Clean Air in London respond to Commission consultation – Heathrow or Gatwick runway would breach air pollution laws

Clean Air in London (CAL) – which has huge expertise on all issues relating to air quality – has made its response to the Airports Commission’s air pollution consultation (ends 29th May). They make 2 key points – that either runway at Heathrow would cause aggravated breaches of the NO2 annual limit value, in 2030 (and perhaps other timescales) and therefore be unlawful; and that a runway at Gatwick would not be consistent with sustainable development, as it would worsen air quality.  The Airports Commission expects the Heathrow north west runway scheme would mean worse air quality, (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties, and 39,000 for the Hub ENR runway scheme; and at about 21,000 properties for the Gatwick runway. For Gatwick to do this would not be consistent with the duty on Member States under Directive 2008/50/EC to maintain the levels below the limit values.  Under Directive 2008/50/EC NO2 limit values must not be exceeded once attained; and where air quality is ‘good’, Article 12 of the directive applies i.e. Member States shall not only maintain the levels below the limit values but also “endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality compatible with sustainable development”.
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Airport expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick would breach air pollution laws

23.5.2015 (Clean Air in London – CAL)

by

Clean Air in London has made its submission to the Airports Commission’s consultation on air quality.

Airports Commission: Consultation on Air Quality Assessment

The two main points they make are:

– Airport expansion at Heathrow would cause aggravated breaches of nitrogen dioxide limit values and be unlawful

– Airport expansion at Gatwick would not be consistent with sustainable development


 

Dear Sir Howard

Clean Air in London (CAL) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Airports Commission’s new evidence relating to air quality assessment of the three short-listed options for additional airport capacity.

The Consultation can be seen here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/airports-commission-air-quality-assessment

CAL is a voluntary organisation which campaigns to achieve urgently and sustainably full compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for air quality throughout London and elsewhere.  Further information about CAL can be found at http://cleanair.london/.

CAL is independent of any government funding, has cross party support and a large number of supporters, both individuals in London and organisations.  CAL provides a channel for both public concern and expert opinion on air pollution in London.  This document provides both general and expert comments in response to the Consultation.

Airport related traffic is a major cause of air pollution in London, which in turn causes thousands of premature deaths per year, and many thousands more illnesses, chronic illness and disability.  For this reason, airport expansion impacts on air pollution.

Background

We refer to the recent judgments of the Supreme Court in ClientEarth versus Defra and the Court of Justice of the European Union:

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2012-0179.html

Separately, it is open to the European Commission to pursue infraction proceedings against the UK for exceedances of NO2 limit values since 2010, including in the Greater London zone, and it commenced this process in February 2014.  You will understand that this is wholly separate to the Government’s responsibilities to the Supreme Court.  For details:

http://cleanair.london/hot-topics/europe-at-its-best-takes-legal-action-against-uk-at-its-worst-on-air-pollution/

You may be aware of guidance published by Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) in 2010.  That guidance has been updated by EPUK and the Institute of Air Quality Management[1].  However, neither EPUK’s 2010 guidance nor the updated guidance takes account of or correctly states the significance of the very recent legal developments which have clarified to the law.  For that reason inter alia it is our view that the guidance is flawed in important respects.

The legal judgments, letter of clarification previously from the European Commission to CAL (attached), Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe and prospect of escalating infraction action make clear inter alia that: NO2 limit values must be achieved urgently and ‘as soon as possible’ to protect public health; limit values are absolute obligations that must be attained irrespective of cost; limit values apply everywhere with three exceptions; limit values must not be exceeded once attained; and where air quality is ‘good’, Article 12 of the directive applies i.e. Member States shall not only maintain the levels below the limit values but also “endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality compatible with sustainable development”.

You will be aware that Defra identified the roads around Heathrow airport as having among the highest illegal levels of NO2 in the UK still by 2030 even without airport expansion:

http://www.howpollutedismyroad.org.uk/hotspots.php

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/50-highest-modelled-nitrogen-dioxide-no2-concentrations

CAL also brings to your attention its analysis and complaint to the European Commission about breaches of air quality laws arising from the suspension of the M4 bus lane:

http://cleanair.london/legal/government-treats-limit-values-with-contempt-by-m4-bus-lane/

Airports Commission options

We have seen Jacobs report titled ‘Module 6: Air Quality Local Assessment Detailed Emissions Inventory and Dispersion Modelling’ prepared for the Airports Commission and dated May 2015:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/426241/air-quality-local-assessment-report.pdf

This report states that: “The assessment has considered changes within a “Principal AIRPORTS COMMISSION AIR QUALITY: Executive Summary ASSESSMENT ii Study Area”, which encompasses a 2km radius around each Scheme boundary, and a “Wider Study Area”, which includes all roads for which a significant change in traffic has been forecast” (Executive summary pages i and ii).

In CAL’s view, this is not sufficient to assess impacts of air pollution since even very slight worsening of air pollution may be unlawful where limit values are exceeded.

[The response quotes the sections from the Commission’s consultation, on each of the runway schemes – see end of the letter] .

CAL’s response

It is apparent from the documents published by the Airports Commission that:

  • both Schemes for airport expansion at Heathrow would cause aggravated breaches of the NO2 annual mean limit value in 2030 and perhaps other timescales i.e. the worsening of NO2 levels where limit values will already be exceeded; and
  • the Gatwick scheme is predicted to worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 21,000 properties. This would not be consistent with the duty on Member States under Directive 2008/50/EC to maintain the levels below the limit values and also “endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality compatible with sustainable development”.

The report for the Airports Commission also misunderstands important obligations under Directive 2008/50/EC.  In particular, it wrongly assumes that the worsening of air pollution above limit values (i.e. aggravated breaches) has less significance where an air quality zone or agglomeration has worse air pollution elsewhere e.g. in Marylebone Road.  This is not correct.  Limit values apply everywhere with three exceptions (see Annex III of Directive 2008/50/EC and the letter of clarification referred to earlier).

In CAL’s opinion development proposals that worsen air pollution, where limit values are exceeded or likely to be exceeded, must ensure that their genuine net impact would be to improve air quality during demolition, construction and operation and not worsen it.  Mitigation measures cannot be relied upon to reduce their impact.  Limit values must be attained quickly and cannot thereafter be exceeded.

It is apparent from the documents that the two Schemes for Heathrow, if approved, would worsen already illegal concentrations of NO2 in 2030 (and perhaps also in other time frames).  The Scheme for Gatwick would not be consistent with sustainable development.  To worsen air quality contradicts the duty under Directive 2008/50/EC and would be unlawful.  None of the exceptions to attaining limit values applies.  Please therefore reject all three Schemes.

Aviation emissions

CAL is concerned about aviation emissions as well as ground traffic movements.  Please see recent research:

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/270790911_Total_and_size-resolved_particle_number_and_black_carbon_concentrations_in_urban_areas_near_Schiphol_airport_%28the_Netherlands%29

CAL understands that computer modelling assumes no impact of aviation emissions on ground-level air quality when aircraft are flying above 1,000 metres i.e. outside the landing and take-off cycle.

CAL considers it highly unlikely that aircraft flying over Greater London would have no direct impact on ground level air quality or contribute only to background concentrations.

Further CAL understands that Terminal 5 at Heathrow could not have been built if proper consideration had been given to the effect of limit values.  Please do not make this mistake again.

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like more information on any of the points raised in this letter.

I would be pleased to discuss this submission with you.

Yours sincerely

Simon Birkett

Founder and Director

[1] http://cleanair.london/wp-content/uploads/CAL-304-EPUK-IAQM-air-quality-planning-guidance_Final-130515.pdf

CAL 307 Keuken et al PNC near Schiphol airport AE2015

CAL 307 Defra RFI_7162_Copy_of_Highest_50_modelledroads_NO2_amended_by_BH

CAL 307 Defra RFI_7162_-_20150217_NO2_Concentrations_Redacted__2__amended

CAL 307 Airports_air-quality-consultation-cover-note 190515

CAL 307 Airports_air-quality-local-assessment-report 190515

CAL 307 Airports_air-quality-local-assessment-airports-backing-data 190515

 

http://cleanair.london/legal/airport-expansion-at-heathrow-or-gatwick-would-breach-air-pollution-laws/

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Gatwick Airport Second Runway Scheme (Gatwick 2R)

The Conclusions on page 56 of the report are:

“The principal conclusions of this assessment with respect to the Gatwick 2R Scheme are:

