Letter from an angry and exasperated sufferer of noise from Gatwick’s changed flight paths

People living to the east of Gatwick continue to suffer from the intense noise of newly concentrated flight paths over their heads. This not only causes “annoyance” – the euphemistic term used by the government for noise nuisance – but real anguish for those now afflicted by the change. For many the newly increased number of flights over their homes, and often lower planes, all day and into the night, is intolerable. The degree of anger and upset of thousands of people is intense. It is all the more so because of the failure of Gatwick, the CAA or NATS to give proper responses to complaints, or proper explanations of what has happened. Stewart Wingate has said “some people have the impression that something may have changed, but I can assure you that is not the case.”  That sort of comment by the airport, often repeated, has merely strengthened the determination and anger of the new noise sufferers to get change. Below is (slightly edited) a letter from someone badly affected by now having effectively an “aerial motorway” in the sky over their home. It reflects how people feel, when through no fault of their own, they find the pleasant area in which they chose to live, has become a noise “ghetto” and the powers that be are reluctant to do anything about it. Concentrated flight paths are not proving to be a success with the over-flown public.
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Low flying, excessive noise, concentrated flight paths

TN.. (Postcode given, near Hever)

21.10.2015

This letter (slightly edited version below, for anonymity reasons) was sent to Gatwick airport, as well as the Dame Deirdre Hutton at the CAA, Patrick McLoughlin at the DfT, and several MPs 

 

Another complaint made about a plane at 14.54. I assume that GAL will ignore this like every other bona fide complaint made via the official channel?

Perhaps someone could explain the role of a complaints procedure that is totally ignored or why it is acceptable that genuinely concerned residents are fobbed off with standard letters containing the kind of now discredited bunkum that Andrew Haines has trotted out.

I can’t imagine any circumstances in which his ongoing employment would be acceptable, particularly as following the FOI requests his incredibly patronising letters can now be shown to bring CAA into disrepute.

Today, the area where we live, that used to be a study in tranquillit has, yet again, been an unremitting whining hell.

GAL/NATS/CAA changed the flight paths with neither consultation, not permission and told us bare-faced lies – firstly that nothing had changed and then that this was all about safety (via a circuitous route of blaming  government policy, EU initiatives, unusual meteorological conditions, vectoring choices by clearly disgruntled ATCs and even the heightened sensitivity of those of us that have had their lives destroyed); this nonsense was promulgated by the CAA and NATS and despite FOI requests that showed that ‘runway not clear’ was a far greater cause of go-arounds than ‘unstable approaches’ no one has yet had the decency to tell the truth.

Clearly there is no limit to the amount of misery a callous and disingenuous foreign pirate wouldn’t heap upon the Garden of England to stuff its coffers full of tax-free cash. Compound that situation with ‘guidelines’ that are unfit for purpose and a regulator that neglects to regulate and we’re all up a gum tree.

GAL lobbied to change the flight paths to increase capacity on its runway. Period.

Whether that was to ‘prove’ Gatwick’s ‘need’ for another runway or a hedge by GIP to ensure that it achieved the maximum sale price if it were turned down, only they know.

Concentration does appear to be becoming more of a general issue and certainly one that government will need to confront but it won’t be a coincidence that grave concerns were recently raised in the Scottish Parliament about the stealthy introduction of concentrated flight paths around Edinburgh Airport owned by, er, GIP.

By concentration GAL has created and persecuted a minority whose lives have been destroyed; I hate every waking hour I spend in the location I once loved.

Anyone wishing to wring the maximum misery out of an act of social and environmental vandalism by slapping a concentrated flight path overhead some of the South East’s most valuable amenity space would put it exactly where it is – atop Crowborough Beacon, Groombridge Place, Penshurst Place, Chiddingstone  and Hever Castles. (See map below).

Gatwick areas affected to the east stars

The disregard for those of us on the ground is quite breathtaking. The lies and double talk we have been subject to suggests that the aviation industry is rotten to the core and its regulators unfit for purpose.

Thousands of decent people who are now overflown intensely just want to enjoy the life they once had. They should not have to come together, to spend hours in meetings and raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to fight this totally unacceptable and unfair assault. The thoroughly decent ‘British way’ clearly doesn’t apply when those being tormented are not a minority that attracts much sympathy.

If it is necessary to push out the ILS so far on the grounds of safety, it is simply not possible for Gatwick to accommodate an additional runway without Dame Deirdre’s oft-quoted ‘crashes and fatalities’; the joining point used to be 7-12 miles. All of the current misery was caused when the joining point was pushed out to 10 – 12 miles thereby reducing the broad swathe that had proven tolerable for 40 years by 60%; the second runway has an indicated joining point of 6.7 miles.

That, surely, purely on the grounds of safety has to be the end of it; the Chair of the CAA has decreed that joining the ILS less than 10 miles from the strip causes unstable approaches and increases the risk of ‘crashes and fatalities’. Can’t have it both ways.

That planes are coming in dramatically lower than ever before, staying in level flight for mile after mile, pulling ridiculously tight turns and then powering on to join the ILS from below, often with their wheels down fully fourteen miles from the runway, amounts to a “longbow salute” to those of us subject to this wilfully destructive act.

This is the polar opposite of what modern technology allows and makes a complete mockery of GAL’s claims that it is in any way interested in mitigating the effects of what by definition is a disruptive operation.

As we know, if there is a motorway or high speed rail link slapped at the end of your garden, you get a cheque. But aviation is not a “statutory nuisance” so it gets away without these sanctions. Yet the flight path change is something that has damaged my health and the life chances of my children, and it has been done quite deliberately.

Those of us who have met Mr Redeborn [undertaking a review of Gatwick airspace use] have spoken highly of him and are optimistic that there can be a genuinely independent investigation into Westerly arrivals and that there is a willingness to achieve a positive outcome.

For what it’s worth, I suspect  the ‘what’ part of the review will be pretty straightforward and I’m sure we all know ‘why’; asking Mr Wingate and Dame Deirdre why they felt obliged to, being generous, use the letter of the regulation to deny what we all knew was happening will be interesting.

I’m amazed that GAL feels able to lie to MPs and the regulator seemingly with impunity, but hopefully that will all come a tumbling out during the review process; I suspect the airport’s new found interest in community engagement and conciliation has everything to do with the hope that David Cameron will buckle and make a decision favourable to a Gatwick runway by the end of the year.

As for a solution, we have lived here for sixteen years and until recently I have never felt remotely inclined to complain.  We didn’t move near to an airport – the airport moved to us.

The 899% increase in complaints and the thousands of people rising up and lobbying No10 and the DfT are quite entitled to be outraged when Mr Wingate’s line, however risible, that “some people have the impression that something may have changed, but I can assure you that is not the case” trotted out to an MP who should deserve more respect.

I read in the HWCAAG [High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group] minutes that PBN is ‘the best’ technology available. For whom?

Concentrated flight paths clearly do not fulfil the government’s ambition of reducing the number of people ‘significantly overflown’; it has the opposite effect – it creates noise ghettos that turn the previously tolerable level of aircraft noise into the intolerable. If precision navigation does not improve the quality of people’s lives overall then it has no place.

If there is any lingering doubt about that, why don’t you check to see when HWCAAG was inaugurated; when Gatwick Obviously Not, Plane Wrong, CAGNE and all of the dozens of other action groups came together. That is not coincidence.

What has gone on is wrong and I hope that at the end of this process government policy will reflect that people must always come before profits.

 

Name supplied.

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Teddington Action Group show – from Heathrow report – that they are now suffering more aircraft noise

Residents in Twickenham and Teddington have been aware of greatly increased aircraft noise from Heathrow, over the past year. However, Heathrow have for months insisted that the noise has not increased. Now an independent report commissioned and paid for by Heathrow, by PA Consulting has shown that the residents are right.  Examining data between November 2011 and May 2015, the report confirms that planes – especially the heavier, noisier types – are flying lower than previously over the area, in greater numbers and concentrated within flight paths. Also that the periods of greatest disruption are increasingly late at night and early in the morning. Rather than being associated with the 2014 Flight Path Trials, which saw record numbers of noise complaints from residents, the report states that these developments merely reflect the general trend of fleet development and air traffic movements. TAG say they have more of the noisiest long haul planes flying over lower than before, sometimes at little more than 2,000 feet in Teddington and 1,400 feet in Twickenham.  Worryingly, if this disruption stems from new flight trends, it is only likely to get worse, and for many other areas overflown by Heathrow planes.
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Independent report funded by Heathrow finds that Twickenham & Teddington are being subjected to increased levels of aircraft disruption

21.10.2015  (Teddington Action Group)

After many months of Heathrow denying that planes were flying lower (despite testimonies by multiple impacted communities) this report by PA Consulting confirms that aircraft – especially the heavier, noisier types – are flying lower over Teddington and Twickenham, in greater numbers and concentrated within flight paths.

The report establishes that these developments reflect trends in fleet and flight path development; so suggesting the situation is likely to get worse and affect many other areas overflown by Heathrow’s flight paths.

The report : full Teddington/Twickenham analysis report here.

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An independent analysis has confirmed that communities around Twickenham and Teddington are being exposed to higher levels of noise disruption from Heathrow’s flight paths, and identified trends in air traffic that suggest it is likely to get worse.

The report, by PA Consulting, published on 15th October, was commissioned and funded by Heathrow, following pressure from the Teddington Action Group.

Examining data between November 2011 and May 2015, it has found that planes are flying overhead in greater concentration, in greater numbers and lower than previously, and that the periods of greatest disruption are increasingly late at night and early in the morning.

