Simon Baugh, who is currently director of PR at Heathrow Airport, is moving to the DfT to take up the role of group director of comms. He takes up the new job on 30th March. Baugh said: “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be joining the team or to be promoting the role that transport plays in driving UK economic growth.” He has been overseeing PR at Heathrow, which included the launch in late 2013 of Back Heathrow, a ‘grassroots’ (astoturfing – deeply controversial) campaign. On 20th February Zac Goldsmith put a written question in Parliament: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recruitment process was used when hiring Simon Baugh, Group Director of Communications for his Department; and what role Mr Baugh will have in his Department after the Airports Commission has made its recommendation on airport expansion in the South East.” Reply by DfT spokesperson: “As Mr Baugh was previously employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd, he will not be involved in advising Ministers on issues relating to the work of the Airports Commission for the 6 months following his appointment, which starts on 30 March 2015.” ie. the Commission may report at the end of June, and Simon Baugh can start briefing etc by 30th September.
Department for Transport hires Heathrow PR director Simon Baugh
3.2.2015 (PR Week)
by Anna Reynolds
Simon Baugh, director of PR at Heathrow Airport, is moving to the Department for Transport to take up the role of group director of comms.
Simon Baugh: Director of media and PR at Heathrow Airport is moving to DfT
Baugh, who has been at Heathrow for four years, will start in his new role on 30 March.
He is replacing Vickie Sheriff, who moved to Diageo last year to become global comms director. Scot Marchbank has been covering the position on an interim basis.
Baugh was previously director of airport comms at BAA.
Baugh said: “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be joining the team or to be promoting the role that transport plays in driving UK economic growth.”
He has been overseeing PR at Heathrow as the debate on expansion and capacity has intensified. This has included the launch in late 2013 of Back Heathrow, a ‘grassroots’ campaign aimed at garnering more support for expanding the airport.
More on Revolving Door below
Simon Baugh: Written question – 224679
Q Asked by Zac Goldsmith (MP for Richmond Park)
Asked on: 20 February 2015
Department for Transport Simon Baugh 224679
“To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recruitment process was used when hiring Simon Baugh, Group Director of Communications for his Department; and what role Mr Baugh will have in his Department after the Airports Commission has made its recommendation on airport expansion in the South East.”
A Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 26 February 2015
“The recruitment process for this role followed the legal principle that a person’s selection must be on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The process was overseen at all stages by a Civil Service Commissioner and managed by executive search firm Odgers Berndston. The role was advertised nationally in September 2014, and the process that then followed comprised longlisting, shortlisting, psychometric testing and final interviews by a panel. The panel was chaired by the Civil Service Commissioner and otherwise comprised Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Transport; Alex Aitken, Executive Director of Government Communications, Cabinet Office; David Prout, Director General, High Speed Rail, Department for Transport; and Alison Rumsey, Group HR Director, Department for Transport. Prior to final panel interviews the shortlisted candidates met the Permanent Secretary and the Secretary of State for conversations in which the candidates had the opportunity to ask questions about the Department. The meetings with the Secretary of State were observed by representatives from the Civil Service Commissioner’s office in line with Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles. As Mr Baugh was previously employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd, he will not be involved in advising Ministers on issues relating to the work of the Airports Commission for the 6 months following his appointment, which starts on 30 March 2015.” [AW highlighting]
“In politics, the “revolving door” is a movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and the industries affected by the legislation and regulation.[note 1]
“In some cases the roles are performed in sequence but in certain circumstances may be performed at the same time. Political analysts claim that an unhealthy relationship can develop between the private sector and government, based on the granting of reciprocated privileges to the detriment of the nation and can lead to regulatory capture.
“The “revolving door” between the DfT and the aviation industry is well known, and the movement of staff between the two has been going on for years.”
The quote below is from Wikipedia:
“The aviation sector has close links with political decision makers which many players moving between roles through the controversial ‘revolving door‘. For example: Joe Irvin was advisor to John Prescott from 1996 and 2001 (Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions as well as Deputy Prime Minister) before working for various element of the aviation lobby and becoming head of corporate affairs at BAA in 2006 before he became ‘Special Advisor’ to Gordon Brown in 2007 when he became prime minister. He was succeeded at BAA by Tom Kelly who took the title ‘group director of corporate and public affairs’; Kelly had previously been the official spokesman for Tony Blair when he was prime minister.
Freedom to Fly was formed during the preparation phase of the “Future of Aviation white paper 2003” by BAA and others It was ‘fronted’ by Joe Irvin, a former political adviser to John Prescott who subsequently became Director of Public Affairs at BAA Limited Their director, Dan Hodges, is the son of Glenda Jackson, Labour MP and former Aviation Minister.“
“In March 2009 senior MPs demanded a Commons investigation into evidence of a “revolving door” policy between Downing Street, Whitehall and BAA Limited”
Maria Eagle (Labour’s then Shadow Transport Secretary) said of the DfT in 2011:
“….I am sorry that the government has not learnt from our own mistake – and I do believe it was a big mistake – to see the Department for Transport as a revolving door department. It’s bad for the sector. It’s bad for good governance.”
