Gatwick re-hashes its plans to add runway capacity in 4 phases, rather than all at the start

Gatwick are hoping they can get some advantage over Heathrow, by making much of their plans to develop the extra runway capacity in phases – not building all the ancillary infrastructure at the start. This in fact has been their plan for a long time – it is nothing new. The Airports Commission assessed it in 2014.   Gatwick may not be able to secure the necessary funding to build everything at once, and only be able to pay for it over many decades. Gatwick hope to build the runway and basic third terminal in the first phase, costing about £3 billion, by 2025. This would increase capacity to about 63 million passengers, from a maximum now of 45 million. The 2nd and 3rd phases would expand the terminal, build new aircraft gates and fully divert the A23 around the airport. The 4th phase would  be the completion of the terminal and piers, while finishing off taxiways for passenger jets by 2040. The aim would be to add more as passenger numbers build up. The Airports Commission always saw the numbers of passengers rising only slowly at Gatwick, and taking a long time to double (not even taking account of the higher costs to pay for the runway etc, that would be passed to passengers, reducing demand).That does indicate that there is no great pent up demand for a huge number more flights. Let alone business flights to emerging economies.
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Gatwick takes aim at rival with pledge to stagger expansion

Gatwick is set to make a further appeal in the new year

By Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent (Times)

December 17th 2015
Gatwick will open a new front in its campaign to build a second runway by promising to stagger the work over two decades, The Times has learnt. [This is actually nothing new, and was part of Gatwick’s submissions to the Airports Commission, in or before 2014].

Britain’s second-biggest airport will seek to seize the initiative from Heathrow in the new year by pledging to create extra capacity over four phases between 2021 and 2040, as opposed to one large-scale construction project.

The move is intended to soften the blow of a new runway while spreading the costs over a longer period to minimise disruption.

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Sally Pavey, the chairwoman of Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions  (CAGNE), warned that any plan to prolong the work would be “hell” for residents in West Sussex.

Full Times article at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/transport/article4642757.ece

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A comment below the article: 

Gatwick’s hyperactive publicity machine needs to get its story straight.  Before the prospect of a new runway in the South East, Gatwick had “no interest in a 2nd runway”.  When there was a possiblity of a new runway at Heathrow threatening loss of business at Gatwick, it was suddenly urgent to expand at Gatwick to solve its capacity crisis.  Now Gatwick is proposing to expand slowly over the next few decades.  Where did the urgency go to?

Meanwhile, Gatwick’s publicity fantasists encourage the belief that only cows live around Gatwick Airport.  But I’m not a cow, and I live here, along with 120,000 others in Crawley alone. We already suffer the urban problems of 27,000 commuting trips into the Gatwick employment hotspot every day, with the congestion and pollution that that brings.

If Heathrow is the wrong place for a new runway, it doesn’t make sense to convert Gatwick into another Heathrow.

Imagine the future: 75% of passengers flying from Gatwick will drive past Heathrow to get there!

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Some comments by Gatwick airport in August 2015 – about its phased development

in “A Second Runway for Gatwick Airports Commission Final Report – Areas of Concern” – 10 August 2015

8.16 Gatwick R2 has a realistic and manageable profile with annual scheme expenditure
peaking at circa £680 million (or £50 million per month in the peak year) and is more evenly
spread through a phased programme across an extended period. In contrast, Heathrow
NWR involves an unprecedented rate of spend and scheme expenditure that peaks at over
£3 billion in each of several years (or over £6 billion per annum when including scheme,
surface access, core, and asset replacement). The number of project interdependencies in
Heathrow’s programme is significant. More interdependencies will mean greater risk of
programme slippage and ultimately a delay in the programme delivery date.

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8.21 Gatwick R2 has a modular and phased approach to its scheme that allows Gatwick to pace its investment in line with traffic growth. This significantly de-risks the project and enhances its financeability. Given Heathrow’s heavy upfront expenditure on residential/commercial property acquisition, surface access, site preparation, and land remedial work, it is not possible to phase its scheme in any significant way.

8.22 If downside risks on construction and long-term traffic materialise for Gatwick, our proposed binding undertakings would ensure that Gatwick bears this risk and caps airport charges at £15 per passenger. In contrast, under Heathrow NWR users and/or taxpayers will take substantially all of the downside risk.

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The Commission also states that after five years with a second runway, Gatwick will have an additional 8m passengers – less than Heathrow would have after one year with a third runway. 3.6 The Commission has sought to explain this forecast low level of growth by suggesting that over the past decade Gatwick has benefitted from spare capacity whilst Heathrow has been capacity constrained. It concludes “It is unlikely that the recent high rates of growth at Gatwick could be maintained over the long term once the remaining capacity is used up” (Final report page 109).

https://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/publicationfiles/business_and_community/all_public_publications/second_runway/airports_commission/airports-commission-final-report-areas-of-concern.pdf
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Some comments below, on the proposed phasing of the development by the Airports Commission, November 2014

, from the:  “Airports Commission: Gatwick Airport Second Runway: Business Case and Sustainability Assessment”.  

3.17 GAL is proposing a four-phased delivery approach which includes one transition
phase, Phase 0 (during which the runway and remote passenger pier are built and
surface access infrastructure begins) and three subsequent phases (during which
the main passenger terminal and other supporting satellite and surface access
infrastructure is completed). The three subsequent phases are contingent on meeting
specific passenger number milestones. This phased approach is described in detail
in the Cost and Revenue Identification Gatwick Airport Second Runway Report.

…….. [3.18 deals with costs and their timings, with the Commission not agreeing with Gatwick airport].

3.19 As set out in more detail in the Management Case, the Commission has based its
appraisal upon a more conservative approach to phasing than that proposed by
GAL, moving more directly to the first phase of new terminal infrastructure in order
to accommodate the increased passenger numbers associated with opening of the
new runway. Under the AoN-CC demand forecast, the passenger milestones are
therefore met at later dates and so the second phase of terminal development does
not begin until 2041; and the third phase is not required within the assessment
period (2014-2050). In other demand forecast scenarios, higher levels of demand
mean that the third phase is constructed during the assessment period, giving rise
to the differing scheme costs across scenarios illustrated in Table 3.3. It is important
to note that the Commission recognises that final commercial decisions on phasing
may be made later, during detailed design, by the airport operator.

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However positive GDP impacts in phase 2 are offset slightly due to changes in passenger flow. This is driven by a larger number of outbound tourists compared to inbound tourists up until the 2060s, where this pattern reverses. Outbound tourists have a higher multiplier effect, due to supply chain impacts on products which are no longer consumed in the UK, than inbound tourists with a smaller multiplier, due to the relative productivity of the related spending in sectors such 46 as accommodation and restaurants.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/374662/evidence-base-gatwick-airport-second-runway.pdf

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A comment from CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions):

On 15th December, CAGNE are informed that Stewart Wingate, the CEO of Gatwick Airport, has been briefing national press on Gatwick’s January plans on how they will endeavour to get Gatwick expansion back on the agenda with the Government.

Using the 6 month delay by the Government we believe Gatwick are to spend more on expensive lobbyists and PR agencies whilst ignoring the blight Gatwick’s current noise levels continue to have on residents.

Residents having been assured by the Airports Commissions £20m report back in July that Gatwick 2 blight was finally over.

The Gatwick briefing today blights the communities further and suggests that the taxpayer will be offered the chance to pay the billions needed for Gatwick 2 infrastructure in instalments whilst the off shore owners reap the benefits of a second runway without contributing to the costs.

It comes a week after the government delayed its decision over where to build a new runway in the southeast for at least another six months.

Though the government-appointed airports commission recommended, on 1st July, that additional capacity should be created at Heathrow rather than at Gatwick,Patrick McLoughlin announced that a final decision would be put off until next summer, pending further analysis of the environmental and noise impact of a new runway.

Gatwick has been keen to exploit pollution levels around Heathrow, claiming it already breaches European limits, which would force the government to reject its £17.6 billion expansion plans.

In the new year, Gatwick will make a further appeal, saying that work on its own £7.7 billion expansion would eventually create capacity for 95 million passengers — more than double the present 40 million.

This proposal by Gatwick would blight the counties of Sussex, Surrey and Kent further with years of uncertainty, blight residents from being able to sell homes and move, due to the shadow of a constant threat of new flight paths over areas not previously over flown that have enjoyed and traded on tranquility for decades. This proposal would devalue the counties for many years to come whilst only benefitting the off shore owners of Gatwick.

CAGNE see this proposal as an admission by Gatwick that the infrastructure that surrounds Gatwick will not deal with the expansion and will cost the taxpayer billions. Gatwick brings little benefit to the UK economy, as it is largely a leisure airport for outbound British holiday travellers, and it has no historical use by business flights to emerging markets.  It has few long haul routes, but primarily serves low cost holiday airlines – and that is likely to continue.

This could be seen as an admission that Gatwick (GIP) are struggling to raise the funding for a second runway as suggest by Moody as well as perhaps issues with the financial pledges already offered by Gatwick to fix landing fees, build terminals, mono-rails, etc.

We believe Gatwick will use this new ‘spin’ story to try and get Gatwick back on the table having spent their entire campaign targeting Heathrow in an effort to shield Gatwick’s proposal from scrutiny.

“This is another attempt by Gatwick management to pull the wool over the eyes of Government and we simply have to point out facts as Gatwick is not to be trusted or believed,” said Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE.

It is interesting that – according to the Airports Commission – the number of passengers using a new Gatwick runway is forecast to grow much more slowly than at Heathrow. The Commission forecast just 8 million more passengers in the five years to 2030 with a new runway, compared to 35 million more passengers for a new runway at Heathrow. Heathrow claims it has huge pent-up, un-met demand and would quickly fill up the slots – with many routes and airlines transferring to Heathrow from other UK airports.  By contrast, apart from some holiday flights, it does not appear that the Commission regarded Gatwick as particularly popular with airlines or passengers.