Rather than being associated with the 2014 Flight Path Trials, which saw record numbers of noise complaints from residents, the report states that these developments merely reflect the general trend of air traffic movements . (* See note below).

TAG spokesman, Paul McGuinness said:

“In the wake of 2014’s Flight Trials, Heathrow told us that noise disruption would revert to pre trial levels; but this independent report confirms the experience of residents, establishing that communities around Twickenham and Teddington are being exposed to greater levels of noise disruption from Heathrow than ever before. More worrying, the report indicates that this disruption flows from new flight trends, so it’s only likely to get worse”.

The Report entitled “Teddington Flight Path Analysis Final Report” finds:

1. a significant intensification of the use of flight paths over some parts of Twickenham & Teddington
2. that substantially more planes are using the Dover Route, resulting from changes in the airlines’ use of ‘slots’.
3. that air traffic in all 3 overflying routes (Dover, Midhurst and Southampton) have become more concentrated
4. that the average height of planes is lower than before
5. that the fleet is changing – most notably with a marked increase in the use of heavier, noisier planes, notably A380s – and that these fleet changes have already started to make matters worse.
6. that these larger fleet planes (due to their huge size) are being allowed to fly with stepped ascents (contrary to CAA guidance and the presumptions in the Industry Code of Practice 2012).  (** See note below).
7. that these lower, noisier departures are being concentrated at the start and end of schedules

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TAG spokesman, Paul McGuinness said:

“Not only are the noisiest long haul planes flying over lower than before, sometimes at little more than 2,000 feet in Teddington and 1,400 feet in Twickenham, but there are more of them and they’re flying overhead at the most disruptive times, early in the morning and late at night”

“For those who were nonplussed by the Airport Commission’s decision to exclude areas like Teddington from their Noise Map, this reasoned report, which is actually based on real evidence, makes the Commission’s work look nonsensical and shoddier still”.

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Dr Tania Mathias addresses Parliament

On 19th October, local MP, Dr Tania Mathias spoke the following words in the chamber of the House of Commons.  (*** See note below).

“It is only because of the Teddington Action Group that a report was produced on 15 October showing the trend even without the trials. The trend is about 83 dB for A380s. As my medical colleague, my hon. Friend the Member for Bracknell, will know, 57 dB causes medical problems. There is no mitigation for 83 dB. There cannot be mitigation when aircraft are flying at 1,413 feet. There is no mitigation when most of the noise pollution at a medically dangerous level is happening before 8 o’clock in the morning and after 8 o’clock at night.” (Hansard)

The full Adjournment Debate transcript is on Hansard at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151019/debtext/151019-0004.htm#1510209000089
For comment or more information, please contact: Paul McGuinness paul.mcguinness@workingfashions.com.

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Notes:

* “However, there are underlying trends in the characteristics of the traffic which were observed before the trials and continued after the trials had ended. It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that these trends are not due to the trials but are more general in nature” (Page 72)

** CAA R&D Report 9841 – and despite the 2012 “Industry Code of Practice” (signed by Heathrow, NATs and major airlines) stating that Stepped Climb Peocedures should not be operated unless absolutely necessary

***Adjournment Debate: Noise From Heathrow, 19.10.15
Dr Tania Mathias’s contribution to the 19th October 2015 Adjournment Debate van be viewed in two parts, on Links:

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Teddington 3 easterly departure routes

Page 4 of the report


Teddington and surrounding areas are overflown by three of Heathrow’s departure routes on easterly operations

Midhurst standard instrument departure route (MID SID)
Southampton standard instrument departure route (SAM SID)
Dover standard instrument departure route (DVR SID)

 

The report’s conclusions: 

CONCLUSIONS

At the request of the Teddington Action Group flight path analysis has been undertaken on Heathrow easterly departures at three locations of interest

A general observation that for all three SIDs is that there are, sometimes large, fluctuations from day-to-day in the characteristics of and traffic volume using the SIDs. The analysis has attempted to identify any systematic trends underlying these fluctuations.

A second general observation is that the trials resulted in major changes to the distribution of the traffic crossing the gates while the trials were being performed. After the trials the traffic distributions reverted, qualitatively, to very similar structures those observed pre-trial. However, there are underlying trends in the characteristics of the traffic which were
observed before the trials and continued after the trials had ended. It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that these trends are not due to the trials but are more general in nature.

Of the three, the DVR SID has the highest overall traffic volume, at around 180 per day when the airport is operating to the East. DVR carries the vast majority of the Airport’s A380 easterly departures. Both overall traffic volume and the number of heavy aircraft and A380s using the DVR route have increased. Departures before 08:00 and after 20:00 have increased in line with the underlying increase in traffic volume. However, the volume of these night departures appears to be cyclical: higher in summer than in winter.

The DVR route itself was unaffected by the departure trials, but was affected by the earlier operational freedoms trials from mid-2012 and to early 2013. The SAM traffic crossing the DVR gate was shifted out of the gate during the second trial period. It subsequently returned at the same position and volume after then end of the trial.

The concentration of flights at the core of the DVR traffic swath has increased. The data also indicates that the height of the DVR swath is decreasing both in terms of average height from approximately 3400 feet to 3100 feet, and the lowest flying aircraft. The number of low flying aircraft has increases. On 95% of easterly days the lowest DVR flight crossed the gate at heights between 1600 feet and 2600 feet, with the lowest flight at 1423 feet.

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MID and SAM SIDs were affected significantly by the trials

In terms of volume, the MID SID ranks next after DVR. On easterly operations, prior to the second trial period there were just over 100 flights per day using the MID SID. After the second trial this appears to have reduced slightly, to just under 100 flights per day. The route is dominated by medium aircraft at 80% of the total. The remainder of the traffic comprises mainly heavy aircraft with a few A380s.

The position and intensity of the MID SID was affected considerably by the trials with large shifts in the lateral centre of gravity, resulting in flights over locations not previously overflown. After the end of the trials, the MID swath returned to its pre-trial location but the concentration of flights within the swath has increased. Although the vertical position of the centre of gravity of the swath has remained consistent, there is a trend indicating that the lowest flying aircraft have got lower. The frequency of days with low flying aircraft has also increased.

SAM SID traffic is typically at a level of around 35 to 40 flights per day, comprised of approximately 20% heavy aircraft and 80% medium aircraft with a few A380s. During the trials, the MID SID traffic was shifted to within the SAM gate resulting in an increase in traffic crossing the gate. The changes to both the SAM and MID SID locations during the trial resulted in a redistribution of traffic across the SAM gate. After the trials, the SAM traffic patterns reverted to their pre-trial structures but exhibit slightly higher concentration than before the trials. There is a downward underlying trend in the height of the SAM SID swath, both in terms of the centre of gravity, reducing from 3400 feet to 3200 feet, and the lowest flights, reducing from 2300 feet to 2000 feet. The frequency of the number of days with low flying aircraft has also increased.

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Heathrow airport says:

 

Myths about noise

There are many myths about aircraft noise. These are the ones we hear most often.

The airport opens later at the weekend

Not true. Planes start landing and taking off at the same time every day. The first plane lands at about 4:30am and the last plane leaves around 11pm. See more on Arrivals flight pathsand Departures flight paths.

Planes don’t come into land over Windsor Castle when the queen is there

Not true. The direction planes land in is purely dependent on wind direction. See more on wind direction.

Planes fly lower than they used to

Not true. But there are now bigger planes such as the Airbus A380 which can appear lower to people on the ground. Planes landing at Heathrow come in on a 3 degrees angle of approach and this hasn’t changed. The combination of altitude and temperature can sometimes affect the performance of planes as they take off, for example hot weather can affect a plane’s ability to climb as quickly as normal. See more on Arrivals flight paths and Departures flight paths.

The pilots fly where they want

Not true. That would be unsafe and planes are carefully managed by Air Traffic Control to ensure safety. About 98% of all planes leaving Heathrow follow set flight paths and we’ve worked with the airlines to make sure this number is much higher than it used to be. See more on Departures flight paths.

There are less planes on a Sunday

Not true. There are the same number of flights every day – about 1,300 flights in total in and out of the airport. Except for Christmas Day when the number is more like 500. See more on Arrivals flight paths and Departures flight paths.

The airport only flies on easterly operations when it is hot

Not true, although the easterly winds often bring the nice weather. We’re just as likely to be operating on easterlies when it is very cold and the wind is coming in from Siberia. See more on wind direction

You are always changing flight paths

Not true. The flight paths were set many years ago and have not changed. However, UK airspace is being modernised over the next few years which may mean changes to flight paths. See more on Departures flight paths.

Planes are not allowed to fly at night

Not true. Heathrow has very strict rules about the types and numbers of planes that can use the airport at night. About 16 planes are allowed to land every day between 4:30 and 6am. Some flights may leave later than the last scheduled departure at 10:50pm. See more on night flights.

Every year Heathrow has more and more flights

Not true. Heathrow is at full capacity and has been operating approximately 480,000 flights a year for about 10 years now. We are legally not allowed to have more than this. See more on operational data.

Noise has got worse at Heathrow

Not true. While the number of planes has nearly doubled since the 1970s, the planes are quieter than they were then and consequently the noise footprint of Heathrow has shrunk. See more on measuring noise.