Read more »
Gatwick Airport’s figures on noise complaints are no longer of much use, as they do not publicly report the full numbers. The airport changed the system to only record one complaint per person per day, no matter how many complaints about separate flights they may make. Gatwick says they have introduced this system because people can use phone Apps to make multiple complaints. Gatwick is being urged to record separately the number of people making complaints; the number of total complaints when only one-a-day is counted; and the total number of complaints (including number of planes). At the recent noise seminar held by Gatwick airport on 4th March, Tom Denton (Gatwick’s Head of Corporate Responsibility) said, when questioned about the decision by GAL to only record one complaint, per person, per day that this has been the case for the last “2 – 3 years”. The wording on the GAL website was changed, to show one complaint only per day, in August 2014. Tom Denton says – incorrectly – that this is the practice at other airports like Heathrow. Heathrow records “enquiries” (number of planes complained about), and “contacts” (number of complaint contacts/forms submitted), and “caller” (number of people). Every complaint, unless there are many on one form/email, is counted by Heathrow, even if several per day. But not by Gatwick – meaning complaint figures are not comparable. Gatwick’s are artificially low.
Too many complaints – solution, Gatwick Airport are to fiddle the figures!
8.3.2015 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
“For years residents have had to endure the frustration of an answerphone listening to their aircraft noise complaints, even Heathrow Airport have human beings answering the noise complaint lines, but now Gatwick have seized upon a new way of logging complaints: they will only record one a day,” said Brendon Sewill, GACC Chairman.
In 2013 Gatwick Airport introduced new flight paths. The result was a six-fold increase in the number of complaints, up from 2,696 to 16,910 in the latest twelve months.
So Gatwick has hit on an ingenious solution. If a person complains more than once a day -only count it as one complaint!
According to Brendon: “The new departure flight paths have been narrowed so that people underneath are suffering a constant stream of aircraft overhead. Some of the complaints which are copied to us are heart-rending. People who had chosen to live in a quiet rural location have suddenly found their peace shattered by a constant stream of whining aircraft overhead. Some are on the verge of despair. Others are having to contemplate moving house, suffering a loss of many thousands of pounds.”
“The constant roar of aircraft starts at 5.00 am and continues until 11.00 pm. Every aircraft that goes over is a source of annoyance. Yet people are to be ‘forbidden’ to complain more than once a day!”
Gatwick Airport say they are introducing the new system because some people have taken to using a phone App to automatically record a complaint about each aircraft. Yet the only quoted instance of that happening was at Heathrow.
Even if true, the answer should be to publish three sets of figures:
– the number of people making complaints (as published at present);
– the number on the one-a-day basis;
– and the total number of complaints.
But in fact the Gatwick excuse won’t wash. In the past year the number of people complaining has also risen six-fold, from 535 to 3,285, showing that the average number of complaints per head has not increased.
A few years ago Gatwick took an elderly lady to court for complaining too often, and the case was thrown out. Now they have found an easier solution: don’t reply to people who complain often, and keep the number of complaints secret.
But as Sewill added: “fiddling the figures will only make people more angry.”
Gatwick’s POLICY ON HANDLING AIRCRAFT NOISE COMPLAINTS
(as amended in August 2014)
Heathrow’s POLICY ON HANDLING AIRCRAFT NOISE COMPLAINTS
What are the true figures?
Below is the table of noise monitoring indicators, for the 3rd quarter of 2014. This slide was also shown at the Gatwick Airspace seminar for local residents, held on 4th March.
But what do the figures actually mean? When were they changed? How many complaints are no longer being recorded? Gatwick claims every complaint is still being logged – but just not put in to the official figures.
Gatwick Airport – Flight Performance Report – Q3 Data 2014
This table shows that the number of noise complaints per caller was:
– 8.1 in 2006
– 7.8 in 2011
…….. (then a change…)
– 5.0 in 2013
– 5.1 in 2014
Other Gatwick Airport Flight Performance Team publications here
By contrast, Heathrow records:
Complaints – Number of Enquiries
Complaints – Number of Contacts
Complaints – Number of Callers
[Caller = person (“A caller is a person who contacts the FEU (either through telephone, e-mail, written letter or website).”)
Contact = number of times (“A contact is the number of times that a caller contacts the FEU (Flight Evaluation Unit).”)
Enquiries = number of issues (“An enquiry is number of issues reported by the caller during a single contact”) ie. how many flights a caller complains about in one complaint form ]
From Heathrow glossary ….
Heathrow Airport’s website on noise complaints states:
“All complaints made by email or through our online webform, will automatically receive a complaint reference number. The reference number will be sent automatically via email. All complaints by phone, voicemail, or letter will be registered and a complaint reference number will be provided on request.
“Where complaints are made about multiple aircraft events within one email or webform, only one complaint reference will be provided and this will be recorded as one complaint. Complaints about separate aircraft events should be made using separate emails or webforms if residents wish these to be recorded as multiple complaints.”
“All complaints made to the Community Relations team are reported daily on our Heathrow operational data website (see www.heathrowoperationaldata.com); in the airport’s quarterly Flight Performance Reports (available at Heathrow.com/noise); and to the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (www.hacc.org.uk).”
However, as with Gatwick, it is not made clear whether the number of callers regards one person who complains once during a year/quarter, and one person who complains 50 times over that period, as equally being “one person.”
Heathrow Airport’s Cheryl Monk (Head of Community Relations and Policy) has said:
“We count every complaint now that we have better software. Previously we had a policy that only applied to a handful of people who made hundreds of complaints a day and because they had to be manually logged, we had a policy whereby we recorded one complaint for every day they complained. Now we count every single email, webform, phonecall or voicemail regardless of how many they send each day. This is the link to our complaints policy.
“The relevant bit is this
Complaint reference numbers
“All complaints made by email or through our online webform, will be recorded and a complaint reference number will be sent automatically via email. All complaints by phone, voicemail, or letter will be recorded and a complaint reference number will be provided on request.
