to take a difficult, and for some people unpopular, decision.”

The committee has already established that it backs a third runway at Heathrow, although the government has continued to maintain the candidacy of Gatwick, which was shortlisted by the commission.

MPs demanded that McLoughlin make clear which parts of the commission’s findings he had accepted or rejected, and what further work was being carried out. The committee said: “The government needs to be more open and transparent or the perception that this is yet another attempt to ‘kick 

The Department for Transport will make a formal response to the committee’s demands later this month, and a spokesman said it anticipated that additional work on environmental impacts would be concluded by the summer. He said: “The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come.

“As well as progressing the package of further work announced in December, the government will continue to consider the commission’s evidence before reaching a view on its preferred scheme.

“We are undertaking more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon so we can develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people.”

Louise Ellman MP, chair of the transport committee, said: “The government must make up its mind. The decision on location is not the end of the process, it is the start of one. Real progress cannot begin until the location is declared. Work on environmental issues can run in parallel with other pre-construction work.”

She said the continued growth of large hubs in the Middle East, east Asia and North America threatened Britain’s position in international aviation, while the number of flights to the world’s emerging markets was also a major concern. “The months ticking by constitute time wasted for the UK’s economic prosperity. Doing nothing means the UK continues to lose out,” Ellman said.

Business groups backed the committee’s call for a clear timetable. David Leam, infrastructure director at lobby group London First, said the government needed “to show backbone”, adding: “We need a clear timetable for airport expansion as soon as possible, because the decision to greenlight a new runway won’t get any easier.”

However, Gatwick airport said the committee’s statement that the arguments over airport expansion had changed little in a quarter of a century was “astonishing”, saying that it ignored “significant change within the aviation industry following the breakup of the BAA monopoly in 2009, and the worsening of air quality in the UK which has repeatedly halted Heathrow’s plans in the past”.

Air quality, and the possibility of judicial review in the light of a 2015 supreme court ruling, were the primary ostensible reasons for the delay, with the government now having indicated that its verdict will not come until after the EU referendum on 23 June. 

The postponement has also averted a public clash between the Conservatives and their candidate for this Thursday’s London mayoral election, Zac Goldsmith, who has been a staunch opponent of Heathrow expansion.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/04/heathrow-expansion-third-runway-london

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The report’s Conclusions and recommendations

Conclusions and recommendations

The work already done
1. The arguments for and against expansion have changed little in a quarter of a century. Indecision by Government has remained constant over much of the same period. Few now disagree that additional airport capacity is needed in the South East if the UK is to remain economically competitive. The creation of the Airports Commission briefly held out the hope that an evidence-based decision would end years of political dithering, but the Government has largely squandered this opportunity by delaying its decision and calling for further work. (Paragraph 18)
2. We have reviewed the findings of our predecessors in light of the Government postponing its decision on airport expansion; we have seen no new compelling evidence that would change the balance of the arguments and we endorse their conclusions and recommendations. Expansion at Heathrow offers the greatest economic benefit and would do more to improve connectivity internationally and within the UK. We recognise that local residents and environmental campaigners have raised legitimate concerns; these deserve serious consideration. We do not under-estimate the scale of the challenge but we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access and devising suitable schemes for compensation for residents in affected communities. It is vital that a decision is taken. (Paragraph 19)
3. We recommend that the Government take a decision on location at the earliest possible opportunity. We would prefer that decision to be for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow, together with the package of accompanying measures recommended by the Airports Commission. (Paragraph 19)
Further delay
4. The crucial decision on location was widely expected. The other “decisions” amount to nothing more than an acceptance of the Airports Commission’s findings on the need for expansion and the viability of all three shortlisted options. These decisions serve only to confirm what was already known. The Government could have made clear its acceptance of the findings much earlier; it did not need six months to do so. (Paragraph 24)
5. The absence of a decision on location creates uncertainty. This is exacerbated by the lack of clarity the Government has created about exactly when a decision will be taken. A decision on location is not the end of a process; it is the start of one. We accept that the package of measures to mitigate environmental impacts needs careful consideration and further work. We do not accept that all of this needs to be done before a decision is taken on location. In fact a decision on location would give more focus and impetus to this work. In the absence of a decision on location any “progress” is illusory. Real progress cannot be made without a decision on location. The detailed and evidence-based work of the Airports Commission on environmental issues provides an ideal starting point for any further work on environmental issues to be undertaken in parallel with the other pre-construction work. (Paragraph 25)
6. The Secretary of State should make clear which parts of the Commission’s findings he has accepted, what he has rejected and on what findings further evidence is required before he can take a decision. The Secretary of State must set out a clear timetable for the decision, making clear what additional work has been commissioned, when it will be completed, when the Economic Affairs (Airports) Cabinet sub-committee will consider its recommendation to Cabinet, and when the Cabinet will take a decision on location. The Department should publish this information by the end of April 2016. (Paragraph 26)
7. By delaying this decision the Government has created uncertainty that could have an effect on business confidence and its willingness to make long-term investments in the UK. Not only will this have a cost to the UK economy in terms of missed opportunities, but it is a gift to Heathrow’s and the UK’s international competitors. The cost of this delay is measured ultimately in lost growth and jobs. It is not just businesses that are affected; residents near Heathrow and Gatwick expectantly awaiting a decision are held in limbo. And people up and down the UK who could benefit from improved international and domestic connectivity are forced to wait. (Paragraph 33)
Further work
8. The apparent need for further work has again delayed the crucial decision on location. On balance, we believe it likely, indeed probable, that the Secretary of State and the Department have thought through their approach and that it has a sound basis. We are not, however, persuaded that the Government has made a case publicly for delaying the decision. We are also not convinced that this work must be done before the Government can take a decision on location. (Paragraph 37)
9. As well as making clear the timetable for further work and taking a decision, the Department must also make much clearer than it has to date what work is being done and why. The Government needs to be more open and transparent or the perception that this is yet another attempt to “kick the can down the road” cannot be adequately challenged. (Paragraph 37)
Revised timeline for decision and construction
10. A decision by Government on location is the beginning, not the end, of a process. The Government is right to have chosen to proceed by a national policy statement on airports and a development consent order rather than a hybrid bill procedure. The certainty over the timetable for a decision that this process will give is welcome and it will afford those affected by the development a chance to make their case. It will be important for the Government to be clear about not only the consent needed to build a new runway and its associated infrastructure but also where separate transport and works orders might be needed for improvements to surface access. Certainty over the timetable for the process is useful but only becomes truly meaningful once a decision on location is taken. (Paragraph 40)
11. We urge the Government to take a decision on airport expansion without further delay. (Paragraph 40)
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Research sets out clearly how the need to take climate change seriously rules out any new UK runway