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Boris warns regional airports, including Liverpool & Aberdeen, of likely cut in links to Heathrow with a 3rd runway

London Mayor Boris Johnson has rubbished claims a Heathrow 3rd runway would boost connectivity for the regions. He says Liverpool may not get a domestic link to Heathrow, even with a new runway. He has warned other regional airports of the same thing. In 1990 Heathrow supported 18 domestic routes, but that has fallen to seven. With a new runway, the Airports Commission expects that to fall to just four. The current seven are Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. They have all on average seen their number of daily flights to London. If businesses in the Liverpool City Region, such as advanced engineering, creative and financial and professional services, need to air link to the world, they could do that through a hub airport (Heathrow, Schiphol, Paris etc). Or they could do it by their own direct flight links, but those would be less likely if there is an even bigger monopoly airport in the south east of England.  Since 2012, the number of daily flights between Aberdeen and Heathrow has dropped from 13 flights a day to 8 flights a day. Heathrow claims it would provide more regional links – but it has cut these in the past, preferring to focus on more profitable long haul flights. That tendency is likely to continue, even with a new runway.
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Liverpool John Lennon Airport link with London not guaranteed, claims Boris

20.10.2015 (Echo)

BY NEIL HODGSON

Mayor of London rubbishes claims a third runway would boost connectivity for regions

London Mayor Boris Johnson is arguing against a third Heathrow runway.London Mayor Boris Johnson is arguing against a third Heathrow runway.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has warned that Liverpool may not get a domestic link to Heathrow Airport, even if the London hub gets the green light for a third runway.

Heathrow has won the backing of the Airports Commission and support among the region’s businesses and business leaders for its campaign, and it claims the extra capacity would lead to more regional airports, such as Liverpool John Lennon, being able to establish new links with the capital, a link it lost in 1992.

In 1990 Heathrow supported 18 domestic routes, but that has fallen to seven.

And Mr Johnson claims even if a new runway is built, that figure could fall to just four.

He says the seven cities which have retained a direct connection to Heathrow – Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle – have all seen a a halving, on average, in their daily flights to the capital.

Key sectors in the Liverpool City Region, such as advanced engineering, financial and professional services, and creative enterprise, would be boosted by the global access that only a UK hub can provide.

However, aviation experts contend that cities without hub connections with network airlines can become invisible to those seeking to do business.

Mr Johnson, said: “Having connections with the UK hub airport is hugely important for Liverpool.

“Those connections allow businesses to trade and secure investment across the globe.

“But the truth is that Heathrow has been failing our regions for well over a quarter of a century and, quite staggeringly, the Airports Commission’s own analysis shows that the construction of a third runway only worsens the situation.

“That is not how you rebalance the economy and spread prosperity across the UK.

“The only long-term solution that would enable British businesses to compete on a level playing field with our European competitors is to build a four-runway hub airport, and the only logical location for that airport is to the east of London.”

He said Britain needs a hub airport with four runways to compete with the four runway airports in Europe, such as Frankfurt and Paris Charles De Gaulle, which have overtaken Heathrow.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The Airports Commission has confirmed that Heathrow expansion would ‘markedly improve UK regional connections to the hub airport’ and ‘reverse the trend of declining links between London and the rest of the UK’.”

They said an expanded Heathrow will also welcome carriers like easyJet who have confirmed they will launch new routes to destinations like Inverness and Jersey, enhance competition on existing services and drive down fares.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/liverpool-john-lennon-airport-link-10289087
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BORIS Johnson has warned Aberdeen could lose its Heathrow connection if a third runway at the London airport goes ahead.

20.10.2015 (Evening Post)

Since 2012, the number of daily flights between Aberdeen and Heathrow has dropped by 38%, from 13 flights a day to eight flights a day.

The Mayor of London has written to airports warning the Airports Commission has forecast an expansion would mean fewer domestic routes – reducing the number of British airports connected to a UK hub from seven, including Aberdeen, to four.

He said: “Having connections with the UK hub airport is hugely important for Aberdeen and the North-east of Scotland. Those connections allow businesses to trade and secure investment across the globe.

“But the truth is that Heathrow has been failing our regions for well over a quarter of a century and, quite staggeringly, the Airports Commission’s own analysis shows the construction of a third runway only worsens the situation.”

However, a Heathrow spokesman said expansion would improve capacity for airports like Aberdeen. He said: “The Airports Commission has confirmed Heathrow expansion ‘would markedly improve UK regional connections to the hub airport’ and ‘reverse the trend of declining links between London and the rest of the UK’.

https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/boris-johnson-warns-aberdeen-airports-connections-could-suffer-from-heathrow-expansion/?

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London mayor Boris Johnson warns expanded Heathrow will not help Teesside connections

Boris Johnson has alerted business and political leaders in Teesside that they face the prospect of not regaining its aviation route to Heathrow, even with a 3rd Heathrow runway. The number of British cities served by Heathrow has fallen from 18 routes in 1990 to just 7 today. Teesside has not had a London connection since 2009 when flights from Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) to Heathrow were scrapped. Boris has written to 11 regions and more than 480 key UK businesses to highlight the “staggering” fact the Airports Commission’s own analysis has forecast that an expanded Heathrow would accommodate even fewer domestic routes. This would mean there would only be 4 regional airports with Heathrow flights, rather than 7 now. It is therefore increasingly unlikely DTVA will regain its connection. Boris, of course, instead wants his “Boris Island” airport in the Thames estuary …People in Teeside can already fly to Amsterdam or Schiphol to connect to international flights. DVTA wants to reposition itself to focus on business routes, expanding general aviation activity and broadening the base of aviation-related activity on the site – to stay afloat.

Click here to view full story…

and earlier:

BORIS JOHNSON: HEATHROW THIRD RUNWAY WOULD HIT REGIONAL FLIGHT LINKS

31.7.2015 (Evening Express)

London’s Mayor has launched a fresh attack against a third runway at Heathrow, claiming it would hit flights between the airport and the rest of the UK.

Boris Johnson said almost half of UK flights from Heathrow were set for the “scrapheap” if the expansion is given the go-ahead by the Government.

He said information “buried deep” in the final report from the Airports Commission earlier this month revealed an “astonishing” forecast that a three-runway Heathrow would see regional links decline, with routes to only four UK destinations.

He has written to regional leaders and urged the Government to explain which cities currently served by Heathrow would retain links if a third runway is built.

Mr Johnson said: “The final decision on where to provide new aviation capacity needs to be in the interest of the entire country and this astonishing admission makes clear that a third runway at Heathrow would fail that test on every count.

“The hoax that it would be of benefit to our regions has been thoroughly exposed, and it is now clear that even the existing UK links to and from Heathrow are under threat.

“The only long-term solution to Britain’s aviation needs is a hub airport with the potential for multiple runways and the spare capacity to allow domestic routes to flourish. It is what our global rivals are doing, it is the right thing to do, and it is what must happen here.”

Mr Johnson unsuccessfully argued for a new airport to be built in the Thames Estuary.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “The Mayor of London is absolutely right that Heathrow expansion must deliver UK-wide economic growth and it will. Heathrow has already proposed measures to grow its domestic network, measures which the Airports Commission assess could ‘markedly improve UK regional connections to the hub airport’ and ‘reverse the trend of declining links between London and the rest of the UK’.

“Public Service Obligation routes cannot only deliver UK-wide economic growth, but their likely cost is small compared to the estimated £100 billion of public money needed to build the mayor’s new airport in the Thames Estuary and will be repaid many times over in the form of 180,000 new jobs and £211 billion in economic growth across the UK.”

https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/pipe/news/uk/boris-johnson-heathrow-third-runway-would-hit-regional-flight-links/

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Istanbul’s 3rd airport places €11 billion financial burden on future generations

Turkey is planning a massive third airport for Istanbul. It is linked with other mega-projects – a third bridge over the Bosphorus, a motorway and a canal linking the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. It is expected that this airport would cost €11 billion, and paying this back would become a burden for Turkish citizens in future – according to Mr Erdoğdu from the main opposition party. He said the Treasury has assured contractors of a financing guarantee worth €4.6 billion should the construction of the airport fail to be realized or if it does not commence operation, plus a €6.5 billion guarantee should the estimated flight volume fail to come to fruition. Mr Erdoğdu said that aside from its environmental effects, the project is economically a mega disaster – it is meant to be a prestige project to rival vast airports around the world. The consortium of 5 contractors spent two years seeking overseas financing for the project but failed, so most of the money has had to come from 6 state-owned banks. There is also wide-scale opposition to the project from scientists and environmentalists concerned about its huge impacts. The 5 companies are estimated to be spending €10.2 billion for construction and paying €22.15 billion euros to the government for operating rights for 25 years.
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Deputy: Istanbul’s 3rd airport places huge financial burden on future generations

18.10.2015  (TODAY’S ZAMAN / ISTANBUL)

The ongoing construction of İstanbul’s third airport will place an €11 billion burden on future generations of Turkish citizens, according to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Aykut Erdoğdu, who gave a press conference on financial aspects of the controversial project on Sunday.

Erdoğdu said the Treasury has assured contractors of a financing guarantee worth 4.6 billion euros should the construction of the airport fail to be realized or if it does not commence operation, plus a 6.5 billion euro guarantee should the estimated flight volume fail to come to fruition.

Aside from its environmental effects, the project is economically a mega disaster, Erdoğdu said. The third airport is often touted as one of the 13-year-old Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government’s mega projects for its sheer scale and supposed prestige compared to similar airports around the world.