“Where complaints are made about multiple aircraft events within one email or webform, only one complaint will be recorded. Complaints about separate aircraft events should be made using separate emails or webforms if residents wish these to be recorded as multiple complaints.”
Read more »
Over 30 polar bears invaded Heathrow’s recently opened Terminal Two in a protest against plans for a 3rd runway. In a lively flash-mob, the polar bears hung up banners, played in the terminal and danced to music produced by sound systems. They were watched by somewhat bemused travellers …….The action, which started on the dot of 11am, lasted about 30 minutes. No arrests were made, as the protesters left of their own accord. The direct action network Plane Stupid is thought to have been behind the protest which was timed to coincide with the big “Time to Act” climate change march that took place in central London at lunchtime. Many of the polar bears travelled to Westminster, to take part in the march. The building of a new south east runway, whether at Heathrow or at Gatwick, would mean that UK aviation carbon targets would be breached (the Airports Commission is aware of this) and UK carbon targets would also be at risk. To permit expansion of aviation CO2 emissions, all other sectors have to make cuts of over 85% – even 90% – in their carbon emissions. Otherwise the UK would not meet its legally binding carbon target for 2050. A Plane Stupid spokesperson said: “If the Government is serious about tackling climate change, it should not even be thinking about a third runway at Heathrow.”
Polar Bears invade Heathrow Terminal Two
Great video of the dancing etc too – here
On Saturday over 30 polar bears invaded Heathrow’s recently opened Terminal Two in a protest against the third runway. The bears hung banners, played in the terminal and danced to sound systems. The action, which started on the dot of 11am, lasted about 30 minutes. No arrests were made as the protesters left of their own accord.
The direct action network Plane Stupid is thought to have been behind the protest which was timed to coincide with the big climate change march that took place in London yesterday.
“Rob Gray” from Plane Stupid said, “If the Government is serious about tackling climate change, it should not even be thinking about a third runway at Heathrow.”
John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the anti-third runway campaign group, which was alerted to the protest, said, “Plane Stupid played a famous role in defeating the third runway last time round. This action is a warning that the direct action protesters will be out in force again if a new runway is given the green light.”
One of the polar bears, interviewed after the event, commented:
As well as about 30 bears, there was someone dressed as a pilot who unfortunately got attacked by bears! There was lots of chanting “No Third Runway” etc and banners. A couple of polar bears tried to display a banner over the balcony of a café but this was rapidly taken down by staff – who were definitely not amused! There were mixed reactions from other airport staff. One security woman would have liked to cart us all off to the Tower. Other airport staff thought it amusing and took photos of the flashmob, as did many real tourists. As well as the bears (many of whom were young bears) having great fun, there was a deep sense of commitment and determination – and very real concerns about the climate impacts of a new runway.
Many of the polar bears then made their way , on public transport, to take part in the Climate March taking place in central London.
Strong “No New Runways” bloc gets its message across at the London Time To Act Climate March
The huge “Time To Act” on Climate Change march was held in London on Saturday 7th March. There was a good turnout, described by some as “over 5,000″ and by others as nearer 20,000 (numbers are always hard to be accurate on). The “No New Runways” bloc had a good attendance, from Gatwick and from Heathrow opposition groups, as well as many individuals. Gatwick protesters from CAGNE wore pantomime devil horns, and T-shirts with the logo “Gatwick, Neighbour From Hell.” Many people who stand to lose their homes, to be bulldozed for a new Heathrow runway, too part. The AirportWatch banner read “No New Runways”, and another” Aviation Expansion = Climate Threat. The runway bloc were with others in the transport bloc, and marched from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Parliament, where the speeches took place. During the speeches John McDonnell (the MP for Hayes and Harlington, which the Heathrow north west runway would wipe out) spoke of the need for climate action, not least to oppose a new runway – digging up the village of Harmondsworth. He described the level of protest and direct action that would happen, if the north west runway was recommended, as unprecedented and the “mother of” all environmental battles. The aim of the march is to put pressure on political parties before the general election, and raise the profile of climate change ahead of crucial climate talks in Paris in December.
Read more »
That was the message of a cross-party rally staged by the campaign group HACAN in central London on March 3rd.
Politicians from across the political spectrum lined up with environmental chiefs, local authority leaders, businessmen and trade union leaders to pledge opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.
Hundreds of people from London and the South East, including many whose homes are threatened by a new runway, filled the hall.
Twickenham MP Vince Cable made it clear that Liberal Democrat policy remained one of total opposition to a third runway. He said there was no sound economic reason why Heathrow needed to expand.
John McDonnell, the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, thousands of whose constituents are facing the loss of their homes, predicted that any decision to go-ahead with a new runway would result in the biggest direct action environmental protest in Europe.
Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith spelt out the impact of another 250,000 planes a year on local communities.
HACAN chair John Stewart said: “The rally sent a loud and clear message to the next Government: build a new runway at your peril. The coalition which saw it off last time round is still alive, well and fighting.”
The Airports Commission which is looking into the case for a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick is expected to make its recommendation towards the end of June. The next Government will need to decide whether or not to accept that recommendation.
HACAN campaigns to stop further expansion of Heathrow and to cut the noise people hear from the existing airport. Find out more here.