  • The Scheme would not affect compliance with the current NECD and Gothenburg Protocol obligations. If the NECD obligation is tightened in line with current proposals, the UK would exceed the obligation with or without Gatwick 2R. The incremental emissions associated with Gatwick 2R represent a very small fraction of the proposed obligations;
  • The Scheme would not cause any exceedences of the Limit Value or air quality objective for NO2, and would not delay Defra achieving compliance with the Limit Value in the relevant zone. The proposals for the Gatwick 2R Scheme include realignment of the A23 to the east, but it is not possible to replicate Defra’s PCM predictions at this realigned link, nor is it possible to confirm whether this new link would be included in the PCM model (due to lack of public exposure) and no further assessment can be provided;
  • The Scheme would not cause any new exceedences of the Critical Level (for NOx) or the lower band of the Critical Load (for nitrogen deposition), at any designated habitat. The Scheme would increase NOx concentrations in locations where the Critical Level is already exceeded (but as noted in Chapter 2, Defra’s interpretation of the Directive is that the Critical Level does not strictly apply at these sites;
  • The Scheme would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 21,000 properties; and
  • The total costs of the increases in NOx and PM10 emissions over the 60 year appraisal period, based on the unmitigated change in mass emissions with the Gatwick 2R Scheme in place, are £73.6m and £246.9m respectively.” CAL emphasis

Heathrow Airport Northwest Runway Scheme (Heathrow NWR)

The Conclusions on page 79 of the report are:

“The principal conclusions of this assessment with respect to the NWR Scheme are:

  • The Scheme would not affect compliance with the current NECD and Gothenburg Protocol obligations. If the NECD obligation is tightened in line with current proposals, the UK would exceed the obligation with or without Heathrow NWR. The incremental emissions associated with Heathrow NWR represent a very small fraction of the proposed obligations;
  • The Scheme would not cause any new exceedences of the Limit Value or air quality objective for NO2. However, the incremental change associated with Heathrow NWR would cause the Bath Road (A4) sector PCM road links to have a marginally higher concentration in 2030 (48.7 µg/m3) than the Maximum PCM Predicted Concentration in the Greater London Agglomeration (which is 48.6 µg/m3 and occurs at Marylebone Road). The unmitigated Heathrow NWR Scheme would thus delay Defra’s predicted date for achieving compliance with the Limit Value. The proposals for the A4 Bath Road in the Heathrow NWR scenario are to realign the road northwards and then to the east around the boundary of the airport, but it is not possible to replicate Defra’s PCM predictions at these realigned links, nor is it possible to confirm whether these new links would be included in the PCM model (due to lack of public exposure) and no further assessment can be provided.
  • The Scheme would cause a new exceedence of the Critical Level at the South West London Waterbodies RAMSAR/SPA and Wraysbury Reservoir SSSI. However, the UK Government’s interpretation is that the Critical Level does not strictly apply at this location. The Scheme would not cause any exceedences of the lower band of the Critical Load (for nitrogen deposition) at any designated habitat;
  • The Scheme would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties; and
  • The total costs of NOx and PM10 over the 60 year appraisal period, based on the unmitigated change in mass emissions with the Heathrow NWR Scheme in place, are £94.2m and £863.5m respectively.” CAL emphasis

Heathrow Airport Extended Northern Runway Scheme (Heathrow ENR)

The Conclusions on page 103 of the report are:

“The principal conclusions of this assessment with respect to the ENR Scheme are:

  • The Scheme would not affect compliance with the current NECD and Gothenburg Protocol obligations. If the NECD obligation is tightened in line with current proposals, the UK would exceed the obligation with or without Heathrow ENR. The incremental emissions associated with Heathrow ENR represent a very small fraction of the proposed obligations;
  • The Scheme would not cause any new exceedences of the concentration at which the Limit Value is set, or any exceedences of the air quality objective for NO2. However, the incremental change associated with the unmitigated Heathrow ENR would cause the Bath Road (A4) sector PCM road links to have a higher concentration in 2030 (55.8 µg/m3) than the Maximum PCM Predicted Concentration in the Greater London Agglomeration (which is 48.6 µg/m3). The unmitigated Heathrow ENR Scheme would thus delay Defra in achieving compliance with the Limit Value;
  • The Scheme would cause a new exceedence of the Critical Level at the South West London Waterbodies RAMSAR/SPA and Wraysbury Reservoir SSSI. However, the UK Government’s interpretation is that the Critical Level does not strictly apply at this location. The Scheme would not cause any exceedences of the lower band of the Critical Load (for nitrogen deposition) at any designated habitat;
  • The Scheme would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 39,000 properties, but would improve air quality at about 6,600 properties; and
  • The total costs of NOx and PM10 over the 60 year appraisal period, based on the unmitigated change in mass emissions with the Heathrow ENR Scheme in place, are £69.6m and £618.7m respectively.” CAL emphasis

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DIRECTIVE 2008/50/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 21 May 2008    on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe

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Article 12

Requirements where levels are lower than the limit values

In zones and agglomerations where the levels of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, PM10, PM2,5, lead, benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air are below the respective limit values specified in Annexes XI and XIV, Member States shall maintain the levels of those pollutants below the limit values and shall endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality, compatible with sustainable development.

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

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Read more »

Council leaders, representing the 2M group, say Airports Commission air quality consultation is “not credible or realistic”

The Airports Commission has published a highly technical consultation on air quality, with only 14 working days for responses (3 weeks). It is presented in a way to make it very hard indeed for non-experts to understand. Now speaking on behalf of the cross-party 2M Group, which represents 20 Councils, the leader of Hillingdon Council (Ray Puddifoot), the leader of Richmond Council (Lord True) and cabinet member for environmental services at Windsor & Maidenhead (Carwyn Cox) have complained to the Commission about their consultation. They say it is “not credible or realistic”. Ray Puddifoot said it is not credible or realistic to imagine Heathrow could vastly increase flights, passenger numbers and its freight operation, but with no extra traffic on local roads, or more pollution. He said a 3rd runway would increase pollution levels for roughly 47,000 homes and break EU NO2 limits. Lord True asked why the Commission is estimating pollution levels in 2030, long before the expanded airport is at full capacity, and road traffic is at its peak. Carwyn Cox said the Commission is “gambling” on road vehicles producing fewer emissions in future, and on a congestion charge zone which “are not going to happen”. Many of the same arguments apply to Gatwick too.
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Heathrow pollution report ‘not credible’

22.5.2015 (Evening Standard)
By Nicholas Cecil

Tory town hall chiefs today launched a scathing attack on the Airports Commission, accusing it of underplaying the impact of a third runway at Heathrow.

They claimed an air quality study published by the commission, headed by former LSE boss Sir Howard Davies, was “not credible or realistic”.

Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon council, said: “Davies is telling us that Heathrow can vastly increase flights, passenger numbers and its freight operation, but that there will be no extra traffic on local roads. This is not credible or realistic.”

He said a third runway would increase pollution levels for roughly 47,000 homes and break EU nitrogen dioxide limits. Lord True, leader of Richmond council, added: “Why is Davies estimating pollution levels in 2030, long before the expanded airport is at full capacity? People want to know the full and true impacts on their health once the runways are fully utilised and road traffic is at its peak.”

Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environmental services at Windsor and Maidenhead council, said the commission was “gambling” on cleaner vehicles and a Heathrow congestion charge zone which “are not going to happen”.

The council leaders were speaking on behalf of the cross-party 2M Group, which represents 20 town halls.

Campaigners against a bigger Heathrow believe the report suggests the commission is on the brink of concluding Heathrow could expand within pollution rules. It reports this summer on whether a runway should be built at Gatwick or Heathrow and Boris Johnson has vowed to lie “in front of bulldozers” if Heathrow gets the go-ahead.

The airport said the commission’s report “does not yet fully account for all of Heathrow’s air quality mitigation proposals” but “confirms that Heathrow expansion can be delivered without exceeding air quality levels”.

“Heathrow has already reduced its emissions by 16 per cent over five years, and we recently announced plans to lower them further,” it added.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/heathrow-pollution-report-not-credible-10269647.html

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Even just considering air pollution in 2030, when the runway would not be used intensively, the Airports Commission expects the Heathrow North West runway Scheme “would worsen air quality (in terms of annual mean NO2 concentrations) at about 47,000 properties.”

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Airports Commission rushes out new technical consultation (for just 3 weeks) on air quality

The Airports Commission has, at the last minute, produced a very short (only 3 weeks) consultation on air quality. It says this was not done earlier due to the pre-election “purdah” period when there are restrictions on activities such as consultations by government. The timing, shortly after the ruling by the Supreme Court, that more has to be done by the UK on air quality may, or may not, be coincidental. The consultation ends on 29th May. The Commission aims to make its runway recommendation in June, before Sir Howard starts work at RBS (joining its board at the end of June). The consultation outline is given in a cover note, with one main document, an appendix document, 10 pages of maps, and databases of backing data – over 280 pages. All to be checked through in 21 days, including a Bank Holiday. The November 2014 consultation stated that dispersion modelling still needed to be done. That was not included in time for the main consultation. The Commission has now found some differences between the two Heathrow options. It has looked at a range of “mitigation measures” to reduce the level of NO2, and considers whether these would be enough to keep within legal limits. It is a technical consultation, very difficult for lay people – who are not expert in the area of air quality – to understand.