A new research study by the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) shows that the need to take climate change seriously rules out any new runway – at Heathrow or at Gatwick. The study, commissioned by GACC, particularly shows that, for the UK to play its part in making December’s Paris Agreement on climate work, must mean cancelling plans for a new UK runway. The Airports Commission’s work shows they were well aware of the problem of UK aviation emissions exceeding their cap level of 37.5MtCO2 per year, but this was brushed under the carpet. Even with no new runway, while all other industries in the UK are – by law – due to decrease their CO2 emissions by 85% on average (by 2050 compared to their 1990 level), aviation is permitted to increase its pollution by 120%. If a new runway is built, that would be even higher.  The hope of an effective world-wide CO2 emissions trading scheme succeeding in limiting emissions looks impossible to achieve. Big tax increases on flights, in order to limit demand when there has been expansion with a new runway, would be political dynamite. Limiting growth at regional airports, to permit full use of a new south east runway, would not be helpful to the regions. “It is time for the Government to stand up to the lobbying by the aviation industry, and tell them that there will be no new runway.” A new runway means storing up unnecessary problems in future. 
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Climate Rules Out Runway

3.5.2016

By GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign

The need to take climate change seriously rules out any new runway – at Heathrow or at Gatwick. That is the conclusion of a new research study published by GACC.

Written by Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), “Gatwick in perspective: Climate Change and a new Runway” shows that the agreement in Paris last December by all the nations of the world to put tougher limits on climate change, must mean cancelling plans for a new runway.

‘If we are to prevent great climate disasters in future,’ said Cait, ‘we have got to slow down the growth in air travel. Big tax increases would be political dynamite, and the alternative of an effective world-wide emissions trading scheme looks impossible to achieve. In an old phrase it’s just pie in the sky.’

The research study shows how every other industry in the UK is – by law –  due to decrease their CO2 emissions by – 85% on average, but that aviation is permitted to increase their pollution in the sky by + 120% (by 2050 compared to 1990 level).  If a new runway is built it would be even higher.

GACC chairman, Brendon Sewill, commented: ‘In 2010 new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick were ruled out by the Government on the grounds of climate change, but more recently this crucial issue has been ignored in all the debate about runways. It is time for the Government to stand up to the lobbying by the aviation industry, and tell them that there will be no new runway.’

Author Cait added: ‘If we go ahead with building a new runway we will be storing up serious trouble for future generations.’

The research study is number 4 in the new series being published by GACC. Previous studies have been on Ambient Noise, Paying for a New Gatwick Runway, and Gatwick and Tax. They are available on www.gacc.org.uk/research-studies

See study:   “Gatwick in perspective: Climate Change and a new Runway.”  (12 pages)

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For further information contact
Cait Hewitt at 07966 461 955  or  Brendon Sewill at 01293 863369

http://www.gacc.org.uk/resources/Climate%20press%20release.pdf


The study’s conclusion states:

Conclusion

The Climate Change Act commits the UK to cutting emissions by 80% by 2050. The Government’s official climate watchdog has specified that in order to meet this economy-wide target, emissions from flights departing from the UK can be no higher than 37.5 Mt CO2 – equivalent to a quarter of UK emissions by 2050. This represents a minimum level of ambition and the target should probably in fact be tightened both to allow for aviation’s non-CO2 impacts and to meet the ambition of the December 2015 climate agreement in Paris.

But none of the official bodies you might expect to be overseeing delivery of the target – the Committee on Climate Change, the Government or the Airports Commission – has ever set out a plan for doing so, and emissions are currently set to overshoot their maximum level even without airport expansion. The Commission’s argument that a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick is theoretically compatible with the target conceals the fact that in reality it would be impossible to achieve.