The contractors spent two years seeking overseas financing for the project but failed, Erdoğdu said, maintaining that they finally obtained most of the required loans from state-owned banks at the behest of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkish consortium Limak-Cengiz-Kolin-Mapa-Kalyon OGG beat three competitors to win the tender for construction of İstanbul’s third airport for 22.15 billion euros ($25.62 billion) in May 2013 The airport’s construction began in June.

The project has been surrounded by controversy since its inception, as many citizens and nongovernmental organizations filed lawsuits over land expropriation. There is also wide-scale opposition to the project from scientists and environmentalists concerned about the impact the construction has had on the area’s surface water resources and the diverse populations of various species of birds and other wildlife.

http://www.todayszaman.com/business_deputy-i-stanbuls-3rd-airport-places-huge-financial-burden-on-future-generations_401854.html

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New airport eating up state resources, economist warns

The signature ceremony for the loan agreement was attended by Erdoğan along with consortium executives, on Monday.
19.10.2015  (TODAY’S ZAMAN / ISTANBUL)

The staggering amount of money given in loans by state-run lenders to the contractors of İstanbul’s third airport is making it harder for the Turkish private sector to obtain cheap sources of finance, veteran economist Süleyman Yaşar told Today’s Zaman on Monday.

In a signature ceremony on Monday, the five-company-consortium behind the project signed a loan agreement with six Turkish lenders to finance the first stage of the controversial project. Planned to be completed by the first quarter of 2018, the first phase secured a total of 4.5 billion euros, 75 percent of which is to be borrowed from three state-run banks. However, Yaşar warned that public money is being wasted in such vain projects instead of being used to support companies that create value-added production and thereby boost Turkish exports.

“Turkish exports have been contracting for nine successive months but they [policymakers] keep boosting the construction sector, which makes no contribution to Turkey’s sales abroad,” Yaşar said.

Turkey’s export volume has posted a decline in every month between January and September, totaling $145.4 billion over that period, according to the latest official data.

Yaşar added that the government should introduce policies to give export companies access to cheaper loans via state-run lenders.

The government has been strongly criticized over its supports for megaprojects that have damaged the environment. The third airport planned for İstanbul has taken center stage in recent days due to its exorbitant cost, with politicians and columnists stressing the burden that the project could put on public resources.

In a press conference over the weekend, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Aykut Erdoğdu said construction of the airport will cost future generations of Turkish taxpayers 11 billion euros. Erdoğdu also said the government has guaranteed contractors up to 4.6 billion euros should the construction of the airport fail to be completed or if it does not commence operations, plus a 6.5 billion euro guarantee should the flight volume fail to meet expectations.

Erdoğdu also stated that the contractors had looked for overseas financing for the project for two years but failed to find support, adding that they finally obtained most of the required loans from state-owned banks at the behest of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The consortium borrowed 1.5 billion euros from Ziraat Bankası, 1 billion euros from both Halkbank and VakıfBank, 500 million euros from Denizbank and 300 million euros from both Garanti Bankası and Finansbank, all on a 16-year term. The five companies are estimated to be spending 10.2 billion euros in the construction process and paying 22.15 billion euros — excluding value-added tax — to the government to obtain operation rights for 25 years.

“I think the project will turn out to be a white elephant that will waste a huge amount of public resources,” Yaşar said, adding that he thought the consortium would fail to complete the project.

Erdoğdu also argued on Monday that the loans required for the project had been opened by overseas branches of state lenders in order to ensure that the court of arbitration is located in the UK.

“If the 11.1 billion euro state guarantee is not forthcoming, the public will have to seek their rights in courts in the UK,” Erdoğdu said.

http://www.todayszaman.com/business_new-airport-eating-up-state-resources-economist-warns_401957.html

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Tweets by Daniel Moylan ‏@danielmgmoylan  20.10.2015

Turkey’s opposition party says govt to pay huge sums of public money to contractors if Istanbul 3rd airport doesn’t work out well enough

Sensible transfer of economic risk from contractor, who cannot manage it. Gov’t therefore gets better price from contractor.

Worth remembering that contractor is paying Turkish gov’t for right to build airport, not getting paid.

And this feature of the contract has been publicly known since it was signed: it didn’t need to be ‘revealed’ by opposition.


 

See earlier:

Forests and lakes destroyed to build Istanbul’s vast 3rd airport aerotropolis covering 76 square kilometers of land

Istanbul is building a third airport, north of the city close to the Terkos lake area.  Istanbul already has Atatürk Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gökçen airport on the Asian side (these handle around 45 million and 15 million passengers respectively per year), but both claim to be struggling with increased demand – being well located as a hub between Europe, the Middle East and the East.  Their national airline, Turkish Airlines, is growing fast. The site for the 3rd airport, which is to be an Aerotropolis, not merely an airport, is about 76 square kilometres. The third airport is linked with other forest destroying megaprojects – a third bridge over the Bosphorus, a motorway and a canal linking the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. All three are linked and feed into each other.  The vast construction works destroy areas of forest, lakes and ponds – causing serious local concern about biodiversity loss, loss of natural habitat and possible future heat island and water supply problems.  Turkey wants another vast airport, perhaps able to take up to 150 million passengers per year, partly to boost its chances of getting the Olympics in 2024. The busiest airport in the world now, Atlanta, handles about 95 million passengers per year.  A short video shows the ongoing environmental destruction, during the building of the airport. https://vimeo.com/123657571

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/forests-and-lakes-destroyed-to-build-istanbuls-vast-3rd-airport-aerotropolis-covering-76-square-kilometers-of-land/

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Turkey plans to build a 6-runway mega airport near Istanbul to be one of the world’s largest

Turkey is planning to build one of the world’s biggest airports, and one larger than anything in Europe, costing some $5bn.  It wants to make Istanbul a global hub and boost its chances of getting the Olympics in 2020. Turkey is well situated geographically for traffic between the USA and Europe, and the Far East. It is therefore in competition with other Middle East and Gulf countries, which are also building mega-sized airports, such as Dubai and Doha (capital of Qatar). A tender will be held in may for the Turkish airport.  This would be the third airport for Istanbul, which already has Ataturk airport, and Sabiha airport – which handle around 45 million and 15 million passengers respectively per year. The new airport will be near the Black Sea, and is anticipated to be able to cope with 150 million passengers per year. By contrast, Heathrow deals with some 69 million, and Atlanta – the world’s busiest airport – handles some 90 million per year. The plans are for the new 6 runway airport to be open by 2017.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/01/istanbul/

 

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Citizens in major cities across the USA will unite on Saturday 24th for #NoFlyDay – against NextGen

On Saturday 24th October, thousands of citizens in major cities across the USA will be protesting – to mark #NoFlyDay – a national movement to restore peace and quiet to communities where it has been destroyed by the FAA’s NextGen (like PBN in the UK) program. The organisers say the protests will draw attention to the FAA’s brazen disregard of citizens’ health and welfare, being put at risk by NextGen’s program to redesign airspace and modernize air traffic control.  They want Congress to put the program on hold until major modifications are made.  “The FAA is in the process of building an interstate highway in the sky largely under the radar of the American public,” said a #NoFlyDay organiseer. “Their formula is simple: tell as few people as possible, use vague language, and in some cases disregard community outreach and input all together. This is a gross violation of our right to due process under the law.”  In 2012 the FAA led Congress to believe that NextGen would have “no significant noise impacts” and convinced it to pass a bill exempting NextGen from the environmental review process and from public hearings. People are angry at how the FAA has behaved, and want all Americans protected from unacceptable levels of jet noise, and their health impacts. 
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Protest locations include: Boston | Minneapolis | San Francisco Bay Area | Phoenix | Greater
Los Angeles/Culver City | Seattle | San Diego

 

Citizens Unite Nationwide to Protest FAA’s NextGen Program

20.10.2015

From Media@noflyday.org   Twitter  

No Fly Day

Sizable Demonstrations Expected at Major Airports and in US Cities

Nationwide — Thousands of citizens in major cities across the country will be protesting on
October 24th, in observance of #NoFlyDay — a national movement to restore peace and quiet to communities destroyed by the FAA’s NextGen program.

The protests will draw attention to the FAA’s brazen disregard of citizens’ health and welfare
brought on by NextGen, its program to redesign airspace and modernize air traffic control.
Organizers cite skyrocketing noise pollution, and urge Congress to put the program on hold until major modifications are made.

“The FAA is in the process of building an interstate highway in the sky largely under the radar of the American public,” said Patrick Meyer of #NoFlyDay Co-Sponsor Save Our Skies Santa Cruz.

“Their formula is simple: tell as few people as possible, use vague language, and in some cases disregard community outreach and input all together. This is a gross violation of our right to due process under the law.”

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A History of Deception and Incompetence
In 2012, prioritizing the profits of big business airlines, the FAA deceived Congress by telling
them NextGen would have “no significant noise impacts” and wrongfully touted increased fuel
savings and reduced pollution.  In a political coup, they convinced Congress to pass a bill that exempted NextGen from the environmental review process and from public hearings.

They’ve used these tactics to mislead communities and exploit disclosure requirements by not implementing new flight paths until after the statute of limitations had expired and the threat of lawsuits had passed.

“The FAA is intentionally using words that mean one thing to the American public that mean
something completely different in FAA-speak,” said Kevin Terrell of #NoFlyDay Co-Sponsor
MSP Fair Skies. “To the FAA, ‘no significant impact’ is specifically defined as a community’s
noise level has not reached a certain threshold—not that the noise levels haven’t increased
significantly.”