Click here to view full story…

Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes

The Airports Commission has opened a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

Click here to view full story…

West Kent parish councils complain that the Airports Commission air quality consultation period is too short

The Airports Commission was aware, when it put out its main consultation in November 2014, that it had still to produce work on air quality. They finally publicised their consultation the day after the election – 8th May – saying they could not put it out during the pre-election “purdah” period. That left just 14 working days for respondents to reply. The consultation is highly technical, and not something it is easy for a non-expert to read. Another document was added on Monday 18th, leaving only 8 working days till the consultation ends. Now four West Kent parishes have called for more time to put together a “correct and democratic answer”. Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst authorities, said they would be asking Sir Howard to extend the consultation by nine weeks. A number of new High Weald councillors had just been elected, and they need more time to get understand the issues and gather a lot of information before they can agree on it. The Commission is in a rush, as Sir Howard joins the board of RBS at the end of June, and becomes its chairman on 1st September. The Commission therefore wants to make its announcement in June, but the undesirable rush for this consultation means the democratic process is being subverted.

Click here to view full story…

 

Read more »

West Sussex council considering congestion charge idea for people travelling to Gatwick

The idea of introducing a congestion charge, if a 2nd runway is built at Gatwick, has been mooted by West Sussex County Council. It is one of several possible mitigation measures mentioned in a draft report produced by the WSCC in response to the Airports Commission’s recent consultation on air quality. If a Gatwick 2nd runway is recommended, West Sussex County Council has called for action to achieve high public transport access and congestion-free road access. Gatwick only has one major road link, and one rail link. If more passengers arrive by rail, there will be serious congestion on the trains. If the passengers arrive by car, there will be road congestion, as well as more air pollution – including more NO2. Gatwick airport has made the rather daft statement that “Gatwick has never breached legal air quality limits and its location means it can guarantee that it never will.”  Gatwick, predictably, hopes air quality would stay within legal limits without the introduction of a deeply unpopular congestion charge. WSCC says though the effectiveness of a congestion charge at Gatwick has not been assessed, it might have an impact on car mode share and overall traffic demand. The matter will be discussed by full council on 23rd May.
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Congestion charge idea mooted for people travelling to Gatwick Airport

Could a Congestion Charge by introduced for people travelling to Gatwick Airport?

20.5.2015 (West Sussex County Times)

By Joshua Powling
The idea of introducing a congestion charge if a second runway is built at Gatwick has been mooted by the county council.

It is one of several possible mitigation measures mentioned in a draft report produced by the authority in response to the Airports Commission’s consultation on air quality.

In the event that a second runway at Gatwick is picked ahead of expansion at Heathrow, West Sussex County Council has called for action to achieve high public transport access and congestion-free road access.

However a spokesperson for Gatwick said that should a second runway be given the go-ahead it has guaranteed that air quality levels will remain within the legal limits in the area close to the airport, something that could be achieved without the introduction of a congestion charge.

But a congestion charge for motorists travelling to the airport is mentioned by the county council as one of the additional mitigation measures that ‘could be implemented’ but have not been specifically highlighted by Gatwick Airport Limited.

The report reads: “It is not clear how effective a congestion charge could be. An assessment on demand management measures in reducing car use at Heathrow Airport was carried out for another module of the Airports Commission’s assessment.

“Whilst the outcome of that assessment cannot be directly transferred to a different airport, the overall conclusions that the imposition of additional charges on car users could have a significant impact on car mode share and overall traffic demand, remain valid.

“Depending on the scale of charge imposed, and the extent of the scheme (that is whether it targets passengers, employees and/or taxis), it is possible that traffic generation with the expanded Gatwick Airport could be reduced to 2013 levels.”

Councillors are due to discuss the proposed response to the Airports Commission on air quality issues at a Full Council meeting on Friday.

Back in January county councillors voted to oppose a second runway at Gatwick, as well as agreeing a response to the Airports Commission’s main consultation.

This reversed the county council’s previous position from 2013, where the majority of members voted to support expansion at Gatwick ‘in principle’.

http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/local/congestion-charge-idea-mooted-for-people-travelling-to-gatwick-airport-1-6752818

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One person comments below the article:

“So to make a second runway at Gatwick “affordable” we are to have little or no additional transport infrastructure, but rely upon reducing travel by local residents and business users by the imposition of a congestion charge (or travel tax).
For many residents of West Sussex travel north always involves travel via Gatwick (M23 or A23), so a trip from Horsham to the “local” hospital at East Surrey will require payment of a travel tax.
If the airport are not prepared to pay for ALL of the necessary infrastructure upgrades the a second runway must be out of the question.”

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The Consultation:

Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes

It is reported that the Airports Commission is now intending to carry out a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

West Kent parish councils complain that the Airports Commission air quality consultation period is too short

The Airports Commission was aware, when it put out its main consultation in November 2014, that it had still to produce work on air quality. They finally publicised their consultation the day after the election – 8th May – saying they could not put it out during the pre-election “purdah” period. That left just 14 working days for respondents to reply. The consultation is highly technical, and not something it is easy for a non-expert to read. Another document was added on Monday 18th, leaving only 8 working days till the consultation ends. Now four West Kent parishes have called for more time to put together a “correct and democratic answer”.  Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst authorities, said they would be asking Sir Howard to extend the consultation by nine weeks. A number of new High Weald councillors had just been elected, and they need more time to get understand the issues and gather a lot of information before they can agree on it.  The Commission is in a rush, as Sir Howard joins the board of RBS at the end of June, and becomes its chairman on 1st September. The Commission therefore wants to make its announcement in June, but the undesirable rush for this consultation means the democratic process is being subverted.

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Gatwick and Heathrow air quality consultation ‘too short’

20.5.2015 (BBC)

Four parish councils in West Kent are against the expansion of Gatwick AirportCampaigners fighting a second runway at Gatwick say they have not been given enough time to respond to a public consultation on air quality.The Airports Commission gave people three weeks to submit further evidence about air pollution on 8 May.Four West Kent parish councils have called for more time to put together a “correct and democratic answer”.

Next month, commission chairman Sir Howard Davies is expected to recommend a new runway for Gatwick or Heathrow.

Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst authorities, said they would be asking Sir Howard to extend the consultation by nine weeks.

‘Very late’

He said a number of new High Weald councillors had just been elected.

“They’ve got to do something potentially they’ve never looked at before and gather lots and lots of information and then agree something,” he explained,” he said.

“We think this consultation should be the same as any other and it should be 12 weeks long.”

Sir Howard’s decision to consult further came after a Supreme Court ruling in April, ordering the UK to do more to improve air quality.

Alastair McDermid, Gatwick’s airports commission director, said although it was “very late in the process” they were pleased the commission had launched the consultation.

“This was a topic that we’d already done some work on so we may have been slightly ahead of the field by choosing to do that work at an earlier stage,” he said.

The Airports Commission is considering three options for airport expansion in the South East – a second runway at Gatwick, a third runway at Heathrow, or an extension to one of the existing Heathrow runways.

It declined to comment on the length of the consultation.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-32810989
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The new document was added on 18th May.  It is

Consultation queries and responses

A consultation should present all the relevant documents at the start of the process. Otherwise people who manage to submit their response early may have missed out on vital information, that might mean their response is not complete.  Unless people are on the Airports Commission’s mailing list, or hear of the new documents through colleagues, many people could remain unaware that they have been added. The Commission added many documents later in the consultation process, for its main consultation that was November 2014 to February 2015.


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See earlier:

Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes

It is reported that the Airports Commission is now intending to carry out a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

Click here to view full story…

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London City Airport challenges Boris’ decision to block its expansion plans, over ‘noise ghetto’ fears

Boris Johnson blocked London City Airport’s expansion plans in late March, as he said it would create a “noise ghetto” for people living under the flight path. Now, as expected, London City Airport has appealed to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, against the decision. On March 26th Boris ordered Newham council to reject the plans on the grounds of noise disturbance and because the airport was intended for business rather than leisure. Under the plans, take-offs and landings were expected to increase from 70,000 a year to 111,000,with passenger numbers doubling to 6 million by 2023. It would also be able to accommodate larger planes, (and be more profitable). This coupled with the airport’s plans to use new PBN technology to create a much narrower and concentrated flight corridor over Wanstead, Leytonstone and Leyton had prompted fears that noise could become an issue.  The airport says it is appealing because of the jobs it creates, and its economic impact. The decision by Greg Clark could take 5 months. 
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London City Airport challenges decison to block £220m expansion plan over ‘noise ghetto’ fears

Boris Johnson blocked a planned £220million expansion of London City Airport earlier this year

19.5.2015 (East London and West Essex Guardian)

 

London City Airport has appealed against a decision by Boris Johnson to block a £220m expansion over fears it would create a “noise ghetto” for people living under the flight path.

The Mayor of London on March 26 ordered Newham council to reject the plans on the grounds of noise disturbance and because the airport was intended for business rather than leisure.

Take-offs and landings were expected to increase from 70,000 a year to 111,000 at the airport in Silvertown with passenger numbers doubling to six million by 2023.