The impact of higher landing charges at Gatwick, than at Stansted or Luton, to pay for the new runway infrastructure, also need to be taken into account. The more expensive charges at Gatwick will not help it to fill its new runway, while spare capacity exists at other south east airports.

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Government delays decision … Sally Pavey sets out why Gatwick expansion must NEVER happen

Responding to the news that the government will delay a decision on a new south east runway, till at least some time in summer 2016, Sally Pavey (Chair of CAGNE) set out many of the key reasons why a Gatwick runway should never be allowed. People opposed to a Gatwick runway are concerned about the politics of the Tory party, David Cameron, and Zac Goldsmith’s bid to be London Mayor – making a choice of Gatwick for a runway, for very doubtful reasons. The impact of aircraft noise at Gatwick is severe – as illustrated by the number of noise complaints (over 29,000 in 2014) – with flights at night, every night. The Airports Commission’s figures show the likely economic benefit to the UK from a Gatwick runway is not high, and being almost entirely low cost leisure flights, Gatwick contributes disproportionately to the tourism deficit – increasing the amount of money Brits spent abroad, rather than in the UK.  The impact of the housing and increased urbanisation that Gatwick would cause would be huge, across many boroughs, putting severe pressure on all infrastructure. A 2-runway Gatwick would be the same size as Heathrow, but with one railway line that can’t be expanded, and a new line is ruled out. The only motorway, the M23, would be full before Gatwick’s runway was finished … and more … read Sally’s article …
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Why Gatwick expansion must NEVER happen

By Sally Pavey,  (in the Times of Tunbridge Wells)

The expansion of Gatwick Airport is back on the table after it emerged a decision on Heathrow’s future had been delayed for an environmental review. Here Sally Pavey, of the Commuters Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE) pressure group, makes the case against it…

Sally Pavey

 

We must not be asked to pay the high price of improving Zac Goldsmith’s chances of election in May in the race for the new London mayor.

CAGNE wrote to Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (and as a member of the Cabinet’s aviation sub-committee) last week explaining how the government’s delay (on Heathrow) is putting his consistency on hold.

For years, communities around Gatwick have lived under the threat that the airport will be allowed to expand and irreversibly damage the quality of life for the tens of thousands of us who have made our homes here.

We already know the impact of Gatwick Airport’s low cost airlines as they fly over our homes, day and night, seven days a week. We are sure that Mr Clark’s inbox is full communicaitions from upset residents asking for the Gatwick noise to be removed.

But Gatwick plan to increase the noise for all of us by flying 560,000 aircraft above our homes annually, so that they can increase profit for their owners. Gatwick, as it was clearly shown by the Airports’ Commission report recently, brings in the least into the UK economy.

Gatwick’s number one customer, EasyJet, does not see Gatwick expansion as the way forward. The Commission’s report goes on to suggest that the mass housing that Gatwick expansion would require would be spread around counties.  How much urbanisation would Mr Greg’s consistency be facing, when up to 45,000 new houses are expected to be built from almost day one – as well as warehousing to service an airport larger than Heathrow?

What is frustrating is that no environmental audit has been undertaken on Gatwick. The airport would be the same size as Heathrow, but with one railway line that can’t be expanded, and a new line is ruled out. The only motorway, the M23, would be full before Gatwick’s expansion is finished.

Gatwick’s figures are very disingenuous, as they do not have to consider the pollution from the roads. They also fail to consider the noise impact on the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) destroyed by the airport’s expansion.

The Airports Commission process was lengthy and its conclusion was clear, which led many people in the Gatwick area to believe the uncertainty – and the blight – in the communities around Gatwick might be finally over. They hoped Gatwick could concentrate on dealing with the current issues, of running an effective one-runway airport, and improving the aircraft noise situation.

However, it would seem that, at best, we are being used in a political game and one that Greg Clark is party to, to stop Zac Goldsmith from triggering a by-election and to appease Boris Johnson. At worst, Gatwick’s expensive lobbying has succeeded in spinning Gatwick’s half-truths that it can ever be anything other than a bucket and spade airport. It is not well enough connected to London to make much of a contribution to business travel. Indeed, there were only around 15% business passengers in 2014. Gatwick is, and will remain, largely for cheap holiday travel.

Six airports surround London, (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City, Luton and Southend) which is more than New York. Why not let people fly from those airports that sit underused around the M25 and stop putting everything in one corner, just to please airport owners.

All the things the people who live in the towns and villages around Gatwick currently enjoy would have to bear the weight of an airport with 95 million passengers per year. As there is a very low level of local unemployment, there would also be the problem of in-migration of workers looking for somewhere to live. They would also need GPs, hospitals, schools, shops, leisure facilities etc bringing with them more cars to add to our already congested roads. Not to mention stress on water and sewage systems.

The government may think Gatwick is the easy option because that is the message Gatwick has sold, thought its lengthy and very expansive advertising and PR campaign.

But if the Government and Greg Clark read carefully – and understand –  Gatwick’s proposals, they would see, they are very flawed.  That is why 12 local authorities, numerous local councillors and all the local MPs have expressed their firm opposition to a 2nd Gatwick runway.  They recognise that expanding Gatwick can never be the answer for the UK economy or for UK aviation.

http://www.timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk/why-gatwick-expansion-must-never-happen/

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Ministers should publish details of flight paths for new Heathrow or Gatwick runway

One of the glaring omissions from the Airports Commission’s report and its areas of research was to establish the flight paths for the three short listed options. As the noise impact is an absolutely critical factor in the opposition to a new runway, information on these routes is key. But because UK airspace is being re-designed at present, there is no certainty even about the existing flight paths several years ahead, let alone new ones. It would be unavoidable that tens or hundreds of new people would be overflown for the first time by planes using a new runway. So far, these people are entirely unaware of the problems they would face. Ruth Cadbury asked Patrick McLoughlin about this on 14th December: “Will he force Heathrow airport to declare where the flight paths will be, particularly the approach paths…” Sadiq Khan said Londoners had been “kept in the dark for too long” on the runway decision, and detailed flight paths should be published for a Heathrow 3rd runway to show which communities would be blighted by more noise. The same are needed for areas affected by Gatwick, especially as it has far more night flights than Heathrow. Zac Goldsmith has already published indicative routes for Heathrow, but these are just speculative at present.
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rsz_appg_flight_path_map_1762015

In the questions after Patrick McLouglin’s statement to Parliament on 14th December, Ruth Cadbury MP asked:

Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth) (Lab): I believe that the delay is not merely political expediency; I believe that the Secretary of State has come to realise something I have known for 15 years: expansion at Heathrow is just too difficult. As well as air quality and noise, will he address the business case, over which the Airports Commission’s economic advisers seem to differ? Will he properly assess the ground-based security and crash risks of the different options—they were not so assessed in the commission’s report? Will he force Heathrow airport to declare where the flight paths will be, particularly the approach paths, and the differences between what the commission recommends for Heathrow and what Heathrow is prepared to accept?

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151214/debtext/151214-0002.htm#column_1306


Publish detailed Heathrow third runway flight paths, says Sadiq Khan

By NICHOLAS CECIL (Evening Standard)
Ministers were today urged to publish detailed flight paths for a Heathrow third runway to show which communities would be blighted by more noise.

Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan said Londoners had been “kept in the dark for too long” about the localised impact of more than 200,000 additional flights a year.

“Ministers must publish full details of the projected impact on noise and air pollution and exactly who will be affected,” he said.

The Tooting MP, who now backs another runway at Gatwick rather than Heathrow, also accused the Tories of “dithering” over airport expansion to help their mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith by delaying a final decision on which option to choose until after the May election for London mayor.

Mr Goldsmith, who vowed to resign as MP for Richmond Park if the Government backs an expanded Heathrow, told of his “pride” if he had succeeded in swaying David Cameron against a third runway.

But he argued a decision to support Heathrow expansion had not been delayed as he believes it will never get the go-ahead on the grounds it cannot meet EU air quality rules — a claim strongly disputed by the airport.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate today suggested his proposals for a second runway were now the “frontrunner” after Cabinet ministers delayed the decision. Heathrow rejected this, arguing it is still the “only show in town” after the Airports Commission backed a third runway.

The Airports Commission did publish indicative maps showing which areas could be overflown by more flights to and from either Heathrow or Gatwick. But neither airport has published detailed flight paths which would reveal which communities to the east of Heathrow, as well as around Gatwick, would suffer from more noise.

Campaigners in Sussex also want more information on flight routes.

The airports panel insisted quieter aircraft and new technology could mean fewer people were blighted by noise from a three-runway, and possibly even a four-runway, Heathrow.

It also proposed a ban on night flights and ruling out a fourth runway, though Heathrow has so far refused to accept either.

The Commission also called for Heathrow to spend more than £1 billion on compensation, including noise insulation if a third runway gets approval. It said respite periods would become more predictable but did not highlight that some communities could see this cut from around half the day to a third.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “Our proposals have been designed so that fewer people are impacted by noise from Heathrow than today, and so that it is possible to offer respite to most people — or 95 per cent of people — for 50 per cent of the time.”

A Gatwick spokesman said: “Noise from Gatwick expansion would impact a fraction of the population compared to Heathrow.”

Both airports said they needed more firm information in order to draw up detailed flight paths.