Vince Cable tweeted:
Support came from across London
The speakers included:
VINCE CABLE MP Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
NATALIE BENNETT leader Green Party
STEVEN NORRIS former Conservative transport minister
JOHN SAUVEN chief executive Greenpeace
ANDY ATKINS chief executive Friends of the Earth
RAVI GOVINDIA leader Wandsworth Council
CHRIS BAUGH Assistant General Secretary PCS union
JILL SEYMOUR MEP UKIP’s national transport spokesman (unable to attend, so replaced by Cliff Dixon )
CAROLINE PIDGEON Liberal Democrat leader Greater London Assembly
CHRISTIAN WOLMAR Labour mayoral candidate
Zac Goldsmith MP
John McDonnell MP
John Randall MP
Mary Macleod MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Cross party Heathrow opposition on display at runway rally
Many of the speakers at the event organised by HACAN highlighted the inconsistency between building additional airport capacity and meeting climate change commitments, which is detailed in our policy brief here. There was also widespread recognition of the challenge for Heathrow Airport of meeting EU air quality limits with modelling recently published by Government revealing that the area around Heathrow is unlikely to be within the limits before 2030 even without a third runway. Our air pollution briefing is available here.
Conservative MPs Zac Goldsmith, Adam Afriyie, Mary Macleod and John Randall, as well as former transport minister Stephen Norris, all stated their opposition to Heathrow expansion, as did Labour MPs Andy Slaughter and John McDonnell, and Mayoral Candidate Christian Wolmar.
Vince Cable MP, speaking on behalf of his constituency and the Liberal Democrat party reiterated the party’s opposition to a new runway anywhere in South East England.London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon also spoke at the event, emphasising the near total opposition of the London Assembly to Heathrow expansion.
Cliff Dixon, UKIP parliamentary candidate for Hayes and Harlington, stated UKIP’s opposition to a third runway at Heathrow and proposed using available capacity at other London and South East airports as the solution.
Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, emphasised the party’s opposition to increasing airport capacity in the UK.
Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of the PCS Union, stated the need to oppose the unabated expansion of an industry as carbon intensive as air travel. In 2013, PCS published areport on aviation which highlighted the need to “to protect jobs with a more environmentally-friendly policy towards unchecked expansionism”. PCS has also recently published an updated booklet, available here.
This Saturday (7/3/15) there is a protest march taking place on climate change and there will be a section devoted to the “no new runways” message. Details are available here.
Adam Afriyie blasts Heathrow expansion plans at huge rally
“The breadth of speakers from all major political parties at the Rally against the Third Runway shows that Heathrow’s plans are completely politically undeliverable.
“Airport expansion is essential for the trading future of the country. But Heathrow is not the answer.
“Heathrow will cost the taxpayer tens of billions, disrupt millions of residents’ lives with huge increases in noise and pollution, lead to congestion and entrench its position in the aviation market.
“We need a long term solution to our aviation capacity needs and a third runway at Heathrow would be no more than a short-term sticking plaster.
“Heathrow expansion would only help Heathrow and its shareholders, not the country. I will continue to fight tooth and nail against this ill-advised plan to the end.”
Read more »
The American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s new air traffic control system NextGen is causing considerable upset in parts of the USA, in the same way that precision navigation that is being promoted by the CAA is in the UK. The overhaul of airspace and flight paths in the USA is intended to save airlines fuel and time. But the new routes are causing misery to the people who now find themselves, unexpectedly and with no warning, under them. One resident, in Phoenix, said: “If you can imagine yourself at an air show, that’s what it would sound like.” Planes sometimes every 30 seconds for hours at a time. “Am I angry? Absolutely. I’m furious.” In Phoenix planes now fly low over heavily populated neighbourhoods. The Mayor said the FAA did not hold a single public hearing notifying neighbours of the change, nor did the agency ever meet with him. The Mayor commented: “I think that the choice that was made to have such a disproportionate impact over such a small number of people is really fundamentally unfair and unacceptable.” A 2012 Congressional FAA authorization bill fast-tracked the roll out of NextGen by exempting it from normal environmental impact reviews and public hearings. NextGen is also causing problems for people at JFK and LaGuardia airports.
FAA’s new air traffic control system NextGen causing major noise pollution
See the 4 minute video clip about the situation, and what people want done about it.
America’s antiquated air traffic control system is getting an upgrade.
30.1.2015 (CBS News)
The overhaul is designed to keep up with increasing air travel and the push for on-time flights. But parts of the country, including the area hosting Super Bowl XLIX, are paying a steep price for progress, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.
Nicole Marquez just moved her bedroom into the middle of her house and put Plexiglas on all of her windows. She lives in Phoenix, so it’s not to keep the heat in, but rather to keep the noise out.
“If you can imagine yourself at an air show, that’s what it would sound like,” Marquez said.
She said there is a constant barrage of airplanes flying over her home in a historic neighborhood near downtown Phoenix — every 30 seconds for hours at a time.
“You’re going to rip your hair out. 6 o’ clock in the evening, you’re ripping your hair out trying to eat dinner,” Marquez said. “Am I angry? Absolutely. I’m furious.”
This is the unintended consequence of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). It uses satellites instead of old-fashioned radar to guide airplanes. This allows for more planes in the air, safely spaced closer together, and burning less fuel because their flight paths are more direct.
But in Phoenix, that change mean planes that used to take off and turn nine miles out now make that turn at two to three miles, flying low over heavily populated neighborhoods. Noise complaints have taken off too, soaring from 221 in all of 2013 to more than 3,300 in just the past four months since the flight paths were changed.
Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, said the FAA did not hold a single public hearing notifying neighbors of the change, nor did the agency ever meet with him. The FAA said it did notify the airport as far back as 2012.
Stanton said he feels blind-sided by the FAA.
“I think that the choice that was made to have such a disproportionate impact over such a small number of people is really fundamentally unfair and unacceptable,” he said.
A 2012 Congressional FAA authorization bill fast-tracked the roll out of NextGen by exempting it from normal environmental impact reviews and public hearings. The FAA declined CBS News’ request for an interview.