This FAA threshold (65 dB(A) DNL) is in fact an extraordinarily noisy environment usually found in neighborhoods directly surrounding airports. Now, in communities as far as 50 miles away from the airport, residents under NextGen flight paths are suffering from relentless overflights every 2-5 minutes that each time generates up to 1,000 times more noise than the ambient level they used to enjoy. The FAA deceptively still categorizes this as “no significant impact.”

More than a million noise complaints have flooded airports.

“Due to the public backlash, the FAA has shifted their tune on whether NextGen has had a
significant impact,” said Meyer. “Now they contend that they are ‘reducing the noise footprint’ of air traffic by consolidating flights onto superhighways. But what they are really doing is creating communities with intolerable noise levels while freeing up future space for more planes, more noise, and more pollution.”

In the FAA’s reckless rush to implement NextGen they have also:

Failed to address safety issues in a timely manner: One third of planes flying on
Serfr One flight path in Northern California are violating class B airspace, posing a
serious risk for a mid-air collision with non-commercial planes. Pilots have logged official
reports of safety violations citing the poor design. Despite being informed of this issue in
July 2015, the FAA has yet to address the design flaw.

Overrode local standards and agreements: In cities like Minneapolis and Washington
DC, they’ve ignored local runway use standards that protect neighboring communities
from undue jet noise to push more capacity. Similarly in the San Francisco Bay Area,
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo created an agreement with the FAA establishing minimum
altitudes that the FAA chose to change with no process.

Ignored availability of nearby unpopulated corridors: In Phoenix, the FAA changed
flight paths from over the Salt River to directly over the historic downtown neighborhood.

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The Solution
To protect all Americans from the health-related impacts of excessive jet noise, #NoFlyDay
protesters are demanding the FAA:

– Immediately address noise levels in impacted communities
– Adopt stricter noise standards and conduct full Environmental Impact Statements
– Adopt a timely and transparent community engagement process

Congress has also begun to recognize this as a national issue that needs to be addressed. Last year the Quiet Skies Caucus was formed with Congressional representatives from across the country to advocate for solutions to jet noise. Recently, a bill was introduced to reinstate the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Noise Abatement to review and update the science to inform noise policy making. And just this past week, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee petitioned the group to hold a Congressional hearing on NextGen noise pollution.

“This is clearly an issue of national importance. We’re not talking about simply shifting noise
from one community to another. Fortunately, NextGen technology is capable of achieving the
FAA’s more admirable goals of efficiency and carbon reduction without causing so much stress, suffering and sleep loss,” said Terrell. “Americans should not accept unbearable levels of jet noise as a byproduct of a $60+ billion dollar taxpayer-funded ‘modernization’ effort.”

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Protest locations include: Boston | Minneapolis | San Francisco Bay Area | Phoenix | Greater
Los Angeles/Culver City | Seattle | San Diego
—————————————–
#NoFlyDay is a national campaign to restore the peace and quiet of the many communities
recently destroyed by the FAA’s NextGen program. By uniting citizens across the country to not fly on October 24th and convening protests at major U.S. airports, #NoFlyDay will force the FAA to finally address the devastating noise impacts of NextGen. #NoFlyDay is cosponsored by Save Our Skies Santa Cruz and MSP Fair Skies and hosted in partnership with local organizations nationwide.

www.noflyday.org

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Protest

SAVE THE DATE :: OCTOBER 24th, 2015
Help us capture the attention of the FAA, our legislators, and media by joining a #NoFlyDayrally close to you.#NoFlyDay Protests

  • Boston | Massachusetts State House | 24 Beacon St. Boston, MA 01233 | 10am -12pm
  • Los Angeles/Culver City | Culver City Hall (outside front entry) | 9770 Culver Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232 | 11am – 12pm
  • Minneapolis | Lake Harriet Bandshell | 10am – 1pm
  • Phoenix | US Federal Building | 230 N. 1st Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85003 | 10am- 12pm
  • San Francisco | San Francisco Interntional Airport Virgin and American Domestic Terminal | 10am – 12pm
  • San Diego | Across from San Diego Airport at N.  Harbor Drive Sidewalks between Harbor Island Dr. (Airport Entrance & Airport Terminal Rd.  – Across from Spanish Landing) | 10am – 12:30pm

 

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London mayor Boris Johnson warns expanded Heathrow will not help Teesside connections

Boris Johnson has alerted business and political leaders in Teesside that they face the prospect of not regaining its aviation route to Heathrow, even with a 3rd Heathrow runway. The number of British cities served by Heathrow has fallen from 18 routes in 1990 to just 7 today. Teesside has not had a London connection since 2009 when flights from Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) to Heathrow were scrapped. Boris has written to 11 regions and more than 480 key UK businesses to highlight the “staggering” fact the Airports Commission’s own analysis has forecast that an expanded Heathrow would accommodate even fewer domestic routes. This would mean there would only be 4 regional airports with Heathrow flights, rather than 7 now. It is therefore increasingly unlikely DTVA will regain its connection.  Boris, of course, instead wants his “Boris Island” airport in the Thames estuary …People in Teeside can already fly to Amsterdam or Schiphol to connect to international flights. DVTA wants to reposition itself to focus on business routes, expanding general aviation activity and broadening the base of aviation-related activity on the site – to stay afloat. 
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London mayor Boris Johnson warns expanded Heathrow will not help Teesside connections

20 OCT 2015
BY MIKE BLACKBURN (Gazette)

His calls for a new four runway airport east of London have been backed by Teesside business leaders

Outspoken London mayor Boris Johnson warned today that Teesside is unlikely to have a Heathrow flight restored if a third runway is built.

The Mayor is alerting business and political leaders in Teesside that they face the prospect of not regaining its aviation route to the UK’s only hub airport – even if a third runway at Heathrow is given the go-ahead.

The number of British cities served by Heathrow has plummeted by more than 60% from 18 routes in 1990 to just seven today.

Teesside has not had a London connection since 2009 when flights from Durham Tees Valley Airport to Heathrow were scrapped.

Today Mr Johnson has written to eleven regions and more than 480 key UK businesses to highlight the fact the Airports Commission itself has forecast that an expanded Heathrow would accommodate even fewer domestic routes.

This, claims the London Mayor, would reduce the number of British airports connected to a UK hub from seven to four – and make it increasingly unlikely DTVA will regain its connection to an expanded Heathrow.

Mr Johnson, a strident and long-standing opponent of a third runway at Heathrow, said: “Having connections with the UK hub airport is hugely important for Yorkshire.

“Those connections allow businesses to trade and secure investment across the globe.

“But the truth is that Heathrow has been failing our regions well over a quarter of a century and quite staggeringly the Airports Commission’s own analysis shows that the construction of a third runway only worsens the situation.”

The London mayor believes the only long-term solution that would enable British businesses to compete on a level playing field with European competitors is to build a four-runway hub airport, to the east of London.

Keith Miller, managing director of Middlesbrough-based Ecco Finishing Supplies, said: “International flight connections are essential for doing business. Going abroad and meeting you’re customer face-to-face is critical.

“If we can’t expand Heathrow enough because of air pollution and noise pollution over London – a new four runway airport is a great idea.

“We live in a global business world nowadays and if we don’t build an airport with enough capacity people will continue to make long-haul flights from Amsterdam or Paris.”

Last week DTVA’s owner said more must be done to boost private sector “confidence and ability” if the Northern Powerhouse is to succeed.

John Whittaker, chairman of The Peel Group, has asked for “fresh dialogue” between business, Government and other Northern-based partners in a letter to the PM and the Chancellor.

Its masterplan, published last year, aims to reposition DTVA to focus on business routes, expanding general aviation activity and broadening the base of aviation-related activity on the site.

Last month Peel announced controversial plans to quit the Teesside Pension Fund.

http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/london-mayor-boris-johnson-warns-10291125

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See earlier: 

Airports Commission report shows fewer, not more, links to regional airports by 2030 with 3rd Heathrow runway

The Times reports that analysis by Transport for London (TfL) of the Airports Commission’s final report shows that, with a 3rd runway, Heathrow would only serve 4 domestic destinations by 2030, compared to the 7 is now serves. It would serve only 3 with no new runway by 2030. (The Gatwick figures are 7 domestic destinations by 2030 with a 2nd runway, compared to 10 now). Heathrow has been claiming that its runway will be important for better links to the regions, and improved domestic connectivity by air. The Heathrow runway has been backed by Peter Robinson, the first minister of Northern Ireland, Derek Mackay, the Scottish transport minister, and Louise Ellman, the chairwoman of the transport select committee – on the grounds that it would help the regions. The Commission’s report says: (Page 313) “15.8 ….without specific measures to support domestic connectivity even an expanded Heathrow may accommodate fewer domestic routes in future….” The Commission cannot see effective ways to ensure domestic links are not cut in future, as less profitable than long haul, but they suggest public subsidy by the taxpayer for these routes. This is by using PSO (Public Service Obligations) which could cost £ millions, is a bad use of public money, and may fall foul of EU law.

Click here to view full story…

Also

Councillors are told Durham Tees Valley Airport must focus on its Amsterdam routes if it is to survive

The strategic planning director of Peel group, which own the airport, says that its existing routes to Amsterdam and Aberdeen must be prioritised ahead of new London or international routes. The Peel Group gave an overview to local Darlington Borough councillors, of the airport’s masterplan to develop businesses and houses at the airport site. Peel says any future London routes were dependent on increased capacity being granted at Heathrow or Gatwick airports something that could take more than 15 years to get through government. Peel say the airport should secure its routes to Schiphol and Aberdeen, while keeping an eye on the London opportunities, as and when they arise. Durham Tees Valley lost its route to Heathrow in 2009. That was not because it was not making money, but Heathrow could make a lot more money by using the slot for a long haul route. A councillor commented: “To keep the airport going we need to accept that expanding leisure flights is not viable. You can’t get enough of those flights to keep the airport paying its way.” Peel want to “look at the site as a whole by growing the airport, the employment park and also the community aspect with the housing.”