The Department for Transport stressed that further work is being carried out into noise, air quality and carbon emissions resulting from airport expansion.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/publish-detailed-heathrow-third-runway-flight-paths-says-khan-a3136776.html

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Zac Goldsmith unveils maps showing 1 million under indicative flight paths for a 3 runway Heathrow

Zac’s all party group of MPs has produced a new map showing where flight paths might be, with a Heathrow 3rd runway. Their map shows that hundreds of thousands more London residents would find themselves under new flight paths if the runway was built. Senior Tories including Justine Greening and Boris Johnson joined Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith in Parliament to launch a campaign alerting people to the potential impact on neighbourhoods across the capital. Heathrow disputes the map, and nobody knows exactly where the flight paths would be.  Zac said Heathrow was “already the biggest [noise] polluter in Europe by far” and that additional noise was just one of the reasons to oppose expansion. Boris Johnson said David Cameron should honour his 2010 pledge of “No if, No Buts, No 3rd Runway”. Jenny Jones and the Green Party were the only politicians present who said no runway should be built.myself. Zac Goldsmith is aware of the environmental reasons why no runway should be built. However, he has chosen not to say this and go with the dubious assumption that it is just a choice between Heathrow and Gatwick. He commented: “I recognise by piling pressure against Heathrow expansion, I make it more likely that you have Gatwick expansion, but my first priority is to stop Heathrow expansion, it has to be.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/06/zac-goldsmith-unveils-map-showing-1-million-under-indicative-flight-paths-for-a-3-runway-heathrow/

 

Earlier map obtained by Zac Goldsmith

rsz_appg_flight_path_map_1762015

The red lines indicate what Heathrow have published as potential new flight paths if the airport expands.  The blue lines are the current flight paths from Heathrow’s existing two runways.

CLICK THE MAP TO ZOOM IN AND SEE IF YOU ARE UNDER A NEW FLIGHTPATH (Map will open in a new tab)  http://heathrowflightpaths.co.uk/images/home.jpg 

Note: Heathrow have not released their final flightpath plans yet so the above is subject to change.

rsz_appg_flight_path_area_map_1762015

Do you live within this blue area? You could be impacted by an expanded Heathrow.

Details at http://heathrowflightpaths.co.uk/

CLICK THE MAP TO ZOOM IN AND SEE IF YOU ARE UNDER A NEW FLIGHTPATH (Map will open in a new tab). http://heathrowflightpaths.co.uk/images/areas.jpg

The blue area illustrates the flight path corridors for an expanded Heathrow Airport, based on the respite option indicative flight paths Heathrow submitted to the Airports Commission. It is unclear which of these flight paths are to be used for arrivals or departures and what type of navigation will be used, so we have followed standard practice of drawing 1.5km Noise Preferential Routes around each flight path to provide an approximation of where planes might fly.

Note: Heathrow have not released their final flightpath plans yet so the above is subject to change.

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Patrick McLoughlin makes bland statement to Parliament about runway decision delay

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, made an oral statement in the House of Commons on the government’s announcement that it is delaying a decision on a new runway. It is carefully worded, to give nothing away and be entirely non-committal. He was asked various questions by MPs after it, and his answers also give nothing away – and barely answer the questions. Some MPs wanted to know if Gatwick was now being considered. Henry Smith (MP for Crawley) asked whether, if the government decides on a Gatwick runway, he could have a “guarantee that the significant investment that will be required in housing, highways, the rail network and healthcare and all other public services will be forthcoming?” Mr McLoughlin: There are already significant commitments with regard to Gatwick; improving the infrastructure for Gatwick is already taking place and further such schemes will be coming on board over the next few years. It is vital that we get the surface access to our airports correct. That is something we are dealing with over a period of time. My hon. Friend asks whether there would be other consequences if the decision should go towards Gatwick. That will be the case for any option we choose, and of course we want to look at those options and see which ones we would want to take forward.” ie. more vague waffle.
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On Twitter:

“Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin just took the ministerial habit of not answering Qs to whole new level on issue of airport capacity”

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Oral statement on Aviation Capacity, to Parliament by Patrick McLoughlin, DfT

“From:Department for Transport, The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP and Airports Commission”

14 December 2015
Explains that the government is undertaking a package of further work before making a decision about airport expansion in the south-east.
With permission Mr Speaker I would like to make a statement about airport policy.

Aviation is a British success story.

Today we have the third-largest aviation network in the world — second only to the US and China.

But with that success comes challenges.

Heathrow is full. Gatwick is filling up.

If no action is taken the entire London system will be full by 2040.

And yet we need new connections to new cities in new economies.

There are other challenges too.

Airports create jobs and opportunities.

Technology is changing.

Planes are becoming quieter and more efficient.

But there is still — inevitably — an environmental impact.

To some, the arguments seem simple.

Oppose all expansion anywhere. Or back it — but always somewhere else.

And yes there are opportunities in the network of national airports, with global connections from cities such as Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle.

But growth here will come alongside growth in the south-east not instead of it.

Which is why in September 2012 Sir Howard Davies was asked to lead a commission into the issue.

Its final report was published less than 6 months ago.

It made a strong case for expansion in the south-east.

We have considered that evidence.

The government accepts the case for expansion.

And the government accepts the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options for expansion.

We will begin work straight away on preparing the building blocks for an airports national policy statement.

In line with the Planning Act 2008.

Putting this new framework in place will be essential groundwork for implementing the decisions we take on capacity, wherever new capacity is to be built.

And that is the issue I want to turn to now.

Sir Howard Davies and his team produced a powerful report.

Heathrow Airport Ltd’s scheme was recommended by the Airports Commission, but all 3 schemes were deemed viable.

We are continuing to consider all 3 schemes.

And we want to see action.

But we must get the next steps right.

Both for those keen to push ahead with expansion, and for those who will be affected by it.

So we will undertake a package of further work.

First, we must deal with air quality.

I want to build confidence that expansion can take place within the legal limits.

So we will accept the Environmental Audit Committee’s recommendation to test the commission’s work against the government’s new air quality plan.

Second, we must deal with the concerns about noise.

I want to get the best possible outcome on this for local residents.

So we will engage further with the promoters to make sure the best package of noise mitigation measures are in place.

Third, we must deal with carbon emissions.

So we will look at all the measures to mitigate carbon impacts and address the sustainability concerns, particularly during construction.

Fourth, we must manage the other impacts on local communities.

I want people who stand to lose their homes to be properly compensated for the impacts of expansion.

And I want local people to have the best access to the opportunities that expansion will bring, including new jobs and apprenticeships.

So we will develop detailed community mitigation measures for each of the shortlisted options.

We expect to conclude this package of work by the summer.

Critically, this means the timetable for delivering additional capacity set out by Sir Howard does not alter.

The commission reported that an additional runway would be required by 2030 and we intend to meet that.

In saying this I am fully aware that some would wish we could go further.

And others will wish we were not making such progress at all.

We are prepared for that because I want to get this decision right.

That means getting the environmental response right.

And in the meantime getting on with the hard work to build new capacity to the timetable set out by Sir Howard in the commission’s report

Mr Speaker, I commend this statement to the House.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/aviation-capacity

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MPs were then able to question Mr McLoughlin, and he gave his responses. This can be seen on Hansard at  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151214/debtext/151214-0002.htm#column_1306  

Columns 1307 to 1325

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A few comments on Gatwick from the Hansard account: 

Henry Smith (Crawley) (Con): Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the independent and impartial Airports Commission clearly stated that Heathrow was the best option? If Governments in the future decide against that and wish to expand Gatwick, may I have a guarantee that the significant investment that will be required in housing, highways, the rail network and healthcare and all other public services will be forthcoming?

Mr McLoughlin: There are already significant commitments with regard to Gatwick; improving the infrastructure for Gatwick is already taking place and further such schemes will be coming on board over the next few years. It is vital that we get the surface access to our airports correct. That is something we are dealing with over a period of time. My hon. Friend asks whether there would be other consequences if the decision should go towards Gatwick. That will be the case for any option we choose, and of course we want to look at those options and see which ones we would want to take forward.

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Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con): I normally try to support my right hon. Friend, but I must admit that I am struggling somewhat on this occasion. Can he give an absolute assurance that if results of the further work on air quality and noise were to go against Heathrow, the default position would be to accept Gatwick and not waste more years by setting up yet another commission?

Mr McLoughlin: If my hon. Friend looks at my statement, he will see that I made it quite clear that the Government accept that the three options put forward by the commission are the right ones for providing extra capacity, so the answer to his question is that I do accept that.

…..

…..

Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs) (Con): The Secretary of State said that the Government accepted the case for expansion. Presumably that is why they set up the commission in the first place, so it did not need three years to tell them that. He also said that the Government accepted the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options. Increasingly, he presents the case as though there are three equal options from the Airports Commission, but has the commission not made an unequivocal recommendation? Should not the Government at least be open about that? Is he aware that last week the chief executive of International Airlines Group, Willie Walsh, while expressing concerns about the cost of Heathrow, said that there was “no business case for expanding Gatwick,”

and

“Very few airlines support the proposal and no one would move there while Heathrow remains open”?

Mr McLoughlin: I could also cite quotes from Willie Walsh which would put a question mark over the Heathrow proposals. If we are getting into the game of quoting Willie Walsh, we will find many that could be cited on this subject. The correct thing for the Government to do is to look at all three options in light of the environmental work and the mitigation circumstances that we would like to see, and then return to the House once we have decided with which option we will go forward.

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And four days earlier:

Government confirms support for airport expansion in the south-east

From:Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP

10 December 2015
– location decision subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures
– government agrees with the Airports Commission that the south-east needs more runway capacity by 2030
– government agrees with the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options, all of which it concluded were viable
The government has accepted the case for airport expansion in the south-east and the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options for expansion. It has also identified the most appropriate way of delivering planning consents for new capacity, it was decided today (10 December 2015) at the Airports Sub Committee.

The government will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.

The government will do this quickly so that the timetable for delivering capacity set out by the Airports Commission can be met.

The Airports Commission published a large amount of very detailed analysis on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions for their 3 shortlisted schemes. The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.

The Airports Commission’s air quality analysis will be tested using the latest projected future concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

The next step is to continue to develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people and the environment. This will include a package for local communities to include compensation, maximising local economic opportunities through new jobs and apprenticeships, and measures to tackle noise.

More work will be done on environmental impacts. The government expects the airports to put forward ambitious solutions.

The mechanism for delivering planning consents for airport expansion will be an ‘Airports national policy statement’ (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:

The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come. We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.

We must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people. We will continue work on all the shortlisted locations, so that the timetable for more capacity set out by Sir Howard is met.