“It’s the Federal Aviation Administration, not the federal arrogance administration,” New York Congressman Steve Israel said.
He said NextGen is also causing problems for people in the Northeast as flight paths at JFK and LaGuardia airports are also changing. He wants the FAA to start meeting homeowners as it rolls out NextGen across the country through 2025.
“I’m not asking for NextGen to be rolled back. I’m not asking for it to be reduced. I’m asking for the FAA to be sensitive to community concerns and ensure that not one community bears the noise, but that there’s a fair and common sense distribution in the vicinity of airports,” Israel said.
Nicole Marquez said NextGen may be good for the country and the airline industry, but the pain should be shared.
“I don’t think that the airlines should be able to bank on other people’s misery,” she said.
Residents in Auckland, New Zealand, fighting the noise nuisance of planes over the city
People in Auckland New Zealand, are fighting the nuisance of aircraft noise, which has become a serious problem in recent years. The airport is close to the city, and aircraft frequently use flight paths over densely populated areas, as they turn either when landing or taking off. The problem has been made worse in the past year, because concentrated flight paths are being used, in the same way that is happening in UK, Europe, USA and everywhere. The concentrated routes are causing a lot of anger and distress. The local group is Auckland: The Plane Truth (ATPT), working hard to restore some peace and quiet for Auckland residents. ATPT says: “At the least, the noise is physically and emotionally taxing: at the worst, unbearable. Unable to cope, some residents have been forced to move house or to take medication for depression and anxiety, and so they can sleep.” There is a petition, asking for a curfew at night, between 10pm and 7am because of the recent changes to flight procedures over Auckland, and the planned significant increases in traffic through Auckland Airport. The type of houses in Auckland, have weatherboard with tin roofing and single glazing. These are difficult to insulate against noise, exacerbating the problem.
Residents and city officials in Palo Alto area gear up to fight increased San Francisco aircraft noise
People in Palo Alto, California, (about 40 km south east of San Francisco) and surrounding areas have become increasingly concerned about the recent increase in aircraft noise. As for so many areas in Europe, they are being subjected to more concentrated flight paths, as the FAA works to make airspace more efficient, in their programme called NextGen (Next Generation Air Transportation System). People are getting together to oppose the changes, which have significantly increased the perceived noise for many people since NextGen was started across the Bay Area. “Citizens’ groups are springing up along the Midpeninsula with the support of their city governments.” “The NextGen changes have alarmed communities across the nation where the program has rolled out. Starting in June 2012 over Queens, New York, planes began flying at low altitudes every 20 seconds to a minute from 6 am to midnight….” The SFO Community Roundtable addresses airport noise issues and represents every major city in San Mateo County, just south of San Francisco. There are also concerns that FAA is freeing up airspace, by flight path concentration, for drones that may have economic benefits.
Read more »
Dear Mr Wingate. On weekdays my alarm is normally set for 06:40 am. At 05:52 today one of your metal gods tore through the sky above my house and woke my entire family. This happens on a daily basis now and more often than not earlier than this. One child in tears, a wife in despair and I, with an ever growing sense of rage and contempt towards your airport. I also understand that the narrow and concentrated flight path which you began in 2013 may have wiped £XX,000 off the value of my house, for which I paid a hefty premium to live in a quiet Tudor village. If you do not understand or appreciate the horror your concentrated narrow flight path has created, it is time someone made you wake up to it. My family, my neighbours and I have had enough, Mr Wingate. You should act on this email and the thousands of other similar letter you have received, and revert to multiple broad flight paths arriving at Gatwick. This needs to be done sooner rather than later….. The actions of a private company (Gatwick Airport) should not be bringing about emotional and financial ruin for thousands of people. And this is precisely what is happening. Imagine if Jaguar Land Rover built a testing track next to their factory without any kind of permission which generated this amount of noise and ran it from before 6am to 12pm incessantly, every day. Would that be permitted to carry on?
Screen shot of the plane flying over Chiddingstone at 5.52am on 3.3.2015 – with details added to identify the flight. http://flighttracking.casper.aero/lgw/
Letter to Stewart Wingate:
Dear Mr Wingate
On weekdays my alarm is normally set for 06:40 am.
At 05:52 today one of your metal gods tore through the sky above my house and woke my entire family. This happens on a daily basis now and more often than not earlier than this. I have had enough.
One child in tears, a wife in despair and I, with an ever growing sense of rage and contempt towards your airport.
I also understand that the narrow and concentrated flight path which you began in 2013 may have wiped £XX,000 off the value of my house, for which I paid a hefty premium to live in a quiet Tudor village.
If you do not understand or appreciate the horror your concentrated narrow flight path has created, it is time someone made you wake up to it.
My family, my neighbours and I have had enough, Mr Wingate.
You should act on this email and the thousands of other similar letter you have received, and revert to multiple broad flight paths arriving at Gatwick. This needs to be done sooner rather than later.
This aircraft noise victim has also written to his MP, Sir John Stanley to say:
Dear Sir John,
We should not have to write emails like the one below – and innumerable emails at that.
The actions of a private company (Gatwick Airport) should not be bringing about emotional and financial ruin for thousands of people. And this is precisely what is happening.
Imagine if Jaguar Land Rover built a testing track next to their factory without any kind of permission which generated this amount of noise and ran it from before 6am to 12pm incessantly, every day. Would that be permitted to carry on?
I don’t really know what else to say, other than I am drifting into a state of despair and desperate people do desperate things.
I will not let this man and his foreign company steal my family’s quality of life. It is theft, plain and simple.