This coupled with the airport’s plans to use new technology to create a much narrower and concentrated flight corridor over Wanstead, Leytonstone and Leyton had prompted fears that noise could become an issue.

But today (May 19), London City Airport confirmed it was going to appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark.

A spokesman said: “We think the Mayor’s direction is wrong and ignores the significant social and economic benefits that the airport’s development will bring, as well as the comprehensive package of measures that the airport has proposed to mitigate and control noise.

“It sends the wrong message about investment in east London and London generally, and seemingly disregards the 2,000 employment opportunities that the development programme will create, as well as the £1.5bn of annual economic impact that an expanded airport will deliver.”

John Stewart, chair of campaign group HACAN East against the expansion, said he expected the decision to be made in five months time.

He said: “It is not surprising London City has appealed because they are very keen to get the space to allow bigger planes to use the airport.

“But we hope the Secretary of State turns down the appeal and backs Boris who stood up for residents whose lives have become blighted by noise from the airport.”

http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/12959331.London_City_Airport_appeals_decison_to_turn_down___220m_expansion_over__noise_ghetto__fears/

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See earlier:

Boris turns down London City Airport expansion plans on noise grounds

Boris Johnstone, the Mayor of London, has refused London City Airport’s plan to expand on noise grounds. In a letter he has instructed Newham Council, who had approved the application, to refuse it. The Mayor says the application does not “adequately mitigate and manage its adverse noise impacts.” Newham’s decision was always dependent on the Mayor’s approval. London City Airport wanted permission to build new taxiways to permit larger planes to use the airport. It also wanted more car parking spaces. The decision will be a bitter blow to the airport as it will now no longer be able to bring in the larger planes it wanted to serve new destinations. John Stewart, chair of HACAN East, which campaigned against the expansion plans, said “The airport is paying the price for being so cavalier about noise. Quite simply, Boris did not believe its claims that it was dealing adequately with noise. We salute his decision”. The decision appears to be final, and it is unclear whether London City Airport can appeal to the Secretary of State. They may do so.

Click here to view full story…

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Brendon Sewill letter in the Times, correcting some claims by “Let Britain Fly”

In a letter to the Times, responding to lobbying by “Let Britain Fly,” Brendon Sewill (Chairman of GACC) corrects some of their inaccuracies. Let Britain Fly put out an open letter, signed by some 100 business people, wanting the government to decide rapidly on building a new runway. They claim that the UK “have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945”. In fact the Gatwick runway was built in 1956-58, and the runway at Stansted was revamped in the late 1980s. They claim that most of London’s airports will be full by 2030, but in fact, if the growth of air travel is constrained within climate change limits, Stansted (now under half full) is not forecast to be full until 2040. The letter also claims that we trade up to 20 times more with countries that we have a direct link to, but this obscures the fact that we develop air links to the countries with which we trade, not the other way round. The claim that Paris has 50% more flights to China than Heathrow is only correct if Hong Kong is excluded. “The truth is that there has been massive resistance from those who value the English countryside, and each time the problem has evaporated because airlines have used larger aircraft, meaning that existing runways have been able to handle more passengers.”
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Airport forecasts

May 19 2015  (letter in the Times)

Sir, The 100-odd signatories of the letter calling for airport expanson (May 15) say that we “have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945”. In fact the Gatwick runway was built in 1956-58, and the old US Air Force runway at Stansted was revamped and given a brand new terminal in the late 1980s.

The claim that most of London’s airports will be full by 2030 is also not accurate. If the growth of air travel is constrained within climate change limits, Stansted (at present less than half full) is not forecast to be full until 2040. The letter also claims that we trade up to 20 times more with countries that we have a direct link to — but no one has yet been able to establish whether the causation is that we have the links to the countries with which we trade. Further, the claim that Paris has 50 per cent more flights to China is only correct if Hong Kong is excluded.

There have been various previous reports proposing new runways: in 1968 a four-runway airport near Aylesbury; in 1970 a government decision to build a four-runway airport at Maplin in the Thames estuary; and in 2003 a white paper announcing that the government had decided to build a new runway at Stansted, to open before 2012.

The signatories describe the non-implementation of these proposals as “political procrastination”. The truth is that there has been massive resistance from those who value the English countryside, and each time the problem has evaporated because airlines have used larger aircraft, meaning that existing runways have been able to handle more passengers.

Brendon Sewill

Chairman, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC)

www.gacc.org.uk

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This letter is in response to the article below [with AirportWatch comments] :

Decide on new Heathrow or Gatwick runway soon, 100 business leaders urge Government

15.5.2015

(By Let Britain Fly – pro aviation lobby group, consisting of the aviation industry, chambers of commerce and businesses)

One hundred business leaders have urged the Government to press ahead with a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick as early as possible.Failure to do so could jeopardise the UK’s growth and competitive within the world economy, the executives add.  [Probably not, as 70% of UK flights are only for leisure purposes. AW comment].
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The Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission is due to make a final recommendation to the Government in the next few weeks on whether Heathrow or Gatwick should get a new runway.One hundred top executives have backed a call by campaign group Let Britain Fly urging ministers to make “a bold and early decision” on the new runway.
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Let Britain Fly director Gavin Hayes said: “With all of London’s airports forecast to be full by 2030, kicking the can down the road is no longer an option. [Air travel demand is only as high as it is because aviation is artificially subsidised; as well as fossil fuels not paying their environmental costs and being unduly cheap, there is no VAT on the cost of air travel, and there is no fuel duty on jet fuel. Even taking account of Air Passenger Duty, the cost of flying is far lower than it should be – if taxation was comparable with, say, car travel.  This causes a high level of demand.  AW comment].
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“This will be one of the first big issues that will test whether the Government is capable of making strategic decisions in the national interest. [Or making inappropriate decisions which bind the  UK into very high carbon infrastructure, and cause serious environmental and other harm to huge areas for miles around any new runway, ignoring the democratic process. Also committing the government and the taxpayer to billions of  ££s in additional costs for extra transport and social infrastructure.  AW comment]. 
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“The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto they would ‘respond to the Airports Commission’s final report’. To maintain the trust and confidence of the business community, it’s essential that response is both positive and timely. [And it should also be democratic, and not be subject to legal challenge on grounds of excessive deterioration to the environment (noise, air pollution, carbon emissions). AW comment].
“After almost three years of debating the issue, a commission decision-day is fast approaching.”
.The business chiefs have put their names to a statement which reads: “Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country.“By value, 40% of our exports go by air. We trade up to 20 times more with countries we have a direct air link to. [Heathrow were pulled up by the Advertising Standards Authority for making a very similar claim, which could not be justified or supported with facts.  Link.  AW comment]. With Heathrow already full, Gatwick full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports full by 2030, the demand for expansion is self-evident.”  [No, see Brendon Sewill comment above]. 

Let Britain Fly said it was concerned that other countries plan on building more than 50 new runways between now and 2036.  [The reason for that is that the UK developed its airports and extensive air travel decades ago. Developing countries are now starting to catch up, so it is axiomatic that they will be building runways – as they did not start as early as the UK. Some of these countries are not required to take the views of local populations, to be negatively impacted by a runway, as seriously as in the UK.  AW comment]. 

It went on: “Decades of inaction mean we are falling behind our competitors.”

If one of two Heathrow runway options on the commission’s shortlist is recommended, the Government would face opposition by some Tory MPs, including London mayor Boris Johnson, who has just been elected for nearby Uxbridge and South Ruislip. [And many others. See Link.  AW comment]. 

Richmond Park Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith is another who is opposed to Heathrow expansion, as is former transport secretary and now International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

http://letbritainfly.com/news/decide-on-new-heathrow-or-gatwick-runway-soon-100-business-leaders-urge-government/

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This is the Let Britain Fly letter: 

Times Letter: Airport Expansion

15.5.2015  (Let Britain Fly)