At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-confirms-support-for-airport-expansion-in-the-south-east

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Zac Goldsmith: Heathrow as a hub is not the answer – better competition between London airports is

Zac Goldsmith is unarguably an important part of whatever decision the government makes on whether to build a runway. Writing in the Standard on 14th December, Zac said “London’s prosperity depends on it being connected to the world — particularly those emerging markets where new business and jobs will come from. That is not best achieved by creating a monopoly on one edge of our city. We need competition and choice….The irony is that even if Heathrow is expanded, it will not provide the additional capacity we need. Figures produced by the Airports Commission itself show that new activity at an expanded Heathrow would be at the expense of competing airports .. [it] would suck in flights from across the South-East and undermine competition not only at Gatwick and Stansted but as far afield as Manchester and Birmingham too.” And ” hubs will likely soon cease to exist. The new generation of aircraft can travel point to point for longer, and at a fraction of the cost” so a massive airport like a 3 runway Heathrow will not be needed. “The priority is competition and, if and when there is need for additional capacity, for that reason it would need to be at either Stansted or Gatwick, whichever can offer the best value for money without compromising carbon, noise and air-quality limits.”
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Zac Goldsmith: Heathrow as a hub is not the answer to our airport dilemma

Competition between all London’s airports and improved rail links to them will serve travellers better

By ZAC GOLDSMITH

Monday 14 December 2015

The case against: Heathrow has high landing costs and new aircraft mean hubs will soon cease to exist 
On the back of its decision to keep all airport expansion options on the table, the Government has faced a savage backlash. It has been accused of causing an unnecessary delay, and of being overly influenced by my own campaigning on the issue.

I can’t object to the second point, or see it as a negative. My job as an MP — and Mayor if I am lucky enough to be elected in May — is to secure the right outcome from government on a wide range of issues. If I influenced the debate then I am proud to have done so.

But the charge that the Government has delayed a decision on the final outcome is factually wrong. Had the Government selected only the Heathrow option, as the airport wanted, we would still have faced months of environmental assessment, after which it would have become clear that Heathrow cannot pass a pollution test

The VW scandal makes that test harder still. The Airports Commission chairman, Sir Howard Davies, admitted as much when he told Parliament: “Clearly some things have moved on. The Government will need to satisfy itself that this can be safely done.”

The arguments against Heathrow go far further than air pollution, but even against that test alone, it is clear that Heathrow is moving off the menu. And so, in deciding to put all the expansion options back on the table, on an equal footing, and to subject them all to the same air-pollution test, the Government is saving itself the problem of going back to the drawing board in a few months’ time.

So where do we go from here? It is a mistake to see this as a contest between quality of life and the economy.

London’s prosperity depends on it being connected to the world — particularly those emerging markets where new business and jobs will come from. That is not best achieved by creating a monopoly on one edge of our city. We need competition and choice.

The irony is that even if Heathrow is expanded, it will not provide the additional capacity we need. Figures produced by the Airports Commission itself show that new activity at an expanded Heathrow would be at the expense of competing airports. In other words, if the Government allowed a third runway at Heathrow, the resulting monopoly would suck in flights from across the South-East and undermine competition not only at Gatwick and Stansted but as far afield as Manchester and Birmingham too.

The fact is that competition between London’s airports has already served Londoners well. The number of direct international routes from all our airports has hugely increased.

And it hasn’t happened by accident. In 2009, the Competition Commission broke up the old British Airport Authority monopoly, and it was this that unleashed a wave of innovation. Who would pretend Gatwick hasn’t become a significantly better airport since the Competition Commission liberated it from the old monopoly? That is why Christopher Clarke, the man who led the Competition Commission, is so bitterly opposed to anything that would put that old monopoly back together.

Given the success of London’s competitive aviation market, it is astonishing that anyone, least of all a Conservative Government, would even have considered cobbling together the old monopoly.

The traditional riposte is that London needs a hub to connect to as many routes as possible, and the hub has to be Heathrow. There are two big flaws with this argument.

The first is that Heathrow’s landing costs are already the highest in the world, and the extra costs associated with a third runway would make matters worse. That’s why British Airways — Heathrow’s biggest customer — is so adamantly opposed to the airport’s proposals. BA boss Willie Walsh said: “The price tag is excessive and cannot be justified on any basis.”

The second is more fundamental; hubs will likely soon cease to exist. The new generation of aircraft can travel point to point for longer, and at a fraction of the cost. From 2017, Londoners will be able to fly all the way to Perth without changing planes — a 19-hour non-stop flight. In a world where 70 per cent of aircraft on order have no need to stop and refuel, the hub model is receding.

‘London’s prosperity depends on it being connected to the world. That is not best achieved by creating a monopoly on one edge of our city’.  Zac Goldsmith

The obvious alternative to creating a vast, foreign-owned, taxpayer-subsidised monopoly on one edge of our giant city is to turbo-charge competition in the sector. To facilitate that, we need to invest in transport links between central London and each of London’s key airports and allow them to fight it out for the routes that matter most to Londoners, through offering better service and lower prices.

Crossrail will open in 2017 and will offer, via Farringdon, fast connections to four of London’s major airports (Gatwick, Luton, Heathrow and City) and two international rail stations (St Pancras and Stratford).

I have been lobbying government for more suburban rail services to be accountable to the Mayor. This could include Thameslink, which could be made more frequent between central London, Luton and Gatwick.

Crossrail 2, which could start construction from 2020, will offer fast links to Stansted through Tottenham Hale.Creating a four-track railway between Liverpool Street and Stansted would cut journey times to less than 30 minutes from central London.

The priority is competition and, if and when there is need for additional capacity, for that reason it would need to be at either Stansted or Gatwick, whichever can offer the best value for money without compromising carbon, noise and air-quality limits.

The wave of competition after 2009 led to increased aviation capacity, new route development, better service levels, product innovation and cheaper prices. Sir Howard Davies said recently: “A competing airport system is right for London.”

I agree with him, and if I am elected Mayor in next May’s election, I will use every lever to deliver one.

Zac Goldsmith is Conservative MP for Richmond Park

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/zac-goldsmith-heathrow-as-a-hub-is-not-the-answer-to-our-airport-dilemma-a3136736.html

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David Cameron has abandoned plans for a third runway at Heathrow, senior Conservative claims

Zac Goldsmith hinted that the prime minister has decided against expanding Heathrow amid concerns about a legal challenge on environmental grounds

By Kate McCann, Senior Political Correspondent (Telegraph)

11 Dec 2015

David Cameron has abandoned plans to build a third runway at Heathrow, senior Conservatives have suggested.

Following anger over Downing Street’s decision to delay an announcement on whether to expand Heathrow until at least next year, Zac Goldsmith on Friday gave a clear indication that Mr Cameron has informed him that the controversial plans to grow the airport have now been shelved.

Many now believe that the Government will instead press ahead with plans to expand Gatwick.

The prime minister is under pressure from his own ministers not to back Heathrow

Mr Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, had pledged to resign and force a by-election if the prime minister backed a third runway at Heathrow.

On Friday he said: “Heathrow is now off the agenda. We’re now looking at the alternatives”.

Asked if he had had “the wink” from Mr Cameron, Mr Goldsmith said: “I’m now very pleased with where we are, yes.”

In a further sign that the Government will simply ignore the findings of an independent report that called for expansion of Heathrow, Patrick McLoughlin said that ministers are only now “hopeful” of announcing a decision next year.

Mr Cameron had previously pledged to make a firm decision on the issue by the end of this year.

The transport secretary said: “We accept that additional airport capacity is needed and we will make a decision on where we are going on that hopefully in the summer of next year.

And he hinted that Gatwick could be back on the table, adding: “Please get off the fixation of a third runway because it could be a second runway at Gatwick.

Asked about whether he had influenced Mr Cameron’s decision to delay the announcement Mr Goldsmith said: “Until the decision was made yesterday the prime minister could not respond to what I’m saying, he made that very clear in our conversations because he had to wait for the committee report, there was no wink.

“I was desperately looking for a wink and a nod and I didn’t get the wink, I was talking with a view to getting a wink but I didn’t get the wink but he heard the message.”

Asked if he had now had the wink he added: “I’m now very pleased with where we are, yes.”

But Crispin Blunt, a Conservative MP and opponent of Heathrow expansion, said the prime minister is guilty of “political cowardice, weakness and prevarication” after the decision was delayed.

‘“People will see through this pathetic effort to avoid criticism in the run up to the London mayoral election’ Crispin Blunt

Critics believe Mr Cameron was influenced by Mr Goldsmith’s promise to resign as an MP ahead of his mayoral campaign for the party, alongside concerns about the new Heathrow runway failing environmental tests.

A senior Government source said the prime minister wants a watertight legal case for Heathrow expansion before committing to an extra runway and is not currently confident he could win a legal case.

A source close to Heathrow said the airport group is taking legal advice on its expansion plans.

Mr Blunt said: “People will see through this pathetic effort to avoid criticism in the run up to the London mayoral election. Zac Goldsmith should not be allowed to exercise a veto over the national interest”.

Mr Cameron was branded “gutless” following his decision to delay the announcement on airport expansion by business groups.

The Confederation of British Industry has warned delays will cost the British economy over £5billion a year in lost trade to Brazil, Russia, India and China alone.

It came as British Airways boss Willie Walsh said his company could move operations to Dublin or Madrid amid concern that Heathrow and Gatwick are already operating close to full capacity.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/aviation/12046765/david-cameron-abandons-heathrow-third-runway-plans.html

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Zac Goldsmith: delay on airport expansion is killer blow for third Heathrow runway

By PIPPA CRERAR (Standard)

11 December 2015

Zac Goldsmith is “wildly confident” that the Government’s delay on airport expansion deals the killer blow to a third runway at Heathrow.

Ministers may blame the need to conduct new pollution tests in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

But the Tory mayoral candidate believes his long-running campaign against expansion has been won for good.

“We know that it is impossible to reconcile Heathrow expansion with the legal requirements on air pollution. I don’t think there is any way round it. The logical conclusion of the decision they have made is that Heathrow is off the radar,” he said.