I know you are doing all you can to help, and it is greatly appreciated.
However, if I feel like this, and I consider myself a pretty stable and lucky individual, imagine how many other of your constituents must be feeling.
This is a genuine catastrophe in waiting with seemingly no senior Governmental support or understanding of the real situation.
This noise bombardment has to stop. West Kent cannot take another Spring/Summer of this.
I urge you to elevate this to the very highest level please.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Read more »
On 22nd January, Runnymede Borough Council voted against a Heathrow 3rd runway. They have previously been supportive. However, Councillor Furey (also a Surrey County Councillor) has put down a motion for discussion at a Council meeting on 5th March, to reverse that position. The motion states: “This Council reconsiders the current policy to support Gatwick Airport expansion at the expense of Heathrow. I call on Members to consider the economic and social benefits that could be derived from a third runway and the harmful impact of undermining Heathrow’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub. Members are asked to support reconsideration of the recent policy change and restore support for Heathrow expansion, subject to suitable noise, transport and infrastructural mitigation.” Local campaigners are dismayed by this attempt to reverse the runway decision, after such a short time. They do not believe the somewhat nebulous claims of ‘social and economic’ benefits of Heathrow expansion. No local councillor has been able to adequately quantify or qualify what exactly these benefits are for local residents. Residents of Runnymede are urged to attend the Council meeting on 5th March at 7.30pm at the Civic Centre, Addlestone.
Runnymede document here
NOTICE OF MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR J R FUREY
Motion to be moved by Councillor J R Furey:
“This Council reconsiders the current policy to support Gatwick Airport expansion at the expense of Heathrow. I call on Members to consider the economic and social benefits that could be derived from a third runway and the harmful impact of undermining Heathrow’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub.
“Members are asked to support reconsideration of the recent policy change and restore support for Heathrow expansion, subject to suitable noise, transport and infrastructural mitigation.
Your support greatly appreciated.”
The local campaign says:
Local campaigners from the Stop Trial Flight Routes over Englefield Green, are being encouraged to attend the meeting, which will be on
Thursday 5 March 2015 at 7.30pm
in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre, Addlestone.
They say that although this specifically affects those living in Runnymede borough, support from all affected by Heathrow greatly appreciated.
The Englefield Green group was instrumental in getting Runnymede Borough Council (RBC) to overturn its support of Heathrow’s expansion in January this year. Now, unbelievably, Cllr Furey, Addlestone, has tabled a motion to overturn this.
Your attendance and support is – once again – vitally needed at this crucial time.
Some councillors seem determined not to listen to the very sensible arguments put forward against airport expansion – which we heard so clearly articulated by Cllrs Taylor, Kusneraitis, Gilham, Prescott etc at the recent committee meeting that determined RBC’s position.
It is disappointing to note that Cllr Furey cites the ‘social and economic’ benefits of expansion at Heathrow. To date, none of the councillors who trot this line out have been able to quantify or qualify what exactly these benefits are for local residents.
Whereas the disadvantages for those of us in the borough have been clearly laid out (full details can be obtained from the EG response to the Davies Report which you can find on our website www.stopegtrials.com ).
It is also interesting to note that Cllr Furey has – once again – included the word mitigation in his motion. Hiding behind the spurious term of mitigation just is not acceptable when the adverse affects can be clearly seen.
Even the Surrey County Council submission in response to the Davies Report states that any ‘mitigation’ needs to be clearly defined before the council can support expansion. There seems to be considerable disarray amongst some parts of the council.
There remains the fear that the council is prepared to abandon constituents and residents in North Runnymede (Egham, Thorpe) and particularly those who are especially hard-hit in parts of Englefield Green for some nebulous notion of benefit for the greater borough.
Every day more evidence surfaces that calls into question Heathrow’s integrity regarding expansion e.g. The disclosure that £17m has been spent on expansion propaganda; the fact that EU air quality standards will be breached by 2030 – even without a 3rd runway.
That parts of our council are refusing to acknowledge the evidence is of great concern.
We had a packed public gallery in January when this last went to vote – and it was clear that those in attendance were passionately against expansion and backed the committee’s decision.
Please try to attend the full council meeting on Thursday 5th March at 1930 at the RBC offices in Addlestone as, once again, a good attendance is important.
If you can spread the word that would be really helpful. Also, those in the area: please lobby your councillors.
Although we can count on the support of Cllrs Taylor, Prescott and Kusneraitis, it would be helpful to make your views known to e.g. Cllr Meares – and others outside of Englefield Green (in the borough of RBC).
NB for further info on Cllr Furey, a google search will turn up some interesting info [including a drink driving offence, and little interest in the protection of Green Belt land. AW note]..
Runnymede Council drops its support for Heathrow 3rd runway
At a meeting on Thursday 22nd January, Runnymede Borough Council voted against their previous pro-Heathrow expansion stance. Runnymede has became the first council to change from a position of supporting a new runway at Heathrow. A packed public gallery burst into applause when the council’s Corporate Management Committee voted by six votes to three to change the policy. Many of the residents were from areas that had seen an increase in flight numbers during the recent trials by Heathrow. The Committee argued that the environmental downsides outweighed any economic benefits that Runnymede might get from expansion. Unfortunately the council voted instead to back a 2nd runway at Gatwick. The way the Airports Commission process has been conducted, the impression has been given that there will be a runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick. In reality, it is still very much whether there will be any new runway – so not a binary choice. The vote by Runnymede leaves only two councils, Slough and Spelthorne, as fully behind a Heathrow 3rd runway. The Council meeting and the vote came about due to pressure from local groups, such as Englefield Green and Windsor.