Click here to view full story…

 

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GACC warns Patrick McLoughlin of the future costs to the Exchequer of infrastructure needed for Gatwick runway

GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has written to Patrick McLoughlin, to remind him about the comparative costs of infrastructure relating to a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick. Robert Goodwill recently indicated that whichever airport was selected would be expected to pay for the necessary infrastructure – a policy GACC fully supports. GACC point out that the calculation of the surface access costs, by the Airports Commission, is distorted. While it considers the requirements for both airports at 2030, it estimates that by then there would be 35 million extra passengers at Heathrow (due to pent up demand), but only 8 million more at Gatwick(struggling against Stansted and Luton). So the extra road and rail traffic generated at Heathrow by 2030 would be far greater than that at Gatwick, and (when adding tunnelling the M25 at Heathrow) accounts for the difference in infrastructure costs – £5.7 billion compared to under £1 billion. But with the runways working at full capacity by around 2040, the surface access infrastructure costs of a new Gatwick runway would fall on the Exchequer. These would include widening of the M23 or M25, and improvements to the Brighton main line. With Gatwick then bigger than Heathrow today, there might be a need of of a hugely expensive extension of the M23 into central London. And so on …
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Letter from GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) to the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP

19 October 2015

Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport

There have been a number of recent reports in the press, and comments by the Scottish Nationalist Party, on the comparative costs of infrastructure relating to a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick.  These follow an answer given by Robert Goodwill to a recent PQ in which he indicated that whichever airport was selected would be expected to pay for the necessary infrastructure – a policy we fully support.

It has come to our attention, however, that the comparative costs as quoted are extremely misleading.

At Heathrow the infrastructure costs were calculated by the Airports Commission at £5.7 billion, and the need to include these in the cost of a new runway is said to be a ‘black hole at the centre of the Heathrow runway plan’.  At Gatwick the infrastructure costs were assessed at under £1 billion, and Gatwick Airport Ltd have promised to meet them.

Both sets of costs are calculated for the year 2030, which would appear to be fair.  Why they are misleading is because in 2030 the forecasts show the new Heathrow runway as handling 35 million extra passengers while at the same date a Gatwick runway would be handling only 8 million.  Thus the extra road and rail traffic generated at Heathrow would be far greater than that at Gatwick, and (when added to the need to tunnel the M25 at Heathrow) accounts for the difference in infrastructure costs.

As Sir Howard Davies has set out in his letter to you dated 7 September, the difference in forecasts is because of the pent-up demand for Heathrow, and the fact that a new runway at Gatwick would struggle to attract passengers in competition with Stansted and Luton.

The danger for the public finances in using these forecasts based on 2030 is that if by 2050 a new Gatwick runway was operating at full capacity, all the cost of the additional infrastructure would fall on the Exchequer.

The infrastructure proposals made by Gatwick Airport Ltd for the year 2030 do not include any widening of the M23 or M25, merely hard-shoulder running; and no improvements to the Brighton main line except using longer trains.  Yet by 2050 with Gatwick operating at full capacity – larger than Heathrow today – it is obvious that there would need to be widening of the southern segment of the M25 and a widening of the M23 with perhaps a hugely expensive extension of this motorway into central London.  The Airports Commission mentioned the possible need by 2040 to rebuild East Croydon station on two levels and take extra rail lines underground from there to Victoria and London Bridge.

This extra cost could not be less than £10 billion.  On the formula quoted by Robert Goodwill all this cost should be borne by Gatwick Airport Ltd.  Perhaps not now but with a legally binding commitment to pay when the need arises.

If the Heathrow infrastructure cost is a ‘black hole’ this is a black canyon a few years down the road at Gatwick.

If you are preparing briefing for the Cabinet and for Parliament on the rival merits of Heathrow or Gatwick we trust that this issue will be included.  If not any subsequent decision could be subject to judicial review.

As this involves potential public expenditure, I am copying this to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

 

Brendon Sewill CBE

Chairman (GACC)

http://www.gacc.org.uk

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See also

Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill says Heathrow has to pay for surface access work resulting from a 3rd runway

Adam Afriyie has reported that, in response to a question he asked the government’s aviation minister, Robert Goodwill, the Government ruled out spending public money for the related surface access costs of a Heathrow 3rd runway. If correct, this is a huge blow to Heathrow, as their surface access costs could be £5 billion just to tunnel the M25 and perhaps up to £10 -15 billion more, for other road and rail improvements, according to Transport for London. In response to the parliamentary question Robert Goodwill said: “In terms of surface access proposals, the Government has been clear that it expects the scheme promoter to meet the costs of any surface access proposals that are required as a direct result of airport expansion and from which they will directly benefit.” Adam Afriyie said: “It is welcome news that the Government has ruled out paying the costs of upgrading the railways and local roads or moving or tunnelling the M25. If Heathrow won’t pay and the Government won’t pay, then the 3rd runway is already dead in the water …It is quite right that the public should not be made to fork out up to £20 billion of subsidies to a private company which refuses to pay its own costs of expansion.” In July John Holland-Kaye said Heathrow would not pay.

Click here to view full story…


Gatwick airport says: 

Gatwick has confirmed that it will meet any additional surface access costs and will be road and rail ready for a second runway by 2021.   Link 

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Gatwick does not require a congestion charge to support delivery of a second runway, either for capacity or to meet air quality requirements, as demonstrated in both Gatwick’s R2 Airport Surface Access Strategy (which was agreed with stakeholders including Highways England and West Sussex County Council) and as demonstrated by the Commission’s own analysis – “Investment on the M23 and M25 is also forecast to provide sufficient capacity to accommodate growth in road traffic from the expanded [Gatwick] airport”   Link

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Gatwick will be “road and rail ready” for a second runway by 2021 Public consultation highlighted questions around how local roads and rail links would cope with the additional traffic created by an expanded airport. A series of transformational public transport improvements have already been committed to by the Government such as Thameslink. Gatwick has responded by setting out a series of promises and targets to improve local transport and mitigate congestion: • The airport will ensure local road networks will be no more congested than they are today including setting up a £10 million local highway development fund to meet any additional works • Gatwick already achieves 45% of passengers using public transport. Improvements will help increase this to 60% by 2040, comparable with the best airports in the world • Gatwick will fully fund any road improvements such as M23 Junction 9 and A23 diversion • Investment in the Gatwick Gateway, a world class interchange for the airport that will also serve the local community and the wider region • An increase in sustainable access and public transport.  Link

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Local residents group said:

In the Transport for London Surface Access document of February 2015 highlights the fact that catalytic and freight have not been included in the Commission’s figures for surface access and is underestimated by some 25% at Gatwick.

It goes on to state that the Commission has included benefits of a number of uncommitted and unfunded airport access rail schemes.

With Gatwick having no direct links to Crossrail or HS2 and the fact that adding more trains, carriage€s, which is Gatwick’s plan, to an already congested single line would not ease the access demands on the roads around Gatwick which are already at breaking point and has no funding to improve unless the taxpayer pays.

Please note the M23 will be full by 2040 without Gatwick 2.

Congested roads simply means more pollution outside our homes and schools as there is no funding for local roads. Unlike Heathrow that have included costings, Gatwick has not.

As Gatwick argue recently ‘onward surface access is not their problem’.  (CAGNE)

Link 

Read more »

Flight path groups write to Heathrow to express concerns about ineffectual Community Noise Forum

Communities around London have written to Heathrow challenging the airport’s engagement with local communities and demanding a range of measures to mitigate the damaging effects of aviation noise on health. The letter is signed by 7 groups which are members of Heathrow’s Community Noise Forum (CNF), that was set up earlier this year in response to a record number of noise complaints.  The letter brands the operation of the CNF as “a talking shop and essentially a PR exercise for Heathrow to claim community consultation while taking minimal action” and that “noise from Heathrow has become intolerable”.  Given the seriousness of the issues, and the stated intention of the DfT to increase the intensity of the use of airspace over the next few years, the groups also call for a fully independent and comprehensive inquiry to investigate the adverse health impacts of aviation on residential communities. They outline immediate measures that the airport should take to minimise the impacts. These include: reversing changes to flight paths, which have become lower and more concentrated; a permanent ban on night flights starting in 2017; restrictions on the noisiest types of aircraft in the early morning and late in the evening – and other changes. 
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Communities demand that Heathrow take responsibility for damaging health effects of aircraft noise

19.10.2015  (Joint flight paths groups – Heathrow, Gatwick, London City airport, Stansted)

Communities around London have today written to Heathrow Airport challenging the Airport’s engagement with local communities and demanding a range of measures to mitigate the damaging effects of aviation noise on health.

The letter is signed by seven groups who are members of Heathrow’s Community Noise Forum (CNF), which was set up earlier this year in response to a record number of noise complaints.  It brands the operation of the CNF as “a talking shop and essentially a PR exercise for Heathrow to claim community consultation while taking minimal action” and that “noise from Heathrow has become intolerable”.