In his first interview since last night’s announcement, Goldsmith is adamant the Government’s decision to delay airport expansion is not about him.

Although the Tory MP’s mayoral campaign is the obvious beneficiary, he insists that putting it off until the summer was not a political fudge.

“I don’t believe that this is a time-wasting exercise at all,” he said.

Instead, he sees the postponement of the announcement until after May’s elections as a win for the environment.

“The outcome, whichever way we choose to interpret why this has happened, is the right one. We are in the right place now. We have a massive opportunity now to remove the threat of Heathrow expansion once and for all.”

The MP played down the prospect of even more delay, perhaps until David Cameron had left Number 10 so that the Prime Minister would not have to break his “no ifs, no buts” promise.

He suggested that instead, the announcement had actually “accelerated” the decision as Heathrow would have faced lengthy legal battles on air quality even if it had got the green light. “We would’ve been back to square one.”

Yet despite his confidence, Goldsmith may still have a fight on his hands.

Business leaders have accused the Prime Minister of being “gutless” and are claiming the delay is “bad for business”, while George Osborne is understood to be keen to crack on with expansion.

But the MP bats away the Chancellor’s view as “almost irrelevant”.

“There can be no doubt that in a fair contest on air quality, Heathrow will not win. Unless you’re saying that the test is completely fabricated then it almost doesn’t matter what individual politicians think. It’s up to the independent assessors decide whether Heathrow or Gatwick can pass,” he said.

Goldsmith attacked the airport’s owners and the unions for “scare-mongering” local workers by suggesting that if a third runway wasn’t built Heathrow would be forced to close – “its a frightening choice to face, but it’s a bogus choice”.

Instead, he wants the Government to focus on creating a better, not a bigger, airport, and to prioritise improving surface transport links to all London airports to boost competition.

But if faced with a choice between Heathrow or Gatwick expansion, he would back Gatwick.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/zac-goldsmith-delay-on-airport-expansion-is-killer-blow-for-third-heathrow-runway-a3135176.html

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Simon Jenkins: Never mind a third runway – what Heathrow needs is managed decline

In a brilliantly written comment piece in the Guardian, Simon Jenkins sets out some timely thoughts on the matter of a new runway. People should read the whole article – it is so well written. Simon says: “If more capacity were vital, the market would have spoken.”…. “Never take a fact from a lobbyist. Heathrow runways have nothing to do with ‘vital British business’. The idea that spending a staggering £18bn on one runway is economically essential is ludicrous. The economy has far more need of better roads to ports, more commuter trains or cheaper electricity…. A full 80% of London’s airport capacity serves one industry: foreign leisure travel. That industry is, overwhelmingly, Britons going abroad, and is thus negative to the balance of payments. Business export travel is a trivial part of the sum. If this whole argument were really about something “essential”, Heathrow would cancel its 20% of domestic flights and discontinue all tourist destinations. If more capacity were really so vital, then the market would have spoken.” …”The days of deciding on infrastructure through “predict and provide” should be over.” …”Heathrow should be phased out or – like City airport – confined to predominantly business destinations. Air travel should be discouraged not encouraged, and airlines dispersed closer to their markets across Britain.
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Never mind a third runway – what Heathrow needs is managed decline

If more capacity were vital, the market would have spoken. So let’s discourage these polluting flights and spend the money on roads and trains instead

 

Never take a fact from a lobbyist. Heathrow runways have nothing to do with “vital British business”. The idea that spending a staggering £18bn on one runway is economically essential is ludicrous. The economy has far more need of better roads to ports, more commuter trains or cheaper electricity. That they lack the glamour of an airport should not be the issue.

A full 80% of London’s airport capacity serves one industry: foreign leisure travel. That industry is, overwhelmingly, Britons going abroad, and is thus negative to the balance of payments. Business export travel is a trivial part of the sum.

If this whole argument were really about something “essential”, Heathrow would cancel its 20% of domestic flights and discontinue all tourist destinations. If more capacity were really so vital, then the market would have spoken. London’s unmentioned “third airport”, at Stansted, would be bursting. Instead, it is half empty. Northolt lies almost unused. Not much essential here.

Even Britain’s premier airline, BA, has deserted the case for Heathrow. The whole argument is over the profits of the British Airports Authority (BAA). [It is now actually HAL – Heathrow Airport Ltd.  AW note].  But we should remember that Stansted is below capacity because of a decision of the last Labour government to stop BAA from expanding the airport to the same size as Heathrow. That decision was compounded when David Cameron, in 2011, approved the lunatic sale of Stansted to Manchester Airports Group.

The days of deciding on infrastructure through “predict and provide” should be over. If not, we would be building 100 hospitals and a dozen motorways. The desire for more foreign travel is understandable but nonessential. An extra hour on a holiday via Stansted or Gatwick hardly jeopardises the economy.

Meanwhile, flying noisy jets over congested cities is antediluvian, and deliberately generates severe ground pollution. Heathrow should be phased out or – like City airport – confined to predominantly business destinations.

Air travel should be discouraged not encouraged, and airlines dispersed closer to their markets across Britain. As for more capacity, if is really needed, then use Stansted and Gatwick. They harm fewer people.

Why cannot Cameron and his pusillanimous transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, see this?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/11/third-runway-heathrow

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See also earlier:

 

Simon Jenkins comment: Don’t buy the idea that Heathrow expansion is ‘good for the nation’

Simon Jenkins was on great form when he wrote a comment piece in the Evening Standard, on the subject of Heathrow and its expansion hopes.  Well worth reading, in full.  It is so full of wise words, telling analysis and crushing put-downs that summarising it is impossible. But here are a few quotes: “Heathrow was only allowed to grow because gutless ministers dared not stand up to the airlines lobby.” …”Heathrow is primarily for leisure travel, and that travel is overwhelmingly outbound. A new Heathrow runway is an aid to the foreign tourist industry…”…”Of course it would generate economic activity and jobs. So does all infrastructure. So would a heliport in Hyde Park. But it has nothing to do with “British exports”. Precisely the opposite.” …”We should have no truck with the archaic “predict and provide” line of the Davies report. Just because more people want an airport does not mean a runway must be built. …. Demand is not God.” … “Air travel is overwhelmingly leisure travel, a modern luxury that needs no subsidy nor deserves planning privilege.” … ” a bigger Heathrow should be unthinkable. It should concentrate on business travel. Above all, the decision should be decided on a proper plan, not the Davies report’s attempt to reconcile competing lobbyists.” …. “We just need to keep calm and remember, they are in it for the money.  All else is hogwash.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/11/simon-jenkins-comment-dont-buy-the-idea-that-heathrow-expansion-is-good-for-the-nation/

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See also

Heathrow third runway decision put off until at least summer 2016
10.12.2015

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/10/heathrow-third-runway-decision-airport-expansion

 

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Predictable arrogant shouting from business lobby – they want their runway, no matter what its impacts are

The media have been unimpressive in their coverage of the statement by the government that they are not making a runway location decision this year. They have almost entirely focused on the demands of the business lobby. While the government decision is in large part to avoid political difficulties, of Zac Goldsmith being Tory London Mayoral candidate – there are very real environmental and other problems with either runway location. The Airports Commission did a very incomplete job in its recommendation. It left key areas such as carbon emissions, local air pollution and noise impacts for the government to sort out. It largely neglected health impacts, or costs to the taxpayer, or long term social and economic costs to areas near the “chosen” airport. It was therefore inevitable that a vast amount of additional work would need to be done, before any government could – responsibly and prudently – make a runway decision. Due to the flaws in the Commission’s recommendation, the government is aware it will face forceful legal challenges, especially on air pollution.  The Environmental Audit Committee set out the extra conditions the government needs to fulfil before making any decision. By contrast the business lobby just things shouting loudly and aggressively that they want a runway, and they want it now, (regardless of its adverse effects) will win them the day. Stunningly arrogant, and without any apparent analysis of the actual facts. But the media seem to love it.
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Below are some of the gung-ho statements by various parts of the business lobby:

Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry – the UK’s biggest business lobby group -said the delay was deeply disappointing. She warned that if a new runway wasn’t up and running by 2030, the cost to the UK could be as much as £5.3 billion a year in lost trade to the leading emerging markets alone.

“We cannot fall into the habit of simply commissioning new evidence, instead of the government taking the tough decisions needed at the end of the process,” she said.

Carolyn Fairbairn said delaying the decision “on an issue of critical importance to the future prosperity of the UK is deeply disappointing”.

“We urgently need to increase our runway capacity to spur trade growth, investment and job creation. Just eight new routes to emerging markets could boost our exports by up to £1bn a year,” she said.

“But by 2025 – the earliest a new runway would be built – London’s airports could already be operating at full capacity and the longer we wait the further we fall behind the likes of Amsterdam and Paris. If we don’t have a new runway up and running by 2030 the cost to the UK will be as much as £5.3bn a year in lost trade to the Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] alone.”

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Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors said business leaders would be “tearing their hair out” at news of the delay. “The government has set the very ambitious target of increasing U.K. exports to £1 trillion a year by 2020. If they can’t fly to emerging markets to make deals, our members are going to find it very hard to meet this aspiration,” he said.

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Rob Gray, the campaign director of the Back Heathrow group (funded by, employed by etc by Heathrow airport), who condemned Cameron’s “dithering and delaying”.

“The government has created more uncertainty for local residents, more uncertainty for workers in the local area and the potential loss to the UK economy of more than £5bn,” he said.

“There is massive support for Heathrow expansion: from across all political parties, the majority of UK businesses, international airlines, local firms and most importantly, from local residents.

“It’s time for the government to get off the fence, commit to Heathrow expansion and seize this golden opportunity to grow the economies of west London, the Thames valley and the UK as a whole.”

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John Longworth, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses will see this as a gutless move by a government that promised a clear decision on a new runway by the end of the year.