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As a protest against the level of aircraft noise that people living near Frankfurt airport are exposed to – especially since the opening of the 4th runway in October 2011 – people have bombarded the home of the airport Chief Executive, Stefan Schulte, with noise. Citizens in a convoy of about 40 cars parked outside his house, in a small town north of Frankfurt,. They set up loudspeakers and ghetto blasters in their cars, and rolled down the car windows in order to blast out noise, at about 80 decibels. That is loudest the police allowed them to use. The noise went on for two hours, with two breaks. The protest was by people living in areas across Rhein-Main who are badly affected by noise from flight paths. The noise they used was of planes, recorded at Niederrad Sachsenhausen, which is an area about 3 km to the north east of the airport. After some time of the noise bombardment, the CEO’s automatic garage door opened, and he set off in his car for work at the airport. One of the protesters commented that they did not understand how Herr Schulte is able to say society must just endure such levels of noise. Asked if the protest had been successful, one protester commented that it had been if the media and more members of the public are aware of the issue.
DEMO IN BAD HOMBURG – full blast of plane noise for Fraport Chief Schulte Fraport CEO Schulte
By ANDREA HERZIG ( fr.online.de)
With megaphones, ghetto blasters or loud cranked up music systems in the cars to make the noise for the protesters in Bad Homburg. Photo: Monika Müller
Imperfect translation from the German below – apologies for any translating errors (blame a combination of Bing and Google translate…)
Noise Noise: citizens’ initiatives have demonstrated noisily in Bad Homburg front of the house of Fraport CEO Schulte. The action lasted for two hours with two breaks.BAD HOMBURG – (which is a little town about 15 km north of Frankfurt)
On Saturday morning, around 40 cars brought noise opponents from across the Rhine-Main area on to outside the town house of Fraport’s CEO Stefan Schulte on the outskirts of Bad Homburg.
The people in the parade of cars rolled the windows down and used megaphones and ghetto blasters to make noise, with the car window open. Many have simply turned up with their cars.From all speakers echoed the same sound: aircraft noise that was recorded from Niederrad Sachsenhausen in Mainz, Germany.
In front of the house of the Fraport boss there was a portable loudspeaker, the size of a moving box. Here the engines roar the loudest. 80 decibels was the loudest the police allowed the protesters to use. Aircraft noise opponent Erwin Stufler from Mainz measured the volume with an app on his smartphone, at 75-81 decibels, on the other side of the road.
He was wearing blue earmuffs. The roaring is continuous and ? deafening. A conversation is only possible if one speaks energetic against the din.
Reiner Franzmann of the Citizens’ Initiative, North Frankfurt Aircraft Noise, announced live in the ? flight time table and the routes: to Krakow, Fuerteventura, St. Petersburg. Stufler displayed ???? in another app. There are also planes flying in the skies above Bad Homburg fly this morning at around 10,000 feet high.
Stefan König from Offenbach has come with his young cousin to Bad Homburg. The teenager and the man in the 30s are photographed with bright yellow placards denouncing the airport – standing in front of Schulte’s doorstep. König has come up recently retrofilled his bedroom window with soundproof glazing. “I must, of course, pay for this myself,” he says, “otherwise I’m woken up every morning by 5 clock”.
On the wall behind König is an inflated plastic airplane, with “Pfuifly” written on it. Behind the entrance gate stirs nothing. Shortly before 8 am, the double garage rolls up and Fraport’s CEO – sitting in a BMW – drives out onto the road and drives off quickly. Noise enemy König does not understand how Schulte in newspaper interviews can say that society must just endure the level of noise.
A few meters further down the road waiting for a neighbor in a car in the luxury class to the parade passes by him. He wants to go to breakfast, “in order to have some peace”. He is sympathetic to the protesters. Lufthansa have economic problems and are putting pressure on Fraport.
Suddenly it’s quiet, and a treat that the birds can be heard again. It is a noise break, says organizer Reiner Franzmann through megaphone. After five minutes, the roaring starts again, the flight noise coming out of the speakers. Many drivers have Ortsschilder parade of cardboard signshanging in the rear window: the names of affected places – Kelsterbach, Nieder-Olm, Mainz-Gustavsburg, Lerchesberg, Oberrad.
The neighbouring houses to that of Schulte with their classy chrome and glass facades only suffer noise of 50 decibels, and only Schulte’s house gets the full blast. Most of the posters on the cars have been already been seen on many demos here before. Salute the “noise break Clowns” Bouffier and Al Wazir with red noses. “Green traitor,” “Aircraft noise makes you sick” is set to another, and “we are not slaves to noise”.
After more than two hours and two noise breaks Franzmann ended the protest. For him, the event is a success if the media and many residents have become aware of the issue. A jogger shakes his head. He did not know the affected villages are suffering noise as loud as that.
Original article in German at
Noise protesters block part of Frankfurt airport for about an hour
Opponents of the noise misery inflicted on them by Frankfurt airport’s 4th runway, there has been a fresh protest at the airport. There have been regular large protests at the airport on most Monday evenings, ever since the opening of the 4th runway on 21.10.2011. On Saturday there was a different sort of protest, when people started off in a similar protest to the Monday evenings, but they then blocked the road access to the departures area for around an hour. That caused considerable disruption to the airport, as departures had to be closed. This is the first protest blocking a road. Before the runway was opened, citizens were barely consulted about the flight paths. Only their local authorities were given any information, and all were assured there would be hardly any more noise. The reality was sharply different, and flight paths were changed to accommodate the new runway, meaning thousands are affected by noise, not only on the direct approach path. One protester commented that as the airport aggravates them for 18 hours per day, they were entitled to aggravate the airport for one hour.