The new government must make an early decision on airport expansion and end more than half a century of political procrastinationSir, Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring that Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country. By value 40 per cent of our exports go by air; we trade up to 20 times more with countries we have a direct air link to.With Heathrow already full, Gatwick full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports full by 2030, the need for expansion is self-evident.As people who run some of Britain’s leading businesses, it concerns us that other countries plan on building more than 50 new runways between now and 2036. China alone will build 17 in that time, but in this country we have not built a new full-length runway in the southeast since 1945.Decades of inaction mean we are falling behind our competitors. Paris has 50 per cent more flights to China, and Dubai International recently overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport.This is why, when the Airports Commission publishes its final report, the new government must make an early decision on airport expansion and end more than half a century of political procrastination.Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management
Dr Eamonn Butler, Director, Adam Smith Institute
Richard Robinson, Chief Executive, Civil Infrastructure EMEA &India, AECOM
David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent LLP
Surinder Arora, Founder/CEO, Arora Holdings
George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods
Heather Lishman, Association Manager, Association of British Professional Conference Organisers
Nick Roberts, Chief Executive Officer UK and Europe, Atkins
Bill Munro, Chairman, Barrhead Travel
Harold Paisner, Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Bob Rothenberg MBE, Senior Partner, Blick Rothenberg LLP
Dale Keller, Chief Executive, Board of Airline Representatives in the UK
Jim McAuslan, General Secretary, British Airline Pilots’ Association
John Longworth, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land
Jeffries Briginshaw, CEO, BritishAmerican Business & British American Business Council
Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, BT Group
Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership
Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan
John Syvret, Chief Executive Officer, Cammell Laird Group
Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group
Richard Howson, Chief Executive, Carillion
Stephen Hubbard, Chairman – UK & EMEA, CBRE
Tim Knox, Director, Centre for Policy Studies
James Rowntree, Managing Director, Transportation, CH2M HILL
Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive, China-Britain Business Council
Iain Anderson, Co-Founder and Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero Group
Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation
Professor Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London
Des Gunewardena, Chairman & CEO, D & D London
Angus Knowles-Cutler, London Senior Partner, Deloitte
John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London
Rick Butterworth, Managing Director, Diamond Recruitment Group
Mathew Riley, Managing Director, Infrastructure & Environment, EC Harris
Chris Rumfitt, Chief Executive, Corporate Reputation Consulting
Inderneel Singh, Group Corporate Development Manager, Edwardian Group London
Olaf Swantee, Managing Director, EE
Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF
Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London
David Wells, Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association
Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, Gatwick Diamond Business
David Cliff, Managing Director, Gedanken
Hugh Bullock, Senior Partner, Gerald Eve LLP
Mike Turner CBE, Chairman, GKN PLC & Babcock International Group
Gordon Clark, Country Manager, Global Blue
Andrew Cunningham, Chief Executive, Grainger
Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, Great Portland Estates
Mark Preston, Chairman and Non-Executive Director, Grosvenor
Paul Wait, Chairman, Guild of Travel Management Companies
Rob Bould, Chief Executive, GVA
Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods
Brian L Dunsby, Chief Executive, Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce
Mr Andrew Formica, Chief Executive, Henderson Group
Nicholas Cheffings, Chair, Hogan Lovells
Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1 Limited
Michael Spencer, CEO, ICAP
John Lehal, Managing Director, Insight Public Affairs
Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors
Richard Solomans, Chief Executive, InterContinental Hotels Group
Andrew Murphy, Retail Director, John Lewis Partnership
George Kessler CBE, Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International
Simon Collins, UK Chairman & Senior Partner, KPMG
Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities Group
John Stewart, Chairman, Legal & General Group
Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly
Jenny Stewart, Chief Executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce
Robert Hough, Chair, Liverpool City Region LEP
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce
Jo Valentine, CEO, London First
John Allan CBE, Chairman, London First
Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace Group
Yoshiki Yamada, Director, CHRO & CCO, Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc
Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company
James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok
James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East Chamber of Commerce
Ann McGregor MBE, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Adrian Shooter CBE, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
Jonathan Fletcher, Director, PG Legal
Richard Foley, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons
Mark Bensted OBE, Managing Director, Powerday
John Rhodes, Director, Quod
Mr Mark Lancaster, Chairman, SDL
David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO
Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges Group
Juergen Maier, Chief Executive, Siemens
David McAlpine, Partner, Sir Robert McAlpine
Sue Rimmer OBE, Principal and Chief Executive, South Thames College
Willie Stewart, Director, Stewart Travel
John Sutcliffe, Managing Director, Sutcliffe
Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O’Rourke
Victor Chavez, Chief Executive Officer, Thales UK
Rebecca Kane, General Manager, The O2
Bill Moore, Chief Executive, The Portman Estate
Ric Lewis, Chief Executive, Tristan Capital Partners
Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner & Townsend
Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, UCL
Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer, UK Power Networks
Frank Wingate, Chief Executive, West London Business
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP

http://letbritainfly.com/news/times-letter-airport-expansion/

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Southend airport wants to build an 8 acre solar farm on part of its land

Southend Airport is planning to build a solar farm on part of its land, which cannot be used for much else as it is in a flood plain area. This is land to the north of the main terminal. The plan is for 12,000 solar panels in 41 rows, spread over almost 8 acres of grassland. – and providing up to 20% of the airport’s electricity on some days. Council planners are recommending approval for the plans, even though councillors rejected an almost identical plan a few months ago. As the panels are on frames, they can be above the flood level, and the transformer building would be sited outside the flood plain. The EA objected to the previous application because it would lay on a flood plain, and has submitted a provisional objection this time on the same grounds. Airport officials say the panels will not interfere with the airport’s operations. The plan is that the panels will not disturb nearby badger setts. Rochford’s planning committee is due to vote on the application – on Thursday 20th May. There are still government subsidies for this sort of solar farm, as it is not taking up valuable agricultural land. Some other airports in sunnier countries have solar farms.
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Southend Airport wants to build huge solar farm

19.5.2015 (Southend Echo)

by Ian Burbridge

THOUSANDS of solar panels could be sited close to Southend Airport to help power its continuing development.

The airport has applied to create a huge solar farm on land to the north of the main terminal.

It would have 12,000 solar panels in 41 rows and be spread over almost eight acres of grassland to the north of the airport which lies in the Rochford district.

Council planners are recommending approval for the plans, even though councillors rejected an almost identical plan a few months ago.

An airport spokesman said: “The land is within the airport boundary, but is non-operational because it is on a flood plain.

“The solar panels would be on frames, lifting them above any flood water and the transformer building would be sited outside the flood plain.”

The Environment Agency objected to the previous application because it would lay on a flood plain, and has submitted a provisional objection this time on the same grounds.

The airport says it commissioned a flood risk specialist to study the impact of the plan on the flood plain and was liaising with the agency to make sure objections over flood risk, water quality and ecological concerns can be overcome.

Airport officials argue it is the only available site for the panels which would not interfere with operations.

The site – previously earmarked for aircraft maintenance hangars – includes protected badger setts, but the airport insist building work would not come within 20m of them The solar farm, which would supply 20 per cent of the airport’s electricity requirements, have been given a “cautious thumbs-up” by one of the airport’s staunchest critics, the Green party.

Jon Fuller, who has campaigned in the past against airport expansion, said: “Where possible, we don’t want solar panels placed on argricultural land. We’d rather see them on buildings and roofs.

“However, the idea of a business deploying renewable energy is a good thing, and if they are going to be elevated from the flood plain, it could be a positive addition to the airport.

“I would give it a cautious thumbs-up.”

Rochford’s planning committee is due to vote on the application – on Thursday.

Rochford Council head of planning Shaun Scrutton said: “There was concern with the first application about technical issues and the fact the site was within a flood plain.

“The new solar farm is to be located within the airport boundary, but not on land which is currently in use, and the applicant has worked with the council to overcome the concerns with the original proposal.

“The application is good news for the airport operating company, as the energy requirements for the airport will now be augmented by clean, solar energy.”

http://www.southendstandard.co.uk/news/echo/12957444.Southend_Airport_wants_to_build_huge_solar_farm/

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Information on the subsidies available to developers of solar farms here 

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2344434/breaking-decc-unveils-shock-changes-to-solar-farm-subsidies

….”However, solar farm projects will still be eligible for support through the new Contract for Difference (CfD) regime, which guarantees energy prices for clean energy generators, while the consultation also promises “grace period” arrangements for solar farms that are already in the pipeline that may allow a handful of projects to still access the RO.” …


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Other solar farms at airports:

World’s largest solar farm complete at Indianapolis airport

The world’s largest airport solar farm is now up and running at Indianapolis International Airport.

With the second phase of an expansion now complete, the solar farm more than doubled in size and boasts 76,000 photovoltaic solar panels, according to a news release. The second phase of the project added 32,100 sun-tracking panels that will produce more than 15.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, the release states.

The 75-acre facility at the airport before the expansion already was the largest airport solar farm in the nation.

“The airport could not be more thrilled to have the largest airport-based solar farm right here in our growing city of Indianapolis,” Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, said in prepared remarks. “The Solar Farm not only enhances our environmentally friendly and energy-efficient terminal campus, but also played a huge role in our recent recognition of being named one of America’s greenest airports.”

The expanded portion of the solar farm creates enough energy to power more than 1,410 average American homes for a year, the release states.

Indianapolis Power & Light Co. buys the solar farm’s power, which costs three to four times the price for which IPL can sell it, officials have said. The utility has subsidized the difference by raising rates to its customers. The increase in electric bills to subsidize the solar farm amounts to several cents a month on the average customer bill. Solar farms also benefit from federal tax credits.

The solar farm has required about a dozen employees to operate. It is owned and operated by a Taiwanese company, General Energy Solutions, which has U.S. offices in California.

“It is an iconic structure that symbolizes how renewable energy in this country is affordable and reliable,” Kurt Schneider, vice president of Johnson Melloh Solutions, said in a statement. “JMS is proud of the teamwork displayed by IND and IPL that made this green project such a great success.