“Business will question whether ministers are delaying critical upgrades to our national infrastructure for legitimate reasons, or to satisfy short-term political interests.

“Businesses across Britain will be asking whether there is any point in setting up an Airports Commission if political considerations are always going to trump big decisions in the national interest.”

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Gavin Hayes, Director of Let Britain Fly, said: “The Prime Minister has yet again decided to put short-term political interests before the long-term national interest and kicked the can down the road for another six months.

“This latest fudge is all about political expediency, not about doing what is right for our economy.”

 

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Terry Scuoler, the chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “By avoiding a tough decision, despite a well evidenced shortlist, the government has again dithered and avoided the issue. Industry is fed up and dismayed by the continued excuses and political dilly dallying.”

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Lilian Greenwood, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, was scathing about Cameron having “broken his clear promise to make a decision before the end of the year”. She said: “Tonight’s statement owes more to political calculations than genuine concern for the environment or residents who now face another year of blight and uncertainty. This shambolic announcement is an embarrassment and no-one will be convinced that the government is taking our runway capacity or environmental needs seriously.”

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A pretty typical offering – this one from the Independent:

 

Heathrow Airport expansion: UK business responds furiously as decision on third runway is delayed until summer 2016

Government defers any decision about where to build extra aviation capacity until after London Mayoral elections in May

Simon Calder, Travel Correspondent (Independent)
11.12.2015

As local politics once again supplant the national debate about international connectivity, UK business has responded furiously to a further delay in assigning a new runway for London.

The Government has deferred any decision about where to build extra aviation capacity until after the London Mayoral elections in May 2016 – by which time two-runway Heathrow will have celebrated its 70th birthday.

In 2012 David Cameron set up the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to recommend the best solution to South-east England’s capacity crunch.

Two years ago, Sir Howard narrowed the choice to two Heathrow options – a third runway or an extended northern runway – or a second runway at Gatwick.

Last July, the Davies Commission recommended a third runway at Heathrow, with “a comprehensive package of accompanying measures which would make the airport’s expansion more acceptable to its local community”.

On the same day, the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said: “We will come back to Parliament in the autumn to provide clear direction on the government’s plans.”

But he insisted more time was needed, saying: “It’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come. We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.”

No decision is expected for six months, by which time the new London Mayor will be known. The Tory candidate, Zak Goldsmith, had vowed to resign as MP for Richmond Park if a third runway at Heathrow goes ahead.

The CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, called the postponement “deeply disappointing”, and said: “The Airports Commission spent three years analysing impartial evidence, at a cost of £20 million. We cannot fall into the habit of simply commissioning new evidence, instead of the Government taking the tough decisions needed at the end of the process.”

Gavin Hayes, Director of Let Britain Fly, said: “The Prime Minister has yet again decided to put short-term political interests before the long-term national interest and kicked the can down the road for another six months.

“This latest fudge is all about political expediency, not about doing what is right for our economy.”

Campaigners against expansion at Heathrow claimed the move showed a third runway is undeliverable. John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said: “The Government should face up to the reality that a third runway is unlikely ever to see the light of day.”

The Transport Secretary’s announcement was welcomed by Gatwick’s chief executive. Stewart Wingate said: “There is now a clear choice facing Britain: growth with Gatwick or inertia at Heathrow with an illegal scheme that has failed time and time again. Expansion at Gatwick would give the country the economic benefit it needs at a dramatically lower environmental cost.”

This year London will set a new global record for the number of passengers flying in and out of a single city. The total will exceed 150m for the first time, way ahead of its nearest rival, New York. But no new full-length runway has been built since Heathrow opened in January 1946.

The announcement moves the airport debate back to where it was a quarter-century ago. In 1990, the Conservative Government set up a study into “Runway Capacity to Serve the South East”. Three years later, it concluded that “Benefits to passengers would justify a further runway at Heathrow or Gatwick by 2010” so long as surface access to airports and improved public transport links were properly examined.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/heathrow-airport-expansion-government-delays-decision-on-third-runway-until-summer-as-environmental-a6768601.html

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Willie Walsh threatens to move BA to develop base in Dublin or Madrid to avoid paying for “gold plated” runway plans

Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways’ parent company, IAG, has said BA might give up on Heathrow and move overseas, if Heathrow got a new “gold plated” runway and doubled its charges to airlines. He said BA could “develop our business” in Dublin or Madrid rather than pay for the expansion of Heathrow. The current landing charge of about £40 for a return trip would increase to at least £80 with the runway. That might deter passengers. “We won’t pay for it and we most certainly won’t pre-fund the construction of any new infrastructure.”  Mr Walsh said that the £17.6 billion plan to expand Heathrow represented an attempt by a “monopoly airport” to build “gold-plated facilities and fleece its airlines and their customers”. Only about 1% of the estimated cost is for the runway itself. He indicated that Heathrow remained his preferred option for a runway, but not if it cost of £17.6 billion.” …“Heathrow is not IAG’s only hub. We can develop our business via Madrid, which has spare capacity, and Dublin, where there are plans for a cost-effective and efficient second runway.”  Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, was studiously neutral, saying that Gatwick and Heathrow both remained runway options. Mr Walsh also opposes a runway at Gatwick, as “no one would move there while Heathrow remains open.”
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Heathrow expansion: British Airways threatens to move out of UK

By Kedar Grandhi (IBT – International Business Times)
December 11, 2015

British Airways could move its operations to Dublin or Madrid if the government decides to go ahead with its airport expansion plan
Reuters

British Airways has threatened to end its operations at Heathrow if the government decides to go ahead with its proposed expansion plan, which includes adding a third runway. It would move its operations to Dublin or Madrid, the carrier’s parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) has warned.

IAG’s explanation

Shortly after the government announced a further six-month delay on the decision to expand the airport, British Airways (BA) released a statement by IAG chief executive Willie Walsh who explained that the £17.6bn (€24.4bn, $26.7bn) plan to expand Heathrow would lead to an increase in charges for passengers flying in and out of UK’s busiest airport. If the plan is is implemented, passengers will end up paying double the approximate £40 they currently pay for a return trip.

The scale of airport charges will “turn Heathrow into a white elephant” and force passengers out of this airport, he said. A new runway would cost only about 1% of the entire budget, but these costs were being inflated by including a new terminal, an underground train link and an £800m car park into the proposed plan, Walsh added.

“We won’t pay for it and we most certainly won’t pre-fund the construction of any new infrastructure. Why should IAG’s customers pay today for tomorrow’s customers? Some people may say that we have no other option. Actually we do.

“Heathrow is not IAG’s only hub. We can develop our business via Madrid, which has spare capacity, and Dublin, where there are plans for a cost-effective and efficient second runway,” the chief executive said.

Response by Heathrow

The West London airport has assured that passenger charges will not double as stated by Walsh and would probably increase only by around 20%. A spokesman said that the expansion of this airport was critical to the British economy’s future and was the only way to connect the entire nation with global growth.

“The airports commission has confirmed that expansion can be financed and, with low-cost airlines such as easyJet already committing to provide routes from Heathrow, it is clear that operating costs from the airport will be competitive,” the spokesperson said.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/heathrow-expansion-british-airways-threatens-move-out-uk-1532835
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Willie Walsh said that BA could “develop our business” in Dublin or Madrid instead of Heathrow

By Graeme Paton and Francis Elliott  (The Times)
December 11 2015

The owner of British Airways has threatened to give up on Heathrow and move overseas after warning that passenger charges will double to pay for a “gold-plated” third runway.

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Addressing the Aviation Club in London yesterday, Mr Walsh said that only £182 million — about 1 per cent of the construction cost — was for the runway itself. He added that costs were being inflated by the addition of a new terminal, a 6.5km Underground train link and an £800 million car park.

Mr Walsh said that the scale of airport charges would “turn Heathrow into a white elephant” that large numbers of airlines would refuse to use.

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Full Times article (£) at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/transport/article4638360.ece

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Earlier:

Willie Walsh tells AOA conference Heathrow’s runway is too expensive, and at that price, would fail

The Airport Operators Association is holding a two day conference on the runway issue, and Willie Walsh (CEO of IAG) was its key speaker.  He said Heathrow should not get a 3rd runway, if the Airport Commission’s calculation of the cost of building it is correct. He said: “The Commission got its figures wrong – they are over-inflated. If that is the cost [of a new runway], it won’t be a successful project.”  He described the assumption that airlines would pay for the new runway through increases in fares as “outrageous”.  British Airways is by far the biggest airline at Heathrow, with 55% of the slots. He said of the Commission’s report:  ” .. I have concerns about the level of cost associated with the main recommendation and the expectation that the industry can afford to pay for Heathrow’s expansion.”  He does not believe the cost is justified, and “If the cost of using an expanded airport significantly exceeds the costs of competitor airports, people won’t use it.”  It was not realistic for airlines: “You have to see it in terms of return on capital. ….Either the figures are inflated or you are building inefficient infrastructure. I do not endorse the findings. I definitely don’t support the costs of building a runway. If those costs are real, we should not build it.” On the cost of £8 billion to build a 6th terminal he commented: “How many chandeliers can you have in an airport terminal?