The groups call for a comprehensive and fully independent investigation into the adverse health and educational effects of Heathrow and outline immediate measures that the airport should take to minimise these including:

– a reversal of changes to flight paths, which have become lower and more concentrated;

– a permanent ban on night flights starting in 2017 and an immediate review of scheduling so that no flights depart after a 11.00pm watershed or before 7.00am in the morning;

– restrictions on the noisiest types of aircraft in the early morning and late in the evening;

– initiatives to prevent known health impacts of aviation noise including high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and mental illness;

– truly independent research to determine the degree to which the airport has negatively impacted on the quality of life in local communities;

– a comprehensive insulation scheme for homes and schools experiencing noise above World Health Organisation guidelines; and

– funding for additional learning/reading support in schools.

The proposed measures are in response to the publication of a report by the Airports Commission in July (issued as an addendum to their final report) which has been largely ignored by Heathrow and Government, but which documented the serious effects of aviation noise on health including much higher risks of heart attack and strokes as well as negative impacts on children’s reading and memory.

A spokesperson for the community groups said:

“The plan we have presented today outlines a number of immediate measures that Heathrow should take to mitigate the health and child development impacts of aviation noise, but the airport and the U.K. Government need to do more to reduce noise in general. The recent VW scandal demonstrates that public health should not be put at risk to support the profits of big business and the aviation industry is no exception”.

‘Given the seriousness of the issues raised and the stated intention of the Department for Transport  to increase the intensity of the use of airspace over the next few years, the groups also call for an independent inquiry to investigate the impacts of aviation on residential communities.’


Background

  1. The Heathrow Community Noise Forum was set up by Heathrow in March 2015 in response to a huge increase in noise complaints from local residents. It includes representatives from 12 local authorities around Heathrow. http://www.heathrow.com/noise/making-heathrow-quieter/our-noise-strategy/working-with-local-communities/community-noise-forum
  1. The seven community groups that signed the letter to John Holland-Kaye include groups from Lightwater, Bagshot, Windlesham (Surrey), Ealing, Richings Park (Buckinghamshire), Englefield Green (Surrey), Ascot (Berkshire), Teddington (Middlesex) and Harmondsworth and Sipson (Hillingdon).
  1. The report Aircraft noise effects on health was published by the Airports Commission on 1 July 2015. A copy of the report can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/446311/noise-aircraft-noise-effects-on-health.pdf
  1. Complaints figures provided by Heathrow Airport show that :
  • In 2012, a total of 17,655 complaints were received. 3,240 complaints were received in the first six months of the year.
  • In 2013, 18,717 complaints were received.
  • In 2014, 44,682 complaints were received.
  • For the first six months of 2015, 52,728 complaints were received which equates to an annual figure of 106,056.

 

Complaints have increased by 1,627% when you compare the first six months of 2015 with the same period in 2012.


 

Letter from community groups to John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of London Heathrow

19.10.2015

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Mr John Holland-Kaye
Chief Executive
Heathrow Airport Ltd
The Compass Centre
Nelson Road
Hounslow
Middlesex
TW6 2GW

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19 October 2015

Dear Mr Holland-Kaye,

HEATHROW COMMUNITY NOISE FORUM

The Community Noise Forum (CNF) was formed in March 2015, following a huge rise in noise complaints. Much of its focus to date has been to obtain data to explain the experience of various local communities, for whom, noise from Heathrow’s flight paths has become intolerable. However, there has been widespread scepticism amongst CNF members about the repeated claims by Heathrow, NATS and the CAA that they do not know what is behind this increase in noise.

Heathrow refers to its Noise Action Plan at every available opportunity but progress against this is measured using highly selective data and contested bases of measurement (which conceal the true impacts) to support the message that Heathrow wants to portray. CNF members have been outraged by Heathrow’s claims that its Noise Action Plan and its case for expansion have been developed in consultation with residents. The recent press release issued by Heathrow concerning the 2014 noise analysis (which was never discussed with the CNF) claiming that its noise impact has reduced, was yet another example of a failure to meaningfully engage with communities with the inevitable result that people do not trust what Heathrow says.

We appreciate that it will not be possible to eradicate aircraft noise completely from the airport’s operations, but for Heathrow and the CAA to have any credibility there needs to be: 1) a public acknowledgement that the noise problem has got significantly worse, not better, as is evidenced by the 1600% increase in noise complaints over the past three years and the establishment of many new community groups; 2) a determination to explain the causes; and 3) an action plan to return conditions to an acceptable level.

While Heathrow may do its utmost to dismiss the current level of over 100,000 complaints a year as insignificant, the airport and the government cannot continue to ignore widely accepted evidence of the impact of aviation noise on health.

The report “Aircraft noise effects on health” published by the Airports Commission on 1 July, pointed to very worrying evidence about the impact that a third runway will have, but also raises questions about the harmful effects on health and education that Heathrow is already causing. Arising from this, the communities around the airport believe it is essential that there should be a fully independent inquiry to investigate these issues.

The current VW scandal demonstrates that public health should not be put at risk by commercial practices which support the profits of big business. As communities suffering the harmful effects of Heathrow, in addition to a fully independent and impartial investigation, we demand that an action plan is put in place by the airport as a matter of urgency to minimise these impacts. We have outlined below a number of measures that should be taken, which are informed by the findings of the Airports Commission’s health report.

ISSUE ACTION COMMENTS
Aircraft noise exposure is associated with increases in risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke as well cardiovascular hospital admissions and mortality. While this risk is considered to be moderate, it is important if a large population is exposed to aircraft noise.

 

Heathrow should work with local councils and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to agree a plan to prioritise minimisation of noise over residential communities, having regard to the latest WHO advice and guidance. This should include a reversal of changes to flight paths, which have become lower and more concentrated.

 

While the first priority must be noise minimisation, for those living very near the airport where an impact is inevitable, a programme of investment will be required to support prevention of conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke and mental illness. There should also be funding for an enhanced home insulation scheme and compensation packages for all communities experiencing noise above WHO recommended levels.

We believe that up to date WHO guidance (together with a much greater emphasis on individual noise events) should be used rather than the current Heathrow and CAA practice of using average noise contours across the year, which masks the noise impacts.

 

There is no recent research or evidence supporting the current metrics and thresholds, whilst WHO guidance is referred to by Dr Charlotte Clark, author of the report “Aircraft noise effects on health” when assessing the point at which aviation noise can be damaging.

Night time noise is associated with sleep disturbance and changes in sleep structure. Exposure outside of the typical 2300 to 0700 night time noise metric can also impact on health and sleep quality, particularly for children and the physically-ill. There needs to be a permanent ban on all flights between the hours of 2300 and 0700 to be implemented no later than 2017.

 

In addition, there should be an immediate review of the airport’s scheduling so that current persistent failures to prevent flights departing after the evening watershed stop with immediate effect.

 

Finally, there should be restrictions imposed on the noisiest types of aircraft departing in the very early morning, late in the evening and into the night.

 

We do not accept that this can only be achieved with a third runway. To not act now would be inexcusable in the face of clear health evidence on the impact of loss of sleep.
Based on current evidence, aircraft noise is associated with decreased quality of life.

 

A comprehensive and independent public investigation should be commissioned to understand the degree to which Heathrow operations have negatively impacted on the quality of life in local communities. Given Heathrow will not be able to eradicate aircraft noise completely, it should take all practical measures to minimise its noise footprint with immediate effect and agree with local councils how it will invest in measures to increase the quality of life in local communities.
Many studies have found effects of aircraft noise exposure at school or home on children’s reading comprehension or memory skills, pointing to a link between increased noise exposure and decreased reading performance. The development of cognitive skills such as reading and memory is important, not only in terms of education but also subsequent life chances and adult heath. Heathrow should confirm how many schools currently experiencing noise in excess of the WHO recommended levels have not been insulated. Funding should be identified to insulate all remaining schools over a reasonable time period (to be agreed).

 

In advance of this, Heathrow should agree with local councils funding for additional learning/reading support in all affected schools until they are insulated.

 

 

We hope Heathrow is willing to engage with communities on the issues outlined above. Without this co-operation, we fear it will confirm many members’ views that the CNF is little more than a talking shop and essentially a PR exercise for Heathrow to claim community consultation while taking minimal action.  Community representatives who attend the meetings do so to protect the public’s health and wellbeing and expect Heathrow to fully appreciate the urgent need to reduce noise.  For any trust to exist between local communities and the aviation industry, we ask Heathrow, NATS, the CAA and the Department for Transport to address our concerns without further delay.

This letter has been copied to all interested parties.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

AIRCRAFT NOISE 3 VILLAGES (LIGHTWATER, BAGSHOT & WINDLESHAM)

EALING AIRCRAFT NOISE ACTION GROUP

ENGLEFIELD GREEN ACTION GROUP

HARMONDSWORTH AND SIPSON RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

PLANE DAFT – ASCOT

RICHINGS PARK RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

TEDDINGTON ACTION GROUP

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More about the Heathrow Community Noise Forum

Background

The Heathrow Community Noise Forum was set up in 2015 and is made up of representatives from 12 local authorities around Heathrow, NATS, BA, DfT, CAA and Heathrow.

Heathrow set up the forum in response to local concerns regarding future changes to airspace as a result of the Government’s Future Airspace Strategy.

Aims

The aims of the Forum are to:

  • keep community representatives and local authority stakeholders informed and seek their input in preparing for and consulting on future airspace modernisation as part of the Government’s Future Airspace Strategy;
  • improve understanding of members on Heathrow’s operations and airspace issues;
  • seek input from members to inform the communications approach to trials and public consultations regarding potential airspace changes;
  • build trust in the data through members involvement in the independent verification of the data and analysis of data.