“Our hope is that many visitors from other states and countries fly into IND and realize after passing the solar farm that Indiana is both a great place to live and a progressive community for thriving new businesses.”

http://www.indystar.com/story/money/2014/12/22/indianapolis-airport-solar-farm-expansion-complete/20754083/

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Also

Airport warns over dangers of solar farm

13.9.2015

A proposed solar farm under the northern landing approach to Canberra Airport will temporarily blind pilots of incoming planes, says the airport.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/airport-warns-over-dangers-of-solar-farm-20130912-2tnur.html


 

Solar Farm

Chattanooga Airport’s solar farm is a staple in the airport’s green initiative. The three-phase project launched in 2011, and has reached the second phase of its development. The solar farm was expanded in the summer of 2013, increasing its annual onsite clean power generation from one megawatt to 2.1 megawatts.

The solar farm is located on the southwest corner of the airfield, in an area unusable for aviation purposes. However, it was the perfect location for a solar farm. Phase I, a one megawatt solar farm, consists of 3,948 solar panels with 60 cells each, generating 255 watts per panel.  Phase II, a 1.1 megawatt solar farm, added 3,542 panels with 72 cells each, generating 310 watts per panel. The two phases together produce approximately 85 percent of the airport’s energy needs.

The vision for the solar farm, as developed by the Airport Authority, is to have a three megawatt solar farm on the airfield. Once the Chattanooga Airport reaches this goal, it will be energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral.

The solar farm was funded through a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) Grant. VALE Grants are air quality grants issued to airports that are in non-attainment or maintenance areas. Chattanooga is in a non-attainment area for Particulate Matter 2.5, making it eligible for air quality grant funding.

To learn more about how solar energy works and to see how much energy our solar farm is producing, please go to http://live.deckmonitoring.com/?id=chattanooga_airport.

http://www.chattairport.com/www/docs/157/chattanooga-airport-solar-farm-photos/

 

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Also 22.3.2015

Sacramento airport plans to build on-site solar farm

http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/technology/article16037951.html


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and

Plans revealed for 20-acre solar farm next to Manston airport site

23.2.2015

http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Plans-revealed-20-acre-solar-farm-Manston-airport/story-26069049-detail/story.html

 

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Campaigners gear up for legal challenge against decision for runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick

CPRE (the Campaign to Protect Rural England), which was one of the charities, which successfully took the last Heathrow expansion scheme to court, says it could do the same again if ministers press ahead with a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick. CPRE said it has always had “serious concerns” about the Airports Commission’s work, and believed their final runway recommendation was “bound to be tainted”. CPRE’s transport campaigner said: “If the government decides to proceed we are bound to take legal advice as the first step to a challenge in the courts.” Legal challenges have become inevitable with any big project, as opponents probe how effectively the decision process has been. HS2 has faced a number of judicial reviews. Back in 2010 CPRE was part of a coalition that took a court action against plans by the then Labour government, for a Heathrow runway. The judge found that the consultation process was flawed because it used old figures. Though it did not prevent the runway plan, it caused a delay – during which time the new coalition government decided not to go ahead with it. There remains a broad alliance of local authorities and charities that would go for legal challenge again, against either runway.

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Campaigners gear up for legal challenge over UK runways

The 2010 court case

Five years ago the CPRE joined ranks with a number of councils and the main anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan in a court action against Labour’s plan for a third runway in west London.

Back then, the judge found that the consultation process was flawed because it used old figures for the economy and the environment.

It didn’t stop the scheme, but it did send ministers away with a lot of homework to do. Not long after that, the coalition came to power and binned the project altogether.

But Hacan’s chair, John Stewart, has told the BBC he’s not certain that the group will go back to the courts this time, if Heathrow comes out on top. [The costs of legal challenge are prohibitive, unless the action is a joint one, with funding raised collectively].

“It’s very expensive, we’d have to know there is a good chance of winning”, he said.

Despite admitting that some residents might be swayed by offers of more financial help and respite from noise, Hacan knows that without any doubt there would be “overwhelming local opposition”, if the government picks Heathrow.

Gatwick expansion also evokes a lot of local opposition, although not on the same scale because fewer people live under the flightpath. [However, recent changes to flight paths have alerted people in the Gatwick area to the threat, and got thousands of people active in their opposition both to the changed flight paths, and the threat of a new runway, which could only make noise hugely worse. And the runway would have huge other implications for the surrounding area, in terms of transport, road and rail congestion, building and development, change of character, pressure on social infrastructure etc – in turning the area into something like the area around Heathrow].

The CPRE remains confident of support no matter which scheme is favoured,

“We were part of a broad alliance of local authorities and charities that in 2010 defeated the last attempt to build a new runway,” said Mr Smyth.

“We can be sure the alliance this time round will be even bigger”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32771390

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Back in February 2010:

 

Heathrow runway opponents launch legal challenge to stop expansion

Local councils, green groups and residents go to high court to argue that consultation for a third runway was flawed
Sipson third runway at Heathrow

The residents of Sipson have been protesting against a third runway at Heathrow for the last seven years. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire Steve Parsons/PA

A coalition of local councils, green groups and residents will today mount a legal challenge to government plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The coalition’s lawyers will argue at the high court in London that thegovernment’s consultation process for Heathrow expansion was fundamentally flawed.

The then transport secretary Geoff Hoon gave the go-ahead for the expansion in January last year, but the Conservatives are opposed to a third runway.

The coalition, which includes six local authorities, Greenpeace and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), will also say the expansion decision is at odds with the UK’s overall climate change targets.

The court will also be told that there is no evidence to support the government’s claim that there will be enough public transport to serve the new runway.

If the expansion goes ahead, the village of Sipson, close to the airport, will be destroyed to clear land for the runway.

Speaking on behalf of the local councils, Hillingdon council leader Ray Puddifoot said: “We’ve had no choice but to go to court to sort out the mess left behind by a decision that was little more than a quick fix. From the moment Geoff Hoon announced his decision to the House it has steadily unravelled.”

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: “It’s been clear from the start that there has been huge opposition to this runway. Nearly 90% of the people who responded to the consultation opposed the expansion of Heathrow. Yet mysteriously the government gave the go-ahead.

“This gives a clear demonstration of how little they value the views of the public. Now we’ve got the chance to submit this process to legal scrutiny. We don’t expect the courts to be any more impressed with it than we were.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Department stands fully behind the decisions on Heathrow announced last year and will be defending them robustly in court.”

Labour peer Lord Soley, the campaign director for the aviation coalition Future Heathrow, told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: “Frankly, people are not going to stop flying. We need to be realistic about that.”

He described today’s court challenge as “a waste of council tax payers’ money”.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/feb/23/heathrow-third-runway-high-court-challenge

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Heathrow third runway opponents win court challenge

26.3.2010 (BBC)
Hillingdon Council’s leader said it was ‘a crushing defeat for the government’

Campaigners have won a High Court battle over plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Councils, residents and green groups had said the government’s plan was at odds with climate change targets.

Lord Justice Carnwath said the public consultation process used was invalid as it was based on out-of-date figures.

The decision does not rule out a third runway but calls for government policy to be reviewed. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the runway was still needed.

The Department for Transport vowed to “robustly defend” the plan.

‘In tatters’

The judge, sitting in London, said the government’s public consultation did not take account of the latest information on economic benefits and climate change and was based on figures which were eight years old.

The coalition that sought the judicial review into the government’s decision, which was made in 2003 and confirmed in January 2009, includes six local authorities, Greenpeace and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Gordon Brown: New runway is “entirely compatible with our carbon reduction target”

The coalition said in a joint statement that the government’s Heathrow policy was “in tatters this morning” after the judge ruled the decision to give the third runway the go ahead was “untenable”.

The statement said: “If the government wants to pursue its plans for Heathrow expansion it must now go back to square one and reconsider the entire case for the runway.”

Hayes and Harlington Labour MP John McDonnell, who has led the campaign against the expansion of Heathrow for the past 30 years, said: “This judgment is a victory.

“It means that whichever party is in government they will not now be able to force through Heathrow expansion.”

In his ruling, Lord Justice Carnwath said: “Whether there should be a third runway at Heathrow Airport is a question of national importance and acute political controversy.

‘Full capacity’

“It is a matter on which the main parties are currently divided and which may well become a significant debating point at the forthcoming general election.”

He adjourned the hearing until after Easter to give both sides time to consider what formal orders the court should make.

ANALYSIS
By Richard Scott
Transport Correspondent
The decision was greeted with jubilation by campaigners.

Outside the High Court they waved their copies of the judgement and drank champagne.

The judge agreed with them that the consultation carried out by the government into a third runway did not take account of the latest evidence.

The decision means that Labour would have to re-evaluate the evidence if it wins the election and still wants to press ahead with a third runway.

Campaigners hope that will give Labour the perfect excuse to drop the policy.

But Labour says it is still in favour of a third runway adding it was always intending to re-examine the evidence as part of a national policy statement on airports next year.

And the judge accepted this argument, saying it did not much matter that the latest evidence had not been taken into account in the consultation, because that would happen in the policy review.