Indignation in Frankfurt at the approval of the 3rd Terminal, for yet more flights and more noise
Frankfurt airport protesters continue their huge gatherings on most Monday evenings (they have a break in the summer, and do vigils instead). There have now been 108 Monday protests and 34 vigils, with around 1,000 at the protests and around 100 at the vigils. After the news that planning had been granted for a 3rd Frankfurt airport terminal, there were far more people than usual at the vigil, with around 500, mobilised by the news. It was “the first Monday after the Tuesday,” and people were deeply angry at the news, and that it had been broken in August, in the holiday period. The terminal enables the airport to grow, with more flights and more passengers. That means more noise misery for the thousands who already find the over-flights unacceptable. Opponents want the right to sleep, which they say is a fundamental right that is destroyed by aircraft noise. It is unacceptable for people to be rudely woken from their sleep at 5am and that they can no longer sit in the garden when the weather is good is described as “a monstrosity”. “We do not want to live like this.” Opponents hope the decision can be reversed, when there is a proper study of the surface transport infrastructure required for a new terminal.
and more news about Frankfurt airport at
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The local paper, Colnbrook Views, reports that despite the possibility that the Airports Commission just might recommend that Heathrow builds a 3rd runway using the Heathrow Hub plan (northern runway extended to the west), DHL are taking the (small?) risk and planning a massive new distribution hub on the run-down Poyle estate, almost in the path of the runway. The application considered at a recent Planning meeting. Colnbrook Views says DHL is moving its headquarters to Poyle, from Hounslow. Property agents acting for DHL have secured a large chunk of the Poyle trading estate, which currently contains 17 partly unoccupied units. The plan is to build a vast 21,373 square metre facility with a 5-storey warehouse and distribution hub, plus HQ. There will be a 24×7 parcel delivery hub, and 60 HGV loading bays plus 585 car parking spaces. And nearly 700 new jobs. DHL acknowledges the risk as well as the benefits of its close proximity to Heathrow. Both its Colnbrook Lakeside and Poyle headquarters will be at risk from both the north-west runway, or the extended northern runway options. DHL’s Board say they have taken the risks into account and “DHL are fully committed to this site as it is ideally located….” They hope the new warehouse will be completed in April 2016.
DHL shrugs off threat from Heathrow Hub to move forward with new Poyle headquarters that will create over 700 new jobs
(Extracts from a long article …)
The regeneration of the run down Poyle Trading Estate has taken a gigantic step forward. Plans by DHL for a major new logistics hub, in spite of the threat from Third Runway proposals, are set to move forward following last week’s meeting of the Planning Committee.
Having secured a large chunk of the Poyle trading estate, property agents acting for DHL look set to embark on an exciting transformation which could deliver a local jobs bonanza. The planning application follows the announcement of a £32 million investment in Colnbrook last July.
The application to redevelop the Poyle 14 Business Park which currently comprises 17 partly unoccupied units – a mixture of office, light industrial and storage and distribution space – will create a mammoth 21,373 SQM new facility for DHL.
The site is to be developed into a 5-storey bespoke warehouse and distribution hub, together with the location for the firm’s UK headquarters. The new hub will be used in addition to existing DHL facilities located at Heathrow and Colnbrook Lakeside, while the existing facility at Orbital Park in Hounslow will close.
The new parcel delivery hub will operate 24 x 7 and cover the south of the UK. It will support 60 HGV loading bays while there will be a total of 585 car parking spaces on the site.
The new facility will see employment generated from the site leap from 140 to 827 with a further 40 part-time jobs at Christmas being created. While existing employees will be entitled to move when the company relocates from Hounslow, DHL says it will take steps to ensure local residents of Slough will be offered any new employment opportunities. As part of an S106 agreement it will provide funds to create a local recruitment partnership through Slough Aspire.
DHL has predicted the new site will create 1,907 vehicle movements a day when it reaches full capacity, but HGVs will be directed to the M25. Access will be improved with a dedicated right-turn slip road from Horton Road. All vehicles accessing the site will enter via Calder Way with the entry gate positioned back from Horton Road to provide room for a number of HGVs to queue without causing traffic to back up. The current Newlands Drive access will be stopped up and the company will also fund a scheme to narrow Poyle Road and Bath Road to prevent its use by freight traffic, enforced by new CCTV.
A landscaping plan has been submitted which the company says will improve the frontage along a large stretch of Horton Road. An air quality assessment submitted with the application concluded that there are no air quality constraints to the proposed development. However, the Council is asking for assurances for the protection of Staines Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), just 200 metres away.
The Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the proposed regeneration, suggesting that it will help to offset the recent loss of major international employers, such as Honda, Citroen and Unilever, where the outcome of “decisions probably made in Tokyo, Paris and Rotterdam” had been felt locally.
DHL finds itself in the curious situation whereby both its Colnbrook Lakeside and Poyle headquarters will be at risk from both the Colnbrook and Poyle Third Runway options. It says:
We are also aware of the proposed Heathrow Hub proposals, which if they were to go ahead then would seek to build a runway over the site. However all these issues were taken into account by DHL at Board Level when agreeing to use this site for the relocation.
Nevertheless the company’s decision to invest heavily in such close proximity to the airport suggests it has a high degree of confidence that expansion locally will proceed:
“DHL are fully committed to this site as it is ideally located to the airport to feed into their Heathrow facility as well as being in very close proximity to the M25.”
The current intention if that the current buildings on the site will be demolished in June and the new warehouse will be completed in April 2016.
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