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/11/willie-walsh-tells-aoa-conference-heathrows-runway-is-too-expensive-and-at-that-price-would-fail/

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Other things Willie Walsh has said recently:

 

British Airways, in evidence to Transport Cttee, says that Heathrow runway is “unfinanceable” and a “white elephant”

British Airways has made its strongest attack yet on plans for a new Heathrow runway, saying its proposals are “unfinanceable” and a “white elephant”. The comments are in written evidence to the Commons Transport Select Cttee, dated 12th October, in its submission to its inquiry into surface access on October 27th.  BA repeats its view that the cost of transport infrastructure for the runway scheme should not be funded by airlines and their customers. BA is the biggest airline (51%) at Heathrow. It says – dangerously – that because of the alleged “up to £147 billion” of benefits of a runway to the UK, new road and rail link for the airport should, like standalone transport schemes like M4 widening, be paid for by taxpayers. [That “ up to £147 billion” benefit figure is highly dubious, and the Airports Commission’s own expert economic advisors, Mackie and Pearce, warned that it includes double counting and should be treated with caution.]  While avoiding any specific opposition in principle to expanding Heathrow, BA is not willing to pay – but it says the runway plan is is unaffordable and unfinanceable, and called into question the economic benefits. There has been speculation if Willie Walsh is just “browbeating aimed at cowing the CAA into lower charges” rather than stopping a Heathrow runway.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/11/british-airways-in-evidence-to-transport-cttee-that-heathrow-runway-is-unfinanceable-and-a-white-elephant/
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Willie Walsh says Heathrow 3rd runway is a “vanity project” with outrageous costs

British Airways boss Willie Walsh has said that the costs of Heathrow’s plans for a 3rd runway would be “outrageous”.  He said: “At the moment this is a vanity project by the management of Heathrow who are driven to build a monument to themselves.”  Walsh said that even if Heathrow gained another runway it would be lagging behind Dubai as a global hub by the time it is built.  “It is based on inefficient infrastructure which is not fit for purpose. Airlines and consumers are looking for lower costs when it comes to flying but airports only seem to be looking at higher costs.” Heathrow was already one of the most expensive airports in the world and was now “talking about raising costs by 50% to build the extra runway”. His criticism may be the start of negotiations to ensure BA is not landed with a huge bill to fund Heathrow expansion.  John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said: “Willie Walsh is saying that a 3rd runway won’t deliver benefits for the aviation industry that are worth paying for. This could turn out to be curtains for the third runway unless this is no more than clever negotiating tactics by one of the sharpest operators in the business.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/08/willie-walsh-says-heathrow-3rd-runway-is-a-vanity-project-with-outrageous-costs/

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BA’s CEO, Willie Walsh, says post-election indecision will block building of any new south east runway

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, the parent company of British Airways, has again said that there will not be a new south east runway. He has often said this before, but this time he sees the likelihood of political indecision after the election as an additional issue. Willie Walsh thinks  that to build a runway, there would need to be “political consensus across all the parties – not just coalition partners.”  He also warned that the cost of each of the 3 runway proposals would all be prohibitive.  The expense would lead to higher landing costs, and airlines would not find that acceptable.  Willie Walsh reiterated his view that there was “no business case” for a 2nd Gatwick runway,  with not enough demand from airlines for it.   He has said in the past that Gatwick does not have the same international attraction as Heathrow.  He commented that Heathrow was already “the most expensive airport around.”  The runway decision would be a political one, and with a coalition government looking to be inevitable, there would be huge political difficulties in pushing through an unpopular runway, with dubious benefits even to the airlines.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/05/bas-ceo-willie-walsh-says-post-election-indecision-will-block-building-of-any-new-south-east-runway/

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Willie Walsh says there is no business case for a 2nd Gatwick runway – BA has Gatwick’s 2nd largest number of passengers

Willie Walsh, the head of IAG, will not support a 2nd Gatwick runway, even if it is chosen by the Airports Commission or backed by the next government. He does not believe there is a business case to support its expansion, and there is insufficient demand from airlines for extra capacity at Gatwick. Mr Walsh campaigned heavily for a 3rd Heathrow runway before 2010, but has made frequent comments indicating he does not believe UK politicians will have the “courage” to build that. Willie Walsh says British Airways would resist higher landing charges, which would be necessary to fund a runway – either at Heathrow or Gatwick. (EasyJet has also said in the past they don’t want a new runway, if it means substantially higher charges – their model is low cost). BA would want lower costs, not higher costs, from a new runway. IAG’s shares have now risen as it has now made a profit at last, and will be paying its first dividend (and maybe some UK tax). Gatwick’s main airline is EasyJet with around 37% of passengers, and British Airways 2nd largest at around 14%. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/willie-walsh-says-there-is-no-business-case-for-a-2nd-gatwick-runway-ba-has-gatwicks-2nd-largest-number-of-passengers/

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Government’s Heathrow indecision met with opprobrium from group of Gatwick area MPs

Speaking as Chair of the Gatwick Coordination Group of MPs (all eight MPs in the areas affected by Gatwick), Crispin Blunt MP lambasted the Government’s indecision over its response to the Airports Commission recommendation for a new runway at Heathrow Airport. Crispin said: “This is a disgraceful vacillation by the Government. They will richly deserve the opprobrium to be poured all over this shocking non-decision.”….“We were promised a decision by the end of the year. Recently we were promised a direction. What we have is neither decision, nor direction, but political cowardice, weakness and prevarication.” … “We will fight tooth and nail any attempts to resurrect Gatwick, whose flawed and costly proposal was left dead and buried by the Airports Commission. It is not the easier option. It would not survive the scrutiny of Parliament and the courts. Gatwick would deliver half the economic benefit, has wretched rail and road transport connections, and would fail to provide the hub airport which the UK needs.”
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Government’s Heathrow indecision met with MP’s opprobrium

10 December, 2015
By Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate

Speaking as Chair of the Gatwick Coordination Group of MPs (listed below), Crispin Blunt MP has lambasted the Government’s indecision over its response to the Airports Commission recommendation for a new runway at Heathrow Airport.

Crispin Blunt said:

“This is a disgraceful vacillation by the Government. They will richly deserve the opprobrium to be poured all over this shocking non-decision.

“Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission undertook rigorous analysis and extensive consultations before it made a clear, unequivocal and unanimous decision for Heathrow. Sir Howard said in his final report in July:

‘The Commission urges the Government to make an early decision on its recommendations. Further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen, nationally and internationally, as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected open trading economy in the twenty first century.’

“We were promised a decision by the end of the year. Recently we were promised a direction. What we have is neither decision, nor direction, but political cowardice, weakness and prevarication. People will see through this pathetic effort to avoid criticism in the run-up to the London mayoral election. Zac Goldsmith should not be allowed to exercise a veto over the national interest.

“We will fight tooth and nail any attempts to resurrect Gatwick, whose flawed and costly proposal was left dead and buried by the Airports Commission. It is not the easier option. It would not survive the scrutiny of Parliament and the courts. Gatwick would deliver half the economic benefit, has wretched rail and road transport connections, and would fail to provide the hub airport which the UK needs.”

 

Gatwick Coordination Group MP Members: 

Crispin Blunt MP (Reigate) (Chairman)

Sir Paul Beresford MP (Mole Valley)

Nusrat Ghani MP (Wealden)

The Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP (Arundel and South Downs)

Henry Smith MP (Crawley)

The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP (Mid Sussex)

Tom Tugendhat MP (Tonbridge and Malling)

Jeremy Quin MP (Horsham)

http://www.blunt4reigate.com/news/governments-heathrow-indecision-met-mps-opprobrium

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See also

Comment by GACC on government runway statement: Gatwick is not an easy option, especially on surface access

GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has responded to the news that the government is postponing its runway decision for at least 6 months – and therefore leaving Gatwick as a possible location. GACC is not surprised that the Government has delayed the decision, because Gatwick is not an easy option – there are substantial environmental problems at Gatwick as well as at Heathrow – for which no solution has been found. At Gatwick these include aggravating the north-south divide; 50,000 people would be affected by worse air quality; there would be a need for a new town the size of Crawley; three times as many people as at present would be affected by severe levels of aircraft noise; and the road and rail system could not cope, when the airport approached full capacity. A key issue that has no far been neglected by government, or the Commission, is the real cost of the road and rail infrastructure work that would be required for a 2nd Gatwick runway. The M23 and M25 would need major widening, the M23 would need to be extended into London, several new A roads would need to be built east and west of Gatwick, and the Brighton main rail line would need extensive work – all of which could be just as costly as anything needed at Heathrow. The reality is that the annual number of Gatwick flights is now only 5% higher than it was in 2000.

Click here to view full story…

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Long awaited Government statement on runways – decision will be delayed till summer 2016 – more work needed

After a meeting of the Cabinet Airports Sub-Committee, a statement was finally put out by Patrick Mcloughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, at 7pm. It said that the government confirms it supports the building of a new runway in the south east, to add capacity by 2030 (earlier airports claimed they could have a runway built by 2025). The decision on location is “subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures.” All three short listed schemes will continue to be considered – so Gatwick is still included. “The government will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.” On air pollution and carbon emissions “The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.” More work is needed on NO2. “The government expects the airports to put forward ambitious solutions. …The mechanism for delivering planning consents for airport expansion will be an ‘Airports national policy statement’ (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.”… “At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans.”

Click here to view full story…   and for some of the many comments on the statement

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Long awaited Government statement on runways – decision will be delayed till summer 2016 – more work needed

After a meeting of the Cabinet Airports Sub-Committee, a statement was finally put out by Patrick Mcloughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, at 7pm. It said that the government confirms it supports the building of a new runway in the south east, to add capacity by 2030 (earlier airports claimed they could have a runway built by 2025). The decision on location is “subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures.” All three short listed schemes will continue to be considered – so Gatwick is still included.  “The government will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.”  On air pollution and carbon emissions “The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.” More work is needed on NO2. “The government expects the airports to put forward ambitious solutions. …The mechanism for delivering planning consents for airport expansion will be an ‘Airports national policy statement’ (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.”… “At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans.”
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Government statement 7pm this evening: Delay runway decision till summer, after a package of further work. Including on CO2, air pollution and noise.

The statement by the DfT:


Government confirms support for airport expansion in the south-east

From:  Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP10 December 2015

Government statement on airport expansion in the south-east.

– location decision subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures

– government agrees with the Airports Commission that the south-east needs more runway capacity by 2030

– government agrees with the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options, all of which it concluded were viable
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The government has accepted the case for airport expansion in the south-east and the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options for expansion.  It has also identified the most appropriate way of delivering planning consents for new capacity, it was decided today (10 December 2015) at the Airports Sub Committee.The government will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.The government will do this quickly so that the timetable for delivering capacity set out by the Airports Commission can be met.
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The Airports Commission published a large amount of very detailed analysis on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions for their 3 shortlisted schemes. The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.