So he said he would not quash the government’s decision to support a third runway.

In the end, both sides are claiming victory.

Following the ruling, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis reaffirmed the government’s support for expansion, stating that Heathrow Airport was currently operating at “full capacity”.

He stressed the judgement did not rule out a new runway, but called for a review “of all the relevant policy issues, including the impact of climate change policy”.

Lord Adonis said: “A new runway at Heathrow will help secure jobs and underpin economic growth as we come out of recession.

“It is also entirely compatible with our carbon reduction target, as demonstrated in the recent report by the Committee on Climate Change.”

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, the prime minister said: “We are taking seriously both the concerns that people have and the need for public consultation.

“But we took a tough decision, the right decision necessary for the future of Britain and the economy, and a new runway will help secure Britain’s economic future.”

Conservative leader David Cameron said the ruling showed the government had made “the wrong judgement”.

“We said the third runway shouldn’t go ahead, we were absolutely clear about that.”

The coalition against the runway had argued that there was no evidence to support the government’s claim that there will be enough public transport to serve it.

‘Change of policy’

In approving the third runway, the government had said it could meet the environmental conditions for expansion at Heathrow set out in the 2003 Air Transport White Paper (ATWP), relating to noise, air quality and access.

Nigel Pleming QC, for the coalition, said the “economic and environmental” position had fundamentally changed since 2003, which raised the question of whether the government should continue to support the expansion.

Lord Justice Carnwath ruled the coalition’s submissions “add up, in my view, to a powerful demonstration of the potential significance of developments in climate change policy since the 2003 White Paper”.

He said they were “clearly matters which will need to be taken into account” under the new national policy statement dealing with airport expansion.

While ordering it be reconsidered, the judge refused to quash the government’s decision to “confirm policy support” for a third runway, stating that he doubted whether such an order would be appropriate.

map showing plans for expanded Heathrow Airport

 

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8588220.stm

and

Heathrow’s third runway ‘dead’ and runway decision ‘untenable’

26.3.2010   (Politics.co.uk)

A high court ruling has set back the third runway at Heathrow for years, with
campaigners calling the project “dead”.

Lord Justice Carnwath decided the public consultation based on a 2003 white paper
was invalid because it had been overtaken by events based on evidence about climate
change.

His ruling that the 2003 air transport white paper was incompatible with the
Climate Change Act 2008 means the government’s entire aviation policy must now
be reviewed, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Its alliance with local councils and environmental groups has resulted in a resounding
defeat for the government, according to commentators.

Labour backbencher John McDonnell, speaking outside the court, said: “This is
a dead project and the government needs to recognise it.”

Liberal Democrat MP Susan Kramer added: “We will always fight but effectively
there is now such a barrier that it cannot be surmounted by the government.”

Transport secretary Andrew Adonis quickly put out a statement saying he welcomed
the ruling, however.   (see below)

But Ray Puddifoot, speaking on behalf of local councils, said: “If after this
ministers are still intent on pressing ahead with expansion they will have to
go back to the beginning and justify the whole economic case in public.

“Knowing what we now know about rising carbon costs this is an argument they
cannot win.”

link to article

 

 

The full text of the Judge’s ruling is at

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2010/626.html

 

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Residents say Belfast City Airport’s plans to treble flights will cause intolerable and unacceptable noise level

Residents affected by aircraft noise from George Best Belfast City Airport say the noise will be “intolerable” and unacceptable.  Under the plans, which are to be considered at a public inquiry starting on 18th May, lasting for 4 days, the airport’s own figures show that the annual number of flights could rise from the current level of 14,000 per year to 43,000 if the proposals are implemented. Up to 18,000 residents could be affected at a noise level which the UK government says causes significant annoyance (57 dB Leq) with the projected impact higher than the noise footprint of Gatwick and Stansted, where around 3,700 and 1,900 people respectively are affected at the same level. Local group, Belfast City Airport Watch, commissioned a survey that showed how much plane noise is already disrupting their lives. This showed of those living near the flight path 38% said plane noise was “very high” at their home. 20% said planes disrupted their sleep “very often” or “quite often” and 25% of parents with young children said their children’s sleep was disrupted “very often” or “quite often.” Belfast City Airport Watch said:  “It’s quite intolerable for the airport to heap further misery on residents in the pursuit of higher profits when we already have an international airport  [Belfast International] sitting in a green field site with spare capacity just up the road.”
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Residents protest on first day of airport restrictions inquiry

Residents objecting to a change in the flight arrangements at Belfast City Airport have held a protest on the first day of a public inquiry.

The protestors, who gathered outside the Planning Appeals Commission in Belfast city centre, are campaigning against a proposal to end the “seats for sale” restriction, fearing “intolerable” noise levels from an increased number of flights.

However, airport chiefs claim that removing the cap would boost the economy, create jobs and attract new airlines.

Speaking on the first day of the four-day hearing on Monday, the Green Party said the airport’s attempt to “effectively bring in more frequent, bigger planes” will have a detrimental impact on 18,000 residents. East Belfast councillor Ross Brown said: “I have been contacted by numerous local householders who have told me that their sleep is already disrupted by the high noise levels. This leaves them, and their children, tired and stressed.”
The inquiry was ordered by former environment minister Alex Attwood in 2011.

Speaking ahead of the inquiry, the airport’s chief executive Brian Ambrose said: “No larger planes will use the runway than currently do so.

“Those living in proximity to the airport will continue to be protected from noise, with no night-time flights and no cargo planes.

“If the seats for sale restriction is removed, the airport will adhere to noise restrictions as imposed by the Department of the Environment.”

http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/business/residents-protest-on-first-day-of-airport-restrictions-inquiry-1-6751012

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Belfast city protest less noise not more

Belfast City Airport’s plans to treble jet flights ‘intolerable’: residents

Public inquiry starts scrutinising proposals which could seriously affect 18,000 residents

18.5.2015 (Dr Liz Fawcett, Belfast City Airport Watch)

Residents affected by aircraft noise from George Best Belfast City Airport have described the airport’s plans to potentially treble the number of jet flights from the terminal as “intolerable”.

Under the plans, which are to be considered at a public inquiry which gets underway in Belfast this morning [10am, Monday 18th May],the airport’s own figures show that the annual number of jet flights could treble from the current level of 14,000 to 43,000 if the proposals are implemented, significantly altering the current mix of aircraft types operating at the terminal.

The airport’s own figures reveal that up to 18,000 residents could be affected at a noise level which the UK government says causes significant annoyance; the projected impact is far higher than the noise footprint of major airports such as Gatwick and Stansted, where around 3,700 and 1,900 people respectively are affected at the same level.

An independent survey of 423 residents who live close to the airport’s flight path, commissioned by Belfast City Airport Watch, reveals the extent to which noise is already disrupting their lives:

  • 38% of respondents described the noise of planes, while they were at home, as “very high”, compared to just 4% who described traffic noise in similar terms
  • 1 in 5 respondents said planes disrupted their sleep “very often” or “quite often”
  • 1 in 4 respondents with young children said their children’s sleep was disrupted “very often” or “quite often”

 

Dr Liz Fawcett, Chair of the Belfast City Airport Watch Steering Group, said the airport’s plans were unacceptable:

“We have robust evidence that many residents and their children already suffer disrupted sleep, higher stress and poorer quality of life, due to existing levels of aircraft noise.

 “It’s quite intolerable for the airport to heap further misery on residents in the pursuit of higher profits when we already have an international airport sitting in a green field site with spare capacity just up the road.”

 One family whose lives have already been badly affected by aircraft noise are the Driscoll family who live in Kinnegar.

Clea and John Driscoll and their sons, Tom (5) and Bobby (7) live in an enviable location close to Belfast Lough. But the pretty exterior of their blue-painted house belies a grim fact; their home is right under the flight path.

“When we first moved here, more than 10 years ago, the planes weren’t such an issue,” recalls Clea.

“But things soon got worse and, when our sons were small, the noise really disrupted their sleep.

 “Now, we’ve swapped bedrooms with them, and it’s my husband and me who get woken up.

“But what really irks us is the fact that you have to keep the windows and doors shut if you don’t want to be blasted with noise; that’s very frustrating in the summer especially.”   

Over in east Belfast, another affected resident is pensioner Elizabeth Bennett (74) who lives in Sydenham. She says the aircraft noise has raised her stress levels and has had a negative impact on her health:

“I’ve lived in my house for 40 years, before the airport even started, and the noise just seems to get worse and worse,” she said.

“Although I’m retired, there’s no chance of a lie-in, because the planes start at 6.30 in the morning.

 “You can’t escape from the constant drone of the planes; my health has definitely suffered and I find it very hard to relax properly in my own home.

 “I dread to think what it’s going to be like if these proposals are allowed.”