With all countries now committed to CO2 limitations, aviation emissions are likely to come under increasing scrutiny. But the current plan for a global measure to limit emissions falls a long way short of the action needed to tackle the UK’s significant aviation CO2 challenge and, even if successful, will need to be complemented by other measures. Saying no to new runways is the obvious first step towards ensuring that the UK avoids locking itself into carbon intensive infrastructure and instead makes investment choices that help to deliver a low carbon economy.

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The section on the Airports Commission states:

The runways debate and the work of the Airports Commission

The last Labour Government ended up with a policy of theoretical support for Heathrow expansion, together with proposed environmental conditions that would in fact have ruled out any aircraft actually using the new runway. In the run-up to the 2010 election, both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, in contrast, adopted clear party policy opposing new runways anywhere in the South East and when the Coalition formed in 2010 it adopted policy that no new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted would be pursued during its term of government.

A new aviation policy was drawn up on the basis that, as argued by the Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond, “The previous government’s 2003 White Paper, The Future of Air Transport, is fundamentally out of date, because it fails to give sufficient weight to the challenge of climate change. In maintaining its support for new runways – in particular at Heathrow – in the face of the local environmental impacts and mounting evidence of aviation’s growing contribution towards climate change, the previous government got the balance wrong. It failed to adapt its policies to the fact that climate change has become one of the gravest threats we face.”

But the new policy avoided specific mention of runways, and pressure quickly re-emerged for a review of the Government’s position. The Government’s solution was to set up the Airports Commission, headed by economist Sir Howard Davies, to review the question of whether new airport capacity was required in order to maintain the UK’s hub status.

The Commission’s brief made no explicit mention of climate change and did not ask whether a new runway would be compatible with climate objectives. And while in theory the Commission could have advised against expansion, in reality the setting of a two year timetable in which the first year was to address the question of ‘whether’ and the second year the question of ‘where’ left no opportunity to conclude that the answer was no new runways. But to be taken seriously it would need to give the impression of having carefully considered all environmental impacts associated with its final recommendation.

The Airports Commission’s approach on climate change was threefold:

1. Minimise the problem. The Commission conducted its own CO2 forecasting that reduced the scale of the emissions challenge. An aircraft efficiency improvement of 1.1% per annum was adopted, and passenger growth levels for regional airports were downgraded significantly compared with the latest Government forecast.

2. Assume that someone else solves the problem. The Commission constructed a model under which someone, presumably the Government, was assumed to have devised a policy to actually enforce a carbon cap. It then assessed what theoretical pattern of passenger demand would follow. Because CO2 is forecast to exceed the level of the carbon cap even in the ‘no new runway’ baseline, the only way to make room for a runway’s worth of emissions would be to restrict growth at other airports. Unsurprisingly, in the Commission’s theoretical ‘carbon capped’ model, building a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick meant that demand was lower in every UK region aside from London and the South East compared to a ‘no new runway’ scenario. This information, however, is entirely at odds with the Commission’s narrative about a new runway being good for the whole of the country and was left hidden in the modelling.

How, though, would such a scenario come about? Would the Government introduce retrospective planning controls on all these airports? Would it introduce large price hikes on tickets? For its interim report, the Commission estimated that imposing a carbon price of £600 per tonne in order to deliver a carbon cap would mean adding £43 to short-haul fares and £205 to long-haul fares. But how such a carbon price or tax would be introduced, the Commission argued, was for the Government to decide. While the Airports Commission set out some theoretical options in a technical paper ‘Carbon Policy Sensitivity Test’ (raising the carbon price, increasing biofuel use, and introducing various operational measures such as slower aircraft cruise) these proposals were unconvincing,13 and none of them made it into the report’s final recommendations.

3. Suggest that the problem does not need solving anyway. The Commission also presented an alternative model under which aviation’s CO2 impacts are allowed to overshoot the carbon cap. This was cleverly labelled the ‘carbon traded’ model, giving the impression that it represented an alternative policy approach for managing aviation emissions. But in fact there is little evidence to suggest that carbon trading in isolation – even if it is extended to cover all aviation emissions – will be able to meet the climate challenge, as discussed below.

What the Commission was of course unable to do was to show how a new runway could in reality be compatible with the Climate Change Act. But by using the words carbon and climate change often enough, while also recommending expansion, the impression was created that somehow climate change impacts had been dealt with and accounted for.

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GACC research studies – (more will be published in due course)

 

1.  Ambient Noise.  A study of the importance of taking background noise into account when assessing the number of people likely to be affected by noise from a new runway.

Read research study.  And press release.

2.  Paying for a new Gatwick Runway A new runway will mean 100% increase in airport charges.  And that may cause some airlines to move to Stansted or Luton.  Read research study and press release.

3. Gatwick Airport and Tax.  Shows how Gatwick earns large profits but pays no corporation tax.

Read research study.  And press release.

4. Climate Change and a New Runway.  The Agreement reached in Paris in December 2015 by all nations rules out any new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow.

Read research study and press release.

 

 

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