The Airports Commission’s air quality analysis will be tested using the latest projected future concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

The next step is to continue to develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people and the environment. This will include a package for local communities to include compensation, maximising local economic opportunities through new jobs and apprenticeships, and measures to tackle noise.

More work will be done on environmental impacts. The government expects the airports to put forward ambitious solutions.

The mechanism for delivering planning consents for airport expansion will be an ‘Airports national policy statement’ (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:

“The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come. We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.

“We must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people. We will continue work on all the shortlisted locations, so that the timetable for more capacity set out by Sir Howard is met.

“At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-confirms-support-for-airport-expansion-in-the-south-east

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What is a Development Consent Order?

It is a fast means of getting permission for infrastructure developments of national significance

These could include transport, water, waste or energy projects

It was introduced in 2008 as a means of speeding up the planning process.


Article at  https://www.bdb-law.co.uk/blogs/planning-act-2008/669-no2-runway-decision-but-it-is-a-dco/

says:
“… – the runway(s) will be consented by means of a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the Planning Act 2008 rather than a hybrid bill, and the government will be publishing an Airports National Policy Statement as the ‘mechanism’ for delivering the DCO. The statement does not say whether the NPS will be ‘locationally specific’ as to sites suitable for new runways, which it can do but doesn’t have to. If a site is named in the NPS as suitable, then when an application is made you can’t object to the choice of site, which obviously helps an application at a named site.
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Patrick McLoughlin makes bland statement to Parliament about runway decision delay

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, made an oral statement in the House of Commons on the government’s announcement that it is delaying a decision on a new runway. It is carefully worded, to give nothing away and be entirely non-committal. He was asked various questions by MPs after it, and his answers also give nothing away – and barely answer the questions. Some MPs wanted to know if Gatwick was now being considered. Henry Smith (MP for Crawley) asked whether, if the government decides on a Gatwick runway, he could have a “guarantee that the significant investment that will be required in housing, highways, the rail network and healthcare and all other public services will be forthcoming?” Mr McLoughlin: There are already significant commitments with regard to Gatwick; improving the infrastructure for Gatwick is already taking place and further such schemes will be coming on board over the next few years. It is vital that we get the surface access to our airports correct. That is something we are dealing with over a period of time. My hon. Friend asks whether there would be other consequences if the decision should go towards Gatwick. That will be the case for any option we choose, and of course we want to look at those options and see which ones we would want to take forward.” ie. more vague waffle.

More details at  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/12/patrick-mcloughlin-makes-bland-statement-to-parliament-about-runway-decision-delay/


Below are some comments by various groups etc:

Comment by AEF on government runway statement: continued support for a new runway premature without environmental safeguards

Commenting on the government announcement that the government confirms its support for building a new runway, but it will be delayed, the Aviation Environment Federation said a decision in support of expansion is premature without knowing whether important environmental questions can be answered. “Heathrow is one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions in the UK and people living around the airport are already subject to aircraft noise and pollution levels that impair their health. Yet the Airports Commission failed to show, in two years of work, how a new runway could be compatible with key Government commitments on air pollution and climate change.” With key environmental challenges remaining, the Government should not commit to a new runway until and unless environmental questions relating to noise, air quality and climate can be answered. “The challenges of addressing the environmental impacts of a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick are no less significant than they were when the Coalition Government ruled out expansion for environmental reasons in 2010. The current Government should do the same.”

Click here to view full story…

Comment by TAG on government runway statement: disappointed 3rd Heathrow runway hasn’t been ruled out, once and for all.

Responding to the Secretary of State for Transport’s statement that the government has delayed its decision on future airport capacity, Paul McGuinness, spokesman for Teddington Action Group (TAG) said: “We’re very disappointed that a third Heathrow runway hasn’t been ruled out, once and for all. Heathrow is crammed between two immovable motorways, and expansion means building over the M25 and villages. It’s already the UK’s largest noise polluter and, even now, breaches air quality pollution targets. It’s situated in the middle of one of the UK’s most populated residential areas and it’s implausible that 250,000 extra plane movements won’t increase noise and pollution and make yet more dangerous the already full skies over our capital city. It’s simply in the wrong place to be growing what is already Europe’s busiest airport. The economic case has been found to be overstated, and Heathrow are refusing to accept environmental protections such as night flight bans and are refusing to rule out a fourth runway. We shouldn’t forget that the current proposal for the north west runway has been designed to occupy sufficient space to allow for the building of a fourth runway….. We believe that Heathrow expansion was only recommended because Sir Howard Davies was predisposed towards Heathrow….”

Click here to view full story…

Comment by GACC on government runway statement: Gatwick is not an easy option, especially on surface access

GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has responded to the news that the government is postponing its runway decision for at least 6 months – and therefore leaving Gatwick as a possible location. GACC is not surprised that the Government has delayed the decision, because Gatwick is not an easy option – there are substantial environmental problems at Gatwick as well as at Heathrow – for which no solution has been found. At Gatwick these include aggravating the north-south divide; 50,000 people would be affected by worse air quality; there would be a need for a new town the size of Crawley; three times as many people as at present would be affected by severe levels of aircraft noise; and the road and rail system could not cope, when the airport approached full capacity. A key issue that has no far been neglected by government, or the Commission, is the real cost of the road and rail infrastructure work that would be required for a 2nd Gatwick runway. The M23 and M25 would need major widening, the M23 would need to be extended into London, several new A roads would need to be built east and west of Gatwick, and the Brighton main rail line would need extensive work – all of which could be just as costly as anything needed at Heathrow. The reality is that the annual number of Gatwick flights is now only 5% higher than it was in 2000.

Click here to view full story…

Government’s Heathrow indecision met with opprobrium from group of Gatwick area MPs

Speaking as Chair of the Gatwick Coordination Group of MPs (all eight MPs in the areas affected by Gatwick), Crispin Blunt MP lambasted the Government’s indecision over its response to the Airports Commission recommendation for a new runway at Heathrow Airport. Crispin said: “This is a disgraceful vacillation by the Government. They will richly deserve the opprobrium to be poured all over this shocking non-decision.”….“We were promised a decision by the end of the year. Recently we were promised a direction. What we have is neither decision, nor direction, but political cowardice, weakness and prevarication.” … “We will fight tooth and nail any attempts to resurrect Gatwick, whose flawed and costly proposal was left dead and buried by the Airports Commission. It is not the easier option. It would not survive the scrutiny of Parliament and the courts. Gatwick would deliver half the economic benefit, has wretched rail and road transport connections, and would fail to provide the hub airport which the UK needs.”

Click here to view full story…

Comments by Zac Goldsmith and Boris Johnson on the government runway statement

Zac said he was “absolutely delighted” that the Government has acknowledged that the airports decision cannot be made without further environmental tests – “after much campaigning, the Government has heard the arguments, seen sense and taken this course of action.” …”We know that any airport expansion must meet our legally binding carbon, noise and air quality limits”. …”The choice has always been between an outdated model which would lead to higher costs and less choice, or investing in a network of well connected and competing airports.” Boris said: “Time to jettison the 3rd runway, chuck it overboard… it ain’t gonna happen”. He said many will think a 3rd runway at Heathrow is “pathetically unambitious”….”A lot of people will see this as just more fudge-erama to push a decision beyond the Mayoral elections.” He said Heathrow expansion has been “officially grounded” despite airport officials putting a “superhuman effort into bouncing the Government into a quick decision in their favour”….”The wheels are falling off the Heathrow fuselage” and Heathrow will realise that “due to the environmental impacts, the legal obstacles and the cost to the public purse, this bird will never fly.” He still has hopes for the Thames estuary …

Click here to view full story…

Predictable arrogant shouting from business lobby – they want their runway, no matter what its impacts are

The media have been unimpressive in their coverage of the statement by the government that they are not making a runway location decision this year. They have almost entirely focused on the demands of the business lobby. While the government decision is in large part to avoid political difficulties, of Zac Goldsmith being Tory London Mayoral candidate – there are very real environmental and other problems with either runway location. The Airports Commission did a very incomplete job in its recommendation. It left key areas such as carbon emissions, local air pollution and noise impacts for the government to sort out. It largely neglected health impacts, or costs to the taxpayer, or long term social and economic costs to areas near the “chosen” airport. It was therefore inevitable that a vast amount of additional work would need to be done, before any government could – responsibly and prudently – make a runway decision. Due to the flaws in the Commission’s recommendation, the government is aware it will face forceful legal challenges, especially on air pollution. The Environmental Audit Committee set out the extra conditions the government needs to fulfil before making any decision. By contrast the business lobby just things shouting loudly and aggressively that they want a runway, and they want it now, (regardless of its adverse effects) will win them the day. Stunningly arrogant, and without any apparent analysis of the actual facts. But the media seem to love it.

Click here to view full story…

Comment by Heathrow on government runway statement: it has “full confidence” in its runway plan “within environmental limits”

Heathrow responded to the announcement that the government will postpone a runway decision till summer with a typical example of its PR-speak: “…it has full confidence in its new expansion plan and pledged to work with Government to deliver Britain the hub capacity it needs within tough environmental limits.” There is a page full of Heathrow’s usual claims about economic benefits, jobs, “linking the regions to global growth” and the same stuff that has been trotted out again and again. This is one of the statements, as full of holes as a Swiss cheese: “The Commission confirmed that expanding Heathrow would have the biggest economic benefits for the UK and can be done while reducing noise for local communities and within EU air quality limits.” Really not a brilliantly persuasive response. It is copied below, with a few links to the actual facts and figures, other than Heathrow spin. Another gem to appreciate (avoiding mention of economic benefit at its most exaggerated, and over 60 YEARS, and jobs by 2050): the runway will “result in up to £211bn of economic growth, 180,000 jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships spread across the whole of Britain.” Seems government has not been taken in by this stuff ….

Click here to view full story…

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