 Another resident who suffers from the noise is Dominica McGowan who lives and works as a psychotherapist in the Ballynafeigh area of south Belfast. She says aircraft noise disrupts her work and interferes with her grandchildren’s sleep when they come to stay with her:

“The noise is so bad that I sometimes have to suspend sessions with my clients until a plane has passed – that’s very disruptive for my clients, some with significant mental health problems, and makes it difficult for me to provide the quality of care I would like to.

 “And my young grandchildren can find the noise of the planes quite frightening; they often come to stay with me, but the noise disrupts their sleep which then in turn affects their mood and ability to concentrate the next day.

“I love living in Ballynafeigh which has a really vibrant community – but there’s a real risk that the quality of life in this area will be destroyed if aircraft noise gets significantly worse.”

A total of 1,308 objections were received by the Department of the Environment after the airport’s application was first made in 2012.

The public inquiry which is examining the airport’s proposals is being held by the Planning Appeals Commission at Park House, Great Victoria Street in Belfast.

The Commission has produced a timetable which envisages four days of hearings from Monday 18th May to Thursday, 21st May.

Belfast City Airport Watch will be giving evidence on Wednesday, 20th May. Among the witnesses which it will be calling is a renowned expert on the health impact of aircraft noise, Professor Eberhard Greiser, who has acted as lead investigator for a number of studies examining the links between environmental noise and public health, commissioned by the German Federal Environmental Agency. He has reviewed the likely effects of the airport’s proposals on health and children’s education.

 

 

Editor’s notes:

  1. Belfast City Airport Watch comprises 13 residents’ and community groups across affected areas within east and south Belfast, and north Down, and one trade union branch. It also has 769 individual associate members. For more information on the campaign, visit: www.belfastcityairportwatch.co.uk
  2. The airport’s proposals are contained in an application to amend the terms of its planning agreement with the Department of the Environment. The airport is seeking to remove a clause which limits the annual number of seats offered for sale on flights to 2 million, and to replace the current noise threshold (referred to as a ‘noise contour’) contained in the agreement with a larger one which would have much greater noise impact and affect more people.
  3. The survey referred to in the press release was carried out by the market research company, Perceptive Insight, in 2012. It involved face-to-face interviews with a robust representative sample of 423 residents, aged 16 or over, living under or close to the approach flight path to George Best Belfast City Airport in east and south Belfast.
  4. The projected number of annual jet flights which could occur if the airport’s proposals are implemented is contained in supporting information supplied by George Best Belfast City Airport with its proposals. The current quoted annual figure of 14,000 jet flights is the approximate total number of jet flights which operated from the airport in 2014, according to figures supplied by the airport to its consultative Airport Forum.
  5. The projected number of people potentially affected at a serious noise level by the airport’s proposals – 18,000 – is the projected figure supplied by George Best Belfast City Airport in supporting information supplied with its proposal. The statistic relates to the number of people who could be affected by aircraft noise at or above 57 LAeq, averaged over 16 hours. Any noise at or above this threshold is recognised by the UK government as the level at which significant community annoyance is likely to be caused. See Civil Aviation Authority ERCD Report 0904. Metrics for aircraft noise, Jan. 2009, p. 6.
  6. The noise impact statistics relating to Gatwick and Stansted are contained in Airports Commission Discussion Paper 05: Aviation Noise, July 2013, Table 2.1. These statistics also relate to the number of people affected at or above the level referred to in note 5 above. Available here:https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/airports-commission-discussion-papers–2

 

At 9.30am on Monday, 18th May, outside Park House, Great Victoria St., Belfast City Airport Watch will display a banner with a colourful picture depicting the negative impact of aircraft noise on local communities. This artwork has been created by local south Belfast artist, Sinead Farry.

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Zac Goldsmith says Heathrow expansion would split the Cabinet with opposition from the very top

Zac Goldsmith was re-elected to his Richmond Park seat with a majority of about 23,000 – up from a 4,000 majority in 2010. He has always been very firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway. Zac believes that if Heathrow is “chosen” for approval by the Airports Commission, it would cause a split at the very top of government, and a real problem for David Cameron: “If you look at the cabinet today, there are at least 3 heavyweight people there, Philip Hammond, Justine Greening and Boris Johnson and others, in fact, who are implacably opposed to Heathrow expansion … He’d face a split at the highest level and I don’t think a fragile government with a small majority wants to do that.”  Zac also says giving the go-ahead to Heathrow would be “an off-the-scale betrayal” from David Cameron, who came to west London before the 2010 election and promised locals, “No ifs, no buts, no 3rd runway” – and that there wouldn’t be a new runway under the Conservatives. Zac has repeated his threat of resigning if the government backs a Heathrow runway. His resignation would trigger a by-election in which he could stand as an independent on that one issue. It would offer him the opportunity to get a lot of publicity for the anti- runway case.

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Zac Goldsmith: Heathrow expansion would split cabinet

Expanding Heathrow airport would cause a split at the very top of government, says a newly re-elected Tory MP.

Zac Goldsmith, a long-time critic of the scheme, repeated his threat to resign if the government agrees to build a new runway in west London instead of further south at Gatwick.

Mr Goldsmith was re-elected as MP for Richmond Park in south-west London.

His resignation would trigger a by-election in which he could stand as an independent on that one issue.

It would offer him the opportunity to make a lot of noise. This is a man who has only just been voted back into his seat with a hugely swollen majority, adding nearly 20,000 votes.

“I made that promise in 2008 and it still stands,” Mr Goldsmith told the BBC. “It’s not something I want to do, but it’s something I’d have to do.”

The independent Airports Commission should hand over its final report next month, picking either Heathrow or Gatwick for expansion.

After that, it will be down to David Cameron’s fledgling government to decide whether to go along with that recommendation or pick their own.

But Mr Goldsmith thinks that selecting Heathrow could spell disaster for the prime minister,

“If you look at the cabinet today, there are at least three heavyweight people there, Philip Hammond [Foreign Secretary], Justine Greening [International Development Secretary] and Boris Johnson [Member of Political Cabinet] and others, in fact, who are implacably opposed to Heathrow expansion,” he said.

“He’d face a split at the highest level and I don’t think a fragile government with a small majority wants to do that.”

The MP also claims it would be “an off-the-scale betrayal” from Mr Cameron, who he says came to west London before the 2010 election and promised locals, “No ifs, no buts, the Conservatives won’t expand Heathrow.”

No ifs No buts

Conservative election leaflet from the 2010 election

On Tuesday, another high-profile critic of Heathrow expansion, Boris Johnson, said he would not resign if the government picked the scheme. Instead, he would fight it from within.

All sides of the airport debate are ramping up the rhetoric ahead of Howard Davies’ final report.

There is a growing feeling among people I speak to that he will plump for Heathrow, which is thought to be favoured by the Chancellor, George Osborne.

But having said that, both Gatwick and Heathrow seem to have their tails up, thinking they have successfully made their case for a new airport.

Another theory doing the rounds is that Howard Davies will pick Heathrow, but leave the door open for Gatwick to make life easier for the politicians.

Mr Goldsmith is not convinced: “I don’t think he’s in the market to produce a fudge… I think he wants an answer that’ll be relatively clear.”

“A year ago, I would have said Heathrow expansion’s in the bag, but I think that he seems to have heard the arguments… and if I had to put my house on it, I’d say he’s not going to recommend Heathrow expansion. But it’s at best 51-49, no-one knows.”

Two and a half years ago, the government set up the Airports Commission to offload an issue that was unsticking a nascent coalition. The Lib Dems, in particular, were struggling to get any expansion past their members.

They’ve gone now, and having sent the issue circling for years, it is coming in to land in the Conservatives’ lap.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32717245

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Senior members of the Conservative cabinet and their opposition to a Heathrow 3rd runway

Theresa Villiers was firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway in 2012   link

Justine Greening is firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway. link 

Philip Hammond is firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway   link

Theresa May has said she is opposed to a Heathrow runway  link 

Greg Hands has said he is strongly against 3rd Heathrow runway  link and link

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also

Adam Afriye is firmly against a Heathrow 3rd runway  link 


 

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See earlier:

Divisions at top of Tory party over 3rd Heathrow runway as Hammond, Johnson and others won’t accept it

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (MP for Runnymede & Weybridge), and the London mayor, Boris Johnson, will refuse to support their own party’s policy on airport expansion at the next election, potentially opening a rift at the top of the Conservative party.  They are among a batch of Tories of cabinet or equivalent rank who are expected to rebel against the official party line, which is that no decision on a new runway would be taken before the Airports Commission gives its recommendation in summer 2015. Boris continues to push for an estuary airport. Other leading Tories with south-eastern constituencies who have spoken out against a 3rd Heathrow runway include the Home Secretary, Theresa May (MP for Maidenhead); the international development secretary, Justine Greening (MP for Putney); and the Northern Ireland secretary, Theresa Villiers (MP for Chipping Barnet). The pressure for a new south east runway has come from George Osborne. Gatwick becomes more vulnerable, the more senior Tories oppose a Heathrow runway, though a Gatwick runway makes little economic or aviation sense.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/23718/

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