Terms of Reference

See the Forum’s Terms of Reference

Public gallery

There is a public gallery at each of the meetings which members of the public are welcome to come and observe. As there are only a limited number of spaces in the gallery, we would ask if you would like to attend, to pre-register with us by emailingnoise@heathrow.com with ‘Community Noise Forum attendance’ in the subject heading.

Meeting schedule

The next scheduled meeting are listed below:

  • Thursday 5 November 2015, 2pm-5pm, Heathrow Academy
  • Monday 25 January 2016, 1pm-4pm, Heathrow Academy
  • Wednesday 23 March 2016, 1pm-4pm, Heathrow Academy
  • Wednesday 18 May 2016, 1pm-4pm, Heathrow Academy
  • Wednesday 6 July 2016, 1pm-4pm, Heathrow Academy
  • Wednesday 21 September 2016, 1pm-4pm, Heathrow Academy
  • Wednesday 23 November 2016, 1pm-4pm, Heathrow Academy

Meeting notes and presentations

The meeting notes and presentations from each of the previos meetings can be found here.

http://www.heathrow.com/noise/making-heathrow-quieter/our-noise-strategy/working-with-local-communities/community-noise-forum

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Meeting papers for the two most recent meetings:

Noise modelling (2.5MB PDF)

Meeting 4 –     8 July 2015

Meeting notes

8 July 2015 (316KB PDF)

Presentations

CAA – Airspace regulation (4MB PDF)

Heathrow – A380 introduction (502KB PDF)

BA – Take-off profiles (630KB PDF)

CAA – A380 noise levels (315KB PDF)

Heathrow – Steeper approach trial (1MB PDF)

Meeting 5 –     14 September 2015

Meeting notes

14 September 2015 (298KB PDF)

Presentations

NLR – Data verification (1MB PDF)

Initial data analysis (6MB PDF)

Noise impacts – trial reports (2MB PDF)

Teddington and Twickenham data analysis (13MB PDF)

 

 

Read more »

Top Civil Servant, Sir Jeremy Heywood, ‘warned ministers not to comment’ on Heathrow runway issue before conference

It appears that the whole issue of building a new runway is so fraught that the UK’s most senior civil servant, Sir Jeremy Heywood, wrote to government ministers in the run up to the party conference season, warning them against speaking out about it. Sir Jeremy’s email said Ministers could repeat statements they had made before the report was published on 1st July, but urged them to keep quiet now. It was received by some with deep irritation. Laura Kuenssberg (BBC) said a cabinet minister told her it was “unprecedented”. The Cabinet Office said they would not comment on leaked documents, but the anxieties in government are real and are twofold. (1). There are concerns over any comments making the final decision more vulnerable to a legal challenge – tying up the decision in the courts for years to come. (2).There is significant political opposition around the cabinet table, including from Boris Johnson. Theresa May would not comment on the leak, but told the BBC that the story was a “mountain out of a molehill”. The PM and the chancellor have promised to make a decision by Christmas, but that promise won’t be easy to keep. Though AirportWatch and the Aviation Environment Federation did have a stall at the Conservative conference, there were difficulties in getting it approved.

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Heathrow third runway: civil service chief ‘warned ministers not to comment’

Sir Jeremy Heywood’s intervention appears to reflect concerns that ministers’ remarks could make final decision vulnerable to legal challenge

Artist’s impression of how Heathrow could look with a third runway. The government is due to deliver its formal response before Christmas to the commission’s recommendation to construct a third runway.
Artist’s impression of how Heathrow could look with a third runway. The government is due to deliver its formal response before Christmas to the commission’s recommendation to construct a third runway. Photograph: Heathrow Airport/PA

 

Britain’s most senior civil servant warned ministers not to speak out publicly over proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow before the Conservative party conference, it has been reported.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, wrote to ministers in the runup to the party conference season to caution them about commenting in public on the issue, according to the BBC.

In his email, Heywood is said to have told them that while they could repeat statements made before the Airports Commission issued its final report in July, they should refrain from further comment.

His intervention would appear to reflect concerns that remarks by ministers could make the final decision vulnerable to a legal challenge.

Theresa May would not comment on the leak, but told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday that the story was a “mountain out of a molehill”.

The home secretary said it was correct that ministers should not be interfering in the decision on a third runway at Heathrow by making public comments.

The commission’s report – recommending the construction of a third runway – is highly controversial, with a number of ministers such as development secretary Justine Greening strongly opposed to the plan, as is the mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Johnson, who is an MP but not a minister, did not refrain from commenting on Heathrow. He used his speech at the Conservative party conference to say: “If we are going to build new airport capacity, let’s not bodge it with one runway in the wrong place in a short-termist and environmentally disastrous solution.”

The government has said that it will deliver its formal response to the commission before Christmas.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/19/heathrow-third-runway-civil-service-chief-warned-ministers-not-to-comment

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Also

However Labour MP Andy Slaughter, whose Hammersmith constituency lies under the Heathrow flight path, said it was “disgraceful” that ministers with constituencies directly affected by the decision were barred from speaking out.

“This is going to be subject, if Heathrow does get approval, to ligation over a number of years anyway. It is going to be judicially reviewed,” he told the Today programme.

“Cabinet ministers have been muzzled on this. I think it is disgraceful that they can’t speak up on behalf of their constituents.

“There is so much pressure coming from (Chancellor) George Osborne and others within the Government to go for Heathrow. I think that they just want to bulldoze the proposal through.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/aviation/11939974/Ministers-told-to-keep-quiet-on-Heathrow-expansion.html

and 

Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed that ministers were avoiding public comment on the issue but defended the stance.

“This is an important decision and it is right that Cabinet ministers are not speaking about it publicly until the decision is taken,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“It is absolutely right that Cabinet ministers do not say anything that could prejudice the decision that is taken and lead to judicial review.”

Bracknell MP Phillip Lee was this evening due to tell a Commons debate that Heathrow should expand but that local communities should be given far better noise insulation and other mitigation measures.

Lord True, Tory leader of Richmond council, was also critical of Sir Jeremy’s intervention.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/sir-jeremy-heywood-accused-of-muzzling-cabinet-ministers-over-airport-expansion-a3093706.html


 

Heathrow Airport expansion: A ‘toxic dilemma for ministers’

“Toxic” is how one minister described the government’s dilemma over Heathrow.

In fact, the whole issue is so fraught that the country’s most senior civil servant, Sir Jeremy Heywood, wrote to government ministers in the run up to the politically-charged conference season, warning them against speaking out.

Sir Jeremy’s email said they could repeat statements they had made before the report was published in July, but urged them to keep quiet now.

It was received by some with deep irritation.

Map showing proposed new runway at Heathrow

One cabinet minister told me it was “unprecedented”. Other ministers believe the letter illustrates the political sensitivity of the decision.

The Cabinet Office said they would not comment on leaked documents, but the anxieties in government are real and are twofold.

There are concerns over any comments making the final decision more vulnerable to a legal challenge – tying up the decision in the courts for years to come.

And there is significant political opposition around the cabinet table, including from the London Mayor, Boris Johnson.

Decades of dithering

He, along with others, is all too ready to remind David Cameron of his own vow in 2009, “no ifs, no buts”, ruling out a third runway at Heathrow.

But the business community is eager for a decision to be made, after decades of political dithering.

And the government, particularly the chancellor, have made big promises about pushing ahead with big infrastructure decisions, even citing the Airports Commission as an example of how the case for major projects should be independently made.

But resistance to Heathrow is passionate and powerful. The prime minister and the chancellor have promised to make a decision by Christmas, but that promise won’t be easy to keep.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34568530

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Though AirportWatch and the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) had a stall at the Conservative Party Conference, earlier in October, they had considerable difficulty in getting this permitted. After an initial acceptance of the booking, the conference organisers then said it would not be possible for the stall to be at the conference. No reason was given.  Several weeks later, and after the intervention of several MPs, the stall was given permission. However, passes were only sent out two days before the conference, and John Stewart (Chair of Hacan) was refused a pass, on the day before the conference – leaving no time to appeal. This makes more sense, now this comment by Sir Jeremy Heywood, has been revealed.


 

Major airports in selected European countries

Passenger numbers and runway layout 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/datablog/2015/jul/02/heathrow-two-runways-other-airports-europe-compare

 

Read more »

David Cameron reminded of his “No its, no buts, no 3rd runway” pledge on its 6th anniversary

On Monday 19th October, Heathrow campaigners parked a replica plane outside Downing St to mark the 6th anniversary of Prime Ministers ‘No ifs, no buts, no 3rd runway’ speech.  On 19th October 2009 David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, made his now famous promise in a speech at a rally in Christ School in Richmond.  When the Coalition Government came to power in 2010 it ruled out any new runways for the duration of that Parliament.  But in 2012 it set up the Airports Commission, under Sir Howard Davies, to look at the case for new runways. In July this year the Commission recommended a third runway at Heathrow.  The Prime Minister is expected to announce before the end of the year whether he accepts that decision. Margaret Thorburn, spokesperson for the campaigners said, “Today’s colourful stunt is a visible reminder to David Cameron of the promise he made on this day six years ago.  If he breaks it, he will not be forgiven by tens of thousands of people in and around London and countless environmentalists across the country.”
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No ifs Downing St

The plane “parked” at the entrance of Downing Street

No ifs

The plane “parked” outside Parliament on College green.

 

 

Report of the original speech

http://www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/4694685.David_Cameron___No_third_runway___no_ifs__no_buts_/

 

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